The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

Is this the end for Print Media?

Hands up if you’ve ever used the internet. Hint: if you’re reading this, you’re using it right now.

This morning a customer complained that the price of a newspaper had increased (again!) and he only read it once anyway. I asked if he read the news online, and he said he did. Which got me thinking- is there anything in a newspaper that can’t be found online?

No. Most newspapers are now online and easy to navigate to find areas of interest e.g entertainment, top stories, local news. Share prices can be found on the ASX website. Even classifieds are now a click away.Even the humble TV guide is online or even on your HDTV.

Some features, such as those found in the bigger Sunday papers, may be online in their entirety at some point, but not yet. I suppose publishers realise people are happy paying their $x for the pleasure of reading the paper over Sunday breakfast. Women’s magazines often publish half stories on their websites, so if you want the whole story, you’re forced to buy the issue. Clever, but does it work for newspapers?

Sadly, I’m of the opinion that newspapers are nearing their last days. The costs with printing, paper and delivery outweigh those of online publishing. Murdoch plan/ned to make people pay for his online papers, but with so many other free sites, it doesn’t look like a lucrative deal.

As for other print media… let’s talk about books. I’ve written before about my love affair with the Kobo, so let’s not rehash that (although I discovered the other day that ebooks are GST free!) Currently, I’m thinking the death of the printed book will be because of environmental concerns- not just the cutting of trees but the damage that paper mills do to the surrounding ecosystems. There will always be a place for books (text books spring to mind) but generally speaking, I think there will be a time when the beloved printed book will be a rarity.

There are many arguments for and against print media, but when we look past the sentimentality and purely on logistics, I fear the days are numbered.


July 31, 2010 Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections | Leave a comment

The Magicians

The Magicians is an adult fairy tale, borrowing ideas from Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, but with language and themes which are definitely suitable only for adults. If you’ve ever wished Harry would bed Hermione, swear like a sailor and pee in the shower, this is the novel for you.

Our hero, Quentin, is a bored adolescent whicsked away to study at a magical university. Unaware of the existence of real magic until this point, he quickly becomes one of the best students at the school. Unlike the Potter books, Quentin’s entire education is in the first half of the novel. The second part is a Narnia-like adventure based in a world he thought was only fiction, quite different to the first half but no less enjoyable.

Lev Grossman intertwines the naivety and innocence of his teen characters with the moodiness of their hormones. Several times, their language reflects only their age, not their circumstances; for example, they’ll swear when they see a cute bunny who is five feet tall.

At its very core, The Magicians is a fairytale, complete with moral message. The novel is entertaining, unashamedly borrowing other mdern magical classics and occasionally even referencing them, such as mentions of Hermione and quidditch.  But if you’re expecting the darkness of the Potter novels, you won’t find it here. There’s no nemesis, no dark magic, no Malfoy-like arch enemy. The plot doesn’t make itself known until the final chapters, where everything comes together in a final twist.

Basically, The Magicians is the same basic storyline as the Potter novels and Narnia, but with real characters who bonk, swear, cheat, lie and steal. They are flawed humans, real in every way, except they practice magic and stray to a magical faraway world.

Thoroughly enjoyable and I cannot wait for the sequel, due in 2011.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Reviews | Leave a comment


The basic idea of Inception is fairly simple; go into someone’s dreams and steal their secrets. Leonardo Dicaprio is Dom Cobb, an extractor who steals people’s secrets from their dreams. He is unable to legally get back to the US but when presented with an opportunity to return home, he can’t resist, although it is highly dangerous.

Thus is the basic plot for Inception. Instead of relying on special effects, as so many movies do, this is a plot-driven film. You’ll need your thinking caps on to follow it, although if you can follow Ocean’s Eleven, you can follow this. Having said that, the CGI effects are seamless. We’re transported to dream worlds where physics follow no laws, the impossible is possible and your deepest memories are open and unpredictable.

At its most basic level, the film deals with fear and regret. Add strong plot development, an excellent cast and some explosions; what results is a beautifully crafted and highly enjoyable film. It’s never bogged in its own complexity, which could be a real concern at some points. You are walked through each scene so there’s rarely a moment when you wonder which is the dream and which is reality.

I can’t praise this movie highly enough. Director Christopher Nolan has delivered a masterpiece, both of storytelling and film execution. There are some obvious flaws but it doesn’t take much to lose them in the grandeur of the story. One thing that did annoy me was Ariadne (Ellen Page)’s habit of speaking in questions, especially for the first few minutes after meeting her. Ariadne is probably Ellen’s first adult character; she lacks the witticisms and naivety of previous characters. In some ways this is refreshing because it shows Ellen Page as a strong, versatile actor. But in other ways, you miss witty lines which wouldn’t be entirely out of place in this film. Sometimes the tension is a little too much and could be broken up. For others, this may be part of the appeal.

It’s a must-see film. One tip though: pee before you see it. It’s a long film (although you don’t notice it) and you won’t want to miss any of it.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Reviews | Leave a comment