Archive for July, 2007

I know this is early

July 31, 2007

And there is too little information to really draw any conclusions, but…

Please don’t let this suck please don’t let this suck please don’t let this suck.

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Review: ‘Don’t Cry for Me, Aberystwyth’ by Malcolm Pryce

July 29, 2007

Okay, while I freely admit that going into book shops often makes me act like a kid in a candy store, oddly there are only a few book series I actively follow. One of these is Malcolm Pryce’s ‘Louie Knight’ series, though I tend to end up referring to it as the Aberystwyth series.

For those of you not familiar, the series (which begins with ‘Aberystwyth Mon Amour’, followed by ‘Last Tango in Aberystwyth’ and ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth’) is a pastiche of hard-boiled noir crime fiction set in the quaint little welsh seaside town in the titles. And it is great.

This one sees Louie and and his partner Calamity caught up investigating the murder of Santa Claus, or at least a man who’s job was to pose as him. As it turns out, the stiff left a message in his last moments, writing the name ‘Hoffmann’ in his own blood. Louie is left to find out not only who is this Hoffmann, but why is everyone looking for him, why are people willing to kill in order to find him, and just what is his connection to canine film superstar Clip and a dark secret from the welsh war in Patagonia?

In the first three books, it seemed the series was getting progressively more surreal and silly, and I wasn’t sure where on earth book four would end up. As it turns out, Don’t Cry For Me is rather more down to earth than the previous two outings and draws on the cold war thriller in its themes and plot. (Yes, after describing it up there I know that may sound unlikely.) As always, there is a lot of humour to the book, but a lot of it is decidedly dark, and while it has been a while since I read the previous three books, Louie’s musings seem much darker and more bitter than before, the world weary side to the detective and his disillusionment with the seedy underbelly Aberystwyth and mankind in general showing itself much more.

None the less, like I said, it is still very funny, and there is plenty of the absurdity and sharp parody that made me love the other books in the series. The plot is fantastically convoluted, fitting perfectly with the espionage side of the pastiche, and Louie’s dismissal of the new dark and dangerous would he gets caught up in is very entertaining.

All in all… well, it’s a strange book, swinging between fun and absurd to often poetic bitter reflections on human nature… but for me, it just kinda works. I’m not sure if it is the best in the series, and coming after the craziness of Last Tango and The Unbearable Lightness this one is much, MUCH more subdued. But it is nicely written, and does a good job spoofing the noir and cold war thriller genres while still actually managing to create a believable gritty hard boiled town out of Aberystwyth, despite the pure silliness that runs through the concept. Don’t Cry for Me Aberystwyth is a solid, entertaining novel, though for this series I wouldn’t expect anything less.

Taiko no Tatsujin DS!?

July 27, 2007

Okay, so, people who know me may be aware that I really like really stupid rhythm games (In particular I have a deep love for Inis stuff… Gitaroo Man, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, Elite Beat Agents… I need to import Ouendan 2 as well). I also really really like my Nintendo DS Lite.

One that as far as I know has never made it over here is the PS2 game, Taiko no Tatsujin. A Taiko drumming game. Which is a shame because I’ve played it and it is a lot of fun. It has it’s own controller, a drum you hit. Like Donkey Konga but with sticks.

Now, thanks to my friend Hel over at Makenai (who introduced me to Taiko no Tatsujin in the first place) I’ve just found out this is happening:

THEY ARE PUTTING IT ON THE DS!

I’m not totally sure how. Or even why. But I’m pretty certain I’m going to end up importing it anyway.

(No, I can’t read Japanese. But crazy music games TRANSCEND language.)

I need to see this film.

July 25, 2007

Cowboys, kung fu and rockets! With the choreographer from Ong Bak! Come on, it’s going to be awesome.

Being released in the west as ‘Dynamite Warrior’, english trailer here.

HE IS SURFING ON A ROCKET THAT IS JUST COOL!

To the people in control of these things:

July 25, 2007

There really really should be a Skullduggery Pleasant cartoon. Failing that, more books of it. Because daft kids fiction featuring scarf-wearing wisecracking wizard detective skeletons is just so much FUN.

(Were it not for the fact I am rubbish at drawing skulls and need to dig up some references, I would be including fanart with this post. Skullduggery is just a fantastic character.)

And yes, I’ve been reading this instead of Harry Potter. I need to get around to reading the other books before I’m touching the ending, I’ve only read the first one. Zipped through Skullduggery Pleasant, most of it in a day, and now I’m on ‘Don’t cry for me Aberystwyth’, the new Louie Knight mystery from Malcolm Pryce. I’ve always liked that series, there’s just something very appealing about a pastiche of hardboiled noir crime fiction set in a quaint little welsh seaside town. This one is throwing some cold war thriller into the mix as well. Fun stuff.

Anyone else reading anything interesting other than Potter?

Back from housemoving limbo

July 23, 2007

So yeah, now I have a flat, and actual internet, things are pretty cool. I’m all settled in the odd city that is Manchester with my good friend Mike.

Much time has been spent sketching, reading, being rubbish at working on my dissertation, watching movies, cooking and playing computer games.

(Verdict on games: Elite Beat Agents kicks ass as much as Ouendan, Okami is absolutely beautiful and simply a joy to play, Hotel Dusk is a great little detective story with a fantastic art style and Psychonauts is just absolutely brilliant in almost every way and needs to have a sequel or just more things in that tone.)

Currently being rather in love with the Comic series ‘Invincible’. It is pure simple goodness with nice art and slick smooth writing that is just a delight to read.

Oh, and for the record, no I don’t have the new Harry Potter. And no, I’m not gonna be reading it any time soon, cause I’ve not read any Potter books since the first one. Not cause I’m hugely opposed to them or anything (although I do much prefer Garth Nix and Lemony Snicket when it comes to kids fiction) but I just keep not getting around to it.

Anyway, enough babble for now. Back to buisness as usual.