RAILSEA by China Miéville

Reader Dad - Book Reviews


China Miéville (chinamieville.net)

Macmillan (panmacmillan.com)


China Miéville’s latest novel, Railsea, takes us to a strange new world, and introduces us to Sham ap Soorap, a young boy working as an apprentice doctor aboard a moletrain. In the course of a moldywarpe hunt, the crew come across a wrecked train, and Sham discovers a camera’s memory card. On it, pictures that shock him to his core, and lead him on a mission to find two children whose parents have evidently died in search of the impossible. But there are more people interested in these two children, and in the contents of this memory card, than just Sham, and before long he finds himself involved with pirates, the military and salvage operators all looking for one thing: fortune.

Over the past number of years, Miéville has become something of a poster boy for science fiction…

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GAME REVIEW – Alice: Madness Returns (Xbox 360)

Alternative Magazine Online

By Daniel Wallace


Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to 2000’s American McGee’s Alice, developed by Spicy Horse for a variety of formats. The plot sees Alice attempt to defend Wonderland from a new threat whilst also facing her own very real trials – battling madness, unearthing a dark conspiracy and discovering the root of the Liddell family’s misfortune.

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I’ve seen a trailer of the latest series of TRUE BLOOD via SFX magazine website, and now it thankfully does seem that the show is back rising up from the very limp tired level of plotting of the previous series. Though there definately were some initIal bizarre and strange elements to that series, after a couple of episodes it then settled back down to just what we know really. There were still some intruiging subplots there, and the acting is almost usually still very outstanding as ever but the story was only just moving along to keep going.

Yes, it does all come of course from the massively successful book series, so many of you do know the direction the show is heading in, but others have less of an idea. Even so, to see it all on screen is another thing entirely. And with the new trailer, it does look like a much more exciting, reinvigourated show, and I think that I will once again go back to it, my interest surprisingly renewed.


So still continuing on over on SyFy UK right now is LOST GIRL Season 2. It seems there maybe two episodes left now. Finally the whole fling with smooth charmer Ryan is over, Bo has continued back onto the more serious previous main plotlines again. Dyson has made a moody return, bringing back his trademark moody angst and male frustrations.

After a good number of the ongoing subplots have been confronted and revealed or resolved, now the gang is back together to all confront the end of season big threat, Garuda.

It does perhaps seems that a great deal of the show’s speacial witty charm has been pushed to one side, to make way rather hastily for the oncoming battles and showdowns due. Kenzi and Bo now are forgetting their earlier great banter and Whedonesque one-liners that kept me returning to the show among other things.

Trick is now coming back into the fore with his potent mysterious significance and personal dilemmas along with Dyson, who seems to remember his old feelings towards Bo finally, his wolf-rage bursting back out once again.

The Ash now has suddenly died, which honestly is a fairly good thing, as I just did not really like the actor-nothing personal, though I am sure he was intended to come across as far too slimy and disgustingly smooth. What a loss indeed.

But the Garuda-really? That is the Garuda? After a few weeks of creating enticing mystery and foreboding menace we are seen the Garuda revealed as a smarmy old cad, though he did actually hold a very cool huge pair of CGI flaming evil wings, and sword. Okay then.

I am glad that the whole Nadia thing has ended as I also saw the actress as fairly weak and a bad choice but that subplot could have really been something much better I believe.

And thankfully Ciara has bitten it, sounds harsh yes, but I think it works better for Bo and Dyson without her.

So some things have been shaped up ahead for the final couple of episodes now.  So perhaps the storyline is being tightened up well and focused as the series ends, but I do think that there have been a good few better episodes in the past, and it could be just slightly losing the playful dramatic fun sexy charm that it presented so well earlier. Hope they can bring that back into the next series, all going well.

More Fae next week then…

Weekly Comic Book Review

By: Mike Carey & Peter Gross (creators), Chris Chuckry (colors), Todd Klein (letters), Yuko Shimizu (covers), Joe Hughes (assistant editor) & Shelly Bond (editor)

The Story: How are people reacting to Tommy Taylor down under?

