DUNE (2021) a Movie Review

Hi everyone, how are you doing? Have you seen the new adaptation of DUNE yet? I watched it at my local cinema last Sunday and I loved it! It is a truly stunning cinematic experience with beautiful visuals and an incredible sound mix. I’m a big fan of the book. I reviewed it on here last year. I’m also a fan of David Lynch’s 1984 film version. I went to see it when it came out back in 1984 in Manchester. I was only 11 years old and I didn’t understand a lot of it. But I got completely pulled into the film and Lynch’s bizarre world. It remains a really good memory for me.

I tried my first livestream on YouTube today. I reviewed DUNE (2021) and also talked about the Lynch movie as well as the original Frank Herbert novel. Here’s a link to my video review. If you watch it, please forgive my mistakes and pauses. It was great fun to make this livestream and I’m just delighted that it worked.


If you have seen the new film, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I will have a new book review posted on Sunday, hopefully. Until then, have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

-Wakizashi, *still thinking about the new DUNE movie*

Night Shift (1978) by Stephen King

“The house was built in unhappiness, has been lived in with unhappiness, there has been blood spilt on its floors, there has been disappearance and accident.”

-JERUSALEM’S LOT by Stephen King

I’ve written about Stephen King before on this blog. In my review of IT back in May 2020, I complained about King’s penchant for ‘overlong’ writing in some of his doorstoppers. I have always thought one of the pieces of advice in his excellent memoir On Writing was ironic. In it, King refers to the classic American writing guide, The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and highlights the guideline to “omit needless words.” Of course, it’s all subjective but just imagine if King had applied it more forcibly to his own writing. How about omitting needless pages and pages of backstory, Stephen? No? Well, who am I to argue with one of THE bestselling authors of the last 50 years.

I realize that I’m waffling a bit myself, but I just wanted to say how much I’ve come to prefer King’s shorter works. Which leads us to Night Shift, King’s first collection of short stories.

The 1979 Signet/New American Library edition with art by Don Brautigam

Publisher’s Synopsis

Night Shift: Excursions into Horror is the fifth book published by Stephen King, and his first collection of short stories. The book was released by Doubleday in February of 1978. Night Shift received the Balrog Award for Best Collection, and in 1979 it was nominated as best collection for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award. Many of King’s most famous short stories were included in the collection.’


My Thoughts

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The Runaways (1972) by Victor Canning

A new edition of The Runaways was recently published and it caught my attention on Amazon. It is one of the books that was read to my class in primary school when I was 10 years old. It’s also one of the only books I remember being read to us. It made a big impression on me at the time. I bought a copy on Kindle thinking it would make a nice and easy read. I was also curious to see what I would think of it now, after all these years. I know it’s often not a good idea to revisit a childhood classic but I gave it a try.

Publisher’s Synopsis

On a night of wild storms, two lonely creatures escape from captivity. One of the creatures is a boy, Smiler, wrongly convicted of stealing, the other a cheetah, Yarra, leaving the Longleat Wild Life Park to have her cubs in privacy.

Both are in danger from the outside world and each other, but somehow their lives become inextricably bound up as they fight for survival on the edge of Salisbury Plain.


My Thoughts

The Runaways tells the story of 15-year-old Samuel Miles, or “Smiler” to his friends, and an escaped female cheetah, Yarra. Smiler is on the run from the police after escaping from his reform school. At the same time, Yarra has escaped from Longleat Wildlife Park. Their lives cross paths as they both make their way across the English countryside towards Salisbury Plain. (300-square-mile Salisbury Plain is famous for Stonehenge, as well as its military training area with the abandoned “ghost village” of Imber.)

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Fool Moon (2001) by Jim Butcher

“Better late than never,” or so they say. I’ve started reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The first book, Storm Front was a solid mystery thriller with magic, wizards, demons, and even giant scorpions. It didn’t blow my mind or anything, but I enjoyed reading it. It was an entertaining story with a couple of well-realized characters, plus some gruesome deaths. It was also a nicely manageable 322 pages long. This is my review of the second book in the long-running series: Fool Moon.

