Deadpool (2016)

Piotrek: Deadpool! It’s been years since I laughed so hard at the movies. Even the opening credits were hilarious. And then it got better. Coming from the Fox/X-Men side of Marvel adaptations, it’s a little gem. A bit like Guardians of the Galaxy, but more… I don’t like to use words like adult in this context, so I’ll say foul-mouthed and graphic. A movie all 15-year-old boys would love to see (in secret from their parents), because with all its vulgarity it’s often juvenile. But still fun. Rebellious from start to finish, it pokes fun at our expectations, from the very beginning till the expected after-closing-credits scene (a very cool one!). The fourth wall is not only frequently broken through, it hardly ever exists 😉

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Ola: Deadpool – the lovechild of Ryan Reynolds. Yes, the infamous Green Lantern, the wooden effigy of Hollywood pretty boy.  That doesn’t sound very promising, does it? But, surprisingly, it is a pretty cool movie. I know that the adjective “sweet” might not seem the first choice for a movie filled with ugly mugs, blood and farts (real or only imagined) and dirty jokes, but still, that’s the first one I came up with. It would be a nice Valentine Day movie for all comic book geeks and their significant others, the geeks would be bursting with geeky joyfulness and even their less geeky girlfriends/boyfriends could enjoy it.

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China Miéville, This Census-Taker (2016)

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A brand-new, fresh from the press Miéville, this time a novella. Don’t be mislead; it’s coming up to over 220 pages and at that page-count is nearly a full-fledged novel for other authors – but for Miéville it’s almost a short story ;).

The story is very simple. One is tempted to use the word “deceptively”, but it would not be true. It’s just plain simple, the bare story arc would fit no more than half a page. I would venture an opinion that it’s a form of literary experiment: to tell the story from a perspective of a traumatized insider who relives the events he witnessed as a boy. The perspective of a child is key to understanding this little work of Miéville. It colors the story; it gives the story its character, its peculiar form, its premeditated, not entirely intuitive imagery.

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Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

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Umberto Eco died on the 19th February 2016.

Ola: One of the world’s best semiologists, a medievalist, philosopher, literary critic, a keen, very observant analyst of modern media and communication processes. And, maybe most of all, a writer. One endowed with a wonderfully wicked mind. A person who understood bibliophiles like no one else. A person for whom a complex, demanding, intertextual play with symbols, patterns and cultural tropes was the epitome of fun.

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Peter Tieryas, United States of Japan (2016)

My first ARC 🙂 Yay! Thanks to Angry Robot’s Robot Army programme, we got early access (through NetGalley) to the ebook of United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas. Thanks, Angry Robot! Book will be published in the beginning of March, and I got to read it already, so it’s only fair that I’ll write a few words about it 😉

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It is, of course, The Man in the High Castle with mecha, the cover (I love it!) tells us as much. It’s more than that, surely, but that’s the first thing that comes to a reader’s mind and the author doesn’t hide his inspirations:

United States of Japan wouldn’t exist without some wonderful people. Obviously, the first person I want to thank is Philip K Dick who inspired me a great deal growing up, especially through The Man in the High Castle. Even though we’re very different writers, he’s had a huge influence on me and helped me to view the world in a completely unique light. (from Acknowledgements)

Another bow to Dick – similar plot device. In the classic book, a novel depicting alternative history within alternative history – a world where Axis won the war (differently than in our world, but still) is central to the plot. Here – it’s a computer game based on the same assumption, that’s a great idea for our times :)!

It is, ultimately, a very different book than its great predecessor, and one that deserves to be judged on its own merits. And I’m conflicted about how to judge it. It was a brave project to attempt writing spiritual successor to PKD’s masterpiece, probably too ambitious, but the result is an interesting book, though one not suited for everybody. A strong stomach is required, for one. An ability to either forgive protagonists a lot, or to enjoy a book while despising most of the characters – also helpful.

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M. R. Carey, The Girl With All The Gifts (2014)

The_Girl_with_All_the_GiftsAnother fairly new book, publicized and talked about a lot, based on a short story Iphigenia in Aulis, which won an Edgar Award. A movie is being made as I write, under a title She Who Brings Gifts, with Glen Close playing one of the main roles. The book strays from my regular literary diet, being a dystopia about zombies, and it didn’t change my tastes, nevertheless I quite enjoyed it.

A dystopia about zombies… Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Thankfully, Carey knows how to play this game, mixing old and new, and, most importantly, concentrating on the characters. It’s a character novel, in essence; a road story, a Bildungsroman of sorts.

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A Cardboard Game of Thrones

Second game, third game post, after that – I’ll stop. For a while, at least. Next week it’s back to books, I promise.

A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame is one of my favourites. Another genre franchise that everybody at least recognizes, but the game itself is completely different than last week’s Battlestar: Galactica. It’s one of the backstabbing games Henry Kissinger could enjoy. I did, immensely, dozens of times.

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When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.

Famous GRRM quote sums up the game nicely.

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