Falcon's Blog

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Greetings, the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a popular fantasy game that was released in 2011 by Polish develop CD Projekt Red and is the second instalment of the Witcher trilogy. The gaming series began in 2007 with the release of the Witcher and concluded some years later with Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in 2015. It should be mentioned that these characters, storylines and the lore in these instalments are all built upon the novels of author Andrzej Sapkowski. This game has an extensive cast but its actors and actresses are not particularly famous for the most part. Doug Cockle stars as the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, Jaimi Barbakoff as the sorceress Triss Merrigold, Mark Healy as Vernon Roche , commander of the Temerian Special Forces, Mark Frost as an elven terrorist called Iorveth and Nicola Walker as another sorceress named Sile de Tansarvile. It also boasts an impressive soundtrack which was composed by Marcin Przybylowicz, a conductor who is mostly known for his contribution to this series. The Witcher 2’s storyline is a little complicated at first, especially for newcomers, but it does begin to make sense as it progresses along. In my opinion, the political climate that drives the story forward is not dissimilar to the complex allegiances and mischievous machinations witnessed in Game of Thrones.

The plot begins with the Witcher Geralt, a monster hunter with supernatural abilities, being interrogated by Vernon Roche. Geralt has been accused of the regicide of King Foltest, monarch of the Temerian kingdom, who the Witcher had previously protected as his right hand man. Geralt begins to defend himself during the questioning and explains what had happened in the lead up to the king’s assassination. Years prior, Foltest had a clandestine relationship with a Baroness Maria La Valette and two children, Anais and Boussy, were born as a result. The king decided to bring his children to live with him in his capital city after an earlier assassination attempt on Foltest’s life was foiled by Geralt. The Baroness refused to surrender the children to the Temerian king. As such, Foltest decided to wage war against her over the children and successfully storms her castle during the siege. The Witcher brings the ruler of Temeria to his children, who were hiding in a secluded monastery, while the battle still raged on around them.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Geralt is too late to notice an assassin, pretending to be a blind monk, take out his sword as Foltest embraces his children. The monarch is fatally wounded and the killer discards the disguise, revealing himself to be a Witcher much like Geralt before escaping. Geralt is soon taken into custody and interrogated once he is discovered standing beside Foltest’s corpse by the king’s men. Roche, leader of the Temerian Special Forces known as the Blue Stripes, believes Geralt is telling the truth and helps break him free from prison. The two, along with the sorceress and the Witcher’s paramour Triss Merrigold, escape the city via boat to pursue the kingslayer that had tainted Geralt’s name. Their journey leads them to a city named Flotsam where they begin to unravel the mystery of the kingslayer and conspiracy theories slowly come to light.

Overall, I enjoyed this game and aim to play the other two titles in the trilogy in the near future. There a plenty of activities to occupy your time in the game from combating a vast range of original monsters, taking on side quests and mini games such as arm wrestling or partaking in the fictional in-game of gwent. One of the issues I had with this game is the lack of indication or markers for finding new missions. This was especially noticeable in regards to some of the side quests given by NPCs which could be easily missed by the player as maps could be rather large and full of common AIs who are only there to fill that space aesthetically. One of the reasons I found the Witcher 2 interesting is because it gives the players an important choice to make early on in the campaign. The results of this drastically alters the campaign’s narrative and forms two different branches of storyline that ensure the player has to play it at least twice to get the full experience it has to offer. While the main trilogy is complete, the Witcher still lives on as Netflix are also creating their own adaptation of the Witcher phenomenon and have cast Henry Cavill as the main protagonist.

Plot=9/10

Characters=9/10

Graphics=8/10

Overall=8/10

Quote of the Day

Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me! Aren't you?

Benjamin Braddock

The Graduate

Written by Falcon, Friday 28 September 2018

The Graduate

Greetings, the Graduate is a romantic comedy film from 1967 which was directed by Mike Nichols who was also involved in various movies including Catch-22, Wolf and Postcards from the Edge. The picture, which was based on Charles Webb’s 1963 book of the same title, stars Dustin Hoffman as the protagonist Benjamin Braddock. Katherine Ross of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kind, the Stepford Wives and Donnie Darko, features in the Graduate as does Anne Bancroft who played the iconic Mrs Robinson. While there are other cast members involved in this work, the trio mentioned above are by far the most important characters as well as the most notable or prolific actors and actresses. The instrumental music was composed by Dave Grusin who also composed the OST for the Goonies and Tootsie. In addition, the American folk-rock duo, Simon and Garfunkel, wrote ‘Mrs Robinson’ for the film’s soundtrack.

