March 2022: Theme Parks, Destinations, And Exhibitions

Why Theme Parks and Destinations? How are they different from conventions?  And how is this relevant to the idea of consuming all the pop culture in Ready Player One?… I mean…that is the point of this blog…isn’t it?

I know that I get a lot of questions like this every time I start struggling to work on this blog.  Yes, it was my idea.  Yes, the project has gotten a bit out of hand… (check out our article on Why we included THAT? for more on how things have gotten a bit off course). And yes, life has gotten super weird and crazy and has prevented me from continuing to dive into this headfirst.

And I would love to do that.  To rededicate myself to working and being attentive with this blog.  To posting on our social channels multiple times a day.  To not just reviewing the same stuff over and over…and, honestly, sounding like a broken record because I tend to really love a lot of what is referenced in the books.

In order to do that I had to figure out how to motivate myself to come back to writing.  You see…consuming the media isn’t the problem.  I’m a voracious reader.  I constantly have something on in the background be it a movie, TV show or an album.  I’m on TikTok and Instagram and Facebook DAILY… it shouldn’t be hard to get through the THOUSANDS of references, expanded universes, books turned films, endless music, and podcasts…and it isn’t.

Until I have to write about it.

And I’m not complaining.  This blog has been stuck in my head from the day that I started reading the book.  Page 62 ALONE had my head spinning.  I mean, the entirety of Stephen Kings works could (and is) entire blogs on its own.  And some of my favorite directors are listed as well.  So are some of my favorite TV shows, most watched films, and favorite books.  I get to watch some of the best actors in the world and even support some of my friends more readily than anything because they are in the industry.

But as much as I love the idea of the blog the back end isn’t always easy or glamorous.  The research to put up some semblance of Anorak’s Almanac was almost a month’s work, per book, and I’m still not completely done with it even though I have posted what is done.  The reworking of the blog to give more information, more details and change the rating system took several days to figure out.  And then the writing.

It’s not like I have a team of people helping me write.  Helping me consume the media and the write about it.  It just me.  One person.  Out in cyberspace.  Screaming into the void… or so it seems.

So, I had to make the revamp fun.  Something I wanted to do.  That would motivate me to keep writing, to start writing again.  To redo work I’ve already done (you will be able to see the old stuff in our archives). To redesign the blog. To create something that was continually motivating to me.

Which meant that this month I chose to focus on the world outside of the book.  And how mainstream some of the references have become.

Because we don’t live in the 1980s anymore, much to Halliday’s dismay, I’m sure.

And those of us that are geeks, that grew up with awesome people like my dad, that were introduced to these things at a young age…we aren’t shunned anymore.

Dungeons & Dragons play is at an all time high with public schools often having a CLUB to teach it.  Big ticket movies are showing again and again that superheroes are going to make bank.  STEM programs are becoming a main focus. And even THEME PARKS have capitalized on the craze by building newer parks, themed areas and bigger and better (and FASTER) rides to capture the thrill seeker in all of us.

And you know what?  I’m one of those thrill seekers.

I didn’t used to be.  In fact, I was almost always scared of roller coasters.  I went on one when I was 6 and I was so scared of it that I didn’t set foot on anther till I was 14.  And after that one I threw up in a trashcan at the end of the ride.

It wasn’t until I was 23 that a friend of mine decided I was being ridiculous and made me go on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

I remember the whole experience.  I was terrified and anxious the whole line.  I tried to leave at least 5 times, but he kept me there and he even loaded first so I couldn’t just bail out the side and run away. Honestly, I almost cried I was in such a panic. But he knew I would love it…and knew I could do it. That I could conquer that fear.

If you know anything about this ride, then I’m sure you are probably laughing.  You might even be thinking about how insane I was being. And I can say that.  I let my anxiety get the better of me for so many years.  Because that ride…well…its really tame compared to most modern rollercoasters. 

I loved it.

I’m not going to say that this works for everyone… nor will I ever make fun of people who hate roller coasters because I used to be one.  But man…the minute I loved it I knew I had to try more.

So, we went again and again.  I think we rode that one about 4 or 5 times until I was comfortable and wasn’t panicking in line.

