Destiny 2

I have spent a huge chunk of my life playing Destiny 2 and it was totally worth it. It is a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game set in space with Player vs Environment (PvE), and Player vs Player (PvP) elements. If you are interested enough to even read this far into the review, then you probably know all that already.

I never played the original Destiny but apparently, Destiny 2 has a better story. Essentially: there is a big baddy with a shitload of minions and you have to save the day using a shitload of guns and ammo. Once you are done with the story, which I really enjoyed, you then enter multiplayer and endgame stuff. ‘Endgame’ here sounds like a tacked-on adventure, but it is actually where you will probably spend most of your time, so I should probably clarify the structure slightly. You will spend about 10 hours completing the story, by which time you will hit level 20. You can then spend as much of your life as you fancy in multiplayer. (If you get the Curse of Osiris expansion then the level cap is 25). The story is basically a highly enjoyable 10-hour training session giving you the chance to learn the various skills and get some decent loot.

Destiny 2 is all about the multiplayer and there is a ton of stuff to do. I have played a few PvP events but they are basically the usual fare: you run around and get killed a lot by teenagers with faster reflexes and internet connections than you. It’s not really my cup of tea but that is mostly because I am shite at it. Most of the rest of my time has been spent in PvE running around doing patrols and mini-adventures, joining in public events, and going on raids and strikes with a team of online players. All of which is great fun. You then get loot and cool stuff to make your character more powerful and look sexy.

I have spent an embarrassing amount of time playing Destiny 2 – which is still less time than a lot of people there – and have now pretty much tried all aspects of the game. I have also completed the Curse of Osiris expansion. I am at a stage where my experience of the game is the same as a lot of other commentators. It is still incredibly satisfying and fun to wander around shooting bad guys. Which is good, as that is what you spend most of the time doing. However, I am now a bit bored. Once you have maxed out and done everything, all you are left with is shooting stuff but with no real point to it.

With a lot of MMOs, especially MMORPGs, there is a social aspect once you are at the final bit of the game. I have played with a friend online and it was great fun but compared to something like Warcraft, I just couldn’t find enough to stay interested in. There is another expansion coming soon which I may try depending on the reviews but until then I have other games to play.

I really, really enjoyed Destiny 2 and highly recommend it if you like running around shooting stuff with cool futuristic guns. The story is fun and so are the post-game multiplayer experiences. There is a new expansion pack due “Spring 2018” so hopefully there will be more to do soon. If you haven’t bought it yet, maybe wait for that. In the meantime, here is a trailer:

Solo : A Star Wars Story trailer

There has only been one spin-off stand-alone Star Wars film so far and so they are currently running at 100% great. Rogue One had concerns about the production, post-production and reshoots, yet it was a superb film. Solo has likewise had its problems – primarily director changes and reshoots – but judging from this trailer, it looks like it might be good. Mind you, I fall for a good trailer every time and I remain to be convinced that this fellow is Han Solo.

If you look at the books, comics and games, you can see that one of the joys of Star Wars is that it is a huge, varied universe with a rich history. I look forward to when they have the courage to just do stories that don’t feature characters or events from the main stories. Until then, this will do. Here is the trailer for Solo:

 

 

Ant-man and the Wasp

Ant-man and the Wasp

The trailer for Ant-man and the Wasp just came out so I thought I would share. I am guessing that the Wasp might get her own film at some point, hence it isn’t ‘Ant-man 2’. I don’t know why Ant-man is hyphenated while Superman, Batman, and – surely the closest in terminology and in the same universe – Spiderman, aren’t. It is a mystery.

I also get confused with Ant-man when he gets big. My understanding is that the gaps between atoms are shrunk so that he has the same mass but at different sizes. So when small he is like a 180-pound object the size of a bullet. Which is why he can pack a punch. When he is the size of a jumbo jet he would still weigh the same but is bigger. So why can he squash things, like cars, that a normal 180-pound man can’t? It doesn’t make sense. Looks pretty shitting cool though, so I am happy they went with it.

The Wasp looks great in this and I don’t just mean that Evangeline Lilly is ridiculously attractive. She can fly and shoot stuff. Paul Rudd is always good for a laugh and it looks like they are having a lot of fun with the Pym shrinking technology. Plus I loved the first Ant-man movie, so am pretty excited about this one.

Anyway, I will stop waffling. Here is the trailer:

Altered Carbon TV Show

One minute I didn’t even know Altered Carbon was being made into a TV show and the next, I am shitting myself with excitement that it is almost here. Altered Carbon is a brilliant book written by Richard K Morgan and features the superb character, Takeshi Kovacs.

In the future, you back up your brain to a computer via a tiny computer stack in your head. Bodies are grown or even just used and your brain can then be downloaded into them. So if you get killed, you can come back in a different body. Or your own clone, if you are rich. In Altered Carbon – the book at least – Takeshi Kovacs is a double-hard bastard who is hired to find out who killed a really rich guy. He is hired by the really rich guy.

