So first of all let me do a photo credit – the featured image on this post is from the British Library‘s collection of royalty and copyright free images on Flickr. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of these old images on everyone’s blogs to come, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon from the off! It’s an amazing and truly inspiring collection containing some beautiful images.

I managed to finish of a final draft of my new book Bad Blood and have sent off for a hard copy from Lulu for a friendly test reader. Hopefully they’ll like it. I think this book has changed the most during the writing process in terms of the nature and actions of the main character. The basic premise has remained unchanged though and there’s some insight (only a little ahead of publication, there’ll be more once it’s out) on my page here.

When I wasn’t writing I was reading Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn a fat book about the Vietnam war. It’s a hard slog through the pages as if you’re right there with the rag-tag company of young men trekking through the dangerous jungle. Marlantes has impeccable credentials to write this epic tale – given he was there man! I might not mention Matterhorn again because one of my little reviews isn’t going to do it justice. Suffice to say that I probably won’t finish it until September (due to the size of the book preventing me taking it on a couple of travels I have planned) but when I do I will have read perhaps one of the best books about war – any war – that’s been written. It really is a great book.

Batman Hush Part 2 finally arrived from the US for me to enjoy. Despite a shed load of red herrings – most notably in the form of Twoface and then Clayface impersonating the ‘middle’ Robin (the one DC/The Joker killed off) – I had correctly figured out who the bandaged villain was. Without being smug it seemed blindingly obvious to me – it was only the villain’s motivation that remained a mystery until the tale was done. That said Hush is a great story covering a great ensemble of my favourite Batman villains and featuring some stunning artwork.

Following the film, I bought Valerian The Complete Collection Volume 1 to see where it all began. Given that it was started in 1967 the artwork isn’t particularly sophisticated – more cartoon-like if anything – but the stories are great and the dynamic between Valerian and Laureline very entertaining. The collection also doesn’t hold back from pointing out the similarities to elements of Star Wars and this comic series – shots from the films are laid side by side with panels from the comic books in the introduction.

Staying with science fiction, albeit a lot more serious in nature, I finally started watching The Handmaid’s Tale – having cleared the decks by finishing watching Fargo. I read Margeret Atwood’s novel back in 2012 while on holiday – there’s something of a review in my post here. So far as I can tell – the episodes are long so we’ve only watched two so far – the TV adaptation is very true to the original with some extra backstory provided along the way. How far it strays from the original tale will actually be hard for me to know as I can remember only a very little from the novel. Siggy and I are enjoying so far, although I’m worried that the pacing might be a bit slow.

Orange is the New Black on Netflix has had new season sitting around for us to watch for months, but again we wanted to get a few other things out of the way first. This season is primarily set inside a riot situation in the prison – the inmates have taken the guards hostage and are forming there own strange sub-societies within the confines of the building and compound. It’s still an entertaining show, but I’m not particularly invested in any of the characters – I’ve always found Piper to be rather hard to be sympathetic towards.

Another series on Netflix which I’m definitely miles behind on and struggling to get through, like the mud of the New Orleans swamps, is American Horror Story Season 3 – Coven. I started watching this rather farcical season ages ago, and I’m not enjoying half as much as I did the Asylum season. Some of the acting is awful, some of the dialogue is terrible and having watched three episodes today while Siggy was busy doing other things, I hope it won’t take me too long to finish it off and get onto the next season which I am assured by those that have seen it, is a lot better.

In terms of films Fever Pitch 2 was Siggy’s choice over watching Arrival. I know, shocking right? Anyway, I do have a bit of a soft-spot for Fever Pitch – don’t ask me why – and I saw Arrival at the cinema. Anyway, it had been a long week at work and we agreed that something light and funny would be better than a rather cerebral science fiction film. Fever Pitch 2 was indeed light and funny, and certainly far from cerebral. If you liked the first film then I would say you’d like the sequel. It’s pretty much a rehash of the first film with quite a convincing fake Accapella World Championship at the end of the film. You’ll never guess who wins! Okay, you will.

Hacksaw Ridge is an entirely different kettle of fish. I watched this on my own since given the option Siggy didn’t want to watch it. This is a truly great war film with an amazing story of how one man went into WWII without a weapon and saved the lives of over seventy people in one night as an army medic. Very well directed by the controversial Mel Gibson and very well-acted by The Amazing Spider-man Andrew Garfield, this is a must-see for any war film fan and certainly a whole lot more satisfying as a story than Dunkirk.