Horns fit for a King – book review

MJG All Reviews, Fantasy 0 Comments

★★★★★ Horns by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) is a work of pure creative genius, and I loved (almost) every minute of it. Its high-concept ‘sympathy for the devil’ premise is totally fresh, intricate, and delightfully surprising, with the unexpected bonus that its climax shatters the King weak ending curse, with not a hint of deus ex machina anywhere …

Why Redshirts should be first to die – book review

MJG All Reviews, Science Fiction 14 Comments

★ Redshirts completely sucks. I cannot say it any more plainly than that. Though it has a neat conceit (right there in the title), it is lazily, utterly derivative, ridiculously boring, and every character within it is not only infuriatingly sarcastic and crassly sexual, but they are also completely the same, indistinguishable from each other. I quit reading after about …

Why Constellation Games fails at the final level – book review

MJG All Reviews, Science Fiction 0 Comments

★★★ The premise of ‘Constellation Games’ is a playful and wholly original take on an alien invasion, as told through the eyes of a slacker My-Little-Pony game developer called Ariel Blum. When the Aliens come, with a friendly armada of every race in their ‘Constellation’, Ariel is only interested in their old video games, so he can mine through the …

Why Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’ needs rebooting

MJG and how to fix it, Book / Movie Reviews 5 Comments

Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is a blistering assault of techno-punk babble, metaphoric memetic conspiracy theory, and hubristically confident authorial voice, half-baked into a bun so undercooked it’ll likely stodge up your wind-pipe and throttle you. But also- brilliantly ambitious, stunningly complex, exciting, hilarious, and (still) so razor-cool you’re likely to embolize your brain on its bleeding edge. Let’s try to …

Why ‘Prometheus’ failed to deliver fire

MJG and how to fix it 5 Comments

Prometheus was the titan who brought fire to humanity, kick-starting our ascent to civilization, for which he was punished with an endless fate of stomach-bursting (thanks to a liver-hungry eagle). There are clear parallels to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, a story of genetic ‘fire’ disseminated on Earth by a god-like super-tech alien, who dies a hideous death for the privilege (with …

Why Pixar’s ‘Brave’ missed bullseye

MJG and how to fix it 9 Comments

There’s something wrong with Pixar’s Brave. It’s not anything to do with the acting, the animation (which is pretty stunning, especially around Merida’s fluffy hair), or even the surface level script. The problem is deeper, in the structural bones of the story, and I’ll tell you why, with SPOILERS abounding. First off, what is Brave? It is a classic-style, though …

Korean Story BOX

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 17 Comments

My wife Su Young Lee (we got married last month) has just published her first book. It is pretty unlikely the audience of this blog will read it, but it’s still such a great accomplishment that I can’t not crow about it. The title is- 韓国語ストーリーボクス -Korean Story BOX, and it’s basically a mid-level fun textbook for Japanese students interested …

Why Pathfinder lost its way – book review

MJG All Reviews, Science Fiction

★★ Orson Scott Card’s books vary enormously in quality- when he’s good he’s genius; tying intricate plotting with fascinating inner monologues, cumulative story development, and a real sense of threat (a la Pastwatch, early Alvin Maker, early Ender and Bean), but when he’s bad he’s atrocious; padding his ‘stories’ with bantery filler, gross over-explanation, and a distasteful kind of sexualized …