Hey, here are some good books, movies, and TV shows ImpishIdea recommends:

[Book] (Fantasy) Perdido St. Station —China Mieville

This book had amazing world-building- the different species, cultures, and the overall atmosphere of the environment were very detailed and effective. The steam-punk aesthetic worked really well with the feeling of choking filth. The plot was original (though rather depressing), as well as engrossing. The moral complexity was also an aspect that I appreciated, and while there are some transparent bad guys, it’s never entirely that simple. If you’re looking for a dark, ambiguous read, I would definitely recommend Perdido St. Station. —Snow White Queen

[Movie] (WWII/Foreign) Letters from Iwo Jima

This movie gives a unique, rarely-seen perspective on the Japanese side of WWII, with a focus on the Battle of Iwo Jima. It has really great battle scenes, which is why it works as a war movie, but it also offers historically-accurate depictions of soldiers (with a combination of their good and evil deeds) on both sides. Also, it’s directed by Clint Eastwood which means it’s pretty cool automatically. —Northmark

[TV] (Sci-Fi/Victorian) Doctor Who: Talons of Weng-Chiang

A culmination of what makes Tom Baker’s era superb; the story throttles the mind with ancient horrors and a few spots of charm to boot. Combining science fiction, history, heists, and several other genres, Weng-Chiang epitomizes what Doctor Who can do with seemingly trite ideas. Robert Holmes ascends to his top when writing such a serial, to the degree that several characters from the six episodes have been given their own spin-offs in reverence to his craft. While the yellowface may turn off modern viewers (and was indeed banned from several PBS stations), the plot should be able to help the viewer go past such an unfortunate thorn. —Marquis De Carabas

[Movie] (Animated/Fantasy) The Cat Returns

The story of a girl who has her world turned upside down after perpetrating a brave act of kindness, The Cat Retuns beauty lies in its simplicity. The story is straightfoward and easy to follow, an oft-times strange thing for anime films, the animation is bright and clear, and the voice-acting, both English and Japanese, is superb. The cast of characters is not particularly large, but one finds themselves drawn to the unique aspects that seperate each, whether it’s the gruff Muta or the cool (and badass) Baron. However, the best thing about this movie is that it’s fun in a way that you understand in youth and start missing when you’re older. It has all the whimsy and nostalgia of an old Disney movie, and really just makes you feel like you’re a kid again and everything in the world is big and bright and awesome. —Beldam

[TV] (Dark Comedy/Fantasy) Dead Like Me

The show follows George Lass, a girl who dies and then becomes a grim reaper. It also focuses on the other reapers in her division, as well as her family and how they cope with George’s death. The show balances comedy and drama extremely well, which is something that doesn’t happen too often. The whole cast gets character development, some more than others, but I have a feeling that if the show had lasted longer, everyone would have gotten near-equal doses of character development. The acting is great, and the show’s take on death is both really interesting and strangely comforting. It does all this while still managing to be hilarious. —NeuroticPlatypus

[Book] (Fantasy) Dreamdark: Blackbringer —Laini Taylor

Set in what seems to be our world, time period inconsequential, Blackbringer chooses to focus upon Faeries and their battles with the destructive devils who were trapped in bottles ages ago. Following Magpie Windwitch, the book blends a vibrant world with increasing tension and drama, culminating in a pretty epic climax. Despite the scant details given, the world around Magpie feels alive, almost more-so than if every aspect of how things worked were explained. Instead, the reader is just given the impression that there’s so much more to the Faerie world, to great effect. —Soupnazi

[Movie] (Anime/Fantasy) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Technically the first Studio Ghibli movie (though made before its formation), Nausicaa is about a post-apocalyptic world where a dangerous jungle/forest has spread across nearly the entire world, carrying with it seemingly evil and horrible insects, most notably the Ohmu. Nausicaa herself is the princess of a small valley powered by wind from the sea and, because of that wind, one of the few places still untouched by the forest. The movie itself is beautiful to look at despite its age, and the world is incredibly vibrant and manages to be an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre (though I think it came before most modern incarnations). The characterization is excellent, with all characters maintaining shades of grey to them (with the possible exception of Nausicaa). —Soupnazi

