Tag Archives | slacker heroes

Faux Casting of Anathema, by Megg Jensen (Slacker Heroes review)

anathema cover

Slave girls in a mysterious castle? Missing friends, magical tokens, intrigue and ritual – I was excited by this story from the opening chapter.

Anathema is the first title in Megg Jensen’s Cloud Prophet Trilogy, and the entire time I was reading I could ‘see’ it in my head like a film, so I thought it would be fun have a faux casting for an imaginary movie adaptation.

Our heroine, Reychel, is a slave girl in the King’s castle. She is not allowed to see the sky unless her tyrannical master allows it. Sometimes he summons her to his chambers to tell him stories, but the rest of the time she spends with the other slave girls, doing chores in the castle’s dark kitchen.

To show their slave status the girls must always keep their heads shaved, so you’ll understand why my in-brain movie wanted Natalie Portman for this role. However, I decided instead to sub Keira Knightley. At the start, Reychel is naive and trusting, not used to thinking for herself, and I think Keira does dumb better than Natalie, while still having that wide-eyed look that makes scalp-short hair so sexy.

Click here to see who else I chose.

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Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore (Slacker Heroes review)

cover of Theodora cover by Stella Duffy‘New stage, new Theodora mask, same old strength required. Theodora was 19 years old, sick to death of carrying on, and she carried on…”

It’s hard to go wrong with a lead who’s a kickass acrobat-dancer-spy. When her animal-trainer father dies right in front of her, ‘killed by the body-ripping claws of his own bear’, Theo and her sisters are put to work to replace his income. Trained for the stage from the tender age of five, Theodora’s been pushed to the limits of physical and mental endurance and she’s tough enough now to give Nikita a run for her money. She is a different but believable heroine, mouthy and brilliant – a modern girl in the sixth century A.D.

Click here for the rest of the review.

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Advent Thanksgiving: Why I love Twitter

serenity joss whedon

My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.

Imaginary friends (& Joss Whedon)

I had a Twitter account last year, but this is the year that I finally ‘got it’. The biggest change came when I was watching Serenity on tv and couldn’t help but ecstatically tweet some lines from the film. Other people replied. People I didn’t know! What?

Until this point I was following some names I knew from blogs, a handful of comedians, the Guardian’s books feed and the few web-friendly mates I had who also had Twitter accounts. I didn’t really know how to find anyone else. But one search for #Serenity brought up loads of other people who were also watching the film and spreading the Whedon love. I said hello. They said hello back, and we all swooned over Nathan Fillion. This was fun!

I searched for #Whedon, #Buffy and #Firefly and discovered hordes more people with similar tastes as me. This wasn’t an exercise in getting more followers, this was me falling down the rabbit hole and finding twitter streams full of links and jokes that led me to more people, more sites, more blogs. Twitter started to be a whole lot more fun.

Never bored

I expanded my search and started finding people who were into #scifi, #fantasy, pop culture and music. Lots of them, all with something to say. Now all I have to do if I’m bored (or procrastinating) is open up Twitter and my imaginary friends suggest pages and pages of content from all over the web that I can spend all day reading if I’m not strict with myself.

Writing opportunities

The 3 main things I’ve been writing this year (apart from my novel) have been reviews for Slacker Heroes, The British Fantasy Society and my blog. None of these would have happened without Twitter. It was a tweet from @BritFantasySoc that told me they were looking for book reviewers. And a day or so after I watched Serenity with my gang of new friends, Jen from @Slackerheroes tweeted that she was looking for a book reviewer for her site. I’d found her on Twitter because she loves Joss Whedon possibly even more than me. I replied, she said yes, and now I love being part of her team. And my blog? I have no idea how I would let people know about it without Twitter. I might have still been writing for it, but no one would have known. How could they?

If you don’t ‘get’ Twitter yet, try searching for things you are interested in. Someone else will definitely like the same stuff as you, and if you’re lucky they are as interesting, funny and friendly as they people I’ve met online. Then have a look at who they follow, and who follows them. Say hello. Be nice. Have fun. Add me.

count von count sesame street

Just because the Count loves to count, doesn't mean you have to.

