Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza October 15, 2014 Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza Carrie Vaughn A Wild Cards story. The Girl in the High Tower October 14, 2014 The Girl in the High Tower Gennifer Albin A Crewel story. Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch October 8, 2014 Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch Kelly Barnhill An unconventional romance. Daughter of Necessity October 1, 2014 Daughter of Necessity Marie Brennan Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious heroine...
From The Blog
October 14, 2014
A Category Unto Himself: The Works of China Miéville
Jared Shurin
October 10, 2014
Don’t Touch That Dial: Fall 2014 TV
Alex Brown
October 10, 2014
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 1
Kate Nepveu
October 7, 2014
Shell Shock and Eldritch Horror: “Dagon”
Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth
October 3, 2014
The Bloody Books of Halloween: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist
Will Errickson
Showing posts tagged: reviews click to see more stuff tagged with reviews
Tue
Oct 21 2014 11:00am

Everyone is Trying to Prove They’re Relevant: Birdman

Birdman movie, Michael Keaton, Riggan

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, as it says) was an experience. One that I will try to parse out below. But frankly, though I can go on about the true merits of the film, I expect my take to be wildly different from anyone else’s—it is a piece of art designed to speak to many people, in many walks of life, and much of what it has to say is dependent entirely on who is watching.

Minor spoilers for the film below.

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Mon
Oct 20 2014 3:00pm

Kuvira Always Gets What She Wants: The Legend of Korra’s “The Coronation”

Legend of Korra The Coronation

The politics in The Legend of Korra are getting down to brass tacks. It’s hard not to see Kuvira as a net positive. There is no reason whatsoever to support the royal dynasty. Heck, as far as I’m concerned, there was every reason to support its overthrow. An actual caste system, an apartheid of rings that is so culturally ingrained that even the mall in Republic City’s “Little Ba Sing Se” is segregated by class. A powerful secret police, kidnapping and press-gangs. Propaganda and cruel whim and extortion. I’m with Bolin on this one.

I think Kuvira should hold an election—why wouldn’t she, she’s beloved—and then just claim authority thus. President Raiko sets a precedent for it. Then there you go. We should be so lucky: I kind of want to see Bolin succeed at keeping her on the strait and narrow...even as tensions increase.

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Mon
Oct 20 2014 9:00am

A False Premise: Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

Moriarty Anthony Horowitz US review

The great detective and his greatest enemy are dead—or so it is said. “After the confrontation that the world has come to know as ‘The Final Problem,’ [though] there was nothing final about it, as we now know,” Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty have absented their respective roles, each for his own secretive reasons. So what’s Scotland Yard to do when London is rocked by a series of crimes so indescribably violent that they rival the Ripper’s?

Why, hand over Holmes’ role to Inspector Athelney Jones: a man, you might remember, much maligned by Dr Watson’s depiction of him as a total dolt in ‘The Sign of the Four.’ Since then, however, Jones has “read everything that Mr Holmes has ever written. He has studied his methods and replicated his experiments. He has consulted with every inspector who ever worked with him. He has, in short, made Sherlock Holmes the very paradigm of his own life.”

And in our narrator, Frederick Chase—apparently the pick of Pinkerton’s Detective Agency—Jones’ Holmes has his Watson.

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Sun
Oct 19 2014 3:15pm

You made a mighty fine Doctor. Doctor Who: “Flatline”

Doctor Who, Flatline

You may never look at murals the same way. “Flatline” is here to remind you that while two dimensions may seem harmless to the average three-dimensional being… there are many possibilities for what lies beyond our senses.

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Mon
Oct 13 2014 11:30am

The Non-Linear Hero’s Quest: The Legend of Korra, “Korra Alone”

Legend of Korra Korra Alone

Well this episode of The Legend of Korra was a lovely treat, and not just because we saw you-know-who. You might think it strange to call an episode that focuses entirely on Korra’s painful physical rehabilitation and distressingly empathizable post-traumatic stress disorder a “treat,” but “Korra Alone” really was.

What I didn’t want was a whining, emo, “feels” episode. I’ve sort of had my fill of them for a bit, not that they don’t have their due time. I was hoping for, at best, a recovering montage. What I got was something like I was talking about when I discussed Kuvira last week: neither one option nor the other, but a new, third path. We got Korra on her own self-motivated Hero’s Quest. She’s neither sulking nor recuperating: she’s proactive.

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Mon
Oct 13 2014 10:30am

The Walking Dead Season 5 Premiere: “No Sanctuary”

The Walking Dead No Sanctuary

When we last left our depressive band of post-apocalyptic survivors, Rick and the gang were trapped in the cannibal capital of the South, a new crew joined up with the supposed key to solving the zombie infection, and Beth was still kidnapped by mystery villains.

Last season was definitely better than previous installments, but was uneven in many troubling ways. What should have been a tight, explosive season turned into a sprawling two half-seasons of wheel-spinning and ill-conceived plots. Paring down the group and splintering them into unusual factions was mostly successful, and helped spice up some previously uninteresting characters. And the introduction of Terminus and the crazy Christian cult made for a high-energy cliffhanger that should provide enough of a jolt to keep the tension going throughout the new season.

