Seasons Of Heaven by Nico Augusto

“We, as humankind are always looking for a new frontier to explore, and there it was lying right in front of me. We have explored the world and the depths of the oceans. We know a lot about it, but we don’t know everything. We spend immeasurable time and resources to learn about space, and to dive deeper into our own chemical make up. But for some reason, science ignores the call of the afterlife. It’s the next frontier. We are inexplicably drawn to it. Why then, is it so stigmatized that we don’t dare study it seriously ?”                                                                                           — Grant Wilson, Preface of Seasons of Heaven

Seasons of Heaven is a novel written by Nicolas Augusto and published in 2016. Since his early childhood, Augusto has been fascinated by paranormal stuff and all the mysteries what surrounds us, our origins and our future : what we become after death. He investigated a lot for years in order to answer these questions and still continues now. In 2012 after Ani’s death, his dear canine friend, he decides to put down on paper all his thoughts and feelings about the world we live in, humankind and human beings. All of that will soon become a novel entitled Season of Heavens : his debut novel in fact.

The story unfolds in 2047, after civilization has completely collapsed. A small group of people now struggle to survive on a doomed version of the planet Earth. Among these survivors remains a family. Once a night around a campfire, the father begins to tell his children, named Nina and Ana, “how everything changed, and why”. The story told by the father quickly brings us back two years earlier with Yann, a young boy with Asperger’s syndrome and his faithful companion, Ani, a French bulldog who Yann is able to communicate with through telepathy. These two must journey on a mysterious and beautiful realm called Heaven in order to complete a quest. Meanwhile, we’ll follow plenty of other stories with characters between space and time which do not seem to be related at first, but revealed after as having a link between them. That’s the magic of novels, I assume… Well written. Moving. Exciting. Even, exceptional. But let’s say it once and for all, Seasons of Heaven’s tale is really complex : lots of characters, loads of different stories, tons of things to remind for a poor reader like me. Despite that, this novel is a good surprise. Quite pessimistic (about human nature and our future) as I’m enjoying them, it still delivers a strong message of hope. There are also some interesting theories about life and death as well. In this universe, there is no place for the Bible theories of the Man’s creation and that’s good to read !

The plot is smart as it could happen in a near future : indeed, we understand in the novel that humans allowed themselves the end of the world, as a result of their careless actions (pollution, environmental destruction, power and money). Consequently, these survivors always have to remind that the very little things that gave their fellow humans a sense of superiority and even power and omnipotence, were what had killed them in the end. The narrator’s description is abundant, allowing our mind to travel in breathtaking landscapes. It will take you from deep inside a mystical forest at the beginning of times through to the twenty-first century and the fall of civilization.

When we start reading Seasons of Heaven, we enter in a dream with unclear contours but details that guide us in our own travel. We can feel oppressed or delighted to the point of being a prisoner of his dream or on the contrary, having the wish to stay there for a long time… I remember that I finished reading the book with a strange feeling and I had to wait for several days in order to finally get to think straight about my impressions.

Nevertheless, Seasons of Heaven surely will awaken your imagination and open your mind to possibilities you may never have considered. As long as you will read the novel, you’ll question everything you thought you knew about humanity and begin to realize that the possibility of things existing, that can’t be seen with our eyes but only felt within our hearts and souls, really do exist.

« Le soleil pointe au-dessus des montagnes, illuminant le ciel de rose et de violet. L’hiver est à la porte, l’été refuse de le laisser entrer, une bataille de couleurs vibrantes résonne à travers la campagne. »

Moonlight by Barry Jenkins

“I was a wild li’l shorty, man, just like you. Runnin’ around with no shoes on when the moon was out. This one time, I run by this old, this old lady… I was runnin’, hollerin’, cutting’ a fool, boy. This old lady, she stopped me. She said : “Running around, catching up all that light. In moonlight, black boys look blue. You blue. That’s what I gon’ call you : Blue.”

– So your name Blue ?

– At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you gon’ be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            —- Juan to Little Chiron

As everybody seemed to be literally obsessed with Damien Chazelle’s last movie La La Land, there’s a movie that actually nobody saw it coming from the unknown darkness and like a thin patch of light, Moonlight reversed the trend at the 89th Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Picture…          I personally believed and bet several times that Moonlight would make such a strong entry at these Awards. In a world dominated by American blockbusters and their handsome actors and actresses, Moonlight – as an independent movie – restores us hope.

