Electric Dreams (E1) Review

The Hood Maker

9pm, Channel 4. Directed By Julian Jarrold. Written By Matthew Graham based on the short story by Phillip K. Dick. First Aired 17/09/2017.

IMDB Summary: In a world without advanced technology, mutant telepaths have become humanity’s only mechanism for long distance communication. But their powers have unintended implications. When the public begin to embrace mysterious, telepath-blocking hoods, two detectives with an entangled past are brought in to investigate.

Review

(Warning If you have not seen the episode, there are a few minor spoilers in this review)
I have been excited about this series since I found out about it just under a month ago, and it has finally hit our screens with a bang! I enjoy anything to do with science fiction, but I was especially excited about this, party to see how an anthology of short stories would translate on-screen (really well apparently!), and secondly to see one of the most influential science fiction writers of our time have his works brought to life on the small screen! (Although, as some of you may know, his works are no stranger to the screen in general, with films like Blade Runner and Total Recall originating from his writing). This show landed on TV spectacularly with the opening credits summing up all the creepy wonder we can expect to see over the next ten weeks. Phillip K. Dick is a master at writing the weird and wonderful, the creepy and the downright disturbing, as you can see by the show’s trippy cover image shown at the top of this post, and The Hood Maker was no stranger to this.

First off, I really enjoyed the social politics behind this episode, the idea of the telepaths and the morality that comes with that.  The idea that your mind and closest secrets can be read so easily by whoever wants information from you, really intrigued me and I enjoyed thinking about what consequences that could bring. This episode is a comment on our world today, a world of sharing your life with the public through online media. I have been a fan of how Phillip K. Dick uses science fiction to comment on social issues, and this show really managed to capture that. His stories are always so thought-provoking, and they make you consider views and ideas that you may never have thought about before now, and The Hood Maker isn’t any different.

The casting of the episode was great! Each actor/actress seemed to fit into their role perfectly, and it’s great to see that they have got so many big names getting involved, such as Richard Madden in this episode (Game of Throne’s Robb Stark) and Benedict Wong in next week’s episode (Doctor Strange’s Wong).

The imagery was stunning! The landscape so beautifully cyberpunk! The heavy rain, the grey buildings, its like all of the colour has been sucked out of the world. The brightest thing on-screen was Honor’s scars, and that really says something about where this show was going. The aesthetics of this story really reminded me of Blade Runner (which is also based on a Phillip K. Dick story; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), and it had that eery quality that gave a creepy layer to the element of mystery in the show.

The most striking thing that I found interesting was how it seemed to really relate to the Phillip K. Dick short story I have read; Ubik, where telepaths (precogs) and blockers (inertials) are an established force in the world. I’m not sure if there is a reason for this or not, or if it is a prequel to the idea, but if any of you know anything about that, please let me know in the comments below as I’d love to find out.
I enjoyed this show and it’s idea that there is a world without any kind of technology, where humans have evolved to be telepathic to create their own modes of communication… until the end. I hate open endings, I really want to know what happened now… they can’t leave it there… but they did… now I feel all empty inside. But I did like the message behind the ending, the way that none of us can ever tell what their partner is feeling (even if minds can be read). That the complications of the human heart are too heard to understand even for a telepath.
How would you have liked to see the episode end? Let me know in the comments below.
I found it great that they included a romance into what was essentially a sci-fi cyberpunk, but I would have liked a happy ending (even if If I should know better, we don’t really get them with Phillip K. Dick).

Finally I need to comment on that scene of the telepath uprising against the hood maker. It was creepy and visually stunning at the same time. The way they pulled apart the wires to get to him, to make him pay for all he has done. And if we are talking about striking scenes, I loved the scene in the telepath’s bedroom, where they all shared the nightmare that one of their peers was suffering through.We could see how connected they all were to each other, like a family all fighting a single cause and trying to find their place in the world.

Altogether this was a strong start to the series! So I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️.
I have taken one star for the ending, and one just basically because the subject matter of The Hood Maker wasn’t a favourite of mine, but that is just a matter of personal taste. That’s the great thing about this series, with each week being a completely different story, there is bound to be something to cater for everyone in the end, and next week’s episode seems more like something I would love, as I have a passion for anything set in space.

