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Subayaitori "Tristan Vick" RSS Feed (Kumamoto, Japan)

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The Scars of Ambition (The Cumerian Unraveling #1)
The Scars of Ambition (The Cumerian Unraveling #1)
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Start that Really Picks Up, October 16, 2013
The Scars of Ambition by Jason Letts is one of the most original pieces of storytelling I've read this year. Blending political intrigue and corporate espionage with a twist of the supernatural, in a land teetering on the verge of either technological salvation or complete economic ruin, Jason Letts' first foray into adult fantasy does not dissapoint.

Of course, when I began reading the book I did not feel as optimistic about the series as I do now. Aside from the epilogue, the first three chapters are rather a slow build, as Jason gradually works on world building, fleshing out key players, and developing the context for the corporate espionage. The heavy handed corporate elements simply weren't holding my attention, but by the time chapter three came to a close there were some exciting plot developments. The story pacing picks up from there and things get even more exciting.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised with the direction the story and the characters went. My only major nitpick is that it is a rather short book as it is intended to be a series. With a fantasy sci-fi novel like this however, I'd much more prefer a beefier book instead of short instalments, but that's more about personal prefence than anything else.

The writing is top notch and the world building is some of the best I've read in an Indy novel of this sort. This book really should get picked up by a mainstream publisher, it is that good (in my estimation) and deservers more widespread attention. Jason Letts is definately talented when it comes to world building and writing engaging stories with orginal characters.

I am definately looking forward to more from Letts and I will be continueing on with the Cumerian saga.

The Case Against The Case For Christ: A New Testament Scholar Refutes the Reverend Lee Strobel
The Case Against The Case For Christ: A New Testament Scholar Refutes the Reverend Lee Strobel
by Robert M. Price
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.15
13 used & new from $13.25

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy Scholarship Dismantles Poor Apologetics, January 23, 2013
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It's strange that the negative reviews appear not to have read this book. Maybe it's not so strange, considering people say that Price has an axe to grind with Christianity. Their defensiveness could not be less accurate.

Price, a scholar who has devoted his life to passionately studying Christianity, in all of its forms, certainly does not have an axe to grind with Christianity.

Price does, however, have an axe to grind with second rate Apologists like Stroble who butcher everything good and noble about the Christian religion.

Like Price, I share his bitterness toward Apologists that do a hack-job interpretation of the history, theology, and Christian tradition just to suit their own agendas.

In this book Price uses real biblical scholarship and real theology (he has PhDs in BOTH fields) to dismantle Stroble's popular apologetic work and effective show that Stroble doesn't know, let alone understand, the first thing about Christianity.

But don't take my word for it, read this book and find out for yourself!

The one downside I would point out is that if you are familiar with Price's previous works then this book recycles a lot of material. But for the person coming into it with fresh eyes and an open mind, there is more than enough scholarly insights to make you take a step back and really look at the bigger picture.

As usual, like Price's other popular works, the writing and research in The Case Against the Case for Christ is top notch and easily accessible, and no amount of detractors or naysayers will change this fact. But like I said, pick up this book! It deserves a place on your bookshelf.

Resident Evil: Retribution (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
Resident Evil: Retribution (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Milla Jovovich
Price: $11.49
98 used & new from $2.25

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Critics are WRONG!, December 31, 2012
Retribution was actually a top notch sci-fi action thriller.

All the critics giving it one star are doing so because they didn't like the story or because it's not exactly like the video game. If you can hear me rolling my eyes it's because they are tearing out of their sockets.

Here's the thing: if this was the first film of the RE series these same fans would have downright pissed themselves in excitement.

This film has some interesting new story elements as well as some recycled ones. There are some new characters and some recycled ones. With nearly a dozen faces, I knew the character development would be minimal. That's fine. The main characters have already been well established, so I took this film at face value--as an action romp with fire fights and kick ass fight sequences.

As for the basic plot, it turns out the sinister Red Queen program is back and she has overtaken Umbrella's flagship testing facility and is conducting her own experiments.

Alice is captured and brought here, meanwhile there is an ongoing rescue mission to get her out.

Admittedly, it's a straight forward and easy to follow plot. The rest is window dressing.

The action is nonstop, and even though there is little character development this time around, this film is not a drama building piece but a push to the grand finale of the series. It woks like a shot of adrenalin and doesn't let up till the very end.

Now to address some of the critics concerns.

Those saying Retribution has too many plot holes obviously haven't watched any of the other Resident Evil movies. At least, not with their eyes open. Those saying it lacks the depth of the games aren't wrong, but whenever has a thirty hour game translated well to an hour and a half feature film?

