Why Walking Dead season 5 whiffed, languished, echoed and finally rocked.

MJG Reviews, TV Leave a Comment

I love Walking Dead. I didn’t at first, I’ll admit that- for a few years in the middle I was staring in disbelief at people as they said it was the best show on TV. “What?” I’d declaim. “That bunch of pansies?” It seemed to me that Rick and crew were weak. They failed repeatedly. They were not survivors. But things changed. I gave it another go at season 3, and I liked what I saw. I’ve liked it ever since, and I liked season 5 plenty too, despite a series of whiffs, languishments, and echoes that it took to …

Why ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ gives almost all I wanted – book review

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

★★★★ The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a perspective-flipping zombie road novel with a very great deal to recommend it. It starts off extremely tight-focused, homed in on one little girl and her experience of her bizarre, locked-box (Pandoran?) school, then explodes outward in a way most zombie stories don’t- digging into the science of the zombie infection, zooming into the epidemic hypocenter, and giving us a haunting sense of closure. All the gifts indeed. Yet- I can’t say I loved it. I’ll get into why after I say everything that was so good. There’ll …

Why The Maze Runner outruns all logic – movie review

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 75 Comments

★★★ The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Dash is a good name for a book about running) is an infuriatingly good example of taking great liberal splashes of all the great stuff that went before (LOST, Truman Show, Hunger Games), and not learning the key lesson from any of them. It is fun, it is rollicking, but by the end (and after reading the synopses of its sequels on wikipedia) I just feel like it’s empty, like a jester’s sad bauble-bladder deflated of all air. Disappointing. But, if you’re not burned out still on the let-down cop-out ending of a …

Why Game of Thrones is a knockout bracket – TV review

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Before the last US election (2012) there was an intensely mad and squabblish Presidential Primary for the GOP, during which a whole heffalump of oddball candidates popped their heads up, beat the crap out of each other in televised debates, then died dramatically politically. At the end one victor was left standing to go up again his highness, Barack Obama, to become King President of all the realm. As it with the GOP, so it goes with the GOT (Game of Thrones). GOP & GOT Perhaps it is utterly obvious that everything we see in GOT is a knockout tournament …

Horns fit for a King – book review

MJG Fantasy, Reviews Leave a Comment

★★★★★ 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 to be seen. Highly recommended. From the moment 26-year old sex-murder-suspect / layabout slacker Ig Perrish wakes up with horns sprouting from his head, and enters the first of many startling, bizarre, and disturbing confrontations with the people he knows …

Why Redshirts should be first to die – book review

MJG 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 100 pages, because it just so monumentally uninteresting. I cannot for one moment fathom how author John Scalzi won the Hugo Award, unless the voters were so eager to suck up to Scalzi, now head of the SFWA (Science Fiction …

Why Wool weaves rings around LOST – book review

MJG Reviews, Science Fiction Leave a Comment

★★★★★ If you liked Desmond in LOST, stuck in a hatch while some mysterious disease ravaged the land outside, eating an endless supply of canned food, finding strange maps hidden in secret places, then you’ll love Wool, Shift and Dust by Hugh Howey, collectively known as the Silo Saga. It is full of mystery, and it handles that mystery far better than LOST ever did. Where LOST side-stepped every weighty question about the purpose of the hatch or the island itself with a cop-out ‘feel-good’ final season, the Silo Saga does not. It delivers on its mystery, every bit of …

Why Constellation Games fails at the final level – book review

MJG Reviews, Science Fiction Leave a Comment

★★★ 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 millennia and port out a hit game of his own. It’s brilliant. Ariel is a cocky, snarky dick, but like any true ‘otaku’ he suspends his sarcasm for good content, and ‘Constellation Games’ delivers that content in spades. As I …

Why Iron Man 3 had a soft-boiled spine – movie review

MJG and how to fix it, Book / Movie Reviews 2 Comments

I enjoyed Iron Man 3. Probably you did too. It broke all kinds of records, already made over $1 billion worldwide, and is currently sitting at number 5 in the top 5 highest grossing movies ever (behind Avatar, Titanic, Avengers, and Deathly Hallows). Not bad. But is it any good? Clearly it is. But come on, is it really any good? Is it solid? Does it twirl where it should twirl, stomp where it should stomp, and hard-boil eggs to a perfect yolky solidity? Uh, no. It does not. Here’s why. You shouldn’t have taken the last Reece’s piece! *** …