Tune into Channel 4 at 9pm next week for the next instalment of Phillip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams; Impossible Planet. See the trailer below.

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Above The Salt Review

Above the Salt (Salted Series Book #3)
By Aaron Galvin

36105725https://i2.wp.com/www.aarongalvin.com/uploads/2/4/6/8/24683312/4585466_orig.jpg

About the Author: ​​Aaron Galvin is a rascal who turned his mischievous talents into writing and acting in stories that people sometimes pay for. He is a conflicted Slytherin/Gryffindor, has met Batman and worked for the Joker, and continues to believe he could have played an amazing Jon Snow if only he had been born English. Aaron is a native Hoosier and a graduate of Ball State University. He currently lives in Southern California with his family.
**Most of the above is true.

Website/Blog: www.aarongalvin.com

 

About The Book

Publisher: Aames & Abernathy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 343
Where I acquired the book: The ARC was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Buy it on Amazon HERE
Or from Aaron Galvin’s website HERE (Where you can order signed copies too!)
Price: £3.88 (Kindle), £10.08 (Paperback) Based on Amazon’s listing from the day this post is published.

The Cover of the copy I read:
36105725

Goodreads description:
Sydney Gao has a secret – she’s a mermaid.
Unfortunately, her mother forbade her from telling anyone and kept Sydney land-locked in the Midwest all her life. After learning Selkie slavers kidnapped her best friend Garrett Weaver, Sydney ran away in hopes of rescuing him. Succeeding, she thought all her dreams of finding others like her to swim with had finally come true.
But Garrett is different now.
No longer the goofy, fun-loving guy she remembered, he’s more concerned about his Selkie friends than Sydney. Worse, her mother is also mad at Sydney for putting herself in danger and not thinking about the consequences of her actions.
Sydney can’t understand any of it. All she’s ever wanted is to finally see and explore the Salt capital city of New Pearlaya and to share her secret with someone. What Sydney doesn’t know is that the Salt is far from the place where dreams come true…and she isn’t the only one who’s been keeping secrets.

Links to my reviews of the previous books in the series:
(Book One) Salted♥     (Book Two) Taken With A Grain of Salt
Find the other books on Amazon Here:
Salted (Kindle £0.99, Amazon Bestseller), Taken With A Grain of Salt (Kindle £2.31).

The Review

Another fantastic read from Aaron Galvin! Above the salt was a perfect continuation of the Salted series and I really enjoyed reading it, so much so that I stayed up late every night just so I could stop at a chapter before going to sleep. I really like the slow progression in this book, how the story builds up at a steady pace so we get to see more of the Salt now the story has been fully established in the other two books. I especially like how Galvin used point of view chapters to follow the different characters and their own stories, so we got to read more than one tale within the same book. I enjoyed reading Kellen’s chapters more than I expected considering they contained a lot of the less likeable characters in the book and I found Sydney’s chapters fascinating. We got to see the other side of the salt for the first time, getting a look into the upper class society instead of reading from the point of view of those who have nothing. The way Galvin put these upper class chapters alongside the chapters facing dark themes such as slavery and violence created a striking contrast that gave us a fully rounded picture of the Salt, so we could witness what the society is like from all sides of the caste system. We can see the Salt in this novel from the point of view of everyone, from the rich, the poor, the slaves, the guards and the warriors, which is really incredible. Personally I cannot wait to read more of Weaver’s chapters (minor spoiler warning for those who havn’t read the previosu books) now that his chapters are set in an Orc training camp, as they remind me of classic science fiction novels like Forever War (Joe Haldeman) and Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card).
Above the salt really reminded me of an underwater version of Game of Thrones, in the way that it tackled the darkest parts of our own human history by putting them in a fantasy setting. We had army training, royalty, scandal, mystery and fighting pits all placed within one book creating a world that would terrify even the strongest of souls. Galvin also once again continues with his point of view chapters from the Selkie Slaves, writing their stories in a way that is both respectful and heart breaking, giving us an insight into the darker side of society that many other fantasy writers do not let us see in their own worlds, with the exception of great authors such as George R. R. Martin.  That is one of the reasons I really enjoy the Salted series so much, it makes you feel uncomfortable when reading it, but in a good way as the characters seem more real, and more dynamic through reading about their hardship.
However, I have to take one star away from my rating on this book unfortunately, due to how it ends. The book seemed to be cut of a little too short. It was like there was a lot of build up and then no climatic conclusion in the last few chapters to satisfy the reader (other than that one AWESOME twist that I will not mention here, so I don’t spoil it for those who havn’t read it). There wasn’t really a resolution to any of the individual stroylines (with the exception of one), and although that makes for an exciting sequel that I can’t wait to read, it still could have done with a chapter or two to summarise a few of the stories instead of leaving so many of them open and feeling unfinished. This is a minor issue in the scheme of things though, as I know my questions will be answered soon enough with the sequel to this book that I can’t wait to read.
I am so excited to see what happens next and I have to thank Aaron Galvin so much for the opportunity to read the ARC of Above the Salt, as it was fantastic! It had just the right balance of mystery, intrigue and breathtaking drama and he never shies away from the darkness of the salt for one moment, bearing all for the reader to see and not holding back on showing us the more horrendous situations the characters are thrown into. I would really recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of urban fantasy, and remember, merpeople are not just for children.

