[Book Review] Why Consider Phlebas did nothing for me.

Book Review: Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

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So. After everything I’d heard about the AI-driven utopian world of “The Culture” in Iain M. Banks books…I was expecting a bit more, well, utopia in my Science Fiction read.

Instead, Consider Phlebas delivered a gritty military science fiction: A disconnected protagonist, rotating cast of loosely sketched out supporting characters, relationships based on alienation, violent conflict, lots of slow-build tension and suspense, and a loosely connected series of action sequences. Oh and a bunch of exposition on democracy vs theocracy (life vs AI, systems vs chaos, the meaning of being alive, etc etc) that I grimly power-read my way through.

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Book Watching: Not every day a movie gets called “unreleasable.” Also Dracula.

Book Watching

This week, I got movies on my mind. Books-to-movie adaptations, that is. Here are some of the book-related movies on my feathery radar…

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

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I haven’t read anything by Patrick Ness, but when I heard that his series was being turned into a movie, I went straight to the synopsis: “A dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each others’ thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise.”

And my first thought was: Immersive visions of other people’s thoughts? Can you even do that through a movie?

Turns out, maybe not.

Between a release date that got pushed out from March 2019 to sometime 2020, news that the movie is undergoing major reshoots, and the word “unreleasable” floating around, it’s definitely not good news for this adaptation. Fede Alvarez (The Girl in the Spider’s Web) has come in to do the reshoots, which will cost the Lionsgate another $15 million on top of the $100 million already spent on the movie.

On the bright side, this does mean I have some extra time to read the books.

Release Date: 2020?

Dracula 

Writers Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Doctor Who) are teaming up for a three episode miniseries adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula for Netflix and BBC.

What’s it gonna look like? Sounds like it’ll be a period drama retelling of the 1897 original, with Claes Bang is attached to play Dracula himself.

Release date: Many question marks. Moffat and Gatis finished the script in January 2019.

War of the Worlds

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The classics, they are a-coming. As BBC miniseries.

Here’s another one. H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds is coming to BBC for an eight-episode alien invasion sci-fi period drama thriller. Much like BBC’s Dracula adaptation, this War of the Worlds adaptation will also stay true to the book’s historic period and will be set in Edwardian London. (Though it sounds like its two main characters will be new additions.)

Gilles Coulier (Cargo) and Richard Clark (Versailles) will each direct four of the eight episodes.

Release Date: Sometime in 2019.

Watchmen

Somewhere beneath all the Game of Thrones chatter and hype, HBO is coming out with another book(ish) adaptation. It’s the comic book, Watchmen, back for another stab at the screen.

Check out the ten seconds of footage at 0:12

The fact that they already have footage gives me hope that we’ll see the show soon. Looks like screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Cowboys & AliensPrometheusStar Trek Into Darkness, and Tomorrowland) will be doing a more loosely inspired adaptation of the comic. After the almost painfully faithful (yet not-quite a hit) panel-for-panel Zach Snyder’s 2009 movie adaptation, I’m totally ready to see something new and current from this ten-episode show.

This adaptation promises a pretty good lineup of talent, with Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune), Regina King (The Leftovers) and Golden Globe-winner Don Johnson (Miami Vice) taking lead roles. They filming in spring 2018, so we should be getting a official trailer or promo soon.

Release date: Sometime in 2019.

What adaptations are you most looking forward to?

 

Book Watching: Fairies, daemons & Catch-22.

Book Watching

I’m back, and here are some book-to-movie trailers to distract you from how long I’ve been away. Enjoy!

Artemis Fowl

Based on the canary favorite Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, the first trailer has us exchanging cautious looks. With director Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express, Thor, Cinderella, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) at the helm, it could turn out to be a lot of things. Plus, when one of the book’s cornerstones is its humorous writing style, how do you translate that into a movie?

Actor lineup features a couple new (or relatively new) faces. Artemis Fowl will be played by newcomer Ferdia Shaw, while Captain Holly Short will be played by Lara McDonnell. Of the more established names, we have Judi Dench and Nonso Anozie to play Commander Root and Butler respectively.

Let’s see how it goes this fall.

Release Date: August 9, 2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

If fun fairy spy adventure romps aren’t your thing, but you still end up at a theater on August 9, we’ve got you covered. Looks like everyone’s favorite traumatic childhood memory has now been adapted for the big screen.

Horror director André Øvredal (Trollhunter) is leading this adaptation, and if you want to know more, you’re gonna have to look it up yourself, because memories of this terrifying collection are flooding back and I am noping my way out of this post.