The plot is fairly simple but it is still entertaining none the less. Benjamin Braddock, a shy 21 year old, has just graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and is reluctantly attending a party in his honour which is being held by his parents. Benjamin attempts to evade the congratulatory comments and questions surrounding his as yet undecided future from his family and neighbourhood friends. The socially anxious Braddock retreats into his room where he hopes to be alone and hidden away from the large crowd downstairs. Mrs Robinson, long neglected wife of Braddock Senior’s law partner, enters his room during this time. Ben assumes she has come into his room accidently and informs her where the lavatory is but to his surprise Robinson is there for him. The older woman quickly reveals herself to be a cougar, flirting with the nervous Benjamin and admitting her attraction to him. He quickly rebuffs her advances with awkwardness but is somewhat titled by the idea of an affair and is drawn to her charms. In an attempt to seduce him further and get the graduate alone, Mrs Robinson explains that she needs Braddock to drive her home as she had been drinking that night. Benjamin hesitantly agrees to do so and hopes to get her out of his hands as soon as possible.

The Graduate

Mrs Robinsons commandingly orders the young man into the house as soon as they arrive despite his continuous protestations. She attempts to get him inebriated, explaining that her husband should be away for hours and even lures Ben into the room of her daughter, Elaine, to see the portrait of the young Robinson. A naked Mrs Robinson ambushes Benjamin in the room but is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of her husband into the home which gives Braddock an opportunity to escape. The attempted affair is narrowly avoided until a few days later when Benjamin gives into his temptations and clandestinely, if somewhat clumsily, meets Mrs Robinson in the Taft hotel where he is successfully seduced. The affair continues between the two for months until he is coaxed and pressured into dating Elaine by his parents and Mr Robinson’s consistent badgering. This is much to the fury of Mrs Robinson. Benjamin purposefully attempts to ruin the date with rude behaviour, engaging in reckless driving and deliberately humiliating Elaine by taking her to a strip club. A distraught Elaine flees the club and Braddock begins to feel sorry for the woman. He eventually catches up with his date and has a proper night out in which the two enjoy each other’s company. Benjamin eventually discovers that he has fallen for Elaine. He begins to plot out a way to retain the relationship and avoid the fallout from his previous affair with her mother.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Graduate even though I was aware of how it would end due to parodies of its famous scenes from television programmes such as the Simpsons. The film enjoys a lasting cultural status to this day and the infamous character of Mrs Robinson is now a synonymous term for a cradle-snatching cougar. While there were talks about a sequel and there is a follow up book by Charles Webb called Home School that it could be based upon, I am glad that one hasn’t produced as of yet. The film ended on an interesting twist that left the future of the characters open and wasn’t necessarily a happy conclusion. The Graduate is a film I would definitely recommend to those who haven’t seen it.

Plot=10/10

Characters=10/10

Special Effects=10/10

Overall=10/10

Quote of the Day

Drat, drat and double drat!

Dick Dastardly

Wacky Races

Written by Falcon, Monday 27 August 2018

The 10th Anniversary of Falcon's Blog and 300th Update

Greetings, welcome to a very special blog update that celebrates an important date in the blogging community. Cast your mind back to the year 2008. The world was on the verge of a banking crisis, the Large Hadron Collider was inaugurated in Geneva and the Summer Olympics took place in China’s Beijing with a colourful, lavish opening ceremony. The Presidency of George W. Bush was coming to a close with the electoral victory of America’s 44th President, Barrack Obama. In the entertainment world Pixar Studios had just released Wall-e, the topic of my very first review, while Marvel started its enormous task to build the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Iron Man. The critically acclaimed Dark Knight, sequel to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, was revealed to exited audiences around the world. Another important event of the year, albeit only on a personal scale, was that on Thursday 31st July 2008 I made my first voyage into the blogging world via this community and my very first blog update was published.

10 years later and I am celebrating the decade long blog as well as noting the hallmark of another accomplishment. This post also serves as my 300th blog update. This had been carefully orchestrated and planned to coincide with the anniversary over these last few months. To give a sense of the timeline, my 100th update occurred in December 2010 with a review of the film RED. The next 100th occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2013. I am able to keep track of all of these posts as long ago I had decided to create a list of all of my blog updates in one Word Document. This included recording when they were published, what Quote of the Day was used to avoid repetition in future posts and having the updates numbered. I am content to say that I have never missed a month’s update in all my time here but can admit it will be harder to reach the hallmark of 400 blog updates as I am taking a semi-retirement approach to this community by producing only one or two updates per month.

Spot

Before I go any further I feel it is only right to start this on something of a sombre note and to celebrate the life of my now departed furry friend Spot. I normally don’t post personal aspects on here, having done so only a few times when I talked about school, my last days with my old caravan and finishing Queen’s University Belfast in the past but this is one of the few occasions on which I will talk about it. Spot was named so after the area of white fur on his tale which greatly contrasted with his soft black fur coat. He has been a much loved member of our family for around 18 years and his recent absence around the house is very noticeable to us all. It is not hyperbolic when I say I can hardly remember a time without him as I was still a primary school pupil when he arrived as a young kitten on our doorstep. Spot was very pleasant company and I enjoyed his presence even if he was just snoozing on my bed while I was playing on the computer.

Puss Puss

Due to his calm natured he got on well (or reasonably well at least) with his fellow cat companions. The imaginatively named and first of our cats, Puss Puss who had passed a few years before the beginning of the blog, the cute fur ball called Holly as well as our last remaining and lackadaisical cat, Treacle, who currently resides in Mark’s room most of the time. Sadly, he passed just days before the second anniversary of Holly’s death, who is also dearly missed by ourselves and taken far too young. Words don’t do justice to the immense value I place on him or any of our other feline family for that matter. In truth, he lived a long and pleasant life. We gave him the best life he could have ever wanted with plenty of comfort and food, boundless displays of affection and countless hours of play. Be sure to make a fuss of your animal companion tonight because we truly don’t know when the final curtain will draw. He, like our feline friends who went before him, will always be remembered.

Holly

In a rather sharp turn of tone I have decided to mark this unique occasion by ‘inviting’ a few familiar names to host this post. These particular gentlemen haven’t been heard of since November 2012. Without further adieu, welcome to this very unusual update with hosts Fletch and Roman.

10th Anniversary of Falcon's Blog and 300th Update

Narrator: Previously on the adventures of Fletch and Roman….Hang on a minute! Huh? What in God’s name is going on here? This isn’t another Adventures of Fletch and Roman Christmas Special is it? Dear Lord I hope not. They can’t seriously bring this show back can they? It was an utter travesty. A war crime against literature with grammar so poor it should be considered cultural vandalism of Her Majesty’ English Language. It was the madcap rantings of a delusional weirdo!

Narrator (Exasperated): …Sigh…Why can’t this series just… I was enjoying my retirement. Can’t even be left to spend my days in peace. Oh well…No point in fighting it now. Ladies and gentlemen…Ha! Who are we kidding about the ladies? Any woman in here is probably lost in the darkest part of the web. Welcome to the horrifying celebration that is Falcon’s Blog’s 10th Anniversary and 300th Blog update extravaganza presented by the two most incompetent people in the world, Fletch and Roman!

Roman: What?! We are back? Oh my God! Do you think the good people of this blog remember us Fletch? It has been so long.

Fletch: Uh…Who are you again? Do I know you?

Roman (Disapprovingly): Oh! Don’t start with that ‘your personality is so boring and unexcitable that it’s like you don’t even exist’ charade again. I’m literally a talking microwave. I’d like to think that is a pretty memorable trait.

Fletch:…and yet it does not make up for your non-existent personality sadly.

Roman: Let’s stop arguing like an old married couple. I thought we could act amiably for at least a while. The Narrator said that we are hosting this very special occasion and we have even got a fancy banner for the event. The people expect to be entertained…though I don’t know why. They experienced our previous adventures in days gone by.

Fletch: The Narrator? That voice just there now? You mean that wasn’t just my inner monologue? After all these years… I thought only I could hear that.

Roman: Nope. The Narrator has been here since the very beginning. Most people just ignore his droll and monotonous narration.

Fletch: What a relief! Hey, do you ever get the other voice in your head that tells you to burn down the White House?

Roman (Aghast): What? No. Of course not.

Fletch (Seriocomically): No… no. Of course not. Me neither.

(Eyes dart back and forth suspiciously)

Roman: Anyway, let’s get this extravaganza back on track. You have already derailed it by yourself several times already. I think the nice folks want to know what we have been doing these past few years…or maybe not but who cares? They are stuck here anyway.

Fletch: Ah! Good question good sir. I’ve been very busy writing my magnum opus. My all great novel which shall go down in history with the likes of Shakespeare, Dickens, Salinger and Steinbeck! It is a story of passion unparalleled, daredevil heroics in the face of insurmountable odds, edge of your seat action, unforeseen twists of fate with terrifying outcomes and a heart-breaking romance that shall become legendary in status. I call it ‘The Love Blockade’!

Roman: Excellent news. Sounds like a must read. Care to give us a preview of your grand works?

Fletch (Hesitant): Umm…Not. I can’t for I am still choosing my font for the title heading. An important choice as first impressions mean everything.

Roman (Underwhelmed): It’s taken you over five years to choose the font? Geez…I guess you could say, you have encountered some ‘Writer’s Block’! Ha Ha!

(Silence)

Roman:…Oh come on! It was an in-joke. Well, I am glad to say I have made much better use of my retirement for I am the chairman of the official ‘Squidia’ fan club. Granted I am the only member at the moment but it’ll pick up. I’m sure that the next grand instalment is just around the corner and with it, a surge of fanboys and girls will come flocking to my online forums.

Fletch: I hope that was the only fish related thing you have been up too. I have read some of the fanfiction for that series and let me tell you there are some sick people out there that have been tarnishing the good name of Squidia with their Octopus tentacle smut. Don’t even get me started on the Furries and their…’artistic’ …fanfiction of the Ancient Order of Warlocks. I’ll never look at Terry Holloway the same again.

(Fletch shudders in disgust)

Fletch: So…an odd question but how do we host a blog update? A quick review of our top 10 Blog updates? As in one for each year. Wouldn’t we just be reviewing a review?

Roman: According to the script it says we just have to provide witty, snarky or just smart arse commentary about the block of paragraphs like the one below. Should be an easy job with our witticism and penchant for eloquent conversation.

The Blog

This update isn’t only to celebrate this blog but the entire community itself. While most of the other blogs are now defunct and have been for some time, the community behind it have built something that I think is pretty neat. One of the most important aspects of the blog is that it gave us the opportunity to record some moments of our personal lives these past several years. Mark, in the early days, is an example of this when he dedicated entire posts to getting our old car the Renault Scenic, the freedom of getting his braces off, leaving Lurgan College and even bizarrely boasting about purchasing a set of exercise weights.

We can also see how cringe worthy our younger-selves were with blog posts that have numerous spelling mistakes in reviews that contain very few sentences and randomly linking in unrelated Youtube videos to compensate for the lack of content. I was definitely guilty of the former at the formative years as early reviews only had several lines on the subject but the updates certainly became more sophisticated the older we got.

It also gave us the opportunity to promote, review or share our opinions on various entertainment media whether it was on the blogs themselves or on related sites like Modding Today or ‘A Night at the Movies with Bris’ and remind us of all the good things we have enjoyed. The blogs also played a vital role in the advertisement of and kept us up to date with side projects such as Aaron’s numerous mods or Mark’s burgeoning Youtube career at the time with Bris Games.

Roman: Ah yes. Who could forget such things as Modding Today or ‘A Night at the Movies with Bris?’ Did you know that Bris is another word for the Jewish religious event of circumcision? That technically makes it ‘A Night at the Movies with circumcision’. Sounds rather painful to me.

Fletch: Not as painful as watching the latest Star Wars films though.

Roman: Yes, well...the less said about those the better. Say what was your favourite film that was reviewed on that site?

Fletch Oh! A tough one but I’ll have to say that I was partial to the Busty Blonde series. The plot was a bit thin though and the numerous sequels ran over the same ground as far as the topics were concerned. For instance, the protagonist Busty Blonde needs to pay the plumber, the pizza delivery guy or some other hard working service man but she has no means to pay them. So…she decides to take off her clothes in lieu of monetary payment for some reason. The gentlemen seemed to be pleased with the exchange though so I guess everyone wins.

Roman (Shocked): What?! Fletch…I don’t think you were on the right site at all.

Fletch (Dumbfounded): I…I…I wasn’t?

Roman: Absolutely not! Even this blogging community has its standards and limits. Let’s talk about something else. Something less vomit inducing. What about…I don’t know…us?

Fletch: Us? That is never a good opener. It is always the starting point in the conversation for terminating a relationship….Are you…Are you breaking up with me? (Cries) After all these years. How could you Roman? Going to find a younger model like the no good ageing cougar you are! Fine! Be gone and leave me! I’ll find a more attractive microwave…or even… I don’t know… hook up with a 3-d printer or a fridge or something.

Roman (Exasperated): Sigh. Our platonic relationship is fine Fletch. Stressing the word ‘platonic’ too.

The Adventures of Fletch and Roman

Manic. Incomprehensible. Absurd. All words describe the Adventures of Fletch and Roman, a project that is made up of forty episodes within four seasons and an additional four Christmas specials. The series made its debut in November 2008 and concluded in November 2012. As opposed to Write Wise’s methods of publishing, FRA’s chapters were uploaded on Warehouse 17 alongside a blog update rather than released all at once. It was received by its readers as a strange beast. It was full of weird storylines, madcap characters and chalk full of atrocious spelling mistakes. Fronted by its two titular characters, supported by a large cast of equally insane but forgettable individuals and set in the fictitious land of Jerugo, the series was the first piece of fiction that I had created for the site.

The humour relied heavily on popular culture references, slapstick comedy which did not flow well with its script style formatting and off the wall comedic stylings. The series may not have been to everyone’s liking but it was undoubtedly unique and original in its strangeness. It also served as an important step in the ground works for future projects as the oddball of Fletch and his more straight man companion of Roman were unquestionable pioneers or prototypes of the comedic characters that came after. The pairings of Winston Jepson and Cogs, Cornelius Barrows and Coyote Falls, Ellen Smith and Bart the Useless, Dr Albert D. McKenzie and Jean-Luc Murdoch as well as Boris Barellis and Joemire ‘Joe’ Oakbow to name a few all have their similarities or roots in some way or another in the original duo.

Fletch (Excitable): Woo! We’re number one! We’re number one! …At least in terms of chronological order if not in fan favourability.

Roman (Outraged): Wait a minute! This essentially talked down our series…admitting faults, exposing failures. That isn’t the Fletch and Roman way. We are the best…the cream de le crème of what we do….Whatever that is.

Fletch: Hey, you’re right. It did insult us with accurate and reasonable criticisms. It even called our forgettable friend forgettable...How outrageous! Who could anyone forget such loveable characters such as…uh…the…um…

(Silence)

Fletch: ….I think it has a point there actually.

Roman: Let’s keep moving on. I can’t stand all this rational critiquing.

