26Sep Reviews for September
It's been a good while since we offered any reviews. We did write a post a couple of weeks back but the browser died and I lost the post.
TV and Film.
I'm not usually one to believe the hype, but Bodyguard on the BBC was a good few hours of fun. A reasonably tight script, with only a handful of plot flaws and a meandering story. The acting was mostly solid, and we ended up watching the last three episodes in a row. On Netflix I've been making my way through WWII in HD Colour so I can compete with my daughter's knowledge about it (they're studying it at school). The colour adds a little to the experience, but I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of footage available. I also enjoyed the AlphaGo documentary about AI playing the game of Go. What should've been a tedious 90 mins was converted into a decent documentary.
In the spare few minutes between cataloguing, photographing, buying and reading books I managed to play a little Cities Skylines on the PC. Picking up where SimCity failed, CS offers a sublime opportunity not only to model cities but to design a realistic, good-looking habitat. We also picked up the board game Pandemic recently. I'd heard it was good and the co-operative play seemed to offer a different perspective.
TV, film and games always take a back seat to books - obviously. The top reads of the last few weeks have been, firstly, Robin Hobb's Tawny Man trilogy. A lengthy 2,000-odd page story continuing the adventures of Fitz and the Fool, and what a pleasure to welcome them back into my life again. Easily stands up against the Farseer trilogy. Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement was a fun jaunt, The Twelve Million Dollar Stuffed Shark is an excellent examination of the contemporary art market and well worth reading for anyone remotely interested in it. The Anubis Gates is a stunning time-travel yarn and one of the finest novels I've read of late. Powers has a wonderful style and fills each sentence with colour, certainly one of our finest writers. Oh, and Swan Song by Robert McCammon, what a novel. I'd put it up there with Stephen King's The Stand as being a defining moment for post-apocalyptic fiction, and speculative fiction in general. For anyone interested in word origins, Mark Forsyth's The Etymologicon is a rewarding read. The only book I recall not getting on with would be Heinlein's Starship Troopers, as usual, he reverts to preaching and it gets boring fast.
TC's Unleash the Wolves has been cycling through on Spotify for the last few weeks, a distinctive sound with heavy, clean beats and punchy basslines. We also discovered artist Sian, whose minimal predictable techno hits the right spots, teasing out melodies over a number of bars whilst building the tracks steadily to an unexpected crescendo. Ambient work from Loscil has also been playing for hours on end whilst cataloguing, it's almost a soundtrack for cataloguing nowadays.