The book is quite a scifi noir and is violent and a great read. If you haven’t read it you definitely should. Check it out here. Altered Carbon was the first of three books to feature Kovacs but it is very much a stand-alone novel. It looks like the TV show is following the book fairly closely and has a pretty impressive budget. I hope it is as good an adaptation as The Expanse TV show. This is a truly great time to be a science fiction fan with a Netflix account!

Altered Carbon comes out on Netflix on the 2nd February and here is the brilliant trailer:

If you are interested in the superb book, and you should be, look here:

New Year, New Scifi book reading frenzy

Happy New Year! 2018 sounds pretty futuristic. Next year is original Blade Runner’s year, we are already further in the future than Marty McFly has ever been, and we have gone beyond the first two Arthur C Clarke books about monoliths that will help us evolve and be more intelligence (which sadly never came true – we could really use a monolith).

I’m not one for New Year resolutions, but I have made a couple. One is to write more – both here and fiction. So get ready for some serious self-promotion later in the year. Another is to read a lot more. I used to read a book a week but I think a book a fortnight is more doable these days (that’s 2 weeks). I am busier and books seem a lot longer these days.

Most of these are old books but on my kindle to be read next are:

A lot of Peter F Hamilton. I feel ashamed but I haven’t read anything by him and there was a sale on Kindle where I got half a dozen books.

A backlog of Analog and Asimov magazines. I have a subscription to both and they mount up really quickly.

The most recent books by James SA Corey, Blake Crouch and Andy Weir.

The Mortal Engines books.

And a ton of new ones by people I have never read. Such as:

Emma Newman

Simon Winstanley

Lois McMaster Bujold

Evan Currie

VE Schwab

And lots, lots more. This is in addition to the piles of books around my flat. Oh, and my wife got me the latest Ken Follet hardback book, which isn’t science fiction but is bloody long and I can’t wait to read it. I also need to squeeze in quite a lot of Netflix. Busy times!

I hope your new year is similarly full of scifi goodness. I had better go and start reading now.

 

Happy Christmas Scifi fans

Dear all readers and fellow scifi enthusiasts,

Happy a bloody good Christmas! I hope you got the box-set/game/comic/action figure/whatever it was you had hoped for.

This has been a bumper year for scifi and we still have the Doctor Who Christmas special – with a new Doctor – to go.

So enjoy your Xmas pan-galactic gargle blasters and make it so.

Live long and prosper.

May the force be with you.

Have a fracking good time.

And so on!

Mortal Engines trailer

Peter Jackson is working on a movie adaptation of Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve’s steampunk/ dieselpunk/ whatever-punk books about cities wandering around a post-apocalyptic world attacking each other. It looks bloody great. Go London!

Mortal Engines is actually the title of the first of four books that have been on my kindle for years after a friend recommended them. I will definitely have to hurry up and read them.

The film will star Robert Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Leila George, Ronan Raftery, Hugo Weaving, and Stephen Lang. Apparently, if successful, it will be the first of a series. Because everything needs to be a bloody franchise these days.

Anyway, the first Mortal Engines trailer has arrived and I am cautiously excited. Here it is:

 

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky won the Arthur C Clarke award last year and deservedly so. It’s bloody great and the kind of ideas-based science fiction that Clarke used to write.

The story is essentially two strands – one human and one spider (really smart spider). Here is the basic premise:

A planet is terraformed and there is a virus that ‘uplifts’ the life on it. Then things go wrong and spiders start to become the dominant form of life and are able to pass on knowledge and genetics. Meanwhile, humans arrive and then have a bit of a journey and then…

It is quite hard to tell the synopsis without giving much away. Needless to say, the story is set over thousands of years yet has two main protagonists throughout – a human who is frequently frozen and woken, and a spider who passes memories and genetic traits down to offspring and is basically the same character.

Both strands are basically a struggle for a survival until they inevitably meet.

I know the story sounds a bit strange but I loved this book and have no hesitation in recommending it highly. Children of Time is epic scifi that tackles big themes of deities and existence while still being pretty cool and fun. Give it a go, it is really cheap on kindle at time of writing. Recommended.

Star Trek TNG Honest Trailer

In case you haven’t heard of Honest Trailers, you should check them out on YouTube and thank me later. They do hilarious reviews of movies, games, TV shows and more. They are part of the Screen Junkies channel which has a lot of great stuff. I have now seen nearly all of the Honest Trailers but they are still a fun YouTube rabbit hole to spend an hour in.

On the 20th anniversary of Star Trek – The Next Generation they did a special one. It is 8 minutes long and bloody funny if you are cool enough to be a Trekkie. Here you go. Engage! (Sorry but it had to be done.)