It was the last night of camp, and a particularly large bonfire was built for everyone to gather around, toast marshmallows for s’mores and sing camp songs for the last time while the music counselor played her acoustic guitar. The stars were terribly bright, the moon was full, and the hum of nocturnal insects was a constant backdrop beneath the songs and conversation. Friendships forged over lanyards and canoes were promised to continue—visits over school vacations! letters!—but really everyone was saying goodbye tonight, everyone was flashing their smiles in the flickering light of the fire for the final time. Continue reading →
The next time I go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. If it’s not there, then I never really lost it to begin with. ~Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
Of course, Samantha Sylvan wasn’t expecting to make a momentous discovery in the backyard on that sultry summer day. Would anyone, especially if that anyone was a wisp of a girl of a mere seven years, prone to an overactive imagination, but not so overactive that she expected miracles to rain down on her like so many fat, glossy raindrops. Continue reading →
It is so incredibly difficult to make a good film about time travel. The successful ones live forever: Back to the Future, for example, hits everything right, while setting a standard for the genre. Many other time travel films miss the mark, by leaving gaping plot holes, or by messing with time so much so that it becomes a mess itself. I won’t name any names – but the movie that just popped into your head? That’s probably the one I’m thinking of.
And then there’s Predestination, a time travel film done so incredibly well it left my jaw hanging on the floor long after it had ended. A movie that messes with your mind so much that you wonder if you even had a mind at all.
This movie is almost impossible to review without spoilers, so this review will come in two pieces; spoiler free, and the full intense review. Continue reading →
He felt a bit like he was about to be a geologist, digging through sedimentary layers, each a specific epoch. He was rather proud of his usual ability to keep things in order, but the attic was Waldo’s one organizational weakness, the dumping ground for things he did not feel like dealing with and stowed away to be faced at some vague later time that never seemed to come. Continue reading →
My latest British sci-fi obsession on Netflix Instant is Black Mirror, a dark science-fiction anthology series that recently added its second season to Netflix Instant.
Black Mirror is like The Twilight Zone, brought forward to the age of social media and smart phones. Most of the stories are set in a very recognizable near future, with one or two tricky technologies that have evolved from current technology and subtly broken the society in “chaf”Charlie some way. The first episode, “The National Anthem,” could easily take place today, with characters inspired by Kate Middleton and British PM David Cameron. “Fifteen Million Merits” is the furthest afield. It seems to take place after an energy crisis that reshaped society into Brave New World plus The X-Factor, gamification, and porn ad pop-ups. Continue reading →
Independence Day. Her dad had woken her up at 9 for the parade, when the Texas air was already humid enough to cut into thick slabs. Now they were sitting on the curb, the backs of their necks sticky with sunscreen, watching the high school band march by. Screeching as it turned the corner, the first float of the day came into view—a giant, papier-mache slice of watermelon, complete with seeds as big as her head. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce stood circled on the platform around it, waving slowly. She was young enough to wave back. Continue reading →
Edward Ka-Spel’s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy!Continue reading →
The fact Guardians of the Galaxy won me over is quite remarkable considering the attitude I started out with. I remember shaking my fist at the sky, full of feminist ire, as I proclaimed “How can they say Wonder Woman doesn’t have enough wide market appeal, then green light a movie about a cybernetic raccoon?” A dear friend of mine, and an expert in comic book nerddom, pointed out that one is DC and one is Marvel, and the rights are owned by different studios. I find that to be nearly irrelevant when I lump together all the “powers-that-be” into one man in a suit shaking his head “no.” But the fact of the matter is, my feminist ire was misplaced (but came in handy later on when protesting the very real lack of toys celebrating the kick-ass lady alien this movie made me care about).Continue reading →
She was dashing between the awnings, pausing under the brightly-colored plastic, flapping madly in the wind, for protection from the sudden downpour. The heavy, foreboding slate-gray clouds had rolled in out of nowhere, and Main Street was packed with unknowing passersby, their heads ducked uselessly against the onslaught, the collars of their soaked jackets pulled upward, rushing to the warmth of home. The clattering thunder rattled her teeth as she made another sprint, her pocketbook clutched firmly against her chest. Forks of lightning, chiseled and sharpened by some scowling ancient god, split the sky into jigsaw puzzle pieces. Continue reading →
The instant I found it, I knew. I could tell exactly what it was, why it was there waiting to be discovered by me half-buried in the dirt underneath a park bench.
It was a terribly angry blood-red, and it was pulsing. It was misshapen, and full of hairline cracks. I knew that if I split it open, it would release the pain that was in store for me for the rest of my life, all at once. But then—then it would all be over with, and I could be safe. That was what I hoped, anyway. Continue reading →