Then we went on Space Mountain.  The one in Disneyland is so much different (and better in my opinion) than the one in Disney World.  That was a BIG thrill for me because you can’t see the track.  And the technology in the ride makes it feel like you are going so fast when it only reaches about 35 miles per hour.

Then…the big kahuna.  California Screaming (now called The Incredicoaster) at California Adventure.  A steel roller coaster made to look like an old wooden pier roller coaster with a single inversion…ONE.  That was so scary to me.  It launches from 0-55 MPH in 4.5 seconds and has a drop of 108 feet during the course of the 1 minute and 20 second ride.  And the inversion? A simple vertical loop.  Nothing crazy.

But I got off of that ride and that was it. 

I was hooked.

Which brings us to today.

As I started to get back into the blog and do the revisions, the tweaking, the redesign and try to get myself back to the level of material I wanted to be creating for you…I knew I had to figure out something that I would love.

So, I looked at the month of March 2022 in my life.

And there it was.

My grandmother turns 80 in February.  In March, my whole family is going to Disney World to celebrate with her.  Almost 30 people all together at a theme park.

That’s when it hit me.

Theme parks.

Theme parks…

Theme parks. 

I forgot how many theme parks have acquired the rights to nerdy properties.

From the obvious Disney acquisition of MARVEL and Lucasfilms to the less well known Six Flags having access to DC Comics.  To the very odd little ride at Universal surrounding ET…and the debunked Back to the Future Ride…. even international parks, cruises and exhibitions have access to specific properties from Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica to Sesame Street to an unlicensed World of Warcraft based park in China.  There are a LOT of parks that have connections to Ready Player One.

And isn’t that the point of the book?

That so much of the world is completely immersed in the world of OASIS. That most of that world is based in the world that Halliday loved.  That video games, 1980s pop culture, and technology reign supreme.

We just aren’t quite there yet.

But themed events, destinations, and things like theme parks are getting us one step closer.

So, this month…it’s all about the theme parks.

We will discuss parks both in America (where I’m from) and parks that are international.  We will take a look at other things that you can do to immerse yourself into worlds you may love like local museums, exhibitions, events and cruises. 

Conventions are for another day…though I am going to one in March!  Because these events deserve their own month to talk about attending, cosplay, etiquette and actually going to one of the biggest board game conventions in the world.  And that in and of itself is a month of material on its own.

So, until then lets look at the parks you can go to if you want to get your fix of thrill rides and immersive experiences…all with a dash of nerdy pleasure on the side!

REPOST: IT: Chapter One, based on IT by Stephen King: a Film Review


In 1986, young Georgie Denburough is out in a storm playing with a paper boat that his older brother, Bill, had made for him.  As he follows the boat along it gets swept into a drain.  Georgie reaches into the drain to try and get the boat when he is confronted by a clown.  A clown deep down in the sewers.  When he reaches for the boat again, the strange creature rips his arm away and drags the poor boy down into the sewers.  Georgie becomes one of the first missing children that would haunt the town of Derry, Maine over the course of the next year.

Summer has finally come for Derry, Maine.  Kids are out of school.  Bullies have free reign of the streets and the “Losers” are trying to stay out of trouble.  As the mysterious disappearance of more kids continues a small group of kids come together, tormented by the local bully as well as a far less tangible but far more dangerous force lurking in the shadows.  This group, known as the Losers’ Club, discover that each have been visited in the last year by a strange clown.  This clown…a force that knows who they are and where they live…is far beyond everything that even their scariest nightmares could have imagined.

As Bill and the rest of the Losers follow the clues, they will be led down the path closer to Pennywise.  Will Bill find his little brother, Georgie, alive and well as he fervently believes?  Or will all of them have to face their darkest nightmares at the hands of a terrifying clown?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based on IT by Stephen King

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: R (for supernatural violence, severe violence and gore, severe language, mild sexual innuendo, mild mentions of abuse, some smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sphia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Yay.  A real horror film.  As a horror buff I can give credit where credit is due.  While the 1991 version with Tim Curry was perfectly fine (this hurts to say because Tim Curry is a FANTASTIC actor…one of my favorites in fact), it lacks the more modern horror moments.  “Child’s play” as a friend once said, compared to this film and its sequel film.

