content by

Theresa DeLucci

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Westworld Season 1, Episode 4: “Dissonance Theory”

This week on Westworld, several characters are introduced to the mystery of the Maze and fan theories about Arthur, the Man in Black, and Bernard get some excellent fodder. This is the kind of debate I actually enjoy.

How detailed is Ford getting with his new narrative project and how soon will all of the hosts be as keyed in as poor Maeve, who is seriously losing her mind from the trauma?

The only way this show could make my head hurt more was if it had a crossover episode with The Walking Dead.
[The girl with the snake tattoo…]

Westworld Season 1, Episode 3 “The Stray”

Now we’re getting to the meat of it.

The first two episodes of HBO’s new series Westworld established the park and the characters well, but this was the first episode where I actually remembered all of the characters’ names and had a clearer picture of who they were. While some of my initial excitement has tempered, Westworld is a lot of fun to think about.

I just wish the characters were a little more fun to watch this week. But that seems a bit unfair when most of the characters are soulless navel-gazers navigating the limitations of their world and the rest are robots.

Lastly, Westword’s fly problem extends to Logan because he’s always walking into scenes zipping his up. Dude is gross.

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Westworld Season 1, Episode 2 “Chestnut”

This week we enter Westworld with two newcomers, one who’s twitchy and the other who’s that guy in your office who doesn’t shut up about Crossfit. Only Westworld is even more prohibitively expensive and potentially headed towards a cult phenomenon that’s a lot more dangerous (but less sanctimonious.)

We also spend more time in the head of brothel-runner Maeve and the past build that haunts her, which is terrifying in a few different ways.

[The rich inner lives of Red Dead Redemption NPCs…]

Westworld Season 1, Episode 1: “The Original”

HBO aimed high with its new gunslinging-robots series Westworld and hit its mark big-time with a sophisticated, sumptuous premiere. I haven’t been this excited since I started watching Lost, and that has me a bit scared. Westworld, at least at its start, has just the right balance of lofty philosophy, plausible-sounding technobabble, and heartstring-tugging human drama to keep me totally engaged—except the humans are either arrogant mad scientists or guests embracing their inner GTA-addicted teenage sociopaths. The most “human” humans are actually androids flickering into unchecked sentience.

And behind these existential short circuits? There’s a hint of an overarching mystery that begs initial comparison to Lost’s own Dharma Initiative.

Of course the show is being co-produced by J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan (Inception), and Lisa Joy (Person of Interest). So I shouldn’t be so surprised. And yet…

[“These violent delights have violent ends…”]

The City Dreams: The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

China Miéville has been incredibly productive this past year.

His latest short novel, The Last Days of New Paris, is his third new release since August 2015’s fat story collection Three Moments of an Explosion and January’s mysterious sorta-Bas-Lag novella, This Census-Taker. (This in addition to his work with Salvage magazine and a children’s picture book forthcoming in the fall.) Of the three, The Last Days of New Paris is likely the most approachable and the easiest to follow along with, which is a bit rich as the action centers around Surrealist art coming to life and overtaking Nazi-occupied Paris in WWII.

And if that summary gets your interest, then so, too, will The Last Days of New Paris. Alternate history via Miéville’s exemplary imagination creates an ideal forum to consider fascism and art, or fascism versus art, as the case may be. A look back at this moment of never-was time feels particularly timely now.

[Read more, look more, art more…]

Bright Days, Dark Fiction: 5 Horror Reads for Summer

Is this summer too hot for you? Have you grown weary of sunshine and the monotony of green leaves and whatever ubiquitous pop song that is that’s drifting from the open windows of passing cars? Do you resent the fact that the term “beach reads” means books that are frivolous, light, and somehow more fun than quality novels about werewolves, societal collapse, and suicide?

Here is a collection of five books perfect for the kind of person who enjoys being chilled, who’s counting down the days until Halloween. But don’t worry, none are too gloomy. Why, some even have sun-baked California hills and sweeping desert vistas as a backdrop for sexy scorpion-women and homicidal cult leaders.

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Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 10 “The Winds of Winter”

The sixth season of Game of Thrones can best be described as predictable. As the show outpaced Martin’s novels, major book theories were confirmed as show canon and the large cast reunited in fast-track ways that were best suited to television’s shorter timeline.

But this is not to say that this show isn’t still capable of the mother of all surprises.

MAJOR episode spoilers ahead.

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

It’s in the Details: Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock

Summer is officially here but if you’re heading out to your local state park for some hiking, camping, or (if you’re a high schooler) some late-night ragers without adult supervision, Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock will make you think twice.

Late one August night, 13-year-old Tommy Sanderson inexplicably leaves his two best friends behind and runs into the woods of Borderland State Park in Massachusetts. The story opens with every parent’s very worst nightmare: an unexpected late-night phone call telling you your child is missing. Tommy’s mother, Elizabeth, has a bad news phone call before—nine years prior, when her ex-husband (and Tommy’s father) died in a car crash. Instantly she—and readers—are placed in a state of heightened tension that rarely lets up. Like a meteor’s crash, Tommy’s disappearance slams into Elizabeth and Tommy’s kid sister Kate and the impact radiates through his circle of friends, his small community, and the world beyond through social media and cable news.

But what really happened to Tommy on that night is more unsettling than anyone can imagine.

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Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 8 “No One”

This season, man. It’s enjoyable enough, and yet… not much is really blowing me away. Except for the Hound. He’s still cool. He’s like the Jeff Lebowski of Westeros, only instead of White Russians, he unwinds with some murder. Don’t piss on his rug and don’t kill his septon. The Hound abides, okay?

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, Dondarrion…]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

5 Essential William Gibson Reads

It’d be a criminal oversight not to feature William Gibson during’s Cyberpunk Week. More than thirty years have passed since Neuromancer and Burning Chrome were published and while some may debate who actually invented the term cyberspace, it’s without doubt that Gibson is the author who popularized it. In the time since the American-Canadian author debuted, our concept of the internet has changed from a flashy representational grid of glowing lights and towering monoliths of code into something so commonplace, even your grandparents have a Twitter account. You can purchase a drone at your local Walmart. So what does William Gibson observe now?

“The future is here,” he has said, several times. “It’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Gibson’s work is best appreciated in chronological order, to see those publication dates and gain a better understanding of the frame in which the stories were written. Technology outpaced speculative fiction in ways even the genre’s best minds couldn’t foresee and our visions of the future—and the people living in them—changed, too.

[Console cowboys and coolhunters…]

Series: Cyberpunk Week on

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 7: “The Broken Man”

That was likely the funniest episode of Game of Thrones in recent memory and it still ended with a massacre.

But, seriously, I chuckled quite a lot in this rather slight almost-hour, especially for an episode without the usual wit masters, Tyrion, Varys, and Littlefinger. The latter’s machinations were still a presence, though. Did Sansa send him a raven asking for his army? Did Littlefinger really wedge a splinter between Sansa and her half-brother Jon Snow?

Perhaps. But all I can do is cheer because Ian McShane was a guest star. LET ME HAVE THIS.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[“Hound’s gonna hound…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 6: “Blood of My Blood”

Seeing last week’s ending again in the “Previously on…” bit made me upset all over again.

Tonight’s episode proper kept it in the family. Some take this more literally than others. (Looking at you, Jaime and Cersei.) But elsewhere in King’s Landing, family members reunited, were torn apart, fought to stay together, and were also unspeakably horrible to one another.

But no one died! This was good for everyone—except for Arya, of course.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones