All posts tagged: geek

Review: Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (2015)

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books / film / role-playing games

While it may have laid down roots in the late Sixties and Seventies, with the blockbuster success of films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Omen (1976), or with the resurgence of interest in occult matters after the founding of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, the “Satanic Panic” is really a relic of the Eighties. It was a time when such seemingly innocuous things as rockstars prancing around in tights and big hair, half hour toy […]

Review: Humans 3.0, by Peter Nowak

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It’s easy to get worried about the future sometimes. Climate change, an unstable economy, terrorist groups, government spying on its citizens, the combined impact of all this can really get you down, especially if you’re an avid consumer of cable news. In the grand scheme of human history, though, we’ve actually got it pretty good right now, especially in the increasingly irrelevantly-named “developed world”. In the “developing world”, said development is occurring at a staggering pace, especially in […]

Review: A Once Crowded Sky, by Tom King

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books / comics

“Remarkable … the would-be heroes of Watchmen have staggeringly complex psychological profiles.”—New York Times Book Review Sometimes I think the above quote, which ran on the cover of Watchmen trade paperbacks for years heralding its literary merit, is symptomatic of a movement in the public perception of comics that has done more harm than good. Not to delve too far into this theory of mine, but in the almost thirty years after Watchmen, the signifier […]

Review: Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It, by David Ewalt (2013)

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books / role-playing games

Musical Accompaniment: “Ready to Roll”, by Flashlight Brown I’m not entirely sure for which audience David Ewalt’s Of Dice and Men was written. Is the book intended to be picked up by absolute newcomers to the concept of Dungeons and Dragons, or tabletop roleplaying altogether? Is it supposed to be of interest to people who already play, but are interested in the story of the game’s creation? Or is it for readers interested in a memoir of a […]

Late to the Party: Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman (1992)

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I’d heard about Anno Dracula for a long time before actually getting my hands on it. When I was in high school, one of the big genres I liked to read was alternate history. I worked my way through Harry Turtledove’s work up to that point (Guns of the South and Ruled Britannia were especially good), devoured Philip K. Dick’s masterwork The Man in the High Castle, and found one of my favourite short stories of […]

Review: The Fictional Man, by Al Ewing (2013)

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books / comics / film

Here’s another fun Hollywood-centred novel to add to my recent reading, alongside Zeroville, Beautiful Ruins and Night Film. In a world just a few steps away from our own, cloning technology has advanced to the point that living, breathing humans can be crafted out of traits culled from a fictional work. Hollywood is eager to jump in on this innovation as it saves them having to think too hard about casting people for roles, and by […]

Review: Low Town, by Daniel Polansky (2010)

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books / film noir

In Rigus, capital city of the Thirteen Lands, the detritus, down-and-outers and addicts all live in the old part of the city, Low Town. It’s a place where you can satisfy whatever craving you have, as long as you’re willing to deal with the constant risk of violence, plague and corruption. The enigmatic rogue and war vet known only as “The Warden” has made Low Town the seat of his narcotics empire, having rose to […]

Review: Bleeding Edge, by Thomas Pynchon

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books / film / film noir

As some of my friends from university who I subjected to drunken attempts at getting them to read The Crying of Lot 49 might attest, trying to condense a Thomas Pynchon story into a short synopsis is a bit like trying to explain math to a cat. Here goes: Maxine Tarnow is a fraud investigator from New York’s Upper West Side circa early 2001, who’s officially lost her license but doesn’t really seem to mind all […]

Notes on MAN OF STEEL (spoilers)

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comics / film

As it looks like I’m probably not going to be able to record a proper Spoiler Show episode about Man of Steel, the new Zack Snyder/Christopher Nolan Superman movie, I decided to get a few of my thoughts down here, before I forget. One the whole, I’d rate the film 3/4 stars. There were quite a few things I really enjoyed about the film, a few I found a little concerning, and a few I […]

Sitting in the Dark With Strangers 2012: Part Two

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film / sitting in the dark with strangers / the spoiler show

Continuing on with the big list of movies I saw this year (Part One here). There’s a few here I might not be able to summon up a lot to say about, so please bear with me if that’s the case. 30. Ted I was over Seth MacFarlane by the time Family Guy came back from its initial cancellation on FOX umpteen years ago. This didn’t really do a lot for me, even though it […]