Monday, 25 July 2011

Reading & Seeing 3

Two brilliant beardy fellows who have provided me with my most recent reading escapades.

First, the older gent to the left - Frank Herbert - hugely respected and influential Science Fiction author, that's right folks I finally read Dune. It is awesome. In all honestly, it took me a little while to get into the story - there are a lot of character names to remember and a good few unusual places and customs to pronounce - but once these were mastered, I was able to engross myself with the desert planet Arrakis - it's people, the spice and of course the sandworms. Although I'd never want to live in such conditions (I probably wouldn't survive) I love the concept of a world without water (or v.little of it) and the inventions born out of such a climate, the imagination behind the technology, particularly the stillsuits, is ingenious. The plot itself is epic, dealing with various story-lines running parallel before culminating in the final stand-off where all the different groups come face to face. I would say that the very ending, the last page in fact, where the Lady Jessica verbally bitch-slaps Paul's (our hero's) wife to be is a little odd but thankfully it doesn't have to end like that. There are sequels and prequels all about the Dune universe. If you like your sci-fi and just haven't got round to it: Read This Book. If you're not a big sci-fi fan but you want to try it out: Read This Book. There's a reason why it's so acclaimed. Word of warning: keep a glass/bottle of water to hand when reading, it's thirsty work reading about a desert planet.

The younger bearded man to the right is Robert Kirkman creator of The Walking Dead comics, upon which the Frank Darabont TV series of the same name is based. For those who've seen the first season, you'll be happy to know that the next televised installment is due in October (for the USA and soon after for the UK), the trailer looks awesome. If you, like me, found the gap too long to wait for some zombie related goodness, you might like to read it. The series has steered away from the plot of the comics so that when I picked up vol. 2 I embarked on a alternative story with the same set of characters. Even though Simon Pegg's afterword says: 'Savour it, think about it, re-evaluate it and like the best zombies, take it slow', it's a page turner and you'll devour it super quickly, I'd advise maybe getting two or three volumes at once.

These two fellas (also supporting excellent facial hair) both appear in the two preoccupations of my TV viewing.

On the left we have Joel Kinnaman star of the US remake of the Danish series sensation, The Killing. Now I know that I might have screwed up here and I should have watched the Danish one (everyone keeps telling me it is immense) but the problem I have is that I've started the US one and I'm completely sucked in. I like the mix of social worlds clashing within the overall plot, the rainy but atmospheric Seattle setting and most of all the character interactions between the two case offices, Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Kinnaman). It is truly compelling viewing. I can't remember the last time I was so impatient to see the next episode of a show. If I could I'd watch all of it in one go. I'd probably be severely depressed and needing a good dosage of sunlight, happiness and cake at the end of it because, let's face it, it's pretty grim, but I've got to know who killed Rosie Larsen.

Baldie/beardy combo on the right is Bryan Cranston returning to the role of Walter White in Breaking Bad. Cranston plays the chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer who, in order to make some money to support his family (wife, disabled son, new baby) after he dies, enters into a partnership with a former student to cook and sell crystal meth (as you do). It's as mental as it sounds but after scooping a few Emmy Awards last Summer, it's back for the fourth season and things are, as you'd imagine in the drug world, getting completely out of hand.

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