The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
The Atrocity Archives is actually two stories in a single cover. The first story shares the same title as the book and is a brilliant modern-era alternative Earth Cthulhu mythos story. Robert Howard works for Capital Laundry Services (or 'The Laundry' as its known) - an ultra secret and discreet cleaning service to the government. Keeping an eye on occult activity and stepping in to clean up leaks and keeping the country safe from 'outside' influence. Robert has finally been assigned 'Active Service' which see's him travel to the friendly but unfriendly shores of the US and the dark vaults of an Amsterdam museum and beyond... The story has a background involving the Middle East, Elder Gods, Nazi's, accountants and interfering departmental heads. I was very pleasently surprised by the story and it'd make a great Cthulhu adventure for those RPGers amongst you. It made me think of Delta Green but is very different in places. Definetly worth checking out and the second story in the book, 'The Concrete Jungle', has also started very well but as I'm only a few pages into it atm I can't say much more....
Dungeons & Dragons 2: Wrath of The Dragon God
The first D&D film was one of the worst films I think I have ever seen at the cinema. It was truly dire but somehow it made enough money in the DVD market that the franchise was deemed worthy of a sequel. It was with very great reservation that I watched 'Wrath of The Dragon God' earlier today. The film has a brand new (entirely Biritish it seems) cast and the only actor to have survived between films (as far as I'm aware) is Bruce Payne who plays Damodar, an evil undead sorcerer who reclaims humanity and sets about plans to release an ancient sleeping black dragon to decimate the Kingdom of Ismir.
Now I have to say that this second installment is actually much, much MUCH better than the original. The special effects are better, the acting and script are most definetly better, the plot (whilst predicatbly tacky) is actually alright and it left overall a pleasent viewing experience. The directior/script writers have also obviously studied the D&D game as their are many nods to certain spells, schools of magic and other trivial bits that will make D&D players identify where they came from. I don't think this is going to get a cinematic release so if you do want to see it you'll have to wait for the Direct-to-DVD release. An entertaining viewing and a thousand times better than the original even if the chief villian still comes across as a bit camp!!! School Report: B- (I think this would normally be a C but I'm so stunned by the difference between this and the first film I think it's affected my judgement....)
Sons & Daughters
Sons & Daughters have been cropping up on my radar for a few months now. Franz Ferdinand claimed they were one of the best new bands, they played Glastonbury (but I missed them) and they've been generating a buzz in the Indy press. It was with great delight I discovered they were supporting Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Alexander Palace a couple of weeks ago and I'm glad I caught part of their set. It was enough to make me decide I'd invest in their album 'The Repulsion Box'. Glad I did.
The album has a very large Nick Cave influence that shines through in the vocals of lead singer Adele Bethel. It also surprised me, especially on Taste The Last Girl, by reminding me very, very heavily of 80's Goth band Ghost Dance. Adele's vocals on this track particularly are in a very similiar vein to Anne-Marie of Ghost Dance.
The band are playing the UK again in November and I reccomend catching them if you can (and like Nick Cave, et al).
_grimtales_ was kind enough to run an impromtu game of Unknown Armies for kostika and myself on Saturday night. I'd never played Unknown Armies before but have heard loads of really good things about plus know a couple of people who've written for it in the past whose work I generally trust. The game (a weird mix of occult mystery and conspricay) was very enjoyable and actually reminded me of daver2323 and cavalorn's 'Book of Unremitting Horror' which should be hitting shelves in the UK this week. I had a great time playing the game (set in the suburbs of London and involving child abductions and killer teddy bears) and was actually amazed to realise that's probably the first actual RPGing I've done since last December!!! I've been playing too many Board games this year it seems..... Anyway, great time and many thanks to both Grim and Donna (and Charlie!) for letting me visiting this weekend. I had a fab time! :D
Very briefly. Had a really nice time at Grim and Donna's this weekend. They have a lovely kitten and a very nice house. It's been a while since I was in the country and I'd forgotten how green and quiet things are and also how early village shops (or shop in this case!) shut!!! Brought my Eurostar ticket for the Paris trip on my way back and then treated the girls to some Pizza and a Takashi's Castle marathon before retreating upstairs to try and catch up on some work. Feel very relaxed for the first time in ages. I think it's what the doctor ordered and am now looking forward to anotehr excursion next weekend! Yay!