Sense8

sense8 posterSo, aside from writing and driving and stuff, I have been gorging on this show. In fact I finished the first season already. Gotta love Netflix. If there is one thing I cannot stand about television, it is having to WAIT for the next episode of something. Hate that.

Anyway, thoughts.

wachowskis-straczynski-sense8-netflix

The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski

1. It is my opinion that the pair on the left (The Wachowskis) have been toned down by the fella on the right (J. Michael Straczynski). The three co-wrote (all of the episodes) and co-produced this program. The Wachowskis are most famous for “The Matrix”, and JMS (I’m not typing all these names over and over…to hell with that) is most famous for Babylon5 and was nominated for the BAFTA for his screenplay for The Changling starring Angelina Jolie. (Among many many many other things.)

1b. The Wach’s (see? heh.) have been on a serious downward spiral for the last several movies, culminating with one of the worst written films I’ve seen in a long time, “Jupiter Ascending”, which has been nicknamed “The Wachowski’s Descending”.

1c. I cannot vouch for this, but after watching this season, I can see JMS’ hand in this series, and I can see the Wach’s. If left to the Wach’s this show would have been a boogered up mess. With JMS involved, it is only a partially boogered up mess…which leaves one hell of an entertaining tale at the end of the day.

2. Positives. The characters are EVERYTHING in this show. Without good performances in roles that you care about, none of this would matter a damn. As it is, I cared…a lot.

2b. Interesting action sequences. Without spoiling anything, I will say this has been a season of some of the coolest (read: original) stuff I’ve seen in a long time.

3. Negatives. The pacing of the episodes is not good. Sometimes meandering, sometimes preaching a bit much, and sometimes just downright slow. There were times I sat thinking that the editor should have said, “Frack you Wach’s, this needs to get chopped.”

3b. The sticky bits.  I’m prefacing this sub-point.

I AM A BIOLOGICAL HETEROSEXUAL. Not uncomfortable in my skin. Not a closet anything. K? Got it? Now…

3c. TOOOOO MUCH GAY SEX. I do not care one bit which way a person swings, or what gender they are. I say this from the point of the viewer being bombarded by it. (Notice I said “””toooooo””””” much. )  I don’t say anything about the hetero sex, because frankly, there wasn’t all that much of it.

But when I, the viewer, start to look away from the screen, wondering where the fast forward button is…”too much”.

4. Bottom line.

This show has a “Heroes” vibe, coupled with a low key X-Men feeling, as well as being a very good character(s) drama. If they would tone down the excesses, tighten up the editing some, I could see this becoming a brilliant show. By the rousing season 1 finale, I was completely invested in these characters, caring deeply for all of them, and interested in where this story will take me.

As it is, I happily look forward to season 2.

JMS, please keep those two crazy kids in check. Please.

Oh, and I have a man crush on Bae Doona. Yep. Said it.  😀

Bae Doona

Bae Doona

Sense8-cast

The Cast

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time…that will never be sold

The world of “Emberverse” after the “Change”

There are times when publishing “rights” and “contracts” and “fanfiction” need to get tossed in the frickin’ bucket.  This is one of those times.

You will never find this “book” in a store, or even in e-reader format.  It is a fanfiction work set in S.M. Stirling’s “Emberverse” series   and due to licensing and other stuff, the ONLY  place you’ll find it is here:

“Wildfire by Pete Sartucci”

This Author has got serious game, and even if you’ve never read ANY of the Emberverse books, this is still one awesome story. (It is in the same ‘verse as Mr. Stirling’s books, but is separate so no prior reading required.)

I reviewed it on facebook,  but I’m sitting here still just blown away.  I liked this story better than just about anything I’ve read in the last year, and that is saying something.

Not only is this an outstanding story, but the background research was outstanding. (The story is set in Colorado, and I had many “AHAH! I’VE BEEN THERE!” moments.)

 

To make my life simpler (I hate reading from web pages) I copy/pasted the work into a libreoffice document, exported as a pdf file and then converted it via Calibre into an epub format for my tablet.

