The Dark Knight: apologia for Dictatorship or Insanity, take your pick

Repost of Dark Knight Review (originally published July 2008) If you haven’t yet seen the film, Dark Knight, please do that first before reading this post, because you will definitely spoil the “tension” of the plot, assuming there is any. For some reason this film is a runaway hit, with critics pissing all over themselves […]

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Judge Dee Burns Up the Screen

Went to see the new Tsui Hark film “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” [狄仁杰之通天帝国] at one of the downtown shopping centers in Taipei and loved it! Apparently, the only showing in America so far has been at the Toronto Film Festival in September where it was reviewed as a return to […]

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Chad Oliver on cities and the alien next door…

It was at a Boskone panel two years ago that Howard Waldrop and George Zebrowski turned me on to the works of Chad Oliver.  I’m just getting around to reading an old copy of Shadows in the Sun (Ballantine Edition, 1954) which is literally disintegrating page by page as I read it.  What an amazing […]

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Clearing the Minefields of Self-Indoctrination

Pleasantly surprised to discover Indoctrinaire, the first novel by Christopher Priest, a tale of strange foreboding and paranoia, wrapped up in altered states of consciousness and alternate realities.   The protagonist, Dr. Wentik, finds himself forcibly recruited from his scientific research post beneath the South Pole, and whisked away to the Planalto District of Mato Grosso […]

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Planetary Agent X and False Democracy

At first, the survey of political systems in Mack Reynolds‘ interstellar spy novel, Planetary Agent X, seems quite whimisical and superficial.  There are planets full of anarchists, and planets crawling with feudalism, nihilism, socialism, and what have you.   There are some playful jabs at democracy, individualism, and even the tyranny of the uninformed voters (a […]

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Galileo vs. the Church: aren’t we past the Inquisition, yet?

Sophia and I were lucky last night because our friend, MaryAnn, scored some great tickets to the Preview show  of  “Two Men of Florence,” the first play by Richard Goodwin.   We ended up in the first row center orchestra seats, actually, right in front of the author.  Thanks, MaryAnn! It’s an intriguing play, which pits […]

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Burnt By the Sun, Screaming Into the Ether

Went to the opening of an exhibit called Arts of Subversion, Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, which is a very nicely curated show that explores the lives of artists under the opressive fist of totalitarianism.   The most shocking aspect of the exhibit, which of course is deliberately unstated, is the feeling of creeping […]

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