The Quiz

Roman: Ah yes. We have now reached the interactive section of the update and the bloggers, who I am assuming are bored stiff by now, have to use their noggin in this special issue of the quiz which is centred on the blogs. No random questions about American presidents, capital cities or God forbid…sports in this edition. Just blog related questions. As they all know by now the quiz is held annually in November but this issue won’t be counted towards their overall scores and is also multiple choice.

Fletch: Multiple choice? Should be easier then…assuming they have been paying attention all these years. Be sure to leave your score in the comments and no peeking at the spoilers below! It takes a cheater to know a cheater and Fletch certainly knows a cheater when he sees one because he always cheats at…oh...I should stop talking now before some of my high stakes gambling friends decide to break my legs.

1. What is the subject of Mark’s final review on his blog?

A. Crusader Kings 2

B. Sam and Max: Save the World

C. To the Moon

2. Which Blog member ran Fish Supper before it morphed into a blog with a different name?

A. Aaron

B. Mark

C. Joh

3. What was the name of Aaron’s latest and potentially final mod?

A. Outpost Xen

B. Lunar Descent

C. Dissolution

4. Quotes of the Day are added on to the vast majority of my blog posts, bar the very first one, but who said the very original quote- “Hey, little anal-dwelling butt monkey. Time for you to go home, little buddy.”

A. Austin Powers

B. Ace Ventura

C. Bruce Nolan (Bruce Almighty)

5. What is the name of Mark’s top hat wearing bird that was used in the banners of his blog but now features prominently on his Youtube channel?

A. Jeffrey

B. Eric

C. Sir Randal Bird of Birdington

6. In the early days of Falcon’s Blog, I bestowed a rather childish title upon a book, game, television show or film that received a 10 out of 10 in all review categories but what was that reward title called?

A. Super Duper Fantastic 100% The Best

B. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

C. God Tier Entertainment

7. What was Joh’s first story on Write Wise?

A. Retribution

B. Oppenheim

C. The Red Spectre

8. How many Redfield entries are there on Write Wise?

A. 5

B. 2

C. 3

9. As previously stated, Wall-e was the topic of my first film review but what was the subject of my second movie review?

A. The Dark Knight

B. Iron Man

C. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

10. Napoleon Verde is one of the main characters in Odyssey of the Rogues but what colour does the word ‘Verde’ mean in the Italian language?

A. Green

B. White

C. Blue

The Lutionn Series

My first attempt at a serious novel came quickly on the heels of the first series of FRA which had drawn to a close. The first book was called Shepard, the titular character named so after Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard, and was launched in Warehouse 17 in May 2009. Like FRA, these chapters were issued alongside individual blog update rather than the complete story format that is used for today’s Write Wise entries. They were a series of six interconnected stories that revolved around the fictitious island of Lutionn. The books dealt with a range of themes and expanded across a vast range of genres. Crime fighting vigilantes, spies, mythical creatures such as dragons, extra-terrestrial beings, super powered heroes and villains, paranormal threats as well as an intergalactic war were all featured in these books.

It has been quite some time since I read my previous work but I am sure they are mostly dwarfed by today’s juggernaut entries, contain some cringe inducing dialogue and has some inconsistences between instalments. Due to the number of books and with each having a new lead protagonist, the Lutionn collection has quite the large cast of main characters with a plethora of supporting roles as well. The project was never, as of yet, completed as I had original intended it to conclude on the eighth novel. The seventh novel with the title of ‘Origins’ was to be fantasy style entry which dealt with the foundation of Lutionn while the other would have concluded the series in an Avengers style showdown that brought the characters together to fight their toughest challenge. While it has been many years since I have written a Lutionn novel, I do not rule out the possibility of concluding it someday.

Fletch: Good old Lutionn. You never were sure what the next story was going to be. Dragons in one entry and aliens in the next. Too bad we never had a crossover episode with them.

Roman: A crossover episode? I think our presence would make things rather absurd. I mean the aliens and dragons are believable enough sure…but a talking microwave? I mean come on. Could you really see a serious battle scene with me in it? That is even before I get on to the microwave’s intellectually inept partner who is so dim-witted that his response to this insult will be well delayed. Kind of ruins the reality and seriousness of it don’t you think?

Fletch: I suppose your right Roman but speaking of potential for crossover episodes it is time to move on to our final category and bring us in to the modern era. I speak of course about Write Wise!

(Delayed Reaction)

Fletch: Hey…hang on a second, did you just call me intellectually inept?

Write Wise

2011 saw the introduction of the first Write Wise challenge in which all blog members submitted an entry. I started my first foray into it with the Secret Project as leading protagonist Tex Crowe goes head to head with British agent and villain, Reg Dawn. The beginning was an explosion of creative talent and really brought the community together in a new, exciting way. Overtime the initial word limit was removed allowing more complicated stories to be written but the challenges also became less regular, users stopped entering and the future of the site also seemed to be in question. Unfortunately, due to the challenge’s deadlines some of my earlier entries were not always proofread in the past but now I have plenty of time to ensure my novels are of top quality as this restriction was also removed. Thankfully, the site is still going today and even has its own dedicated blog as well as a cool physical novel which presents some of the originals stories in print.

