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Long, long after I initially decided to do this, I’m finally posting something about it. I’m going to be breaking this down a bit in terms of what I’m covering.  Because of the nature of the thing this is going to be full of spoilers, so, you know:

Spoiler Alert

General Feelings:

All You Need is Kill:  I covered this in my review, the book is a decent, solid piece of genre fiction.  It isn’t the best thing out there, but it’s also far from the worst.

Edge of Tomorrow:  I haven’t reviewed the movie, so this is the first time I’m saying much about it online.  It’s a summer blockbuster with more budget than it really needed and enough changes made from the source material that I’m not sure of the reasons behind.  It feels less like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt as vehicles to tell the story and more like using the trappings of a story as a vehicle to use Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt to make money.  It was entertaining, but it wasn’t good.

Keiji vs Cage:

All You Need is Kill: Keiji starts the book a totally green, untested private who has to grow into a competent soldier over the course of two days with painful deaths as the reset point. He knows the people in his unit at least passingly even if they aren’t used much in the book, little things early on that serve to tell the reader that.  The loops change that, locking him in to trying to get a little better each time so he can get out and survive. Keiji can feel more than a little disconnected from the rest of humanity at times due to the time loop, but I feel that he’s shown to be a more or less heroic figure at the end when he takes up where Rita left off and vows to wipe out the Mimics once and for all.  He’s been forced to kill the only other person who understands what he’s been through to break the time loops.  He’s left an outcast for his actions during the battle, having not only killed Rita but also done tremendous amounts of damage to both the base and his fellow soldiers.  The thing is though, even with that, he’s going to keep fighting until the Mimics are gone or it kills him.

Edge of Tomorrow: Major Cage starts the movie seeming just kind of slimy.  He’s the guy shilling jackets to the world, talking about how they let someone as inexperienced as Rita Vrataski fight the Mimics and win. He’s a media suit with respectable rank who, when told he’s being sent to the front lines, jumps from trying to weasel his way out of it to trying to blackmail the General giving him his orders.  Cage isn’t a character I can really believe as keeping fighting after the first couple of loops, he’s the guy who thinks he can talk his way out of anything even as he digs himself in deeper and deeper.  Meeting Rita could be a tipping point there, he doesn’t become more heroic or anything like that, but he has a goal to work towards.  He finally sacrifices himself to kill the omega, ending the war and saving humanity, but even that winds up ringing hollow.

The Mimics:

All You Need is Kill: The Mimics in the book are these drowned frog looking things that were sent out by another more advanced race to teramorph the Earth and make it habitable for them.  So they look a little doofy, but they eat dirt and poop poison and when one dies so do all of the humans in the area unless they’re wearing proper protective gear.  It’s kind of cool.  They all look the same, but the ones that out put the signal to cause the loops stand out somehow.  It isn’t really covered how they’re identified, though it is revealed that if that one is killed the signal will switch to another mimic. So they keep that going and win anyway, unless a human gets caught up in it and keeps fighting until they manage to kill the signal mimic and all of the others that the signal could bounce to.

Edge of Tomorrow: I’m going to admit, the mimics in the movie look way more intimidating than drowned frogs, but they also seem to have replaced the just creepy poisonous innards with just speed and strength.  The movie also added two other types of mimics, a sort of alpha that has the time loop signal in it’s blood somehow and an omega mimic that sits and directs all of the others.  The alpha types I get, in a more visual medium it’s necessary to show that the signal mimics are different from the others.  The omega type just bothers me, it only exists so that the movie can have a clear cut happy ending.  The movie’s mimics also have to bleed on someone for the loops to pass on to them, so that’s different, but it also just seems to be there to make sure that the ending is happy enough.

Rita Vrataski:

All You Need is Kill: Book Rita is the Full Metal Bitch, and she earns the title from her first appearance onwards.  She turns up as Keiji is dying and makes meaningless small talk so that, when he kicks it, she can take the battery from his Jacket.  She distances herself from the other special forces members for thirty some hours prior to every battle, because she needs to distance herself from them in case she winds up in another loop.  But she’s also had her jacket painted bright red so that she’s the one the mimics are going after first.  She’s a lonely figure, unable to tell anyone about what she’s gone through because they could never understand.  When Keiji talks to her about the loops for the first or second time, she cries because she isn’t alone anymore.  She connects to him in that one day because he gets it.  The next day is the final battle of the book, she figures out why the loops continued after the two of them had killed the right mimics the last time, and she goads Keiji into a one on one duel because she knows one of them has to die to end it.  This is honestly something I had really wanted to see in the movie, because that would have been awesome.