While I was hesitant at first with the more modernization of the timeline (the book has their childhood in the mid-1950s) I was quite impressed with how this little change really worked with the overall feel of the film.  It definitely allowed for some of the more classic horror tropes to be utilized but also paid a wonderful homage to the real rise and birth of modern horror films.

From practical effects to an honestly terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown, this was the film I was hoping for when I watched the 1991 miniseries.

And no offence to Mr. Curry….But Bill Skarsgard’s performance, from costume to makeup to mannerisms, was the clown we should all be absolutely terrified is under our beds.

The story seems to follow the book (and the miniseries) fairly closely with small nods to the miniseries.  The big exception is that Georgie is missing and Bill still thinks he is alive.  It is his desire to find his brother, alive and well, that sends the Loser’s Club down the rabbit hole and into the depths of the horrors that lurk in the Derry sewer system.

I do think this choice was much more believable especially for the 1980s.  the idea that the kids are building a dam in a small creek just doesn’t seem to fit in a world where there are arcade games, movies and a robust set of Television shows.  Going out on an adventure like in The Goonies or fighting demons like in Nightmare on Elm Street or Gremlins is MUCH more convincing than what happened in the book (which was believable and fine for the mid-1950s).

This change in time also allowed for larger conversations and allusions.  Beverly’s abusive father became worse (from physical and mental abuse to actual alluded sexual abuse).  Eddie’s mother is even more neurotic and a bigger hypochondriac (now we may diagnose her with Munchausen’s by Proxy).  Richie’s deep dark secret is covered by his humor and foul mouth (also something that was easier to do in both a theatrical release and in the 1980s).  Bill’s stutter isn’t as pronounced but still there, apparent and more natural.  The rest of the group is just as well.  They join together and make a great team.

Honestly, this is a real horror film.  And if you didn’t know or weren’t familiar with the book is a complete movie on its own.  Which cannot be said of the mini-series.  Very well done and will be one that I will be watching again.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review on IT (novel) by Stephen King

Review on IT: Chapter Two

Review on IT (miniseries)

REPOST: IT, based off IT by Stephen King: a Mini Series Review


Based on the novel by Stephen King, IT brings the horror to life on television.

The Lucky Seven have finally found friendship and comradery in each other only to find out that they have all been visited by the same entity: a bizarre and terrifying clown named Pennywise.  He can take on their deepest fears and as they begin to uncover the mystery behind these visits they discover that the clown is also responsible for the rash of murders in the area, including their leaders younger brother.  They follow Pennywise deep into the sewers to kill the creature and seem to be successful.

27 years later the murders begin again. The group returns with help from the only member to remain in their small hometown.  As their memories return they must face their deepest fears to fight IT again and this time hopefully rid the world and their lives from the haunting and dangerous presence.

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based off IT by Stephen King

-Length: 192 minutes (original) or 187 minutes (DVD/Blue-Ray) split between two episodes

-Rating: TV-PG (episode 1), TV-14 (episode 2) (for mild nudity and sexual remarks, violence and gore, mild profanity, some alcohol and mild drug use, some intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O’Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Curry

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):



That was…not remotely scary.

Its supposed to be…I think.  Or at least I remember it being scary… but it was made for TV so maybe I am mistaken.

It could also be that I’m watching it 30 years out from its production.

And it was just…very tame.  Sure there was blood and gore.  The possessed fortune cookies were pretty cool.  IT’s actual form was pretty well done.  But as for scares.  It fell quite flat.

I wouldn’t approved it for young children, but older kids would find this ok…at least by todays standards.  Its campy and over the top (though Tim Curry’s performance was amazing as usual) with very few jump scares or creepy music.

Overall it was disappointing to watch as an adult.  Even one who is terrified of clowns.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

(and only because Tim Curry does a great job as always)

For the review on IT by Stephen King:

For the review on IT: Chapter One:

For the review on IT: Chapter Two:

IT, by Stephen King: a Novel Review


Jumping between the past and the present, the Losers Club has been tasked with defeating a strange force that has caused the local children of Derry, Maine to hallucinate, have incredibly terrifying nightmares and to even go missing.

When Bill Denbrough begins to have nightmares of a mysterious figure, often taking the shape of a clown with a red balloon, things begin to go sideways in his life. His younger brother Georgie is found dead…his arms ripped from his body… when he goes out to play in the rain. Bill begins to realize that the creature in his dreams is what has caused Georgie’s death.

