Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Good Sci-Fi Movie from Germany: Transfer (2010)

Transfer (2010) is an exciting, romantic and thought-provoking German sci-fi drama, directed by Damir Lukacevic.

The story reminds you of Freejack at the beginning, but it is different in many ways.
In this story, the mysterious Menzana Corporation offers the possibility for old rich people to transfer their personalities into the bodies of young and beautiful Africans who need the money to support their families and who accept that they can only use their own bodies for four hours each night.
A German couple in their 70s, Anna and Hermann, have doubts about the procedure at first, but after
Anna becomes terminally ill, they end up taking this path. The young Africans whose bodies they get,
Apolain and Sarah, both accept their fate at the beginning, but the first pregnancy gradually changes the situation
and both couples want the baby for themselves. In addition to this, Anna starts to suffer from the feeling of guilt for ruining these young people's lives. The acting is great, and
the movie is exceptionally well-written.

The film is based on a short story by Elia Barceló, and the screenplay is the work of Gabi Blauert and Damir Lukacevic.
According to the Wikipedia page in German, the movie won eight awards including the Best Science Fiction Feature Film Award in Shriekfest, in Los Angeles, several awards in Europe and one even in Tel Aviv.

Transfer is not for those of you who want to see an action movie with some sci-fi in it, but it is highly recommended for those who are interested in good, well-written, thought-provoking sci-fi.


Links:
IMDB, trailer (English subtitles)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Creepy Stories by A Scary Southern Belle: The White Death and Other Ghastly Ghost Stories by Debbie Kuhn

Title: The White Death and Other Ghastly Ghost Stories
Author: Debbie Kuhn
Genre(s) / Subgenre(s):  speculative fiction / dark fantasy, horror
Copyright: October 17, 2012
Formats: electronic: Kindle edition
Rating: 10
URL: at Amazon


Those who like good horror fiction should certainly become familiar with Debbie Kuhn's work, even though she writes in several genres. The White Death is a collection which includes ten dark tales and it is definitely worth reading.

Whether they are humans or ghosts, the main characters are all motivated by basic human fears and desires, and this makes it very easy for the reader to care about them. No matter how scary the story is, you will want to know what is going to happen to them. The ghosts are not always the evil, vengeful ghosts of the typical B movies either. Some just want company, others warn you of imminent danger, and one simply just stays until she can finish her memoirs that she writes using other people's bodies. All of them are different and each story is a surprise, both refined and creepy.

The stories are also set in different locations. A girl is alone in the mountains at night, performing a ritual that can bring back her lover from the dead. The ghost of an English girl is looking for her father during WW2 in London. A guy is driving too fast on dangerous roads in his new sports car to impress women which has tragic consequences. In a pub, a young man sits on the cursed chair of a famous gangster in order to win a bet. These are just a few.
My favourite stories from the collection are Little White Casket and What Happened in the Cellar. In both of these stories, the supernatural is at work, sometimes in frightening ways, but the real danger comes from our world.
The amazing cover art is by an English artist, Danielle Tunstall.

This book is highly recommended for those who would like to read some excellent horror stories.


Links:
The author's website

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Look, What A Funny Lady - Seriously...I'm Kidding By Ellen Degeneres Reviewed

Title: Seriously...I'm Kidding
Author:  Ellen Degeneres
Category: Humor
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book Group)
Copyright: June 2011
Formats: paperback, hardcover, electronic, audio
Rating: 7

Seriously...I'm Kidding is the latest book by the much loved stand-up comedian and talk show host, Ellen Degeneres.

This book is a collection of random thoughts and ideas and it includes stories both from everyday life and from the life of a celebrity. There are a lot of really quotable lines in it about success, beauty, marriage, manners, politiness, and some even about gift-giving.

The author also keeps giving advice to the readers on all these issues. It seems she has become both a great comedian and a fine motivational speaker.
However, at places I felt that the text was far too simplistic for my liking. I suppose this is because the book was written for a talk show audience. English-learners might find this a great advantage.

This book is recommended for those who feel like reading something really funny (and for all those who need an easy-to-read book in English.)