Directed by Barry Jenkins and based on a play named In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue written by Tarell Alvin McCraney as a drama school project which remained unpublished yet, Moonlight stars Alex R. Hibbert, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Mahershala Ali, André Holland and Naomie Harris. It deals with the story of a young Afro-American, Chiron, who tries to live his life in Miami’s deprived neighborhoods. We will follow Chiron’s attempt to find his place in society during three turning points of his life and of his own “identity building” as well : when he’s just a kid, then as he becomes a teenager and finally, when he is an adult.

i. Little the poor neighborhoods of Miami where drugs activities are in full swing, the little Chiron tries to “survive” as he is harassed by what it seems to be some classmates of him. Moreover, he is confronted to his mother’s addiction for crack and cocaine. In all this mess, he desperately looks for a paternal figure, someone who will be able to help him. He will find this support in the character of one of the neighborhood’s dealer, Juan. As he was his father, Juan will help Chiron to face his own demons and to prepare for what will come next for him as Chiron is about to grow up in a society where “different” people like him are not treated well. Juan advises Chiron to make his own path as he did when he was young., Chiron keeps questioning a lot about himself. Why does he feel himself so different, compared to the other boys ? Why does it seems to be bad ? Why does her mother keep insulting him of “faggot”, because of his difference ?

“What’s a faggot ?                                                                                             – A faggot is… a word used to make gay people feel bad.                              – Am I a faggot ?                                                                                                – You can be gay, but you gotta let nobody call you no faggot.                       – How do I know ?                                                                                              – You just do. I think.                                                                                         – You’ll know when you know.                                                                       [silence]                                                                                                             – Hey… You ain’t gotta know right now, all right ? Not yet”.                                                            —- Little Chiron to Juan and Theresa

ii. Chiron is now a teenager. At school, he tries to avoid his classmate Terrel who takes a guilty pleasure to bully him. He spends time with Theresa, Juan’s girlfriend, who lives alone after Juan’s death. Chiron’s mother, Paula, is still addicted to drugs and even prostitutes herself. One night on a beach, Chiron and his closest friend Kevin, discuss about their ambitions and the nickname that Kevin gave to Chiron : “Black”. After a moment, they kiss and what it would never happen happens. After that, at school, Terrel forces Kevin to take part in a sort of a ritual where they have to seriously hurt Chiron. Kevin, willingly, felt himself obliged to follow Terrel’s orders. Then, as Chiron soon understands that nobody can help and understand him, he chooses to do something to stop Terrel from bullying him again and smashes a chair into Terrel’s back. Finally, Chiron is arrested by the police.

iii. Black

Chiron lives now in Atlanta. Unrecognizable, the adult he has become seems to be person. What made Chiron’s singularity has completely disappeared. In this last part, he will have to face his mother, who lives in a drug treatment center and then, Kevin. Chiron is definitely reluctant to talk to him after all these years…

From Little, he will become Chiron, then Black. From the innocent boy he was, he will have to make his own path in order to become the person he wants. Learning to face his deepest fears, to shape its own personality.

With Moonlight, Barry Jenkins gives us a powerful drama, full of wisdom. With its structure in three parts which makes it a sort of a UFO in the modern cinema, the movie presents three moments of life with three different actors. They all play the role to perfection while they’re giving continuity to the character as he gradually evolves in the story. They deeply build in its roots the character of Chiron in order to make him a strong character which they bring to him a new dimension at each step of the story. The rest of the cast, which constantly gravitates around Chiron, is excellent as well, from Chiron’s mother to Juan and Kevin. staging and the making of the movie is modest and intimist. Consequently the expression of Chiron’s fears to his classmates and feelings towards Kevin becomes more natural and for godsake, it proves that a movie doesn’t need all the time to have hard and endless scenes with sex on screen so we can deduce the characters share feelings or everything else. This intimacy – as we’re very close to Chiron on screen – creates a frontier between him and the rest of the world. This frontier underlines the perpetual loneliness of Chiron, the incomprehension of people, the difficulty of being gay and black in the Afro-American community.

