Assorted entertainment

Since I haven’t posted in forever, here’s some of the stuff I’ve been doing instead:

  • Today I saw Stardust, a very enjoyable fairy-tale movie adapted from a Neil Gaiman book. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer are both terrific in it. It’s in the vein of the classic The Princess Bride, and almost as good.

  • A week or so ago I finished off the second Robin Hobb fantasy trilogy, The Liveship Traders; I actually really liked this one despite my initial misgivings about the characters. (Indeed, few of the characters are likable at the beginning, but Hobb gives them interesting character arcs in which they become better people through suffering. Lots of suffering.) It’s piratey as hell, with peglegs and hidden treasure and wonderful epic battle scenes on the high seas.
  • So naturally I started the next trilogy, which begins with Fool’s Errand. By now I’ve learned that Robin Hobb takes her time to get the story going, but here she aims to break all the records, with so little happening that it takes until page 224 until the main character even leaves his house. (I’m being a little unfair here since there’s a bunch of backstory that’s related through flashback, but still. Get on with it!)
  • Guitar Hero Rocks the ’80s has been fun, but always leaves me with some stupid hair-metal song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
  • Via Mortaine I learn of DM of the Rings, a webcomic that retells Lord of the Rings as if it is being played out in a D&D game. This may sound like the nerdiest thing ever, and it is, which probably means many of you have seen it already. Still, it’s brilliant. I especially like it when events make more sense told this way, such as in this strip (probably my favorite).

4 thoughts on “Assorted entertainment

  1. Mason

    I’ll add my review of Stardust tomorrow and get to link to you, Lemming, and (presumably) Zifnab (who I assume will review the movie on his blog). I agree the movie was excellent, though I don’t really see the huge connection to The Princess Bride. (Maybe that’s telling me I should watch The Princess Bride again, but they just don’t seem overly similar to me at the moment.)
    In terms of 80s Guitar Hero, I hear you on that complaint. (I also remember discussing it with you when I was visiting.) Just play “Turning Japanese” again to wash that other stuff out of your brain… I really think so!

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    The connection to The Princess Bride is that both movies are tongue-in-cheek fairy-tale pastiches, with some minor subversion of the conventions of the genre. That’s all I meant by the comment above, although you’ll see some similarity at the level of specific detail (undoubtedly Gaiman and the Stardust screenwriters tried to avoid too much of this).

  3. Lanthala

    I tried to read the liveship series, but about halfway through the first book I realized everyone was headed towards massive amounts of misery and pain, individually and as a group. At which point I went and read Pratchett instead. Good to know my instincts were correct^^

  4. Arcane Gazebo

    Yeah, that’s about the point in the first book where the trajectory of the plot became pretty clear. This was one of the flaws in the series, that there’s no suspense about certain plot developments that are basically required to set up a conflict between the different characters. The only storyline that really surprised me in book 2 was Malta’s.
    On the other hand, once everything was set up for book 3, I had no idea how it was all going to shake out and the suspense returned.

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