Science fiction and fantasy                                            


Film and Book Reviews for 2005

Films released in 2005

Batman Begins poster    
Batman Begins directed by Christopher Nolan
5 star rating

The story of the origins of the Dark Knight is retold.
Mirrormask poster    
Mirrormask directed by Dave McKean
5 star rating

Weirdness abounds in this story of a girl, her mother, and a very peculiar dream.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire poster    
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire directed by Mike Newell
4 star rating

Harry discovers the joy of Yule Balls. The fourth film in the Harry Potter series.
The Brothers Grimm poster    
The Brothers Grimm directed by Terry Gilliam
4 star rating

This is one fairy tale that defies our expectations.
Serenity poster    
Serenity directed by Joss Whedon
4 star rating

Why is capturing River Tam so important to the Alliance?
Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith poster    
Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith directed by George Lucas
4 star rating

Darth Vader rises, and everything goes pear-shaped for the Jedi.
Primer poster    
Primer directed by Shane Carruth
4 star rating

A couple of engineers build a machine in their garage which turns out to have astonishing powers.
Night Watch poster    
Night Watch directed by Timur Bekmambetov
4 star rating

The Night Watch guard against the forces of darkness in this Russian supernatural fantasy.
Constantine poster    
Constantine directed by Francis Lawrence
4 star rating

John Constantine struggles to avoid the clutches of Hell and solve a supernatural mystery.
Beowulf and Grendel poster    
Beowulf and Grendel directed by Sturla Gunnarsson
4 star rating

This is a version of the legend of Beowulf as the hero takes on the bloodthirsty troll, Grendel.
The Island poster    
The Island directed by Michael Bay
4 star rating

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson fight to stay alive when they discover they are spare part clones.
Stealth poster    
Stealth directed by Rob Cohen
3 star rating

An AI controlling a stealth fighter plane goes haywire, bringing the world to the brink of a major war.
The Hitchhiker    
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy directed by Garth Jennings
3 star rating

Wherever you go in the galaxy, somebody wants you to fill in a form.
Infestation poster    
Infestation directed by Edward Evers-Swindell
1 star rating

After a virus forces most of humanity underground, a group of people return to the surface to find out what has happened to a team who went up and failed to report back.

Books published in 2005

Anansi Boys poster    
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
5 star rating

Not even the offspring of a god can escape the shame of an embarrassing parent.
Toxin: The Cunning Of Bacterial Poisons poster    
Toxin: The Cunning Of Bacterial Poisons by Alistair Lax
5 star rating

How bacterial toxins break down our defences so effectively, and the stories of people who have struggled to understand them.
Thud! poster    
Thud! by Terry Pratchett
5 star rating

In this Discworld novel the Watch have to contend with species divisions in the city as well as within their ranks.
Crash Deluxe poster    
Crash Deluxe by Marianne de Pierres
5 star rating

Parrish Plessis sets out to take down the media in a future Australia where the gulf between rich and poor is vast. This is the third book in the series.
Priestess of the White poster    
Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan
5 star rating

This trilogy begins with a priestess facing a magical war.
Learning The World poster    
Learning The World by Ken Macleod
5 star rating

Two alien cultures make first contact. But will the experience harm the less advanced civilisation?
Poison Study poster    
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
4 star rating

In the first of the Study series Yelena Zaltana finds herself trapped in the dangerous job of food taster.
Microbe: Are We Ready For The Next Plague? poster    
Microbe: Are We Ready For The Next Plague? by Alan P. Zelicoff and Michael Bellomo
4 star rating

An analysis of how well the west is prepared to cope with new and deadly infectious diseases.
Grave Sight poster    
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris
4 star rating

Harper Connolly is especially good at detecting the dead, and not only because of the way they smell.
Chill Factor poster    
Chill Factor by Rachel Caine
4 star rating

A teenager in Las Vegas has the strongest Djinn in the world in his power, and is causing chaos. The third of the Weather Wardens series.
Twilight poster    
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
4 star rating

When Bella moves to the small town of Forks she notices Edward Cullen is not like other young men.
Dreams Made Flesh poster    
Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop
4 star rating

Men with magical powers and leather pants who live only to serve women? It must be The Black Jewels.
Eldest poster    
Eldest by Christopher Paolini
4 star rating

In the second episode of the Inheritance series Eragon and his dragon deal with politics, evil, and growing pains.
Crimson City poster    
Crimson City by Liz Maverick
3 star rating