What impressed me most is the use of the silence : indeed, it is omnipresent in the movie. The silence of the sea, of the waves. The silence of an empty corridor. The silence of a boy whose eyes are closed. The silence of a mother, screaming that his son is a “faggot”. The silence of a miserable childhood. The silence of a little boy who looks for a role model, of a lost teenager towards the violence of the world, of a helpless adult who doesn’t what to do with his emotions and feelings. When Juan says “In moonlight, black boys look blue”, the word “blue” also refers to melancholy. Too the blue color is very prominent in the movie (numerous blue clothes, the sea, the scenes’ light at night). light is very natural and reinforces the sensation of immersion with Chiron. Thus the gentleness of the staging, allowed by the light, contrasts with the climate of violence and conflicts that Chiron has to deal with. The innocence of the little Chiron also contrasts with the insults he heard, insults he didn’t really understand yet in the first part of the movie as he is just a child so these insults that allude to his difference and his potential sexuality appear clearly abstract to him. His quest in this hostile environment is governed by the law of the strongest. An environment where you can’t show fear, where you have to behave with an extreme masculinity. After all, Chiron’s wish is only to fit in the community without denying who he is.

Moonlight questions a lot, like Chiron questions himself. How can we evolve in an environment that oppresses us ? Does our childhood determine the adult we will become ? Is the society’s power so big that we have to alienate ourselves – completely forgetting who we are and our personality as well – in order to be accepted (like Chiron did in the third part of the movie) ? Lots of questions but no answers for sure. Only silence. And in this silence, Moonlight reveals to be a real masterpiece.

Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker

“Over the last ten years, technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives before we’ve had time to stop and question it. In every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a Smartphone – a black mirror of our 21st Century existence. Our grip on reality is shifting. We worship at the altars of Google and Apple. Facebook algorithms know us more intimately than our own parents. We have access to all the information in the world, but no brain space left to absorb anything longer than a 140-character tweet.”                                                                                                                                    — Charlie Brooker, the creator of the series

Black Mirror is a British drama series that deals with the consequences of our behavior with new technologies. This is an anthology series since it presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode. Consequently, each episode features a different dystopia, still linked to technological advances, which sets in a near or more distant future : an episode may unfold in 2017 while another may take place in 2117. Indeed the series intends to give a general reflection to today’s world and all possible futures as well.

Black Mirror was airing on Channel 4 from 2011 for its two seasons and then, the giant Netflix bought the series to make a third season. Actually I don’t know if more episodes are going to be released but the remaining 13 episodes already are a good subject to discuss about. The series was nominated twice for the BAFTA (British Academy of Film Television Arts) and it won an Emmy Award and a Golden Rose Award.

Nowadays – that’s not a revelation – Internet dramatically impacted the world and our lives. The least scoop, the least intel, joke, personality is facebooked, retweeted, tumbled, googled and even mocked sometimes. We are all connected to the big World Wide Web. We consider the Internet as a fantastic creation and yet, we notice abuses : from impersonation, banking data theft, cybercrime to misinformation and bad jokes. Black Mirror uses all of that and emphasizes it in a satirical way to denounce our use of the web and all the technologies that possess a black screen. series’ pilot, untitled The National Anthem, unfolds in a future within reach, so close to our reality that it becomes almost present. The Princess of the Royal Family is kidnapped and her kidnapper threats the Prime Minister to kill her unless if he has live sexual intercourse with a pig on national television – I wished this episode’s plot would be a joke but it’s not – and the kidnapper gives a list of technical specifications designed to make it impossible to fake. The kidnapper’s threat has been also released online on Youtube and despite having only been up for nine minutes, the video has already been viewed and downloaded a lot of times and posted multiple times on the Internet. The Prime Minister has some hours to act before the Princess was killed… Here we have a thought on the over media coverage of political life where the Prime Minister has, in a critical situation, to deal with his convictions but also with the public opinion which is so loud, powerful, quick to change and sometimes violent thanks to social media where everybody can express its mind and its point of view.

