Skip to main content

Essays and Reviews

Essays:

Reactions on Utopias vs. Dystopias
The Dorsia Brevia Solution
Thinking with Portals
To Buy A Ticket
Where'd All the Aliens Go?
Cosmic Horror Reading Guide

Reviews:

Castles in the Sky: Cloud Atlas
Further Thoughts on Interstellar
Variations on a Theme: Review of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading Response to "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Reader Response to “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Morgan Crooks I once heard Flannery O’Connor’s work introduced as a project to describe a world denied God’s grace. This critic of O’Connor’s work meant the Christian idea that a person’s misdeeds, mistakes, and sins could be sponged away by the power of Jesus’ sacrifice at Crucifixion. The setting of her stories often seem to be monstrous distortions of the real world. These are stories where con men steal prosthetic limbs, hired labor abandons mute brides in rest stops, and bizarre, often disastrous advice is imparted.  O’Connor herself said of this reputation for writing ‘grotesque’ stories that ‘anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.’ This is both a witty observation and a piece of advice while reading O’Connor’s work. These are stories about pain and lies and ugliness. The brutality that happen

All Words Are Made Up

The title of this post (and the panel I’m participating in for Arisia 2019) come from a random exchange between Thor and Drax in last year’s “Infinity War” movie. It’s what Thor replies when to Drax when the always literal-minded hero doubts the existence of Niðavellir its forge. It’s a funny throw-away line and the title of this post because I think there’s always been a bit of defensiveness on my part when I add some invented vocabulary to a story of mine. Nidavellir from Avengers: Infinity War (2018) The art and craft of inventing new languages has a surprisingly long history. A 12th century nun by the Saint Hildegard is credited with one of the first (sadly incompletely recorded) constructed language. There was also a period during the Enlightenment when the creation of ‘philosophical languages,’ meant to resolve age-old problems and reshape society, were the vogue. Gottfried Leibniz, for example, tried to a create a language that was logically self-consistent. The task prove

The Meaning of Terraforming

Terraforming is the process of turning a terrestrial body to an environment more suitable for human habitation. There are three planets in our own solar system that commonly mentioned targets of this process in order of increasing viability: Jupiter's frozen moon Europa, Venus, and, of course, Mars . A considerable amount of research has gone into whether or not terraforming is achievable or practical. One can also easily find debates on whether or not terraforming is morally or ethically supportable. A significant portion of the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson revolves around just that question. Moholes, genetically engineered lichens and deliberate meteoroid strikes are all described as techniques to add a few more millibars of atmospheric pressure, a few more degrees of heat to a cold, dead wasteland. I'm less sure of the thought given to what terraforming means in literature such as Red Mars. When an author or director or screen-writer includes terraforming