Kamala Deals With Interdimensional Wedding Crashers in Ms. Marvel: “Destined”

Another great episode. The wedding was a joy. One of the great strengths of Marvel Comics over the years is that the superhero stuff is mixed with the stuff of real life; friends, family, and ordinary challenges. And this show has that in great abundance.

It was fun watching Kamala's powers emerging on the fly. I feel sorry for Bruno, as he obviously dearly loves Kamala (he has even been learning her language), and she doesn't seem to reciprocate in kind. But that energy punch, and her concern for his safety, shows she also cares for him.

I was a fan of the Clan Destine comics, a great but short lived series created by Alan Davis, as I recollect. At first, I thought that's where they were going, as the members of the Clan had very long lives, but the djinn and multiverse stuff seems to argue this is something new and different.

Superpowers and Sacrifices: Ms. Marvel: “Crushed”

This was a wonderful episode. The show is doing a terrific job of capturing the feel of the comics.

Why “Partners in Crime” Is the Perfect Episode of Doctor Who

This episode is my all-time favorite, and you did a great job of explaining why, Christina. I can't wait to see 10 and Donna make a new appearance!

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Minefield”

This was a good, solid episode, despite not including Commander Shran, whose presence always made the show better.

Five SF Stories That Look Like Fantasy

Lord of Light was a personal favorite.  I should reread it now that I know a little more about the religious aspects. I'd probably like it even more.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Aims Straight for the Heart in Part VI

The last episode was not as much a finale as it was "now that we've had our fun, lets put the pieces where they need to be for the next installment." But that was competently done, and everyone got a nice curtain call (I especially liked Reva's redemption being what saved Luke).

It left me wanting more Obi Wan adventures, but most of all wanting "The Young Leia Organa Chronicles," just like Lucasfilms did with Indiana Jones. I could watch plucky little Leia all day long.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Has an Extremely Relevant Flashback in Part V

This one was very well done and well acted. The flashbacks gave such resonance to the narrative. I'm just sad we lost Tala so soon. And I will be sad when the series is over. I hope rumors of more Obi Wan adventures are true. 

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Carbon Creek”

Fun episode. I'm glad Jolene Blalock played T'Pol's ancestor, because she did a fine job of it.

Jo Walton’s Reading List: May 2022

For a biography of the Apostle Paul that is more rooted in history and less in theology, you might try The First Paul by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

Second Season of Our Flag Means Death Will Shoot In New Zealand, Hopefully Starting This October

I'm glad the show will be returning. It is tremendously funny, full of heart, and a pleasure to watch.

Ms. Marvel Pits Kamala’s Family Against Her Fandom in “Generation Why”

This was not a con for comic fans, like in our world. This was a con for people who are fannish about real life superheroes. So I would expect events in that universe to be different than the ones we attend.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Executes a Daring Rescue in Part IV

Trench coats are a thing in the Imperial Army, as seen in the Mimban scenes of the Solo movie.

Oops, I Just Bought a Planet: Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith

@5 For those of us who like old SF, and like to have it in well-bound books, NESFA Press is a godsend.

Ms. Marvel Pits Kamala’s Family Against Her Fandom in “Generation Why”

I was really looking forward to this because I have loved the Ms. Marvel comic right from the start. I thought it would capture the "normal teen whose life is upended by superpowers" theme of the Spider-Man comics from when I was a teenager myself, and it lived up to my expectations.

And the show didn't disappoint either. The actors are all great, and Iman Vellani is perfect (although Bruno is a bit too classically handsome compared to how he is portrayed in the comics). The humor is very good, and the story moved right along. I even like the different powers, and suspect the origin of those powers will be an interesting mystery to unfold.

I can't wait to talk about this one with my 16 year old granddaughter, who Kamala reminds me of (other than the superpowers, that is). It seems to me this one will really hit the spot for her.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Shockwave, Part II”

Thank God for T’Pol. She pretty much single-handedly added an extra star or two to the warp factor rating of every episode of this show.

Jake Gyllenhaal Is Out of This World In the Teaser for Disney’s Strange World

This looks like a pitch right into the middle of the strike zone for me. Very Flash Gordon-ish and retro!

Five Works Featuring Truly Alien Versions of Earth

I recently found a collection of Mark Schultz's Xenozoic Tales ( I think the comics were originally entitled Cadillacs and Dinosaurs). Quite fascinating post-apocalyptic adventures set in a strangely transformed biosphere. The story is good and the illustrations even better.

18 of Our Favorite Books About the Craft of Writing

@5 Count me as another fan of Bova's book, a good guide that came into my life at just the right time.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Brings the Hurt in Its Two-Part Premiere

The first two episodes were great. I totally bought into everything that was going on, and the acting and the special effects were great. I especially like the fact that they are focusing on Obi Wan's adventures with young Leia rather than young Luke. That little actress is knocking it out of the park.

