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23 October 2013 @ 11:28 am
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A selection of reviews from the past few months.

1632 series by Eric Flint and many others
Surprisingly good fun. Unapologetic hijinks and worldbuilding and wargaming, but fun with it. I've read the first two books and the 'Ring of Fire' collection of published fanfic, and some of them were awesomely good (and a few absolute stinkers, but them's the breaks). I especially loved the priest who decides that the 1632 Vatican needs to be introduced to the Second Vatican Council and the new Catechism. And the one about the old lady's daycare centre and her ambitions for gymnasium-educated girls. There seem to be a ton of books and authorised fanfic in this series and I have a fair number of them lined up on my Kindle for when I need some escapism and derring-do in the seventeenth century.

The story is about a small modern American town that gets 'magically' transported to the Thirty Years' War in the middle of Germany, and what happens when you drop a couple of thousand modern Americans with all their homes and possessions and knowledge into the past and let them go. There's lots of interesting worldbuilding about how they get a power station going again and what they're going to do for petrol for their cars and avoid catching or causing a plague, but the meat of the story is how they change the course of history. Fascinating questions: what does a young Rubens do when someone hands him a 21st century art history book? And so on. It's desperately American, but not too painful for that, and the writing is competent and readable, and it's nice to have some mil-SF that's not about the Napoleonic wars for a change. I do notice Flint has a tendency to approach his plot twists with all the subtlety and finesse of a band of massed pipes and drums: you can hear it coming five miles away, but you know it will be glorious.

Iron Sky
This was, as promised, complete and utter crack. Secret Nazi base on the dark side of the moon invades Earth! It did remind me a little of Dr Strangelove for the War on Terror era. Good fun, but the crackiness gets out of hand a lot of the time.

Agents of SHIELD
This is being shown in the UK only a few days behind the US, for a wonder, so I'm almost up to date on it. So far it's not particularly impressing me, but I'm willing to give it a chance to improve. I liked Coulson a lot more in the movies; in this he is starting to annoy me. But the scientists are amusing, I kind of like Ward and Skye, and there have been enough good bits that I'm going to stick with it and see what happens.

Roman Holiday
This was lovely and sweet and an all-around delight. I can't believe I'd never seen it before. If you haven't, it's well worth watching. And Gregory Peck is gorgeous, too, not that I'm shallow or anything.

Goodbye Lenin!
As recommended by shimotsuki here. This was lovely and fun and sweet and thoughtful. I really enjoyed the look at how everyone's world changed when the Berlin Wall came down, and the hijinks as the siblings tried to prevent their mother from seeing any of the changes were brilliant.

Endeavour
I'm really loving this. Morse the awkward, brilliant, baby detective in the early '60s, solving wonderfully complicated mysteries. Morse and Thursday are a fantastic team, and though it's clear that ITV is milking the Morse universe for everything it's got, they're doing a good job of it. The introverted-genius-and-solid-copper pairing is not suffering for having been done before. Or perhaps it's just that I am always a sucker for the mentor-apprentice dynamic. Either way, it's excellent watching.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/107849.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Trobadora: wordstrobadora on October 23rd, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
I'm just rereading parts of the 1632 series myself. It really is a lot of fun!
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on October 24th, 2013 08:48 am (UTC)
It is very enjoyable, and I'm glad you mentioned it :-). Though I tried to read the one about the sheep and land reform, or something, and I just couldn't cope with it. The Galileo one I'm reading now is much more promising.
Trobadoratrobadora on October 24th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they're definitely not all equally good! And there are some things I find irritating, but when it's good it's just GOOD, you know?
shimotsuki: booksshimotsuki on October 24th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
You do find lots of interesting stuff! I may have to revisit this page later when I'm a little more dug out from the current avalanche of work backlog.

Very glad you enjoyed "Goodbye Lenin." I thought it was an interesting mix of, as you say, hijinks with some more serious themes.
philomytha: Beam me upphilomytha on October 24th, 2013 08:50 am (UTC)
My top pick from this lot would be the Endeavour series or Roman Holiday (the plot of that one, more or less, is 'princess (Aubrey Hepburn) from unnamed European country runs away for some adventures in Rome with undercover journalist (Gregory Peck)' and it is very sweet and lovely).

And thank you for the rec!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )