Book review: Drakin, the story of Raiya

Awesome review by a wonderful reader! Thank you!

Tomas's blog and web

After two Sci-Fi books (Jurrasic Park and Resist), I got to read a book that is some kind of a mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Another step into the unknown for me – and one that worked for me.

View original post 368 more words

Advertisements

Unpopular Opinion: Incredibles 2 wasn’t worth the wait. (Spoiler Free)

Yeah… this was a major let down.

torch-and-pitchfork.jpg

Oh, bring it on!

I went to see it with my family the other night at a drive-in. My kids loved the original and watch it ad nauseam.  I admit it’s a fun movie and definitely an entertaining take on Superheroes.

I actually got a laugh out of Samuel L. Jackson’s character when he’s arguing with his wife…

“It’s for the greater good!”
“I am your wife, I’m the greatest GOOD you’ll ever get!”

(No matter how many times I hear that, it still gets a laugh.)

So the movie takes place seemingly immediately after the first movie… despite 14 years passing. When the screen lit up and the cast appears on the screen to pathetically apologize for taking so long to make a sequel, I admit that was funny. It set the stage for what should have been a good movie.

What came after was… underwhelming. The story was a fairly run-of-the-mill paint by numbers superhero story. The “Surprise” bad guy that Disney seems to try to unleash on their audience lately has become so predictable… I had to resist the urge to point at the screen and be like, (okay, okay, ONE small spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph.) “Yeah, she’s the bad guy.”

It’s not that it was a bad movie, it just didn’t bring anything new to the table. Not helping matters though, was the voice acting…

Some of it was fine, as usual, Samuel L Jackson was his normal self and did a good job, but the rest of the cast sounded tired and out of it… except for one character, who arguably was even worse than that…

MV5BMTAzNzI3NTU4NTNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDIzNDg5MjM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,589,1000_AL_

This character is being portrayed by a 49-year-old woman… and it really shows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against older actors playing younger roles… as long as they can pull it off. At no point did I believe that was the voice of a teenager. She actually sounded older than Elastagirl, which was kind of cringy, to say the least.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy this movie at all. It’s fun for little kids, I suppose, but it really doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table. Save your money and rent it when it comes out.

Readers, what did you think? Was Incredibles 2 good? Do you want to see it? What did you like about it if so? Let me know down in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Rose Tico: A Strong Female Protagonist?

This is something I’ve gone back and forth about publishing for a while… given everything that’s been going on between the creators of the new Star Wars series and the fandom.

This is a fight no one wins, so I don’t get involved.

That being said, there is a lot of buzz around Kelly Marie Tran and her character, Rose Tico.

First of all, I want to address what’s been going on recently. What’s been happening to Tran is, IMHO no different than what happened to Jake Llyod. It is not right, and it is not cool. No one should have to suffer that kind of negative blowback from a character they played.

Keep in mind, these actors do what they can with the roles their given. How they act and the lines they deliver are rarely of their own choosing. Harassing them is absolutely unacceptable and doesn’t do anything for the cause if such a thing exists.

All right, on topic. Anyone who’s read my review of The Last Jedi or Rogue One knows that I love the franchise and I’ve been… extremely charitable in my judging of these movies and have even gone so far as to defend many of the points of contention that fans have. I have not seen Solo yet, but I likely will be this weekend.

So… I welcome everyone’s input on this one… but I would like some feedback especially from my female followers/fans.

Since TLJ came out… the media has been singing praises for Rose Tico…

“in The Last Jedi, Rose Tico takes none of your fake sh*t.”
“It’s fun to see women on the big screen who continue to step up over and over again, proving just how strong they are.”
-SyFyWire

“Tran is also aware of the pressure of playing a strong Asian female role-model.”
-Huffington Post

“Her self-belief is as strong as her moral code of conduct.”
-Washington Post

“From the moment we were introduced to the character of Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we knew we had met a strong woman we could root for.”
-Ohmy.Disney.com

Reading these reviews of Tico… I can’t help but feel like I was watching a different movie from the ones these editorialists watched.

When I saw Tico, she struck me as a bit of a ditsy, obsessive, fangirl. She makes assumptions and acts without thinking, or in Fin’s case, without even considering that he may have a reason for his action. She seemed to have a bit of an inferiority complex when it came to her sister’s heroic sacrifice… Her motivations are horribly muddled, and her actions, at least in my opinion, do not fall into the description of ‘strong’.

I often find her being complimented for saving Fin’s life from… what they often describe as a pointless martyr complex at the end of the movie, but her actions come insanely close to sealing the fate of the remainder of the Resistance. She sacrificed everyone else to save the guy she loved… how is that strong and not even considered a bit selfish?

So… this is where I need the feedback. I write a lot of female characters. The fan favorites seem to be Raiya and Mary Jane, though General Xaphan has also gotten a few compliments.

