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Category 'Reviews'

The Value of Dystopia

Image by Jonny Hughes/Flickr

In response to Michael Solana’s “Stop Writing Dystopian Sci-Fi—It’s Making Us All Fear Technology,” which had inspired “We Need Dystopias Now More Than Ever.”

Solana’s essential message is, “Technology is our salvation, so why do those pesky Luddites keep trying to challenge progress and scare us?” Science fiction, like life, has always contained both utopian and dystopian themes, optimism and pessimism. If dystopias are suddenly overrepresented — which I think is untrue — it’s probably worth asking why they’re so popular, and maybe even trying to learn from them.

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Good-Bye and Thank You, Mr. Bradbury

“Well, what do you make of it?”

A small boy, stunned by the circus-poster effect of the old man’s attire, blinked, in need of nudging. The old man nudged:

“My shirt, boy! What do you see!?” Continue reading

An iPad Critique

Several days ago a friend asked what I thought of my iPad. I didn’t answer right away, as we were communicating via instant message, and typing more than a few words on said device is a miserable process; and more than a few words are needed. The iPad is a marvelous device — but that only makes its flaws more profound. It’s also a political object, an embodiment of two deep and opposed forces in Apple’s corporate soul: toolmaker and marketer. Continue reading

Go Speed Racer!

Somewhere inside Anthony Lane is the little boy he once was, and that little boy is annoying as fuck and probably doesn’t like Halloween, either.
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A Minor Dilemma

The first story in Tao Lin’s Bed — entitled “Love is a Thing on Sale for More Money Than There Exists”,  in which a young-twentysomething relationship dissolves as the man slips into self-centered torpor, delivered by Lin in a smartly faux-slacker voice that nearly veils, and thus magnifies, an underlying desperation — is excellent. Continue reading

Thoughts on “Darkmans”

If Thomas Pynchon had a daughter who learned from his mistakes, that daughter would be Nicola Barker, author of Darkmans.
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Thoughts on “The Orphanage”

Guillermo Del Toro uses horror-movie tropes to set an atmosphere that is frightening, but not too frightening. A door swinging shut, a grotesque doll, a ghost child: they’re less vehicles of fear than a vernacular of suspensefulness with which to tell a story of maternal loss and devotion.
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