Sunday, December 31, 2023

600th Post and New Year's Eve 2023 Spectacular!


I was planning to write a post "Holiday Horor 2023, Part 2," which would also feature some New Year's horror, but then I noticed that not only is it New Year's Eve, this will be 600th post on this blog! So here is my 600th Post and New Year's Eve 2023 Spectacular!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Review of Reviews: December 2023


It's the week between Christmas and New Year's, that blank time filled with cheese, sugar, and not knowing what day of the week it is. I've been having fun reading, but I have been somewhat remiss when it comes to writing reviews. Lest I disappoint the small handful of humans and bots who will read this, here are my reviews of some of what I've been reading lately: Transcendent by Stephen Baxter, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee, and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. I also recently finished A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers, but I need more time to process how much I loved everything about it. I'm also returning to an old favorite, The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks, which I'm loving just as much if not more than I did when I first read it ten years ago. Anyway, on to this Review of Reviews: December 2023!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Holiday Horror 2023


Here at Examined Worlds we have a tradition of writing about holiday horror movies. I guess it's my way of dealing with my complicated feelings about the Most Wonderful/Horrific Time of the Year. It's not that I hate the holidays, really. It's just that it's all a bit much sometimes: the pressure to produce holiday magic at all times through food, cheer, and cheesy decorations, the rampant commercialization that makes you feel like an asshole if you don't buy your loved ones new cars and expensive jewelry, hearing a million versions of the same songs over and over and over and over, each one more insipid than the last ...

Okay, no need to rehash all that. On to the movies!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Dragons, Towers, and Constant Readers: The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King


The first time I read The Eyes of the Dragon was about 30 years ago. I didn't remember all the plot details reading it again, but I did remember that it's a fairy tale fantasy novel. Above all, I remembered the warm tone of the narrator who speaks directly to the reader. 

It's pretty much King's style in the little forewords and afterwords where he directly addresses his Constant Readers, only if he were telling us a long fairy tale. I loved that aspect of the book just as much or even more than I did last time. I have a clear memory of reading a particular passage in which the narrator wishes the reader a good night. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing, dear reader.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Pandemic of Revenge: The White Plague by Frank Herbert


Let's start with the obvious: The White Plague is not Dune. But it is definitely Frank Herbert: provocative, complex, dense, and oddly compelling. And yes, there are epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter.

Instead of a galactic empire 20-some thousand years in the future, we start with Ireland circa 1980. Microbiologist John Roe O'Neill loses his wife and children in a terrorist attack. And later a virus decimates humanity, or rather, half of humanity, as it only affects women. It turns out that O'Neill designed the virus as revenge, intending it to strike Ireland, England, and Libya. Of course, viruses don't respect national boundaries and it becomes a global pandemic.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Israel/Palestine: A Dialogue with Myself

Me: I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s happening in Israel/Palestine, but I’m not sure what to say. I haven’t been saying much about it. 

Me 2: But who are you to say anything? You’re not Jewish or Muslim, Israeli or Palestinian? Why should anyone care what you think? 

Me: I don’t know, honestly. Obviously, I relate to this issue differently and less personally than people more directly affected by it, or by the recent rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia here in the US. I guess maybe writing this is a way to figure out what I think? Maybe it could help others? Or they could tell me where I’m wrong?