February: stuff to read, watch and play

I know everybody here may be asking one question – and in all honesty I have no idea what question is that.

This ignorance, however, allows me to speech free from any interest in your curiosities. All in all, I can just ask myself a question and give me an answer – isn’t this the reason we blog?

Summarising:

The question is: which stories will be filling your spare time in February? (and hell no, that doesn’t mean “which stories are you going to talk about on this blog in February).

I’d like to make this a habit so every month – the first day of the month – I am going to tell you what I will be reading, watching or playing for the following thirty days.

Books

Something has to live on a bedside table and, despite Po believing that to be his place, I would prefer books to stay there and him to be sleeping hugging me. For now, both books and cat share a place but I have a revelation for you Mr. feline (’cause I know you are reading this!): those are not chairs, they are not meant for your butt!

All right, let’s get down to business. There are two books that I’d really like to find the time to read in February – a classic of sci-fy and another one highly recommended by my wife.

Roadside Picnic is an opera that always made me curious – oddly enough, I never found the time to either read the book or watch the movie – the fact that the only version of the movie I can find is in Russian doesn’t help I guess (if you want to watch it, the title is “Stalker”).

The story, written by the Strugatsky brothers, is now considered a classic of the sci-fy genre, particularly in its Soviet declination.

Aliens have visited earth but this wasn’t their final destination. They just stopped for a “picnic” while on their way – maybe didn’t even notice that the planet was somehow inhabited. Just like ants, the humans, venture to the place of this picnic but everything they find, albeit ordinary to those who left it, is incomprehensible. This places – the Zones – are heavily guarded and everybody is forbidden from trespassing. Only the stalkers, thieves that enter the Zones to steal the artefacts for their profit, dare to venture them.

I think this concept is great and I can’t wait to read more.

Whereas I want to read Roadside Picnic because it’s a classic, I am really curious of reading about Nod because Zita read it and found it great.

Everybody in the planet seems to have forgotten how to sleep. Only a few can still rest at night and, whenever they do, they all share the same dream. The panic starts breaking when, after days and days of sleep deprivation, the population starts falling prey of psychosis just to start dying shortly afterwards.

The narrator, one of the Sleepers, has to watch his wife disintegrating in front of him while our entire civilisation is falling apart.

Movies

I decided to make use of the poor choice of new movies coming out in February (I mean, we will have to deal with another chapter of the Fifty Shades saga) to go back and watch a couple of movies many suggested I should take a look at.

There will be dystopia, kids killing each others and a whole bunch of action. I know, this sounds like a Japanese Hunger Games.

A class of high school students takes on a field trip but the kids are soon surprised to discover how they have been chosen to take part in the annual Battle Royale – apparently a new law passed in Japan after 800,000 students walked out of school. Explosive electronic collars will kill uncooperative students while the orders are to kill each other during the next three days – only one to stay alive.

A blockbuster in Japan, seems to be violating everything I believe in character and story development but there may be surprises. If this goes badly, I promise an angry review.

On the opposite side of the cinematic spectrum we have Boyhood, a coming-of-age film following the life of a kid since the age of six till he is eighteen.

I’d say that the production of this movie had been insane, spanning over twelve years and having started without a complete script – that has instead being written every time reviewing the material from the previous year. Calling this dedication would be a euphemism!

The movie investigates the human condition showing us the steps taken by the young Mason while growing up.

All nice premises for a good independent movie.

Games

I will probably play many games (or at least I hope so), but for sure I want to play Life is Strange. What is there to say on this game that has not already been said? Everybody kept telling me how great the story is, Zita wanted to play it for months but, for some odd reasons, I never ended up actually playing it.

So, this time around it is decided. Just to get you as excited as I am about playing this game, I give you a bit of details on the plot.

Maxine, a photography student, discovers that she has the power of rewinding time albeit enacting the butterfly effect. She has the premonition of an upcoming storm and decides to save her town. Character development is apparently the strength of this title so I hope to find material for other sections of this blog.

Comics

Finally, a couple of comics. You must have something to do when you don’t want to read a book!

The first is another Japanese dystopia. Every student, during their first grade, is inoculated a nano capsule that will allow the government to kill them remotely. Random citizens are selected, receive a notification – the Ikigami – and will have 24 hours before being executed. While the government believes that the fear of impeding death increases prosperity and productivity (with proofs of this being actually true) innocents are killed and whoever speaks openly against the law is prosecuted.

We will follow Kengo’s life as an Ikigami notifier and we will see the reactions of the notified through his eyes while he tries to accept his role as a death deliverer.

Having had my degree of darkness I would like to move on something more colorful and fantasy. I found this graphic novel while roaming around Seattle waiting for the time to leave for the airport.

Of all the stuff in the comics section of Barnes and Noble this seemed to shine. I didn’t even look at the story or any review – I just took it (I mean, I paid for it before leaving the place).

The story is that of a fantastic world. It’s greatness forgotten and lands abandoned. Cities now float in the sky with flying pirates enforcing the law. Our protagonists, a boy and a winged wolf, are in search of an artefact – the wish – that can restore the order.

I can’t trust myself not changing my mind about what I will read, watch or play this month but I can’t complain about the quantity and quality of stuff this time around!

Leave a Reply