Can vampire Fleur Dumont trust herself with a human?
The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars poster    
The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
3 star rating

Survivors of a zombie outbreak seek shelter in a prison. The third graphic novel in The Walking Dead series.
Atlas' Revenge by Robyn and Tony DiTocco
3 star rating

The Greek gods come to California in this light-hearted fantasy for young adult readers.
Shelby and the Shifting Rings poster    
Shelby and the Shifting Rings by A. M. Veillon
2 star rating

A young girl's adventures in time travel.
Pleasant Valley poster    
Pleasant Valley by Eralides E. Cabrera
1 star rating

Eralides E. Cabrera's uncanny valley.
The People of the Sea poster    
The People of the Sea by Scott Marcano
1 star rating

This fantasy follows two young lovers fighting to save their sea-dwelling race from destruction.

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Unreviewed books

The Walking Dead: The Heart    
The Walking Dead: The Heart's Desire by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
The fourth volume in the Walking Dead series sees the survivors fight heartbreak and fears that they are becoming increasingly savage.

Vellum cover    
Vellum by Hal Duncan
A young man steals an ancient book that transports him to a different version of reality. But a supernatural war is brewing, and nothing is as it seems in this complex narrative. The first volume in The Book Of All Hours series.

Temeraire cover    
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
At the time of the Napleonic wars, British sailors capture a French ship carrying a dragon egg. When it hatches the dragon must choose a rider, a close bond that will utterly change the rider's life. The first book in the Temeraire series.

Dead Beat cover    
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Paranormal investigator and wizard Harry Dresden fights to save his friend from a shaming and Chicago from disaster. The seventh instalment in the Dresden Files.

Dead As A Doornail cover    
Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris
A sniper targets the local shifter community, and Jason Stackhouse comes under suspicion. Sookie has until the next full moon to prove her brother is innocent. The fifth Sookie Stackhouse book.

The Angel Experiment cover    
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
The first novel in the Maximum Ride series.

Power, Sex, Suicide cover    
Power, Sex, Suicide by Nick Lane
Mitochondria, the power generators of our cells, have a profound impact on the reasons sex and death are as they are. This book looks at the role of mitochondria and why they are fundamental to the energy, reproduction, and longevity of complex life.

Infernal Devices cover    
Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve
The third novel in the Hungry City Chronicles.

Labyrinthe cover    
Labyrinthe by Kate Mosse
An archaeologist discovers strange markings in a cave in the south of France. Meanwhile in the middle ages, a group of heretics are facing persecution, and a young woman must keep the secret of the Grail safe.

Looking For Jake And Other Stories cover    
Looking For Jake And Other Stories by China Mieville
A collection of speculative fiction short stories, and the apocalyptic fantasy novella, The Tain.

The Kinshield Legacy cover    
The Kinshield Legacy by K. C. May
A knight is destined to be the next king, but he would rather not rule. The first book in The Kinshield Saga.

Cry Of The Newborn cover    
Cry Of The Newborn by James Barclay
The expanding empire of the Conquord is at war with its neighbours, but things are going badly. Four children with magical abilities hold the hope of an empire. Book one of The Ascendants Of Estorea.

Bizenghast: Volume One cover    
Bizenghast: Volume One by M. Alice LeGrow
A young woman with mental problems finds a cemetery of lost souls who need her help. A graphic novel.

Windfall cover    
Windfall by Rachel Caine
Former weather warden Joanne Baldwin is out of power, her Djinn lover is turning into a monster, and a supernatural war is imminent. The fourth in the Weather Warden series.

The Innocent Mage cover    
The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
A rustic young man travels to the capital to make his fortune, unaware that he is at the centre of a prophecy. Book one in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series.

Sister Of The Dead cover    
Sister Of The Dead by Barb and J. C. Hendee
The dhampir Magiere returns to her birthplace in search of clues to her past. Book three in the Noble Dead series.

Unreviewed films

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe cover    
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe directed by Andrew Adamson
Four children travel through a wardrobe into the land of Narnia, which is being kept in perpetual winter by a witch.

War Of The Worlds cover    
War Of The Worlds directed by Steven Spielberg
Aliens invade and start harvesting humans. What will a father do to protect his family?

Fantastic Four cover    
Fantastic Four directed by Tim Story
Four astronauts get caught up in a freak wave of cosmic energy, and begin to develop mutant powers.