Movie Review – Alita: Battle Angel

AlitaPoster

Alita: Battle Angel is a cyberpunk action film directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Rosa Salazar as Alita. The film is based on a Japanese manga series published in the 1990s called Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita in the English translation) by Yukito Kishiro. The film takes place in the year 2563, 300 years after a devastating interplanetary war known as “The Fall” has left human civilization in ruins. That is, except for Zalem, the last sky city that remained after the war. Iron City dwells on the ground below, where refugees from all across the world congregated to flee the catastrophe. While searching through a scrap pile ejected from Zalem, cyber surgeon Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers a disembodied cyborg with a still-living human brain. Taking her home and restoring her with a new body, the cyborg is named Alita by Dr. Ido after she regains consciousness and finds she has no memory of who she is or where she came from.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 13, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Fragile ThingsI started reading Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman the other day when I had trouble falling asleep. The introduction section was the same as that in Smoke & Mirrors—Gaiman went through each story giving a little blurb about what he remembers when writing it, or something to that effect. I skipped that this time around. I read that section first before and retained almost nothing. I’d like to be able to appreciate what he’s saying, so I’m going to read the stories first (though it nags at me that I’m skipping over a section). The first story was a Lovecraftian re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes and I honestly wish it were a whole novel.

Lost StarsI also started reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray last night. Though noticeably more YA than the other Star Wars books I’ve been reading, I’m really enjoying how zeroed-in the story is on ordinary people so far. It’s following two young aspiring pilots on a world in the Outer Rim. It’s interesting to see events from their more naive perspective, such as the arrival of the Empire when they came under their rule. They see it as greater civilization finally coming to their world, and while there are hints to the darker truth, you can see how some citizens would view the Empire as something positive.


Recently Finished

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I finished reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, and posted my review yesterday. It was one of the easiest 5 out of 5’s I’ve ever given. I was expecting to find the book interesting, but I was really not expecting such delight from reading a science book. It’s great as a detailed overview of the dinosaurs’ time on Earth, but honestly I could have read a book on each period. There were some great chapters on tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaur species and I’d love to read more extensive chapters on other species. I might have to dive deeper into reading about this subject.


Reading Next

With two books just started, I’m once again at a loss regarding what I’ll read next. I should pick up a comic book, but I’m currently cursed with indecision on that front. This is pretty silly considering the physical and digital stack of them that I’ve got languishing, but here we are. I’m sure I’ll decide on something by next week, but I’m pretty sure I said that last week. Whoops.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte is a nonfiction paleontology book published in 2018 that tells the story of the dinosaurs. It starts from their emergence on a dramatically changed Earth in the Triassic period, to their growth into dominance in the Jurassic period, and finally their peak in the Cretaceous period before their catastrophic end. Though surely only a snapshot into an extensive scientific field, what it offers the everyday reader is a vivid look into what scientists currently know about dinosaurs and how they have learned what they know. In doing so the book also presents an equally valuable glimpse into the field and lab work of paleontologists throughout history and in the modern era.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 6, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursReading this week has been a little more slow-going, so I’m still in thick of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steven Brusatte. That being said, I’m still enjoying the book immensely. I really like how it gets into the evolutionary history of how these creatures likely functioned, such as how sauropods evolved to be so massive and how they could maintain such huge sizes. There is a great balance between the history of these eras and anecdotes about work in the field, including where fossils can be found today and why. Excited;y telling people facts I’ve learned from what I’m reading is a simple joy that I haven’t had with a book in a long time.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, which I again attribute to it being a slow week for me. With no more Berserk to read I was not compelled to pick up and read a comic book. Oh well, there’s always the week to come.


Reading Next

Fragile ThingsI still intend to read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray next, but I can’t help but think I need to read something else concurrently to bump up the numbers on my finished books a bit. Skimming my scrappy little list right now (literally) I have decided also start Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman soon. I always prefer a short story collection as a concurrent read, and what better than another of Gaiman’s. Turns out one of the stories within is connected to American Gods as well. Marvelous!

Until next week, thank you for reading!

New Books & Novel Discoveries (February 2019)

As expected, this was a much more subdued month than January. Gone are all my precious gift cards, so it’s back to getting books the old fashioned way: budgeting them in if I can after life’s expenses are seen to. I haven’t really felt compelled to go out and get more either, which is probably for the better. Half of the books I picked up this month I’ve already read, so I’m not just needlessly stockpiling.

Anyway, onto said books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 27, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I started reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. I’m not especially far into it, but I’m unabashedly adoring it so far. I’m having a bit of trouble with some of the names of the prehistoric creatures, but other than that Brusatte is pretty exceptional at making the material accessible to those outside the field. I grew up as a dinosaur kid, but my active interest dropped off in adulthood. I’ve learned quite a bit from this book already as a result, which I’ve already eagerly been passing on to others who will listen. I’m always a little concerned I’ll have trouble with science books, but so far this book is far from the case.


