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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The Akudama of Akudama Drive; Clockwise from Top: Doctor, Courier, Brawler, Cutthroat, Hacker, Hoodlum. Not pictured: Ordinary Person/Swindler

Akudama Drive: Anime Review

We occasionally get new Cyberpunk anime every now and then, though usually, the protagonists of those series have some degree of… license by the establishment. The Major in Ghost in the Shell is a government agent. So are the protagonists of Cyber City Oedo 808. The Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis are superhero mercenaries who contract with the government. Rare are the cyberpunk anime that have protagonists who work for hire, not only outside the law but in violation of the law. Akudama Drive is one of the series that fits that theme, and utterly nails the concept.

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Reviewing Works From Problematic Creators: Editorial

In the past I have reviewed several works from creators who are problematic, whether having previously committed sexual assault (David Eddings), or who have said very racist things and have endorsed genocide by a totalitarian dictatorship (Cixin Liu and the Chinese government’s oppression of Uyghurs), so it’s time for me to have something of a discussion of what goes into decisions of what I’m reviewing going forward, and my policies for reviewing works from problematic creators.

Also, for the record, Trans Rights are Human Rights. Black Lives Matter.

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Matter: Book Review

Matter is my first step into the world of The Culture. I’ve heard bits and pieces about it through a variety of other sources, from the absurd ship names, to the concept of Outside Context Problems, to the absurdly high tech level – but I’ve never actually read a novel in the universe. While Matter is not the first book in the series, it is a pretty good jumping on point to the series.

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