Then the third episode, untitled The Entire History Of You, unfolds in a more distant future where rich people have the possibility to implant a “grain” behind their hear that will record everything they do, see or hear. People can play their memories ad infinitum in front of their eyes or on a screen. At first sight, that’s well convenient to remember this old mate’s name with whom you were sitting next to in some classes some years ago. However for Liam Foxwell, a young lawyer, that’s convenient to review and examine his wife’s tender gazes when she glances suspiciously a friend of him… That’s impossible here to not make a parallel with the smart and connected Google Glass which will allow soon the user to record some contents with just a wink.

Finally, the second episode of season two, untitled White Bear, is, for my liking, one of the most shocking and heartbreaking episode. We follow a woman, named Victoria Skillane, who’s waking up in a small town typical of United Kingdom and she is amnesiac. She’s soon followed by a plenty of people who are filming her with their smartphones and some people who are hunting her and who obviously want to kill her, their nightmarish masks and suits. Why the hell are these people following her ? Why does an amount of people film her with joy and fun while these crazy guys are shooting at her with their guns ? I won’t answer these questions in order to not spoil you but the twist is huge, believe it my dear readers 😉

Black Mirror is a pessimistic series, indeed. But it doesn’t denounce that technology is the cause of people’s issues. Nevertheless it enhances the idea that technology is a filter reveal how we behave, how we react, how we use computers and smartphones to do good and bad things. This is a kind of a “black mirror” that returns our reflection. Some episodes won’t be suited for sensitive souls and weak hearts, others will certainly make you moved but no one won’t let you indifferent !

The series manages in not giving a judgment but in making a criticism of occidental Mankind, with wealth people and their comfortable life, which we do have to interpret ourselves. The series illustrates one of a few characteristics of the Progress and its dangers I assume it could be a wise choice to talk about it in the notion “Idea Of Progress”. As a conclusion, Black Mirror alarms on the possible abuses of technologies with our attitudes towards them in general as in some dystopian masterpieces as Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, Huxley’s Brave New World and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

To Build A Fire by Jack London

“I would rather be ashes than dust ! […] I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”                                                                                                                                       — Jack London

To Build A Fire (1908) is a short story written by Jack London, a famous American author well known for some literature masterpieces as The Call Of The Wild (1903), and White Fang (1906). As you probably guess, London dealt particularly with adventure and wildness in his books’ story since he was himself an adventurer and a sailor. He wrote two different versions of this short story that he published in 1902 and in 1908 respectively : here I am going to focus on the second one which is far more interesting for us to discuss about.

First and foremost, it is worth noting that To Build A Fire is part of the naturalist movement (naturalistic writers used literature as an experiment to discover and analyze the forces or the scientific laws, that influenced the character’s behavior, its emotions in environment) and because of that, the short story illustrates a major topic : the conflict of Man vs. Nature (the hero struggles against an animal or a force of nature and this struggle has a prominent place inside the story).

The story takes place in the Yukon Territory, near the Klondike River (Canada). An unnamed man is walking on the snow and on the frozen river as well, despite the extreme polar temperatures of the winter (?75 °F or ?59 °C). During this not so long journey of nine hours of hiking, he is accompanied by a husky dog. The man is supposed to catch up on the evening in Henderson Creek his associates (named “the boys”) who have taken another way to go there. Unfortunately, the cold weather and the environment will become an invisible enemy and the man won’t have so many choice to survive : he will have to build a fire. it seems to be an easy thing at first is revealed after as being an impossible task to accomplish. As his life is suspended to a thread, he tries in three occasions to build this damn fire but failed miserably under the eyes of the dog, peacefully wrapped up in his fur. At the end of the story, the man understands that his death is unavoidable. He ceases struggling and accepts his fate. The man dies, becoming the victim of this overwhelming, freezing and hostile nature. The dog finally leaves his master to find another who maybe will be able to build a fire.

I think it’s an amazing story of survival. At first, the plot seemed rather boring : I mean, a man walking through the wilderness, from a point A to a point B, that’s not really a plot that knocks your socks off ! Nevertheless, as the man finally gets into a battle with nature for survival, it gets much more interesting. The fact that the man is never actually named is significant. I would personally think that the author did this to keep the reader somewhat detached from him, in an effort to not make his death a big deal for the reader, and also make it easier to dislike him as a character.