As his small group of friends spend the summer doing what kids do they join together over these nightmares, which have been plaguing all of them. When they discover the cause they do everything in their power to end it.

Ans things seem to have gone well, the creature appearing to disappear.

That is until another sting of vicious child deaths occur in Derry. The Losers Club must face all of their fears, and look into the face of IT again… this time will they defeat the alien force and come out alive? Or will they have to sacrifice everything they hold sacred to save the children of Derry, Maine?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages: 1,138 pages

-Main Characters: Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Bev (Beverly) Marsh, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, Stan Uris, Pennywise/IT, Henry Bowers, Vic Criss, Belch Huggins, Patrick Hockstetter, Peter Gordon, Moose Sadler, Gard Jagermeister, Georgie Denbrough, Eddie Corcoran, Adrien Mellon, Will Hanlon

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock), get or rent the audiobook (on something like Audible or Libby), or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

I just honestly can not with this book. It is WAY too long. You could cut about 400 pages out of the middle and it would be the same story.

There are so many moments in this novel where I feel like King was just putting stuff in to be disgusting. It wasn’t scary… it wasn’t terrifying. It was just disgusting.

This is one of the books I absolutely cannot stand. It is full of homophobia, misogyny, excessive abuse particularly sexual and abuse towards children. And most of the descriptions of these items ARE NOT NECESSARY to build the characters or move the story forward. It is just signature King.

As I have read more of his works I am finding that there is a consistent and excessive need to add in sexual encounters and moments that do nothing to the plot, often come out of no where, and are often incredibly degrading to women.

This books is no different.

The movie (particularly the newer two part film duology) are BEYOND better than this 1100 page novel. I wish I could get the 45 hours of my life back that I listened to the audiobook. Thankfully I was able to do other productive things while listening.

Do not recommend.


Rating: 1 out of 5.

iZombie, based on the comic series iZombie, created by DC Comics: a Television Review


Olivia “Liv” Moore is a promising Seattle medical resident.  She is excelling at work.  She has an incredible fiancé that she loves.  A great family.  Is planning her dream wedding.  Life is great.

Until she ends up one of the few survivors of a boat party gone wrong.  So wrong in fact that she ends up as a Zombie.

When her life is turned upside down, she decides to break up with her fiancé, change jobs, and cut herself off from society as much as possible in an effort to keep from killing innocent people in her pursuit for brains! 

Her new boss, Ravi, head of the morgue she is working at, guesses her secret he ends up as one of her best friends and confidant…and completely fascinated with her condition.  As Liv continues to eat brains, she realizes that she can see and learn the things of the person whose brain she consumes. 

Suddenly a Jane Doe ends up in the morgue and Liv is confronted with the fact that she may be able to help police solve the poor girl’s murder.  What is a Zombie to do?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Procedural Crime Drama

-Creator: based on the comic series iZombie, created by DC Comics

-Length: 5 Seasons, 71 Episodes, 42 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-14 (mild sexual jokes and implied sexual situations, moderate violence and gore particularly supernatural violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, drugs and smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes particularly with the consumption of brains)

-Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Robert Knepper, Bryce Hodgson

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This is a very promising start to a show.  Funny, snarky, kind of gory.  And the actors are just fantastic.

I have a feeling that this show is going to follow the issues that I have with DC Comics… their shows are amazing…and their movies are just mediocre with a few exceptions.

The little bits of the comic book that they work into the show is really a great concept.  It adds to that fantastical feel of the whole show.   

Solid first season.  The show held its own the whole time with very few downs.  The humor and cases were consistent which doesn’t often happen across a whole season of a show. The character development was there, as were the character relationships.

This was an incredible first season.  Between the idea that Zombies exist, Major hunting them down. The mental health issues.  The gaslighting and the lying.  Finding a cure.

So many different things happening. The storyline and the writing are spectacular.  The characters are deep and meaningful.  The twists and turns are well written.

And the ending is just a bit shocking.  What I don’t understand is why Liv doesn’t just say that she was diagnosed with a disease (like and immunodeficiency) which is why she can’t give blood.  It could be why she changed paths…quit being a doctor.  All of it.  Then again…we wouldn’t really have a show if that was the case.

