A little boy washed up on an alien shore. A teenage girl lonely and unloved in a house on a hill. Can she save him from monsters? Such is the premise, in one sense, of Omar El Akkad's second novel, What Strange Paradise. It has fairy tale bones—children in dangerous situations, helping each other, facing … Continue reading A Strange Paradise Indeed: Review of ‘What Strange Paradise’ by Omar El Akkad
Despite a few "schmeh" moments, it's been a good year for reading. (When is it not? Because books are best.) I started out the year with Stephen Graham Jones' remarkable The Only Good Indians and since then have wound my way through everything from poetry to essays, reimaginings of myths to new stories that feel … Continue reading 2021 Reading – Mid-Year Review
Those of us who were readers of that one series with the dragons and the epic betrayals and the television adaptation that collapsed in on the black hole of its own juggernaut, know what it means to be disappointed. The last book published in that series, which was definitely not the last book in the … Continue reading The Beginning of Something
If someone would pay me to read books and talk about them, I would 100% take that job. But they won't. And even if they did, it would still be impossible for me to read all the books I want to read at any given time. There's too many of them! Which is why I … Continue reading Too Many Books! How to cope with a large TBR pile
A few years ago, when the new-and-better-resourced movie version of Stephen King's IT was about to come out, I was talking with my mom about, well, it. She and my sister had both re-read the book and then gone to see the movie. I mentioned that I was planning to do the same and my … Continue reading Going Off Book-ish: The ‘Shadow and Bone’ TV Series, a.k.a. What to do when “the book is always better”?
It seems to be a perennial question but one focused on a future we anticipate and aren't sure yet what to do with: what is humanity's ethical obligation to the consciousnesses we make? We see this question in the replicants of Blade Runner to the clones of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go to the … Continue reading But They’re Not Really People—Clones and Artificial Friends, Oh My!
Matt Haig's The Midnight Library scratches a lot of itches—speculative fiction, reckoning with life choices, learning how to human. But amongst those threads, I propose that The Midnight Library functions as low-key cli-fi, a.k.a. "climate fiction," a narrative exploring the impacts of global warming. *barely spoilery spoilers for The Midnight Library and mild content warning … Continue reading ‘The Midnight Library’ is Low-Key Cli-Fi
It's May. The trees are in full leaf and the pines stretch forth new shoots like fingernails painted in tennis-ball green. Wildflowers spring up everywhere—daisies, wild iris, lupine. There are more sunny days than grey days and many of those days have been truly warm. So why do I feel so exhausted, so languid, so … Continue reading Notions, the Pick Your Metaphor Edition
There is a new Romeo and Juliet on the block. It was meant to be a stage production by London's National Theatre but the pandemic scuttled those plans (because of course it did). Rather than abandon it altogether, the creators decided to film it as a movie, but one that avoids the trap of merely … Continue reading I Look to Like: A New ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Why Some Stories Persist
The first poster was for a dog. Fluorescent green paper with a smaller white page laminated on top of it to protect it from the Oregon rain. Picture of a small, scruffy dog. Missing.“Jimmy”Terrier mix.Skittish, do not chase.If seen, please call 541-555-1234 I began to see these posters everywhere. And by “everywhere,” I mean frequently … Continue reading Lost Animals