Edge of Tomorrow: Movie Rita is the love interest, while she does get some really cool moments and is the one to ostensibly teach Cage to actually fight the mimics instead of just trial and erroring his survival, she isn’t as big a deal as book Rita is.  Part of this could be that we don’t really see the people in charge reacting to her like we do in the book, but I honestly thing that a bigger part is that she’s mostly there as a mix of the love interest and exposition.  Cage doesn’t wind up broken because they never win.  He gets broken by never being able to save Rita at the helicopter, no matter how many times they go through it or what he does, so he stops going to her for help until he realizes that the mental images he was being sent were a trap by falling head first into it.  The movie itself goes out of its way to give them semi-romantic moments because Cage is written as falling for her, the bit before her heroic sacrifice in the final loop is the worst offender.  They also made her British instead of American for the movie and got rid of most of her back story.  She really didn’t get a part of the movie where she was the hero instead of Cage.

The Ending:

All You Need is Kill: Keiji is out of his time loop and the battle is won, but Rita is dead and the mimics are still out there.  So he winds up with the American Special Forces to be their new weapon against the mimics.  The book ends with him essentially vowing to Rita that he’s going to keep fighting and planning what he’s going to do to keep going.  It’s sort of bitter sweet. I honestly really like this because the main character’s victory isn’t the be all end all win for humanity.  It’s a big win, but it isn’t THE win.

Edge of Tomorrow: It was all a dream.  The mimics mysteriously died before Cage even gets to meet the General and humanity is saved.  None of the sacrifices mean anything because they never happened.  No one but Cage remembers anything because it never happened.  There is no continuing threat to be overcome.  Nothing.  The omega is dead, it’s blood got on Cage’s body before he finished dying.  Everyone lives and Cage, now a Major again and out ranking her, goes to find Rita because he’s fallen for her.  End film on Cage giving a little smirk. I don’t like this for all sorts of reasons. Again, the sacrifices mean nothing in this ending so why should I care?  Cage doesn’t seem to have learned anything except maybe that he can get out of even that and, hey, Rita’s still alive this time.  That bit kind of plays to my issue of Rita seeming to have been down graded to love interest.  She doesn’t know him, has never met him, is out ranked by him, and without the mimics as a threat there really isn’t a reason for them to get to know each other beyond his having a thing for her. He holds all the cards here, she’s never met him but he knows all this stuff about her.  It’s weird for me, but the movie presents it as part and parcel of the happy ending, bad guys are dead and the hero gets the girl.

Ending Thoughts:

I liked All You Need is Kill, it was sparse and kind of dark and even where there was hope there was still further to go. Edge of Tomorrow,I liked OK, but it was less intelligent and more explosions and Cage getting shot in the face that made it fun.  I hands down don’t like Cage as a character and I don’t like how they handled Rita, but I did like the design for the mimics and the fight scenes were pretty awesome.  I’m gonna say that the book wins this one but that I would watch the movie again if it was on TV and I didn’t have anything better to do.

Let’s Talk About Batwoman

So, I’ve been putting off doing my Edge of Tomorrow Book Vs. Movie post for awhile now, it’s still in the works I’m just not sure where I’m going with it and want to pull it together a bit more before posting.  So, instead of that, let’s talk about Batwoman.  More than that even, let’s talk about the fact that DC/Andreyko/Bat-editorial has decided that Kate Kane needs to break up with her fiance Maggie Sawyer.

Having stopped getting my pull list for various reasons I’m obviously a little behind on this.  The back story, for those of you who don’t follow the comic, involves Maggie’s ex-husband suing for full custody of their daughter.  Despite knowing that Maggie is a lesbian, that being the reason he has primary custody in the first place, he’s found out that she’s dating and that Jamie has met Kate and that just isn’t OK with him.  So Maggie’s off fighting that while Kate is back in Gotham being the title character and feeling like Maggie would be better off without her or doesn’t want her, because Maggie is busy trying to keep her ability to see her daughter and doesn’t realize that her fiance’s relationship fears run this deep.  Kate cuts a deal with the homophobic ex-husband, he drops the suit and she’ll stay away from Maggie and the kid.  She doesn’t talk to Maggie about this or have the decency to break up with her to her face, no, she leaves a note and moves her stuff out.  The issue ends with vampire sex because reasons?

