John Ostrander: A-FForde-able Care Acts

  • Comicmix
I’m hesitant to outright recommend almost anything – books, movies, music, TV shows, and so on. Invariably someone acts on my recommendation, doesn’t like it, and blames me for the waste of their time and/or money. “It sucks, Ostrander”, they say, “and so do you!”

However, from time to time I encounter something I truly enjoy so I’ll share my enjoyment and you can decide if it’s something you want to try.

I’ve recently read the three novels in The Chronicles of Kazam (and really wish the fourth and final volume was available right now) by Jasper Fforde and had a wonderful time with them. I’ve enjoyed Mr. Fforde before with his Thursday Next series and the Nursery Crimes novels but the Chronicles of Kazam had eluded me until brought to my attention by my very good friend, Jim Murdoch (Hi Jim!). The bit
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The Last Dragonslayer review

Aliya Whiteley Dec 25, 2016

Funny, exciting and magical, Sky One's The Last Dragonslayer is a great choice for Christmas Day TV family viewing...

This review contains spoilers.

See related Amazon Prime UK: what’s new in January 2017?

There are lots of familiar elements in The Last Dragonslayer, Sky's big Christmas Day family fantasy adventure based on the first of a series of books from Jasper Fforde. Familiar can be really good. Christmas itself is about the familiar. Very few people want a change from a load of wrapped presents, a big meal, and an entertaining offering on television to round off the day.

Saying that, exactly what we want on our plate, within the wrapping, and on our television screens on Christmas Day can differ every time. The Last Dragonslayer might, at first glance, look like it's offering something that's getting a bit too familiar. For instance, it's a story
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Den Of Geek’s Christmas 2016 UK TV and radio picks

Louisa Mellor Dec 12, 2016

We’ve taken a pen to the UK Christmas TV and radio schedules and circled the shows we’re looking forward to. Add yours below!

Amid the cosy repeats, big movies and inescapable cranberry-stuffed cookery shows on TV this month are a few original gems. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s Inside No. 9 festive special The Devil Of Christmas (Tuesday the 27th of December, 10pm, BBC Two) is top of our must-watch list. Hot on its heels is Yonderland’s family friendly Yonder Yuletide (Saturday the 24th of December, 6.30pm, Sky One). Another for families on Sky is the Christmas Day Jasper Fforde adaptation The Last Dragonslayer, while Channel 4 has the non-festive-but-essential-for-fans-of smart-sci-fi Humans series two finale (Sunday the 18th of December, 9pm).

See related James Cameron's Avatar: five years on Avatar review

Not to forget, of course, the Doctor Who Christmas Special, a brand-new series of Sherlock,
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The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett review

Juliette Harrisson Published Date Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 11:00

The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner is the second volume of short stories for children written by the young Terry Pratchett, following the release of Dragons At Crumbling Castle in 2015. The stories were edited and prepared by Pratchett shortly before his death, and the book includes an introduction from him that must be one of the last things he wrote.

Like the first volume, this book is illustrated throughout by Mark Beech, whose style is clearly influenced by Quentin Blake’s work, especially his work on Roald Dahl’s books – it work very well here, immediately signalling the tone and style of the stories to the reader. His portrait of a waving Pratchett for the Introduction is particularly nice, and his interpretation of a small man in a big black hat is also, touchingly, distinctly Terry-like.

The text is enhanced in places by
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Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks review

Mark checks out a new mashup of Doctor Who with Shakespeare...

Over its 50 years, Doctor Who has made some pretty wild pseudo-historical leaps in its representation of artists. The Fourth Doctor wrote “This Is A Fake” on the Mona Lisa in Uv pen. Donna Noble came up with the name of Miss Marple. Stevie Wonder sang under London Bridge in 1814.

The new BBC Books tie-in The Shakespeare Notebooks follows in much the same tradition of warping history around the Doctor, with its whole audacious premise being that most of the Bard’s works were Doctor Who fan fiction.

It’s a fun place to start, with an introduction that contextualises the book as a collection of notes and scraps, comprising early drafts and notes written by Will himself. These notes happen to have been transcribed by seasoned Who authors James Goss, Jonathan Morris, Julian Richards, Justin Richards and Matthew Sweet.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Emily S. Whitten: A Missive from Discworld

  • Comicmix
My dearest ComicMix readers;

It is with much happiness and a dash of haste that I write to you near the close of the festivities and frivolities of The North American Discworld Convention of 2013. Although alas, several days before this gathering of Discworldian folk, word arrived from the highly esteemed Sir Terry Pratchett that he would be unable to attend (due to a desire to put the next novel of the Discworld, Raising Steam, into all of our hands as quickly as he might possibly do, and who can be too unhappy about that?) I am having a marvelous time, and wished to share the entertainment with you via this letter.

