Written by Joshua Wardrop
Edge of Tomorrow
I have heard countless times ‘this isn’t as good as the novel’ and I wouldn’t know, nor do I care. This was a complete surprise romp for me. I had no idea going in what it was gonna be about, and just wanted any decent action film with sci-fi elements. And it was everything I wanted it to be. When I just wanna relax with some popcorn and be cheaply entertained, this just beckons to be watched.
My first political intrigue. Dune set into motion themes and tropes that have been part of my writing my entire life. Never since have I seen bloodlines, selective breeding, prophesy and fanaticism done so well. A wonderful fusion of genres, blending epic sci-fi with elements of fantasy and religion, and yet incorporating a huge range of human flaws.
In a dystopian future where humanity barely survives World War 3, drastic measures are taken to insure humans never suffer a fourth. Systemically taking an anti-emotion drug, we survive with our needs met but our emotions severed. This is a truly wondrous movie about humanity, and what it means to lose it, told from the perspective of the government assassin tasked with eliminating those with the audacity to ‘feel’ again.
The Lord of the Rings
It has to be on the list, because it has to. An enduring epic that we set all other fantasy standards to.
A Game of Thrones
It seems so obvious now to mention how good Game of Thrones is. But before the show, when there was only these tome-sized books you were burdening your friends with, it really had to be said. And they wouldn’t believe a multi-narrative virtually-no-magic political warfare book with no clear plot in which everyone dies could be THAT gripping, and then you’d overhear them telling the next person they had to start reading it.
Sure it’s full of plot holes, it’s also completely magnificent, mesmerizingly beautiful, and a slow-build and long plot that twists every emotional nerve you’ve got. As a father with a daughter, this movie HURTS, as it addresses no-win situations with undying hope and love and sacrifice, and then proceeds into the realm of sci-fi and time manipulation. I found myself thoroughly enraptured and terrified as all possibilities of success dwindle, and yet I know somehow it must work, because it HAS to. This movie is a masterpiece that gets all it’s scientific inaccuracies happily ignored.
The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive)
Hands down, the best story I’ve ever come across, with unique fantasy concepts in every direction. Continuously rewarding and appreciated, everywhere this story goes, it sets the bar higher and higher. Part of a 10-part planned series, only the first 2 books are finished and the 2nd is just as marvelous. Only time will tell if the Stormlight Archive keeps delivering, but as a GM and amateur story writer, let me say this: if I was stuck on a desert island with other people, this one book, and the materials to play DnD, we’d have enough inspiration for world building for the rest of our days.