This is one of those things where I’m honestly not surprised that the fandom doesn’t seem to be saying much.  It isn’t that is doesn’t absolutely suck on a number of levels, it’s that it’s kind of expected.  There is no shock here.  For Future’s End, DC already said, “Hey Batwoman was turned into a vampire by her ex, Nocturna”, so unless they were going to have her ex from West Point be the villain, she was going to wind up breaking up with Maggie or they were going to kill Maggie off. 

It’s also a really poor way of going about the break up and really does nothing to serve either of the characters.  Maggie’s set back to square one as far as custody is concerned, which in this case is almost a good thing, but she no longer has her apparently loving fiance to offer emotional support.  Kate went from doing just about everything she could to help to making a shitty deal, without talking to Maggie about it at all, and then leaving her seemingly out of nowhere.  This isn’t a solution.  It just tells Maggie’s ex that he can pull this again when she starts dating someone else.  It makes Kate look terribly childish and somewhat stupid, seriously, she can’t think that this is a permanent fix.  I’m now imagining Batwoman scaring off all of Maggie’s future dates, for her own good you see.

This is also where I admit, I’m finding myself not at all a fan of Andreyko’s writing.  I don’t know how much of this is editorial mandates and how much of it is him, and I’d heard good things about his previous work, but this is just bad.  I get that DC is going for dark and serious but this is just ridiculous and, as with before with fans already knowing this was coming, I think that there hasn’t been as much of an out cry on this one because people just don’t care any more.  They’ve taken a character with tons of potential and, like a lot of their other characters, just buried her in grimness and everything constantly getting worse and I think that people have become numb to that.  There isn’t a ray of hope or a safe home for Batwoman, so what does anything matter?

I’ll probably post more on this later, ways that I think they could have handled it better.  But I’m tired.

Guest Post: Dan Dembiczak

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I’m a little late with this, but I’m happy to host a guest post by Mr. Dan Dembiczak regarding the follow up to his first novel, Corpse Pose, and a cover teaser for his newest book, Imperfect Paradise. So let’s jump right in!

My follow-up to my debut novel – The Hardest Pose is Corpse Pose — maintains a focus on the inner human struggles but expands to a multiple-character point-of-view storytelling. Each chapter is told through a different character’s POV, including four main characters and two sub characters that come into the story later on. Oren and Helen have been married for twelve years. He is a tenured professor at the University of Washington while she is a dedicated yoga instructor. They chose not to have children, but are proud owners of a rescued border collie-mix named Arfie. They own a house in the up and coming Columbia City neighborhood in Seattle. Seems like a quaint little life, right? Well, then there’s Peter who’s been sleeping with Oren for the past several months. Oren’s always been with men, but Peter is his first boyfriend, though he hesitates to use the word. Peter is a devout Catholic who writes emails to Mother Mary asking for advice and letters back home to his cousin in Hawaii.

Oren goes back and forth between wanting to end it with Peter and desiring a clean break from his marriage to Helen. Why doesn’t he just come out? It’s not that simple for him. He genuinely loves Helen and their life together. So what happens when Helen finds out about his affair? Not what you might think. Her years of yogic training have led her to accept what is and not force change. So rather than confront Oren, she merely moves on and starts dating one of her students – Geo, a quirky acupuncturist with a mysterious past and penchant for stuffing food in his sofa cushions. As Oren goes back and forth on his commitments to both Helen and Peter, he starts to notice a distinct change in Helen’s health. Her condition worsens by the week, but she refuses to see a physician. Instead, she decides to deal with the illness on her own terms and sets out to fulfill a life-long dream. Arfie is sensitive to the tumultuous situation at home, and quickly starts to side with Helen despite her previously being his number two.

The Hardest Pose is Corpse Pose is a novel about faith and behavior. How far will we go to stay consistent with our belief system? How do we punish ourselves from our own bad thoughts? In the end there is hope, sacrifice and some startling revelations about the right path to well-being.

About the Author:

Dan Dembiczak is a Seattle native who began writing stories as soon as he could spell. He earned a BA in creative writing from the University of Washington and has worked extensively in local theater as a playwright, actor, director, and producer. Eight of his plays were produced in Seattle, including the popular four-part Capitol Hill High series, and a number of his articles and short stories have appeared in publications in Seattle and Los Angeles.

Dembiczak has traveled extensively to the Hawaiian islands, particularly the Big Island, where he was married in 2008. He primarily resides in Seattle with his husband, dog, and chickens, and is currently working on his second nove.