On the Thursday evening of this week, my good friend Erica and I hosted a cozy gala in celebration of the Glorious Revolution (of Treacle Mine Road, of course. And yes, dear readers, I do realize that we are
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River Song, meet Hello Kitty (and other adventures in social networking)

What my followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ saw today: • I'm not sure if River Song would approve of being rendered so cutesy. (This is one of today's Shirt Punch tees.) ShirtPunch! • It's stuff like this that makes you understand why some people are looking forward to the wrath of God bringing a cleansing fire to the earth... Hgtv to Build Life-Sized Gingerbread House at Mall of America • My NYC peeps! The Film Forum reopens today! Civilization is saved. • Facebook needs a Wtf button: They’re young. They’re in love. They eat lard. I wonder if this is where Jasper Fforde got the idea for the Toast Marketing Board that is so all-powerful in his Thursday Next books. • Most popular posts on FlickFilosopher this past week: Skyfall (review) Cloud Atlas (review) Paranormal Activity 4 (review) http://www.
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question of the day: What unfilmmable book would you nevertheless love to see on film, if it could be done justice?

We talked about unfilmmable books back in 2009, but this question is slightly different: What unfilmmable book would you nevertheless love to see on film, if it could be done justice? This was inspired by my still ongoing catchup of Jasper Fforde’s brilliant novels about Thursday Next, Literary Detective. I’ve been seen in recent weeks laughing out loud to myself on the tube, they’re that funny. There’s a lot of wordplay and pop-culture referencing, but the real genius is in how the most effective humor absolutely relies on the fact that you’re reading a book. Translating those jokes into jokes that rely on the fact that you’re watching a movie or a TV show would still completely undermine the premise of the series, which is inherently about books. And yet... I love these stories so much, and I love Thursday, who is an unique female action hero (yes,
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Books Punch Your Face – The Criminal Complex Midsummer Reading List

  • Boomtron
Eight noir novels to help fill your endless summer with a sense of overwhelming dread and paranoia.

Okay, so I’m the professor who wakes up three weeks before the end of the semester and hits everybody over the head with a pile of mandatory reading assignments that everybody has to crowbar in between midnight finals cram sessions and kegstands, but you know, only if they hope to make it out with a passing grade.

My list isn’t filled with breezy bicycle rides through rural Tuscany. Not a happy ending in the bunch. But let’s face it, unless you live in the fourteen square-block section of SoCal that stayed in the mid-sixties to upper seventies range this summer, you’re hiding in your goddamn house waiting for that flaming orb in the sky to duck under the horizon once and for all.

So here are eight books to
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Stephanie Earp: TV Worth Reading: 'Sherlock'

  • Aol TV.
Stephanie Earp: TV Worth Reading: 'Sherlock'
Whenever I get it in my head to write fiction, I find myself thinking of modernizing an old story. I minored in Classics at school, and even that didn't dilute my love of Greek mythology and drama, so I'll wind up jotting notes for a version of "Medea" set in a modern corporation or something equally ridiculous and untenable.

But I'm drawn to the idea because I think, when it's done well, that converting an old story into a modern context proves something about its timelessness. It says, "See? This is still true. This is still relevant!"

But despite Hollywood's love of a reboot, it's not an easy thing to pull off. "O Brother Where Art Thou" was a great take on "The Odyssey" that didn't need the audience to know the source material to work. And more recently, some critics have noted that "Homeland" made use of the Cassandra myth.
See full article at Aol TV. »

Jasper Fforde: Fantasy, Science Fiction and weirdness abound

It’s hard to say what genre British author Jasper Fforde would be categorized as his work contains elements of metafiction, parody, and fantasy. Then there’s the profusion of literary words, allusions and the general play on traditional genres. Perhaps the best way to explain him and his novels is he’s the love child of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, with Monty Python is his grandfather.

Once working in the British film industry as a focus puller for such movies as The Trial, Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment, he published his first novel, The Eyre Affair, in 2001 (after 76 rejections slips for one book that would be eventually be released in 2005). That book spanned a lot of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, satire, romance, and thriller. The Eyre Affair introduced the readers to “literary” detective Thursday Next. Set in an alternate/parallel England of 1985 it finds a country that
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Review: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

I am not going to say I completely understand what this book was about, though it’s safe to say had I not read some Jasper Fforde’ s Thursday Next series or some Kurt Vonnegut, I would be completely confused. Still, the novel is clever, and often funny, filled with a lot of 20th Century ideals about science fiction. Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It’s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life.
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One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

  • Pajiba
Firstly, I would say that I can't recommend Jasper Fforde highly enough. He is one of the few authors whose work I pre-order on Amazon without needing to know anything about the novel other than he's written it. I would highly recommend the entirety of this series as well as the first book in his newest series, Shades of Grey, which was my favorite book of 2010.

So you have been warned: I am a huge fan of Fforde and any reviewer who denies that a longstanding affection for a series of books will affect their judgment is lying. Nonetheless, here's what I think.

One of Our Thursdays is Missing is the sixth book in Fforde's Thursday Next series. The series is really unlike anything else I've read--you could perhaps compare him to Terry Pratchett, they share a quirky sense of humor and ability to create huge, fantastical alternate worlds. We
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Strange pilots at NBC - strangely awesome!