[“You’re either the butcher or the cattle.”]

Fri
Oct 10 2014 4:00pm

Freefall: TimeBomb by Scott K. Andrews

TimeBomb Scott K Andrews review

Three teens from three times run rampant in 17th century Cornwall in the frenetic first volume of Scott K. Andrews’ TimeBomb trilogy, a paradoxical romp which, whilst engaging and entertaining, promises a little more than it delivers.

To wit, TimeBomb begins quite brilliantly, with a fleeting glimpse of future New York: a sprawling city in which forty-storey superstructures are “dwarfed by the looming organic skytowns that twined sinuously up into the cloud base.” Here, we meet Yojana Patel, the determinedly independent daughter of... a powerful politician, I think? We can’t be certain because Andrews doesn’t dally. In a matter of moments, rather than give her pursuers the satisfaction of catching her, Jana has thrown herself off the roof of a great skyscraper.

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Fri
Oct 10 2014 11:00am

Here and There: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil Stephen Collins review

Beneath the skin of everything is something nobody can know. The job of the skin is to keep it all in and never let anything show.

So begins The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, award-winning cartoonist Stephen Collins’ first graphic novel proper, and it is as dark and charming a parable as the poetry of its first panels portends.

The eventual originator of the evil beard is a drone called Dave. Not literally a drone, however his behaviours are practically mechanical. In that, Dave is not dissimilar to the other strangely hairless inhabitants of Here; like them, he lives in almost constant fear of There. Happily, his job at A&C Industries occupies his thoughts during the day, and in his downtime, Dave draws. He draws the pedestrians that pass his house; he pencil sketches pets and post boxes; but by and large his subject is the street. “It was just so neat,” you see. “So... complete.”

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Fri
Oct 10 2014 10:00am

Don’t Touch That Dial: Fall 2014 TV

Fall 2014 television

Welcome back to “Don’t Touch That Dial,” a seasonal series in which I, your friendly neighborhood television addict, break down some of the shows screaming for your attention. I already told you what’s new this fall, so now we’re diving a little deeper. In this very special episode we’re covering an immortal medical examiner (Forever), a shady attorney (How to Get Away with Murder), and sexy stalkers sexily stalking sexy stalkers (Stalker).

[Give me all the Forever/HtGAwM crossover fanfic you have.]

Thu
Oct 9 2014 11:00am

Dating and Death and Corporate Takeovers — Must Be Tuesday. Arrow: “The Calm”

Arrow, The Calm, season 3

After the relative epicness that was the Arrow season 2 finale, the archer and his band of buddies are back to keep Starling City safe. We hope. It’s something of a chore, as we keep finding out. But if you were worried that the start of season 3 would be as calm as its title suggests, don’t worry—we’re not even close to downtime.

Thar be spoilers for the premiere below, so don’t peek if you’re not caught up!

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 8 2014 2:20pm

Supernatural Season 10 Premiere: “Black”

Supernatural Black

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Supernatural fan. In fact, my relationship with Supernatural is remarkably similar to how I feel about Doctor Who. Both shows came to me through the magic of the internet - YouTube for DW, Tumblr for the Winchesters. I fell in love hard and fast, and my life was irrevocably altered.

And, like DW, the last few seasons of Supernatural have been a bit of a bear to get through. Seasons 6 and 7 were stuck trying to work around the brick walls put up by Eric Kripke at the end of season 5, and the last two seasons were faltered attempts to kickstart new mythologies. Fortunately, no matter what ludicrous insanity the writers hurl on the screen, the core of the show - Sam and Dean Winchester, and, to a lesser extent, Castiel and Crowley - are interesting enough to keep the show afloat.

[“I’m going to save my brother, and then I’m going to kill you dead.”]

Wed
Oct 8 2014 12:45pm

The Fastest Origin Story Ever Told—Oddly Inappropriate For The Flash

The Flash, CW

A lot of folks have been excited for Arrow’s spinoff, The Flash, and that’s probably down to the backdoor pilot they seeded last season. The introduction of Grant Gustin as Barry Allen was exciting, in no small part due to the fact that Gustin was instantly likable.

But now the real pilot is upon us and, well… it was a strangely abrupt offering.

[Read more]

Mon
Oct 6 2014 2:15pm

Whatever Happened to Avatar Korra? The Legend of Korra Returns!

Avatar Legend of Korra After All These Years

For someone who happens to have a show named after her, Korra sure doesn’t get much screen time in the premiere of the new season of The Legend of Korra! Doesn’t bother me none, personally; I’ve always like the without-the-Doctor Doctor Who episodes, myself. Still, can I tell you something? I’m well ready for this depressing plot line to come to an end already. Really, I hope the whole recovery story arc runs on an accelerated track. I’ve had enough emo Korra in this series; I’m ready for no-holds-barred, cage-match, all-or-nothing Korra to come back.