Our Flag Means Death Will Set Sail for a Second Season!

The first season was a lot of fun. I tell people it is kind of like What We Do in the Shadows, but with pirates instead of vampires. I have yet to see any work by Taika Waititi that I haven't liked, so I am looking forward to Season Two. (And I also did some research, and found that amongst the fun and games, the story actually has a lot of plot points that come right out of the real life history of the pirates the show portrays.)

Obi-Wan Kenobi Finds Friends (and Enemies) in Unexpected Places in Part III

I didn't see a confrontation with Vader coming this soon, but I thought it was well played. Little Leia is definitely on a hero's journey here; you can see the brave and plucky princess of A New Hope being forged before our eyes.

Third Sister also has an arc, too, I just can't figure out what it is yet. And hopefully something will happen to help Obi Wan shake off his blues.

If the fake imeprial officer looked familiar,  it's because she was in Game of Thrones, playing the girlfriend of the guy who now plays Mando!

Five Works of Cannon SF

Wasn't there a Poul Anderson story where someone used a cannon to power a makeshift ship in an asteroid field?

(And how many of you, like me, saw that title, and immediately thought 'typo.')

Scorched With Great Heat: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

@11 Too much apocalyptic fiction in too short a time can definitely have an impact on your emotions. I remember being sick at home one day and watching Doctor Strangelove and Fail-Safe back to back. After that, I didn't want to get out of bed!

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: First Season Overview

I was surprised that folks didn't agree with me that the show got better after season 1. So I went to Wikipedia to refresh my memory. And have to agree with them. Both Season 1 and 2 were hit and miss. It was season 3, with its strong arc, where I felt the show found its legs. 

Five Stories in Which Aliens Attempt to Reshape the Earth

Gryphon, by Crawford Kilian, is a favorite alien invasion story for me. Humans have already reshaped the solar system, but the aliens have a plan to reshape every known world.

She-Hulk Knows That Channeling Rage Isn’t the Ticket in First Trailer

I hope they can capture the sheer fun of the She Hulk comics. The character is at her best when the writers let her revel in her powers, and not view them as a curse. If Hulk powers were lemons, Bruce would be moaning about them, while Jen would be sipping at her refreshing drink.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Shockwave”

I saw Enterprise in syndication on SyFy. They didn't show the episodes in sequence, and I started the show in midstream. That caused me to miss the Temporal Cold War until I was well invested in the show, which was good, because I  hate the Temporal Cold War arc.

Stranger Than Sci-Fi: How Science Nudges Fiction Into New Frontiers

I remember when the Washington Post review of the movie 2010 took exception to the depiction of aerobraking to enter Jupiter orbit because (I kid you not) there is no air in space. I wish I had clipped that review and saved it, as I'm sure it was corrected in later editions.

Dance, Transcendence, and the Unknown: Spider and Jeanne Robinson’s Stardance

@2 The idea of the space entrepreneur, depicted by Carrington in the book, has definitely entered reality with folks like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. 

@5 As the old song says, "Everything old is new again."

This Serious Moon Knight Finale: “Gods and Monsters”

I was absolutely sure they had left too many balls in the air going into this finale, and that the ending would be a hot mess. But I was happily wrong. There was plenty of action, but not so much that it turned into the traditional MCU CGI punch-fest ending. The acting was great acrosss the board. I loved Layla becoming Taweret's avatar, and becoming a superhero in her own right. And I loved the Marc/Steven camaraderie. The final Harrow psychologist scene was jarring, but then turned into a perfect twist. And the post-credits scene was great. Moon Knight has never been a favorite character of mine in the comics, but the filmmakers left me wanting to see more adventures.  

A Bleak Reunion Looms in the Obi-Wan Kenobi Trailer

Every additional smidgen of the story they share with us just looks better and better.

Outlander’s Season 6 Finale Tells Too Much and Doesn’t Show Enough

It was a very uneven season, with telling replacing showing all the way through. I am hoping the problems stemmed from COVID restrictions,  and will be in the past when the new season airs. 

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Desert Crossing”

Clancy Brown is the acting equivalent of your favorite spice, there on the shelf to rescue dishes that might otherwise be a bit dull.

After 10 Years, Gravity Falls Is Still as Funny and Heartfelt as Any Show on Television

Thanks for this review. Gravity Falls is a wonderful show, something anyone who enjoys animated entertainment should see. I was initially drawn in by the quirky little adventures, which I did not at first see in proper order. The more I watched, I realized that every episode, however independent it seemed, was building an overarching narrative. I loved every character, but identified with Dipper the most, as he reminded me of my young teenaged self, scared of yet attracted to girls, and passionate about geeky stuff that most of my peers thought strange. All the main characters were great; the artsy Mabel, cranky and mysterious old Grunkle Stan, the friendly but unattainable Wendy, and stolid and loyal Soos. And the wacky and weird townspeople were not just background, they were all fascinating in their own right. The stories were so well crafted, compelling, funny and enjoyable. The series was like a giant puzzle box, unfolding into something wonderful and fascinating.

