Home

Podcast: CCR38: Nosferatu (1922)

Leave a comment

Tonight your hosts, Hugh, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, sink their teeth into a silent classic.

Click HERE to listen.

And HERE if you haven’t seen the film!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Thanks for listening to this podcast! If you enjoyed it, share it, or leave a review on iTunes! You can also support Hugh on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh Likes Podcasts: The Shared Desk

Leave a comment

The Shared Desk
Hosted by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine
http://www.theshareddesk.com/

I can’t believe I haven’t covered this one before. Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine are the husband-and-wife team of authors behind The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. They are also long-experienced solo writers and podcasters, so obviously they have a writing podcast together in which they discuss the craft of writing and collaborating as a couple.
I will confess that Pip and Tee are dear personal friends and fellow Smoky Writers. One of the things I love about them is that they have an amazing energy as a couple, and that totally comes through on the podcast. They are a joy to listen to.
When they began the podcast, they were both working together on their Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences steampunk novels, now that the series has wound its way down, they have split off to their own projects again, but still gather to discuss the events of their lives, interact with their active fanbase, and opine on writerly discourse of the day. While the show began as a look at the shared creative process, it has morphed into a writing podcast focusing on work/life balance, how to comport yourself as a writer, particularly online, and of course, lengthy diversions into nerdery, video games, and beer, all topics near and dear to my heart.
One of the things I really like about it is the balance between work and play The Shared Desk has. Tee is never far from his soundboard of drop-ins, and they’ve had beer tastings, chatted with special guests, dissected tv shows and movies for writing craft, and even divvied up Loot Crate boxes on-mic.
Writing is usually a lonely business, but “The Shared Desk” revels in the parts of the job that aren’t, and the fun and friends you make along the way. Check it out at www.theshareddesk.com, in iTunes, or your podcatcher of choice.

Thanks for reading this article. If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh Likes Fiction: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Leave a comment

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Written by Becky Chambers
Published by Harper Voyager

Sometimes the best Science Fiction is quiet and thoughtful. The genre is often buttressed by “Big Ideas” and zap-gun adventure, but my favorite stories are the slower, more character-focused novels. These are novels like Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, or Nathan Lowell’s Quarter Share. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is squarely in this sub-genre, and it excels.
Rosemary Harper is a privileged girl from the upper crust of Martian society. When she decides to escape her past and society, she takes a job as a clerk on a long-haul wormhole boring ship, The Wayfarer. The misfit crew of the ship is completely different from her former life.
While the story is framed by Rosemary’s story, it is a picaresque novel following the misadventures of the small, tightly knit crew. And the book shines in this respect. The crew of The Wayfarer are efficiently constructed, and for the most part, incredibly likable characters. From Dr. Chef, one of the last survivors of an alien species that destroyed itself in a ceaseless civil war, to Kizzy, the wild-child engineer, this book is filled with unforgettable, engaging characters that treat each other like family rather than coworkers. The upcoming Star Trek series will be lucky to be half so charming.
Chambers’ galaxy is also well presented and engaging. The places that The Wayfarer travels are all detailed and iconic. She also creates a galaxy where humans aren’t top dogs. Having poisoned our home planet and settled into a pair of bickering factions, Humanity is a minor player in galactic politics. This is always a refreshing position to take in Sci Fi, and it works really well here.
This book may not be for everyone. Chambers skips past a lot of the things traditional SF banks on. We hear about massive space battles and galactic discourse in the same way the characters do: Through news and rumors, with small hints at chewier, bigger plot elements throughout the book. This is a small, personal story, and Chambers tells it well. But if you go in expecting Senate hearings or military pomp and blaster fire, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is available from Amazon and other online booksellers, or from your local bookstore.

Thanks for reading this review. If you enjoyed it, please share it. You can also support me on Patreon for short fiction, exclusive audio, and more goodies!

Podcast: CCRC25: The Real Ghostbusters

Leave a comment

Join the Chrononauts in watching this classic ’80s nonsense!

Click HERE

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is a joint production of Skinner Co. and Hatching Phoenix Productions. This post originally appeared at Skinner.FM on July 13, 2017.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies!