When I write a character, be it male or female, and I want to make them strong, what I look for is a character that fits at least MOST of these attributes;

Independent, yet not averse to the idea of relying on another person if the need arises.

Prideful and confident: You pretty much need at least one of these to be strong.

Driven and determined: They have their goals and their own agendas that may or may not be in line with the overall narrative.

Opinionated. They have their own vices, but aren’t afraid to face them.

Can function as a leader, but is also willing to listen to others when needed.

Can show emotion such as fragility or even just a soft side, even if resistant at first.

Is strong both emotionally and physically to some extent.

Has a reasoning for their situation and their worldview, even if it doesn’t make much sense to others.

Their existence is not predicated on the existence of another character.

I saw very little of any of this from Rose Tico’s character at all. If anything, she was the antithesis to many of these. Like I said, she seemed like an obsessive fangirl half the time, clingy, emotional, and selfish the rest of it. Her motivations were a bit skewed, especially when it came to saving Fin, and her entire backstory served no purpose other than ramming blatant social commentary down the audience’s throat. Ask yourself… would anything have been lost had Tico and the entire Canto Bight sidequest been cut in favor of watching Rey train with Luke and Fin and Poe fighting the Empire in space?

So I am genuinely curious… is Rose Tico an example of a strong female lead? Is she someone we want our girls to look up to? Am I way off on my assessment of what makes a strong character? Is Rose Tico the way you want strong women portrayed?

Let me know in the comments. I’m genuinely curious here.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

My Initial Thoughts on Detroit Become Human

Anyone who’s followed me for the last few months knows that I was anxiously awaiting this game. My wife and I demoed it at PAX East, and we were excited to finally get our hands on a copy.

So where did this all start for me? Well… actually when I was following what was going on with hilariously comical #FreedomForTay movement, someone posted this video and likened it to what was happening to Microsoft’s Tay AI. (Read more here.)

 

This trailer was incredibly well done, despite only being PS3 level graphics. You legitimately felt for Kara here to the point of almost having tears in your eyes. I was immediately hooked and started looking more into what this was about. I found out that it was a very early trailer for Detroit Become Human and I wanted to know more.

Well… the more I found out, the more interested I became and I really started getting into it when this extremely controversial trailer came out:

You really got to hand it to the PR people on this one. They really know how to get you hooked.

So for months and months I waited. Until finally last week… that glorious day happened! Detroit Become Human came out and my reserved copy was ready to be picked up!

33674724_1857553994307802_5168489195043291136_n

I immediately ran out and grabbed my copy. I popped it into our PS4 and my wife and I began the game.

The opening scene deals with Connor, a special ‘prototype’ android that has been issued to the police department. His job is to talk down another android that has apparently gone insane, killed its master, and taken the daughter hostage. This was the demo we played at PAX. Well… we knew how our decisions went last time (not so well) and we wanted to try for a better outcome, so we made a few different decisions, sure enough… something totally different happened.

That’s how this whole game works. Detroit Become Human is more of an interactive movie than an actual game… and when I say interactive… I mean you really can’t be much more immersive than the game is. Even the title screen interacts with you by giving you your own virtual android to assist you with getting started… for a while anyway.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself…

The game takes place in Detroit (obviously) of the Future, 2038 to be exact. There, people are out of work, neighborhoods are crumbling, drugs are rampant, and automation is replacing skilled and unskilled labor.

… in other words, Detroit hasn’t really changed at all in twenty years.

 

Sorry… back on topic. The story revolves around three androids:

Markus: A caretaker for artist facing the end of his days.

Kara: Another caretaker, this time for a child, Alice, and her drug addict, out of work, father.

Connor: A by-the-book police android who’s thrown in with a broken down cop who’s more often found at the bottom of a bottle of booze than actually in his office.

The story revolves around the evolution of the three characters and the choices they make. What happens to each character lands solely in your lap. If one or more character dies, the game does not end. The story simply continues without that character.

I really don’t want to give too much away, but I really preferred Kara’s story above all the others. Her struggle with keeping young Alice alive and happy while coming to terms with her own identity and finding her place was profound.

Markus’ story I found somewhat predictable. He’s an android who worked for an ‘enlightened’ artist who encouraged the android to cut his own path. Markus then, through a series of events that are not of his own making, becomes the leader of a revolution. After a few bad decisions, I didn’t like where this character was going and sought to kill him off… that might have been a mistake… It turns out, he’s a fairly integral part of the struggle for civil rights and losing him… has repercussions that are felt pretty strongly by the end of the game.

Connor… I’m not going to lie, I do love this one. If you like Lethal Weapon, his interactions with the other cop are pretty enjoyable. It’s a pretty standard buddy cop story, but it’s fun in its own way.