Cover by Lee MacLeod

Publisher’s Synopsis:

“Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work–magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses–and the first two don’t count…”


My Thoughts

Fool Moon was a very entertaining read and I enjoyed it more than the first Dresden Files book Storm Front; partly because the setting and world-building felt more assured here. The main reason I enjoyed it so much was the way Butcher wrote about werewolves. These creatures are not to be trifled with. You get a real sense of their deadly and frightening power in this book. I think Butcher enjoyed himself exploring werewolf lore and penning some truly uncomfortable and thrilling scenes with the creatures.

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The Fastest Way to Make a YouTube Video — Wakizashi’s YouTube Journey

This is the first video I made after restarting my YouTube channel in June 2021. It’s a review of Homesick Pilots Volume 1, written by Dan Watters with art by Caspar Wijngaard. This video review is very basic and it shows. It’s just me with my Sony Xperia smartphone’s camera, a review script I’d printed […]

The Fastest Way to Make a YouTube Video — Wakizashi’s YouTube Journey

Sharing this post from my new WordPress site. 😅I know, I know! I said I wouldn’t be posting very frequently, but I thought this might interest a few readers. It’s a very basic essay on “How to Make a YouTube Video on Your Phone.” I promise I won’t post again for at least a few hours, erm, I mean, a few days! 😂🙄

Thanks for reading and for putting up with me!

-Wakizashi, *sheepishly hiding round the corner*

Back Already?..

First of all, a huge and heartfelt “Thank You!” for your kind and supportive messages on my previous post. I was blown away by your generosity. 😌

I wanted to post a quick update on this blog’s status. I will continue posting book and comic reviews on here. There will be fewer posts but they will continue. 😀 If my reading life picks up again, then the number of reviews will hopefully increase, too.

I am making a new WordPress site which will just be about my YouTube channel. I want to keep those posts separate from this site, so that readers know what they can find here: “subjective reviews of books, comics and more”.

On the new site, I will be posting the videos I upload onto YouTube, as well as writing about the “trials and tribble-ations” of making and editing these videos. If you are interested, here is the link to the new site:

wakizashisyoutubequest.wordpress.com

It will be interesting to start a blog site from scratch again. I had a frustrating time trying to get it up and running thanks to WordPress’s–ahem–“much celebrated” new Block Editor. So much has changed that I initially couldn’t find the “widgets”, specifically the “Follow Button” widget or the “Search Bar” option; *!@=^&%$🤬 (Insert relevant swear word here!) Don’t let me open up that can of worms! *(Thanks for the heads-up Bart!)

Okay, that’s all for now. Thanks again for your support, and as always, thanks for reading!

-Wakizashi, *resting chin on hand, wondering what he’s got himself into…*

Stepping Away For a While

After five years of blogging about books, comics, and more, I feel it is time to take a break. It’s kind of ironic that I’m currently enjoying the best year of “stats” on this blog, if that even means anything. Numbers don’t really mean much at the end of the day; views and “likes” clicked on automatic, either. What I loved was getting comments; readers actually interacting with the few words I wrote. For all the comments and questions, recommendations and jokes, I want to say a heartfelt “Thank You!” 🧡 They all meant a lot to me, and still do. 😘

I’ve really enjoyed my time visiting your words and blogs. Thanks to you, I’ve discovered some wonderful books, comics, movies, and more. You’ve made me smile, made me laugh out loud–yes, that is a real thing!–educated and informed me, made me feel part of a community. Honto ni, arigatou!

I don’t really know why, but I’ve lost something. Something hard to define, but it was that “something” that made me so excited to read and share my thoughts on what I was reading. Lost my love of blogging, perhaps?.. I’m not reading books like I used to. And I struggle to write up a review. Thus, time for a break.

Please fell free to unfollow this ?blog? There might be an occasional post here and there, but I can’t say when, and I can’t say it will happen for sure. I will still be checking in on your posts, eager to find that book that will turn it all around for me. And now I don’t know how to end this post. So I’ll just say, “Mata, ne!” Take care, and keep on reading and writing!

The very best of wishes,

-Wakizashi, *hoping the beauty of “Blade Runner Blues” will stop my heart from breaking*

How Many Batman Comics Can You Fit in a Month?