I think Korra’s ready, too. She’s brawl-bending, putting her in the underdog role that Bolin and Mako were in as pro-benders in season one, and they’re the authority figures with government ties; how the tables have turned. We’ve had three years of lapsed time, so I think it is possible. Plus...perfect opportunity for Korra to be taken under Toph’s wing as a mentor, just sayin’.

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Sun
Oct 5 2014 2:20pm

I Don’t Feel Supported Right Now. Doctor Who: “Kill the Moon”

Doctor Who, Kill the Moon

Why would we want to kill our moon? Doctor Who was bound to think of a reason at some point, so we’ve arrived. And while the episode delivers some tour de force performances, it’s startlingly difficult to parse out where the center of the episode lies.

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 1 2014 10:00am

Pull List: Lumberjanes

From the first page of the first issue, I knew Lumberjanes was going to be my new favorite thing. All the girls are awesome—I absolutely adore Mal, probably more than is healthy—the story is easy but engaging, and the dialogue is sharp, cheerful, and pleasantly down to earth. But it wasn’t until page 9 that I fell in love.

The girls use famous/important women as interjections, and on that page Molly referenced a woman who has been my hero since I was a little girl: Bessie “Queen Bess” Coleman. She was the first African American person of any gender to have an international license, and the first Black female pilot in the world, and it’s a rare day when I encounter someone who not only knows of her but treats her with the respect she deserves. This is probably going to be less review and more love letter, because there’s just so much greatness bundled up in such a little comic.

[“What the junk?!”]

Tue
Sep 30 2014 1:30pm

Ghostwritten: The End of the Sentence by Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard

The End of the Sentence Maria Dahvana Headley Kat Howard review

In the aftermath of a tragic accident that made a mess of his marriage, Malcolm Mays retreats to rural Oregon in an attempt to begin again, however he gets more than he bargained for when he moves into a foreclosed home in Ione.

In a sense he inherits its former occupant, a convicted criminal called Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, who—having been unjustly jailed for two lifetimes and a day, he says—is preparing to reclaim his property. “The homeowner is only absent, you must understand. Not gone. The end of the sentence approaches [...] and when it comes, I will return.”

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Thu
Sep 25 2014 10:30am

Scripted: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld Afterworlds review

As someone somewhen almost certainly said, the story is the thing... and it is, isn’t it? Most readers read in order to know what happens next—to these characters or that narrative—rather than out of interest in much of anything outwith a given fiction; assuredly not the particular process of authors, though after Afterworlds, I’ve begun to wonder whether we mightn’t be missing a trick.

A twofold story about storytelling, Scott Westerfeld’s insightful new novel alternates between a pair of coming of age tales. In one, we meet Lizzie: a typical teenager, to begin with, who’s too busy texting to notice the start of a terrorist attack.

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Wed
Sep 24 2014 5:00pm

Eternal Treblinka of the Spotless Soul: Bête by Adam Roberts

Bete Adam Roberts review

Reading Adam Roberts is like participating in a literary lucky dip. It’s a bit of a gamble, granted, but every one’s a winner, and all of the prizes on offer are awesome.

Different sorts of awesome, I dare say. Always smart, and ever so sharp, but sometimes you get something scathing, and sometimes something sweet. Sometimes his stories are obscenely serious; sometimes they’re ridiculously silly. Bête represents the best of both worlds—the coming together of all the aspects of Adam Roberts: the author, the professor and the satirist, alongside a number of others.

His fifteenth full-length fiction in fifteen years—including neither his punsome parodies nor his several collections—is a book about the rise of animals with intelligence to match man’s, and it begins with a cutting conversation between a cattle farmer and the cow he had thought to slaughter.

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Sun
Sep 21 2014 1:30pm

Robbed A Bank. Robbed A Whole Bank. Doctor Who: “Time Heist”

Doctor Who, Time Heist

You’ve gotta have a heist episode, right?

It’s sort of remarkable that Who has avoided the heist play for this long, but perhaps you just need the right sort of Doctor for it. So, how does a robbery go when time travel is involved?

[Bow tie, embarrassing.]

Tue
Sep 16 2014 2:00pm

Vincit Qui Patitur: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea 5th Wave Rick Yancey review Following the first phases of the invasion revealed in Rick Yancey’s breakthrough book, the world of The 5th Wave “is a clock winding down,” with each tick of which, and every tock, what little hope there is left is lost.

No one knows exactly how long the last remnants of humanity have, but they’re looking at a matter of months, at most... unless someone, somewhere, can conceive of a means of driving the aliens away—aliens who, as the big bad of the series says, have nowhere else to go.

“You’ve lost your home,” Vosch asks The Infinite Sea’s central character—not Cassie, as it happens—to imagine. “And the lovely one—the only one—that you’ve found to replace it is infested with vermin. What can you do? What are your choices? Resign yourself to live peaceably with the destructive pests or exterminate them before they can destroy your new home?”

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