[TV] (Quirky comedy/Fantasy) Pushing Daisies

Daisies follows Ned, a piemaker living in an unnamed city who has an interesting gift; with a single touch, he can bring a dead thing back to life, but if they’re alive for more than a minute something else of similar mass has to die, and if he touches that dead thing again they die for good. The show’s plot gets started when Ned brings his childhood crush, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles back to life. Though the show does have cases of the week in the form of murder mysteries, the driving force behind it is Ned and Chuck’s relationship; despite a sometimes repetitive format to some of their troubles, their romance is consistently believable and charming. The show is bolstered by snappy banter and striking visuals, with a dash of drama thrown in for good measure. But really, in the end, what’s best about this show is its tendency to just make you smile; honestly, it can be pretty sappy, but it never fails to make me feel happy whenever I watch it. And while your experience may be different from mine, it’s definitely worth a check. —Soupnazi

[Book] (Science Fiction/Young Adult) Unwind —Neal Shusterman

This book has a very interesting (and horrifying) concept. The story revolves around three kids who are supposed to be retroactively aborted (killed) and have their body parts used as spare parts for other people. This book could have been very preachy, but the author did not use it as a soapbox. The characters have their own opinions about the different issues presented, rather than having the author’s opinion take center stage. It is a really exciting and suspenseful book and an interesting and scary take on what could happen in the future. —NeuroticPlatypus

[Book] (Science Fiction) The Time Machine —H.G. Wells

In this book, an unnamed time traveler travels to the year 802,701 AD. There he encounters human who have evolved into weak, childlike creatures. The book explores class struggles and the possible repercussions of them. It is also a very eerie look at the future and is a bit disturbing. It is extremely well done, though, and keeps the reader’s interest despite the time traveler not being able to converse well with the inhabitants of this future world. —NeuroticPlatypus

[TV] (Science Fiction/Anime) Cowboy Bebop

A gritty, fatalistic journey through the wreckage of an ’80s-noir Solar System, and deep into the lives of the five principal characters, Jet, Spike, Edward (a girl), Faye, and their super-intelligent dog, Einstein. These down-and-out drifters make their own luck as bounty hunters chasing criminals for the inefficient and overstretched police forces of the planets they frequent. The action is colorful, furious, and constant, but it is clear early on that the show is less about the gunplay than about the specter of the past. Each of the four human leads has a history that eventually comes back to bite them, and they must learn how to face their own mistakes, leaving viewers with a world-weary, hard-bitten, but ultimately hopeful message. The show is known for its musical roots, with an impressive soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts exploring ’60s and ’70s jazz and rock. —Inkblot

[Book] (Children’s/Comedy) The Pushcart War —Jean Merrill

Do you remember a time when the trucks tried to take over the roads of New York City, when the only thing that stood in their way were the humble pushcarts and their King, Maxie Hammerman? Neither do I, but this clever children’s book works through how wars are started with a light, humorous tone. This book is filled with a cast of colorful characters, from Maxie Hammerman and his generals Harry the Hot Dog and General Anna, to the Big Three (the leaders of the trucker’s association) and the man who started the war, Albert P. Mack. Readers of all ages will enjoy this scathingly witty, but ultimately optimistic tale. —Ebelean

[TV] (Science Fiction/Anime) Legend of the Galactic Heroes (銀河英雄伝説 Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu)

Set in the fairly distant future and sporting a large and varied cast from all walks of life, Legend of the Galactic Heroes (LoGH) chronicles the struggle between autocracy and democracy, ultimately examining the foibles of humanity and the importance of remembering the mistakes of the past. At 110 episodes full of battles, politics, and lots (and lots!) of characters, the series is quite an investment, but ultimately worth it. The characters are strong, with all but the most minor being well-developed, and unlike many other stories that have attempted to tackle such subjects as war and human nature, LoGH does so without passing judgement or resorting to overly simplistic scenarios. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly are shown of all sides in the many conflicts, and ultimately, the viewer is left to ponder for themselves which side is right – or if any side is right at all. —Kyllorac

Thanks to Snow White Queen, Northmark, Marquis De Carabas, Beldam, NeuroticPlatypus, Soupnazi, Inkblot, Ebelean, and Kyllorac!

If you would like to contribute to part two then check out the ‘I want YOU for an II article’ topic on the forums or email me at impishidea@gmail.com.


  1. SlyShy on 20 February 2012, 14:20 said:

    Nice. I haven’t read or seen a lot of these.

  2. Fell Blade on 21 February 2012, 13:29 said:

    Ah, I loved “The Pushcart War”! It’s been years since I thought about that book, but I remember that it was highly entertaining!

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