16Feb Reviews for January


Here are our media reviews for January, a mixed bunch and some good stuff!


Books. I've read quite a few these last few weeks, mostly audiobooks. The best of the lot was Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation, the first in the Southern Reach trilogy. All three books were published within a few months of each other. An almost Ballardian expedition into a strange area, with an unusual nature. A fascinating work of slipstream. We generally stock books that have had a generation to sink in, it helps sift through the titles that aren't made to last. The exception is books that we have an instinct about, authors who are consistently highly-sought or books we've read that we think will stand the test of time. The Southern Reach trilogy is one of these.

I also read James S. Corey's Leviathan Works. A fast-paced action piece, and the first in a recent (though well established) space opera. A good book, and enjoyable, but it almost felt like a write-by-numbers. I've never before read a book that I've been conscious of it having been written to be published. Not a criticism as such, just interesting. Mira Grant's Newsflesh was dull, with little in the way of plot and stock, cliche characters Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood was an engrossing and wonderful fantasy, with a fairly deep mythology. 

Films/TV. Preacher, Season One. All the hallmarks of a graphic novel production. A little grim and a little daft, but well put together. Goliath, a legal thriller was forgettable and had barely any plot. We watched 10 Cloverfield Lane and Room (based on the Emma Tennant novel), two films with captives, but both focusing as much time on (spoiler alert) the aftermath as on the actual imprisonment, but with very different outcomes. Both, ultimately, fairly dull.

Games. It's all been about Skyrim remastered! I loved this game when it first came out and it's even better the second time. It's the embodiment of high-fantasy. Taking influence from numerous sources, literature included, the various stories intertwine and bring a real sense of adventure and personal narrative. The improvements on the previous incarnation are barely noticeable but the quality of production easily makes up for it. A true fantastical adventure.

Music, It's all been about Thomas Newman this year, mostly the Road to Perdition score. A typical Newman score, but stronger than the film itself. In a more upbeat channel, I've been listening to Between the Lines (Hospital Records, 2012), a remix album from Austrian duo Camo & Krooked. Standout track would have to be Anubis, a stunning roller.

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