Review (with minor SPOILERS): If you were looking for The Unwritten to return to the regularly scheduled story with a BANG, you might be disappointed with this issue.  That was probably an unrealistic expectation for a methodical and thought provoking book like The Unwritten anyway, but coming off the War of the Words story arc where events happened in rapid-fire (at least rapid-fire for this series), it was a little jarring to go back into slow mode.

There are those who take issues like this one as evidence that The Unwritten “reads better in trade”.  And….it might be more satisfying in some ways.  But, even with the slowness of the story, something is lost when…

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Right, I have watched the very latest sequel in the franchise that many might have prefered to have died off a very long time back now. Some of you might not even be aware of this new addition in the series, other might have already heard terrible things about it.

In the past decade or more there have been a number of weak sequels to the HELLRAISER movies, many known to be just spec scripts with PINHEAD thrown in somewhere, thus making it a HELLRAISER film. Fast and cheap, ready for the loyal fanbase who will garuanteed still want to see something with the name on it.

Well a couple of those previous sequels were not so bad at times I believe, HELLRAISER:INFERNO AND HELLSEEKER being quite good. This latest though, already some are touting as the worse in a long time.

One of the main shocking controversies is the hiring of a new unknown actor in the role of PINHEAD.

So then, the movie itself does come back down to basics, again. Very likely due to minimal budget, it also has only a few locations but that does not immediately make a film bad. It follows two young friends who drive over the American boarder to Mexico, and looking for a good time, things go badly wrong soon enough. This is revealed to us from their hand-held camera footage, as flashbacks throughout the film. In the present, their friends and families are worried as the young men have dissapeared. There are secrets and tensions between them all, and then one of the you men returns…

I do actually think it honestly is a reasonably good effort, and is arguably better than some of the previous sequels quite significantly. Yes, it has a low budget once more, but they use it well, and they movie revolves around the characters, and basic situation, utilising drama and fear well. It is more bloody, gory and darkly terrifying than other sequels, and seems much more like a true whole horror movie because of that.

With the drama and revelations in the tale, and much of the gore, it does quite obviously resemble the very first movie and second in a number of ways, and this is simply a good result.

Do not take the warning to strongly in the negative reviews so far-this new HELLRAISER sequel is worth seeing, and might prove that there could still be life in the evil little franchise with PINHEAD for a while yet.

And yes, the new PINHEAD himself-who could dare to follow the amazing DOUG BRADLEY? This younger brave actor does put in a credible performance. Not perfect for sure, could have been more restrained, menacing, but he served the part in an surprisingly entertaining movie.


As very recently reported on SFX magazine site, SyFy channel has begun production on a facinating new show which some of you out there may have already heard about called DEFIANCE. Now the interesting part is that it is being promoted as a multimedia creation, with the show only being just one part of the whole, along side some form of online game based in the same world/fictional environment.

As a television show premise, this is fairly original in creation but I would think also most possibly a very brave venture that could fall crashing down just as impressively as it is being hyped.

Yes, I am interested in the progression of modern entertainment, the cross pollination of mediums and platforms that we interact with, and the potential for mixing them together and observing what works well and what just does not. This show and multimedia creation could be some kind of huge unexpected success if they judge it just right.

With the massive international online success and appeal of RPG online games such as World of Warcraft and others, with many of us enjoying regular online multi-player games, and the continued widespread success however formulaic of reality television, with viewer phone in voting and polls (even when rigged) this new multimedia structuring could produce some if not fantasic, at the very least definately interesting results.

I also now think of the very popular player choices on huge console games like MASS EFFECT series, DRAGON AGE, ALAN WAKE,  and many others. This is now a standard expected element of a game these days, not simply beating and fighting, and solving puzzles like before, but engaging narrative progression.

DEFIANCE seems to be Sci-fi in style and surprisingly holds a large number of actors from shows like TRUE BLOOD, BUFFY, ANGEL, DOCTOR WHO, and LOST.

Could this then be the next natural progression in fiction entertainment? We play the games, we watched the games, simultaneously, then later…what? We each write and act in the games? Many ideas could go far ahead into strange dystopian visions right here.

We shall have to wait and see, this show and multimedia experiment might be a very controvertial or successful future addiction for us all in time…continue from last saved point…