This Chance Planet October 22, 2014 This Chance Planet Elizabeth Bear We are alone, except for the dog. 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.
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 by: Alex Brown click to see Alex Brown's profile
Mon
Oct 20 2014 10:30am

The Walking Dead, S5 E2: “Strangers”

To the surprise of no one, The Walking Dead continues to shatter its own ratings records, with more than 17 million people tuning in for the premiere, or over 22 million counting the live + same day. But to the surprise of at least this reviewer, the show continued its great quality streak. While the premiere was its usual action and gore-packed self, the second episode was a little quieter, a little calmer, and a little more pensive.

TWD really has only two speeds: EVERYTHING HAPPENS ALL AT ONCE or not much happens at all. The key to making the show work is not letting busy episodes overflow to the point where none of it means anything since the audience doesn’t have time to digest any of it, and having interesting enough characters to prevent the slow pace from dulling into a snooze fest of cliched dialogue and nonsense. The premiere and last night’s “Strangers” successfully avoided the pitfalls their predecessors succumbed to, which has me hopeful for the future while simultaneously waiting for the other shoe to drop.

[“YOU’LL BURN FOR THIS”]

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 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.]

Wed
Oct 8 2014 5:00pm

The Warm Glowing Warming Glow: Fall 2014 TV

Summer 2014 television preview

After the wild success of the Sopranos, cable—particularly premium cable—became the wellspring of quality television. Plenty of lower tier cable networks like TNT and USA churned out their own middling and formulaic comedic dramas to pass the time in between sitcom reruns and years-old movies, but HBO and Showtime more than made up for it. In recent years, even those oft-ignored lower cable channels became harder to pass up. FX (and now FXX) took massive gambles on Louie, Wilfred, and Terriers and mostly won, AMC knocked it out of the part with Mad Men and The Walking Dead, and Starz shocked just about everyone with Outlander.

[“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.”]

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 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?!”]

Mon
Sep 29 2014 1:30pm

Outlander’s Mid-Season Finale: “Both Sides Now”

Outlander was one of those shows I had high hopes for, but more than a few reservations about. Plenty of shows have burst through the gate in a cloud of thrilling excitement only to stumble the rest of the season until a rallying finale (I’m looking at you, The Walking Dead). Could Starz, a channel not exactly known for its subtlety and depth, continue to balance the male and female perspectives without pandering or objectifying? Could Ronald D. Moore smooth out Diana Gabaldon’s clunkier subplots while still branching out and making something wholly new?

[“Last I was here, I was Claire Randall. Then Claire Beauchamp. Then Claire Fraser.”]

Wed
Sep 17 2014 2:00pm

Aloha HawaiiCon!

HawaiiCon

This past weekend was the first ever HawaiiCon. I was one of the 199 Kickstarter backers last year, and was excited for the chance to attend. In all, the new con had about 700 attendees (including guests and comps), with the split between Hawaiians and mainlanders about 50/50. Although the Kickstarter hailed it as a science and SFF con with a Hawaiian twist, and touted its authors, celebrities, and comic book artists, the con really ended up being roughly 60% hard science, 30% SF, and the rest a sundry mix.

[“The Science, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention with Aloha!”]

Wed
Sep 10 2014 5:00pm

Teen Wolf: Evolution

Teen Wolf

Previously on Teen Wolf: Everything happens all at once, nothing is satisfactorily explained, and all hell breaks loose.

[“What the hell is so special about Scott McCall?”]

Wed
Sep 3 2014 2:00pm

Pull List: Legendary Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Racoon

In case you’ve been under a rock the last month, the Guardians of the Galaxy went from relatively obscure comic book heroes to global superstars. As of August 25, the film has raked in over $500 million worldwide, with more than $94 million of that coming in opening weekend in just North America. 44% of its opening weekend audience was female, beating the last record holder of 40% female audience for The Avengers. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s entertaining as all get out.

Tying in to the film’s release, Marvel released several comics to sate fans looking for more Groot-y goodness. To that end, let’s dive into Legendary Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon.

[“No one calls the Guardians of the Galaxy krutackers!”]

