Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Go Forth ...

This series of weekly picks are brought to you by Gomez's Liquid Skin.

BOOK: Neal Asher - Polity Agent

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Alan Moore - The Saga of the Swamp Thing

Friday, October 26, 2007

Libraries 2.0

I haven't written a blog about my Web 2.0 training lately as I have found that it feels pointless to write about whether I've done something or not.
Forced blogging defeats the purpose of blogs in the first place. If I like an idea I will add it to my blog, but spruik it to others ... not likely.
Blogs are for whimsy, and whatever takes your fancy, and they won't appeal to everyone. And people should not be forced to write things if they don't want to. I like blogging, but am more interested in writing about books, pop culture, computer games and hobbies than feeling like I must produce a piece of writing letting everyone know that I've visited technorati. (I have and have added a widget to my blog.)
So the course goes on, and I'll continue to visit sites and play around, just don't be surprised if I refuse to diligently write posts about it. Watch my blog though as it will change.
Meanwhile I have a pile of things that need to be read and there's always a new game I could play.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Great Nicki

On Tuesday night my library hosted an event with graphic novelist Nicki Greenberg, as she took us through her amazing adaption of The Great Gatsby.
Nicki is an amazingly talented artist whose enthusiasm for her chosen medium is infectious. She gave us a director's commentary on the process of creating such an amazing piece of work, and also discussed layout and the design process.

Overall the night was highly informative, and interesting.
Feel free to visit Nicki's blog which I will put in my blog roll.
(And yes that's me in the picture being a complete fanboy as Nicki signs my copy of The Great Gatsby.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Neal Asher

Neal Asher is a great science-fiction writer. Pick up any of his books and you will be in for an amazing read, with politics, action, well written plots and interesting characters. (Even if some of them are A.I.s) Start with Gridlinked and then work your way through the others and I guarantee you will be hooked.
Asher also has very firm political views, and he doesn't suffer fools gladly. Read his blog, a link can be found in my blog roll, and be prepared to be forced to think about things. Asher is not a fan of what he sees as environmental idiots pushing global warming disaster scenarios. Now I'm not saying I totally agree with him, but it is good to see someone who is willing to ask questions and poke holes in arguments rather than blindly jumping on bandwagons. (Al Gore and the British Government are two common targets for Asher's anger.)
Have a read of Asher's blog or just read his novels, but I'm warning you he'll make you think.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Go Forth ...

Another look at me weekly picks;

CD: Gold - Ryan Adams

BOOK: The Dragonbone Chair - Tad Williams


Friday, October 19, 2007

Justice like lightning

I'm never quite sure what Warren Ellis thinks about superhero comics, but when he writes one it is always something special. At the moment he is writing Thunderbolts for Marvel and it is mind blowing. After the Civil War event the Thunderbolts are now a team of villains hired by the American government to do their dirty work. Made up of the likes of Venom, Bullseye, Penance, Moonstone and led by Norman Osborne, anyone who knows Marvel history will know that this is not the most mentally balanced group running around.
Ellis though is turning in amazing scripts that highlight the obvious unbalanced nature of this group. The group is also supported by a massive advertising campaign led by the government to gain support for the group, though Bullseye's membership is a secret as he is a convicted mass murderer. Venom and Bullseye have used their Thunderbolts membership as a blank cheque to create as much mayhem as possible. Venom ate the arm of Silver Spider, and Bullseye stabbed Jack Flagg in the spine making him a quadriplegic. And then there's Penance, once known as Speedball, who kicked off the whole civil War thing with his attempt to capture Nitro which led to the deaths of thousands.

So fertile ground for the warped intelligence of Ellis, and matched by beautiful artwork by Mike Deodato Jr. This series is a great read, as it explores the dark side of superheroes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Go Forth ...

Here are my weekly picks.
CD: Unplugged Live in New York - Nirvana

BOOK: Legend - David Gemmell

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Making Comics - Scott McCloud

Friday, October 12, 2007

Comics, comics and more comics

Douglas Wolk obviously loves comics. He writes about them for various publications in the United States and has recently released a book called Reading Comics. How graphic novels work and what they mean. I have only just finished this book and have rushed to post this review. That's an example of how much I loved this book.
Wolk discusses some critical theory about how comics work, how they are read, different techniques, and then reviews some of his favourite comics. He makes no bones about the fact that this is a personal study, and the choices reflect what he looks for in comics.

