The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness tells the story of a young man and his dog who live on a new planet where everyone can hear each other's thoughts (including the dog) and there aren't any women left.
Ness does a great job of creating his characters and the story moves at a fast, fun pace, but as the mysteries unfolded, I didn't completely buy some of the explanations. Still, I certainly enjoyed it enough to recommend it.
I listened to this on CD and Nick Podehl's narration was amazing. If you're going to read it, check out the audio version.
I love Jurassic Park and wrote The Dinosaur Four because I believe we always need more stories about dinosaurs eating people. But I wanted something that felt different. The Dinosaur Four features many of the same dinosaurs and there's even a small nod to Jurassic Park in Chapter 31, but there are also many differences. Here are the top 10 differences between Jurassic Park and The Dinosaur Four:
If you're interested in more dinosaur action and adventure, check out The Dinosaur Four at Amazon.
Several readers have asked what I think about Jurassic World, the third sequel to Jurassic Park, which opens June 12th. I think it will be fun. Director Colin Trevorrow has made a lot of smart choices.
Online fans have expressed disappointment about the creation of a new dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, which is fully revealed in the newest trailer. The film's hero, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), even questions this, claiming that real dinosaurs are already "wow enough."
However, I think the filmmakers are cleverly addressing a challenge inherent to the Jurassic Park franchise. The issues is this: the dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park world have been glorified. The music swells when they appear onscreen. They tend to eat the bad guys. They aren't monsters, they are magnificent. The Jurassic Park movies are monster flicks with monsters that nobody wants to see defeated. Jurassic Park III tried to address this with the Spinosaurus. She was established as the villain when she killed a T-Rex in the first act, but this backfired for a lot of fans, who wanted the T-Rex to be the hero.
Trevorrow and his co-writers (Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Derek Connolly) have created the perfect villain for this new film by introducing an artificial dinosaur that moviegoers already dislike.
The trailers show that Owen has trained a pack of velociraptors and appears to use them against the Indominus Rex. Fans have grumbled about this as well. I have to agree that, on paper, it sounds a bit silly. But in the trailers, it appears to be handled reasonably well. It certainly doesn't look like the velociraptors have been fully domesticated, judging from the attack near the end of the new trailer.
However, I have a hunch that the velociraptors won't succeed. They failed to take down the T-Rex at the end of the first film, and I don't think they will succeed here either. If I'm right, this also plays along with audience attitudes. Those who dislike the idea of trained velociraptors will be happy to see them mangled by the Indominus Rex, and fans of the velociraptors will just hate it all the more.
I suspect that that true hero will be the same species that came to the rescue at the end of Jurassic Park. We've only gotten a short glimpse of her in the latest trailer and it's mostly obscured by a crowd of visitors in the foreground. The Jurassic World logo features a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, not Indominus, and I'm betting she will once again save the day.
Will Jurassic World be a worthy entry to the franchise? We won't know until June, but I'm optimistic. One thing's for sure, it looks like it will bring lots of dinosaur carnage, and that's always a good thing!
Listen to the beginning of The Dinosaur Four at The First Three Chapters podcast.
This podcast helps folks discover new books by sampling the opening. Check it out and find something fun to read!
Looking for a podcast to listen to during your commute?
Check out this fun Interview with Geoff Jones at Scrivener Soapbox.
Please join me for an online launch party for The Chronothon, a new time-travel adventure from Nathan Van Coops, author of In Times Like These. There will be book giveaways, including The Dinosaur Four, prizes, and even the chance to name a character in Nathan's next book.
The party starts at 5pm EST on Groundhog Day. Click the picture below to check it out.
THE CHRONOTHON is the second novel by Nathan Van Coops. It's a time travel adventure race that will plunge you into the depths of history only to spit you out in the distant future. This science fiction scavenger hunt through time will pit its protagonist against nefarious enemies like pirates, time traveling carneys, and the French. Action, romance, and adventure add up to a marathon of fun.
For the first time in a while, I'm excited about a lot of new movies coming out this year. Here are a few I'm looking forward to, in order of release:
Blackhat (January 16) is a cyber-crime thriller from Michael Mann. It should be timely and exciting.
Jupiter Ascending (February 6th), from the Wachowskis, could be great. They certainly succeeded in adapting David Mitchell's overblown novel, Cloud Atlas.
Early reviews for Kingsman: The Secret Service (February 13) are quite good. It will be great to see Mark Hamill back on the big screen.
I'm enough of a Joss Whedon fanboy that I'll see Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1), even though I never really felt that anything was at stake in the first film.
Tomorrowland (May 22) may be the movie I'm most interested in, simply because it's directed by the great Brad Bird. Tomorrowland is inspired by the Disney theme park "land," which seems ridiculous, but the teaser is great.
Pixar is releasing two movies this year. The first is Inside Out (June 19), which shows the inner workings of a young girl's brain. Maybe it will help me understand my daughters.
It's hard not to be excited about Jurassic World (June 12). Even if it ends up being silly (trained raptors?), it looks like fun. It's always great fun when dinosaurs attack, right?
I keep hearing about Midnight Special (November 25), which tells the story of a father trying to protect his super-powered son from the government. Superhero films are more interesting to me when they take place in the real world.
Pixar's second release, The Good Dinosaur (November 25), pretends that dinosaurs survived long enough to live with humans. Will I be the only one in the theater hoping for a bloodbath?
The Martian (November 25th) is Ridley Scott's adaptation of Andy Weir's excellent novel about a NASA astronaut stranded on Mars, with a script by Drew Goddard. That's three movies on 11/25. Please don't schedule anything for me next Thanksgiving.
Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (TBD) is being filmed in Colorado in 65MM. It should be a brutal good time.
Green Room (TBD) is the second film from Jeremy Sauliner. His revenge thriller Blue Ruin was so good I will line up for this no matter what it's about.
There are a few movies I'm on the fence about:
I'm disappointed that Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15) is rated PG-13, just like Beyond Thunderdome. But the trailer looks good and early reviews are positive. Does George Miller still have it? I love original Poltergeist and will be reading reviews about the remake (July 24) to see if it's worth my time. The same goes for The Terminator: Genisys [sic] (July 1).
And then there's The Force Awakens (December 18). I stopped seeing new Star Wars movies after Episode II, and frankly I wasn't very impressed with Abrams' Star Trek reboots. I never really cared about the characters and those movies put style over substance. Does it really make sense to build the Enterprise on Earth instead of in orbit? No, but it looks cool. Do crossguards make sense on a lightsaber? Same answer. But it won't be easy to stay away from another adventure for Han, Luke, & Leia. The jury is still out on this one.
One last note - 2015 is the 40th anniversary of JAWS. How about a re-release this summer, Universal?
What do you think? Which movies are you most excited about? What's missing from this list?
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Geoff Jones is the author of the sci-fi thriller