The novel (it is that size) was too big for one long link, so it was broken up into three parts:

1. Wildfire

2. Firebreak

3. Back Draft

 

Here is my facebook review a few minutes after reading “finis” to this work:

Well. Damn. Okay, review of Wildfire. That story isn’t fan fic. It is far more and far better than that limited classification. It is a VERY great pity it has to be classed as such. If I had never read Dies the Fire, this would be the author/series I would anxiously be awaiting new work from. From start to finish, this story sucked me in and kept me from editing/writing and filled every down point in the taxi for the last couple days.

When I get a good book, I tend to inhale and get taken away. This is one of those books.
If I could wish for one thing from a “fan” perspective, it would Stephen and Peter collaborating on a title set in this universe.

5 stars out of 4. period.

A Book Bomb happening today

Pennsylvania cover

A good Facebook buddy of mine  and fellow indie author Michael Bunker is doing a “book bomb” release of his newest work, Pennsylvania which hits Amazon and other ebook avenues such as Smashwords today.

I had the opportunity to read and review this work early, and I enjoyed it immensely. Not just for the content (which is the most important part!), but for the production values as well.  Never let it be said that an indie published book is second rate after this release.

On Amazon, you can buy this as a print edition and get the ebook digital copy for 99 cents more. -Excellent deal for all you tree-killing-book types out there.  🙂

Michael, I wish you success in this “book bomb!” and in all your endeavors going forward.

My review of Pennsylvania is here on Goodreads.

 

E-reading software…an update

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I accidentally pushed an old post griping about e-readers.  After quite a bit of research, my eventual solution was to purchase a nexus7:

I got this primarily for the form factor (it fits like a trade paperback in my hand),  and the price and performance are outstanding. The Nexus7 also has the added benefit of doing ALL of the things I usually do with my much smaller phone, which is convenient, as I’m mobile near wifi hotspots quite a lot.

After a few months of futzing about with different E-Book software, I finally came up with Moon+Reader Pro as my go to e-reader.

I love the fact that it is extremely customizable. Everything from font to page color/texture to…well just about anything you want to make the experience “yours” is available with this software

Its ONLY drawback is that occasionally (and I do mean this in the strictest sense of the word) it will come across an epub or other format that it mis-handles. For these situations, I have a choice of e-readers to fall back on.

My second favorite e-book software actually surprised me a bit. If it weren’t for moonreader, my main choice would be the NOOK reader from Barnes and Noble. While not as full featured, it handles all of the basics beautifully, and I’ve yet to see ANY book not render properly with it.

The next choice in line is the KOBO reader which isn’t at the top of my list for readers, BUT it has online store capabilities that I like.

Another okay selection is the Aldiko reader. This isn’t nearly as customizable, BUT its online store has access to multiple sources such as Smashwords  and  Oreilly. Another feature that is aces here is the ability to add your own catalogs/stores. I just wish this reader was just a bit easier on the eyes.

My last choice on this list is Amazon’s Kindle software. While a very efficient reader with some nice customization options, my WORST complaint is that it natively only works with the Amazon proprietary ebook format (AZW). I prefer epub and non-drm formats for portability and access.  (You CAN convert other formats to AZW, but its a pain, and if the book is DRM”d (Digital Rights Management)—a fancy term for encrypted, its an even more hackish mess.)

I CANNOT STAND PROPRIETARY FORMATS. There. I feel better now.

 

A big reason for that mini-rant  (besides hating vendor lock-in) is that my entire e-book library is handled by this doozy of an application that lives on my main desktop PC..behold Calibre!

This was an absolute godsend from the coding deities as it allows me to store my books, edit metadata, back the books up to the cloud AND serve the content to any device I want.

(Another feature of MoonReader+Pro is that it has native calibre functionality, which is nifty if you don’t have or want the calibre companion application.)

I also use Calibre Companion for connecting to Calibre.  This picture is a default view on my tablet:

I’m not a big “reviewer”, but these are the choices that work at this point in time.

Hope that helps if you’re hunting about for e-reader software, as I think it is a very good start.  There are TONS of e-book applications out there…these are my choices.

 

The Strain

So after seeing all the hype and praise and whoop-de-do over Guillermo Del Toro’ and Chuck Hogan’s “The Strain”, I picked it up….read it. Seems to me they just took a blender and dropped Stoker’s Dracula and King’s Salem’s Lot, as well as Del Toro’s movie Mimic and hit puree. Then put all of the pieces back together in a way to try and make a new vamp story. Book 2 is coming this fall, but sometimes hype is just that….hype. oh well.