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Showing posts from October, 2018

Review: The Haunting of Hill House at Strange Horizons

My review of Netflix's miniseries adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House is up at Strange Horizons today.  I ended up feeling deeply conflicted about the show.  Like many Jackson fans, I was initially dismayed by its decision to rip out the original novel's story and replace it with something in which only a few character names and details are recognizable.  Then I was won over by the excellence of this substitute story, and the way it combined supernatural haunting with thoroughly mundane family drama and the effects that unacknowledged tragedy can have on families.  And then, as the series's storytelling started groaning as it approached its conclusion, I started to notice how its deviation from the novel reaches much further than changing the plot, to a complete misunderstanding of what Jackson was trying to do with her story, particularly when it comes to gender.  The Netflix version of Haunting prioritizes male characters and treats women as tr…

First Man

[A version of this post appeared yesterday at Lawyers, Guns & Money]

So, here's something you may not know about me: I love stories about solar system space exploration. I love fictionalizations of the mid-century space race like Apollo 13 and the miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. I love hokey disaster movies in space like Gravity and The Martian. I have even voluntary sat down and watched absolute garbage like Defying Gravity, Ascension, and The First, simply because they were about the slow, complicated process of getting into space. Hell, I'm one of the few people who does not think Interstellar is completely worthless, mainly because the middle segment, set on a spaceship and focused on the characters having to overcome so many practical and technical challenges, checks every one of my favorite tropes.

Why do I love space stories so much? I love them because they satisfy my craving for competent, thoughtful protagonists. I love them because their heroes are usuall…