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Aug 11

Hespira by Matthew Hughes

Posted on Sunday, August 11, 2013 in Books, Reviews, Science Fiction

I have just finished Matthew Hughes’ novel Hespira. Like in the first two books in the series, the story is about future private investigator, Henghis Hapthorn. He’s a bit full of himself but rather funny. There are plenty of wonderfully weird and fascinating details, such as the fact that Hapthorn’s intuition has moved out and now lives in a separate body and the equivalent of a personal computer is turned into a cute little creature called a grinnet, who’s like a mix of cat and monkey.

The story is set in Earth’s ‘penultimate’ age – a bit like in Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, and is scientifically based but is changing into an era of sympathetic association, meaning magic. Hapthorn isn’t looking forward to that, without his intuition.

In this book, Hapthorn accepts a seemingly simple case, but it leads to unexpected complications that force Hapthorn to leave ‘Old Earth’ for a while. At the same time he meets a mysterious woman who’s lost her memory. He takes her along on his trip. While travelling, Hapthorn and Hespira run into more mystery.

The two earlier books didn’t work completely for me, though I loved some of the ideas. This book feels a lot better though I have a feeling there was nothing actually wrong with the other two, it’s just that I prefer the plot in this one. On the other hand I’m looking forward to re-reading the other books. Maybe I’ll feel differently about them now. There’s also a collection of stories about Hapthorn that I have bought and downloaded. Unfortunately, for me, just a week or so later, the book was available for free, in fact, it might be still.

The series about Henghis Hapthorn are science fiction books that are a little different to what I’m used to, but I can recommend them to anyone who likes science fiction, mystery and fantasy. I wish there were more books in the series about Hengis Hapthorn. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Hughes will write another one.

This book wasn’t available as a paperback which would have been my first choice. It wasn’t even available in hardcover, except at a ridiculous price (from about 90 dollars?). At first I had no idea why, but after a digital conversation with the author, I now know why and unfortunately, it’s inevitable. It’s a shame though, since I have both the other books in the series in paperback.

Aug 4

The new Doctor

Posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 in Fandom

So… For the first time I found out almost immediately about who the new doctor will be. In the past, I’ve just stumbled across the news online at some point after the announcement. Unfortunately, I’m really disappointed. I don’t care about the actor’s age or colour, as long as it is a man (I’d love to see a female Time Lord – perhaps The Doctor’s Daughter – but not the actual Doctor). Somehow though, this man doesn’t look like the Doctor at all. Not to me. Sigh.

To be fair though, I wasn’t all that keen on Clara when she first showed up and now I really like her. In fact, I didn’t like Donna either, in The Runaway Bride. I really didn’t see what the big deal was, but after a while, Donna became my favorite companion (well, her and Rory). So who knows? Maybe Peter Capaldi will surprise me, but right now I’m not feeling very happy about one of my favorite tv series.

Jan 2

Doctor Who revisited

Posted on Monday, January 2, 2012 in Reviews, Science Fiction, TV series

Three years ago, I posted a review about Doctor Who, after watching part of season 1. I just reread it and I must say it was sort of funny. After having spent many evenings of happy watching, I have a rather different view of the series. I think it’s time for a new review.

Three years ago, and a bit more, Swedish tv aired season 1 of the new Doctor Who series. My dad had watched some episodes of the older series (not sure which ones) on the Sci Fi channel (I know it’s spelled differently now, but it looks ridiculous, and anyway it wasn’t called that back then). I hadn’t been particularly interested. What little I’d seen looked decidedly odd, compared to Star Trek and Star Wars, which were pretty much the only experiences I’d had of science fiction on tv and/or in movies.

Then three and half years ago, roughly, the new series came out. This time, I was definitely interested. Some of the things I said in my earlier review still stands. I don’t like all the episodes, but despite that, I won’t hesitate to say that I love the series. By now, that first Doctor (for me, that is) Nine, has been replaced by Ten and Eleven. I like them all, so it’s hard to make a choice and anyway, they’re all the same Doctor.

I think what I’ve seen so far of Eleven is from one season (apparently season 5).

Fortunately, my sister has a friend who’s given her two DVD boxes of Dr Who, so we’ve been able to watch the whole series in peace and quiet at home. Almost every time I sit down to watch it, I think that my dad would have loved it. (Actually, I do that a lot. Every time I see or hear of something I think my dad might have liked, I think about that. I kind of hope that somehow he does get to see those tv series, movies etc.)

So what can I say about the series? First of all, it is very different from American tv series, but I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. I like many different kinds of tv series and movies. Put simply, Doctor Who is about a lonely alien, the last of his species, who travels the universe in his space/time ship the TARDIS (acronym), that looks like a blue phone booth, looking for distractions, but who also lends a hand when someone – mainly humans – are in danger. To cure his loneliness he picks up human companions and lets them travel with him for a time.