I Would Give This Book: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3 Similar Books You May Enjoy (According to Goodreads)
Salem’s Vengeance      The Grave of Lainey Grace      Salted

Salem's Vengeance (Vengeance Trilogy, #1)The Grave of Lainey GraceSalted (Salted series, #1)

The Little Heart

Hi All,

You may start to see, or have already noticed that my blog’s pages are become littered with little red hearts -> 

There is a reason for this. All posts listed with the ♥ next to them are all posts that link back to my old blog The Reading Rose, so the content I have written in the past is not lost forever.

So if you need something to do to fill your spare time over the next few days, why not take a look at the little heart  posts to check out some of my older content, and let me know what you think!

Until next time

-R

The Fault In Our Stars (Review)


After the hype for this book, I was very late in reading it. But I can honestly say that waiting until now didn’t dampen the book’s impact at all. I don’t think I will ever be the same again after reading this, it was so out of my comfort zone, so different from everything else I have read, and a little too close to home after dealing with cancer in my family recently. Usually I spend my time reading science fiction, fantasy and chick-lit. Harmless books that are so far from reality they don’t really hit me personally. But this book did. It was raw, it was devastating and John Green did not shy away from pain for a single moment. It was beautiful, it broke my heart, and it made me see life in a different way, if only just for a few moments. People say YA is shallow, it has no meaning and it can’t teach you anything that you don’t already know. To those people I give them this book. This work of art, this literary genius, this book that stopped the world moving for me until I reached the final page. There were times when I wanted to give up, that I didn’t think I could keep reading. It was too painful and the emotions too raw. But I carried on, the pain of the characters more real to me than in any book I have read before. So many people are fighting cancer right now in the world, some sharing the stories experienced by Hazel and Augustus. It’s something that was all touch eventually, whether directly or through others. This novel manages to capture that experience perfectly and without barriers. Green doesn’t shy away from the truth of the disease, he doesn’t try to hide anything. This book is a masterpiece, that I am never going to forget. John Green is talented and incredible, his work so intelligent and insightful. I won’t lie to you, TFIOS is painful to read, but it is enlightening and beautiful. It’s worth every single minute that you will spend crying over the inked pages. It is worth everything. Okay?

I give this book 5 Stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(P.S I don’t own the rights to the above image. I am just borrowing it because the art and the quotes are beautiful)

Red Or Black

Warning: This story contains mature themes that will be disturbing for some readers. 

 

They picked me up on my way to the slums. Luckily they hadn’t arrived a minute earlier. If they had, they would have seen me visiting the tall, translucent figure of the artificially intelligent Docbot. I touched the small scar on the back of my neck, pretending to scratch an itch. The Docbot had inserted a cable into my neck, one end connecting to my frontal lobe and the other trailing down to the top of my spinal cord. The scar reassured me. I knew they were watching. I knew I had a way out of here.