Follow Dan on Twitter @ImperParadise

Like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imperfectparadisebook

Visit his website: http://www.dandembiczak.com

Imperfect Paradise_Front Coverdan-dembiczak-hsc

Minor Up Date

I’ve found a local theater that’s showing Edge of Tomorrow, so I’m going to see about going to that sometime soonish. So first Books Vs. Movies should be incoming in the next couple of weeks.

I’m also about half way through reading Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity. Really good book so far, if none of you guys have read her non-Rizzoli and Isles stuff this would be a good place to start. Review on that should be up in the next week or so with the Books Vs. Movies coverage coming afterward.

Last thing, big deal for me, not so much for the blog I hope, I’m in the middle of training for my new job. So, hopefully that’s going to lessen the wait time a little on my doing things here.

Plot-y Little Things

I mentioned when I was reading Edge of Tomorrow that my copy was the book of the movie of the book edition, so my plan right now is to see if I can’t find the movie at the dollar theater or in the red box and do a comparison of the two. Same thing with Tess Gerritsen’s Gravity once I finish reading it since there’s been some issues with the movie being made by a parent company of the company that originally bought the movie rights to the book and using the same directors as the original project. I may even do something similar with 50 Shades of Grey once the movie is closer to being released, my bile fascination has been building in regards to the whole series since my mom read them.

Posts like this probably won’t crop up often because I’m not a huge movie person by default, but I’m gonna call and tag it Books Vs. Movies. So woo, new thing to try out!

Alright folks, ya’ll have seen me talk about my cat, Jonesy, and you know I’m a fan of books. So, when another blogger thought to combine the two, I figured I aught to tell you guys about it. She’s selling off her extra books, including signed copies and audio books, to support the Rozzie May Animal Alliance. She’s got 166 books up for grabs at a minimum donation of $5 each. There are more details in her blog post through the link below.

http://katetilton.com/catsfork8-fundraiser-book-sale/?utm_source=Kate+Tilton%27s+Book+Bloggers&utm_campaign=4f6ca7da56-%23CatsforK8+reach+out+%28bloggers%29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6f3077897d-4f6ca7da56-132404113

 I not quite live blogged it, and I’ve knocked around what kind of movie I think it would make (this without seeing the movie that they did make), so let’s end this terrible run on sentence and get on to the review.

I’ve talked about this book before in my not quite live blogging of it. So, given what I’ve already said and about a week after reading it, let’s take a swing at reviewing this thingy.

Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill, currently in “book of the movie” reprints as Edge of Tomorrow, is a relatively short military sci-fi march through one man’s development from green recruit to hardened warrior. The aliens arrived on Earth, they adapted a shape to work best in the environment, and they proceeded to destroy as much of the life on Earth as possible. They eat dirt and pass it as poison. Where they swim, the oceans no longer support life. The surviving nations of the world have banded together their militaries to destroy this threat, the Mimics.

All You Need is Kill is a fairly solid piece of genre fiction all told, though it isn’t without its issues. While a number of minor characters were mentioned in the various focus loops, they never really became anything more than set pieces. While this works for the book over all, it keeps the impact of anything that happens to them from really being there. This is the Keiji Kiriya show featuring Rita Vrataski and, while that works really well to show how different Keiji and Rita are as people and giving a great sense of isolation, it also lead to me not really caring if anything happened to the set piece minor characters. I also feel that the reveal about the mimic’s nature made them feel like, I don’t know, less somehow. They didn’t stop being dangerous, it just took away some of the mystery.

I’m also inclined to say that there isn’t a great deal of “show” in the novel. Again, this isn’t to the novel’s detriment for the most part. Having Keiji mostly talk about his development into a Mimic slaughtering machine just further reinforces the feeling of isolation, but I would have liked to have “seen” more of him watching Rita fight to figure out how she does things, more of him interacting with the other members of his squad and then slowly drifting away from them as more loops passed. I’d have also liked to see more lead up to the book’s climax. There was some, but not nearly enough.

So, to wrap it up, what’s the verdict? All You Need is Kill is a solid book that plays well off of the tropes Sakurazaka uses, and while it has some minor issues they mostly work in its favor rather than being detrimental to the book’s story. So, while there were some things that I did not enjoy, I give it a four out of five.