As I said, the story revolves around these three characters and the decisions you make will affect the lives of everyone around. One thing I will say about this game is that it get’s unexpectedly dark… I mean really dark. Murder, sexual assault, drug use, child abuse, domestic violence, and even genocide, are all potential themes in your story. Not all of them are avoidable. That is not a criticism, by the way, if you’re going to go dark, you should go all the way and this game very vividly shows the ramification of such themes.

So is this game everything I was hoping it would be?

Yes. The replay value is through the roof, it’s not an action game where you go around shooting and killing people. You’re essentially watching a movie when options come up on the screen, and allow you to choose what decision a character makes.

Negatives…

Well… when I say the game is immersive, I MEAN IT’S IMMERSIVE! You’re going to spend early parts of the game cleaning house, making dinner, doing laundry, and pushing an old man’s wheelchair. It’s definitely slow-moving at first and will lose some audience members with a shorter attention span.

Other than that, I was a little disappointed in how little the stories appear to interact… at least on my first playthrough. The most interaction I saw between Connor and Kara was when Connor looked oddly at Alice from across a room and when he Connor chased them across a street.

I expected their stories to be a little more intertwined, and maybe they are, but my first story was a fairly dark one that ended with android genocide and only Kara getting away unscathed.

So what’s my final judgment?

Detroit Become Human is awesome. The graphics are great, it’s got a great cast! The music is wonderful, the character development is excellent, and though initially slow-moving, the game’s storyline sucks you in and really makes you want to see what comes next.

So my overall score is going to be a 8.5 out of 10. Buy this game and try it out if you love a good story! You’ll love it!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Sea of Thieves… A Shining Example of Why I Avoid MMOs.

You ever want something to be good so badly that you pretty much know you’re setting yourself up for failure? That was me with Sea of Thieves. So full disclosure, part of my disappointment may be my own fault, but I think most people will agree that the majority of it is warranted.

When I heard that there was a game coming out that was one of the most immersive pirate adventures ever, I was super excited. I got my friends together, we all bought the game and agreed that we’d be on a crew together. We decided on a name for our ship, and were good to go. I even bought a new headset just to be optimally ready for the occasion.

So we all downloaded the game. Let me start off on what we liked… This game is on the Unreal engine. The graphics are beautiful. The design of the game is excellent, everything from the mechanics of sailing, to the way storms work, to having to maintain your ship. On the surface, it really looks and feels awesome. I like how you can pick up jobs and the ship to ship combat is pretty good… at first. When you open fire on another ship, the music changes to something more fast paced, and really get’s you in the mood to fight. They even have a brig for players who misbehave!

So my initial impression was that this game was a winner… sadly a week of running around doing the same missions over and over for no apparent reason, and quickly seeing the problems with the combat system… as well as the brig system… soured my experience. So let’s go through the problems…

  1. Ship Battles: 
    I could probably forgive most of the other issues if the battles were fun. See initially, you prep your cannons and are ready to get in and put up a fight. Then as you’re training your guns on an enemy ship… you die. You never even got a chance to fire. So what happened? Well apparently, someone either jumped off their ship, swam over and boarded your ship because you can’t retract the ladder… or they loaded themselves into a cannon and shot themselves over to your deck, where they then take out half your crew with a blunderbuss. This completely kills ship to ship battles because once someone boards and kills a few people… battle over.
    I get that real pirates used to board ships in order to steal them, but they didn’t do it like this, and it certainly wasn’t this easy. This completely ruined the ship to ship combat system for me.
  2. The Brig: 
    Okay, I get it. We all hate trolls, and we don’t want to deal with them. Unfortunately, the problem has become so bad that most teams just lock up random people who join right away, not even giving them a chance. Out of spite, I’ll often just stay in the brig and earn the rewards of the mission for no reason. It also keeps these people from inviting anyone else. This is a broken system and really just invites even more problems than it fixes. I hear there’s even talk of removing it.
  3. Single Players Disadvantaged:
    Let’s say you just want to sail your ship and not deal with a crew. It’s extremely difficult to do because the two ship options are fairly big and need more than one person to function properly. I get that this game is supposed to be for groups, but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with that, for obvious reasons.
  4. The Game is Horribly buggy:
    Need to minimize the screen for a second to check your sound settings? Heh, good luck staying connected. A lot of people have been suffering through having their connections dropped for the screen being minimized. The ingame sound system doesn’t always work, forcing players onto team chats and other services to interact vocally.
  5.  Lack of Ships: 
    Like ship battles? Enjoy them where you can. There are only 6 ships (MAX) on each map. So at most, you’ll encounter an enemy ship once an hour. For some people that may be enough, but for those of us there who like raiding and pillaging… it’s severely lacking.
  6. Minimal Content Upon Release:
    This… is why I avoid MMOs like the plague. The game comes out to get players hooked… and they blow through what little there is in no time. You do your missions, fight your battles, and… that’s it. You sit there shrugging going, “Okay, I’ve done the skull missions, gold missions, and the merchant missions. I’ve killed the Kracken, defeated Skull Island, and even sunken enemy ships… so now what?”