Hello again. It’s me with yet another comic book review. You can see my true colours coming out after all these years, right? Yep, I’m a comic book geek, and always have been. 😉 I don’t know why but I always struggle to get through a book in August. Weird, right? Summer just doesn’t work as a reading month for me. Bring on the autumn!

Here is my review of Batman: Reptilian #1 written by Garth Ennis with art by Liam Sharp. It was released on June 23rd 2021. You get 21 pages of story, plus the cover, for the rising DC Comics price of $4.99. This is a Black Label title so it stands alone, free of the regular Batman continuity.

Brief Synopsis & My Thoughts

The Riddler and the Scarecrow have been brutally attacked and Batman is determined to discover who did it. It seems that there is something stalking the streets of Gotham City, something more dangerous than Batman. 

First off, the painted art by Liam Sharp is gorgeous. It’s dark and atmospheric and reminded me of Dave McKean’s work on the 1989 graphic novel “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.” Garth Ennis writes a more intimidating Batman than more recent portrayals. This Batman strikes FEAR into the hearts of the criminals he faces, which is the whole point of his costume after all. I enjoyed this return to a darker Dark Knight and I’m very curious to see where the story goes from here. Issues #2 and #3 are already out and I will be picking up copies soon. 

My short video review of issue #1

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The Album of Dr. Moreau (2021) by Daryl Gregory

‘Tusk filled the doorway across the hall. His gigantic gray head, made larger by those fanlike ears, sat atop an imposing body. He would have been terrifying if it weren’t for the fact that he was wearing a well-tailored suit.’

-Daryl Gregory

Publisher’s Synopsis

It’s 2001, and the WyldBoyZ are the world’s hottest boy band, and definitely the world’s only genetically engineered human-animal hybrid vocal group. When their producer, Dr. M, is found murdered in his hotel room, the “boyz” become the prime suspects. Was it Bobby the ocelot (“the cute one”), Matt the megabat (“the funny one”), Tim the Pangolin (“the shy one”), Devin the bonobo (“the romantic one”), or Tusk the elephant (“the smart one”)?

Las Vegas Detective Luce Delgado has only twenty-four hours to solve a case that goes all the way back to the secret science barge where the WyldBoyZ’ journey first began—a place they used to call home.’ 


My Thoughts

The Album of Dr. Moreau is a hugely entertaining locked-room mystery featuring the most unforgettable boy band you never knew you needed in your reading life. This is the second book by Daryl Gregory that I’ve read in the last month. In fact, I bought this book right after finishing the author’s 2017 extrasensory tale of the incredible Telemachus family: Spoonbenders. I had a blast reading Spoonbenders and I can say the same for this one. My only criticism is that I wish there was more of it. The Album of Dr. Moreau is a novella and clocks in at just 176 pages.

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New Comics – Batman ’89 #1 and Defenders #1

Here are two comics which caught my eye last week:

Batman ’89 issue #1 (of 6) by Sam Hamm & Joe Quinones, (August 10th, 2021)

Continuing the story from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie, this opening issue focuses on Harvey Dent–played by Billy Dee Williams in the movie. Dent isn’t happy with Commissioner Gordon working with masked vigilante Batman and plans to go after him. He wants to take Batman down. A curfew is brought in and the National Guard patrol the streets of Gotham City at night. They have orders to shoot Batman on sight. After pursuing a thief back to his apartment, Batman is surprised by a masked figure on the balcony. They fight and Batman falls. That is where the issue ends.

This was a fun, pulpy, colourful story with a real feel of the 1989 movie. It was nice to see this version of Harvey Dent being developed–something I felt was missing from the Batman Returns sequel movie. With it being the first of six issues, a lot of the story acts as set up for future issues. The art was pretty good if a bit hit and miss at times. It had a more cartoony feel than the regular Batman titles. But I liked it, even if Bruce Wayne looked nothing like Michael Keaton😂. This is a recommend for any fans of the 1989 film.


Defenders issue #1 by Al Ewing & Javier Rodriguez, (August 11th 2021)

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