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Misery, based on the novel by Stephen King: a Film Review


Paul Sheldon is a famous writer, known for his Victorian-era romance novels about Misery.  These novels were so popular that, in order to focus on his “more serious” works he purposely kills off Misery in the final novel just to be rid of her.

After completing his latest novel, an untitled piece that he believes will launch his career in a more serious direction, he celebrates and then takes off for his home in New York City.  When an unexpected blizzard hits the area, Paul runs his car off the road and into a ravine, wrecking his legs…but miraculously not killing himself.

He is rescued by a strange woman named Annie Wilkes, who is a nurse that lives out in the country.  As she claims to want to nurse him back to health and will take him into the hospital when the roads clear things begin to change.  Paul realizes that Annie is not what she seems.  His biggest fan, sure, but what happens when your biggest fan isn’t happy with the ending of your latest book about Misery?  And how much worse can things get when that person…isn’t exactly stable…?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Horror, Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Creator: based on the novel by Stephen King

-Length: 107 minutes

-Rating: R (for severe violence and gore, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, mild use of drugs in a medical context, severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Vudu (for purchase), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Frances Sternhagen, Richard Farnsworth, Lauren Bacall

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

I will say it probably as many times as there are Stephen King novels translated into film, but his work is so much better as movies in my opinion.

Now having watched the movie and read the book I can say this.  This film is nearly perfect.  Its one of those situations where you can watch the movie and you’ve basically read the book.  Which, one, doesn’t happen often, and two, when it does the movie is often bogged down in superfluous details and is boring.

Not the case here.

The material that this movie was pulled from was very detailed and the crew and director did an excellent job with everything.  The house, the setting, the characters…all how you would picture them when you read the book.

And Kathy Bates performance is just INCREDIBLE.

She absolutely nails the bi-polar back and forth that can happen in someone who isn’t medicated and can go from very high manic moments to the extreme lows of depression.  She was able to capture the flip on a dime nature of the character of Annie Wilkes.  There are moments where she is sweet as pie….then there is the scene where she hobbles him.  Cool and calm.  Absolutely perfect.

The things I wish the film had kept in which would have given it five stars in my mind:

  • The actual hobbling from the book where Annie cuts Paul’s entire foot off of his leg.
  • More of the hallucinations that Paul has throughout the book
  • The death of the young police officer and then the visits from several police officers to add to the suspense of finding Paul
  • And the final hallucination of Annie in Paul’s apartment with the ax….

Just a few extra minutes and a few extra details would have gotten this to a five-star film.  But as is Kathy Bates performance sealed the deal of this film being a must watch.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Misery, by Stephen King: a Novel Review


Paul Sheldon is a prolific writer.  He is most famous for his Victorian-era romance novel series: Misery.  The problem is…he hates writing it.  He has passion projects that he would rather be spending time writing (though they often do not even net HALF of what a single Misery installment brings in).  As his final installment of the series, Misery’s Child, is released in which he FINALLY kills off his dreaded main character Paul takes a break to write a new crime novel: Fast Cars.

As he finishes the manuscript in the small town of Sidewinder, Colorado, Paul decides to celebrate with some champagne and a long drive…deciding that he should take his ’74 Camaro to Los Angeles instead of flying back to his empty apartment in New York, recently vacated by yet another ex-wife.

Fate has other plans as a snowstorm pops up outside of the small town and causes Paul to crash on the side of the road.  When he awakes its in a strange environment.  A small room with nothing other than a bed, a side table….and he doesn’t recognize any of it.  When Annie Wilkes comes into the room things go from odd to plain weird. 

It turns out Annie saved him from the wreck.  And being a nurse she has first hand experience, and the resources to take care of Paul as he recovers from his incredibly destroyed legs…but is she really there to take care of him?  Or is something about this “number one fan” even more sinister than what is first presented when Annie brings him back from the brink of death?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages/Words: around 420 pages,

-Main Characters: Paul Sheldon, Annie Wilkes

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock), get or rent the audiobook (on something like Audible or Libby), or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

So I’ve seen the movie a lot and now I’ve read a few of Stephen King’s novels…and I can honestly say this: Stephen King is much better on film.