I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen the series (or the whole series, as far as I’ve seen), but I thought I might just mention some favorite episodes.

The first episode of series 1 (Rose) is pretty good (The Doctor saves the Earth from an invasion of mannequin dummies…). I also like The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances (About an eerie child who asks everyone “Are you my mummy?”) .

From season 2 I have several favorites, starting with New Earth (set in a futuristic hospital, where humanized cats care for the seriously ill, if you know me, you can probably guess what I like about this episode), then The Idiot’s Lantern (perhaps a warning about watching too much tv?), The Impossible Planet, The Satan Pit (a double episode that can be quite scary at times, introduces a couple of great characters that I wish would return and also an interesting new species, the Ood) and finally Fear Her (about a scary child who likes to draw a lot).

In season 3 I particularly liked Smith and Jones (a hospital is moved to the Moon by some kind of intergalactic police force chasing an alien wanted for murder), Gridlock (very interesting idea and some adorable kittens, I’m a sucker for those), 42 (again with a promising new character – who hasn’t returned so far, and a fast paced plot: find out what’s wrong with a cargo ship and what’s killing its crew members before you fall into a sun all in 42 minutes) and Blink (very, very scary – keep an eye on those statues and never blink, even for a second).

The list goes on… 🙂 Season 4: Partners in Crime (Donna returns looking for trouble, hoping to find the Doctor, this time a warning about quick weight loss schemes?, I’ve never seen any fat look so cute though LOL), The Doctor’s Daughter (fascinating idea, terraforming and instant non-sexual reproduction, among other things) and finally The Unicorn and the Wasp (where Donna and the Doctor meet Agatha Christie and try to solve a murder mystery in a British manor house).

Somehow season 5 seems quite different, with a new Doctor again. The Beast Below (welcome aboard the starship United Kingdom where something is not right, don’t ride in the elevators at least not when a frowning face is staring at you) is really interesting, and so is The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone (again, really scary, with those nighmarish Weeping Angels – to watch or not to watch?). I also like Amy’s Choice (I do love Amy’s guy Rory, he’s such a sweetie). I can’t quite make up my mind about The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood (don’t dig too deep, you never know what might turn up). In a way they’re really fascinating, but in other ways – well, as I said, I’m not sure. There are parts of those two episodes I like less.

All in all, it’s been absolutely thrilling to have these Doctor Who marathons. I can’t wait to see the next season.

Oct 23

Interstate 60

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Humour, Movies, Reviews, Science Fiction

Here’s the next movie in my series of comments/reviews on movies and tv series I’ve seen recently. I’d never heard of Interstate 60 until a friend recommended it to me.

It’s about a guy who’s got a birthday coming up. He happens to run into a creature who’s a real, genuine trickster – one of the few all American creatures who grant wishes. Not a genie, a human-type guy who calls himself O W Grant (One Wish Grant).

Just like all tricksters, Grant is unreliable. His wishes are often tainted and contains a trap. Many who have had a wish granted get killed or are tricked one way or another. A man that we get to see, gets run over by a car, immediately after having his thoughtless wish granted. Another one wanted to eat as much as he wanted, but hadn’t taken into consideration that he’d be constantly hungry and that it would get incredibly expensive.

The main character of the movie, Neal Oliver, wants an answer to what he’s going to do with his life. For once, this makes O W Grant take an interest, so he sends the guy off on a long trip through an America he doesn’t really know. You might say it’s an alternate universe.

Here Neal finds a town where drugs are legal – at least one – and it turns everyone into zombies who live for dancing in clubs and during the day they walk around like robots, sweeping floors or emptying garbage cans around the town. One difference between this town and the real world is that kids become adults at 16. A desperate mother hitches a ride with Neal to get her 16-year-old son back, but when she realizes she can’t, against his will, she uses the drug too and after that she’s happy again, but her mind’s a blank.

You also get to see a girl who has become obsessed with finding the perfect sex. She tries to get Neal first, but when he realizes that he’s only going to be a number in her notebook, he refuses, and claims that he’ll be the one she remembers because she couldn’t get him.

That makes her have a go at seducing Grant, but gets a nasty shock.. I won’t go into exactly what that is. The movie is full of crazy, drastic jokes, but there’s an underlying theme.

When Neal wakes up – because he seems to have dreamt it all, yet not – he has his answer. He knows what to do with his life. (Lucky guy!).

The movie is quite fragmented, but it’s all connected somehow, and besides, most of it’s fun and interesting. I can really recommend this movie, though I don’t know for sure that you’ll all like it as much as I did. At least try it and see what you think.

Oct 23


Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Reviews, Science Fiction

Heroes is an American science fiction series. To tell the truth, after seeing the trailer with the blonde cheerleader jumping from a bridge or whatever it was, dislocating her shoulder, then popping it back again, I had no intention of watching the series.

