Apocalypse Utah

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As with all anthologies, this one is a mixed bag. Some stories are better than others (which ones are better than which of course depends on your own personal preference). This collection features both pre- and post-apocalyptic stories. They all take place in Utah, although the setting is usually incidental. The end of the world takes different forms from Biblical punishment, zombie virus, non-zombie virus, magic, and one even features cats. A theme I noticed is that most of the stories are pessimistic about human nature. I always wonder why people in stories like this always prey on each other rather than band together against the zombies or crab people or whatever is threatening them. Continue reading

Women in refrigerators

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I recently read “eyes I dare not meet in dreams” by Sunny Moraine previously published in Cyborgology, but recently reprinted on Tor.com. It’s about dead girls climbing out of refrigerators to haunt everybody. Since I once had a dream about a woman climbing out of a refrigerator (which I used for a scene in my novel Innocence, In a Sense), I originally thought it was just a surreal dream-like story, especially since it has “dream” in the title. Continue reading

Severance Lost by J. Lloren Quill

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This book starts like a video game. Slate, who came from a small mining village, is fighting in a tournament against increasingly more difficult foes. Then he has to decide whether to join the fighters’, mages’, or thieves’ guild. He also gains abilities and magic items along the way. Slate doesn’t seem to have much agency, at least early in the book. He tends to just go along with what others tell him to do and gets by on luck. Continue reading

Impersonations by Walter Jon Williams

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In the far future, Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Shaa and most buildings are in an alien style. Some of Earth’s ancient landmarks are still intact despite centuries of neglect and earthquakes, but Earth has largely become an amusement park version of itself. Earth history isn’t even interesting to most humans since they grew up on other planets. We’re shown a future in which humans have largely forgotten humanity. Continue reading

Don Juan, Canto 2

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When we last left Don Juan, his mother had sent him away to another country after discovering he’d had an affair with a married woman. When we start Canto II, he’s sailing away on a ship. He bids farewell to Spain, his mother, and most especially Julia. While in the midst of declaring his undying love for her (saying things like “Sooner shall this blue ocean melt to air/Sooner shall earth resolve itself to sea” (II, 19) than he forget about her), the ship lurches and he grows sea sick. Continue reading

Show Don’t Tell

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Probably one of the most repeated bits of advice to writers in classrooms and workshops is “show don’t tell.” For example, rather than just telling the audience, “Joe was angry” it’s largely considered better writing to show that Joe is angry through his words or actions. “Joe slammed his fist down upon the table,” for example, would be showing us that Joe is angry without directly addressing the reader. Continue reading

The Private Eye Cliche in Jessica Jones

jessica_jones_final_posterI started watching Jessica Jones recently and I’ve got to say it’s an excellent show. In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it by revealing anything big. In this post, I mainly just want to discuss the opening scene in which we see Jessica Jones taking still pictures of a cheating spouse in a parking lot. It made me wonder, is this what private investigators actually do all day? Continue reading