All posts tagged: review

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 […]

Late to the Party: The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes (2013)

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books

In 1989, a university student and aspiring journalist named Kirby Mazrachi is horribly attacked and mutilated by a would-be killer while walking her dog on the beach of Lake Michigan in Chicago. Her attacker seemingly disappears into nothingness, and by 1992 Kirby finds herself slowly becoming obsessed with tracking him, using the resources available to her via an internship at the Chicago Sun-Times, and her friendship with a retired crime reporter named Dan Velasquez. Meanwhile, […]

Late to the Party: Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser (1969)

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books

Musical Accompaniment: “The Rake’s Song”, by The Decemberists Harry Paget Flashman is basically a real asshole, but he’s an entertaining one to say the least. After getting kicked out of Rugby School in the late 1830s for “excessive drunkenness”, the young, rich and completely cowardly Flashman joins the army in relative peacetime with the hopes of getting a nice easy job with a pension (the uniform’s attractiveness to the opposite sex is a nice bonus). Unfortunately for […]

Review: The Mystics of Mile End, by Sigal Samuel (2015)

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books

The study of the Tree of Life is one of the most hallowed and important facets of Jewish mysticism. The allure of “climbing” the tree, of learning more and more and eventually ascending into another form, is so enticing, that the study of this branch of Kabbalah is for the most part only allowed to be undertaken by married men over the age of forty. Such is the danger of losing oneself to the beautiful […]

Review: Consumed, by David Cronenberg (2014)

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books / film

Musical Accompaniment: “The Purple People Eater”, by Sheb Wooley “Electronic stores in airports had become their neighborhood hangouts, although more often than not they weren’t there at the same time. It got to the point that they could sense traces of each other among the boxes of electric plug adapters and microSD flashcards. They would trade notes about the changing stock of lenses and point-n-shoots at Ferihegy, Schiphol, Da Vinci. And they would leave shopping […]

Review: Humans 3.0, by Peter Nowak

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books

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: Mort(e), by Robert Repino (2015)

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books

Mort(e) opens after most human beings on the planet have died. The Queen of the Ants has spent millennia planning for this eventuality, with her masterstroke coming in the form of a DNA upgrade for the planet’s animals, who gain sentience and strength before attacking their masters in a world-spanning conflict with no name. Mort(e), whose slave name when he was owned by the Martini family was Sebastian, is a grizzled war veteran, a special […]

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: They Came From Within (Second Edition), by Caelum Vatnsdal

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books / film

When you think of a quintessentially “Canadian” film, what is the very first thing that comes to mind? Maybe a windswept Prairie scene, a dilapidated old farmhouse and a family tragedy somehow involving land exchanging hands? An NFB documentary, perhaps, about our country’s vast Northern wilderness, spiced up with some bear, moose or mountain goat action shots? Young men forced from their homes to look for work after economic collapse, headed towards either Toronto in […]

Review: Will Starling, by Ian Weir (2014)

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books

There’s something about the idea of surgery that captures our imaginations. The idea of a person who holds a literal knife’s edge between life and death for a helpless mortal, who’s either tied down or unconscious on a slab? Both of these scenarios hold their own horrors, making this the stuff of great drama. Far from the rich, professional class they embody today, the history of surgeons is until the 20th century pretty barbaric; practitioners […]