Saturday, August 31, 2013

kissing Bowie (book)

Kissing BowieKissing Bowie by Joan Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an unexpectedly enjoyable read! A very intriguing story with an unexpected outcome right at the end. And if you have ever visited London, you will love the evocative descriptions of that amazing city. Explores some pretty deep issues around identity, mental health, friendship. Throughout the whole book there was a sense of something not quite right and the way the author unfolds the events was excellent.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slaying the Dragons (book)

Slaying the Dragons: Destroying Myths in the History of Science and FaithSlaying the Dragons: Destroying Myths in the History of Science and Faith by Allan Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this lively and often surprising study, Chapman examines popular misunderstandings about key events in the history of science-faith relations. For those interested in science-faith relations, this important study examines popular misunderstandings about key events in history. It covers the major episodes such as Galileo's trial, the Wilberforce-Huxley debate, and the Scopes trial of 1925, but also looks further back through the medieval period to the Classical age, revealing how these events have acquired mythical and misleading statuses. Chapman exposes the facts that have been forgotten and the contemporary opinions that have been supplanted by modern propaganda. Slaying the Dragons is an important book that strips away layers of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. (Amazon)

Very interesting, enjoyable, intelligent, well-written book. Combined with the author's obvious professional mastery of history his witty, passionate, and rhetorically sophisticated (in the positive sense) survey of the alleged conflict between science and religion is potent and entirely believable. Raises serious questions about the alleged war between science and Christianity - a myth held by both atheists and fundamentalist Christians. The best parts of the book are those in which the author stays with exploring the past and antecedents for the present. When he turns to the future and where we need to 'go from here' I found the book a little less engaging. Overall, though, a must read for any atheist or Christian who is willing to revisit their possible distorted myths about the "war" between science and religion.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013


In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle.

A very affecting story with an incredible performance by Onata Aprile (Maisie). Avoids sensationalism and slowly Angela subtly shows the devastating (but unacknowledged) emotional impact of adult neglect of their children when they become so focused on their relationship struggled, fights, and separations. The whole movie is portrayed from the perspective of Maisie and it is impossible to resist empathising with her plight even though a child of this age cannot articulate what they are experiencing. This movie should be compulsory viewing for any couple with a child who is dealing with divorce/separation. Childhood should not have to be like this. Unfortunately, it too often is.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Second Chance

Second ChanceSecond Chance by David D. Levine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very enjoyable short sci-fi story that tackles some very contemporary issues. Tightly written, nuanced, with interesting characters and tension. I do wonder, though, if the end is a bit too easily resolved.

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Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

I was disappointed with Elysium. Still a good movie but didn't achieve the brilliance of DISTRICT 9 which was done by the same directors etc. The special effects are good, the "future" technologies are interesting, the world of Elysium - a space station providing a perfect life for earth's elite - was impressive, and the social "commentary" is as expected. However, the story is pretty simple and unoriginal - at times a bit contrived. Jodie Foster, who is made to speak in some South African-derived accent, comes across as inauthentic and forced as if she's acting for the first time and trying too hard. Matt Damon isn't bad and the flashbacks to his childhood are possibly the most interesting aspect of the story. The characters were not emotionally engaging so, while the movie is entertaining enough, there is just not enough dramatic tension to make us care too much about what happens. Worth seeing on the big screen to appreciate the special effects but the whole thing turns out to be somewhat average.