The Good Guy by Dean Koontz (2007)

Books, General, Reckons, Reviews

I’m not sure what his market is meant to be, perhaps women? Old folk? But I picked this novel up on a whim, and it was alright. 400 very quick pages (some sort of trick with font size or line spacing I think), and an entertaining story.

If you’re only going to read one book this month (time to learn that books make you smart, you illiterate fuck), don’t make it this one, get Gibson’s Spook Country instead (assuming you haven’t that already), but if you like to read, you can do much worse than The Good Guy.

The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton (2007)

Books, General, Reckons, Reviews

After my last experience with a Hamilton story (Wasted Youth, which I wrote about in August), you might think I would have been put off. Truth is, and as I said when I wrote about that one, I’ve read other of his novels and found them to be entertaining and well written, so when I was confronted with this phonebook sized volume in a display at Borders, I kind of had to go for it.

With The Dreaming Void, the first in a trilogy, Hamilton returns to his familiar Commonwealth universe – where although set another thousand or so years further on many of the same characters are still active.

The titular Void is a vast (seemingly) impenetrable region of space at the heart of the galaxy, and indeed is also the heart of the story. Humanity has spread far and wide, and features several distinct factions, one of which, known as The Living Dream, wants to fly into the void. The others reckon this will either kill them, or possibly kill everyone. (The Void, you see, is slowly devouring the galaxy, with a rapid expansion expected if .) Some of the Commonwealth’s alien buddies are pretty unhappy at the prospect of our shared galaxy being consumed, and start getting a bit hot under the collar. Hilarity ensues. (Well, it starts to, nothing really comes to a head in the first book.)

Though set on a galactic scale, most of the story focuses on just a few men and women, and their heavily armed, destructive, and highly entertaining. Most of them are out in the Commonwealth, and acting against each other on behalf of the major factions (Highers and Advancers), but one is -apparently at least – inside the void.

You may recall that one of my biggest complaints about Misspent Youth was all of the sex, there’s even more of it here. Hamilton is completely (perhaps pathologically) obsessed with group sex. He really needs to get some, so he can just get the fuck over it. At best, it’s distracting from the interesting stuff. (Seriously, this sort of thing is only exciting for teenage boys.)

Aside from the sordid carrying on, this is a fine piece of work, and should prove highly satisfactory for anyone who likes a good science fiction saga. So if you can ignore that (or if you like it) I highly recommend this as a good long read.

Writerly things.

Books, General, Reckons

I’m not looking forward to November, a lot of untalented hacks who should be doing other things (masturbating to pornography they found on the internet, for example) will be attempting to turn their hands to writing crappy novels as fast as possible.

I only mention this because I’ve actually been working on a few books (one weird-fiction, one SF, and one vanity non-fiction), off and on, for a couple of years, and I’m really happy with my slow, meticulous, loving, progress.  And I think that NaNoWriMo actually cheapens the process taken by, for want of a better term, "real writers."

That’s not to say that I think writing is in any way restricted to any sort of elite few or anything like that, I just think that if you want to write, you should write, not wait for some stupid competition and then write just to reach some artificial wordcount, updating your progress daily, and frankly wasting your time ‘cos no one. in. the. world. needs another goth-vampire-faerie tale. Or story about a writer who can’t think of a real story to write, so writes a story about a writer who can’t think of a story to write.  If you can’t think of a story to write, don’t. fucking. write.

Has anyone ever tried to read anything written for NaNoWriMo?  These people are just going for wordcount, and it’s horrible.

So if you’re an untalented hack desperate to prove you’re more creative than you actually are, go for it!

And remember, I’m the boss of the world, and you’re just a dick with a keyboard.

Books, movies, and ‘stolen’ TV.

Books, General, Movies, Reckons

Oh, other things I did last week, books and movies and, uh, ‘time shifted’ TV…

On Tuesday we decided to kick it to the cheap showing of Mr & Mrs Smith, I actually kind of enjoyed it, but you know… It’s not exactly the highest art ever put on film. For $4, I’m not going to whine and complain.

However, I went to Land of the Dead on Thursday, and that movie definitely wasn’t worth $15. I think Romero is waaaaayyy stale. His zombies just suck by comparison with other recent movies. I mean, look at how scary those fuckers in the Dawn of the Dead remake were, even the lame Rage infected guys in 28 Days Later were better. Stick your ‘intelligent’ zombies up your arse, FAST zombies are terrifying. Also, good makeup makes a hell of a big difference, it’s not the 1980s, so don’t think you can get away with the same lame-ass shitty effects that got by then.

The characters all do stupid bullshit things, soldiers firing on auto from the hip, instead of aiming and squeezing off quick shots… It’s just stupid. It doesn’t make any sense, and it doesn’t give any credit to the audience. The whole structure of the society they’d put together in the walled city was just fucking stupid. And what idiot pulls wheelies when riding a motorcycle around zombies? The whole thing, it just annoyed me. For these people to have survived as long as they did, that would require that they all be smart and hard, and certainly not reckless.

The acting was great, I thought — except for Hopper — I don’t think you can blame the cast for the direction and the material. Romero just sucks. Haaaarrd. How could that skater guy make his character look like a survivor type, if the first thing he does on being dropped off, is to break open a tiny little wooden shack, go inside, put on headphones loud, and look at the floor? What the hell? Who would do that? Block off visibility completely, then deafen yourself. Awesome. So it was a big susprise when he was attacked and turned? A lame-ass non-surprise, actually.

I like zombie movies, and I was super disappointed. Romero is now officially banned from making any more zombie movies.

However, remakes of his old movies are welcome.

Oh, yeah, I also read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I guess it was pretty good. I’ve got a theory about that whole thing at the end, though.


Dumbeldore isn’t really dead, it was a ruse perpetrated by him and Snape, so now no one will be paying any attention to Dumbeldore while he sneaks around, only to popup right at the end of book 7, helping Harry out with Voldemort.

I also read a Bill Bryson book called A Walk in the Woods, again, I guess it’s kind of good. I couldn’t help the feeling that his friend Katz was way funnier than he was, and indeed that Bryson was actually a really mean and nasty sort of a guy, derision and sarcasm dripping from his spittle flecked maw at every opportunity.

So, two books and two movies. Oh, and some Stargate Atlantis.

I just watched season 2 episode 4 yesterday, and it’s… Pretty crap. You remember how in like season 5 of Stargate SG1, they fell back on that lame old saw of swapping peoples personalities between their bodies? Well, this is like one step up from that. I want them to start using Reed in some really brutal and violent encounters though, he has some real potential.

Oooh, there was also some hot boy on boy action when Dr McKay kissed Dr Beckett. By hot, I mean tight lipped and dry. It might have been more startling if there’d been some open mouthed lip grinding, ideally with slippery slithering tongues and stuff, but no.

In other news, and lastly, I haven’t caught a single episode of the new Dr Who since I downloaded that first episode. Another TV series that’d do way better with me on the team. Blackballing bastards.