Maybe its because my imagination (while very clear and my inner eye can create basically anything) knows that it doesn’t have to with books) has decided it doesn’t need to animate what is going on in the novels.  Or maybe it’s the way the prose is written…the books just aren’t’ scarry.

Misery has a few ick moments in it but I didn’t find myself worried or scared.  Honesty the false ending where Paul imagines Annie as having escaped the police and showing up at his apartment to kill him with the same ax she uses to chop off his foot was way worse and would have been a better ending in my opinion that the “everything is fine” ending that was written for Paul.


 the book was fine.  It wasn’t too long.  The action was fine.  The depiction of the mental illness that Annie displayed defiantly fit more of the knowledge and views that were known about in the 1980s when the novel was written and published.  There were some slightly misogynistic moments and Annie (while overweight, isolated and mentally ill) was described in a way that was disparaging when all the things she is aren’t necessarily negative traits.  Her being an Angel of Death however was discovered in a very interesting way.

It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve read.  And it wasn’t the best.  The movie is better in my opinion which for me isn’t a common view…usually the books are way better.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton: a Novel Review


There have been a series of mysterious animal attacks in Costa Rica.  No one can figure out just what is causing them.  Including the attack that left a worker on a nearby construction project dying and another that left a young girl at the edge of death from a severe allergic reaction. 

Meanwhile, paleontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler are contacted by another scientist about the attacks.  They hope the pair may be able to confirm or deny that one of the attacks was made by a Procompsognathus, a long extinct chicken like dinosaur that walked and attacked on two hind legs often in large packs.  Before they are able to work on the identification, they are whisked off by billionaire John Hammond to visit his latest project- a unique biologic nature preserve that will be full of animals that no one has ever seen before.

Located on an island…off the coast of Costa Rica.

When the pair, Hammond, his company lawyer, and a chaos theorist Ian Malcom, arrive at the preserve and are joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, they are presented with what is actually going on at Isla Nublar.  The Park is extremely unique.  So unique in fact the animals have been extinct for millions of years.  The name of this zoo, preserve, biological project and theme park?

Jurassic Park.

Featuring a variety of sweet as well as highly dangerous genetically recreated dinosaurs, the concept seems incredible and awe inspiring….that is until a storm blows in and the entire island is thrown into the dark.  What happens to the island when all the electricity is out?  What will the dinosaurs do?  And will they all make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: Michael Crichton

-Number of Pages: 448

-Main Characters: Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Donald Gennaro, Tim and Alexis ‘Lex’ Murphy, John Arnold, Henry Wu, Robert Muldoon, Ed Regis, Gerry Harding, Dennis Nedry, Lewis Dodgson

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I am so glad I finally read this book!  I was so scared of reading it.  I have had a lot of issues in the past with both adult literature and straight science-fiction stories but this one was absolutely stunning.

Michael Crichton is able to explain complex science concepts without being condescending while simultaneously mixing it with character and world development.  The result is a complex and witty narrative that is nonetheless accessible to most readers.

I fell in love with this book.  It is multi-layered and diverse with relationships that have more depth and compassion than what we got to see in the film adaptation.  The characters are funny, witty, snappy, sarcastic, narcissistic, and often full of themselves, sometimes with good reason.

And the world.

The step-by-step walk through of how the park was built, how the dinosaurs were created, their genetic defects and a variety of other details would have been clunky and difficult to read in another author’s hands but Crichton handles all of it with a grace that gives even the most under educated reader the chance to not only understand but to also enjoy.  I am not into biology but have a decent head for chemistry but the ideas behind genetic manipulation are far beyond me.  Crichton made it not only accessible but also make sense without the reader feeling inadequate or stupid.

The habitats, the animals, the rides…the theme park…they are all described with an incredible awe as if you were actually there not reading about an imaginary land that doesn’t exist.

Its just a beautifully written novel and one that I can highly recommend.  I literally picked the second novel right up after finishing the first and was honestly disappointed that there wasn’t a third novel in the series.

I’m even thinking of reading more of Crichton’s works like Congo.  This one was just that good.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, based off the book by Douglas Adams: a Film Review


On a dreary normal Thursday morning Arthur Dent is going about his day when he realizes that this is the day that his house is meant to be torn down to make way for a bypass…something he only just found out about even though the plans have been on file for over a year.  As he lays in front of the bulldozers his friend Ford Prefect shows up.