Hugh Likes Anime: Castlevania

Leave a comment

Castlevania
Netflix

Netflix’s new animated adaptation of “Castlevania” is a strange beast. This might be expected, as it was penned and produced by Warren Ellis, the creator of such offbeat comics as “Transmetropolitan” and “Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.” But it is a heck of a fun little gem for all its flaws.
The miniseries is gorgeous. The character designs are iconic and immediately recognizable for fans of designer Ayami Kojima work on the Castlevania games. The animation is fluid with a deep, rich palate.
The four episode series is a certainly on the short side. It feels like a 90-minute pilot movie that was sliced up to create episodes, and it leaves the audience of a cliffhanger, but it’s a good first installment, and there are plenty of easter eggs for game fans to spot.
The plot loosely follows Castlevania III, with elements of series favorite “Symphony of the Night” incorporated as well. After The Church burns Dracula’s wife as a witch for practicing medicine, the Vampire King vows revenge and releases an army of demons on Walachia. The task of fighting off this horde falls to Trevor Belmont, the last son of an excommunicated family of vampire hunters.
Ellis is hardly subtle in his criticism of capital-R Religion in this series, with quite a few talking-head sequences about blind faith and superstition, and a supporting cast of thuggish priests dogging Belmont’s heels. But the action more than makes up for these talky bits, and the incorporation of some of the more fantastical elements of the series are cleverly done.
While short, ”Castlevania” is a tasty morsel of gory vampire-hunting goodness that goes down easy, even as it leaves the watcher thirsty for more. You can watch it exclusively on Netflix Streaming.

Thanks for reading this article! If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for more goodies.

Four Job Fiesta Part Two: Ahead on our Way

Leave a comment

I’ve been playing “Final Fantasy V” as a part of this year’s Four Job Fiesta, an online challenge that benefits Child’s Play. I wrote about approaching the challenge here, and now that I’m a bit farther in the game, here are some things that I’ve learned.
Final Fantasy V is amazingly well designed. Over the course of the game, I received my full roster of classes: Thief, Time Mage, Ranger, and Chemist. While these aren’t impossible classes to play with, they’re hardly powerhouses. Ranger gets a very good ability, Rapid Fire, if you level them for a while, and Chemist can combine items to exploit some enemy weaknesses, but they require using up rare items. But while this team is challenging, it is hardly impossible. The Four Job Fiesta works with FFV because the game can be navigated with any classes as long as you’re patient and think strategically. There aren’t any choke points that require a certain party to proceed.
The game itself feels like a farewell to the style of the early games. The crystals themselves shatter to give you your jobs. Although the franchise would return to the job system in spin-offs like Final Fantasy Tactics and the crystals would come back in later games like Bravely Default, Final Fantasy V feels like a sea change for the series. The next game in the series in Final Fantasy VI, which took the games in a very different direction. Even though it was only much later released in the United States, it still feels somewhat nostalgic.
But for now the Fiesta continues as I make my way through the middle of the game with my motley crew of back row hooligans. You have until the end of August to sign up for your run, or to support Child’s Play!

Hugh Likes Comics: Magnus

Leave a comment

Magnus #1
Written by Kyle Higgins
Drawn by Jorge Fornes
Colored by Chris O’Halloran
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
Published by Dynamite

Magnus

I’ve never actually followed the adventures of “Magnus: Robot Fighter.” He’s one of those pulp heroes that I’ve seen on the periphery. He falls into a category with characters like The Shadow and John Carter of Mars in that I know they’ve been around, and are in some ways foundational to pop culture, but I’ve never sought his adventures out. Perhaps it is because the premise, while awesome, seemed a bit too simple. He’s a dude that fights robots. It all feels very 1950’s to me; the square-jawed hero putting up his dukes and wits against a clanking menace while the terrified damsel looks on.
Higgins and Fornes new reimagining of the character is quite different, but it still has a veneer of classic science fiction about it. This version of the character is Dr. Kerri Magnus, robot psychologist. While the character so far seems to have more in common with Dr. Susan Calvin than the original pulp hero, the original creator, (name) was purported to have been largely inspired by Azimov’s “I, Robot” stories, so perhaps this reimagining is just bringing the concept full circle.
Fornes’s art is quite good, although there were a few spreads where I had some trouble following the panel sequence. His depictions of New York in the far-off year of 2020, and the ‘Cloudworld,’ it’s digital mirror, are intriguing, and O’Halloran’s colors create an absorbing SF-Noir feel for the book.
Magnus is a book with giving some fresh ink and perspective to some classic SF ideas, and I can’t wait to see where the series goes, although the first issue is a bit slim, it leaves some tasty breadcrumbs I’m looking forward to following. You can pick up Magnus #1 from your local comics shop, or digitally from Comixology.

Thanks for reading this article. If you enjoyed it, please share it! You can also support me on Patreon for some nifty goodies!

Older Entries Newer Entries