Archive | Reviews

20 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Attack on Titan Season 2

attackontitan2

Attack on Titan‘s first season aired far enough back that I don’t have a review on Diabolical Plots to point newcomers to, but suffice to say it’s good! It crosses over to mainstream media much easier than most anime, but the story was clearly far from complete, which brings us to Season 2.

Be aware that there will be first season spoilers as I tackle the second season!

Attack on Titan took four years to return, which is surprising considering how popular it is. Part of the delay was no doubt because the first season had chewed through most of the available manga at the time it was animated, but considering that the second season is only covering one additional story arc, rather than two, I’m not sure why the studio waited so long. The manga has completed three more story arcs since the end of the first season, so from a storytelling standpoint, there’s a lot to work with.

Continue Reading

11 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark is a romance/mystery/horror novel, the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood (I reviewed the 7th and final season here, though keep in mind that will be spoilery if you’re just getting started)

Sookie Stackhouse is a twenty-five-year-old waitress living in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.  She is also a telepath–she can hear people’s thoughts, whether she likes it or not.  This has not been as useful as you might think, and has mostly served to make her a bit of an outcast.  Among other things, she has found any semblance of a romantic life is impossible with this ability, since she can hear her date’s hidden thoughts, not great for a first-date kind of situation.

Not too long ago, science perfected the production of synthetic blood.  Designed as a medical product, its announcement had wider effects than anticipated, when vampires all over the world revealed themselves to be real.  The synthetic blood allows them to survive without feeding on humans,  and so many vampires have chosen this time to reveal themselves and integrate into human society.

Continue Reading

06 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 suspense movie published by Paramount Pictures.

After an argument, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leaves her boyfriend and drives solo across Louisiana late at night.  After hearing reports on the radio of sweeping blackouts on the east coast, a pickup drives her off the road.

She wakes up in a cellar on a mattress on the floor, hooked up to an IV bag, and with a brace on her knee chained to the wall.  Soon she meets Howard (John Goodman), who claims to have rescued her from the side of the road and is nursing her back to health, and that he is keeping her there for her own good.  They’re in a fallout shelter under his farm, and he claims they’re both lucky to be there, because he says that war has broken out and the shelter is the only thing keeping them safe from the fallout.

Continue Reading

20 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Using MetaData For Clean Sorting of Fiction Podcast Episodes

written by David Steffen I’ve been listening to fiction podcasts for about 8 years, catching up on the backlog of one podcast before adding another.  I’m currently keeping up with about 10 podcasts.  I’m weird in that I prefer not to use a podcatcher, because I hate the iTunes podcatcher interface, so I manually download […]

Continue Reading

11 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a near future dystopia published in 1985 about a United States of America that has become an oppressive theocracy.  ((It has also very recently become a TV series streaming on Hulu, but I haven’t seen the show so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about that)

Offred lives in Gilead, the theocratic country that the United States has become in a near future.  The Christian Bible is the rule of the land, or at least a very strict interpretation of a very selective subset of the Christian Bible.  Tales of the “way things used to be” are a constant mantra told by those in power to justify the extreme measures taken to uphold the current law, tales of when women could not walk the street without being harassed, when women were expected to paint themselves for beauty, when women had to fear rape and assault.  Women are safe now, they say, treated as the precious vessels they are meant to be, to bear children as God intended.  There is a wall in town where the body of criminals are hung on display: atheists and homosexuals and adulterists and traitors and others.  All for the safety of the good citizens of Gilead, of course.

A lingering effect of the way things used to be is low fertility across the population, caused by some mixture of chemicals, diet, medications, intentional blocking of fertility, and other causes.  In the new world women who can’t produce children are unwomen, sent to labor camps to live short miserable lives.  Lower class women, at least.  Upper class women may be assigned handmaids who, inspired by the tale of Jacob’s handmaiden in the Bible, may act as a pregnancy proxy for an infertile wife (according to the dictates of Gilead, no man is infertile, it is always the wife).

Continue Reading

06 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Shrek the Musical

Shrek The Musical is a theater version of the 2001 CG comedy adventure Shrek.  As with the movie, the play is about the ogre Shrek who lives a contented secluded life in a swamp, but his solitude is interrupted with an influx of fairytale creatures who have been evicted by Lord Farquad to transform his kingdom into his perfect image of a kingdom.  When Shrek goes to confront Farquad (meeting Donkey, a talking donkey on the way) he is coerced into mounting a rescue mission of Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower to bring her back to be Farquad’s bride.

Continue Reading

28 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

EVENT REVIEW: The Science of Pixar

written by David Steffen This summer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the touring exhibit was The Science Behind Pixar.  There are sections of the exhibit for every stage of the production from concept art, storyboarding, clay modeling, modeling, rigging, motion capture, rendering, and lighting. If you’ve ever wondered how computer animation in general is […]

Continue Reading

21 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: 1984 by George Orwell

1984 is easily the most well-known dystopian novels, and one of the most famous science fiction novels in history (whether or not Orwell would call it science fiction).  The book was written by George Orwell, and published in 1949.  Almost seventy years later, the political ideas in the story are as relevant as ever, and many of the concepts have since entered everyday vernacular even when those speaking are not familiar with the book itself.  .

In the future of the story, there are only three super-nations across the entire globe–Oceania (which contains the former United States and United Kingdom among others), Eurasia, and Eastasia.  The three super-nations are constantly at war with another in ever-shifting alliances.  The super-nations are all authoritarian states, which maintain control by a combination of ever-present surveillance, constant revision of history, and the limitation destruction of language.

Continue Reading

11 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Hugo Review: Graphic Story Finalists

The final category I’m reviewing in the Hugo Award review series for this year, this is for the graphic story category. I like graphic stories, but I tend to not do a very good job keeping up with them, so I use this category as a chance to get a sampling from some popular stories.

Continue Reading

07 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

GAME REVIEW: Kill the Plumber

plumbertitle
Many gamers (especially those from the age of 30-40) grew up with Super Mario Bros. as their big introduction to games.  The music, the visuals, the enemies, the plot are all engrained deep in your heart with a lot of loving nostalgia.

Kill the Plumber is a platformer parody of Super Mario Bros. that turns the tables on the classic original.  A psychotic plumber has invaded your kingdom and he is massacring your citizens to pursue the princess who wants nothing more than to get away from her stalker.  So you mobilize your forces to fight this invader.  The plumber is fast and agile, and sometimes has extra powers like fireballs or invincibility, but you have numbers, and you can try each level as many times as you need to.

Continue Reading