They put a blindfold over my eyes and tagged me, puncturing my ear and hanging a tag from the lobe. I had seen the tags before. Small pieces of plastic inscribed with betting odds. I wonder if I was a 2-1 or a 100-1.

They threw me in the back of the van and closed the door. I could see a faint glow around the edge of my mask. As part of my cosmetic improvements, I’d had each strand of my hair embedded with bright, atom-sized LED’s, as was the fashion of the elite.

It began just four nights ago. I went to the gambling hall, like every night. It was our only source of income since the Bots took our jobs. The artificial authority or ‘Authorobots’ ensured that every penny spent on fun and cosmetics went back into gambling each night. But, lady luck wasn’t on my side tonight.

I sat at a table across from a man with a tiger tattoo on his wrist, the stripes blazing red and black. Others gathered at the table, but I remember meeting his eyes, he was a perfect target. Brutes stood over the man’s shoulder guarding him. He was rich, and I needed money.

Anyone who is anyone in this world had a Brute looking after them. The Brutes are all masked with anonymous black plates cosmetically fused to their face. They had no identity other than their height and build, they just watched over the rich without emotion. The stitched perforations across the material allowed for breathing and sight. Their lips a contrasting pink against the matte black, their teeth sharp and white.

The man with the tiger tattoo played a hard game.
“Call me Burke” he whispered as he challenged me to a game of roulette.
I called black instead of red. I lost.
Every single penny I’d owned was passed to him.
Burke told me he would give me my money back if I’d sleep with him.
So, I did.

At least I knew I wouldn’t have to live this life forever, unlike some of the girls.
I couldn’t pay my debts so the gang reported me to the Bailiffs. As soon as I’d lost my money, even if I changed my face and hid away, I knew what was coming.
Anticipating the worst gave me a short advantage. Before the traders grabbed me, I’d made a deal with the authorities; I would carry on working in the trade for as long as it took to identify the boss. Afterwards, they would free me and pay off my debts, effectively making me and elite… If I survive until then.

The journey was short. In a world where most jobs were done by AI, the roads were never busy. All we could do was gamble and do the work they couldn’t. Solving moral dilemmas and making judgements. The elite spent their days in leisure; skydiving and having fun with the pleasure-bots. For the unlucky, nothing is left but crime and illegal activity.

We arrived at our destination in under an hour and I was unloaded into a crowded room. Two Brutes took away my possessions before roughly tearing off my clothes. I was dressed in rags by invasive hands and chained to a wall by my ankles.
The room was full of girls, all unlucky and penniless like me.
None of us fought back, we knew what happened then. The girls who fight can only be sold to lowlifes who do all manner of horrors to them. At least the high-profile clients treat their girls better.

I was in the room for days, or hours, I couldn’t tell.
It was dark and damp, and the food was bland. The other girls were broken and scared, some had been here for years. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like for them, to never know when they would be free again. At least I had the promise of a future after this.

The room was silent. I could feel my willpower drain away as the hours passed, the slightest whisper from anyone led to a cane across their shoulders. Isolation was making us passive, teaching us to take abuse. I could feel it creeping into me as I sat there, tied with heavy chains. I could feel the strength, the hope, and the happiness leaving me. All the while, the device in my brain remained quiet. They could communicate with me, but they chose not to.

The thought of revenge got me through the time spent chained to the wall. The tattooed man had left me in the morning without giving me back a penny. I couldn’t wait to become an elite again and teach him a lesson.
He had left me feeling disgusted. Used. Violated.
He’d made a mistake, though. He had left me in his room.
I’d managed to swipe an expensive watch off the bedside cupboard before making my escape. I sold it to the highest bidder to make some money. Not enough to pay my debts, but enough to buy a new face.
The traders still got to me anyway. They knew an unlucky girl by sight, even if she had a new face. I didn’t even make it to the slums.

The hours spent on the hard floor made me feel grateful for the new limbs I’d brought in the cosmetic’s house. They stopped me feeling pain. Whatever happened to me here, at least I wouldn’t be able to feel it. Unfortunately, it made me more valuable too. They could do what they wanted with me without hurting me.

