Book Review: The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The truth? Who gives a fuck?

The Anomaly is a thriller science fiction novel by Michael Rutger. Nolan Moore is a documentary presenter looking for a big break in the media industry. When him and his team caught wind of a story about an explorer finding a mysterious cavern within The Grand Canyon, the team sets out to find the same cavern and try to document the mystery behind it.

The book starts out as your typical horror movie set up. A group of people heading to an exotic location, in their case to film a documentary and soon finds out something odd is afoot in said location. This book however is a lot more clever than expected.

The characters are likable and though they are types they’re all given personalities. The story itself is simple and though there are times where you think the book’s going a certain way, it manages to stay unpredictable until the very end.

Overall The Anomaly was very fun read, it’s highly entertaining and even though it starts off fairly slow it becomes a page turner halfway through. If you’re looking for a good science fiction/thriller/horror with some dab of comedy, check out The Anomaly.

Rating: 4/5

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

Sometimes to love someone, you got to be a stranger.

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Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to the 1982 cult classic Blade Runner. Directed by Denis Villenueve (Arrival), starring Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Jared Leto and Harrison Ford.

Set 30 years after the first Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 follows K, a Blade Runner set to find older model replicants. Along his finds he follows a dangerous path with a very dark secret.


The Good

One of the most striking aspect of the movie is the cinematography. This movie is gorgeous, from the misty cyberpunk cityscape of Los Angeles to the red desolate desert of Las Vegas, this movie looks incredible.

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Accompanying the great cinematography is the performances from some of your notable characters characters. Though one performance that stood out is Ana De Armas, who plays Joi who is very good in the film. However the CG that accompanied her character is also visually impressive.


The Bad

The movie is almost three hours long and unfortunately you feel the length of it. There are plenty of scenes that drag and some moments where there are plenty of talking. Though the movie is visually striking, there are scenes that are hard to get through due to it’s slow pacing.


Rating

Overall Blade Runner 2049 is a visual masterpiece. The cinematography of the movie is incredible and Roger Deakins who’s the director of photography will surely get nominated again for an Oscar and could possibly win it. Your performances are mostly decent and even characters with smaller roles played by Dave Bautista and Barkhad Abdi were great.

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However with the long running time this can be a tough movie to get through overall. But if you’re a huge sci-fi fan who enjoyed the first Blade Runner and doesn’t mind movies with slow moving pace Blade Runner 2049 is for you.

Good Bad 4.5/5
  • Incredible Visuals
  • Ana De Armas as Joi
  • Trippy Ménage à trois
    • Long Running Time
    • Unnecessarily Loud

Graphic Novel Review: We3 by Grant Morrison

“We3 Home Now”

-Grant Morrison, We3

1 (dog), 2(cat) and 3(rabbit) are a team of soldier animals equipped with high tech suit and given limited speech capabilities, the team is used to fight the government’s battles. That is until the head of the operation decided to decommission the team and commanded the people in charge to have the animals put down. Fortunately for them the person that trained them didn’t have the heart to take them out but instead released the team in the wild while authorities chase after them doing everything in their power to eliminate the 3 animals.

First off WOW what a read, I can tell this is not for everyone specially for animal lovers as the series is visceral, brutal, bloody and flat out gory. However if you want a solid Sci-Fi story involving bad-ass house pets this is definitely recommended for you. The story is set out as a chase which is quite simple however it works extremely well. The story has a way to make you care for the animals right from the get go and makes you keep caring all the way to the end. Granted their speech capabilities is limited, every word they utter is substantial.

The pacing is perfect as it never slowed down, there’s always a threat right around the corner for the team to face and it’s always something bigger than the last one. The art is beautiful, specially the cover for each issue, as it shows the missing poster for each pet and its both creative and brilliant. There are some disturbing scenes as it shows both human and animal decapitation but by adding these strong visuals it compliments the story tremendously.

