Book Review: Project Hail Mary

I’m putting the next installment of the Nintendo Power Retrospectives back a week to review another of this year’s Hugo Nominees before this year’s Worldcon (though after the voting deadline).

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Den-noh Coil: Anime Review

Sometimes you stumble across an anime that makes you realize that if more people had watched it the genre it’s a part of could have become tremendously different. Den-noh Coil is one of those anime series. If this show had gotten a better release when it came out, if it had gotten better exposure, this could have been a show that redefined the perception of the cyberpunk genre the same way that Bubblegum Crisis, Ghost in the Shell, and Akira did. Sadly, because of the issues with its original release, it hasn’t really hit an option for mainstream visibility until now. Hopefully the authors who need to see it will get a chance to, and will be equally inspired.

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Light from Uncommon Stars: Book Review

There is some discussion as to whether there needs to be a clear dividing line between the genres of Science Fiction & Fantasy, that a work needs to be one or the other. As someone who encountered Shadowrun during my formative years of Middle School (shortly after Dungeons & Dragons), I’ve ultimately become someone who has come to realize that fantasy and science fiction are like chocolate and peanut butter. So, when Light from Uncommon Stars came up as a book pick for the Swords & Laser book club, as I’ve attempted to get caught up on my book reading I decided to put it on my list – even more so when I saw that it was nominated for the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These – Season 1: Anime Review

A while back I reviewed the previous 100+ episode Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime (after reviewing the novels in turn). After a short break, I’ve figured now is as good a time as any to check out the Season 1 of the new series – appropriately subtitled “Die Neue These” or “A New Thesis” and see how this new adaptation of the show fared in comparison to the original series.

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The History of Science Fiction: Graphic Novel Review

I have, in the past, gotten into my appreciation of works discussing and examining works that examine the history of technology, art, and fandom, and the intersection thereof – and there is no place where those three intersect more than in Science Fiction as a genre. So, when I learned in a passing mention on the Sword & Laser Podcast about the graphic novel The History of Science Fiction by Xavier Dollo and Djibril Morissette-Phan, I knew that I needed to check it out. It is lacking in some significant ways, but they’re also ways that can be rectified in a second volume, if the creators are up for it.

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A Wrinkle In Time: Film Review

Back when I was in grade school, I read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time for the first time. I found myself drawn not only to the character of Meg – the main viewpoint character of the novel – but also, as an autistic kid, I latched onto the character of Charles Wallace as well. That and the visuals the book evoked in my imagination made me hungry for an adaptation. Indeed, one of the first stage plays I went to in a theater (and in downtown Portland no less – on a field trip) was an adaptation of the book. While I enjoyed the play, its minimalist presentation had a mixed response from me.

When I learned Ava DuVernay was doing an adaptation of the book, I very much wanted to see it in theaters – and then life happened, in ways that ultimately meant I missed its fairly short theatrical run. However, the trailers looked promising, and I did want to see it at home – and they also made me think that DuVernay would be great for the New Gods movie she was slated to direct – before that was canceled. Well, now after a significant delay, I have finally watched the movie on streaming, and have my thoughts.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2021): Video Game Review

Square’s last game using the Marvel license, Marvel’s Avengers, was a live-service game that did not fare well. Last year, however, they put out a different video game take on some of Marvel’s characters – The Guardians of the Galaxy – which focuses on the spacefaring team of heroes, and it pulls of the concept much, much better.

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Edens Zero: Anime Review

When I learned that Hiro Mashima’s next project after Fairy Tail was going to be a science fiction series, I was intrigued to see where this was going. When I learned it was going in more of a science-fantasy direction, I wasn’t exactly surprised, considering his track record. However, when I finally watched the first season of the anime adaptation of this project, Edens Zero, on Netflix, I was absolutely surprised by just how dark the show is. There will be some spoilers for the show below the cut, mainly for early episodes.

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Princess Principal: Anime Review

It felt, for a bit, like Steampunk was getting out of vogue. However, with this year’s Video Game Awards, along with a few other places, we started getting hints of Steampunk coming back to the market. However, even before this, there was a sense that much of what was marketed as steampunk was stuff that was less “punk” and more just Victorian-inspired Pulp Sci-Fi, or as the Foglios refer to their webcomic Girl Genius – “Gaslamp Fantasy”. Works that circumvented the social and political ills of the Victorian Period – not necessarily pretending they didn’t exist, but creating worlds where they could have adventures inspired by Wells, Verne, and Haggard, but without the racism, classism, and imperialism. Princess Principal, on the other hand, feels like a Steampunk Ghost in the Shell – a series that engages with the trappings of its setting and does not paint over the cracks and warts, but instead calls attention to them and works with them.

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Manga Review

I started going to anime conventions during peak Haruhi-ism. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya anime had first aired – fans were debating in which viewing order was the “right” one to watch it in, conventions had panels about how to do the Hare Hare Yukai, it was a wonderful time. As the years have gone, and in the wake of Endless Eight, and a general lack of Haruhi content, the visibility of the series has kind of faded to the background. However, the novels and the manga were still out there, so I came to the decision that if I wasn’t able to see the whole story animated, I’d read it in manga form and see how it all played out.

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Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Anime Review

I am aware that all my previous reviews of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes novels were videos first, but here I am. At long last, after spending over a decade slowly but surely making my way through the anime, with multiple false starts, at long last I have finished Legend of the Galactic Heroes, all 110 episodes of it – after having completed the novels. So, now it’s time to give my thoughts, with the context of having read the novels as well.

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Night Head 2041: Anime Review

I normally don’t review shows when I drop them, though considering my reasons for dropping Babylon in 2019, I probably should have done so. Considering that, and with how far I got in Night Head 2041, I feel I’ve watched enough of the show to make it worth reviewing. And, much like Babylon, it had done enough to draw me in, in spite of some serious red flags, that I do want to talk about it.

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Godzilla vs Kong: Film Review

The Legendary Monsterverse has, unlike the last Western attempt at doing a Godzilla film with the 1996 film, has lead from the get-go with the monster fights. Even Kong: Skull Island had the climax of the film be a fight between Kong and the largest of the Skull Crawlers. So, when the film series made it clear that yes, Kong and Godzilla were taking place in the same universe (both with the involvement of Monarch and Skull Island‘s stinger), it was clear that somewhere down the road – Godzilla and Kong were going to have to rumble. And when the time comes for that brawl, you might as well make the main event the title – Godzilla vs Kong.

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