Sunday, 24 June 2012

Iron Sky Review

Forgive me Blog, for I have sinned. It's been bloody ages since I last posted. Just not feeling like it really. No good excuse or reason for that. I do have things to write about. Having seen Iron Sky being just one of them.
Anyway, how was it? Answer, good. Maybe not great, but very enjoyable. A few of the gags were excellent (I really liked the speechwriter's tirade al la Der Untergang) and most were passible. I did like the special effects and I thought it was up there with Avengers (possibly better as I didn't like the way Avengers tended to smash action together so fast that some scenes left me dizzy). I took my daughter - Aki, who is 12 and she liked it too. She'd previously checked with her mate Felix (she's 12, more than mature enough to have a male friend who is just that) who reckoned it was good, but a bit 'B' movie. I think I'd generally agree with that. More because I would hate to seem more of a fanboy than a 12-year-old boy than because of anything that I disliked in it, though.
Anyway, well done Finland. First for making it and second for not having weaponised your satellites like everyone else (film in-joke). For anyone who has not seen the film yet, I'd definitely say go and watch, it's worth it. I'm waiting for the DVD to become available here and then I'm going to enjoy watching it again.

Friday, 15 June 2012

I got a review!

Mary Catherine on Goodreads gave me 3/5 stars and wrote the following:
I was torn between giving this book a higher rating. The story utterly gripped me at times, but there are too many reasons to negate that.

To start, there are many different dialects and thus many grammatical errors. The errors are carefully researched to reflect the dialect of each character's native upbringing. It isn't clear the errors are purposeful representations of the dialect and, as such, feeds in to my bigger complaint: not enough development.

I read 2/3 of the book and it felt like 1/3. Only at the end of the book did substantial development happen. Many characters present their point of view, most of them artificial components of the game. Artificial intelligence was one of my favorite concepts, it fiddled with the perception of life. I was disappointed that concept wasn't expounded upon. This is also a key complaint: lack of better explanation for unnecessary explanation. There were many great concepts brushed over and most action and dialogue could be condensed.

Though the book is written as excerpts from multiple points of views, it becomes quickly obvious the reader is to focus on only two. We get to know them slowly and, again, their growth is packed in to the last third of the book. There were too many characters for growth and reflection. Some characters felt abandoned.

The premise itself is incredibly interesting, though. I can't think of any similar stories. It draws inspiration from all kinds of fairy tales, but also everything from science fiction, to wizardry, to Aikido as well. There were descriptions as unique as the story. A particular one that stuck with me was about comparing deaths of parents:
"It’s like a tooth coming out. There’s a hole that hurts when you put your tongue into it, but you keep putting your tongue into it. You don’t really want to, but you can’t stop it. You always want to compare."
I cant think of anything similar to that simile. Incredibly unique and profound.

I don't want to go in to much detail about the story, because there is a great ending that I didn't see coming. That is something to marvel, an author who can write a twist without the reader expecting the curve.

This book has a lot of those bursts of profundity, because the premise itself is profound. Of the premise is artificial intelligence and of that we come to know the AI, or the self-aware, godlike, omnipresent and omnipotent quantum computer. It comes to be another focal character discovering itself and others. It introduces prevalent motifs like benevolence, punishment, purpose, survival, and evolution. The reader gets to experience the simultaneous birth of a mind and the creation of a God.

So overall, the writing could stand to be hit with a mallet by an editor, but the premise is so unique that it has the potential to be a very intriguing and resonating fantasy series.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

It's coming! I'm going!

Iron Sky opens in the Uae this weekend. Being as this is a Muslim country, that means Thursday evening. I should be going on Saturday afternoon with a mate or two. Review to follow.