Umberto Eco on the appeal of the cliché

Posted on Sun 24 November 2019 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, film, quote • 1 min read

When all the archetypes shamelessly burst in, we plumb Homeric depths. Two clichés are laughable. A hundred clichés are affecting–because we become obscurely aware that the clichés are talking to one another and holding a get-together. As the height of suffering meets sensuality, and the height of depravity verges …


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NY Review of Books: A Universe of One’s Own

Posted on Tue 09 July 2019 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, history, quote, sff • 1 min read

[Joanna] Russ had no patience for a genre predicated on the notion of speculative technologies but unable to imagine social institutions and women’s roles in them as freely. She would surely have objected to some of the stories in The Future Is Female. Nevertheless, nearly three hundred women writers …


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The Terror of a Future America in Vigilance

Posted on Wed 06 February 2019 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, reviews • 2 min read

Cover of Vigilance

Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett

In his latest novel, Vigilance, Robert Jackson Bennett shows us the plausible terror of an America which has utterly given up preventing gun violence and instead embraced it. In this near future sci-fi story, fear of the other has isolated the U.S.A., allowing …


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The Delirium Brief: the magical deep state is here to save you

Posted on Mon 24 July 2017 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, reviews • 2 min read

Delirium Brief

The Delirium Brief by Charles Stross
⭐️️️️️⭐️⭐️⭐️️️️⭐️ / ⭐️️️️⭐️⭐️⭐️️️️⭐️

It’s hard not to love Charles Stross’ Laundry Files series as a concept. A clandestine government agency of computational demonologists defend the world from horrors beyond space and time, all while trying to keep up with their expense reports. Magic is just applied …


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Star.Ships: Your ancestors were smarter than you think

Posted on Thu 20 July 2017 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, reviews • 3 min read

Star.Ships

Star.Ships by Gordon White
⭐️️️️⭐️⭐️⭐️️️️ / ⭐️️️️⭐️⭐️⭐️️️️⭐️

Gordon White’s exercise in using data analysis to speculatively reconstruct ancient belief systems is a mind-bending journey through our most ancient history. In this book, he tracks our species’ first departure from what we now call Africa, and the beginnings of both the Laurasian …


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Review of The Night Ocean

Posted on Thu 22 June 2017 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, reviews • 2 min read

The Night Ocean

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge
⭐️️️️⭐️⭐️ / ⭐️️️️⭐️⭐️⭐️️️️⭐️

This is a book where my opinion of it has changed the longer I’ve been away from it. It’s a strange book, and honestly its structure was nearly its undoing for me.

The majority of the book is conducted in a …


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River of Teeth, or why the hippo is my new spirit animal

Posted on Fri 02 June 2017 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, reviews • 2 min read

River of Teeth

River of Teeth

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws …


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The Mechanic Muse — From Scroll to Screen

Posted on Mon 05 September 2011 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, culture, tech • 1 min read

Great piece from Lev Grossman on the radical changes that the codex introduced into reading, specifically the ability to interact with the text in a non-linear manner. He makes a valid point that e-readers make similar interaction a clumsy affair.

I do love my Kindle, and I read a lot …


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Review: The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Posted on Sun 14 November 2010 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, horror, reviews • 5 min read

I recently read The Strain by the creative team of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan on a recommendation from a friend. I didn’t know anything about Chuck Hogan but I was of course familiar with the films of Del Toro, which I had enjoyed. It took me a …


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Review: I Am Not A Serial Killer & Mr Monster by Dan Wells

Posted on Wed 10 November 2010 in Dispatches • Tagged with books, horror, reviews • 3 min read

A review double-feature! Excitement abounds!

I just recently finished reading the second book in Dan Wells’ clever and compelling John Cleaver series, and since I’ve had an unfinished review of the first book sitting in my draft folder for the last few months, it seems like a fine idea …


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