Thoughts on speculative fiction. Join in the conversation on books, television and film. I review everything I read or watch from the world of the imaginative and the fantastic.

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December 22, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get Over LOST [review and musing time]


It may have taken about seven months since the airing of the Season Finale, but I have finally come to terms with the unresolved mysteries left in its wake. All over the internet you easily find blogs, forums and sites listing the many questions that went unanswered, despite the fact that the Lost team made the choice to end the series early and wrap everything up well, instead of dragging it out. After reading one such list, and considering my own response to the finale upon its airing, I felt that maybe the answers were better left unsaid, and here's why...

December 21, 2010

Firefly - You can't take the sky from me [review by starlight]


Embarking on an unfinished 14 episode stint in a sci-fi television show may be unattractive to both regular nerdling viewers and the main stream, but whether you regularly sink your teeth into 20 year spaceship journeys or prefer to keep your feet firmly on Earth, Firefly is definitely worth your attention for a mere half-season at the least. You can put aside your Battlestar or your Gossip Girl for a week or two and find out why the premature end of this cult favourite is bewailed by watchers everywhere.

December 20, 2010

The Untimely Demise of Heroes [review and musing time]



I was a Heroes fan until the very last. I never gave up on the show, and watched every episode weekly, no matter how little hope there was that it would really come back. The first season was excellent, and the ideas were always there, but the show got progressively worse. There are many negative things I could say about Heroes, and the show has obviously gotten many negative reviews before it was dropped at the end of its fourth season, but I am going to focus on the positive in the hopes that I can bring other Heroes fans to grieve with me.

December 19, 2010

In Defence of the Herbert Syndrome [just musing]



Some may argue that the underlying force guiding authors of multiple novels set in the same universe is that of monetary compensation. As a life-long reader of science fiction who is still working on the Dune and Wheel of Time series’, I would say that this motive is over-simplified at best. If a universe still has possibilities for commentary on the nature of our world, why shouldn’t it be used to tell more stories about the human race?

December 18, 2010

I've read Twilight. [review time]

Good cover design. Bad writing.
That's right. I went to a bookstore, stood in line, paid close to $13, and spent a couple precious hours of my life turning the pages of the first book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series. And I was not disappointed. It was exactly what I expected it to be. A page turner that creates an ideal soap-opera love interest, often described as perfect and god-like, who falls desperately in love with a normal, nothing special whiney teenage girl. And of course he’s so enraptured by this pathetic nobody that he can barely keep himself from eating her. She just smells so good.

As a Fantasy reader I really have to comment of the gimmicky-ness of the use of the Vampire in this story. Sure, Meyer is using the tradition of the sex predator consuming an innocent young woman, but she’s also destroying the legend for no reason other than to tell a sappy love story. He’s a vegetarian. Please give me one good reason why a soulless being that thrives off sucking human blood would just decide that it’s ‘wrong’.

Random thought [musing time]

As a person learning English as a second language,
how do you keep straight the words
lead, lead, led,
read, read and red?

There's a really faulty pattern here.
Present tense to lead, lead (the metal) the noun, past tense led,
Present tense to read, past tense read, red the colour.
See what I'm saying?

Magical Realism as a more ‘Literary’ Genre - One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [review time]

Nobel Literature Prize winner  1982
What is it that gives One Hundred Years of Solitude its critical acclaim, where many high mimetic fantasies go unrecognized? This book kept me delightfully shocked and appalled with its depravity and bleakness, but what makes it more ‘literary’ and likely to be studied in a high school English class then the charming tale of a wizard going off to defeat his arch-enemy? Is fantasy silly and childish? Because the Buendia family is reminiscent of a never-ending chain of eight-year-olds playing in a sandbox and fighting like savages over whatever their hearts desire. Harry Potter is more mature than Jose Arcadio. This is the story of the lost boys never growing up, but in this story their bodies mature and they have adult desires that they gratify however they can, whether it be with their aunt or a donkey.

Layout Revision [renovation time]

It's come to my attention that my sci-fi theme isn't really working for me. I believe I've written very few sci-fi reviews in the past year. I had my sci-fi phase and while I still have some good cyberpunk on my reading list, my heart belongs to Fantasy. Expect a new theme and layout, and you may even see the Psychotic Android disappear forever. Stay tuned.

The Way of Kings Final Reaction [review time]

The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.

The Way of Kings is a very promising beginning to a hopefully long and enduring fantasy adventure. It's exactly what I've been looking for. It's lengthy, and much of this first book is introducing the characters and the world, but those characters are interesting. Fascinating. Remarkable. And I can't really do them any justice without spoilers because its all about their secrets. Just trust me on this.

Sexual Undertones in Harry Potter [review by starlight]


I found the new Harry Potter film to be really unremarkable. It was what can be expected from a movie that stops in the middle of a plot arc. This allowed them to keep most of the material, which always makes me happy, but as a stand-alone film I don't think it works.

One of few things that interested me about the film was the sexual undertones. I've stated my opinion on the romance in Harry Potter before. It's the biggest flaw in Rowling's writing, the one area where she digresses from the necessary action to indulge the fantasies of preteens. Not interesting to me at all. But I found the movie incredibly sexual in a way I never picked up on in the books. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

December 17, 2010

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe [review time]


A horrifying atmosphere can be created by playing with the imagination and expectations of the audience. Poe introduces his horror piece with the traditionally frightening motif of darkness. Fear is a result of the unknown - that which lies in darkness - and establishing that darkness immediately is crucial to the horror text. The story itself cannot begin until it has been established that there is a setting that will permit a supernatural occurrence. The narrator then opens the door to find “Darkness there, and nothing more” (Poe 24) suggesting that the narrator expected to find something “more” waiting for him.

December 16, 2010

Lighting and Music in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) review time



Darkness is a technique found throughout the horror film genre. Low lighting is the first hint towards the possibility of supernatural events, and the introductory scene takes place, almost without exception, at night. In Nightmare on Elm Street, the initial dream sequence is dark, taking place in an unknown and unfamiliar setting, where a solitary young girl is lost. From the first scene there is a tension between familiar horror elements (the darkness, the vulnerable teenage girl, the sense of being preyed upon) and estranging elements (the surreal location, the maze of Freddy Krueger’s dream-world, and the initial shot of his knives). The darkness in horror films is often accompanied by a return to normalcy, where the characters have to deal with their fears in the light of day, and are perhaps lulled into a false sense of security. The opening scene of the movie is clearly a nightmare, but the following scene is in the brightness of day outside a high school.