I am generally not one to indulge in cosplay, but I enjoyed the show so much that I bought a Dipper ballcap and wore a Dipper-inspired outfit at Disney World so I could meet other Gravity Falls fans. They were few, but very passionate about the show.

Consumerism Run Amok: The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth

@10 The character who ended up as a company-provided companion after Mitch disappeared was his secretary. The text was not explicit, but if you read between the lines, you could see what her new role entailed.

Consumerism Run Amok: The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth

I wrote the review just before Earth Day, and ended up looking at the day with a whole new perspective.

Memory Palace, or Prison? Moon Knight: “The Asylum”

I thought the episode was great. My wife, on the other had, did not like it a bit. She is very literal, and this episode was surreal to say the least.

I think in the next episode,  which has to return to the real world somehow, will show Marc displaing some of Steven's knowledge and mannerisms--Steven is not gone, he has been reintegrated.

They left a lot of heavy lifting for that last episode!

Knife Fights, Lockpicking, and Other Things That Helped Me Become a Better Writer

I recently read that Fred Pohl joined an ad agency as a copywriter because he wanted to make his novel The Space Merchants more realistic.

 

Lightyear Inches Closer to Launch With a New Trailer

This is one of the oddest movie premises I have ever seen, but I love Buzz, and trust Pixar and Chris Evans to make it work.

Mummies! Hippos! Ominous Goats! Moon Knight Gives Us Everything in “The Tomb”

This was a great episode, with all sorts of twists and turns.

I was really hoping they would open sarcophagus #3 in the asylum, so we could meet the (apparently even more murderous) third personality.

I imagine that the waters Steven/Marc are sinking into will have some sort of healing properties, so he can make his return.

Where did the MacGuffin he pulled out of Alex's throat go? Does Layla have it? Or is it in his pocket, sinking into the water with him? Or was it dropped (I hope not) so Harrow can pick it up?

The actors are absolutely on top of their games, selling a narrative that might seem ludicrous in other hands.

Four Characters Who Prove There’s More to Life Than Being Super Smart

Louis Wu was just a spoiled and privileged rich guy, in over his head from the start.

Eleven Irresistible Musical Numbers From Animated Movies

Everyoe of a certain age was introduced to classical music by, "Kill the Wabbit, kill the wabbit."

Life of Brian: The Gospel According to Monty Python

I was just at a friend's funeral, where she wanted pop songs played instead of hymns, which ended with "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

Khonshu Pushes the Sky Away in Moon Knight: “The Friendly Type”

@8 I thought the candy was a marshmallow. It looked too white and squishy to be halva. But now that you mention it, the taste of halva has emerged along with lots of happy memories from the delis my dad used to take me to, and I realize I have not had halva in far too many years. 

I definitely got the impression that at least one of the blackouts, there was yet another personality taking over the body shared by Marc and Steven.

Even though they've found the temple, it is apparent they are a long way from gaining access.

This episode was a bit more disjointed, and I agree with others that Google would have been easier than using the heavens themselves to compute ancient star positions, but I am liking where things are going.

Accidental Adventure: Adrift in the Stratosphere by “Professor” A. M. Low

@1 I like that explanation! 

@5 Rockets, even retro-styled rockets like Stubby, have come a long way since the 1930s! 

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Detained”

I must have missed this episode, as I certainly would have remembered a guest appearance by Dean Stockwell!

Five SF Novels Featuring Different Kinds of Wormholes

Nice to see a mention of Michael McCollum, a great author who deserves to be more widely read.

The Mirror Cracks in Moon Knight: “Summon the Suit”

This show is extremely well crafted, and Oscar Isaac is outstanding in his two roles. Ethan Hawke also deserves credit for selling a villain who thinks he is on the side of good. 

Who would have guessed a superhero show would have contained such a nuanced discussion of good, evil and free will. And it was the meek Steven that cut right to the heart of the matter.

Revisiting Long Book Series

I like a long series of books, as long as it is made up of novels. What I dislike are book-length installments that don't contain a complete story within their pages, especially those that end the book with a cliffhanger ending.

Rating 15 of the Best Time Travel Movies Ever Made

I'm glad you solved this, once and for all. Assuming someone reading this doesn't go back in time to fix some of the movie flaws you mention. Then all bets are off.

Five SFF Stories About Lawyers and the Law

I'll second the mention of Piper's Little Fuzzy. In addition to being a fun adventure story with cute aliens, it is a thoughtful look at how accurate and reliable lie detectors could impact jurisprudence.

