Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Moody series...



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="160" caption="Image by hichako via Flickr"]Autumn leaves[/caption]


Almost immediately on the heels of reading "Hater" I started the other series I own by David Moody, "Autumn".  I had read about it in the back of one of my other books and had been anticipating it for some time.  I was anxious about reading it because I wasn't a fan of "Hater".

At first, "Autumn" really delivered.  At first.  There was gore, screaming, people dropping dead for no apparent reason.  There was absolutely no logic to the survival of the characters - and I loved it.  Then something else happened.  Moody tends to get his characters together and spend time building them up, which is good except that nothing happens while the characters are chatting.  The zombie bodies stayed prone while the characters squabbled, when the zombies rose they didn't do much (not unlike the living characters), and finally the violence started.  My biggest complaint was the inconsistent pace.  There were sections of the book when my heart was pounding, and then there were sections I couldn't stay awake.

I will say the David Moody has a great ability to create realistic characters who show organic growth.  By organic I mean that when Moody writes about his characters, it's almost as if they've come alive and taken over their own story.  They do things that seem natural under the circumstances based on their personality, but they aren't stereotypes or caricatures either.  That alone saves the books from being terrible.

I bought the second book, "Autumn: The City" and now while checking some information on amazon.com I realized that the third book "Autumn: Purification" is now out as well.  Blast!  Looks like I'm officially two books behind.  Anyway, as always, I'm advocating that all three books are read.  I don't believe in judging a series solely on one book.  In other words, you can look for my further reviews when I get around to it - after I'm finished with the two I'm currently reading.  In the meantime - grab the book, read it, and let's chat!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"The Walking Dead" - TV Series



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by gluetree via Flickr - From left to right Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Jon Bernthal from Comic-con's The Walking Dead panel.  The season 2 trailer debuted this year at Comic-con."]Walking Dead panel[/caption]


AMC debuted it's highly anticipated zombie series last year on Halloween.  My family and I huddled together in the darkness of our living room, staring in rapt attention at the TV as zombie after zombie shuffled across the screen.  It was sheer brilliance.  The zombies were so real you could almost smell their foul putrescence, each one more gruesome than the last.

I had high hopes for the season, but it didn't pan out.  In retrospect, I think it was my fault.  I had hoped that the show would follow the books.  They were such a wealth of ideas it would be crazy not to use the material.  Instead, the show saw survivor Rick Grimes dragging his wife, son, and other survivors to the Center for Disease Control.  There they found some interesting facts about the zombie virus, and we got to see an x-ray movie of a zombie.  Cool, but not as awesome as some of the scenes in the book.

On the other hand, my gripes aside, the casting was beyond perfect!  Hero Rick Grimes is played to perfection by Andrew Lincoln, who seems to not only portray Rick's strength but simultaneously bring an air of unspoken uncertainty and insecurity.  After all - he's not Superman.  He's a man who is lucky to have his wife and son still alive, and he's fully aware of it every moment that they survive.  His guilt-stricken and confused best friend Shane is played by Jon Bernthal, who leaves nothing to be desired in the role of friend-turned-foe.  Unfaithful wife Lori is given life by Sarah Wayne Callies.  The other characters are perfect to the point of being creepy.  They look almost identical to their characters, right down to their facial expressions.

Thankfully, AMC chose not to inundate the series with cheesy celebrity cameos.  I can't speak for other viewers, but I know I'd rather have people starting their careers.  I don't want to watch and say, "Oh wait, I know that person".  To me, that ruins the apocalypse because you know that actor or actress as someone else.  The one exception is Norman Reedus, of "Boondock Saints" fame.  It had been so many years since he was in that iconic movie that he was not immediately recognizable to me.

As the debut of "The Walking Dead" Season 2 gets closer I find myself excited.  The trailer for the new season can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OZ0mu8Ey6A and you NEED to watch it right now.  It's going to be amazing.  I'm back on board fully and counting down the days.  When the season debut is televised, I will be right there, glued to my chair and devouring every frame.

"The Walking Dead" - Graphic Novel



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Walt Jabsco via Flickr - The sword-wielding woman would be Michonne.  She's a wild one who makes some questionable decisions in the series, but remains an interesting character altogether."]The Walking Dead[/caption]


Almost a year ago I read "The Walking Dead: Compendium 1" which was books 1-48).  I read it in anticipation of the beginning of the AMC show of the same name.  Incidentally, "The Walking Dead" was also the first graphic novel series I had read, so it was a new experience for me all the way around.  As with almost everything that becomes a TV show or movie, I wanted to experience it first in print.  I didn't want to be

I immediately fell in love with the story of "The Walking Dead".  The people were realistic, you could almost expect them to walk right off the page and into your life.  There were characters that fit specific stereotypes, but not so much that it caused them to be one dimensional.  The story never lagged - character conflict kept the story going when the zombies weren't present.  There was never a superfluous moment.

