How ‘The Name of the Wind’ blows Robert Jordan away – book review

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Take the story structure and wizarding world of Harry Potter, add the main character and creative problem-solving skills from Ender’s Game, then stir liberally with a generous helping of ‘epic’ from The Wheel of Time, and you’ll come up with Patrick Rothfuss’ 2007 debut fantasy novel ‘The Name of the Wind’. It tells the story of Kvothe, ‘the most interesting …

Why ‘The Martian’ is not so out of this world – movie review

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Have you any idea how many vacuum-packed turds it would take to turn desiccated Martian dust into thriving, bacteria-rich, potato-nurturing soil? How about hydrazine, if you knew what that was, could you turn it into water without burning your face off? Ridley’s Scott’s latest movie The Martian, based on the bestselling book by one-book author Andy Weir, will point you …

Why Tom Hardy’s Legend is basically a true story.

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Numerous critics have been slating Tom Hardy’s movie ‘Legend’, about the notorious gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray, on the grounds that it misrepresents history, glamorizes and Americanizes violence and the gangster life, and generally does a poor job of showing the REAL Krays and the REAL social cost of their bloody trail of terror splattered from London’s East End to …

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

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★★★★ 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 …

Why Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’ needs rebooting

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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

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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

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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 …