Wed
Aug 20 2014 3:00pm

Second Sight: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong Visions reviewOlivia Taylor-Jones is back and just as kick-ass as ever in Visions, Kelley Armstrong’s bewitching second entry in her Cainsville series. When we first met Liv, her whole life was shattered with the revelation that her wealthy parents had adopted her after her bio parents were sent to jail as notorious serial killers. Her mundane world got a helluva lot more magical once she realized her weird little superstitions were really omens and portents of death and despair. Suddenly, the former socialite found herself at the center of an epic, timeless battle between Team Fate and Team Free Will.

After the deadly events of Omens, Liv, formerly Eden Larsen, takes a part time gig as an investigator with Gabriel Walsh, her hulking defense attorney. Ostensibly they’re looking into her parents’ convictions - the Larsens maintain their innocence, the courts say otherwise, and the evidence is circumstantial and ambiguous - but it wouldn’t be Cainsville if there weren’t a million plays and counter plays roiling around under the surface.

[“There’s a dead woman in my car.”]

Wed
Aug 13 2014 10:30am

Guardians of the Galaxy, We Need to Talk

Let me make a few things clear before we get into the grumpy bits. I enjoyed the hell out of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Not only I was part of that 44% female audience for opening weekend, but I also plan to see it again. It was the first MCU movie I’ve seen opening day or weekend, and only the second one I’ve seen in a theater (the first was Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The soundtrack has been on repeat on my iPod for nearly two weeks, and half my Tumblr is dedicated to Rocket and Groot being adorbs and Sister Assassins being awesome. I’d pay cold, hard cash for a dancing baby Groot toy, and Groot fanart is my desktop wallpaper. I would give just about anything to have a TV prequel of teenage Gamora and Nebula kicking ass. I will even cover the “Rocket Raccoon,” “Legendary Star-Lord,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” comics in an upcoming Pull List. TL;DR: I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Well, I love about 85% of it, and have serious reservations about a few key issues.

Spoilers abound...

[“I am going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.”]

Tue
Aug 12 2014 1:30pm

Teen Wolf: Dead Pool

Teen Wolf

Previously on Teen Wolf: Malia gets the best lines; Lydia unofficially moves into the lakehouse; Peter takes the crown for smarm; Argent apparently has nothing better to do than hang out with a bunch of high schoolers; Derek and Braeden mix business with pleasure; Kira reminds us all she’ll never be more than a second-tier Allison; Liam growls a lot; Scott and Stiles come up with increasingly awful plans; and Kate continues to be the worst.

[“No one else dies...I’m gonna save everyone.”]

Mon
Aug 11 2014 10:00am

Outlander: “Sassenach”

Outlander Diana Gabaldon episode review Starz

When Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) head to the Scottish Highlands in 1945, the plan is to kickstart their stalled marriage. World War II split the newlyweds apart for nearly 6 years, and the Inverness getaway is supposed to bring them closer together. Instead, Claire stumbles upon a magic-infused stone circle and suddenly finds herself 200 years in the past being shot at by Redcoats, held captive by Scottish clansmen, and nearly raped by her husband’s scoundrel of an ancestor who also happens to look almost identical to Frank. Her captors are nice enough, especially the dashing Jamie (Sam Heughan), but she’s still a prisoner, in more ways than one.

[“People disappear all the time.”]

Fri
Aug 8 2014 10:00am

Invented Truth: Your Face in Mine by Jess Row

Your Face in Mine Jess Row reviewJess Row’s debut novel, Your Face in Mine, stars Kelly Thorndike, a thirtysomething white Baltimorean. Not long ago he lost his Chinese wife and their young biracial daughter in a tragic car accident. Now he works in a thoughtless radio job and wanders through life in a depression-tinted haze. Until he runs into his high school best friend, Martin.

Martin used to be a scraggly Ashkenazi Jewish kid but is now somehow a business-minded Black man, all thanks to racial reassignment surgery. He hires Kelly to help write his biography and introduce the radical medical technique to the world. Martin’s version of truth and reality are as flexible as his definition of race. Both he and Kelly long to be part of something they aren’t, and as Kelly descends into the rabbit hole of twisty logic and misunderstood cause and effect, his role as biographer begins to take on the traits of a new recruit.