The truth is… that’s literally all there is to this game. It’s literally a set of repetitive misisons and ship battles. There is no story, no narrative, no nothing that I’ve seen. There is no sense of accomplishment for completing anything. All the upgrades are superficial and it’s like you’re grinding… for the sake of grinding.
The developers have promised more content in the near future, but that’s the problem with these games. They release and sell an incomplete product for $60 and, in some of the less scrupulous cases, force you to purchase the addition features to just make the game worth the original money you spent on it.
Yes, single player games have this problem too, but it’s nowhere near as bad. Often the DLC packages are either just cosmetic or additional side stories that you can play without and still have a good experience. That is not the case with many MMOs and… sadly this game seems to be one of them.
The other problem with doing this is that by the time the problems are fixed and more content is released, the audience will be greatly reduced as many will have gone on to better things.

So in the end, my apologies to everyone who spent the money on this game. You purchased something that had (and still has) a lot of potential, but the fact remains that you purchased an incomplete product. I haven’t attempted to get a refund as so many others have… personally… I am holding out a (admittedly dwindling) hope that this will eventually turn out to be a good game.

So take it for what it’s worth. Hopefully this review will help quell some expectations and maybe help some people avoid making a bad purchase.
Please keep in mind though, this is my own personal experience with the game. Others may view it differently, and that’s fine. What about all of you out there? Have you played it? Did you enjoy it? Am I right on or way off on my opinion of it? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Heads Up, New J.R.R. TOLKIEN NOVEL!

 

I am super excited about this one. Being a huge fan of Tolkien, owner of two first edition novels of his, and avid fan of the movies… this is huge for me!

The new novel is titled The Fall of Gondolin. It looks like Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien is trying to get everything out as fast as he can… given that he’s getting up there, I can understand that. The book will be illustrated by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings artist Alan Lee. I am familiar with, and love his work.

From what research there is available on this book, per  the author of Tolkien and the Great War, John Garth, Tolkien initially wrote The Fall of Gondolin while attempting to recover after the Battle of the Somme during the First World War. It is, however, not going to necessarily be recognizable to fans of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. According to an article in the Guardian, this story is set roughly six thousand years prior to the events of those two novels.

So to my fellow Tolkien followers, get ready!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Is the EU Truly Dead?

News of a new Star Wars Trilogy, following the events of Luke Skywalker and family post-Return of the Jedi had been long-awaited and, given the age of the actors had a shadow of doubt. Thus, when it was announced that a plan to go forward had been agreed upon, fans cheered. Their elation was somewhat short-lived in many cases with the announcement from LucasFilms that the expanded universe would become the legend series. Suddenly things that at one time had been canon, were now relegated to a mythos around the Star Wars Universe.

Though I’m sure that this will make me very unpopular, I actually agree with this decision. Yes, Star Wars fans who have kept tabs on the ever-expanding universe over the years have lost so much of what they loved… however you have to consider the fact that there is a lot of ground to cover and to do so in the span of a two hour movie, retcon the literal hundreds of books that have come out, and still make a cohesive story would be next to impossible. A person who’s new to the series, or someone who was just a fan of the films is not going to know who the Crimson Empire was, who the Yuuzhan Vong are, and they’re not going to understand a lot of what happened immediately after ROTJ. So this move actually does make a lot of sense.

That being said, some of the EU has made it’s way back into canon. These things include Black Sun, the design of Dash Rendar’s ship, Darth Bane, and perhaps most prominently Grand Admiral Thrawn. However, most of these have been in cartoon form in the shows Rebels and the Clone Wars.

So with all that being said, is the EU forever dead and buried from the big screen?

Not by a long shot. We’ve seen other Universes (stewarded by the same people in fact), get reboots and become alternate universes. Not to mention the fact the Hollywood seems to love reboots… we may see it happen in Star Wars.

Think about it, they’ve all but killed off the original cast of Star Wars, Daisy Ridley claims that she’s not going to do another Star Wars movie after Episode IX, and we already have one role (Han Solo) recast with a younger actor. Given all this evidence, the fact that Disney has already promised the world a new Star Wars movie every year for the ‘foreseeable future’, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that perhaps a Legends movie could be on the drawing board somewhere.

So to the EU fans… don’t hold your breath, but don’t give up hope either. There is still a chance out there for Mara Jade, the Solo twins, Anakin Solo, the Yuuzhan Vong, Jaged Fel, etc.

Only the future will tell.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim