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Messages - DaveEllis

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1
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: November 23, 2017, 12:27:24 PM »
I'm finally reading Dusk by Tim Lebbon. It's been on my radar since I saw it in a bookshop many years ago, but never got round to buying it.  Tim's recently released it on Kindle himself.

So far a brilliant marriage of epic fantasy and the horror that he's more famous for.  The first chapter is a treat.

2
Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: Star Trek Discovery
« on: November 22, 2017, 08:52:50 AM »
I've really loved it, but with a few caveats.  I think the first two episodes suffered from not really knowing what the premise of the show really was beyond Klingon war and following a lower ranked officer, so while you thought you were watching a "pilot", you were really watching a "prequel".  But once Isaacs came in as slightly dodgy and yet likeable captain it really picked up.  The second Harry Mudd ep and the one on the planet with the antennae really felt like old school star trek with modern sensibilities, which is I guess what they are going for.

The caveats - the level of technology is really distracting when it is supposed to only be set 10 years before Kirk-era.  Sarek is really forced into the plot and I didn't particularly like that part of Burnham's back story.

plus
Spoiler for Hiden:
killing off all the cool women, Michelle Yeoh and the security woman whose name I can't remember but she was in BSG, that was a real shame.

3
In 7 days I am going to be able to play handheld Skyrim and this is making me unbelievably excited.  I never played the DLC first time round and its been a good 3 years since played the original so really, really looking forward to getting stuck into a new character.

4
Writers' Corner / Re: "Murky middle" problem with outlining a story
« on: September 19, 2017, 07:37:28 AM »
The Raymond Chandler law..."When in doubt have a man walk through the door with a gun in his hand" tho it would be sword in your setting.

I'm being flippant because I have the exact same problem and feel your pain.

5
Writers' Corner / Re: Interesting article for writers on main site
« on: September 13, 2017, 11:18:44 AM »
Isn't one of the most common "rules" bandied about, write for yourself not for a market/specific reader?  So I suppose following that idea I can see where she is coming from.

But if you put it conversely then its definitely not true, just because the writer finds it entertaining does not mean the reader will.

At the end of the day, like all writing help articles its purely opinion and not suited to everyone.  I like her way of planning and after pantsing a Nanowrimo last year which I find totally unreadable, I might use this in the upcoming Nano for the same basic idea.

6
Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: UK - new SF series
« on: September 12, 2017, 09:25:43 AM »
Some of the episode descriptions sound very interesting and it has a very diverse cast, some British TV and some Hollywood.

It's definitely on my watch list.

7
For the last couple of years I have been using this site www.cmro.travis-starnes.com, Marvel Unlimited and various minor purchases to read Marvel comics in chronological order from Fantastic Four 1.  I quickly reduced the pull list to just core books, so I read FF, Hulk, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, all Spidey titles, all X Men related titles (Except Dazzler...jeez), and I dip in and out of all the others depending on interest.

It's been an interesting experience, a lot of it in the beginning is almost unreadable...and the classics are classics for the reason.  While I've found the odd issue that shines, most that stand out any average Marvel fan would have heard of FF 48-50 (The coming of Galactus), Death of Gwen Stacy, The Skrull-Kree war, etc.

I've recently just finished the Secret Wars story from 84 and now well into the Mid-80's and the quality is soaring, you can clearly see why it is the golden era of Marvel.  I've just finished Miller's run on Daredevil, which I had read before, and well into Claremont's X Men era (Rachel Summers has just turned up) but stuff I haven't read before, the black suit saga for Spiderman, John Byrne's Fantastic Four, Walt Simonson's Thor run, drunken Tony Stark...its all great.  The art is just starting to modernise, some is still outdated but some real standouts, like the art on New Mutants Demon Bear arc. 

For the first time reading is a genuine pleasure rather than the hard slog it felt like in the mid-70's, there are some truly terrible books in the first two decades of Marvel, and shock horror Stan Lee was not that great.

I'll make some recommendations as I head towards the 90's.

@DaveEllis , a very interesting post. Having read many of those when they first came out, especially late '60s-early '80s, I think my perception would be misted by the age I was and the sense of nostalgia. Cool to hear the view of someone basically new to them and with more modern media as a framework.

There was an issue of Son of Fu Manchu (not a core book) in which nothing happens except the hero and his girlfriend relaxing and making out between adventures. There was almost no dialogue or none, and the panels were "narrated" with lyrics from the Fleetwood Mac album, Rumors. I listened to Rumors again the other day and found I was bored stiff. But at that age, the issue was some of awesome.

How time changes things.

I grew up on the 90's cartoons but never had access to a decent comic shop or the money to read consistently.  Marvel Unlimited is a godsend, although it does have some annoying gaps in the main runs, Daredevil stops when Miller does and then comes back when Miller does, haha. 

I knew going in that the 60's and 70's was going to be more for kids, and simplified.  What I wasn't prepared for was the sexism and the racism.  The former just in the treatment of the women and the love interests, I'd argue its not till Claremont takes over X Men do you actually get a proper female character with her own agency, at least beyond swooning at men (Wasp) or being wifey (Invisible Girl - she doesn't even become Invisible Woman for twenty years) The racism is trying to tackle it, I guess, but some of the terms and language thrown about in a kids comic is downright shocking in the 70's.

I think coming from a more modern sensibility of arcs, crossovers and the lack of the need to describe every singe action, (cos you know...pictures!!)  has coloured my perceptions, which is probably why the 80's are more enjoyable as you get long form stories, better art and more interesting stories.  The biggest change is when Walt Simonson takes over Thor...he still does all the olde worlde language, still has Loki scheming and Odin being an ass...but somehow it just works where before it was just dead boring.