On Alternate Universes

Don’t run off to quickly on this one, but I’ve been watching the Rizzoli and Isles TV show a lot recently and it’s left me thinking about the differences and similarities in the characters.  Same thing with the Injustice comic to the main DCU. Possible spoilers ahead kids, I’m gonna get to ifing.

 

I like alternate universes, especially when fan cannon comes into play, seeing how little changes effect the characters and their world.  Like, what would happen if the Surgeon, the first Rizzoli and Isles villain, had died in the first book instead of being paralysed at the end of the second.  That would have definitely effected the second book, there would have been no Surgeon to have an Apprentice, so there would have been no need for Agent Dean to be called in, so he and Rizzoli wouldn’t have met at that time or under those circumstances.  They probably wouldn’t have had sex or gotten married. This could have resulted in Rizzoli taking longer to cool down.  I’m not even sure how that would have effected her working with Isles.

 

Change it a little more, make Isles more similar to her TV persona, more open and friendly but socially uncomfortable.  How does it change things?  The characters in the books aren’t as friendly as their TV counterparts and Isles was introduced in the second book, when Rizzoli was still very abrasive and closed off.  While not a ton is done with Rizzoli and Isles’ non-work interactions in the books, by the end of the last book it is more than safe to say that they’re friends even if to a less touchy extent than on the show.  How would a different Isles  change that?

Heck, switch gears.  What happens if, instead of Batman, we have Detective Bruce Wayne of the GCPD?  He’s still richer than the Catholic church, his back story is still more or less the same, same intense training before returning to Gotham, he just decides to become a cop to clean up his city rather than Batman.  It could still have the Robins in various ways, Dick Greyson as a junior detective who gets partnered with Bruce would work easily, especially since he was a police officer in some of the older Nightwing comics. Jason Todd could show up as either another partner, if they wanted Dick to move to another precinct or division, or an informant of Bruce’s who later becomes suspect and gets killed by the Joker as a result.  Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake would make awesome CSI type characters.  There’s a ton that could be done with that, both as a Gotham Central esque book focusing on that and to see what would happen with the rest of the DCU’s heroes without Batman there.

They did something similar with The Nail, where Superman wasn’t found by the Kents and was instead raised by and Amish couple.  He didn’t become Superman until much later on than in the main world and his world reflects that.  I really like seeing stuff like that even if it doesn’t have a lasting effect on the main continuity.

That’s about it for now, I could go on about stuff like this for novels and novels and more.

After at least five months, closer to six, of losing interest in the middle and general ambivalence towards everything I’ve finished reading a book.  This probably doesn’t mean a ton to the rest of internetland, but holy shit does it feel good to me.

So how was the second half of Edge of Tomorrow?  I really enjoyed the part focusing on Rita becoming the Full Metal Bitch.  I liked seeing her and Keiji connect and work together, it was kind of nice to see them both having someone who understood what was going on.  What I’m not a big fan of was the ending.  It isn’t that it was poorly written or that it didn’t fit the rest of the book, in fact if I’m being honest I don’t know that anything else would have really worked properly, but it wasn’t my favorite ending to a novel either.  It also struck me that revealing what the Mimics were made them feel a bit less, not threatening, but just less as a thing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book though and would read more by this author.  Not sure that I’m gonna go see the movie though.

So, it’s been about a week and , as usual, work and life and not really being able to pull an idea for a post together has kept me from posting the things.  Aside from that, I’m about a third of the way through Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Edge of Tomorrow, originally published as All You Need is Kill here in the US.  I picked it up because the blurb reminded me of an older sci-fi work my dad used to tell me about where the soldiers it focused on were revived and forced to keep fighting every time they died in battle and it went on for decades or more.  After reading a little of it I got him a copy of it too as a Father’s Day gift.

So far our hero, Keiji Kiriya, has figured out that the time loop only seems to work for him and he’s decided to make the best of that to see if he can eventually survive the second day of the loop.  I admit, the first few chapters felt overly repetitive but that’s because they take place before he’s figured it out, when the battle is still just a nightmare.  Not sure if I like how solitary the narrative is, I get that he’s the only one to remember the loops (at least as it’s been revealed so far) and is just focusing on making himself better because that’s really all that can be done.  It just feels a little weird that all the minor characters are as static as they, purposefully, are and as seemingly unimportant.  It’s a book where everyone is a red shirt so far and the big reason that strikes me is because I’m used to the cast being more present in the story, so it’s strange to just get glimpses of side characters and then nothing.  It doesn’t hurt the story, I don’t think, it’s just taking some getting used to.

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