Overall We3 is an amazing series, the only problem is it’s only 3 issues but those issues are memorable and eventful it’s incredibly well put. Like I said animal lovers might hate it because the depiction of gore towards animals but for the right crowd We3 is a masterpiece.

Rating: 4.4/5

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”

-Andy Weir, The Martian

It’s Sol 5 on Mars and the Ares 3 Mission Crew are preparing to head to the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) in hopes to leave Mars before they are hit with an extremely dangerous dust storm. Unfortunately on the way to the MAV, Astronaut Mark Watney, was hit by a flying wreckage sending him away. With very little option Commander Lewis had to abort her search for Watney as the crew shoots off to space. Fortunately for Watney he’s alive, unfortunately he’s stuck on Mars.

First off, WOW!, this was an amazing book, filled with likable characters an incredible story and not to mention hilarious dialogues. The writing on Mark Watney is believable, he’s someone people can easily relate with. Even with his impressive scientific knowledge, he comes off as a total geek but charismatic and because of that I found myself rooting for him all they way.

Another great thing about the book is the science, whether it’s pseudo-science or factual. The book sells it well, from the chemistry, biology to the physics and math. It’s amazingly detailed and believable. Though I’m certain there are inaccuracies but it’s written so well it’s not worth the effort to check. As for the other characters they all have important roles to fill, it almost felt like there are no side characters and calling them side characters doesn’t do them justice as they are also well-written and you can see that they care for Mark Watney and seeing the compassion from them will definitely draw some emotions out of you.

A surprising part of the book is the humor, my goodness this book is funny. For a book filled with scientific explanations and mathematical calculations, the humor is laugh out loud it complements the book really well and it makes the book a whole lot easier to read.

Overall this is an extremely well-written book, it’s funny and educational there’s suspense, drama and every time something horrific happens to Mark Watney, and a lot of bad shit happens, you care, you root for him from the start and from start to finish there’s never a dull moment. The Martian is without a doubt one of the best, sci-fi book out there and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Rating: 5/5

Book Review: Replay by Ken Grimwood

“All life includes loss. It’s taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don’t expect I’ll ever be fully resigned to it. But that doesn’t mean we have to turn away from the world, or stop striving for the best that we can do and be. We owe that much to ourselves, at least, and we deserve whatever measure of good may come of it.”

-Replay, Ken Grimwood

Jeff Winston was 43 years old when he felt something his heart, he’s stunned and just like that he died of heart attack, in the year of 1988. Suddenly he awoke in his college dorm room at Emory, the year was 1963 and once again Jeff Winston was 18 years old.

Replay started off strong, right off the bat, our protagonist died and woke up 25 years earlier in his 18 year old body. Straight away there’s intrigue, I wanted to know how and why as well as follow Jeff’s bizarre story. There was a feeling of anticipation within me, it felt like I’m about to embark on an amazing sci-fi/fantasy journey with Replay. Unfortunately the sci-fi/fantasy aspect of Replay is underwhelming. It was during the beginning of the third act where I realized that Replay is more of a Romantic novel. That said, the romance was written very well, overwhelming on certain parts but if I’m going to give the book a credit it would be hitting the romance aspect right out the park.

With this being underwhelming on the fantasy/sci-fi part, the book also suffers on some aspects. There was a part of the first act where, there was absolutely nothing going on despite the strong early chapters. The pacing could have been a lot better and with the lack of sci-fi elements the book needed a quicker pace. Another complaint is our protagonist, Jeff Winston himself, he lacked the charisma to make me root for him. Compared to his counter parts or other characters he was the least person I cared about. His character was so bland where, there were parts where women went with him mainly because he’s got money.

That said, he was smart with several of his decisions. Any smart person would do what he had done when he woke up back in 1963. He was placing bets on winning teams, investing and buying stocks on start up companies who’re eventually going to become successful. There were a lot “yes that’s exactly what I would do” moments. Though unlikable as a character at least he was smart. Also a great part of the book was Jeff’s female love interest. She was written incredibly well she was the complete opposite of Jeff in terms of likability and she’s oozing with charisma. With her around Jeff sometimes becomes an afterthought and that’s how strongly she was written.

