Sunday, March 20, 2016

Best Thing Ever: 3.20.16

Possibly the only redeeming quality of any of the Republican debates has been watching Donald Trump's facial expressions while his opponents talk. He goes from faux amused to faux incredulous in mere seconds, while managing to avoid a single moment of sincerity. It's actually kind of brilliant, and is the inspiration for today's Best Thing Ever. I didn't create this gif, but it's my favorite thing this week.

Ladies and gentlemen, #Trumpfish!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Night Feature: Atom Age Vampire

Tonight's Featured Presentation is a cold war classic. While it is unlike many other cold war science fiction fright pics -- you won't find any irradiated giant insects here! -- it follows familiar mad scientist tropes to ask the question many have asked since before -- and especially after -- the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasake: does the end justify the means?

As you watch tonight's feature, feel free to join in the conversation. What worked? What didn't? Was it heavy-handed? A good story? Think of questions and comments of your own and post them below!

You can join the conversation in one of three ways: in the comments section below, on my official Facebook page, or by tweeting the hashtag #FriNiFeature.

And now, as they say, our Feature Presentation!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Best Thing Ever - March 13, 2016

This last week has been pretty awful. Like the week before it. At least, it you're the sort who pays attention to things like politics. One could be forgiven for believing there's very little hope of anything resembling sanity on tap for this country's political scene for the next four and a half years at least.

But enough of all that. This week's best thing ever brought itself to my attention just in time.

As an aside: in a moment of weird synchronicity, as I type this, my bride and I are watching an episode of Murder, She Wrote, co-starring non other than The Riddler himself, Frank Gorshin. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Ctrl Alt Revolt: A Review

Ctrl Alt Revolt is the first Nick Cole book I've read -- the first of what I'm now sure will be many. Call it what you want: technothriller, cyberpunk, gamerpunk, what we have with C.A.R. is an enjoyable, fast-paced read.

When the first AI becomes self-aware, it immediately notices a pattern in humanity to treat its own poorly. Witnessing rampant disrespect for life among fellow humans, the AI, perhaps rightly, comes to the conclusion that, faced with the possibility of thinking machines, humans may well destroy first and explore the possibilities later. Thus faced with its first life dilemma, the AI takes the only course it believes available to it: the search for a way to eradicate humanity, fully and finally, from the face of the planet.

Taking place equally in virtual reality and a corporate-owned, politically correct dystopia, Ctrl Alt Revolt introduces us to a world in which gaming has real world consequences. And now, whether the protagonists know it or not, real world, life or death consequences. And that is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the novel: that as earnestly as the protagonists fight and game for their own ends, they have little idea that the decisions they make could make all the difference between the end or the continuation of humanity.

Well-written and full of action, Ctrl Alt Revolt was hard to put down and VERY fast to read. Even the in-game action felt like real-life adventure, hooked you in, and made you cheer for the heroes.

While comparisons to Ready Player One are certainly appropriate, this is an entirely different animal, not copying but adding another great work into a budding new genre.

Ctrl Alt Revolt, it bears mentioning, is the prequel to Soda Pop Soldier -- a book I haven't read, but which, on the strength of this work, has made it right to the top of my TBR pile.

Disclaimer: I was given an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for a FAIR review. In no way did this impact my critique.