Mack Reynolds had a number of stories looking at how gladiators and mercenary conflicts could be used to resolve disputes between corporations and nations. It takes a jaded view of the world to think this would be a better system than legal arguments, judges and juries.

A Meet Cute with Ammit in Moon Knight’s Pilot “The Goldfish Problem”

I'm not big on psychological horror, so this one isn't exactly my cup of tea,  but it was very well constructed, and Oscar Isaac did a great job. I'm looking forward to see how it unfolds.

The Borders of Science: Neutron Star by Larry Niven

@16 Niven had a knack for creating truly alien aliens. They were definitely not just humans with different features, they thought differently, acted differently and had unique biologies. I can't speak to how plausible the biology was, but the characteristics he came up with were always distinctive. Puppeteers, Kzin, Moties, Slavers, etc, they all stick in your mind.

The Borders of Science: Neutron Star by Larry Niven

@3 I'd forgotten about the "Soft Weapon" plot being used for the Star Trek cartoon. But as soon as you mentioned it, the recollections came rushing back. Kzin and Star Trek was an odd mix.  

@5 I was a big fan of Analog as a youngster, but the older I get, and the more widely I read, the more I understand why my dad also subscribed to Galaxy.

@9 Yes, the stories you mentioned are from Tales of Known Space. I've also gotten the two collections mixed up in my head from time to time.

@7, @10 While Niven was so plausible on other issues, even when he played with the boundaries of physics, I always felt the FTL systems he portrayed were less satisfying, especially the explanation of why humans had to be in the loop.

 

 

And So We Make an End: The Andre Norton Reread Reaches Its Conclusion

Thanks for this wonderful column on a wonderful author. While I didn't read much of Norton's fantasy, I adored her science fiction.

Narrative Sleight-of-Hand: The Trick of Writing Multiple POVs

I am currently writing a novel with a co-author, and the whole book is made up of scenes, some short, some long, from differing viewpoints. The book is about a war that takes place across a wide area, with many adversaries, and the multiple viewpoints definitely help to convey that scope. Sometimes I wrote each person's separate story as an individual thread, and then stitched them into the overall narrative, which worked pretty well. Now that things are pretty much assembled, I'm searching the document for names, to ensure each of the person's scenes, or mentions in other scenes, fits the overall narrative, and the character is presented consistently. Some of the viewpoint characters are carefully developed, while others are there simply to observe an event that might not otherwise be mentioned. We are now in the process of stitiching together the final draft, and it is pretty darn tricksy at this point. I've never done anything this complex before, but it seems to be coming together.

The multiple viewpoint format is not for the faint of heart, but it does offer some nifty possibilities in terms of seeing both sides of a conflict and doling out information in a way that keeps the readers engaged.

Good Things Come in Small Packages: The Fabulous Flight by Robert Lawson

Oooh! Danny Dunn books and The Enormous Egg. Those are names I've not heard in a long time. And a book about a mysterious mushroom planet also tickled my memory as I thought back on those old favorites. I'll tuck them away as ideas for future reviews that take us on a trip down memory lane.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Fusion”

I remember this episode as being unsettling, but remember the following episode a bit better. So I'll save my comments for that review.

Ms. Marvel: The Next Marvel Superhero Gets a Super-Charming Trailer

This looks wonderful. I enjoy the Ms. Marvel comics because they remind me of Spider-Man comics from the early days; stories of teen angst, but with superpowers.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Means to Bridge the Gap Between Ewan McGregor’s Pain and Alec Guinness’ Calm

Depressed lead characters can be awfully tricky to deal with. Look at how focusing on the traumas Civil War veteran John Carter had gone through weighed down the movie of the same name. And how the stresses of combat haunted Commander Sinclair in the first Season of Babylon 5 (he was replaced the next season by Captain Sheridan, a much more upbeat character).

That being said, showing how a person moves from despair to hope can make for a very powerful story. If they can carry it off, we will be watching something very special, a far more important issue than "when does Obi Wan's hair go from brown to grey?"

Jedi Hide From Inquisitors in First Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Trailer

@6 Thanks for the Inquisitor backstory,  I always thought they originated on the Rebels show. Thinking of West End Games makes me sad. I had been accepted to write gaming materials for them just before they went bankrupt. So close, yet so far.

@11 Maybe this is a different Grand Inquisitor,  and Obi Wan lops his head off in the grand finale, creating a job opportunity for Jason Isaacs.

Andrew Stanton’s Never-Made John Carter Sequel Would Have Revealed the Secrets of Mars

I enjoyed this movie. I agree that it could have been streamlined. In the book, we didn't know anything about John Carter's backstory, and it worked just fine. In the movie they added the traumatic loss of his family, and his grief just weighed down the proceedings. There was so much to like about the movie. The visuals were good, the cast was solid, and the action sequences were engaging. And Woola was a great sidekick. It's too bad it wasn't marketed better.

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