Tether

Tether
by Jeremy Robinson (2019)

In the middle of the night, an explosion rocks Cambridge, Massachusetts and wakes Saul Signalman from bed. Blue, ethereal light pulses into the sky. A FaceTime call pulls him away from the view. It’s his wife, consumed in light, bidding him farewell. And then—the call ends. The explosion of light intensifies. The power goes out. Electronic devices stop working. In the dead of night, he races to his wife’s lab at the explosion’s core, but the building is missing.

His wife is gone.


As the author writes at the end of his novel ‘Well, that got weird’ !

It certainly did, not only was the ending unconventional, the whole Kaiju mythology and  meaning gets twisted.

It’s still got the Robinson scale and spectacle, so yet another great read.

 

Good Place 40

The Good Place
Season 4 Episode 1

The Good Place is back for its forth and final season.

Season three ended with Chidi having the memory of his romance wit Eleanor removed. Now Eleanor is playing the architect, and she has to deal with him coming back him and not knowing her. The team is competing with the Bad Place over the fate of humanity, so small stakes…

Unfortunately the Bad Place (those dastardly villains) have sent a demon to cause havoc. He is thrown out, so now it’s the old gang back to win this thing..

 

Dastardly Plot

A Dastardly Plot
(A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem #1)
by Christopher Healy (2018)

It’s 1883—the Age of Invention! A time when great men like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nicola Tesla, and George Eastman work to turn the country into a land of limitless opportunity.

And it all happens at the world famous Inventor’s Guild headquarters in New York City—a place where a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck can find you rubbing elbows with these gods of industry who will usher humanity into the future.

Unless, of course, you’re a woman.


From the author of the League of Princes Series
comes the first in a new Steampunk Series about a girl, her Mom and lots of fancy devices.

Just as fun (if not more) as the previous series it’s easy to get into and immediately familiar.

The nest in the series, The Treacherous Seas comes out November  5.

 

Around the World

In this day….

In 1580 Francis Drake finishes his circumnavigation of the Earth.

In 1973 Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.

And in 1984 The United Kingdom and China agree to a transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, to take place in 1997.

Greylorn

Greylorn
by Keith Laumer (1969)

Earth is threatened with destruction by a deadly alien plague. The planet’s only hope: Get help from the long-lost Omega Colony, somewhere in space. The fate of the Earth is in the hands of Lieutenant Commander Greylorn in charge of the search for Omega, and every decision he will make during Man’s first contact with an alien race.

This is a novelette about a trip to defeat an alien aggressor. On the way, for no apparent reason the crew stages a mutiny. It’s a quick fun read, however this could be set anywhere; on sea, in the air etc.

Told in first person by the Captain, who seems to possess superhuman abilities. Given the era (1969, the year of the moon landing), it’s surprisingly brief on science and accuracy regarding space flight.

Cold Boot

Cold Boots
(Hal Spacejock Book 10)
by Simon Haynes (2019)

 

The Spacers’ Guild needs a new president, and Hal Spacejock is determined to cast his vote… even though he’s not a member.

Meanwhile, Hal’s latest cargo job belongs to someone else, his shiny new ship is losing money hand over fist, and doing a good favour could turn out to be the biggest mistake of his life.

 

Ad Astra

Ad astra is a Latin phrase meaning “to the stars”

Ad Astra is also an American science fiction adventure film produced, co-written, and directed by James Gray. Starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland, it follows an astronaut who goes into space in search of his lost father, whose experiment threatens the Solar System.

This film looks beautiful. The marketing indicates that it is a realistic depiction of space, it probably is (never been there myself). That’s the good stuff. Unfortunately it’s very boring. The story is drawn out with overly long shots of characters walking, looking and standing around.

It also owes a lot to other films, notable 2001 A Space Odyssey and Gravity. And, as Mark Kermode points out, Event Horizon (1997).

Dark Crystal 1982

The Dark Crystal is a 1982 puppet animated dark fantasy adventure film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It stars the voices of Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Billie Whitelaw, Percy Edwards, and Barry Dennen.

The plot revolves around Jen, a Gelfling on a quest to restore balance to the world of Thra and overthrow the ruling Skeksis by restoring a powerful broken Crystal.


Having seen the prequel, I was interested in viewing the original (also in Netflix).

The first thing of note is the slower pace of this film. The story is simple: get the shard and take it to the crystal. There isn’t much deviation from the main plot. It all unfolds like an unveiling of a magical world. And in the final scene is becomes apparent why a sequel to the original would not have worked.

While not a bad movie, it is simpler in story and lighter in tone than the series.

 

Dark Crystal Preq

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is an American dark fantasy/adventure television series produced by Netflix and The Jim Henson Company.

The series is a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal that explores the world of Thra created for the original film.


First the good things:
The show looks great, there is a richness and scale of the production mainly as a result of the miniatures, costumes and characters.

And it’s a decent story, it has all the elements of an epic fantasy. There are princesses, multiple cultures and many creatures, some possessing magical abilities.

The main protagonists are Gelflings:

and Skeksis:

As it’s a prequel to the movie, it suffers from a predetermined end point. Somehow, drama and conflict needs to be created to motivate the characters and provide a story. To a large extent this is done, while the main conflict is between the Sheksis and Gelflings, there are conflicts within both groups that provide drama.

Unfortunately this all leads to a rather weak ending. While there is a large battle that is done well, it does feel a bit quick and lacking.

The other main problem is the decision to do things the same way as the 1982 film. This does give the film a consistent look. However it does limit the movement of the Gelflings, as these are hand held puppets.

They did an animated test, and it does show that an animated character has more scope visually, it can be portrayed as a full body. It also moves more fluidly and there is more scope for facial movement.