Ripped from the headlines

  • 10.30.18 This is what the alternate timeline looks like

    10/30/18

    For centuries, genre writers have tickled their historical funny bones by speculating on what one would do if one could go back in time.
    There’s a lot of discussion about how you’d neutralize a burgeoning menace. You’d go back, figure out a way and change history for the better. Or, as “Doctor Who’ did recently, just try to make sure it stays on course:
    But there’s a seemingly equal amount of discussion about what happens if you do change the past, how it affects the future. And invariably — Back to the Future being the exception — it turns out ... continue

  • 9.06.18 Guest Blog: J.L. Gribble on Steel Time, Siamese cats, and telling us all she knows

    9/06/18

    Happy book birthday to J.L. Gribble! This week, the fourth book in her Steel Empires fantasy/alternate history series, Steel Time, is being published by Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press, and I’ve happily asked her to answer a few questions about herself, and the book, here on my blog.
    As she summarizes the series: “In a world with vampires, warrior-mages, weredragons, and sarcastic violin players, time travel seems like the obvious next step.”
    By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, ... continue

  • 8.28.2018 How ‘Sharp Objects’ ultimately lost its teeth and cheated viewers in the process

    8/28/18

    Warning: Spoilers. Oh, so many spoilers about the full season of Sharp Objects below.
    Sharp Objects, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s (Gone Girl) first novel just wrapped up its one and only season on Sunday. Having missed most of its original run, I blazed through it in just a couple of days, and let’s just say that I have issues. Many, many issues.
    Bear in mind I have not read the novel, which came out in 2006. I had read Gone Girl before it hit theaters, and watching that whole thing unspool in front of an audience that probably hadn’t ... continue

  • 8.20.18 ‘Your misfortune is my good fortune’: How Ed Sherin made ‘Law & Order’ TV’s best damn show, for a time

    8/20/18

    If you loved Law & Order, you had to love Ed Sherin. Even if you didn’t know what he did on the show (directed dozens of episodes and produced over 160 episodes of both the original and SVU) you certainly saw his name up there in the opening show credits.
    Directors and producers of TV show don’t generally get the glam treatment, but they’re essential to helming the ship (that’s why Variety calls them “helmers”) and sailing it safely into port on time, on budget (ish) and in shipshape fashion. Ed Sherin, who died at 87 on Thursday in Nova ... continue

  • 7.12.18 Why billionaires are not your financial angels, or your moral compass

    7/12/18

    Did you hear the news? Flint, Michigan’s water supply is going to be saved.
    Elon Musk said so in a tweet.
    So you know everything’s going to be all right. Cue the Bob Marley music.
    Now, let’s take a breath and understand why – even if Musk does come through on his internet promise, even if he does throw whatever sums of money are needed at this issue and everyone in Flint can finally have a basic human right of drinkable water from its municipal source – this is a not a good idea at all.
    Let’s put aside the ... continue

  • 6.29.18 ‘Westworld,’ ‘Humans’ forget to ask the big question: What does a robot want?

    6/29/18

    (Warning: Somewhat spoilery.)
    What does a robot want?
    In this time of real-world troubles among flesh-and-blood humans, I suppose it’s easier to think about robot needs and wishes, of androids dreaming of electric sheep. To consider where Westworld thinks its going, and about the hole Humans appears to have fallen into. And so ….
    As of now, I’ve watched all that Westworld and Humans have to offer, and both are based on similar tropes: robots designed to help and/or provide pleasure for humans become sentient and aware. The robot journey itself is far from new, either – Westworld iwas a 1973 ... continue

  • 6.13.18 We are officially old: Simon Le Bon is a Glamfather. Er, Grandfather

    6/13/18

    Duran Duran fans, it’s official: We are old.
    How do I know this?
    Because — as had to happen eventually — Simon Le Bon became a grandfather on June 6.
    I figure there are stages in the life of teen fandom:

    You find the object of affection (OOA)
    You lust after OOA
    You write fanfic about OOA (OK, maybe that’s just me)
    OOA gets married and you mourn and then you try to pretend to be happy because he’s happy and Idon’tcarenotreallyanymoreIcanbemature
    While meeting OOA you realize, “He’s kind of a doofus,” which is endearing but makes all of ... continue

  • 5.22.18 How To Review Your Friend’s Book in 5 Easy Steps, and Why Authors Keep Asking You To

    5/22/18

    A friend writes: “Someone close to me has self-published her book and asked me to write a review. I helped her with edits years ago, but haven’t read it since she published. It wasn’t really my style, but I was happy to help. I have no idea what to write for a review. We’re trying to sell books. I don’t think my review will do it. Any ideas?”
    I am so glad you asked this question. First of all, you’ve already done yeoman (yeowoman?) work in reading the thing in the first place, so you are already on the Good ... continue

  • 5.17.18 9 Ways I Know ‘Book Club’ Will Stink, Based on the Poster

    5/17/18

    Last night, Dear Husband and I were talking about what we might do this weekend. (We still haven’t seen Black Panther, which is a stain on our character, and that is probably what will happen.) But then he brought up Book Club.
    I’m not sure if my eyes dropped out right then or a few seconds later, but my first thought was: He might be the only heterosexual male in the world to suggest that we go to this particular film. Then my second thought was, Oh, right, he likes Candice Bergen and Murphy Brown so OK.And then I ... continue

  • 5.13.18 How a musical called ‘Chess’ keeps making all the wrong moves after 34 years

    5/13/18

    Chess is not a great musical. It is not even one of Tim Rice’s greatest musicals. But if you’ve ever heard “One Night in Bangkok” or “I Know Him So Well,” you know this: it’s got some pretty awesome 1980s-era pop music. And I love it dearly.

    How could I not? Along with Rice, the musical’s two other co-authors are members of ABBA (Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus), and based on the soundtrack – which was all I had to listen to for years, until a version came to Broadway – there was some terrific, pointed commentary on politics, greed, ... continue