The artwork in the book is fantastic.  The angle from frame to frame changes enough to give you an almost panoramic feel.  There are moments in the book when you can close your eyes and almost imagine a 360 degree view of where the characters are standing.  Moore and Aldard have created characters that look different enough that it's easy to tell from frame to frame who is speaking.  In later non-"Walking Dead" graphic novels I've read, I have found it almost impossible to figure out who is who.  Moore and Aldard have also created terrifying frames.  They seem to know just which moment to depict, whether it's a lone zombie sneaking up on someone or a horde descending on something.

I am currently waiting for Compendium 2 before moving onward.  Each book is so exciting and written so well it's easily to fly through it in a few hours (after all, books 1-48 only took me a weekend).  I would have happily paid more money if they would have included the covers for the individual books in the Compendium.  They do distinguish between the individual books, but I don't want to have to go back and buy the covers separately.  I'd rather have them where they belong, which is with the main book.

AMC's "The Walking Dead" will be back in October - I heard on October 16th, but that may change.  Do yourself a favor and go out and get the Compendium.  It's a great book in and of itself, but it also makes a great companion for the show (warning - the show doesn't follow the book).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bird brained over Twitter



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Image via CrunchBase"]Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...[/caption]


I am sorry in advance.  This post has absolutely nothing to do with horror cinema, literature, art, food, or culture.  It's just something I was ruminating on while laying in bed last night.  I had the urge to say it somewhere, if only just to get it out.  Bear with me.

I withheld the urge to join Twitter for awhile.  Really, I did.  When I joined, it was at the behest of a communications guru at one of my jobs.  She said it would improve visitor numbers at my blog.  Needless to say - I joined toute de suite and here I am on Twitter.  I did my thing - found a bunch of celebrities and other people to follow, and I write my own messages.

Last night I had the craziest epiphany.  I know nothing about Twitter and the Digital Age, despite having lived through the inception of the internet and the rise of the home computer.  Or should I say, the rise of the ubiquitous computer?  Anyway, I thought that with Twitter, one was supposed to be out living their life, occasionally posting a message about what they were doing, or had done.  It seems I am beyond gravely mistaken.  While reading several accounts I follow, it dawned on me that I'm supposed to be living my life around my Tweets, and that life is what happens while you're updating your status.  Apparently, Ed from "Shaun of the Dead" had the right idea.  Who knew?

 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Eh...the jury is out.



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia - A pub - pictured since the family witnesses a fatal stabbing in a pub one night."]Vernon Pub, Liverpool[/caption]


I resisted the urge to buy David Moody's "Hater" for awhile.  Truth be told?  It just didn't seem that interesting.  The description on the back of the book about violent people didn't really make me want to pick it up - which was a terrible shame because the cover of the book rocks.

However, I finally caved in, purchased the book (and its sequel), and read "Hater".  "Hater" begins with a series of vignettes about different people suddenly becoming afraid of those around them, and in self defense, they kill whoever happens to be the momentary source of the paranoia.  Interesting and engaging beginning.  But then something happens - you meet the guy who will become the main character, and the book seems downhill from there.  He's a henpecked nebbish with two (literally) screaming brat children who don't ever seem to stop nagging, and a wife whose every appearance is sure to be stomach-turning.  As the reader, you are drug through this poor sod's life as he encounters the beginning of the end of civilization.  On the news, more and more violent attacks are occurring, until he and his wife start to see things happening in their own neighborhood.

The premise isn't bad, the execution isn't bad, it's the family that kills "Hater".  By the time the main character becomes one of the haters and turns on his family, the reader is left all but wishing he'd do something to shut the kids up.  Every single time the children make an appearance, they are whining, sniveling, or clamoring for something the main character doesn't have the money to buy for them.  His wife is an unhelpful partner who often asks him just why he doesn't have the money to go out for ice cream, or the other costly extras of life.  As far as I'm concerned, he gains so much more from turning into a hater than he ever had as a normal person.

The book isn't really a zombie book as such, and I'm more than a little peeved that it has been marketed as such, but it is what it is.  I bought the second book, "Dog Blood" and fully intend to read the third book when it's published (I haven't read "Dog Blood" yet).  When I read a series I generally try and read all of the books, if only because the author has more to say on the subject.  I don't feel that it is fair to judge a whole series based on a book or two.

As a positive, I'm interested in seeing where Moody decides to take the plot, especially since he reveals the reason for the sudden and violent turn that everyone in the world has taken.  No - I'm not spoiling it for you!  Go read the book!

 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Moving...



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Aloe aristata[/caption]


Just a head's up to everyone...my family and I just moved into a new house yesterday and we're still unpacking and such.  The internet is not up yet - I'm using internet pirated from my boyfriend.  Hopefully within a week or two I will be up and running again.  I can still get e-mail via my phone if anyone needs me.  Ciao!

 

P.S.  The 17 houseplants moved without incident as well.