While I used Write Wise to create new stories, it was initially intended to expand upon existing Lutionn characters or was linked back to the former series in some form. For instance, the detective Edward Kanen was originally a sympathetic character who played a vital role in ‘The Secret Battle for Earth’. William Litt was written as a time traveller in several books before getting his own series and the hero of my second Lutionn novel, Sam Kenton, appeared in ‘The Secret Project’ sequels. There is the occasional nod back to my original collection of novels but Write Wise effectively ended the Lutionn series as I began completely unconnected projects such as Cogworld, the Guardian series or Frontier Planet.

Odyssey of the Rogues: City of Silk Advert

In another act of celebration festivities, I’d also like to announce that ‘Odyssey of the Rogues: The City of Silk’ has also been published and is my largest ever story. This is my 29th overall entry and also means I have finally made every one of my works into a series. A few dark origin stories lie ahead in this fantasy sequel. I have plenty of stuff and ideas on the way as I planned into the future. I have been toying with the idea of returning to the Guardian series as I have mentioned in previous updates as well dipping back into the universe of ‘The Scoundrel Squad’ in some form with different characters in the lead. Of course, I also want to explore new genres, create new characters and I already have some concepts for this year’s Christmas entry which should prove to be interesting.

Fletch: An advert? Isn’t that a little old school in terms of communicating this sort of thing? You would like to think there was something much more modern in Write Wise. Something like a notification system? Roman: There is but it was decided that this was best kept as a surprise. Hopefully, the installer of the notification button won’t mind too much that it wasn’t used on this occasion.

Fletch: Ah. Hopefully so. This Rogues group. Think they need two new members? The advert looks like they are going after a vampire. Is that all? We faced much more deadly foes in our day and had many other…how do I put this… more original characters. I mean come on! We had a ghost and time traveller team up to solve crimes….and we had a dragon too. We could deal with that world! No problem! Just give us a call. I don’t need money... I’ll work for food.

Roman: Ah. I’d rather not. Vampires scare me more than that witch scared criminals Sammy and Frank in Writer’s Block. I jest of course but that tale was so horrifying it ended a promising writing career overnight.

Fletch: Oh I know! A great travesty that was. Think of all the stories we could have had from that underrated author. All the planned ones like that young adult zombie thriller ‘Kidz’. The title has a ‘Z’ in it instead of ‘S’. Z for zombie. Literary genius. Oh! … Or what about Cities of Angels 2: Electric Boogalo? At least bring back the Purity series people! We need to know what Kval and his dog are doing these day. Roman: Wishful thinking my friend. Wishful thinking…but who knows? Perhaps even we may have our own series on Write Wise one of these day.

Narrator (Panicked): Oh dear Lord! Please no! The people have suffered enough!

Roman: Quiet you! Nobody asked for your opinion even if it is secretly shared by everyone else. Well audience, I guess we are just about wrapping up now and we have come to the point of the scores. Here are the answer to the quiz you…hopefully…did well in. It was multiple choice at any rate.

Spoilers!

1. A= Crusader King 2

2. C= Joh

3. B= Lunar Descent

4. C= Bruce Nolan (Bruce Almighty)

5. B= Eric

6. A= Super Duper Fantastic 100% The Best.

7. B= Oppenheim

8. C= 3.

9. A= The Dark Knight

10. A= Green

Fletch: Congratulations you’ve made it to the end of this extravaganza! We hope you tolerated it…or dare I suggest even enjoyed it a little? Say Roman, do you think we’ll be asked to host the next decade’s celebration?

Roman: Maybe! Only if Tom Hanks isn’t available though and hopefully you will have finished that grand novel by then Fletch or at least got on to the second page.

Roman and Fletch: Arrivederci!

I hope you enjoyed this little celebration and here is to the next ten years! Wherever it leads!

Quote of the Day

Mee-mee-mee

Beaker

The Muppet Show

Narrator (Yawns): Huh…You’re still here? Why? The quote of the Day has just passed by. Blog updates over. Go home.

Written by Falcon, Tuesday 31 July 2018

GoodFellas

Greetings, Goodfellas is a crime film by Martin Scorsese, director of many famous movies such as Shutter Island, the Last Temptation of Christ and Taxi Driver, which was released in the year 1990. The film is based on the non-fiction book ‘Wiseguy’ by Nicholas Pileggi which in turn is based on the life of mobster Henry Hill and his factual exploits in the criminal underworld. The movie has a sizeable cast of noteworthy actors including Ray Liotta as the protagonist and aforementioned Henry Hill, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Samuel L. Jackson and Paul Sorvino. Goodfellas has an extensive and varied list of music and musicians included within it, which changes as the story progresses into the different decades. It begins with singers from the 1950s such as Bobby Vinton or Tony Bennett with more doo-wop style songs and eventually concludes in the early 1980s with a punk soundtrack with the likes of Sid Vicious.

