Nick Bryan Dot Com

I Was A Pre-Teen Book Prize Judge - Nick's Mind-Boggling Confessions!!!

My Mum swiped this large cardboard star from the local WH Smiths.

Many years ago, when I was about ten or eleven, I wrote a review of a book. If you follow this website, you know I often review, but on this occasion, I was critiquing to win the chance to judge the WH Smith Mind-Boggling Books Prize.

This was an award for children's books with a gimmick - the judges were all aged between ten and twelve, so had authentic young-person opinions. I entered, using Microsoft Publisher to put an attractive border on my review and the title in bendy WordArt at the top of the page. The book in question was Redwall by Brian Jacques - a book which I already listed as big in my influences a few months back - and thanks to my advanced critical faculties, not to mention an amazing pun about walls painted red, I won!

Which meant I got to judge the prize, read a stack of books and enjoy more media attention than my tiny mind was ready for. Keep reading to discover how that went and see some frankly horrifying pictures of pre-teen Nick Bryan. I was cleaning out my old bedroom at my parents' house the other day, you see, and stumbled upon a whole trove of this stuff.

Be Warned: there will be spoilers for the outcome of the 1995 Mind-Boggling Books Award.

Ultimate Spider-Man - A Potentially Pre-Emptive Eulogy

Last week, the Ultimate Spider-Man comic seemed to come to an end. It's hard to be certain, as Marvel Comics are being very cagey about the future of their publishing line, but based on some heartfelt words from series writer Brian Michael Bendis on his Tumblr, it looks like we've reached the end of that book in its current form.

The character may carry on, but sounds like either he'll no longer be written by Bendis or the set-up will be radically changed. Either way, I was inspired to produce some words, as this was a comic that meant a lot to me over the years.

Since I've Found Serenity - Thoughts on first watching Firefly in 2015

You can't take the sky from me... *sob*

As mentioned on my Twitter, I've recently watched popular Joss Whedon-helmed TV show Firefly and movie follow-up Serenity for the first time ever. I have no real excuse for this - I believe I have lived with copies of the DVD for at least six years now.

For the unacquainted, Firefly is often described as a "space western". It revolves around the ramshackle spaceship Serenity, whose crew are living under the radar for various reasons, surviving on snatched jobs from various employers. Thanks to this off-the-grid ethos, their missions mostly end up unsavoury - theft, smuggling or worse.

Firefly is perhaps even more famous as a great One That Got Away of the modern TV age - despite massive critical and fan love, it lasted one 14-episode season. Whedon had the movie follow-up Serenity to wrap up at least some major plot threads, but for the most part, it died young, its potential unfulfilled, everyone is very sad.

Anyway, despite its massive popularity, I've only just sat down and watched it. I don't think it's that significant whether I think Firefly is good (BRIEF REVIEW: it is very goodunless you hate the sci-fi genre or Whedon's quips-and-sadness writing style, you will probably like it), but I am kinda interested how it looks to a modern TV viewer. Has it informed the landscape? Would it do better nowadays? Other talking points, probably?

And yes, I may mention a few spoilers, but now I've finally watched the thing, there's officially no-one else left to care.