I thought ‘just another Buffy’. Yawn. Then I discovered that practically all the guys in the show are totally hot, or at least cute or funny and charming. (Guess who’s who. LOL)

Of course the plot is great too. Much more interesting than I thought. I love most of the guys – Mohinder, Peter, Isaac and naturally Hiro. Even the cheerleader’s pal is quite sweet in his geeky way.

I don’t like the females though. They’re just too – I don’t know – yucky. But that’s just me. I’m sure most guys and plenty of female viewers will like them. Even if you don’t, it’s still a good series.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, it’s about a group of people, young for the most part, who suddenly discover they have unusual abilities (‘superpowers’). They try to come to terms with how their lives have changed, and will soon be forced to decide if they want to be a force for good or evil. If that sounds interesting, watch the series when it comes on in your country or on your channel. I think you’ll like it.

Oct 23

Dr Who

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Reviews, Science Fiction

Dr Who is a British science fiction series, which is quite new. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might be curious about what it’s about. First of all: it’s quite different from the American tv series. The English have a pretty unusual sense of humor, and it takes a while to get used to it.

Because I’m not completely in tune with it, not just the humor but the style in general, I think the quality is a little mixed. Some episodes are scary and sad, others are a little lame. A few are actually pretty creepy. Now that I’ve seen (almost) the whole series, I’ve grown used to it.

If you get a chance to watch this series, and you’re not sure you want to follow it, I suggest you give it a chance. Watch a few episodes before you make up your mind.

Here’s a brief description of what the series is about:

In the first episode, you get to know an English girl, Rose. She finds out that something odd is gong on at the store where she’s working. The dummies from the window displays are acting a bit out of character, not to mention in a menacing way.

Suddenly, a man in his forties shows up, at least that’s the way he looks. He helps her get away from the scary dummies. She soon learns that the dummies are just a part of a bigger problem.

The man introduces himself as the Doctor. She finds out that he tends to show up when the population of the Earth is in danger. When everything’s ok for the time being, he invites Rose to go away with him on his phone booth-like space ship, the TARDIS. It can travel in space and in time, so Rose accepts. She ends up in many dangerous situations with the Doctor.

I won’t say anything more about the plot. Just remember, give the series a chance. Like all British tv series it’s good quality, like the humor or not.

The series has a cult following in its home country, at least the ‘old’ series, which began in the 1960’s and kept on going all the way until the late 1980’s. For some reason, maybe because the Doctor is pretty ‘gay’, it’s particulary popular with gay men.

Jun 26


Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008 in Movies, Reviews, Science Fiction

For me, who lives in a small town, being able to watch all the movies I want is not something I can take for granted. Now I’ve taken care of that. That’s why I’ve seen more movies in the past couple of years, than I have for ages. Nice. It’s always fun to get a little variety. Otherwise it’s usually mainly tv (besides books, music and so on).

This time, I’d like to comment on a Swedish movie, Storm. The main characters are played by Eric Ericson (The Befallen/De drabbade), Eva Röse (The Befallen/De drabbade) and Jonas Karlsson (Once in a lifetime/Livet är en schlager). Since I live in the west of Sweden, I recognize some of the places the movie were shot in, and of course that’s fun. By chance, I walked by when the scene in the town square was shot (the one with the merry-go-rounds and so on). At the time, I had no idea what it was about.

The plot is centered around Donny (“DD”). He’s a pretty slimy guy, who slides around the trendy, cool places in Stockholm. Life and people around him are merely props and background for his constant chase after easy, quick experiences like free drinks and shared cocaine. He doesn’t date, because he considers that too expensive. Instead he studies hot women, so he can recall them later, when, as he puts it, he wants ‘a cozy moment’.

Suddenly, his comfortable, shallow life is turned upside down when a mysterious woman more or less lands on his cab. By then, Donny’s already seen her lower herself from a passageway crossing his street, down to his level. Since he doesn’t want to get involved with anyone else, Donny’s more concerned with his own safety, but despite that, he gets drawn into the mystery woman – Lova’s (pronounced Lor-vah) – adventures.

At times things get really menacing. An ominous man in dark clothes follows Lova everywhere she goes, and seems intent on silencing her for good. Now that Donny is involved too, he too has to run from the dark man.

After a while, Donny begins to realize that it’s far from a coincidence that he’s been pulled into the dramatic and mysterious incidents. Everything seems to be connected to his past. Eventually he needs to choose between trusting the dark man or Lova. The choice will have major consequences for his future.

I won’t say more about the plot, but the movie is really exciting and interesting. It does look a bit like a computer game, but I think it’s rather well done. Some people who have seen the movie complain about the dialogue, but I think you get a reasonable explanation as to why it sounds like it does. Watch the movie and you’ll find what it’s about.

When I rated the movie at some movie sites, I gave it a four, out of five. You might not agree, but I think you’ll find the movie worth watching.


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