That said this is a gorgeous looking film, especially on Bluray 3D. The choreography and action sequences are par to none, and the CG is surprisingly good. It may not have the finish or polish of a film like Avengers, but Retribution's budget being a fraction of other blockbusters, I think the SFX are more than believable.

As far as action sci-fi goes, this film is excellent. If you want more character depth and horror filled zombie moments then I recommend you try AMC's The Walking Dead.

If you're an action film buff, enjoy sci-fi, and are a Milla Jovovich fan then this film hits the sweet spot.

Prometheus (Blu-ray 3D/ Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital Copy)
Prometheus (Blu-ray 3D/ Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Noomi Rapace
Price: $15.98
95 used & new from $8.71

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bold and Intelligent Sci-Fi Story, November 4, 2012
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Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi was destined to be epic. However, it is not without controversy. Many people claimed the plot was confusing, or it lacked one, and that's to be expected from unintelligent movie goers. In fact, the reason I think so many people were baffled by the plot, or rather story, was because it wasn't a character driven plot but a concept driven one.

This is a bold move for any film maker, but Ridley Scott's genius was able to pull it off.

The concept this film wraps itself around is simply this: What are the origins of life on Earth? Where do we come from? Was it god? Or perhaps, aliens? There is a great line, edited out of the film but found on the special features, in which the lead scientist Charlie Holloway, played by Logan Marshall-Green, is asked what his scientific purpose is. He simply replies, "To find the origins of life and smash all man-made religions proving them wrong."

Needless to say, this is the focus of the plot, and the search for this answers is what drives the mission, the characters, and the story. The crew of the Prometheus find more than what they were looking for, and that makes the rest of this movie pleasantly surprising.

Fringe: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
Fringe: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Anna Torv
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $26.06
85 used & new from $8.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sci-Fi with a Modern Twist!, October 2, 2012
Fringe is an amazing series. The acting is phenomenal, the dialog is realistic and never hokey, and the characters are multifaceted and engrossing. The stories are character driven and even with tech there is a strong element of suspense, horror, and romance. All ingredients which combine to form something quite wonderful.

Although many of the episodes in season one felt a little bit formulaic, what I liked was that the 'pattern' they fall into plays a larger role in the overall story. Also, without spoiling anything, the finale has one of the biggest hooks I've ever seen in television history. I literally fell out of my chair.

Seasons two, three, and four get progressively better. The stories take an even harder sci-fi turn, multiple dimensions open up, there are twists and turns, new plot threads spiraling out of control through space and time, and new revelations to behold. Additionally, there are revelations on top of revelations, as this is becoming a hallmark signature of the series.

I have loved Fringe from day one. It is simply the best science fiction show on American television today--and that's not an exaggeration.

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
by Bart D. Ehrman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.06
132 used & new from $2.47

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christians Run Screaming!, March 20, 2012
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Bart D. Ehrman writes on a topic which nearly every Christian scholar for the past 300 years has desperately tried to ignore. Most of the New Testament is FORGED. As Ehrman expertly shows, there is simply no other word for it. Now many Christians will give this book a one star review, they will boast that Ehrman has a vendetta against Christianity, but these are simply unfounded accusations by people who are in denial about the issues Ehrman raises in this book. The rest just run screaming... and will refuse to read it altogether.

I personally learned a lot about how early society viewed forgers and forgeries. And the only thing I can say is, Ehrman makes a strong case that the NT cannot be trusted as most of the NT authors willfully lied about who they were and had personal agendas that involved deceit and subterfuge. This is a great book to have on your bookshelf if you're interested in early history and the origins of early Christianity.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2013 1:55 PM PST

Alice in Deadland
Alice in Deadland
by Mainak Dhar
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
29 used & new from $5.00

1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Action Zombie Thriller!, February 15, 2012
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This review is from: Alice in Deadland (Paperback)
Reading Mainak Dhar's Alice in Deadland was like sitting through a Hollywood action movie. Every chapter is a page turner, and the story is highly entertaining.

Taking its lead from the children's classic Alice in Wonderland, Dhar's story begins with Alice, a girl grown up in a post apocalyptic world where a zombie scourge has overtaken the Earth. One day, while sniping zombies out of sheer boredom, young Alice sees a strange sight. A zombie wearing bunny ears. When suddenly it vanishes down a hole, her curiosity compels her to follow it, but what she finds underground is both terrifying and surreal.

Dhar's writing is clear, fast paced, and his words paint very detailed visuals upon the imagination. Each chapter flies by at a brisk pace, and I for one could not put it down, like Alice, I was too curious about what would happen next.