I wouldn't agree with every choice, or statement Wolk makes but his passion makes this a fun read.

I too share his passion and it is good to see that others feel the same way about comics that I do.

Malta. May 1565

Tim Willocks's brilliant novel The Religion is set in the above time period. The armies of the Emperor of the Ottoman's are sailing towards Malta to destroy the fortress of the Knights of Saint John the Baptist also known as the 'Religion'.
The central character is Matthias Tannhauser a mercenary with a noble streak to go with his violent nature, and lust after the good things in life. Tannhauser finds himself going to Malta to help a French countess find her illegitimate son, who is helping to defend Malta.

Willocks is a great writer and his eye for detail, and conversation make this an engaging read on many levels. This is the first of a planned trilogy and I look forward to reading about the further adventures of Tannhauser, and his friends and enemies. A great novel to immerse yourself in.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Morningstar

Lucifer by Mike Carey is a great series of graphic novels that follows its title character after his appearances in the Sandman comics.
Lucifer, after 10 billion years in charge of Hell, is fed up and resigns his post to live in Perth WA. He starts running a bar in LA and plays piano in it and wants to live a quite life amongst the mortals of the world.

This is where Lucifer picks up. Heaven of course wants something done and they hire Lucifer the most powerful angel to do their dirty work.

The series ran for 75 issues and has been collected into 11 volumes. Carey is an intelligent writer who depicts Lucifer as being likable but also utterly ruthless and powerful. Nothing gets in the way of his grand schemes. Lucifer even finds a tear in the fabric of reality and creates his own universe just like his father Yahweh did.

The series has a lot of dialogue and discussion and can be a very cerebral event at times but is a great example of what the medium can aspire to. Intelligent writing and great art in a total package.

I loved this series and have no problems recommending it to others. Simply awesome, especially if you're not afraid of philosophical discussions on religion and knowledge.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I stumbled upon a great book about English Football on the weekend and decided that any fans out there should get their hands on this book and have a look. It's called When Saturday Comes. The half decent football book and is produced by the people who write WSC an English football magazine designed for intelligent readers, and has featured articles from writers like Nick Hornby.
The book itself is fun, and doesn't take itself too seriously, yet still manages to make insightful comments on the various topics it covers.

Set out like an encyclopedia it delves into the world of football and associated topics.

One for the fans, but a fun read all the same.

Go Forth ...

Once again I give you my weekly picks.
BOOK: The Reality Disfunction - Peter F. Hamilton

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Sandman - Neil Gaiman

CD: Fashion Nugget - Cake

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Beijing Boredom

Today I'll talk about a book I did not enjoy reading at all, The Beijing Conspiracy by Adrian d'Hage. Where to begin ... it's about 300 pages too long, and frankly the storyline tries to be up to the minute but fails to inject any urgency into the plot. If you're a fan of this type of thing you might give it a try if you're desperate but really I suggest you avoid it and try something better.
Unfortunately the cover tells you everything you need to know about this book, biological threat, overblown prose and loner hero.
Avoid like the biological weapons that threaten the world in this narrative.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Library Thing-a-ma-bob

I've been maintaining a LibraryThing bookshelf for a while now after being unleashed on it earlier this year. But I've also stopped regularly updating books I've read as well.
It looks good sitting at the bottom of my blog, but the reality of working on desk means I do not use it much, instead I have gone lo-tech and replaced it with a good old-fashioned reading diary.
The reading diary is more portable and easier to access if I want to check books I've read, and what score out of five I gave them.
This doesn't mean I hate LibraryThing, I just think it is suited to being a part of my blog rather than a tool I would use every day. Patrons might like to browse through it for curiosity, but I'll stick to my reading diary as a reference tool.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Go Forth ...

More weekly picks.
Frank Miller - The Dark Knight Returns

Hunter S Thompson - Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks