Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Sunday Review

No TV for this week, as I haven't watched the new Doctor Who yet, and the seasons for most of my shows are ended.

This week's movie was Iris. This is a movie about a serious and depressing topic, and managed to still be a love story despite the overriding terror inherent in the fact that Iris Murdoch was slowly succumbing to Alzheimer's. The movie explores her loose and fast youth, with Kate Winslet baring all, interspersed with Judi Dench's amazing performance as a writer slowly losing her most precious asset. I found this movie to be incredibly depressing, difficult to watch, and ultimately enlightening.

Here are reviews of the Free Comic Book Day comics of 2010 that I got and read:
  • DC Comics Mega Sampler 2010 - Not enough Aquaman, but a fair sampler that shows off the DC Kids books nicely.
  • Kizoic Presents: Shrek/Penguins of Madagascar FCBD 2010 - I liked this enough that I would consider getting the books. That's the goal of the book, so it worked.
  • FCBD: The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics - This isn't really a comic book, it's just a guide to making sure you have no fun reading your comic books.
  • Owly and Friends! 2010 FCBD - Another excellent book. I love Owly, and Korgi is cure as well. I wasn't sure what to make of Johnny Boo, I never am.
  • The Tick's FCBD Special Edition #1 - I've never been a big fan of The Tick, but I do enjoy his goofy origin, and this was fun to read again. Certainly something I'd give to someone who wants to know about The Tick.
  • Love and Capes #13 - Hubby-Eric loved this, I was slightly less impressed. It's a good book, but I didn't feel the love like Eric did. Maybe it'll grow on me if Eric gets it.
  • Fraggle Rock/Mouse Guard Spring 1153 FCBD 2010 - I was familiar with Mouse Guard, so no surprises there, but I doubt this sample will get many new readers. The Fraggle Rock sampler, on the other hand, was excellent and made me curious about the comic.

My library book this week was Coyote Frontier by Allen Steele. Saying that this book is more of the same doesn't really do justice to the imagination and twists of the book, but it's really a good way to describe it. If you didn't like the storytelling style of the first two books, you won't like this one. If you enjoyed the first two, you'll probably enjoy this one. This is the final book of the Coyote trilogy, but there are other books set in the same universe, and I'll be checking those out as I get the time. Count me as one who enjoys this style of storytelling.

On a side note, I think this post at Tor got me hooked on the Coyote books.

Agatha Christie this week was The Burden from 1956, written as Mary Westmacott. This is the last of her Westmacott novels, thank goodness. The title burden is the burden of being loved, which is apparent almost immediately. The story centers around a woman who craves love but because she's a plain second child she fails to attract her parents' attention. It's as depressing as all get out, like her other Westmacott books, and kind of makes you want no part of humanity by the time you're done with it. Still, it's not the worst of those books, I'd put it solidly in the middle. But I vastly prefer her mystery and even her supernatural works to these "romances".

Fortean Times #260, May 2010. The cover is disturbing, a skull with a cigarette. Ok, it's disturbing when it's sitting on the bedside table and it's the first thing I see when I wake up. The cover story is about a cult in Bolivia that uses skulls to influence life. It's practitioners are Catholic, and though the Church has denied any status to the skulls and frowns upon them, the practice lives on.

The editorial mentions the "magic wand" being sold to Iraqi security forces by a British scammer, and says that if the consequences weren't so tragic it would be funny. Agreed. Strangedays starts out with a UFO sighting and gets more odd. There's a bit on Dr Patel and the Maitreya, animals born with human-like faces, and strawberry crab and blobfish. I like the story of a greyhound race in England that had to be stopped when a real hare ran onto the track. The Science article was about nanobacteria, and was mostly new to me. Looks like something fun to look up sometime.

Continuing on, there was a note that the mysterious visitor of Poe's grave failed to show up this year, followed by a number of theories and claimants to the role of the Poe toaster. I really enjoyed the Archaeology article on El Dorado and the newest discoveries in the Amazon forests. A distressing article on the problems faced by albinos in many parts of Africa was disturbing. The UFO files were as fun as usual. I liked the Blasts From The Past article, about airships spotted in places that probably shouldn't have had airships at the time the ships were spotted. Another article covers sea serpents and the decline of spottings in the modern age.

Another article describes Berlin as the literal gateway to Hell, based on The Alter of Pergamon as mentioned in the Book of Revelations being moved to the city. I honestly have no response to that. The Forum explores the Voynich Manuscript, which made me want to look at the thing myself. I found it at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and I think it's a pretty cool mystery. The Reviews were great, as usual. I'm tempted to find a copy of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City. As usual, the Letters pages were a delight to read. And so, it was another great issue of a fun mag. I wonder when the next one will come?