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Showing posts from December, 2007

Retrospective 07.

2007 was not a bad year for me.

Good stuff that happened in 2007

I Got Married.^_^ Married life has so far gone well and there are no little Teddies on the way, thanks for asking.

I read 48 books. Quite a feat, although my initial target was 54. Oh well. The longest time it took me to read one book was one month, for Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan. Good book, but totally unsuited for reading on a crowded train during the rush hour.

For the first time in the three years I've done NaNoWriMo, I actually won. The novel's still not done so I am still slogging my way through until I get to the end. I had wanted to finish it before the end of December, but that does not appear to be feasible at the moment. *grin*

I had three reviews published in The Star this year. Doesn't sound like a lot, but consider this: the previous year I only had two book reviews published and both times I had to pay for the books myself. This year, the three books I reviewed were donated by Big Name Bookstore…

REVIEW: Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker.

This book review was published in The Star's Reads Monthly on 30 December 2007. The print version comes with a 25% discount voucher for the book which can be used at any MPH bookstore and is valid until 13 January 2008.

Don't Burn This Book!

MISTER B. GONE

Author: Clive Barker
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Hardcover: 250 pages
ISBN: 978-0007262618

I HAD not read a Clive Barker book before I picked up Mister B. Gone. I was, however, familiar with the name, of course, as I am aware of his 1987 film, Hellraiser, and have also been acquainted with the computer game, Undying, which he helped create in 2001. I thought the movie was okay, and the game a fun experience to be had when you’re alone in the dark.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that I know Mr Barker strictly as a horror writer kind of guy, and even then, not through his books. So when I read his latest book, Mister B. Gone, I was a little surprised that it veered more into the realm of fantasy even though it is marketed as horr…

Thoughts on Writing Book Reviews.

I've just wrapped up on writing a book review that, if all goes well, will be published in the December issue of StarMag's Reads Monthly, coming out on December 30. (Don't miss it!)

It took me almost three hours to write all 800 words of it.

This makes me very concerned. That can't be good. I know I can do better. I can write faster, put down my thoughts more articulately in much less time.

But whenever I sit in front of my word processor, my brain just cramps up, and all the nifty little sentences I had crafted while I was reading the book to be reviewed, all faded away or if still lingering around, didn't seem all that cool any more.

I would have thought that writing book reviews would get easier the more I did them, but right now it all seems like a well-crafted video game: each level gets progressively harder. Which is all good; I don't mind a challenge.

What strikes me as odd is why? Why does it have to be harder every time? It's not exactly rocket science,…

The Last Man on Earth.

So you watched I Am Legend with Will Smith. (Actually I watched it with my wife but let's not bicker semantics now.) Perhaps, like me, you thought it was good for the first two-thirds of the movie. Then it all goes downhill.

The ending? A pure WTF moment. Am I right or am I right?

It goes without saying that the book was better. But if you're the sort of person who wants to know how the story should have ended without actually reading the book, there's always the option of watching the original movie made in 1964 starring Vincent Price.

And thanks to the wonders of the Internets, you can actually download it at the Internet Archive. Or if you're too lazy to do that, here it is, embedded just for you!


Now you can watch the ending as GodThe Flying Spagetti MonsterRichard Dawkins Richard Matheson intended!

The film though given the title of "The Last Man on Earth" and having had the protagonist's name changed from Robert Neville to Robert Morgan, keeps mostly to …

An Embuggerance.

I'm gonna simply copy and paste everything from this announcement on Paul Kidby's website:
Folks,

I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer's, which lay behind this year's phantom "stroke".

We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet :o)

Terry Pratchett

PS I would just like to draw attention to eve…

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2007.

1. w00t (interjection) expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay" w00t! I won the contest!
Submitted by: Kat from Massachusetts on Nov. 30, 2005 23:18 My only complaint is that why only this year? I've been using w00t since the century began.

Link.

Thoughts on the Golden Compass.

I caught The Golden Compass on Sunday morning. It was a midnight show, and by the time the lights had dimmed and the beer ads were rolling1, I was already nursing a slight headache. Now I'm not sure if the reason for me not liking the movie was because of the headache or because it just wasn't any good.

I read the book nearly five years ago, and I remember liking it very much. But it was five years ago, so my memory of reading it is far from fresh. I looked forward to reacquainting myself with Philip Pullman's characters in the movie and I was glad they were the same as I had left them so many years ago... except that I don't really find their company all that enjoyable any more.

Was it just me, or was the movie just incomprehensible? I mean, I read the book, but even then half the time I was struggling to understand what was going on and what the motivations of each character was. Example: Mr. Lee Scoresby, the cowboy captain of an airship2. It felt too easy for him to …

Pack it in, writers.

Yikes. Looks like the Author might soon be an oddity of the past. (Hah! As if).

Software gurus in Russia have whipped up a piece of computer software that can write a fully readable novel.

The good thing is that readers will be receiving version 2.0 of the novel:
The first version of the novel did not seem interesting to the publishing house, so the initial data was revised and the program generated the second version in three days. After that the manuscript like any other novel to be published went through the editorial corrections.

Astrel SPb chief editor highly appreciates the final version of the novel, ‘all the rest will be charged by the readers’, - he says. He continues 10 thousand copies of the novel will be issued. If the experiment proves a success, then other ‘computer novels’ will be published. What's eye-brow raising to me is that the novel is written in the style of Haruki Murakami. Hey! What's that supposed to mean? That Murakami writes like a robot?

Anyway, surely so…

Random Murakami Quote.

"Still, getting a penis to erect itself is not the sole purpose of life. That much I understood when I read Stendhal's Charterhouse of Parma years ago."-- Haruki Murakami, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

How to Design a Library.

Make it look like a shelf full of... oh, books, perhaps?

Via Deputydog.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

A few months ago, I had read that Haruki Murakami had a new book out in Japan. The book is about his experience running in marathons. He's quite the accomplished runner, having run in the Boston, New York and Tokyo marathons, amongst others.

I didn't think it would get translated into English since a lot of Murakami's non-fiction which have been published in Japan gets ignored by his translators. And rightly too. If you've read the unofficial fan translations of his essays, they're mostly insubstantial or ephemeral. Sometimes even laughable, in a bad sort of way, and I don't think it's the fault of the translations.

Murakami likes to surprise me even outside his fiction, I guess. Soon the new book will be his first non-fiction book to be published in English since Underground, which tells the accounts of the survivors of Aum Shinrikyo gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

The new book is called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and is translated by…