The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

Book review: Castle - David Macaulay

Castle book cover

When you're young you don't usually notice who are authors of most books you read. Then, you grow up and, sometimes accidentally sometimes deliberately, you discover that the author of one of your childhood most interesting titles (The Way Things Work, which I plan to read again soon), David Macaulay, is the same of other book you loved and had stored since far far away in time: Castle.

Castle is a small book (around 80 pages) where, with small fragments of text and huge hand-drawn, black & white images, we're explained the design and construction of a fictional castle. All the techniques, way of doing things and way of living of the people inside and around it are realistic, just the castle itself is invented.

I grew up with these kind of books and loved passing the pages and watching things get built step by step, without even needing color. The drawings are excellent and very detailed, with maps or diagrams where needed to clarify some part of a building or some procedure, and it will probably entertain equally both children and grown ups.


Book review: The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos

The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos book cover

The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, from Brian Wood and Pat Harrigan and published by Fantasy Flight Games, is yet another book I had (since circa 2006 in this case) pending to read and enjoy. Nearing 200 pages, it features hundreds of art pieces, both from FFG products (card and board games) and from Chaosium's classic Call of Cthulhu RPG.

The book is divided by sections, from places to survivors (detectives and gangsters mostly), monsters, great old ones. It is a beautiful reference guide to spark your imagination if you need to visually figure how a certain monster of character would look. Excepting some old Chaosium images everything else is in great and vivid colors.

A great art book that made me want to read H. P. Lovecraft books again.


Comic Book Review: Alien vs Predator Omnibus

Alien vs Predator Omnibus Vol. I comic book cover Alien vs Predator Omnibus Vol. II comic book cover

Alien vs Predator Omnibus consists of two compilations: I & II, each with around 450 pages.

The first volume includes seven compilations, exploring from a classic human-colony-gets-attacked-from-both-alien-species or a futuristic human predator hunter, to quite a few stories showing us more details about the predator race (don't want to enter into spoilers territory). They feel fresh, different and some continue ideas and characters presented on previous ones. I really liked this volume.

My problem came when I started reading the second volume. At least half of it consists of the series "Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species", a futuristic tale involving Aliens and Predators, yes, but way too bizarre for my taste. I tried to follow it but goes too much into dreams and other storytelling techniques that, combined with an uninteresting story (to me, at least), made me skip all of it. The remaining contents are a few more series, some of them really brief (4 issues with few pages per issue), so you'll get mostly short stories. Some of them are interesting but overall don't justify purchasing the whole book to ignore half of the contents...


Comic Book Review: Alien vs Predator vs The Terminator

Alien vs Predator vs The Terminator comic book cover

Alien vs Predator vs The Terminator is, apart from a long title, a curious three-way crossover, which on itself could be curious (hybrid terminator-alien), but the presence of an Ellen Ripley that continues the infamous 4h Alien movie trend of Ripley & family clones with alien DNA makes everything feel too much.

The main story not bad (how a Terminator laid low until could create a next generation hybrid soldier to try to recreate Skynet and so on), but apart from the aforementioned Ripley things, it looks like 4 issues were too few so story had to be packed so much that in time spans of hours (or as much as a few days) too much happens (don't want to spoil anything, but no matter how hard working a machine is, some stuff makes no sense).

While no match for a classic AvP comic story, a different reading, but I wouldn't say it is amazing.


Comic Book Review: Predator Omnibus I to IV

Predator Omnibus Vol. I comic book cover Predator Omnibus Vol. II comic book cover

Predator Omnibus Vol. III comic book cover Predator Omnibus Vol. IV comic book cover

Predator Omnibus spawns 4 volumes: I, II, III & IV, each one around 400 pages big. I got the four of them, but this review covers the first three volumes.

The reason of the incomplete review is simple: I got tired of reading so many similar Predator stories: Predator hunts humans, Predator hunts predator, Predator hunts animal... Although I sincerely don't think a Bear would be a match for our favourite alien, it's at least a different take, because when you read once and again and again and again the very same story just changing the setting, it becomes not only repetitive but actually boring.

Some ideas feel fresh, like crazy predators, or the small series of detective Schaefer, but other many just present the exact same plot and developments just with different visuals.

I might finish the fourth book in the future, but I've had enough Predators "alone" for a while. I'd rather read the great Alien vs Predator series, where there's much more imagination and creativity (and a few surprises).


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