The X-Files: Cold Cases

The X-Files: Cold CasesThe X-Files: Cold Cases by Joe Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

This is definitely the X-files you grew up with, in both the good and the bad.

The Good: All the people are exactly like I remember and are voiced by the actors who played them in the series. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and all the others do an excellent job voicing their parts. The same tensions exist and the same personalities, etc.

The book itself reads (or in this case sounds) exactly like the series. The writing is entertaining, and has the same feeling. It is like they just took up where they left off more than ten years ago. I do find this partially good and partially bad.

The Bad: The bad mostly falls into personal likes and dislikes. There is one single technical issue I disliked though, that would be the environmental sounds. It seemed very much on an audio stage and not sounding like it was filmed in an actual place. The echoes were off, there were seemingly missing ambience sounds.

This might just be a personal preference though, I haven’t heard a single audiobook who approaches it with multiple actors and using sounds instead of reading descriptions that has worked for me.

I stopped watching the X-files religiously as the seasons went on, especially the last season or two of Mulder and Scully (and I didn’t really watch it after they left). Not because there was anything technically bad about the acting or writing, but because I was tired of aliens.

The height of the show for me was when it was a “monster of the week” show with some plotlines that ran through the whole show. I didn’t even mind some of the alien/black virus/black eyes situation.

However, I stopped watching when it became all about a single government conspiracy with all knowing bad guys responsible for all the different things. I would have been ok if it was scattered conspiracy, but an all knowing invasion of aliens, followed with movies that only followed the same was frustrating.

This book does the exact same thing. There is one “episode” that deals with a monster of the week type situation (revisiting one of my favorite episodes) and it was great, the remaining episodes were very much one long alien conspiracy hunt. I won’t say anymore, I just want that out there to warn others if they don’t want to have to deal with it.

Overall though it was worth it, I got it on sale and I did mildly enjoy it. I will probably try any other book that comes out in the series, but I would rather it be done in a novelized/audible format and not that multi-actor/fake sounds setup.

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Justified (Season 6 – Final Season)

Well it is in the can and over with and it ended on a very good note, barring one annoyance.

This season focused on Boyd and Raylan’s struggle, but involved Sam Elliott playing Avery Markham and Mary Steenburgen playing Katherine Hale as new bad guys in a tug of war between multiple groups. We also had a lot of  Wynn Duffy which I personally enjoyed.

The season was perhaps the best one to date. The acting still really good, and the fact that almost all the side characters popped up in this (or were put down as the case may be). It was a really good send off for the series.

The only issue I had was the last 20 minutes of the season finale. I won’t say what happened other than it moves forward a few years to give sort of an epilogue, but I think that is where it did a disservice to the series. Not everything needs to be wrapped up completely and sometimes its best to leave things where they end, takes away from the climatic end.

Pros: Acting, story and pace were all great.

Cons: Sometimes its best to not have an epilogue, just leave it where it stands after the final climax.

Made me want to watch Deadwood, maybe I will do that.

Succubus!

Succubus! (Hell High #1)Succubus! by Michael-Scott Earle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book as something quick to listen to between two larger audio books. I figured I would listen a few minutes at a time, but I just ended up listening to the whole thing. I think I picked it up for under $5 and it was worth the risk.

The story itself centers on a senior in high school and the things he sees in that high school. The story involves monsters, demons, devils and a hot succubus girl. I will admit, about 10 minutes into the story I was hooked and found myself enjoying it.

The ending is too abrupt (but it was at a stopping point). This is to be expected since it is only a 90 minute book. I just found out that there are two more books that are about 3 times the size of this book (over four hours each). I will end up picking those up.

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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

The Ones Who Walk Away from OmelasThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a long time since I read anything from Ursula K Le Guin, and I wish I had read this back then, although I may not have fully understood it.

It is a bit dated, not in a bad way, but in what feels a more simplified way things were written back in the 1970s. The overall message though made me uncomfortable when I read it (I won’t give details, I don’t want to spoil it).

I got a lot more out of it though because at the same time I am listing to one of the Great Lectures called the Great Utiopian and Dystopian Works of Literature and the professor covered this story in the first lecture (and honestly thats why I read this story).

I do have to admit though I don’t know if I will seek out re-reading any of Le Guin’s works after this. I fear having the same thing happen with their work that happens with other authors. I find that taken in context in current day the book just doesn’t stand up to what I read/thought back then.

It is only 30 something pages, it is an easy read and I would recommend people read it.

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The Last Wish

The Last WishThe Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally understand the whole wish/shared destiny thing with Yennifer and Geralt and that alone was worth the read.

It is better than that though. A lot of the stories were retellings of common fairy tales (including retelling of Beauty and the Beast). That specific story (and you will know it when you read it) was a fantastic retelling that turned the story on its head, without being too hammer to the head.

It is an anthology series that weaves together and I also may think I like that format for Geralt, The Witcher more than the novel I read. I will read all the other books I think, and I hear I will like them, but this book so far is my favorite.

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Days of High Adventures

Days of High AdventureDays of High Adventure by Elliott Kay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think I came into this book with elevated expectations. After the unexpected success of NPCs that I reviewed last year, I was hoping this would be a similar thing, a fantasy novel based on the idea of real world characters interacting with a gaming world and having real world consequences.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no problematic elements in this book. There is nothing I find objectionable (unlike the Slave Harem idea from Wild Wastes), in some ways it was worse, it was just meh. It felt like there wasn’t enough details, but the weird part is I couldn’t tell you what details were missing. On top of that, it was all the standard tropes, nothing that interesting or new.

The technical writing is fine, the story is clear (mostly) but it just doesn’t have a spark for me. I do realize the fantasy world in the book isn’t quite the niche I prefer in fantasy, but it still just didn’t have a spark. even the sex scene wasn’t interesting to me.

I guess maybe I should be happy this was a short audiobook (a little over 4 hours). So it didn’t waste too much time.

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Justified (Season 5)

I never realized that I wanted a season to focus on Dewey Crowe’s family, but evidently I did.

Just like prior seasons Justified is entertaining to watch. This time however the story is three factions and the mixing between them. One of them is of course our main star Raylen Givens, the tough Federal Marshall. The second is Boyd Crowder and his crew (which I am just as entertained if not more so by Boyd as by Raylan). The third and final is Dewey Crowe’s family… and they were entertaining.

The backstabbing is upped a notch, the violence is pretty intense and the white knuckle moments are still there. It is true, that other than Boyd and Raylan, none of the new characters measure up to Margo Martindale (yes I am still beating her drum), but they were definitely entertaining.

Oh, and Wynne Duffy seemed to be in it more this season and I approve of more Mr. Duffy.

Pros: Still great acting and writing. .

Cons: Still no Margo Martindale, other than that things were great.

The final Season 6 is in the queue.