Jack London possesses an amazing writing style that allows him to transcend the sensations, the struggle, the doubt, the strengths and the weaknesses of the character and the feeling of cold directly to the reader. London also managed to make this story powerful thanks to his personal path since he took part in the Klondike Gold Rush during the winter of 1897-1898. The description and the personification of all the elements which surround the character succeeded in making nature alive as a real character of the story. Finally, I decided to write an article about this short story in an effort to honor the 100th birthday of the author’s death since Jack London died on 22 November 1916.

How To Get Away With Murder by Peter Nowalk« The question I’m asked most often as a defense attorney is whether I can tell if my clients are innocent or guilty. And my answer is always the same. I don’t care. »                                                                                                         — Annalise Keating

I think this quote definitely shows the tone of the series. How To Get Away With Murder is an American drama series which airs on ABC (one of the major television channels in the United States). The series is created by Peter Nowalk and produced by ShondaLand (a production company that produces numerous successful shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal). Actually, HTGAWM is going on its third season and we can hope it will last a few years more. 

viola davis how to get away with murder htgawm annalise keating htgawmchar

The story takes place at Middleton University where some students take part of an unusual class of law called “Criminal Law 100” or in a more common sense “how to get away with a murder”. In this class, the law professor and defense attorney, named Annalise Keating, teaches to her students how to practice the law in order to release clients charged with murder, in a real courtroom like a real lawyer. Each year, she also chooses five students to work with her inside her law office. These students are the main characters of the series : Wes Gibbins, Connor Walsh, Michaela Pratt, Asher Millstone, and Laurel Castillo ; they’re called the Keating 5.

As they’ll work to defend their clients, they’ll be confronted to a major case that concerns more particularly Annalise’s husband who seems to be involved in the murder of a student, Lila Stangard. What the Keating 5 don’t know yet is that they’ll need all the knowledge they will learn to face a real murder and to get away with it. tv game of thrones american horror story breaking bad scream queensHTGAWM is quite incredible for several reasons. First, the series presents occasional clients for Keating at each episode and among them, desperate cases which will give a hard time to the Keating 5. And in the same time, it takes us both into the past and the future with audacious flashback and flashforward sequences. They help us to find out gradually the truth by disseminating clues about the whodunnit (who killed Lila Stangard) and in the future, to see how the students will face the murder, hide it, etc… viola davis how to get away with murder htgawm annalise keating jack falaheeSo, each episode brings its share of information, revelations, unexpected development and crazy cliffhangers (you know, these type of endings where you absolutely want to see the next episode). Our job is slowly to form the puzzle, piece by piece and constantly make new hypothesis.

Then, since it’s a series about law stuff, we can expect it would be much boring at some points like the sequences in class, legal proceedings : you probably know, all the things viola davis how to get away with murder htgawmedit annalise keating annalisekeatingedit that reminds you why you don’t want to study law at university after graduation. And guess what, none of that is boring at all ! Some ways to introduce legal facts are surprisingly interesting. They also manage to make the clients quite humans : for the most part, they committed murders but they all have reasons to do that, and as an audience, we feel compassion for them. They’re not typical killers. The presented cases are topical (hot topics today) like a black man wrongly accused and they depict a court system where inequalities and discrimination are still present even nowadays.

viola davis how to get away with murder htgawmedit annalise keating annalisekeatingedit Nevertheless, the series’ strength is also in its attempt to break codes, genres (between drama and thriller), stereotypes and received ideas. And especially by choosing a black actress as the main character. ‘Cause, let’s face it, HTGAWM wouldn’t be the same without Annalise Keating and this character wouldn’t be the same without Viola Davis who incredibly fits the character and plays the role to perfection. Here, she is the teacher we would all have but in the same time the teacher wviola davis how to get away with murder htgawmedit annalise keating annalisekeatingeditho impresses us and who we would certainly fear. I would rather say that she is one of the most well-written characters in television with such lines of dialogue (especially punchlines) that severely kick some asses ! Sometimes she is a merciless professor, sometimes she is a fearsome lawyer, a crazy boss, a woman in love…

Viola Davis manages to transcend all the character’s feelings with such talent ! By the way, she won a Emmy Award in 2015 for the role of Annalise Keating, becoming the first black women to pick up this reward in the American television’s history and an icon of the black American feminine cause. On this occasion, she made a fabulous speech where she said that “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there”.

