BOOK: Cale Dixon and the Moguk Murders (2009)

Cale Dixon and the Moguk Murders Year: 2009 Author: David C. Dagley Length: 336 pages ***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM THE PUBLISHER*** Books like this one are what give independent writers a bad name. Furthermore, books like this should give independent authors pause before becoming contractually tied to a publisher. I found this book (and its “sequel”) to be so bad that I looked into the publisher a little bit. It turns out, Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co. (SBPRA) (also known as Author Marketing Ideas (AMI)) is a big-time scam, and I hope any authors who are reading this review will keep as far away from them as possible. If a reputable publisher released this book, it wouldn’t have been nearly as unpolished as this book is. While I’m sure the author thought his story was terrific, I hope he asks for his money back. Part of the role of a publisher, aside from distribution, is to get a book ready for a broad audience. With...
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BOOK: Flashforward (1999)

Flashforward Year: 1999 Author: Robert J. Sawyer Length: 628 minutes / 10.47 hours As time marches on, predictions of the future made in the past are tested against reality. In 1984, we didn't have George Orwell's dystopian government. In 2001, we didn't have Arthur C. Clarke's interplanetary travel. Sure, these authors did have a few interesting ideas that did come true, eventually. Still, they were writing well before the events in their books would come to pass. Robert J. Sawyer's Flashforward did not have that luxury. Written in 1999, Sawyer only imagines a future set a decade in the future. For those keeping track at home, Flashforward takes place in 2009, with a vision of a future 21 years ahead of that. Since 2009 has come and gone, there were a few things Sawyer got right, but many he could not have predicted. The crux of this story is similar to that explored by Machine of Death: everyone in the world gets a glimpse of their future...
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MOVIE: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Year: 2017 Rating: PG-13 Length: 136 minutes / 2.27 hours I sometimes wonder if the strength of the first film in a series dooms the following films to a condition I refer to as “the trilogy conundrum.” If a single film is original and has a strong story that stands by itself, it almost requires the following films to be weaker in comparison, each sequel needing another sequel to tell a complete story. Films like Back to the Future (1985), The Matrix (1999), and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) are fantastic films that defined their generation, but their sequels were highly dependent on a follow-on sequel, thus making the trilogy complete, but lacking the strength of the initial film. I hate to say it, but Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) falls into this “trilogy conundrum.” The original Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) was a fun and meaningful departure from its Marvel comic book brethren. This sequel, however,...
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MUSIC: Black Violin

Black Violin Pike's Peak Center September 26, 2017 As a fan of classical music, I find myself also enjoying cross-genre takes on it. From the disco-inspired mini-anthologies of Hooked on Classics to the acapella versions created by The Swingle Singers, any unique take on the classical genre merely reminds me of how great the classics truly are. Of course, some of what gives classical music its charm is the full sound of an orchestra, each instrument providing a piece to a greater whole. When this style of music is compared to the heavy beats and synthesized remixing of hip-hop, there’s not very much in common. That’s where Black Violin begs to differ. These two musicians, Kev Marcus and Wil B., use only a violin and viola (respectively) to show how the hip-hop beat (i.e., the “kick, snare, kick, kick, snare”) can fuse with the classical sound typically associated with their string instruments. I know I’m usually turned off of the hip-hop genre due to the lyrics of many rappers,...
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