Autodidact: self-taught



by V. L. Craven


Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a writer with a contract to fulfill and he’s not writing. Or doing much of anything else, really. (Sponging off your girlfriend isn’t exactly a job per se…)

Said girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) has enough and breaks it off. Eddie crosses paths with his ex-brother-in-law Vernon (Johnny Whitworth). Ol’ Vernon used to be a drug dealer but now he’s on the straight and narrow. Yes indeedy, he’s corporate, though still pushing drugs. Just, you know, the legal variety.

He gives Eddie a sample pill to try that will sort out his problems. He gives Eddie the line about how we all only use a micron of our brains and how amazing it would be if we used 100% , which has been debunked already and only makes me rage out a little but whatever.

Eddie takes the pill and whizzbam he’s using all of his brain and making connections between everything he’s ever seen/thought/smelled/heard/licked.

I ask you, what person wouldn’t go back for more.

Remember how Vernon said he’d gone corporate? Well, Vernon was a bit of a fibber.

Eddie winds up with a sizable amount of these suckers. But he also winds up on the radar of some people who want those pills. The sorts of people who break off your body parts and then feed them to you.

But Eddie has a plan. And his plan lands him right in front of Robert De Niro. (That’s intentional–it could be a bad thing, but in this case it’s what he wants.)

Hey, you know what’s a GOOD thing? The FDA. You know what you shouldn’t do? Take drugs that haven’t been thoroughly tested by them. Because you don’t know what will happen to you or your brain!

Limitless NZT

Congrats! You’re ALREADY using 100% of your brain! :confetti!:

I know I was a bit heavy on the snark up there, but I really enjoyed Limitless. The visuals were pretty, the acting was excellent, it was unpredictable.

This is a bit of a quibble but it bothers me: Why doesn’t the drug have a street name? Why does everyone call it NZT? Every other illicit drug has roughly fifteen slang terms. Why isn’t it called…I don’t know… Clarity? What with it being clear and it giving the user absolute clarity. People would call it Claire for short. ‘You seen Claire around?’ ‘Nah, man, she ain’t been around in awhile and I miss her. I can’t find any of my socks. Like, none of them, brah.’

It’s a television show now and I understand from a friend whose opinion I trust that it’s quite good. I haven’t seen it, but I definitely give the movie 5/5.


Deep Shell

by V. L. Craven

Deep Shell

Harkel is a surgeon. His job is stitching the wounds that appear in the ground they live on. And the ground is alive.

Four decades prior, four ships crashed onto a planet mostly made of water. They landed on a living organism they call the behemoth. The survivors are doing the best they can and have got on with things in the intervening period.

When there are fleshquakes (think earthquake but gory) people like Harkel go in, assess the damage and suture things up.

Lately there have been more, and more violent, fleshquakes. What resources the humans have are running out and will only continue to do so so when Harkel is given the opportunity/order to help save the planet he has to take it.

Deep Shell is available on Kindle for $.99 and it’s definitely worth that. It’s worth more, really. There’s lots of action and blood and gore, and feels like an hour-long sci-fi episode of a well-produced show. I’m not sure which one, but something dark.

Kelly has a gift for creating atmosphere, which in this case can be a little stomach-churning (don’t eat spaghetti whilst reading it). There were some questions about the overall world that were left unanswered, but it left room for other stories set in the same universe called The Conflux, which I would definitely read.

It’s a short read–16,000 words, but great fun. If you’re looking for some sci-fi with plenty of viscera that can be finished off in an afternoon, look no further. 5/5.


Six Strangers Wake Up in a Room…

by V. L. Craven

Hilarity ensues.

Wait, no, Horrible Things happen.

Cube: The first strangers-in-a-room film I saw and I thought it was a brilliant concept. Seven strangers awake in a cube. None of them know how they got there or why they’ve been taken. Each of the walls of the cube has a door that leads to another cube; and they soon find out that some of the rooms are booby trapped. Occasionally, the room seems to move and they work out that they’re in one room of an even larger cube. The goal becomes getting to the edge of the larger cube. There are two others in the series and they’re all right, but can’t compare to the first.

Hunger: ¬†Five people awake in a cave-like room with a clock on the wall that shows time in 24 hour periods–the clock moves once per day. There are thirty marks on the clock. The strangers only have to make it thirty days with a few barrels of water. They’re being observed by a person who wants to see what happens to people’s humanity in that sort of situation. Hint: All of the bad things.

Exam: This one is a bit different from the others on the list, in that the characters intentionally walk into the room in order to complete the final portion of an intensive interview process. So they know why they are there, but they still don’t know who their interviewer(s) are. Each candidate is given one sheet of paper, one pencil, a set of instructions and then told to answer the question set before them. The paper is blank so they have 80 minutes to work out both the question and the answer. What transpires is a sort of live-action escape-the-room game, if you were playing with other people with whom you were also in competition for a prize. This one was the most suspenceful, and well-written.

Die:¬† Six people, all of whom are suicidal, awake in a room. They’re each in a glass cell and can see the others. They’re brought out, two at a time, into the middle of the room. One is strapped to a chair, the other must cast a die and, depending on the number that comes up, must then administer a punishment to the one in the chair. It winds up being about a cult of people who’ve been ‘saved’ from suicide and ‘reborn’. It’s all a bit ‘I’m sorry? Je ne comprends pas.’ I suppose the writer was trying to make it about something other than a psychopath mentally and physically torturing people.

(Seriously, if there’s an ensemble comedy where a bunch of strangers wake up in a room, please leave a comment.)

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