Moreover, the series deals with huge and powerful social themes which are handled with viola davis how to get away with murder htgawm annalise keating htgawmcharsharpness and intelligence : monogamy and homosexuality, arranged marriages, place of the Afro-Americans in society… Finally, the series’ soundtrack is modern, strong and full of young talents (IAMX, Bastille, Zola Jesus, One Republic and Photek who is the composer). The music has a prominent place inside episodes and it contributes to particular atmospheres where tension and suspense are present. 

                                                                    HTGAWM is one of these series which are capable of making you completely addict only with its groundbreaker concept and its fresh making. However, this is also a series which is much more than that. There would be so much to say about it but I think that’s better for the greater good to stop here and let you guys with your own opinion ! 😉

Welcome To Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Prepare yourself to enter in a world you won’t certainly understand and to do so, you will have to forget all the things that you know for sure… Welcome to Night Vale !

Welcome to Night Vale is a novel published in 2015 and based on a popular podcast (in the United States honestly, but not really in France) that has the same title than the novel. In fact, it is one of the most downloaded podcast in the international charts on iTunes (actually, every new episode is in the top 10) and you can easily find it by googling it or searching here and there on Soundcloud and Podbay. Then, you will be able to listen to them and if you have some issues to understand it, you can use transcripts of the episodes that will help you.

Yes, it is a podcast, then it’s a novel too. But, these are special ones. You have to mix the weirdness of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series and the banality of the American local radio and you obtain this little jewel.

« A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.                       Welcome to Night Vale ! »

That’s how the podcast and the novel begin !

I can’t really give you the plot because there is not a story, however several stories. Nevertheless, I will tell you some interesting things and facts about it. First, you need to know that this universe is dark but funny. Then, it’s incredible but impossible to describe to friend of yours (even to your family or your english teacher ;)). Indeed, in this universe, angels are coming to help people to change light bulbs, wednesday can be cancelled due to a schedule error and a five-headed dragon can decide to run for municipal elections too !

I read the novel in English because I saw so many times on the Internet that some readers were angry and not convinced about the French translation which is apparently lame, wrong and full of mistakes ! The French translator(s) seems to have taken some liberties of changing names of places and characters which ruins your pleasure of diving into this fascinating novel’s universe when you actually know them in its original language. It is also the fact that there’re plenty of puns that the translation doesn’t manage to keep and has to make some changes that takes out the funny part of the novel.

As a conclusion, I liked this book pretty well but I can’t recommend it for everybody. You can read an extract, listen the half of the podcast’s first episode and you will make your own mind about it… And, don’t forget what it is said underneath.

Humans by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley

“Could you use some extra help around the house ? Introducing the world’s first family android. This mechanical maid is capable of serving more than just breakfast in bed. What could you accomplish if you had someone, something like this ? These machines will bring us closer together.”

These are the words we can hear during the opening scene. You understand it, today, I am going to talk about a new british-american drama series I recently watched : it is called “Humans”. It is based on another Swedish science-fiction drama series named “Real Humans” (“Äkta Människor” in original language) that I watched long ago too. Humans has one season and soon a second while Real Humans has two seasons and it stopped. Since people say that these two series are completely close (from the plot to the characters) and that “Humans” is just a poor copy of the other series, I was able to see it by myself even if I have forgotten a few things about the first series but we’re crazy or we’re not, right ?

So, “Humans” bring us in an alternative world to ours where people can buy advanced machines named “Synth” (for Synthetics). These Synths are not the sort of “robot cube-face” that we all know. I can rather say that they look like anthropomorphic machines (= it means they have humans characteristics as talking, walking and these machines are designed as human bodies). These Synths are made to help and serve the humans in daily tasks as cleaning the house, shopping, taking care of children, driving the car so they make life easier… Although they look insanely human, they have an artificial intelligence and can’t feel feelings like love, emotions, scare… And, here is the point.