I must have fallen asleep for a moment as the door to the room was wrenched open and the light startled me awake. One by one, the girls were led out. As the Brute reached me, I felt a soft flutter in my spine as the Authorobots tuned back in, I could feel them watching.
A brute caned me across my back to urge me to my feet. I collapsed back against the wall, but a searing pain took over my mind and I was compelled to stand. I didn’t know the Authorobots could do that. I didn’t know…

The Brute unlocked the chains around my ankles and his calloused hands pulled my arms behind my back. He nearly pulled my shoulder out of its socket as he clamped chains around my wrists. With another slap of his cane, he jerked me into an adjoining room.

I was roughly washed down with a hose before a seductive red dress was yanked over my head, covering less of me than the rags had. His masked face never allowed him to give any emotions away. But I suspected he was enjoying it. As soon as the Brute had brushed my hair with painful scrapes, he unlocked my wrists and threw me through another door.

I stumbled into a large auditorium. The Authorobots took control of my feet to stop me falling flat on my face, then left me again. Around one edge of the room was a two-way mirror. I stood there, my shoulders blazing with pain, I couldn’t think. The lights were dazzling. I took a few steps to the centre of the room and paused, trying to think through my shame.

However, before I had the chance to make a decision, an impulse forced me to dance. I watched, hopeless and terrified, seeing from the outside as my feet twirled in a seductive dance that would entice anyone to buy. I couldn’t control anything as a fake smile forced its way onto my face. A smile they had put there.

Panic rose inside my gut. I tried to distract myself with rage, imagining the men on the other side of the glass. I tried to believe that letting the Authorobots control me was the right thing to do. I knew from the stories that one pane of glass covered the buyers; the men I would be forced to submit to. I could imagine them bidding with leering smiles. The other pane of glass hid the betters. Disgusting men who were not rich enough to buy a girl, so bid on which elite would win her instead. It was sick.

My distraction didn’t work, I couldn’t control the panic, I felt myself black out for a moment, but the Authorobots forced me awake again. I was trapped in my own body, no amount of rage and justification of the Authorobot’s actions could change that. They violated me in a way no man ever had or could. I felt sick.

But then it was over, the Authorobots let me go. I felt their presence recede as I was thrown into a suite. I rushed to a plant pot in the corner, straining my empty stomach.

The room was luxurious, the bed decorated with thick downy cushions and silk sheets. I knew I had a role to perform, but after what the Authorobots did to me, I was struggling to decide which fate was worse; the trade or the robots. I realised that either way, my body would never be my own.

I just wanted this thing out of my head. The Authorobots were no better than the traders. I realised that now.

I wasn’t alone for long, a brute joined me in the room and pulled a blindfold over my eyes. The client joined me a minute later. The whole time he was there I was hoping I would just black out from the pain. I was battered and bruised by the time he took the blindfold off. Whip marks streaked across every inch of my skin. My body sliding on the silk sheets soaked with my own blood.

My stomach churned at the sight but I had no energy to do anything about it. I was broken, conquered, and invaded.

However, the moment the light stopped searing my eyes and I saw who he was. The red and black tiger tattoo danced upon his wrist, its tail soaked in my blood.
It was him. Burke.
My rage tried to overcome me, I wanted to pay him back for everything he had done to me. But I controlled myself, the monsters were still in my head watching.
I couldn’t let them have him. I hated them as much as I hated him.
I would have my revenge but it had to be my own.
I waited for him to leave the room to shower off my blood, then I crawled out of the saturated sheets and over to a glass jar near the window. I took the roses out of the jar and laid them on the bed in a twisted mockery of my situation.
Mustering all the strength I could gather I smashed the pot onto the floor. It shattered in a shower of glass.
I could feel the Authorobots’ confusion. They never did understand humanity. What it really means to be human.
I took the sharpest shard of glass and, without giving the Authorobots a chance to react, I cut into the back of my neck. For once I was glad the room was sound proof as I let out a yell. The fresh blood became indistinguishable from the other open wounds. With one hand I grabbed the tangle of bloody wires, and with the other, I sliced. I felt the Authorobots’ presence immediately leave me.
I’d severed their connection for good.
Using the candle next to the bed, I dropped hot wax over the wound, sealing it. I screamed, but at least the abuse was my own this time.
My mind was finally my own again. In some sick way, I felt free.
I knew the Authorobots would come for me. But if this was a game of roulette. I would take red over black any day. Being abused by flesh and blood rather than being abused by machinery and technology. I’d come to terms with the fact that my body would never be my own, but I couldn’t accept the loss of my mind as well. I would rather risk staying in the trade than lose the part of me which makes me human.
The Authorobots are the ones that put me here in the first place. They are the ones who took our jobs.
I am going to get revenge on Burke, I am going to take the trade down and when the time is right, I am going to drag the authorities down with me.