The movie begins with Henry and his two colleagues driving a car down a New York road at night in 1970. His co-workers are Jimmy ‘the Gent’ Conway, an American of Irish extraction, and the unhinged, aggressive Mafioso Tommy DeVito. As Henry drives along he can hear a thumping noise at the back of the automobile and proposes he has a flat tire. He pulls the vehicle over to inspect the noise which can be heard coming from the trunk of the car. DeVito unsheathes a knife as Jimmy pulls out a gun and Henry opens the boot to reveal a bloodied man wrapped in sheets. The unidentified man, on the verge of death, begs for them to spare his life but is quickly silenced by Tommy who stabs him. Jimmy shoots the man several times for good measure as well. The graphic scene causes Henry to think back on his life and how at one point in his youth he had decided he wanted to be a self-made man. The story reverts back to 1955 with a young Henry Hill and his introduction to the Italian mafia that were are prominent presence in his New York neighbourhood. He begins his criminal occupation by working as a low level fence, buying stolen goods from thieves and selling them on to unsuspecting citizens, for local mob boss Paul ‘Paulie’ Cicero.

GoodFellas

Hill further ingratiates himself into the family when he is caught selling ill-gotten packs of cigarettes by police officers and brought to court. Much to the delight of Cicero, Henry doesn’t snitch on his new found friends and receives a light sentence for his crimes as well as new found respect within the syndicate for his loyalty. Later on in the film, Henry has risen up the ranks of the organization and gotten accustomed to the riches, the perks and the glamorous lifestyle of being a gangster. He meets his future wife named Karen Friedman at a club one night and despite her initial reservations about his dangerous profession, she eventually succumbs to the highly lucrative, extravagant and exciting life the career provided her with. The high wouldn’t last forever as things begin to take a serious downward turn for Henry as his domestic life becomes troubled with his extra martial affairs later on and he develops a serious drug addiction. Matters become much worse in 1970 when the unstable Tommy kills another gangster from a different family for insulting him. The mobster was known as Billy Batts, the man from the beginning of the movie who was dying in the trunk. Henry, Tommy and Jimmy bury the body in a faraway location as Hill fears that the gruesome murder will be found out by the criminal organization who will naturally want revenge.

Overall, I really liked this film and appreciated the humour that was sprinkled throughout this rather dark, bloody tale. I found the rise and fall of Henry Hill to be a very intriguing story and would like to read the novel at some point to become further acquainted with the late Henry’s life. While Hill died in 2012, a few of the inspirations for the characters in the movie are still alive at the time of writing such as Hill’s ex-wife Karen. Due to my immense enjoyment of Goodfellas, I would like to watch more of Martin’s works and am particular interested in Casino. The 1995 film is another crime picture which stars Robert Di Niro as well as Joe Pesci and is another collaborative project between Scorsese and Pileggi.

Plot=10/10

Characters=10/10

Special Effects=10/10

Overall=10/10

Quote of the day

By love you mean big lightning bolts to the heart, where you can't eat and you can't work, and you just run off and get married and make babies. The reason you haven't felt it is because it doesn't exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me...to sell nylons.

Don Draper

Mad Men

Written by Falcon, Sunday 8 July 2018

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Greetings, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a famous novella from 1886 and was written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. It is arguably Stevenson’s most iconic works, rivalled only by Treasure Island in this regard. This book is one that I had wanted to read for a while, in part, because I have developed an interest in reading some of the old classics that laid the foundation for modern day literature and storytelling. I haven’t read that many of these older tales but made a start by getting through King Solomon’s Mines and started collecting some novels for future use. Another appealing factor was that it served as the inspiration and provided an important influence in the creation of my favourite Batman adversary, Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent, according to the Dark Knight co-creator Bob Kane.

The plot follows the perspective of Gabriel John Utterson, the lawyer and personal friend of the titular Dr Henry Jekyll. Gabriel and his cousin Richard are walking down a street one night when they pass a particular doorway. Richard tells Gabriel of a peculiar incident that occurred there some months ago. A man of horrid appearance named Edward Hyde had trampled upon a young girl after accidently bumping into her. This occurred right in front of Enfield who then pressed Hyde to pay a £100 to prevent news of the incident from being spread across the city. A disgruntled Edward agreed to do so and reluctantly brought them to the door that Richard had indicated to his cousin. It was here that he provided a cheque to them in the name of Dr Henry Jekyll. The story alarms Utterson as Jekyll had recently rewritten his will to make Hyde the only beneficiary and fears that the doctor is being blackmailed.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

John travels to Jekyll’s house and confronts him about these matters. Henry is defensive upon hearing the theory. He asks his friend to leave the case alone and to let Edward be but this causes Utterson to be more curious as Jekyll was becoming more withdrawn the past few months to the point of being a hermit. The matter of Hyde arises again when in October the foul man beats one of Utterson’s clients, Sir Danvers Carew MP, to death with a walking stick. A servant of Carew’s sees the murders take place and informs the police of the atrocity. The police then come to John who in turn leads them to Hyde’s abode but they find it empty. A broken cane, the one that killed Danvers, is found inside and leads to some further questions as Utterson had presented the very same cane to Dr Jekyll as a gift. John continues his investigation despite Henry’s objections and eventually begins to unravel a mystery steeped in the supernatural.