Overall the book is a great romantic story, just don’t expect it to be heavy on the sci-fi/fantasy aspect because waking up in a younger version of yourself is as good as it gets in terms of fantasy. It wasn’t what I was expecting but in the end I was OK with it. If there’s one lesson to take about the book, it is to remember major sports win or derby wins because you will never know. Highly recommended to people who are into romance-fantasy novels but for hardcore sci-fi/fantasy fans, this won’t be for you.

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness.”

-Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

The year is 2044, and the world is a grim place to be. Poverty has risen, rich people stay rich and poor people stay poor. Not to mention a very polluted air, land and sea. Luckily for the people, billionaire James Donovan Halliday, created a virtual reality game called OASIS. In which most people use to escape the terrible reality that they live in. Unfortunately Halliday died without any heir and for his last testament. Halliday revealed that within his game, OASIS, he had hidden several Easter Eggs, clues and keys that whosoever finds these intricately hidden artefacts will have access to rights of the multi billion dollar game which is OASIS.

Straight from the first page I knew Ready Player One was going to be an excellent story. I was immediately hooked and like a video game I was addicted. The story is told in first person by the protagonist Wade Watts. Much like Peter Parker or Clark Kent, Wade Watts also has alliteration for a name. Thanks to his comic book reading dad. Unfortunately Wade has been orphaned early on his life and is forced to live with his Aunt, where he is often antagonized. His only solace is to fully submerge himself in the virtual reality game of OASIS. We follow Wade as he himself searches for the treasure meeting different people likewise confronting evil organizations who want to monopolize the game for profit.

I’m telling you now if you are not a fan of the 80s you probably won’t enjoy this book. I myself know very little of the 80s except for some movies and some music that came out that decade. Ready Player One is filled with pop trivia references from books, movies, video games, comic books basically anything geeky. Luckily for me I managed to connect to the game having played several MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) myself, I knew some concepts being talked about within the book.

That said, the book doesn’t have an original premise as you might have seen the same plot from movies such as Total Recall or even some Anime such as The Greed Island Arc from Hunter X Hunter, where the protagonist has to go into a virtual reality game created by his dad and find clues that lead to his whereabouts. And even the part where this rich man leaving a treasure for people to find, on his last breath is similar to premise of the Anime One Piece. Not to mention the character can sometimes become Robert Langdonish, a protagonist on most Dan Brown novels, on his clue finding approach.

However what makes Ready Player One stand out is the video game world, OASIS. OASIS is not just a single 3 dimensional plane, but rather is made up of different worlds. The scope of the game is astronomically huge, and with this, the author managed to capture a sense of adventure for the characters. It is a space opera that delivered amazing Sci-Fi action much like how the original Star Wars Trilogy did.

The characters are likeable specially the protagonist, Wade Watts whose in game name is Parzival, like the knight from Arthur’s Knight’s of the Roundtable. As Parzival unlock puzzles and clues I felt his excitement and joy. I can empathize and it is the first time I’ve had goosebumps reading a book. Much like most geeks on their late teens, Wade, has a lot of insecurities to over come. And one can easily relate to these insecurities, I personally how it feels to have the same and as I read on I can share his pain. Which makes me root for him a whole lot more.

The novel is also with flaws, as certain characters falls into certain stereotypes and certain reveals are made just for diversity reasons. That said, that does not take you away from the story as it is still an incredible tale. Ready Player One is without a doubt one of the best book I’ve read and is definitely a high favourite. Ready Player One is highly recommended for people who loves a well done Science Fiction story. It is an intergalactic treasure hunt that kept onto my feet and without a doubt kept me from wanting to read the next page.

Rating: 5/5