At the beginning, the series follows the every-day life of the Hawkins family : the mother, Matilda, is working all the time and her husband is tired of taking care alone of their children. One day, the father, Joe, bought a Synth that the family call “Anita” to help him. But, the mother, Matilda, don’t see with a good eye the integration of a Synth in their life. Especially when Anita behaves in a strange and unusual way. Meanwhile, a mysterious group emerges : it is composed of a human and several “conscious” Synth that possesses consciousness, the ability to feel feelings but also the capacity to hurt and kill people (in contrary to the normal Synths who can’t do that). The human, named Leo, is seeking for his past and for a secret that the discover could change the entire world.

More generally, “Humans” focused on the impact of these machines in our society. However, the series puts a thought : these machines are made in our image but they can reveal to be out of our control too. Now, I can also say that the two series are quite different on various aspects : “Humans” inspired itself from his model but succeeded in developing quickly new and refreshing characters (as the teenage hacker girl) and different reflections than the previous series. This is more darker, with a ton of psychological thriller. I really enjoyed watching “Humans” as well as watching “Real Humans” but I admit that I now prefer the first one. This is exciting, intriguing and scary at the same time.

A Feeling Stronger Than Fear by Marc Levy

Today, I will talk about a great French book written by an awesome author that every reader has to know or must have heard about at least one time in their life : Marc Levy. This book is called “A Feeling Stronger Than Fear” (or, in French : “Un Sentiment Plus Fort Que La Peur”). Actually, this is the first time that I read a book from this author so I couldn’t tell you about the author’s style of writing or if this book is better than his previous others… You understand that I am not a Levy-fanboy-addict or an-absolute-reader-from-the-first-release but just a guy who wants to try something new, interesting and entertaining and who hopes to travel and go out far away while reading and staying in the same room. Yeah, making dream the reader sounds like the ultimate challenge for a writer or a story-teller. So, what ? Did I travel far away with this book ? Did I forget all about what surround me and let just the power of the story bring me to some dangerous places with attractive but stereotypical characters and serious things like secrets and conspiracies ? The answer is yes. Levy’s got me.

The story is about a woman, Suzie Baker. At the beginning of the novel, she finds, in an old plane left amongst the Mont Blanc Mountains, the document that can clear her family’s name and bring justice in the trial. But, this document is also hazardous because it awakens the American Secret Services (if not, it won’t be funny ;)). So, Suzie leads an investigation with the help of Andrew Stillman, a reporter at the “New York Times”, in order to save his life and to discover the truth about what can be one of the most kept secrets of our time. Throughout the story, these characters will have to avoid traps, manipulations and persecutions… They’re definitely alone, they can’t trust anyone and just have to count on themselves.

I took a lot of pleasure to read this book, there is so much suspense until the end and the fall is incredible and smart. Marc Levy succeeded in making something absolutely breathtaking and I can’t help to recommend this book ! This is a “must-have” and I promise that you won’t lose your money and your time 😉

The Leftovers by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perotta

Hello, guys ! Today, I will talk about a drama series named The Leftovers, created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta. This series is based on Tom Perrotta’s book which has the same name as the series (in French, its name is Les Disparus de Mapleton). Actually, two seasons have aired and a third and last season is going to come out this year.

The story takes place one day, a 14th October like the others. This day, 2% of the global population disappears without any explanation… Three days later, we follow the every-day life of people in the little town of Mapleton. Like all the others, they have lost neighbors, friends and lovers since the mysterious event of the 14th October they called the “Sudden Departure”. Life continues, but nothing is like before anymore. Nobody has forgotten what happened and all the people who disappeared. Kevin Garvey, the Chief of the local Police, has seen his family completely change since the terrible event and has to deal with the consequences. Everybody wants to move on but a mysterious cult, with unknown intentions, called the “Guilty Remnant” emerges…

The Leftovers is a not a series like the others. Lots of people don’t like this series much because they found that’s too slow and the plot is not very interesting at all. But, I definitely don’t agree with them. All the things (the characters, the story and the mystery) can fascinate and upset us. Yeah, this is not a series with a lot of action, twists and deaths. In The Leftovers, this is not the plot that make the characters but the characters that move forward the plot of the series. The music is also very beautiful. This series is gorgeous and moving. I don’t say that everybody is going to love this series, but I can say that you can check an eye one and you will see after ! 😉

Zombillenium by Arthur de Pins

Warning : That’s not because there is the word « Zombi » in the title that the following graphic novel I’m going to speak about, is about zombie’s classics stories with the apocalypse or the ends times or whatever it can happen of strange in the so mad world we are living ! If you thought that it was a story like this, you’re going to be disappointed because that’s not really the point of the story. Despite it all, you’re still there ? Okay, let’s do this !

