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bastards Books entertainment film movies Review

Set texts for the lockdown

I noticed, early in the lockdown, how certain film topics seemed to be creeping up the lists of recommendations on the platforms. There was Outbreak, something called Pandemic (bit on the nose), 93 Days, The Forgotten Plague, and, of course, Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh film with the stellar cast that had completely passed me by. […]

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entertainment Review Television

Devs vs. Westworld

Sooner or later, science fiction comes down to the question of what it means to be human. The situations and settings vary, but the question is one of the oldest we have: the ontological debate between free will and determinism. Philosophers, religionists, and scientists have all approached the problem in various ways. We are biologically […]

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entertainment Review Television

Upload (Amazon Prime): actual science fiction

Huh. I read a couple of reviews of this series and they were lukewarm at best, and yet I found it really enjoyable and burned through it in a couple of nights. Now suffering bingewatch remorse. As ever my tastes are off beam in comparison to the critical opinion in the quality press, but I’ve […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

My first problem with Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear is that although I read and enjoyed it, I just had to look up the title before I could review it. My second problem is that it has a subtitle: A White Space Novel. As an SF reader of long standing, this gives me the heebs, […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

This, for once, is not a sleep diary entry but a review of something I’ve wanted to read for a while, a science fiction mystery novel which was nominated for a number of major awards (though didn’t win). I didn’t buy it immediately, however, because The Incomparable podcast was only lukewarm about it, and it […]

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Books entertainment

I’d read a million words like one of your nerds…

Fi and Jane were talking and Fi mentioned she’d read about 4 or 5 books over the summer, and Jane was impressed. At around 80,000 words per, that’s about 400,000 words, so, yes, very good. At a rough estimate, I read just over a million words over the summer holiday. Three quarters of them were […]

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Books entertainment Review

To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

This was one of the cultural highlights of the summer for me, a new novella from Becky Chambers, who has previously published three delightful novels (none of which were particularly long) in her Wayfarers series. This one is not from the same series and comes in at about half the length of a standard novel […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Year’s Best Science Fiction, 7th Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois

Yes: 30-year-old science fiction. I’ve been pondering lately the future of the Year’s Best collections, as published by St Martin’s Press and edited by Gardner Dozois for 35 years until his death last year. Will they continue? I think the answer is probably not. By now, you would usually be able to pre-order the latest […]

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bastards entertainment Podcasts

Space. Forced.

I’ve been struggling for podcasts lately, perhaps because my AirPods make it so convenient to listen at times when I might otherwise not be able to, and so they run out — especially towards the end of the week. For example, I find AirPods quite comfortable to wear in bed, and so I’ll often hear […]

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entertainment Review Television

Counterpart — Review

~spoilers~ One of the most haunting films I ever saw was Who?, which was a Cold War movie about a scientist who was injured in a car accident and abducted by the East Germans. Later, he is returned to the West, but has undergone such extensive surgery that the Americans don’t believe he is their […]