Recently Finished

if on a winter's night a travelerI finally finished If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino over the weekend as well, which I posted my full review for yesterday. The book is quite a brilliant exploration of readers and writers of literature, and all the forms such take for good or ill. It had a good sense of humour to go with its philosophical waxing too. It is worth noting that the frame narrative does not have much in the way of an intricate plot, however, and the transitions back and forth between it and the novels the protagonist is reading may have a polarizing effect for some people. I appreciated it a lot, but even I found it pretty exhausting sometimes.

Berserk 21I also read Berserk Vol. 20 & 21 by Kentaro Miura, which brought about the conclusion I’d been eagerly anticipating for this arc. I’m pretty pleased with the way things turned out, especially in how the main antagonist didn’t simply devolve into another monster for Guts to fight. His convictions were steadfast despite his metamorphosis and I appreciated that in a villain. His ultimate folly was not realizing how he could better help the people around him with the power granted to him, instead giving into his own fanaticism. I’m eager to see where the story goes next, but I’m not sure if I want to use this opportunity to take a breather a bit before I continue.


Reading Next

Lost StarsWhile I’ve still got plenty of book left with what I’m reading right now, I guess I can’t really help looking to the future as well. I’m thinking I will finally read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a Star Wars novel I meant to read last year but never got around to. It’s praised quite highly among the new canon of books, so it’s high time I read it myself. It tells the story of two star-crossed lovers caught on opposing sides of the Galactic Civil War and I’m curious to see how the conflict is framed through their eyes.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

if on a winter's night a traveler

If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino is not just one novel, but several. Told in the second-person, the frame narrative tells the story of an unnamed Reader who buys a new book, If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino, only to find that there was a binding issue printing the book and after the first 32 pages the same chapter is repeated throughout, leaving him unable to continue reading after a moment of suspense in the story. Trying to find a complete version of this initial novel he is mistakenly given a completely different novel by another author, which he resigns to read anyway. This too stops short at a moment of suspense, leading him further down a madcap pursuit of novels that he simply wants to finish reading.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 20, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

if on a winter's night a travelerI’m over halfway through If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and I’ve gotten a much clearer grasp of what this novel is going for. What I mistook for breaking the fourth wall in the opening chapter was actually a case of narrative told in the second-person (though I’m sure the leaning on the fourth wall was deliberate). Chapters alternate between the protagonist’s story and what he is reading, which is always a chapter from a new book and always ends at a moment of great suspense. It’s a fascinating structure that has me continually interested, but I’m not yet sure if what it’s building towards will be satisfying for me or not.


Recently Finished

Unfortunately, nothing this week!


Reading Next

Berserk 20I still have every intention of reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte next, but with Calvino’s novel still needing to be finished I have comic book plans for the nearer future. I was able to get a hold of the next couple volumes of Berserk that I need, so I will be reading Vol. 20 soon. Hopefully the arc I’m in the middle of will be wrapping up within these volumes so I can avoid being held in suspense any longer.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Writing Report #7

Goodness it has been a long time since I wrote one of these; disappointingly long now that I actually look at when #6 was posted. I think it is safe to say the experiment that has been these posts has failed. Setting deadlines for myself in this way has not led to the results I was hoping for.

At any rate, I still want to post one of these periodically, just to get things down and hopefully spark some of that drive despite the lackluster results in the past. I do have things to share too, so I’m not just posting this point out how much I missed my targets.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 13, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

if on a winter's night a travelerLast night I started reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and honestly I’m not sure what to think of it yet. It’s not unenjoyable to read, but I was a little dizzied by how much the book disregards the fourth wall altogether. The first chapter spent the entire time talking about telling me to get ready and comfortable to read, before expounding upon the experience I might have had hearing that the new Calvino book was out, then my subsequent trip to the book store. The following chapter had a plot of a sort, but I’m not sure if I should take it as it was or if it will continue in any way going forward. I’m intrigued. I really don’t know what to expect from this novel.


Recently Finished

fire & bloodOver the weekend I finished reading Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and posted a review yesterday. With all said and done, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would. Some periods of this history were more enjoyable than others, but each was of an equal caliber of quality and compelled me onward. I was worried this book would take me much longer to finish, but I got it done well within a month’s time, with several days to spare, which I’m counting as a win for fiction that reads more like a history book. I highly recommend it for fans, it provides a great deal of insight into the notable figures, high and low, that populate the world of Westeros during these periods of their history.


Reading Next

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursI’d really like a bit more of a change of pace from fiction next, so I think I will start The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, which I actually wanted to get to last year. I grew up fascinated by dinosaurs, which has fallen off in my adult life as far as checking out books about them goes. It’s high time I changed that. It’s among a number of science related nonfiction books I’ve been picking up and meaning to get to lately as well. I may read something else concurrently with it, but I haven’t made my mind up on that yet.

Until next week, thank you for reading!