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{ Category Archives } SciFi

Maze Runner

Maze Runner by James Dashner Thomas wakes in a wide clearing, surrounded by boys who tell him that he’s now trapped in the center of a massive maze that changes every night and is patrolled by robotic-organic death beasts with blades and needles.  The boys know they’re being watched by the “Creators” and they get […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: Empire State’s Worldbuilder

When my students and I talk about the digital age, one of the changes we trace is the relationship between author and audience.  In oral cultures, the relationship is direct — the one telling you the story is standing within earshot, so you can ask questions and work out details together.  Literacy changes that, separating […]

Empire State

Empire State by Adam Christopher; narrated by Phil Gigante The dark and shadowy world of Empire State is kind of like New York in the late 20s, but not quite.  This tale of adventure, mystery, weird technology, and haunting atmosphere will have you running in circles, marveling at the buildings, and peering into the fog.  […]

Comics Roundup: The Spirit, Deadpool, Luthor

The Spirit: Femmes Fatales by Will Eisner I have, of course, heard about Will Eisner’s The Spirit plenty, so when I saw this collection at my library, I thought I’d give it a try.  Not a best first collection for the new reader of the Spirit.  While some of the adventures are entertaining, the book […]

The Thing (2011)

Having just seen John Carpenter’s original The Thing in January, I sought out the recent prequel, also confusingly titled The Thing.  It’s a weird prequel/remake, with an almost identical story structure to that of the original film.  In the 1982 film, we find out that a Norwegian research station had already been gutted by the […]

Comics Roundup: Judge Dredd 3 & 4, Two-Step, Grindhouse

Judge Dredd, Volumes 3 and Volume 4 by Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniel Volume 3 finds Dredd in the wastelands, trying to track down criminals to save Mega-City one from “The Big Fail.”  Think of it as “Dredd visits The Hills Have Eyes.”  It’s a delightful, if goofy, adventure for everyone’s favorite Clint Eastwood doppelganger.  […]

Farside

Farside written by Ben Bova; narrated by Stephan Rudnicki On the far side of the moon, a new observatory is building the biggest telescopes ever crafted by Man.  These massive instruments, combined with the Moon’s airless surface, and the far-side’s shelter from the brightness of the Earth, give its scientists the ability to see things […]

The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters Detective Hank Palace just wants to solve this murder.  But there are lots of things getting in the way: his colleagues and the coroner think it’s suicide, the mobile phone service is getting sketchy in his little Massachusetts town, the crime lab is backed up beyond belief, and […]

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey It’s hard to be a regular girl in a post-apocalypse world.  But in as much as she can be, Melanie has the same hopes and fears that most children do.  She likes some of her teachers, she dislikes others, she’s interested in Greek Mythology.  It doesn’t […]

Comics Roundup: Mind MGMT, House of Mystery, Codeflesh

Mind MGMT, Vol 1: The Manager by Matt Kindt Mind MGMT starts with a creepy premise — in a moment, everyone on a passenger airplane from the pilots to the passengers forgets who they are and how they got on the plane.  This kickstarts a story of spies, intrigue, and psyops with a world-spanning narrative, […]

Annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer Annihilation is the first book in a trilogy about the strange.  The premise is delightfully vague — a zone (in the United States?) has become infested with some sort of invading biology that terraforms the land around it, menaces the people living there, and brings the strange in high doses.  Into […]

Comics Roundup

All You Need is Kill adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel by Nick Matamas and Lee Ferguson – Comics have a remarkable facility for telling stories quickly — a few panels can do the work it took pages to do in a novel.  That said, All You Need is Kill feels like the poor ripoff of […]

All You Need is Kill

All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, 桜坂洋, Alexander O. Smith (Translator) Keiji Kiriya is having a bad day.  He’s being sent into battle a green, green, greenhorn rookie driving a dangerous body rig (called a ‘jacket’) against a monstrous horde of alien creatures that look like bloated dead frogs the size of whiskey […]

Covering old ground – Zero Theorem and The Incredible Hulk

Terry Gilliam’s Zero Theorem tells the tale of an idiosyncratic office drone working a data analysis job in the cyberpunk, blade-runner future of the city we first met in Brazil. (Not technically, but aesthetically.)  Not satisfied with the normal things that drive the other drones in his world, Qohen spends his time waiting for a […]

Comics Roundup: Stray Toasters, Howard Chaykin, Billy the Kid, and a few others

Some comics I’ve read recently: Avengers 1959 – Howard Chaykin’s pre-Avengers avengers tale is a Marvel-centered take on Operation Paperclip (in which the Allies recruited Nazi scientists to help win the cold war).  Nick Fury is enjoyable,and the mix of superheroes works well.  Amusing. Stray Toasters – Absolutely bonkers comic about, well, kidnapping and unrequited […]