Links:
The publisher's website
Quotes from the book (at Goodreads)
Ellen in Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When A Female Serial Killer Is Investigating The Afterlife: Slights by Kaaron Warren Reviewed

Title: Slights
Author: Kaaron Warren
Genre / Subgenre: Horror/ psychological
Publisher: Angry Robot
Copyright: July 1, 2009
Formats: paperback, electronic (Kindle Edition)
Rating: 9

Slights is a very strong debut novel by Australian writer, Kaaron Warren
. It is a creepy, highly distubing and excellent horror novel which was awarded the Ditmar Award and the Shadows Award for Best Fiction.

The main character, a young girl called Stevie, has a near-death experience, and when she comes back she remembers that she was in a dark room full of people. Everyone she ever pissed off was there and these people were torturing her. Later her main goal becomes finding out if this is really the place where everyone must go one day. The girl who had a troubled childhood gradually becomes obsessed with death, becomes suicidal, then starts to kill others in order to find the answers.

The book is a very well-written piece, it really manages to draw the reader in, but it is too gloomy, too depressing to be read too quickly. This is a  psychological horror piece and the author uses a sort of strange diary format to let us follow the events of Stevie's life. While trying to find out more about death and what comes after death, Stevie is also investigating family history and gets into all sorts of conflicts in a seemigly peaceful suburban neighborhood. The latter turns out to be a place where people prefer not to notice the crimes that are committed, because this is much more comfortable for them than any of the alternatives. (Scary, isn't it?)

For those fans of psychological horror who can handle disturbing reads and shocking imagery, Slights is highly recommended.


Links:
Official site (angryrobotbooks.com)
The author's blog
Kaaron Warren in Wiki

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A poem of mine appeared in Illumen magazine


The Best Planet in the World appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of the magazine.

Illumen is a print magazine of speculative poetry, published biannually by Sam's Dot Publishing. It contains poetry, illustrations, articles and reviews.
The featured poet for this issue is Marge Simon and the cover art is by Joshua Gage.

You can order a copy via the publisher's bookstore.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Festival at Millenearis

Yesterday, I visited the International Book Festival at Millenearis in Budapest. The festival is big enough to be held in several huge buildings, and in the park in front of them. Nowadays, it is quite commonplace to say that 'people have given up on reading completely'. There might be times when you even start to believe this, but this is obviously an over-generalization.
I saw huge crowds at Millenearis wanting to buy books, and people who were queueing to get signatures from the authors who were present. So there is still hope.

I also saw some ebook readers on sale
and there were also a few publishers who started selling the electronic versions of some their books. This is a huge development here. I guess we will see much more of this later.

Not much of the contemporary genre writing gets published in Hungarian, but there are now also some big developments on this field, too. Even those who only read books in their mother-tongue can now buy some new and intriguing speculative fiction including The Quantum Thief, Deathless, Zoo City and The Wind-up Girl.

I also spent some money on books (by S. Fry, M. Atwood, Henning Mankell and Wolf Haas), and I even bumped into some writer friends and acqaintances.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

When having sex in public becomes a law - Blind Faith by Ben Elton Reviewed

Blind Faith (2007) is a dsytopian novel and it is also dealing with a great variety of issues that are of interest to today’s reader. The book was written by the brilliant comedy writer and stand up comedian, Ben Elton, who is also the author of The Thin Blue Line and Black Adder.

In this didactic but very well-written book he is sharing his views with us on consumer society, trends in the media, in the world of community websites etc , while also telling a great story set in a near future England. Elton has always been a very good observer of the typical, the suprising, and the alaming and presented his observations in a funny and thought-provoking way. Blind Faith is definitly one of his most serious works.

In this book, he describes a world where it is compulsory to share all details of your life online, even the smallest and the most intimate details have to be shown on photos and videos. Citizens of this state live their lives in front of webcams and are obliged to show it to everyone that they have sex often enough, that they are religious enough, live exactly in the way that is expected from them and have no views of their own. The latter is illegal. Keeping a secret is a herecy and punishable by death. The horrible results of climate change are thought to be the signs of God’s wrath, so disbelievers and those who try to keep and share the books and the knowledge of the old times are enemies of the state.

