How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

How to Write Science Fiction and FantasyHow to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Orson Scott Card is a sci-fi writer of some renown, Ender’s Game anyone? (I still need to read it, but I’ve heard of it.) And he wrote a book on writing speculative fiction. You could really apply it to writing in general, but there are a few chapters specifically on the genre of speculative fiction.

He discusses the origins of the genre, before delving in further to what defines the genre. What is the difference between fantasy and science fiction? Is there even a difference? Well, a very broad definition is if the world doesn’t look or function like ours it’s speculative. I also liked the chapter on putting together ideas. The process of writing, advice for those who want to write, and general advice for getting published.

It took me a couple of tries to finish this book. It is packed with information. It is a bit outdated as it was written in the 1990s, pre-internet era, so it doesn’t touch on ebooks at all, but I would still say it is worth reading for any serious writer. He talks about beta readers (and training them!), how to put ideas together and formulate a story, things that don’t change no matter what. If you read sci-fi or fantasy, this is a must read.

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[Netflix] Movie Review – The Flatliners

This movie has a ton of well known actors, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and the main character: Keifer Sutherland. It’s a sci-fi movie from 1990 that has been recently remade in 2017. This is the 1990 version that I watched and am talking about.

As med students, the group of five friends have questions about death and what happens afterwards. Julia Roberts for example, likes interviewing patients who have had near death experiences. And then Keifer Sutherland decides to experiment. That experiment is causing himself to flatline, or die for a short period of time and then have his friends bring him back.

Eventually four out of the five friends flatline, each with unintended consequences. Their sins come back to haunt them, but only after nearly all of them have flatlined do they actually confront this piece of information.

Its an amazing cast of popular 90s actors and I love that, its very rare to have more than one star actor in a movie (unless you count the collaborative Marvel movies).

 

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[Netflix] Movie Review – The Devil and Father Amorth

This is a documentary of the inspiration behind the movie The Exorcist. It features an interview with the author of the book The Exorcist is based on, and even delves into the original exorcism that was based on.

However, this documentary features and builds up to an exorcism performed by Father Amorth, an Italian Catholic Priest who is one of the best at what he does. Father Amorth is elderly and by the end of the documentary has already succumbed to pneumonia.

The host is William Friedkin, the producer and director of The Exorcist, he explores exorcism from a religious stand point, but interviews several neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other members of the clergy on their thoughts about the phenomena.

I have not yet watched the original movie, but I have watched other exorcism movies that are based on this idea. It is interesting to explore the basis of the movies and the myriad beliefs surrounding it.

 

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The 6th Target by James Patterson

The 6th Target (Women's Murder Club, #6)The 6th Target by James Patterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As the sixth book in this The Women’s Murder Club series, I’m beginning to see a bit of a pattern, but the plots are different enough to keep the book moving and not boring. I could have read this book in a day should I have wanted to. It kept my attention.

I don’t like that every other book or so one of the women gets shot/injured to the point where one has died and the others were in the hospital. I get that injuring your main characters makes for more dramatic plot points, but as this is a very long running series for Patterson, let’s cool it just a bit please?

On the other hand, I did enjoy the trials presented, Yuki’s character development, and Claire’s character development. What I didn’t like? Lindsay is suffering from hot woman syndrome “everybody wants me”. Yuck. Let’s cool that a bit too (and maybe it will happen in the next book!). The story left a bit of a cliff hanger, which isn’t an integral part of the book plot, but could affect the series as a whole. Interesting.

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[DVD] Movie Review – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters


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The saga continues with Sea of Monsters, the tree that has protected the camp is now dying, so Percy and his friends must brave the Sea of Monsters to retrieve the Golden Fleece, an item that could resurrect the tree.

However, their troubles follow them as Luke is also after the fleece, intending to resurrect Kronos, who in turn intends on destroying the world. Battles and fights ensue each intent on possessing the fabulous fleece.

In the end, things work out a little too well, and now a new situation evolves…

Many of the same actors from the first film reappear along with a few new faces, including Hermes, Dionysus, and Chiron.  I’m guessing that the second movie was contingent on the success of the first, so the actors were not contracted for more than one movie. It appears that there will not be a third movie at this time.

I do enjoy mythology and am glad that someone took the time to build on those myths and I enjoyed the series because of the mythology. The plot was somewhat similar to what was found in the original myths, gods playing up on one another with mortals as their pawns. I enjoyed the film, and do wish there were more.

 

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Pearl in the Mist by V.C. Andrews

Pearl in the MistPearl in the Mist by V.C. Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read the first book in this series, plus Flowers in the Attic, I really should have seen what was coming in this book. It was even foreshadowed, but I didn’t and that is actually a good thing because it meant this book is well written.

So for some context, there was an event I DID see coming, V.C. Andrews is a master at creating drama and I knew something had to happen, which it did. This was also foreshadowed but I picked up on this one.

The other event, which is actually a series of events due to cause and effect, I didn’t see coming, though I can see where it might be going in the next book. I’ll give a little bit of a hint, not a spoiler per say (I dislike spoilers), but given that V.C. Andrews’ books all deal with generational controversy and drama (really wish I had another word for that) I completely and utterly missed it and I feel a bit of an idiot for it (I’m laughing at myself now, it’s ok).

I already have the rest of the series, am interested to see where it goes as there are three more books, and I have some idea on the next book, but the other two I haven’t a clue (though I could throw out some random guesses as many of Andrews’ books deal with incest).

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[DVD] Movie Review – Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief

I am well versed in Ancient Greek Mythology, the stories are some of my favorites. So it isn’t that far fetched for me to be interested in these new stories from Rick Riordan. I have the first book series, but yet to read them.

Pierce Brosnan is Chiron, Sean Bean (LotR) is Zeus, Uma Thurman is Medusa, and many other actors and actresses portray the other gods and demigods. This is a large cast for a single film and one that only had one sequel.

This is not another mythological story as to the beginning of the worlds or why nature is the way it is, this is a story about the War of the Gods, well their children actually. The demigods seem almost as powerful as the gods themselves (which doesn’t make sense), but the plot was semi-intriguing.

As an introduction to the series it works as an introduction to most of the characters, but as an introduction to plots it’s very limited. I’ll have to see what the movie sequel brings.

 

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