Overall, while the book may be a bit slow at times and certainly isn’t as shocking to today’s desensitized audience, I found it to be a good read. The character, or arguably characters, of Dr Henry Jekyll and Mr Edward Hyde still has a large effect on modern popular culture. The character has appeared in various films such as Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the recent reboot of The Mummy which was intended to launch Universal’s Dark Universe series but was slated by reviewers upon release. While not a particularly current example, James Nesbitt also portrayed a similar but modernized version of Stevenson’s creation in a British television series called Jekyll from 2007. There have also be numerous adaptations of the source material including movie versions in 1931 and 1941 which star Fredrich March and Spencer Tracy as the main character respectively. I would recommend this short novella if you are looking to plunge into some of the old classics and genre defining books.

Plot=7/10

Characters-7/10

Wording=8/10

Overall=7/10

Quote of the Day

Shall we play a game?

Joshua/WOPR

War Games

Written by Falcon, Monday 25 June 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

Greetings, Avengers: Infinity War was a long anticipated instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began in 2008 with Iron Man, and is the latest movie to be released in this major interlinked project which currently spans 19 films. All of its main characters were joined together in this picture, with a few exceptions, after previously staring in their own separate adventures. Notable absentees from Infinity War’s line up include Antman and Hawkeye who are only referenced in passing. Some of the most noteworthy actors or actresses include Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo and Josh Brolin. Even though there is a strong cast of numerous heroes and heroines, there is still another batch of supporting characters who play a more minor role in the plot such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts, Idris Elba as Heimdall or Peter Dinklage as Eitri. The music was composed by Alan Silvestri who had been involved in conducting the score for previous Marvel films in the series.

The plot begins where Thor: Ragnarok’s post-credit scene ended in which an Asgardian refugee ship is approached by an unknown vessel. It is revealed that the ship belonged to the Mad Titan Thanos. The villain attacks the ship, which was escorting the Asgardian survivors from the events of the previous film, in the hopes of retrieving one of the Infinity Gems known as the Power Stone. There are six of these gems scattered throughout the universe and Thanos has already acquired one before the opening scenes. Once they are all inserted into the Infinity Gauntlet wielded by Thanos, he will have harnessed unimaginable power and is able eradicate half the universe with the click of his fingers. The Asgardian ship falls to Thanos and his forces despite being protected by Thor, the Hulk, Loki and Heimdall. Thanos successfully captures the stone that was aboard the vessel, killing both Heimdall and Loki in the process but not before Heimdall transports the Hulk to Earth via the Bifrost. Thor is left badly wounded in the crumbling remains of the ship as Thanos departs for Earth in search of the Time Stone which is guarded by Doctor Strange.

Avengers: Infinity War

The Hulk crash lands into the abode of the aforementioned Doctor in New York City and warns both Strange as well as his assistant Wong that Thanos is coming for them. In light of the news, Strange opens a portal to another location in the city where Tony Stark, better known as his alter ego Iron Man, is enjoying a walk in the park with Pepper Potts. Doctor Strange quickly relays the news and recruits Stark in his fight against their approaching enemies. A space ship arrives in the centre of New York, heralding the arrival of the Mad Titan’s henchmen by the names of Maw and Obsidian. The appearance of the vessel draws the attention of Peter Parker who then investigates the scene as his superhero persona, the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, before quickly getting involved in the fight for the Gem. Maw is unable to steal the Time Stone due to an enchantment Strange had sealed upon it and so he decides to kidnap the defeated sorcerer while the others are engaged battle. Stark and Spiderman notice the ship is about to depart with the captured Doctor on board and find a way to enter it without raising any suspicions as it leaves Earth’s atmosphere.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. The encounter with Thanos had been teased for a long time since its initial set up in the original Avengers film from 2012. I believe the Cinematic Universe as a whole, even though I have yet to see some of the more recent releases, has actually improved in quality since its earlier works. I certainly felt the previous Avengers film, Age of Ultron, was a lower point in the series that has since been vastly eclipsed by Infinity Wars in terms of entertainment value. There is plenty of good humour throughout the movie. I particularly enjoyed the comedic back and forth exchanges between Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The whole group of heroes never team up in one scene altogether as it eventually splits into two distinct groups who are trying to halt Thanos in different locations. In my opinion, the film was impressively handled in relation to spreading out the screen time between its large cast but of course some characters such as Black Widow were effectively reduced to a much more minor role. While this isn’t going to be everyone’s idea of good fun, I definitely enjoyed watching Infinity War and am very interested in seeing the next instalment because, in part, of a suspenseful cliff hanger.

Plot=10/10

Characters=10/10

Special Effects=10/10

Overall=10/10

Quote of the Day

TOGA! TOGA!

Bluto

Animal House

Written by Falcon, Thursday 31 May 2018
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