Daily Mail Lies About Hypermobility

I know this isn’t my usual type of post but I am putting it up here as well as it deserves to be known. As a Hypermobility sufferer; this is the most disgusting thing I have ever read.

Daily Mail has posted this article online and it is sick!

Diagnosis Explains Stiff Joints

No wonder Hypermobility Sufferers are never taken seriously, rejected, ignored and misdiagnosed. According to this article (in which every damn word is a lie), Children shouldn’t be told that they are unwell with hypermobility. It is an illness what do they expect? you can be very unwell with HMS!!! They also claim HMS is caused by laziness WTH WTH WTH It is a proven genetic medical disability. HOW IS THIS LAZINESS. They claim the cure is exercise, but playing sport makes the condition worse! To make things worse. Quote “‘People sometimes say it hurts so badly they think they’ve got a dislocation, but what they’ve done is hyperextend the joint so everything feels out of place.” NO! A DISLOCATION IS A DISLOCATION AND I BET THEY WOULD CHANGE THEIR MIND IF THEY EXPERIENCED ONE THEMSELVES! It even states that children shouldn’t be labelled or given a diagnosis as hypermobility is just a lack of exercise. people who believe this are the reason it is so hard to actually get diagnosed with HMS in the first place. Idiots. But it’s okay to diagnose yourself, everyone is doing it… right? NOPE. The article makes it out like you are diagnosing a common cold, but HMS is a disability, IT DESERVES RESPECT. Apparently, anyone can have hypermobility like it is just another word for being too flexible or something. Like it is nothing. It means nothing. But tell that to all of us who are fighting each day of their lives to just do normal, everyday tasks. Articles like this push the fight for HMS awareness back 50 years. they ruin everything the charities have achieved over time. Finally, there is an article about HMS in a public place, just a shame it is written by people uneducated about the condition and just writing an article of lies. If people read this without knowing the truth, as most people believe what they read online, then it ruins everything we have been trying to achieve. EVERY OUNCE OF RESPECT WE HAVE EARNED, DESTROYED IN SECONDS. I posting this on here so you can read the truth, read the struggle us HMS sufferers have to go through for awareness and equality. And know exactly why I have chosen to write about this for my manifesto assignment. Articles like this destroy every once of progress in for a condition that hasn’t got much in the way of awareness anyway, It infuriates me more than I can express. Okay, Rant Over. I wish I could say this would be the last time an article like this is written, but it most likely isn’t… they even used the image of the tin man of all people to head the article. How Insulting!

Please share this and create awareness for the truth!

5 Second Review: Logan

Sorry it has to be a quick review today. Due to assignments I haven’t got time to write a full review. But, this film was so amazing I couldn’t resist typing a brief spoiler-free review anyway. I originally posted this as a Facebook status so I apologise in advance. 

~*~

Logan was so good! No spoilers but it is such a fitting end for a beloved character. goodbye Wolverine :'(. This film is so much more than a ‘superhero movie’. It is full of character, love, family, drama and action. Definitely one of my favourite X-Men movies so far, and definitely my favourite Wolverine film. It was just so beautiful, realistic and well put together. A job well done Hugh Jackman! It does feel like an end of an era though. Especially since the X-Men movies were the films that founded my love for Marvel in the first place. I don’t think they will be the same without Wolverine as he was always a favourite of mine (unless they re-cast him but that would be so horrible!). *sigh*