Dear Authors: I’m Begging You to Stop Epiloguing

One of my favorite books when I was younger was Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. It had everything a girl with my interests could have hoped for: a plucky heroine, rebellion, a fantasy setting, court intrigue, epistolary romance… I adored it. When I got to the end of the book, however, I discovered something strange.

The last ten pages of the book promised a never-before-seen addition to the story. Excited to read more about Mel and Danric and the rest, I eagerly turned the page… to discover that the addition was a trite and honestly embarrassing epilogue. It was tooth-rottingly saccharine, and turned the kickass protagonist into a wilting flower too nervous to talk honestly with her husband. I didn’t have much of a critical eye at age eleven, but even then I knew it was a shitty writing decision. So why are so many authors going the way of the epilogue now? It’s terrible in so many ways, and it needs to stop.

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Just. No.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

We’re going a little deeper into the archives of science fiction this week, to pull out the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The black-and-white visuals and Cold War imagery give the movie a dated effect, but I’m realizing how distressingly relevant the underlying message still is.

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At the top level, the movie is a satire of mutually assured destruction and nuclear war. A rogue American general named Jack D. Ripper, consumed with paranoia, orders an unprovoked nuclear strike against the Soviet Union, and a fleet of bombers take to the air.

When news of the strike reaches President Merkin Muffley, he descends to the underground War Room, joined by the maniacal General Buck Turgidson, the Soviet ambassador Alexei de Sadeski, and the title character, a nuclear scientist from Nazi Germany now serving the United States. De Sadeski reveals the existence of a Soviet Doomsday Device, which will automatically destroy all life on Earth with a cloud of radioactive gas if an atomic strike on the USSR is detected. The Americans and the Russians work together to recall the bombers, but one, piloted by Major T.J. “King” Kong, has been damaged and cannot receive the radio signal, and prepares to deliver its payload.

Earth’s last hope is the failure of Kong’s bomb, spray-painted with the name “Hi There!”—which jams in the bay. But the dedicated pilot climbs on top of it, and jumps up and down on it until it deploys. Kong rides the bomb to the end of the world, gleefully whooping and waving a cowboy hat in the film’s most famous scene.

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Anonymous submission to MakeAGIF.com

The Americans pause for a moment of silence, before planning to resume the Cold War after the apocalypse when they emerge from their bunkers. The credits roll with a montage of mushroom clouds set to Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review

Mockingjay Part 2 Poster with Katniss on FireI can’t say that I was completely blown away by the final installment in The Hunger Games franchise. The movie felt a little choppy, jumped around in a few places, and had a habit of throwing characters at us without any kind of proper introduction. As Mockingjay was the only book in the franchise that I didn’t finish reading in its entirety, I found its second installment to be the most confusing of all the movies. I knew how it was going to end and I knew which characters were going to die beforehand thanks to Wikipedia, but I shouldn’t have had to rely on that in order to know who people were.

But fear not, people who really want to see Mockingjay, I would not say that the movie is all bad. Sure, it’s choppy and rushed, but it still had all the excitement that I had come to expect from it, and there were more than a few places that caused me to jump a little in my seat.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at Mockingjay Part 2. Spoilers up ahead.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Teen Sex! Teen Sex?

Being just that sort of person who reads feminist critique for fun, I devoted part of my poolside reading while on vacation last week to Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a collection of essays about the author’s struggles with the label of feminism and why she claims it nonetheless. One of these essays touched on Gay’s near-fanatical love of the Hunger Games series; in it, she pointed out how downright laughable it was that, in a trilogy where children are brutally murdering each other, it’s apparently not okay to show anything but kissing. This got me to thinking: when is it good to go a little further, as it were, in media portraying teenagers or aimed at teenagers in regards to sex, and when is it weird or wrong?

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Gregor the Underwhelming Overlander

I’ve been making an effort recently to read some of the hundreds of unread books I own. And because I reasoned that it’d be easier to read through the stuff for younger readers first instead of tackling, like, Crime and Punishment, I decided to pick up the first book in Suzanne Collins’s Gregor the Overlander series. (Yes, The Hunger Games’s Suzanne Collins wrote a lighthearted middle grade fantasy. I was surprised, too.)

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Motherhood in Geekery

goodmorningcronoThis post is quite obviously two days late; Mother’s Day has come and gone. I’m-a apologize for that, but it kind of goes to point I want to make: mothers and motherhood get remarkably short shrift in pop culture in general and geek culture in particular.

For the most part, moms just don’t exist. Where they do, they’re either saintly and loving, or creepy and weird. Archetypes without full characterization. Which is all to say, it’s time we do better.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Villainy and Hope

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Darvasa, aka the “Door to Hell” in Turkmenistan. (image via wiki commons)

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, he tells us that above the gates of Hell is written the phrase: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Hell is the final punishment for evildoers. The idea is that once you’re in Hell, there’s no hope for change or redemption, so you sink into despair. Hell is supposed to be the worst of all possible consequences. Hope, on the other hand, is supposed to be the thing that keeps you going even when times are tough. Many religious people hope for a pleasant afterlife for themselves and divine justice for all. Hope is one of the most powerful motivators, sustaining people through the worst of circumstances. But it’s precisely that kind of power that makes hope such a dangerous weapon in the hands of a villain, and why any Hell-on-Earth must include some modicum of hope.

Spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games below the jump.

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