Archive | Reviews

20 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Gwendy’s Button Box is a novella written by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, published by Cemetery Dance Publications.

Gwendy is a middle-schooler living in Castle Rock in the 1970s.  She is not happy with her life–she never feels quite smart enough, quite thin enough, quite popular enough.  She is trying to make her life fit her expectations better, sprinting up the steep Suicide Stairs to try to lose some weight, where she meets a mysterious stranger who gives her the titular button box.  If he is to be believed, the buttons lining on the box would have catastrophic consequences of unbelievable, except the red button whose consequences are of a more negotiable scope.  It also produces an apparently endless supply of chocolates that are both amazingly delicious and they also quell appetite, as well as valuable antique coins.  He leaves her with the box, and she is left with the choice of whether and when and how to use it.

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10 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Disney’s Aladdin

Aladdin is a  play based on a 1992 Disney cartoon movie of the same name.  The play premiered in Seattle in 2011, and went to Broadway in 2014.

The story takes place in the fictional Arabic city of Agrabah.  The title character Aladdin is a young man, an orphan who has to steal to survive.  One day in the marketplace he meets a young woman and he falls for her, but then they are caught by the city guards and the woman reveals herself to be the princess of Agrabah as Aladdin is hauled away to the dungeons.  Aladdin is pulled from the dungeons by Jafar, the sultan’s advisor, because a prophecy stated that Aladdin was the “diamond in the rough” the only one that could retrieve the wish-granting genie’s lamp from the Cave of Wonders.  Aladdin goes and succeeds in finding the lamp, and is trapped in the cave but becomes the master of the Genie.

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06 November 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Natsume Yūjin-chō Roku

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Natsume Yūjin-chō Roku is the sixth season of the long-running series (also known as Natsume’s Book of Friends). I previously reviewed seasons 1-4 here and season 5 here.

Natsume Yūjin-chō follows the ongoing misadventures of teenage Takashi Natsume, who has the ability to see youkai (spirits out of Japanese folklore) when most people cannot. Because the series is episodic, it’s generally easy to slip into the middle with minimal knowledge of what has happened in the past, but a few of Roku‘s episodes work better knowing Takashi’s (and his grandmother Reiko’s) history.

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30 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2003, the third in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood–this book was used very loosely as the basis for season 3 of the show.  The first book in the series is Dead Until Dark, (reviewed here), and the second book was Living Dead in Dallas (reviewed here).

Sookie’s vampire boyfriend Bill has been working on a project to the point of nearly total distraction.  Now he has disappeared under mysterious circumstances and Sookie sets out to find out what happened to him. The clues lead to Jackson, Mississippi where it appears that Bill’s former lover and maker Lorena has summoned him (maker as in the one who turned him into a vampire).  Clues seem to indicate that he is being held there against his will and their first stop is “Club Dead” the nickname for a major hangout for the supernatural in Jackson.  Sookie enlists the help of Bill’s boss and local authority in the vampire hierarchy Eric Northman and newfound ally the werewolf Alcide Herveaux.

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27 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: KADO: The Right Answer

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KADO: The Right Answer is an usual piece of science fiction for anime to tackle. While first contact scenarios are about as common in anime as in Western movies, they are usually played for action (when the aliens are hostile) or comedy (when the aliens are not). KADO chooses to begin with an alien whose motivations are obscure by our understanding.

Yaha-kui zaShunina arrives in a giant extra-dimensional cube that lands on top of a passenger plane, accidentally absorbing it and all the people inside. Fortunately, one of those on board is ace government negotiator Kojiro Shindo. When the alien entity does not appear to be immediately hostile and goes to the effort of absorbing the the concept of human language, the two of them begin to communicate.

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23 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas is a romance/mystery/horror novel, the second in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris, which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood–this book was the basis for season 2 of the show.  The first book in the series is Dead Until Dark, which I reviewed previously.

In the previous book, Sookie met her first love–the vampire Bill Compton.  She’s a telepath and her ability to read minds has proved disastrous to her love life, but she can’t hear vampire thoughts.  They are together now, and he is teaching her new things about controlling her powers, as she learns more and more about the supernatural world.

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20 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Attack on Titan Season 2

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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