I could go on...maybe I'll write a blog about it.

8
For the last couple of years I have been using this site www.cmro.travis-starnes.com, Marvel Unlimited and various minor purchases to read Marvel comics in chronological order from Fantastic Four 1.  I quickly reduced the pull list to just core books, so I read FF, Hulk, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, all Spidey titles, all X Men related titles (Except Dazzler...jeez), and I dip in and out of all the others depending on interest.

It's been an interesting experience, a lot of it in the beginning is almost unreadable...and the classics are classics for the reason.  While I've found the odd issue that shines, most that stand out any average Marvel fan would have heard of FF 48-50 (The coming of Galactus), Death of Gwen Stacy, The Skrull-Kree war, etc.

I've recently just finished the Secret Wars story from 84 and now well into the Mid-80's and the quality is soaring, you can clearly see why it is the golden era of Marvel.  I've just finished Miller's run on Daredevil, which I had read before, and well into Claremont's X Men era (Rachel Summers has just turned up) but stuff I haven't read before, the black suit saga for Spiderman, John Byrne's Fantastic Four, Walt Simonson's Thor run, drunken Tony Stark...its all great.  The art is just starting to modernise, some is still outdated but some real standouts, like the art on New Mutants Demon Bear arc. 

For the first time reading is a genuine pleasure rather than the hard slog it felt like in the mid-70's, there are some truly terrible books in the first two decades of Marvel, and shock horror Stan Lee was not that great.

I'll make some recommendations as I head towards the 90's.

9
Put the Power on the side and started over on The Terror by Dan Simmons. I know it's a big book and I know if it's historical in any way no one will survive but... man he knows how to be moody.

I haven't read that one, but I loved Drood by Dan Simmons.  He's extremely good at mood and atmosphere.

10
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: August 23, 2017, 03:16:05 PM »
Reading Blackwing by Ed McDonald and it is living up to the hype for me, very interesting worldbuilding, a solid voice for the POV and a pacey read.

11
Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Re: The Defenders (Netflix)
« on: August 18, 2017, 09:07:47 AM »
I loved Daredevil series 1 and the Punisher arc of Series 2 but felt they dropped the ball a bit with Electra.

Jessica Jones was hands down the best series purely for David Tennant's performance, and some of the downright creepy situations he created.

Luke Cage was alright, some good moments but failed on the villain front I felt.  Its at this point I wish they would sometimes go more comic booky with their villains...they're all costumed villains in the comics turned into business men and gangsters in the shows.  I know its supposed to be grounded realism but still have some fun.

Iron Fist, looking at reviews I appear to be the only one who liked the first few episodes and hated the end.  I preferred him when he was na├»ve, happy go lucky and funny because it was different to the other three Defenders...but with each episode he gets more angry and more brooding and by the end I was bored.  Again the villains are just business men and gangsters (ninja gangsters but still gangsters).  Colleen Wing was brilliant tho (except for a late in the day twist I hated) and I want Netflix to greenlight the Nightwing detective agency as a show soon with Colleen and Misty Night.

Overall, the biggest problems so far have been too wedded to realism when I want a bit of comic book 4 colour glory.  (Where's Stiltman?  Ok forget that one.)  And every single series, even the good ones have been too long.  From the Defenders trailers I haven't seen too much to solve the former, but at 8 episodes I hope it solves the latter.

As a finisher I'll just say, Kingpin is dead on and the sooner they bring him into the Spider-man films the better in my opinion.

12
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone.  4 chapters in and loving it, just getting my head round the concept but it's humorous and well written so even though it drops you in the deep end I'm enjoying figuring it all out.  Quite Pratchett-esque in its mundane use of magic, like ghosts suing people to regain their estate.

13
I had a terrible month reading, just couldn't get into any book.  So read comics and a couple of Star Trek novels (my goto switch off reading) and then in the last week I read All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders and oh my god it was fantastic.  It was like Nick Hornby on acid, and almost made me cry at the end.  I think my reading drought is at an end.

14
The only one I've ever played was way back in the day for the SNES. I thought it was too hard, so I always played it with cheat codes. But the codes didn't work in the battle against the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. Never could get past that battle.

You shall not pass!!!  (Sorry, I couldn't resist)

I have fond memories of the Two Towers game on PS2, but that was in my obsessive period while the original films were coming out.  I've played a bit of Battle for Middle Earth 2, but strategy games only hold my attention for about a week.

I think Lord of the Rings Online is very good and suitably atmospheric, and I liked how it stuck to the plot, I'm not one for a fight and loot MMO, I like a good story. 

Old Skool shout out for The Hobbit text game, I had it on the Amstrad, that was brilliant after I'd worn out my copy of the paperback.

Shadows of Mordor was excellent for playability and had a good plot, but particularly liked the Nemesis system, the way it creates very personal villains for the player was very innovative.  I still remember the moment when the orc I'd killed with an arrow to the eye came back during a particularly hard boss battle with a wooden eye patch declaring I should have checked the body, better than any of the scripted portions of the game.

15
Since getting a Kindle my TBR "digital" pile has gone through the roof...twitter and bookbub and amazon all point me to cheap books that I buy, I have series that I have bought all the books for but still only early on in the series, and every month new books come out.  I get quite stressed about it which is daft, but its just the same with TV series, films and games, consuming media has become so easy and there is so much of it that it becomes just making lists and ticking things off rather than just the pure enjoyment of reading a book.

I am trying to get better, I've ordered all my series in reading order on my kindle, so that picking the next book doesn't take much to think about and I try and limit to one or two purchases of books per month.  And anything really new, I add to goodreads for later perusal.

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