Release Date: August 9, 2019

His Dark Materials

Okay, so this one is actually, honest-to-goodness happening and I am stoked. We last chirped about this show in fall 2016, and between the trailer and actor lineup, it looks like His Dark Materials will be well worth the wait.

I mean, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda? Yes, please.

More excitingly, main heroine Lyra will be played by Dafne Keen. If Keen’s showing in Logan is anything to go by, she will rock Lyra’s half-feral fierceness.

Plus, chatter is that this 16-episode show has already been confirmed for two seasons. Looks like it’ll be airing on BBC One and HBO.

So yeah. Let’s do this.

Release date: Not soon enough. (Filming wrapped December 2018, with a 2019 release.)

Catch-22

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22.”

Check out what just dropped in trailer-world. Joseph Heller’s dark satire about war is coming to the screen in the form of a Hulu miniseries. And though I’m definitely on the fence about adding another show to my list, the supporting actor has me intrigued. See: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Kyle Chandler.

Release date: Friday, May 17

Canaries, what adaptations are you most looking forward to?

 

Book Watching: So many TV-comic adaptations…

Book Watching

This week, I’ve got comics on my mind. Comic-books-to-TV and movie adaptations, that is, and there are a lot hitting the small screens soon. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get excited about any of these yet. Maybe the first episodes will change my mind?

This is happening:

Inhumans

Oh ABC. You’ve got to commit.

So the costume reveal went over like the-Friday-before attempt at a cosplay, and the first trailer wasn’t any more encouraging. They’ve since redone the trailer, but it still looks low budget as hell. What can I say, we’ve been spoiled by the movies, and we’re not going back.

Movies have raised the bar on superhero action sequences, and shows have got to be either super smart about the superpowers they showcase (Legion, Sense 8, Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, etc) or put their budget where their mouth is (Heroes, Supergirl, Constantine). Or, you know, embrace the camp a la Freeform. But you can’t waffle and then expect to eat your waffle and have it too.

Release date: September 29, 2017. So, this Friday.

The Gifted

Fox looks like it’s going to try a bit harder with this Heroes meets X-Men show which follows a couple mutant powered kids whose father works for the creepy government agency charged with catching and containing mutants. I wonder if we’ll get a lot of awkward Breaking Bad-style dinners out of this one.

On the bright side, Amy Acker will be in this show. (Unfortunately, looks like she’ll be playing Mom-normal. As opposed to, you know, a badass hacker assassin prophet (Person of Interest) or soulless alien goddess (Angel).) Continue reading

Today’s Book Blurb: Universe Builders

The latest, greatest and (sometimes) strangest blurbs from the book world.

Silly subtitle aside, this charming blurb completely won me over. I had the hardest time deciding whether to feature this one, or the one in the third book.

Builders

“As Bernie graduates from God School, he is thrilled to land his dream job as a builder of universes. His first assignment is to build his own universe. Determined but unsure, Bernie forges ahead, only to find problems everywhere. Mysterious asteroids, unexplained volcanoes, shifting continents and more lead him to suspect sabotage. But who could sabotage his universe? Only another god could do that. 

It’s god vs. god, guile vs. goodness, where only one of them plays by the rules.”

 

What books caught your eye recently?

 

Book Watching: Upcoming adaptations and a definite to-read list.

This week, I got movies on my mind. Book-to-movie adaptations, that is.

This is happening:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Also known as the first book assigned for English that I read and liked. My sixth grade self was enthralled, and I remember listing is as “Favorite Book” for about a year hence.

Except, I have a confession to make. I have absolutely no memory of the plot. I remember the experience of reading it (positive), but so foggy on the details (all the fog). The trailer looks like pure magic, but doesn’t help out in the story department.

Yesterday, I got my hands on this book to do some much needed brushing up on plot. Anyone with me?

Release date: March 9, 2018

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Another book that’s on my To-Read list and my actual shelf.

Just hoping that it will do more than a feature length fan service for 80’s/90’s nostalgia. In the trailer alone, I’m seeing Tron, Iron Giant, Back to the Future, and dozens of other references. There is a plot, though, right?  Continue reading

Today’s Book Blurb: Dogs of War

In which we bring you the latest, greatest and (sometimes) strangest blurbs from the book world.

It’s no secret that I hate rhetorical questions in book blurbs. But this blurb totally rocked by expectations. Talk about concept! This could be incredibly hackneyed, or incredibly good.

Call me intrigued. Now to wait till November 2017…

Dogs

Rex is a Good Dog. He loves humans. He hates enemies. He’s utterly obedient to Master.

 

He’s also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he’s part of a Multi-form Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, Southeastern Mexico.

 

Rex is a genetically engineered bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he’s got to kill a lot of enemies. But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?

 

– Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

 

Have you come across any books that have caught your eye recently?