Stop counting

It’s not a game of numbers – Twitter will only ever be a chore if you think that it matters how many followers you have, or someone else has. It’s about finding people who also think the cancellation of Eureka is enough of A Bad Thing to tweet about it. Who are as excited as you about baking bread, or knitting. Who always find funny Star Wars articles and share them, so you don’t have to go looking. Who can recommend books you might like, and warn you away from the bad ones. You know how Facebook and Amazon are always trying to suggest things or people you might like, but get it so embarrassingly wrong? Your Twitter feed can be an auto-suggest that works, a constantly updating list of things you will like, hand picked for you by people who like those things too. Pretty cool, huh?

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Advent Thanksgiving: I just love your brraaiins (Warm Bodies review).

Warm bodies cover isaac marionMy Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.

My review of Warm Bodies is up at Slacker Heroes today. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this, not being a big zombie fan, but it was gorgeous.  Funny, full of art and music and just the right side of sentimental.  Zombie romance – who knew?

I just love your brraaiins: 3 reasons to fall in love with a zombie

He lives in a plane

Post zombie plague, the undead hang out in large groups at abandoned places while the living hide in barricaded, joyless camps. ‘R’, our zombie narrator, lives in an abandoned airport, and has claimed a 747 commercial jet as his private pad. He spends his days travelling up and down the airport escalators, then up and down again. I guess they’re operating at the same level of animation. His friend ‘M’ is more down to earth (all zombies have forgotten their full, living names; M and R think they remember the first initials of theirs, at least) and is as sleazy and female obsessed in death as he was in life. M lives in the ladies bathroom, watching soft porn and tripping on hits from fresh brains. I know which bachelor pad I’d prefer.

‘My friend ‘M’ says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can’t smile, because your lips have rotted off.’

He loves music

It’s hard for the zombies to remember what happened to them, or what their lives were like before. R seems to be the only one who cares, and his inability to piece anything together is upsetting him. He collects records and memorabilia, paintings, movies and dolls, and piles them up in his plane-pad. He’s certain they were things of importance but unable to remember why. His mind is stretching beyond his zombie lot in life, but his memory won’t play ball and his vocabulary, limited to the occasional shuffling syllable, can’t help him ask what he wants to know. In one of the cutest, coolest scenes of the novel, he uses his vinyl stash to ‘scratch’ the words he wants to say, skipping through lines of Sinatra records to articulate his thoughts.

Who’s he trying to communicate with? Well. When he eats the brain of a twenty something soldier, he experiences the love the boy had for his bright, full of life girlfriend and decides to rescue her and bring her back to his plane. Yes, you’re right, not the cleverest idea ever. Bring a living girl into an airport full of zombies in order to protect her? Hmm. Anyway, while she’s there they start playing the records he’s amassed, and have a strange few days of hanging out, playing records and eating Thai food. Sounds like my 20s. Though I never had to cover myself in the blood of the dead to hide my scent from the hordes of hungry dead outside.

He values pop culture

Frustrated that none of the other zombies seem to remember or want more, R loses his temper and shouts at a zombie he meets when looping the escalators one day. She has a name tag – she has a name, a clue to her old life, but zombies can’t read so all it does is taunt him.

‘Name,’ I say, glaring into her ear. ‘Name?’

She shoots me a cold look and keeps walking.

‘Job? School?’ My tone shifts from query to accusation. ‘Movie? Song?’ It bubbles out of me like oil from a punctured pipeline. ‘Book?’ I shout at her. ‘Home? Name?’

I think I’d get on with this guy. Picture it. We’re in his plane, listening to Sinatra, eating pad Thai and talking about books. He’s kinda immortal. He’s got DJ skills. He wants to know where I’m from, what my favourite movie is. He’s eaten my boyfriend’s brain to get to know me better – if that’s not commitment, what is?

Every few pages of this novel has a reference to what this new, dead world is missing; Julie’s eyes are likened to ‘classic novels and poetry’, while R’s cravings for brraaiins pulse like pink Pollock fractals. Polaroids are valuable because memories are fading, Beatles songs weave in and out of the chapters, and R and his crew are a ‘cadaverous cadre…roaming the open roads like Kerouac beats with no gas money’. The people behind the barricades have no time to teach their children about art and music, because learning to load a gun and cut a zombie’s brains out are more urgent life skills. They dress in khaki and there’s no booze left in the pub. They are alive, but what for? Warm Bodies is a love letter to what we still have – culture, creativity, emotion, (vodka) – and inspires me to relish it now, before the zombie apocalypse takes it all away.

from ‘3 reasons to fall in love with a zombie’

– Click here for the review at Slacker Heroes (and if you are a zombie fan, check out the rest of the site’s Zombiethon)

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