Zombillénium is a french graphic novel created by Arthur de Pins and published since 2009. Actually, there are only 3 graphic novels and the 4th is going to come soon but not for the moment ‘cause the creator is working on an animation film (an adaptation of this graphic novel, what a coincidence !) and it’s better to do one thing at a time.

So, the story takes place in a theme park of horror, located in the north of France and named “Zombillénium”. What the visitors didn’t know, it’s that the park employs real witches, demons, vampires, zombies, mummies, etc… We follow the character of Aurélien, who is one of these “monsters” (I wonder if we really can to call these people like that ‘cause they still have a big part of humanity within themselves but anyway) and especially a demon. Unlike the others, he was a human like us at the beginning. But, he had an accident and he was bitten by Francis, a vampire and employee at Zombillénium. By doing that, Francis saved Aurélien from death but also turned him into a demon (and not a vampire) and now, Aurélien is sentenced to work for the eternity at the park and like all the creatures who work at Zombillénium, he is stuck there for the eternity…

I have found this graphic novel absolutely amazing. Arthur de Pins managed to mix fun with horror stuff like when Zombies go on strike to defend their rights. He shows that no matter if the employee is a creature or not, they still are confronted to real problems like financial crisis and decrease of their salaries. He also managed to approach these subjects into the graphic novel so these stories can be more funny and interesting that we believed at the beginning. Zombillénium is also refreshing and if you like good humour with French references and all that belongs to the horror stuff, it’s a good deal for you !

TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow

Okay so I’m going to talk about the 1st novel of the « TimeRiders » series, novels written by Alex Scarrow : at that time, there are 9 books and the 9th is maybe the last but I am not sure about it. I read this book for the first time when I was a little teenager and to read books with an average of 400-600 pages was actually a big challenge for me. I always wondered if the story pleases me enough that I would have the strength and desire to finish it… Yeah, you know, when we are kids, we ask ourselves so many unnecessary questions ! So, you guess that the book pleased me since I am now talking about it.

It’s the story of 3 teenagers who are recruited, just before dying, by a mysterious organization named “TimeRiders”. Their mission ? Save the world Prevent (bad) people from the future to change our past (and our future too, yeah time travel is something very complicated ;)).

If you like science-fiction and time travels so this book is made for you ! This book is also interesting because the bad guys are not really bad guys, they doesn’t fit the usual characteristics of the diabolic humans who want to kill everybody or rule the world : they just have problems what push them to act like this and their reasons are understandable for the reader. Each chapter gives you the desire to read the next chapter (that’s really important when you don’t like reading a lot). If I have to find something wrong in this book, I would maybe choose the description which is too present in the narration but that’s only a detail. If you like the history, it could be a good book for you too because there are many references to bookmarks of the past and the heroes have to travel during World War II to complete their mission… I won’t say more and I recommend this book !

The Woods by Harlan Coben

Today, I am going to talk about the first book I read in English : The Woods by Harlan Coben (a novel, published in 2007). I like reading and I really wanted to learn more vocabulary, structures, etc… I wanted to know what it’s like to read a real book in English, to see if it’s difficult or not or if I could keep until the end. So, I was looking for an interesting book in English but I found many of them. One of them caught my eyes. When I read the summary, I suddenly felt that this book was the perfect one to begin this epic adventure !

Paul is a county prosecutor, in charge of a disturbing new case which brings him back 20 years ago, when he was at a summer camp with his sister who suddenly disappeared with other people. Could his sister be alive ? He has to find out the truth and gather the pieces of the puzzle to know what’s really happened that night.

I think it’s a fabulous book ! I can’t say I’m a “mysteries and thrillers” fanatic but I admit that I enjoyed a lot to read this book : there are short chapters, quick dialog, nice twists, and a narration that was surprisingly funny at times ! I recommend this book for brave people who are not afraid of reading in English and who have a good level of understanding. 😉