The Snowpiercer moves along strangely

A review by Brenda Daniels

I’m always attracted to futuristic films, especially if they’re about a world changed by drastic weather conditions. Snowpiercer is one such example. But this film is more about man’s meddling in both the natural and the social worlds, than it is about earth’s imagined future.

The result is a strange, unsettling film, with surprising violence and oddly paced action.

To counteract the effects of global warming, in Snowpiercer, humans attempt to cool the atmosphere. Their efforts fail, however, and an ice age ensues. The only human survivors live on a high-speed, constantly moving train called the Snowpiercer. Just as the frozen landscape it travels through is a by-product of human engineering, so the social conditions on the train are carefully controlled by humans. Their product is an unequal class system.

The action begins when the low lifes at one end of the train rebel against their squalid living conditions and fight their way to the front. Each coach they move through features a surrealistically different “landscape”.

The fighting is violent and moves through the coaches in a staccato manner that echoes the breaks in the carriages, pausing too long in each one rather than flowing at an even pace.

Most intriguing is the story’s underlying reference to, and questioning of, an ostensibly Judeo-Christian perspective on life. The train, which circumnavigates the earth once a year, is called an ark. Its leader, Wilford, is referred to in mysterious, divine terms. And Wilford determines the destiny of the train’s passengers in a pre-ordained manner that unjustly benefits some while sacrificing others.

At the film’s conclusion we are left wondering if, just as the train moves inexorably round the earth, the cycle of man’s unsavoury influence on earth will simply continue.

Snowpiercer opens at Ster Kinekor theatres in South Africa on 17 October.

Tilda Swinton stars in Snowpiercer. Photo: Creative Commons (Flickr.com)

Tilda Swinton stars in Snowpiercer. Photo: Creative Commons (Flickr.com)

The Legacy author Melissa Delport talks to readers about her writing techniques

This post is the second of three posts for the Blog Book tour of Melissa Delport’s The Legacy and in this post, we were lucky enough to have a guest post by the author herself! (Read the first blog tour post, a review of her novel, and the second blog tour post, an interview with Melissa)

Skilled author, Melissa Delport

Skilled author, Melissa Delport

 

Any good writer can write across a multitude of topics, styles, and techniques. The difference between being a good writer and a great writer is to write what you love, and do what comes naturally. I never set out to write in a specific format or to use a specific technique; I simply sat down and started writing.

If you try and curb your natural affinity, particularly over a long work such as a full length novel, you will not only stifle your creativity, but the material itself will come across awkward and clumsy as you continually battle to work against your natural style. Words will “read” as they “write” and if you, as the author, allow them to flow, then so will the reader enjoy the same experience.

The Legacy is written in the first person, in the present tense. I did use the past tense for any movement back in time or back story, so that the transition would not be jarring for the reader. There are a lot of cliff-hanger chapter endings and many surprise elements in the story, but these need to be handled carefully. You want the reader to be shocked, not confused, and it is a fine line between the two. As an author, it is easy to take for granted how intimately you know your story, and you cannot lose sight of the fact that the reader does not have all the information at hand.

Education certainly played a large role in learning how to correctly make use of the various writing techniques, but with regards to writing fiction, particularly in the speculative genres, it is important that you are not limited by what you have been taught. I have to say that I think I learned more through my voracious lifelong love of reading than I did through my university education.

The Legacy, the first novel in the trilogy.

The Legacy, the first novel in the trilogy.

 

The Legacy is fast-paced with surprising revelations

A review by Brenda Daniels.

This review is the first of three posts for The Legacy’s Blog Book Tour on A Feast of Tales. 

To read more about the tour and Melissa Delport, the author of The Legacy, click here.

legacy cover

The Legacy, by South African, KZN-based author, Melissa Delport, is the first book in The Legacy Trilogy.

An exciting futuristic adventure, The Legacy is set in a post-nuclear America in which rebels pit their strength against an evil government. This Resistance is ultimately led by feisty Rebecca Davis, a uniquely “gifted” leader who is also the romantic interest of the story.

Rebecca gets closer than anyone to the enemy, President of the New United States Eric Dane  – by marrying him. This choice comes at great cost to her relationship with childhood sweetheart, Aidan, and involves using dangerous covert strategies and superhuman abilities. These artificially designed abilities are used by both warring parties and make for some thrilling fight sequences.

Fast-paced action, cliff-hanger chapters and surprising revelations keep readers hooked. I enjoyed becoming engrossed in Delport’s imaginative future world and I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, The Legion.

The Legacy (book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy) and The Legion (book 2) are now available at all good bookstores and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015.

A Feast of Tales to host a book tour!

“I was driving home from work when inspiration struck, and a storyline started unravelling in my head. For a few days it was all I could think about and eventually I realised that the only way to get it out of my head, was to put it all down on paper. I started writing, and that was that.”

Skilled author, Melissa Delport

Skilled author, Melissa Delport

 

On Wednesday 30 July on A Feast of Tales you can read the review of Melissa’s book, The Legacy Trilogy.

Wife and mother of three, Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Trilogy and the stand-alone self-published e.books Rainfall and The Traveler.

She graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2000

At the age of twenty-four Melissa started a logistics company (Transmax) from the spare room of her flat and built it up to two fully operational depots in Durban and Johannesburg. Now, 10 years later, she has sold her business in order to write full time.

Melissa lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal.

The Legacy (book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy) and The Legion (book 2) are now available at all good bookstores and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015.

An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop “watching from the sidelines” and to do what is her passion.