Dragging Arthur away from the scene he tells Arthur everything over a few pints of beer.  Nothing matters, not his house or looking like a drunk for having three pints of beer at lunchtime…because the Earth will be destroyed in 12 minutes.

When Ford hitches a ride off planet in the moments before Earth is rendered nonexistent, he brings Arthur along for the ride.

Between killer aliens, an improbable spaceship, a depressed robot and a maniacal president of the unverse will Arthur and Ford be able to take the advice from the most popular book in the universe, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and remember: DON’T PANIC!

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: based off the book by Douglas Adams

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Anna Chancellor, John Malkovich

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

You can’t really go too wrong when the author of the book WRITES THE SCREENPLAY!

I know that this movie got a lot of flack for the fact that it is just a silly and ridiculous, over the top kind of comedy.  That it wasn’t accurate to the book its based on.  That it isn’t good because the writing wasn’t good.

That is all wrong in my opinion but it is something I hear a lot when it comes to turning novels into film…and its not the last time I’ll write about it in a review.

I don’t think you can argue that a movie “isn’t good because that’s not how it was written” when the author of the book is the one who writes the screenplay… the things they changed were their choice…and that is ok.  Because sometimes screen and novel don’t translate well together.  Different media is different.

However, this I just brilliant.  It captured all the wonderful snark from the book.  The characters fit so well.  The actors did such a great job with the characters.

The costumes and sets are over the top in the kind of way that fits in with the book.  I mean…how can you go wrong with a character that is dressed to the nines, another that wears a bathrobe the whole time and another that carries around a towel and uses it like a security blanket…

And Alan Rickman as the depressed robot.  Just perfection.

I really do love watching this film.  Its funny and lighthearted while still pondering the great questions.  And it captured the feel of the book in a tremendous way.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: a Novel Review


Arthur Dent is having a very bad day.  His home in West Country, England is set to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass…which will run right through his home. As he lays in front of the bulldozer his friend, Ford Prefect, shows up and drags him away to the pub.

He explains that Arthur’s house being torn down is the least of his worries as the entire Earth will be destroyed in about 12 minutes.  When a group of aliens show up in Earth’s atmosphere they announce that Earth is to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace expressway…or…a bypass.

As the Earth is destroyed Ford hitches a ride on one of the ships bringing Arthur along for the ride giving him a copy of The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy to help him handle the strange new world he has been thrown into.

Afterall, it has great advice written right on the cover in big friendly letters: Don’t Panic.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Comedy

-Author: Douglas Adams

-Number of Pages:

-Main Characters: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphd Beeblebrox, Patricia “Trillian” McMillian, Marvin

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

So maybe I just need comedy with my science-fiction…because this book is so much fun and so easy to get through.  Douglas Adams doesn’t even try to explain the science behind anything. Not really.  Its just assumed that it exists.

Because in a world where a book with the words “Don’t Panic” on it in big friendly letters outselling every other book in the UNIVERSE….honestly, anything is possible.

The world is wonderfully diverse and detailed without anything actually being described in excessive detail.  Adams has a way of getting the picture of things across in the action and how the characters see the world.  We don’t get long winded descriptions of how the world or ships they are on look unless it has some sort of humorous reasoning.  What we do get are conversations that brand new whales have before they hit the ground and are no more.  Or what the dolphins did before they left earth.

Or the fact that the Earth was created as a computer program to find the question to the answer of the life, the universe, and everything…which is 42.

The characters are snarky and egotistical, irritating and absolutely human.  Guide is one of those books where even if you don’t love a character (like Zaphod and his idiotic ego) you still WANT to know what is going to happen to them.  That is really hard to do for an author.  Its hard to write characters that are neither villain nor hero yet still are interesting and full of depth and that the reader wants to keep hearing about.

Adams achieves this in every single page.

I’m so glad I revisited this story when I was older (more around the age of Arthur and Trillian).  I don’t think I found the books as enlightening and hilarious as I do now when I was a teenager.  There is just a level of life experience that you need to have to really appreciate these books.

I’m so excited to read the rest of the series again!


Rating: 5 out of 5.