Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ranking the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics, even though I'm a grown man

This was the first comic I really got into as a child, during my conventional Turtles phase (c.1990). For a comic based on a cartoon based on a different comic, it was surprisingly good. Mainly for rebelling against its lineage and doing its own, often crazy thing.

Writer Stephen Murphy (a.k.a. Dean Clarrain) seemingly had free reign to take the heroes-in-half-shells out of their cartoon comfort zone and plonk them into stream-of-consciousness sci-fi adventures and heavy-handed environmental sermons. At five years old, I found it all compellingly unsettling.

I only had maybe seven issues in total back then, not counting a few of the inferior British comics they put out to fill time between the American reprints. As a 31-year-old man*, I had little to no interest in reading the vast majority of these that don't have the necessary nostalgia. But what kind of world would this be if we're allowed to pick and choose?

Ignoring the straight adaptations of TV episodes and films and all the spin-offs I can't be bothered to get into, here are The Top 52 Archie TMNT Adventures. When you're reading them inappropriately grown-up, anyway. At least outwardly.

* I read/wrote all of this months ago when I had more time to waste. I was too ashamed to post it, so kept delaying it another month. At least it makes my YouTube persona seem even weirder, so there's that.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Still alive

Still insatiably greedy, still tries to escape the painstakingly cat-proofed garden every day, still wakes me up at 3am without fail.

Should have let nature take its course in the first place. That'd show him.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ranking Arthur C. Clarke's short stories

2001 (film version) and Rendezvous with Rama both made big impressions on me as a teenager, so I'm not sure why I've hardly read any more ACC books since then.

Maybe it's those ponderous titles making me worry I'm in for something boring? Maybe it's the whole paedophile thing? Either way, I won't let that spoil The Top 104 Arthur C. Clarke Shorts.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ranking the Stargate novels

It's odd that there were no cinematic sequels to Stargate. Not that it needed them, or that it likely would have been any good, you'd just think the studio would be keen to milk that successful blend of sci-fi, Egyptology, ancient alien conspiracy, white supremacy and dumb action movie until it was left as barren and arid as an Abydosian plain.

But there were sequels! At least in book form. Bill McCay was contracted to write five further adventures for Jack O'Neil, Daniel Jackson and presumably that old man who eats Daniel's chocolate bar and exclaims "bunny weh!" They may not be any closer to what a real sequel would have been like than Splinter of the Mind's Eye was to The Empire Strikes Back.

Why only five? Either interest dried up or Bill ran out of titles starting with 'Re-' and they ran out of colours to slightly differentiate the boring, identical covers. Join me on the other side as we discover The Top 5 Stargate Novels. I suppose there's a chance they might even be good?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ranking the Red Dwarf novels

I was first exposed to Red Dwarf by accident when I was about nine. My grandparents' telly inadvertently caught the end of a repeat broadcast of 'D.N.A.,' where the disgusting curry monster blows up. I probably enjoyed it more than they did. A week later, I caught the beginning of 'Justice,' where Lister's swollen, pus-filled head bursts. Needless to say, I had a new favourite programme.

I still hadn't seen any of the early episodes when I spotted the first sort-of-novelisation at the library a few years later. Not having my mental images diluted by claustrophobic grey sets, I was blown away by Grant Naylor's elaborate descriptions of the city-sized ship as they rewrote future history and indulged their newfound freedom from having to worry about budgets and practicality.

I got the abridged audiobooks of the first two novels a while later, and Chris Barrie read them to me over and over as I refused to drift off to sleep. I read Last Human once or twice as well. Don't know if I ever made it all the way through Backwards.

Returning to these adolescent favourites a lifetime and a literature degree later, will they still hold up as sci-fi comedy classics? Or will they be exposed as a string of reprinted TV scripts with speech marks and "said Rimmer" pasted in, linked by a tenuous narrative? Which of Grant or Naylor's solo efforts is slightly better than the other one? Do I ever find my singing tie-pin?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ranking the Andrew Michael Hurley novel

Contrary to appearances, I don't only like dead authors. But when you've committed to reading pedantically comprehensive bibliographies, for some reason, it's helpful to know for certain that the author in question isn't going to put out any more and challenge your flimsy deductions.

But then there are times like this, when I'm really eager to read something that's been hanging around in my ebook library for a while and don't want to have to wait until January to find out that I'm not allowed to read it next year either.

So sod me and my aesthetically self-harming rules – here's The Top 1 Andrew Michael Hurley Novel. If he does insist on writing more, I suppose I can bring myself to write another hundred words every few years.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ranking the Douglas Adams books

It must be over a decade since I've read a proper Douglas Adams book, rather than leftovers or pretenders. The Hitchhiker's Guides were a revelation in my late teens, and I've always wished I'd read them when I was younger and even more impressionable. But would they still hold up now I'm old and (even more) miserable?

I'm almost worried to find out. Don't panic! Or was that Dad's Army? Here's what I reckon about The Top 12 Douglas Adams Books and Not Quite Douglas Adams Books.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Best of 2016, Not from 2016, in August 2017

"Where's your annual, anachronistic round-up of the best things from 2016, not from 2016?" nobody asked. I actually got about half-way through writing this a while ago, before realising how much of a waste of time it was and deleting it. So now I had to waste more time writing that half again. Yes, I do have work to be doing. You knew this would happen, Dave. What have I ever done to you? Apart from all the self-destructive life choices. We've got cats now, things are getting better.

Here are my favourite things I experienced last year that probably weren't made last year, because that's just one of the many years available from history and we can't all have experienced it all the first time around.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ranking Bram Stoker's short stories

You can't top Dracula, but I wasn't expecting my second Stoker novel – The Jewel of Seven Stars – to be quite as bad as it was. It seemed there were reasons his other books aren't as famous.

I didn't have the willpower to take on all the other novels, but luckily he wrote shorter fiction too. Less luckily, it turns out that hardly any of that's worth reading either.

Listen to them—The Top 52 Bram Stoker Short Stories of the night. What music they make!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Revisiting Roy "Chubby" Brown's U.F.O. The Movie, Fart 2

I carried on regardless of interest or taste. In these dark times when a pretend, shapeshifting alien in a children's programme is allowed to be played by a woman of all things, we can take heed of U.F.O. The Movie's dire feminazi dystopian message and learn from the examples of its foul-mouthed, buffoonish hero. I hate you.