My only complaint is that the story lacks in character development. Alice and the Queen are the only two characters really developed at all and the rest of the cast comes and goes so quickly that there is never any time to really get to know any of the characters. While there is a lot of excellent action scenes, and great settings, I found myself wishing there would be more character interaction. Even so, I highly recommend this story for anyone who is interested in the zombie genre, action, and adventure. As far as sheer thrills and chills go, I count this among the best of the zombie genre to date!

In fact, after having downloaded and read it on my Kindle, I was so impressed that I went back and ordered the paperback edition. It's that good.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2012 7:00 PM PST

Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth
Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth
by R. Joseph Hoffmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.05
35 used & new from $6.40

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and Sweet, December 17, 2010
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Although it contains numerous essays the book is shorter than your average compilation. That said it has enough for those who want to find out what we really know about the historicity of Jesus and the various traditions which branched out of the first century Christian movement(s).

Most of the authors take the mythicist view, but that said, they make many valid points about why the current methodologies of historical research do not pass muster and need to be rethought. Overall the theme of the book could be described as an appeal for a better, more sound, methodology for engaging the available historical facts when it comes to the Jesus traditions--which have until recently been predominantly the venture and domain of Christian apologists. Now that unbiased historians are taking a crack at what history says about Jesus and the origins of Christianity we have now (more than ever) new avenues of thought to pursue and new ideas which ma--after two thousand years of failing to establish a basic historicity for Jesus of Nazareth--finally yield answers. Although for the person of faith they may not be the answers you are looking for.

All the same, this is an invaluable source when it comes to investigating the life and history of Jesus of the first century Palestine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2011 12:41 PM PDT

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
by University of Chicago Press Staff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $41.35
114 used & new from $35.26

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Edition Yet!, December 17, 2010
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This is an invaluable resource if you are going to publish a book or become an editor of those who do. Updated with all the most recent facts and changes the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual Style is the publishing standard. As I am currently completing my second non-fiction work I found that this edition of the style manual has all the details on how to cite online sources, e-books, Wiki pages and so on, and includes many examples and explanations to help you edit your book into the most professional writing imaginable. I even find myself reading through it just for all the interesting information I didn't know! (Bookworm alert! Seriously though--the geek in me thinks it's totally fun to read this technical manual on writing.) If you're a writer and this book isn't on your bookshelf then you're not a real writer--get serious and get this book!

The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason
by Victor J. Stenger
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.76
81 used & new from $1.95

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What about The New Atheism?, September 30, 2009
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The New Atheism. With wit and verve the eminent physicist and atheist philosopher Victor J. Stenger lays down the oft misapplied misconceptions of New Atheism and explains why critics of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens are so far off the mark that they've missed the point of the New Atheist movement entirely. Not only this, but Stenger explains why many Christian apologists have deliberately misconstrued the nature of material atheism, has showed a string of deliberate attempts to distort the facts, all in a dishonest (at least intellectually dishonest) bald faced attempt to advance their supernatural beliefs--all the while ignoring what genuine science has to say.

There's no denying it, Stenger has some beef with those who buy into the negative stereotype of Atheism without ever really getting the nitty-gritty of what the argument really has to say. Stenger points out a level of credulity and ignorance among non scientists who try to use science to explain things in spiritual terms, shows how they distort the facts (or else ignore them entirely), and use this false representation to declare that science supports their supernatural beliefs, such as the failed theory of Intelligent Design (ID), when in actuality it does not. Stenger does an excellent job of summarizing all the real physics discoveries that squash ID into oblivion--so much so that towards the end of the book Stenger laments, "Intelligent design in cosmology deserves to die. I am tired of shooting so many arrows into it."(p.241) But Stenger isn't pulling any punches, he's standing up for his beliefs, and science and reason are in his corner.

"Theists also try to argue that science operates on faith no less than does religion by assuming science and reason apply to reality. This betrays an ignorance of science that is pervasive among theists and theologians. Faith is belief in the absence of evidence. Science is belief in the presence of evidence. When the evidence disagrees with a scientific proposition, the proposition is discarded. When the evidence disagrees with a religious proposition, the evidence is discarded." (p.239)

This book is a great read, with its brisk pace and dash of humor it had me wishing it was a little bit longer. Stenger does an excellent job of summarizing the basics of New Atheism while unveiling the tricks religious charlatans love to pull on their own undiscriminating flocks. I highly recommend this book to those interested in learning about what the debate is all about, or just for learning some interesting facts about the current clash between faith and reason, and find out why New Atheism is necessary if we are going to safeguard science (and the benefits found therein) from religious bullies and at the same time continue to advance reason minus the hindrance of archaic ideologies which have been largely invalidated.

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