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Showing posts from January, 2020

Recent Reading Roundup 51

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The first few weeks of 2020 have mostly involved catching up with stuff from 2019.  I've been watching a lot of TV from the end of the year (I have some thoughts on the fourth season of She-Ra and the Princesses of the Power, and the debut season of The Witcher, on my tumblr) and I wrote a summary of my reading over the just-concluded decade at Lawyers, Guns & Money.  This post has been an open tab for a while, covering books read in the later parts of last year (including several that already made it into the year's best list last month).  I'm glad to finally be able to clear it off the decks--not only are these great books that you should be looking out for, but doing so also means that I can start looking forward to 2020's reading.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - The much-anticipated follow-up to Whitehead's The Underground Railroad is a short snapshot of a novel which fictionalizes the real Dozier School for Boys, a Florida reformatory infamous for its…

Review: The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz, at Strange Horizons

My review of Annalee Newitz's The Future of Another Timeline is up today at Strange Horizons.  It's a fun novel that carries forward what feels, to me, like a mini-trend in recent SF, of stories that ask how to be achieve change in a fundamentally broken world. 
In her second novel, The Future of Another Timeline, Annalee Newitz approaches those questions head-on, following a working group of time-traveling scholars who seek to improve history, specifically for women. As in her previous novel, Autonomous (2017), Newitz uses her central McGuffin as a powerful, versatile metaphor for real social currents. In Timeline, this is the realization that history is not—as the children of well-meaning, privileged liberals are often taught at school—an inevitable progression towards greater equality, but a constant back-and-forth between those who wish to expand freedom, and those who wish to suppress it. In the world of the novel, the fifteenth amendment to the US constitution guaranteed…

Jojo Rabbit

I've grown up with the Holocaust, and with fiction about the Holocaust.  The tone and tenor of these stories has changed with my age, and with the people who exposed me to them--at school, for example, the emphasis was very much on bleak-yet-ultimately-inspirational stories of survival, usually of people who went through the camps.  But even allowing for those factors, it feels as if, over my lifetime, there has been a change in how popular culture approaches the Holocaust.  Bleak is out; sentimental is in.  Inspiration has turned into kitsch.  Everyone is looking for a new angle, and distressingly often that means prioritizing the experiences of the perpetrators of the Holocaust, or at least the people on the side of those perpetrators, over that of its victims.

All of which is to say that I greeted the news that Taika Waititi, cashing in his "one for me" card after delivering a smash hit with Thor: Ragnarok and reinvigorating its corner of the MCU, was going to make a …