Friday, 20 September 2013

Geeky Update (Nokia, Saga, TR, Malazan Empire)

I've mentioned in one of my previous posts that I've been following what’s been happening to Nokia. I used to be a fan of the company. They are were the biggest multinational technology corporation based in Europe. Their products were ground breaking. Nokia released phones with front cameras, QWERTY keyboard, smartphones and touch screen phones way before Blackberry, Apple or Samsung even dreamed about them. They used to have a very good understanding of future technologies and dominated the market for many years. I used to proudly own their products.

That was up to the point when their new CEO took charge, Stephen Elop. I’m not going to go through Nokia’s downfall. I went through most of it here. However, not completely unexpected, the news arrived that Nokia was sold to Microsoft! Elop who used to work as the head of Microsoft’s Business Division before jumping to Nokia in September 2010 probably helped MS buy Nokia phone division cheap. Just check Nokia’s share prices for these last years. It’s a shame though.  I feel for the all the people who lost their jobs recently and for those who will lose it in the future. The evil Empire Strikes back.

On another different tone, I’d like to introduce to you the world of Saga! That’s a graphic novel for adults created by Vaughan and Staples. Vaughan is the writer of things like ‘Y: The Last Man’, the ‘Runaways’ and co-writer of the TV series ‘Lost’. The plot of the story can be described as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in space with aliens, warlocks, robots, ghosts, mercenaries and all the rest. It’s about a young couple from two different worlds in war (tech vs magic) trying to escape with their new-born child. It might sound a bit unoriginal, but believe me the art, characters and storytelling is exceptional. Saga is now an award winning series and I would recommend it to anyone with a desire to read something different than what mainstream Marvel or DC have to offer at the moment.

What’s next? Oh, yes. PC games! I’m in the process of finishing ‘Tomb Raider’. Yes, the remake of the old platform/shooter. The development company did wonders at bringing Lara Croft to the new era. Keeping the same approach of having a female heroine trying to solve simple puzzles by climbing here and there and moving stuff around while shooting baddies and evil fauna works perfectly well. Unlike other disappointing remakes like SimCity (oh, what a waste of money), the publisher Square Enix manages to create a likeable character that evolves through the game trying to escape the island of Yamatai. The island itself of course holds many secrets waiting to be solved and sets a visually stunning setting for Lara’s adventures. If you liked the old Tomb Raiders, I guarantee you you’ll like this one too.

Finally, I couldn't finish this geek update without a book reference. So, I'd like to introduce to you the world of the ‘Malazan Book ofthe Fallen’. That’s an epic fantasy series written by Steven Erikson. OK, so it’s not a single book. It’s many. Ten books to be precise that consist this series. For the time being I’m going through number 7 (Reaper’s Gale) but I have to say it’s really good. For those who don’t know about epic fantasy, try to think ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ and empires, witchcraft, demons, various peoples, gods and all that.  

I’m trying not to read all books one after the other. I read other stuff in-between. I finished beforehand ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman! That was also a good, interesting, read but I shouldn't divert from my main topic. The Malazan Empire holds many dark stories, twists in the plot and of course many different characters and point of views that make the books not that easy to read. Lots of people criticise the author for the number of characters with tongue-twisting names, the variety of locations and the deities involved.

At first, they story looks a bit problematic and lost without a true purpose. There are way too many characters with their agendas. Especially if you’re reading the first book and you’re unfamiliar with the author’s ways, it seems pointless. What I have to say is hold on. In every book that I remember there is a closure of some shorts, even if there are some cliff hangers for the future issues. It all makes sense in the end. To give you an idea the book I’m reading now has more than 1,200 pages and a list of points of view that’s very difficult to count. I’m loving it though and I can’t easily put it down.   

That's what my geek little bizarre world is all about these dates. Not sure how interested you are, but I'll keep you posted nevertheless...

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