The latest in a series of interesting and potentially awesome new-show news: NBC has selected a pilot for a new police drama, one in which characters from Grimm's fairy tales exist. Even better, this pilot comes from David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, writers and producers of Buffy and Angel. There is no word yet on whether they have credited Terry Gilliam for 2005's film The Brothers Grimm, or Jasper Fforde for his 'Nursery Crime' series of novels.

This news comes hot on the heels of NBC's picking up the Wonder Woman pilot, which is definitely written by David E. Kelley and possibly will be directed by McG (Charlie's Angels). Also slated for fall pilots are 17th Precinct, a supernatural police drama from Ron Moore, of Battlestar Galactica fame; a series based on the semi-autobigraphical novel "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" by comedienne Chelsea Handler; and Smash, Steven Spielberg
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Top 7 Books that Should be Adapted into Movies

We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.

Books have been adapted into films for about as long as the medium has existed. It might be difficult for twihards to believe, The Twilight Saga isn’t the first group of books to make it from the pages to the screen. But we’re making this list as an ode to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which hits theaters June 30. Some adaptations been successful (Gone with the Wind, No Country for Old Men the Harry Potter films) some less so (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Confessions of a Shopaholic). Still, despite Hollywood’s spotty record with some excellent books, there are certain novels I read that seem to be calling out for the big screen treatment. These are the Top 7 books from my bookshelf that would be fast tracked tomorrow if I ran a studio.

7. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

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The 10 Best Novels of the Decade

  • Pajiba
For me, personally, books are the most important medium. Music aficionados, movie enthusiasts, and television junkies tend to look at me like I'm giant loser, but I just don't give a damn. Throughout my life I have accumulated and devoured countless books, and I'll read anything -- fiction, nonfiction, plays, cereal boxes; I rarely discriminate. One thing that the Cannonball Read has taught me is that I'm not alone. You're out there, in the shadows, with piles of books on shelves, floors, toilet tanks, tables, ironing boards, and any other possible surface. My sister asked me last week why I had books in the linen closet. The answer: "I'm running out of places to put them."

I'm not knocking the Kindle owners or the audiobook fans, but there is nothing, nothing, nothing in the world like a new book, just waiting to have its spine cracked. There are good books and bad books,
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Books: Review:Jasper Fforde: Shades Of Grey

British author Jasper Fforde scored a comic hit with his first published novel, 2001’s The Eyre Affair, which introduced the detective Thursday Next. After five novels set in Next’s literature-mad world, chasing Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters in and out of their venerable stories, Fforde is starting a new series in a different alternate history, or perhaps future. Shades Of Grey introduces an England several centuries after a mysterious Epiphany that reorganizes society based on its citizens’ ability to perceive portions of the visible-light spectrum. As if building a color caste system weren’t enough ...
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Inkheart (review)

Yes, I stole that headline from Jasper Fforde’s hilarious fantasy novel [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] about Thursday Next, Literary Detective, who lives in a parallel universe in which readers can walk into books, characters can walk out of books, and -- most fantastically -- books are popular like American Idol and football are popular. Inkheart doesn’t dare stretch phantasmagoria to that absurd level: it’s content with its wonderful creation of “silvertongues,” rare people who can read aloud from a book and make it come to life. Not like we say that, like when Daddy agreed to do all the voices when he read “Where the Wild Things Are* when you were six, but really. Toto from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz can appear in your bedroom... but the tornado will really take out your house, too. It’s a dangerous gift, and Mo Folchart, collector and repairer of antiquarian books, accidentally
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trailer break: ‘Inkheart’

Yeah, it does bear a certain resemblance to Bedtime Stories, the Adam Sandler comedy opening in the U.S. on Christmas Day, what with stories coming alive when read, and I’d suspect that’s why this film isn’t opening in the U.S. today, as it is in the U.K., to keep the two movies separated by a bit of time. Except that Bedtime Stories opens in the U.K. on December 26, only two weeks after this one, so maybe Inkheart is just getting out of the way of the very crowded December the U.S. is having this year (11 movies are opening wide between today and Christmas Day in the U.S., which means some of them are going to get bypassed by audiences who might otherwise have checked them out). One big factor in Inkheart’s favor, crowded release or no: it doesn’t star Adam Sandler.
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10 Literary Classics to Turn Into Summer Blockbusters

  • Spout
Yesterday I wrote of the news that Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov is helming an effects-heavy adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. It’s not entirely shocking, but it does still seem like a cruel joke. More specifically, it sounds like something Jasper Fforde would jest about in his Thursday Next novels. Of course, the news came just as I’m in the middle of Fforde’s latest, First Among Sequels, in which Pride and Prejudice is turned into a reality TV show. Although I’m not exactly well read as far as literary classics go, I’ve been wondering what other revered books (particularly those in the public domain) could be reworked as potential summer blockbusters. Obviously, there are certain sci-fi, fantasy and adventure novels that work, yet the fitting fictions of Verne, Wells, Burr ...
See full article at Spout »

See also

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