Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shout-Out: The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson and Kristian Bauthus

Just because the undead’s taste buds are atrophying doesn’t mean yours have to!
You duck into the safest-looking abandoned house you can find and hold your breath as you listen for the approaching zombie horde you’ve been running from all day. You hear a gurgling sound. Is it the undead? No—it’s your stomach.
When the zombie apocalypse tears down life and society as we know it, it will mean no more take out, no more brightly lit, immaculately organized aisles of food just waiting to be plucked effortlessly off the shelves. No more trips down to the local farmers’ market. No more microwaved meals in front of the TV or intimate dinner parties. No, when the undead rise, eating will be hard, and doing it successfully will become an art.
The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse is a cookbook and culinary field guide for the busy zpoc survivor. With more than 80 recipes (from Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast and It’s Not Easy Growing Greens Salad to Down & Out Sauerkraut, Honey & Blackberry Mead, and Twinkie Trifle), scads of gastronomic survival tips, and dozens of diagrams and illustrations that help you scavenge, forage, and improvise your way to an artful post-apocalypse meal. The Art of Eating is the ideal handbook for efficient food sourcing and inventive meal preparation in the event of an undead uprising.
Whether you decide to hole up in your own home or bug out into the wilderness, whether you prefer to scavenge the dregs of society or try your hand at apocalyptic agriculture, and regardless of your level of skill or preparation, The Art of Eating will help you navigate the wasteland and make the most of what you eat.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Video: Ambition

This is a SF short created by Platige Image and the European Space Agency to explain the Rosetta mission to rendezvous with a comet on November 12th.

The film was directed by Tomek Bagiński and stars Aiden Gillen and Aisling Franciosi.  If you want to know more about Rosetta, check out ESA's website.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Book Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Pros: fun, quirky characters

Cons: more action than plot

Sophronia and her friends are enjoying school a year after their last adventure when Sidheag receives a distressing letter.  She disappears and when Dimity and Sophronia attend Sophronia’s brother’s engagement ball, they rejoin her and stumble upon several plots.

This is the third book in the Finishing School series, and it is best read in order as plot points from the previous books, specifically several direct consequences from book two, are important to what’s happening here.  

As with the other books, the girls are all quirky and fun to read about.  We see them apply their talents in different ways as they rise to the challenges they face.  The book is a quick and enjoyable read.

Unlike in the earlier books where the girls come across something strange and decide to investigate it, actively looking for new clues, in this volume they’re helping their friend and stumble across the mystery purely by chance.  They find out more of what’s going on in the wider political world and several of them have to make decisions that will greatly affect their futures.

Sophronia has several major decisions to make in this book regarding her future: whether she likes Felix Mersey, whose father is a pickleman (a political position Sophronia abhors) enough to form an attachment with him; what kind of future relationship she wants with Soap, whose social standing is far beneath hers but whose advice and friendship she greatly appreciates; and what patron she wants when she graduates, as Lord Akeldama’s been sending her gifts in an attempt to sway her in his direction.  

I personally found the action on the train less interesting than what happened before it.  I love the school and the dynamic there, and was a bit sad that so much of the book took place off of it.  Having said that, the train did show off the girls’ prowess and contained some fun action sequences.  

I’m really looking forward to book 4, Manners & Mutiny, which I believe will conclude the series.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Movie Review: Psycho II

Directed by: Richard Franklin, 1983

Pros: interesting story

Cons: some overacting

Norman Bates is released, cured, from psychiatric care.  He meets a young woman at his new job at a diner who’s having boy trouble and invites her to stay with him.  Meanwhile, he starts getting phone calls and notes from his dead mother, making him question whether he really is sane now.

This is a film about how to drive someone mad, and it’s terrifying to watch.  Because you’re seeing the film from Norman’s perspective, you know the notes and calls are real, but it’s easy to see why Norman questions his sanity when things start going wrong.

It’s the sort of film that makes you wonder what could have happened had the people tormenting Norman left him alone.  Would he have stayed sane and been a good citizen or would he have slowly fallen into madness anyway?

Anthony Perkins, reprising his role as Norman Bates, does a brilliant job, though some of the other actors tried too hard, especially towards the end.

Like the original, it’s not a terribly scary film, the interest is in the humanity of the characters, and their madnesses.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Shout-Out: Spark by John Twelve Hawks


Jacob Underwood is a contract employee of the Special Services Section, a small shadow department buried within the multinational corporation DBG, headquartered in New York City. Jacob is not a businessman . . . he is a hired assassin . . . and his job is to neutralize problems deemed unacceptable by the corporation. But Jacob is not like other employees, nor is he like other people. After a catastrophic motorcycle accident leaves him with Cotard's syndrome-an actual condition that causes those afflicted to believe they are dead-Jacob perceives himself as nothing but a "Shell," with no emotions and no tether to the concept of right and wrong.

Emily Buchanan is a bright young second-year associate for DBG, and she has disappeared without a trace. Suspecting that Emily has stolen either vast sums of money or valuable information from the company, Ms. Holquist, Jacob's handler at DBG, assigns him the task of tracking down the young woman and neutralizing her. Jacob's condition allows him to carry out assignments with ruthless, logical precision, devoid of guilt, fear, or dishonor. But as his new assignment draws him inside a labyrinthine network of dark dealings, Jacob finds himself up against something he is completely incapable of understanding.

Shifting with riveting precision from New York to London, Paris to New Delhi, Spark is a thriller that delves into the surveillance state we prognosticate today . . . and will live in tomorrow. In the hands of master storyteller John Twelve Hawks, a unique character's startling transformation comes to life, making Spark a thriller that resonates and satisfies on many levels.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Kickstarter Movie: The Hades Pit

Got an email about a kickstarter project to make an independent film, The Hades Pit, that sounds kind of interesting.  Here's the synopsis (which doesn't quite grab me) and the introduction video (which, I think, does a better job of creating enthusiasm for the project).  The director, Tony Sebastian Ukpo, has made several films already and has some ambitious goals for this one if it's funded.

The story starts with a young woman and her dog on their way to the countryside with her father, on a regular annual father/daughter retreat where he works as a Park Ranger. On this trip however, something is not right, signalled by the smoke coming from behind the abandoned factory on the way to their home. They pay no heed to it, and things slowly start to get stranger and stranger in a suspenseful build up to the fathers abduction from their home in broad daylight by large masked figures. With all the communication posts down, and the nearby service station now manned by a fresh corpse, the daughter emerging from where she was hidden away by her father during the carnage, eventually takes matters into her own hands, heading with her dog towards the one place they must have taken him. She finds an underground facility filled with weird sinister scientists, experimental creatures and an unlikely ally in one of the test subjects, and is forced to put a lot of her gaming instincts (She's a gamer) to use in a real world situation.