Westworld Season 3

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As we’ve come to expect from Westworld, season 3 brings us more violence for the sake of violence. It felt like every episode had at least one scene in which a robot slaughters half a dozen humans or so. Sometimes, just to mix things up, the robots kill other robots.

We get it. Robots are really good at killing. Also, in case you didn’t realize how cool murder is, they usually play high-energy music during the mass murder scenes. And of course, all the humans have about as good an aim as your average stormtrooper. Continue reading

Warmer

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Warmer is a collection of short stories published by Amazon concerning climate change. I haven’t read any of these authors before, but I’ve liked other Amazon collections, so I thought I’d give it a try. Some are literary stories taking place in the present, while others are sci-fi stories taking place in the future. Continue reading

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

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“If you were a diabetic and you didn’t have money for a hit of insulin, would you steal to get the money? Or just die?”

A Scanner Darkly is one of my favorite movies, so I thought it was time I read the book. It’s about a futuristic drug called Substance D that either kills people or permanently destroys their brains after a while, but because it’s addictive, users keep using it anyway. Philip K. Dick himself was damaged by drug addiction and bases some of the characters on friends of his, some of whom died due to drug use, so he knows what he’s writing about. Continue reading

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson

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“He keeps complaining that the Singularity isn’t working out the way he’d hoped. I think part of what disappoints him is just how damned bureaucratic it is. So many lawyers. So many meetings.”
When I was a teenager, I was a huge fan of Neal Stephenson. I read his early novels Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Zodiac at least half-a-dozen times each. However, it’s been about 20 years since I last read something by him. (Wow, that suddenly makes me realize just how old I am.) I think the reason I stopped reading Stephenson is his novel Cryptonomicon. While it was good, it was a struggle for me to get all the way through. (It’s not exactly the type of book you read over and over again.)

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True Detective Season 1

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I saw the first season of True Detective recently. I can see why everyone was raving about it. I think it’s undeniable that most of Rust Cohle’s best lines are cribbed from Thomas Ligotti, although at least one was taken from Alan Moore. It was interesting that the villain was into Chamber’s King in Yellow mythos, but I feel like there were a lot of missed opportunities. Rust Cohle has synethesia and sometimes gets acid flashbacks, which could have made this a pretty trippy series, but these aspects of his character don’t really get explored. I did like the scene in which an old man talks about the good old days and his son-in-law says, if the good old days were so perfect, they never would have changed. (I wonder who that line was cribbed from.)

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Mommy Blog Z: Picky Eaters

I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know my story, “Mommy Blog Z: Picky Eaters”, has just been published on Every Day Fiction! It’s basically what the title suggests: an entry from a mommy blog on how to deal with a child who is a picky eater. Oh, and it takes place during the zombie apocalypse.

It currently has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, which I think it pretty good and there’s a couple comments on the story already. One comment reads: “Wonderful, I was laughing the whole way through!” and another commenter called it a “clever clear story.”

Be sure to check it out, and if you like it, be sure to leave a rating or comment of your own.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

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“There are things which only madmen fear because only madmen may truly conceive of them.”
Thomas Ligotti’s writing is quite reminiscent of H. P. Lovecraft’s in many ways. They both like to use what I think of as “thesaurus words” like tenebrosity and Piranesian, making many stories feel like the author values style over substance. Their narrators are often academics steeped in occult lore who come to realize humans are insignificant on a cosmic scale. They both have a preoccupation with dreams and cults. Neither feature very many female characters.

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Thoughts on COVID-19

These are crazy times, right? We haven’t had a do a wide-scale quarantine like this since the 1918 Flu. It’s good this sort of thing doesn’t happen more than once every 100 years or so. At least we can learn from the past. Looking at the 1918 Flu, we know social distancing does slow the spread of the disease and saves lives. It might need to last months, but that’s better than ending it early. The most important take-away is we’ve been through this before, we can go through it again. Plus, we have much better medical technology now than we did then, so it likely won’t be as bad as 1918. Continue reading

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2 by G. Willow Wilson

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In many ways, this is a typical superhero comic with people not guessing the secret identity of the hero even though it should be obvious, the main villain starting out as a friend, gratuitous cameos from other superheroes, and so forth. Also, as a middle-aged man, I don’t exactly fit into the target demographic since it’s about a high-school girl with high-school problems like falling in love for the first time and going through the awkward transition into adulthood. (In fact, her shape-changing superpower makes a great metaphor for the bodily changes teenagers go through.) Continue reading

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote

This is a basic haunted house story, but I really liked it. It starts, like many similar stories, with the main character seeing things other people don’t, so her sanity is questioned and so forth. However, the fact the main character is a Muslim makes the story stand out from other similar stories and it does a great job building tension by having racism and paranoia divide the neighbors of the apartment building from each other. Continue reading