In Blind Faith, Elton is paying tribute to the greatest masters of dystopian fiction, gives us a disturbing account of the near future and he also makes the reader look at the present day lifestyles and societies in a different way. It is worth reading.

Links: Wikipedia, Amazon

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A poem of mine has appeared in Tales of The Talisman magazine


My poem, The Fairy's Granddaughter has appeared in the special fantasy issue of Tales of The Talisman magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3).

I am very proud of this one. It is great to see something that I wrote in a magazine with such an awesome cover and which has contributors such as Carol Hightshoe, Simon Bleaken, F. T. McKinstry, Jim Chandler and  David C. Kopaska-Merkel and is edited by David Lee Summers.

You can get a copy of it at Amazon.


Product details:
    Paperback: 100 pages
    Publisher: Hadrosaur Productions (January 31, 2012)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1885093616,  ISBN-13: 978-1885093615
    Price:     $8.00

Monday, February 06, 2012

A good book for urban fantasy lovers: Casting Shadows by J. Kelley Anderson

 
Title: Casting Shadows
Author: J. Kelley Anderson
Genre(s) / Subgenre(s):  Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy
Publisher: World Castle Publishing (January 31, 2012)
Formats: paperback (232 pages) or electronic (Kindle Edition)


I’ve always liked stories that are a bit different from the average. Casting Shadows by J. Kelley Anderson is definitely a book that tells a story like that.

At the beginning, the main character Edward performs a magic ritual in a cemetery to summon an undead servant. He only does this because he is under a spell and a demon is trying to influence his deeds. However, the new servant, Vincent  will not be the merciless evil being that one could expect. He will be more like a friend, who always has Edward’s best interests at heart, but he also has his own will and his own views about things. He does his best to protect him from himself and from the evil forces that are at work in the ususally quiet little town of Hurst, Ohio.  A very powerful witch grandmother also appears, who tries to teach Edward  how to become a warlock. He also encounters several types of magical beings and learns that he has to become the champion fighting for mankind and he really needs to grow up for the task very quickly. His only connection to normal life remains his best friend, Michael who is a local police officer and who, fortunately, has a sense of humor.


Casting Shadows is a real page-turner, the  characters are well-drawn, likeable and more complex than the ususal fantasy clichés. The story is a unique mixture of what we have seen already and what we have not. There are also some great humorous scenes added. 

If you are interested in urban fantasy, do not miss this book.  It’s highly recommended.


Links:
The author's website
Amazon

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Timecrimes: The movie about the guy who wanted to look at boobs and ended up as a time-traveller

Timecrimes (Los cronocrímenes, 2007) is a quite original Spanish sci-fi movie by Nacho Vigalondo.

At the beginning of the movie, the main character Hector, who has just moved to the countryside with his wife, notices, via using his binoculars, a woman getting naked somewhere nearby. As soon as his wife leaves the house, he goes for a walk, looking for the naked beauty. However, a man with bandages on his head attacks him and chases him through the woods. Hector takes refuge at a nearby science lab, and he unwillingly becomes the subject of a time-travel experiment.

Apart from a few less logical scenes, this is quite an exciting movie, which has aquired international success.
  There is going to be an American remake of Timecrimes, in all probability by David Cronenberg.

The multiple award winnning movie was written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, whose latest  sci-fi movie, Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre, 2011), is about a couple witnessing an alien invasion. I will surely watch that one, too.




Links:
Time crimes:  Wiki, IMDB


Saturday, January 21, 2012

2011: Just What I Have Accomplished in 2011


In 2011:
- I restarted my English blog,
- blogging in Hungarian,
- reading & reviewing,
- more SF poems published (One in Aoife's Kiss and one in SOTN.)
- started tweeting,
- got some more poems accepted,
- wrote a short story,
 - and got a lot of story ideas for later use.


Plans for 2012: More writing and more reviewing. Improving my German. Hopefully, some travelling, too. There are going to be much more blog posts here about books, movies, etc. As for my writing, I have much more story ideas now, than ever before.