[“I belong there! you insist. But you don’t.”]

Wed
Jul 30 2014 2:00pm

Pull List: Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel

Captin Marvel Carol Danvers Kelly Sue DeConnick

Welcome to Pull List, a new monthly comics column. We’ll look at everything from decades-spanning titles to oneshots and miniseries, from graphic novels to caped crusaders to webcomics. There’ll be a strong focus on works with high marks in diversity and feminism, out-of-the-box artistic creativity, and envelope-pushing, as well as some old school silliness every now and again.

Being a comics fan ain’t easy, especially if you don’t fit the outmoded paradigm of straight white male. As someone who doesn’t meet two thirds of that criteria, I avoided the whole comics thing for ages. I had the joy of growing up with the X-Men, Justice League, Superman, and Batman cartoons, and the supreme displeasure of discovering that comics-on-tv was pretty much the only space in which I was allowed. For years, whenever people asked me my favorite comics characters, my go-to were Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, Jubilee, Storm, and Oracle, but my knowledge of them was strictly television-based.

[The first thing I bought? Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel]

Thu
Jul 17 2014 10:30am

Teen Wolf: Reboot

Teen Wolf season 4 episodes 2 3 4

Previously on Teen Wolf: Scott makes a series of stupid decisions that turn out in his favor only out of sheer dumb luck; Stiles makes a series of stupid decisions that turn out in his favor only out of sheer dumb luck; Kira grows more comfortable with being both a BAMF and total rom-com ditz; Lydia continues to be awesome and woefully underutilized; Derek and Sheriff Stilinski play Batman and Commissioner Gordon; Peter loses the bank and gets his v-neck bloody; Kate is the worst; Argent needs a shave; the parental McCalls are now living together or something; and WHERE THE HELL IS DANNY?

[“Can someone in this town stay dead?!”]

Tue
Jun 24 2014 10:25am

Teen Wolf: Lobito

Previously on Teen Wolf: The Scott pack—now with more magical shapeshifting Japanese foxes!—battle Nogitsune!Stiles; Allison learns to be the hunter she was always meant to be; Derek continues to have terrible taste in women; Lydia never stops screaming; a coyote shifter stirs up trouble and hormones; Jackson leaves town to be Red Hood on Arrow; and nobody hugs Isaac enough. Basically, everyone is dead or gone and everything hurts.

This review is operating under the assumption you’re up-to-date. Proceed with caution. Thar be spoilers...

[“This plan is stupid, and we’re going to die.”]

Wed
Jun 18 2014 10:00am

Don’t Touch That Dial: Summer Reruns—British Edition

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 summer and what television I’m pulling out of my back catalogue to fill in the long days and warm nights. Now we’re diving a little deeper. In this very special episode we’re covering summer reruns: shows that have ended but deserve to be seen.

[“Oh my God...I’ve got some f**king Jaffa Cakes in my coat pocket!”]

Wed
Jun 11 2014 1:00pm

The Warm Glowing Warming Glow: Summer 2014 TV

Summer 2014 television previewBack when I was young and free, unencumbered by a “job” and “higher education” and “rent” and “buying groceries,” I could easily channel surf the entire summer away looking for something, anything to watch that wasn’t daytime talk shows or some mind-bogglingly terrible 80s movie. In this wonderful modern age, however, the push for off-season viewing is growing stronger. That being said, quantity does not equal quality.

The summer schedule may be more crowded than normal with shows just gearing up rather than repeats or burn-offs, much of what we’re left with is either asinine (Under the Dome, Crossbones) or choking on failed potential (Halt and Catch Fire). There’s also a ton of pulp, some entertaining in its brazen audacity (Penny Dreadful, Teen Wolf), most just 42 minutes of audience eye rolling (True Blood, Witches of East End). So, out of all that, what’s worth watching live, what’s worth saving up for a late summer binge, and what’s worth forgetting it ever existed?

[“Stupid TV! Be more funny!”]