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Showing posts from September, 2011

Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2011 Edition, Part 2

Happy 5772, everyone!  Let us ring in the new year with more reviews of fall TV pilots!  The second week of the new season has been a bit quieter than the first, with fewer shows that I found something to write about (not listed here are Charlie's Angels, which is atrocious but not even hilariously so, Prime Suspect, which is nicely done but rather pointless given the existence of the original, and Suburgatory, which is cute but probably not my thing, plus I can't get over how much the lead has been made to look like Emma Stone).  From here on in it's a slow trickle of new shows all the way into November, a few of which sound promising, but I think it's telling that even those shows that I've liked this year, such as Revenge and Pan Am and Terra Nova below, have fallen into the trashy fun category, not the smart and thought-provoking one.  No one, so far, seems to be making that kind of show this year.
Pan Am - I didn't say anything in my last write-up about The…

Strange Horizons Reviews, September 19-23

As well as my own review of Torchwood: Miracle Day, this week sees the publication of Duncan Lawie's review of Dancing With Bears: The Postutopian Adventures of Darger and Surplus by Michael Swanwick.  Duncan's project is to discover whether the novel, in which Swanwick expands on his short stories featuring the titular pair of con-men and rogues, has more to it than the sense of whimsy that characterizes those stories.  On Friday, Karen Burnham looks at two novels, Redwood and Wildfire, a historical fantasy by Andrea Hairston, and Galore, a more mimetic historical novel by Michael Crummey, and notes the similarities in their discussion of women's power in their settings.

The Strange Horizonsfund drive is going into its final week still far short of its goal.  If you can, please consider helping the magazine continue to publish stories, poems, articles, columns, and of course reviews. The list of fund drive prizes has also been updates: the new prizes are listed here.

Shou…

Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2011 Edition

Well, here we are again.  Summer seems to have flown past and now the fall pilots are upon us, this year in a flood of new shows that nevertheless doesn't seem to have yielded too many winners yet.  Even leaving out the genuine turkeys (Whitney, The Playboy Club,Unforgettable), there aren't yet any shows that I'm genuinely excited by, and only a few whose pilots have left me intrigued.
Ringer - Two episodes into this show, you really have to hope that the producers are paying Sarah Michelle Gellar a lot of money, because I doubt that anyone who is continuing to give Ringer a chance is doing so for its merits, which are few.  The only reason to stick with Ringer despite its tepid and often nonsensical writing, thin characters and lackluster dialogue is the faint hope that the show will pull it together and provide Gellar, who since the end of Buffy has been absent not just from TV screens but from most movies except some small, unimpressive indie efforts, with a new and long…

Review: Torchwood: Miracle Day

My review of Torchwood: Miracle Day appears today at Strange Horizons.  Spoiler: I did not like it, but even worse than that, I found it boring.  In my review I try to touch not just on why Miracle Day didn't work, but why Torchwood failed to hold on to the huge leap forward it made with Children of Earth.

And a reminder that the Strange Horizonsfund drive is still going, and that prizes are going to be raffled off among contributors.

Strange Horizons Reviews, September 12-16

Hannah Strom-Martin reviewsWelcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands, the latest installment in the shared-world anthology series, this time edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner.  She's pleased by what she finds, but wonders if the anthology's tone is less edgy and confrontational than the Bordertown setting pretends to be.  Michael Levy is impressed with Lavie Tidhar's Osama, an alternate history in which the title character is the hero of pulp novels in which he carries out exciting terrorist attacks, arguing that the real Osama's death will not dull the novel's relevance or sting.  T.S. Miller is equally impressed by Peter S. Beagle's latest collection of stories, Sleight of Hand.

And a reminder that the Strange Horizonsfund drive is still ongoing.  There are also new prizes that will be raffled off among contributors.

Shoutout to Erin Hodges.

On the Fringe

I've been trying to figure out how to sum up my reaction to Fringe, and after giving the matter some thought what I've concluded is that Fringe is a good show that is also incredibly badly written.  The second part should need little explanation.  "From the writers of the Transformers films and Star Trek, with guest appearances by the writer of Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, and Lost in Space" is hardly a guarantor of quality.  But what I find interesting about Fringe is how very closely its flaws concentrate around the meat and potatoes of writing--on plot, character, and dialogue--and how that concentration leaves space around the edges for a surprising complexity that will almost certainly curdle into nothingness by the time the show ends, but which for the time being makes the show almost worth a look.

Fringe kicks off with FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) being recruited to the titular division, which investigates crimes whose method or circumstances are st…

Strange Horizons Reviews, September 5-9

Niall Harrison and Nic Clarke kick off this week's reviews with two views on the recently-concluded first season of Game of Thrones, Niall from the perspective of someone who hasn't read the books, and Nic as a fan of the series.  Both end up with a mixture of praise and reservations.  This is followed by two reviewer debuts: Nandini Ramachandran looks at M.D. Lachlan's Fenrir, the sequel to Wolfsangel, concluding that it is perhaps too similar to its prequel for comfort, and also wondering about the depiction of Vikings and the Norse myths in popular culture.  Molly Tanzer, meanwhile, is disgusted, but in a good way, by Nick Mamatas's Sensation, a horror novel in which giant, super-intelligent spiders inhabit human bodies, but the true horror is to be found elsewhere.

Also, a reminder that the Strange Horizonsfund drive is still going.  This week there are some new prizes to be raffled off among contributors.  Please consider donating or publicizing the fund drive.

Sh…

Strange Horizons Reviews, August 29-September 2

This week, Strange Horizons reprints Pat Cadigan's 1991 story "Home by the Sea," with an introduction by Tricia Sullivan and a retrospective article on Cadigan by Tanya Brown.  The reviews department joins in the fun with two pieces: a review of Cadigan's 2000 novel Dervish is Digital, by Nader Elhefnawy, and an essay about several of Cadigan's short stories from the 80s by Matt Cheney.  Kicking off September's reviews, meanwhile, is Sarah Monette with a review of the essay collection Teaching Science Fiction, edited by Andy Sawyer and Peter Wright, which Sarah finds interesting but hobbled by a failure to define what science fiction is.

September is also the Strange Horizons fund drive month.  The main fund drive page is here, and a list of prizes to be raffled off to donors is here (and updated throughout the month).  If you're able to, please consider donating, and helping to keep Strange Horizons--and its reviews department--going strong.

Shoutout to …