Review

How ‘Horta-nomics’ can save Star Trek’s socialist utopia from the horrors of the dilithium mines

June 19, 2020

This moment — Spock’s mind-meld with the Horta in “Devil in the Dark” — is the instant when the socialist Federation of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with all its hope becomes possible. Throughout the original series of Star Trek and in Enterprise people are constantly mining stuff. We see a galaxy desperate for mineral […]

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Ellen Klages on the ‘fantastic constructs’ of her magical San Francisco

May 16, 2020

[Ellen Klages has won her share of literary awards, but the biggest prize of all goes to the reader, who gets to explore the familiar, but distinct, worlds she creates. A San Francisco Bay Area resident since the 1970s, Klages paints a sparkling alternate vision of that city as literally magical in her World Fantasy […]

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What Poe can teach us about the pandemic

May 1, 2020

But Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his crenellated abbeys.— Edgar Allan Poe, “Masque of the […]

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‘Read me a story’: Libro.fm and the rise of the indie audiobook (review)

April 24, 2020

I love books, I love stories, and I love being read to. Growing up my parents read to us almost every night, and it’s always felt like such a loving, nurturing thing when a partner reads to me. I’m a longtime fan of audiobooks, and pretty much always have one going. The right performance can […]

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Herzog in a Star Wars western? Meet ‘The Mandalorian’ (Review)

November 13, 2019

“The Mandalorian,” the first live action Star Wars TV series, is the Star Wars fan’s wet dream. It is a gritty take on Star Wars, so obsessed with the scum and villainy side of the story that it crams two cantina scenes into its first 40-minute episode. No one in this slice of the galaxy […]

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Strange transits through “The Daylight Gate” (review)

August 3, 2019

Unfailingly dire, unflinchingly bloody, full of love and license, and brimming over with real devotion and all-too-human devilry, Jeanette Winterson’s “The Daylight Gate“ is at once a history lesson, historical fiction, and a romantic tale of the fantastic. Centered on England’s first recorded with trials in the grim aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, this post-Elizabethan milieu is peopled with historical figures Winterson has made entirely her own.

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