Posted by jukkahoo
Oakham Ales makes todays beer: Inferno is a bitter Pale Ale. The pertinent bitter taste was perhaps not what I was expecting, but after the palate got used to it, this was a great tasting ale. Somewhat citrusy.
Heart of Iron is a steampunk novel with a divergence point in a succesful Dekabrist rebellion in Russia. With a cast of (real-life Dekabrist-rebellion leader's daughter) Sasha, her daunting aunt Evgenia, famed spymaster Florence Nightingale, a young man who could well be the notorious Spring-Heeled Jack and several more or less interesting suppporting role players, Ekaterina Sedia has created a YA alternate history that manages to bring 19th century tsarist Russia to life fantastic. Heart of Iron is fairly short, but requires somewhat careful reading as the society it depicts has its own peculiarities. The plot is fairly straightforward, but Sedia manages to lure readers into following various McGuffins, while the real gist of it all is going somewhere else completely.
I liked the way the author depicts the Russian psyche, there's definitely that melancholic feel to it, as well as that imperial self-awareness that went away during the Soviet-era. All in all, the society feels right, the clear class and race divides exist, and the way people portray their inherent superiority (real or not) feels real. This is a good book and if Sedia manages to write a sequel (as she is pondering), I'd be more than happy to have a go at that too.
For a couple of crusaders who've been on the road of pillaging and wanton destruction for more than a decade, Kal-El Cage and Hellboy-Perlman sure do have a great set of dentures. Season of the Witch (2011) is a historical fantasy-film that moves our buddy couple from the Holy Lands to Wallachia, where bad stuff happens, because witch. Most reviewers hated the film and if we're being Frank and Ernest here, this isn't the Citizen Kane of historical nor fantasy films. It's fairly decent action flick, that has a fair budget, thus there are good effects and nice looking grime and filth in the 14th century Holy Roman Empire. Cage and Perlman are good enough as a couple of weary warriors. It's 90 minutes of "ihan kiva" entertainment. I'm sure I would've hated this one if I'd had any expectations. Without them I was able to enjoy this as it is, an Uwe Boll directed contemporary "version" of The Seventh Seal done with competence.
One other thing. On occasion it seems like historical films come in pairs. There were the various Robin Hood, Columbus and Highland heroes pairings, more recently the Ancient Roman age tales of Centurion and Eagle, and now Season of the Witch and Black Death (2010) starring Sean Bean. The last reason is itself a reason to see the film, but it is all good. Gripping, realistic and spellbinding 14th century rural Britain getting to know the bubonic plague. The film looks good, the dialogue is convincing and themes strong and interesting. Truly a Wicker Man for the Middle Ages. And the ending really packs a punch.
As music videos go, Just an Illusion is not among the top contenders for Best Ever. The song itself, however, was always a favourite of mine. I've never been particularily big on soul etc, but Imagination had that certain sönösekuu, what ever it was. Perhaps it's just the fact that they are English?
Merry Xmas everyone!