Sep 29

My reviews this month… and last…

For September, Geek Speak is only publishing my contributions to their NPR article and the following book review of The Mists of Avalon:

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a trailblazer in many ways. Her Sword and Sorceress anthology series reshaped how traditional fantasy viewed women warriors and sorceresses. Her work led to the careers of many beloved fantasy authors such as Jennifer Roberson and Mercedes Lackey. This book is no different, it is a radical retelling of the legend, and it changed the way that people viewed the myth… These myths are now told in the vein of a clash of some kind of civilization. You see this in current TV shows like Merlin, and older miniseries like… Merlin.

I did do an article on World War Z, which I expect in October.

As for August, I first tackled Ovid’s Metamorphoses:

When a geeky kid is say, in the sixth grade and really into Roman Mythology, they get into all sorts of books, retellings for children and the like. The gods seem a little, well, crazy, but the adventures are cool and interesting…

However, nothing compares to the original, twining masterpiece. Over 700 pages long, it’s a comprehensive guide that even translated in English vibrates with intensity all the way through. The poetic turns of phrase delight those of us interested in beautiful prose. But more importantly, it’s full of sex and death and torture and ruin. This is definitely not the sanitized version of mythology. Reading it after a childhood spent reading those is akin to seeing Disney movies your whole life and suddenly being introduced to the original, written Brothers Grimm.

I also review Attack The Block, which is a great movie:

See this movie. It’s fresh and injects a newness into the alien invasion genre that was desperately needed. It provides a welcome counterpoint to blockbuster movies that may have quadruple the effects and one hundred times the budget, but have only half the character. There’s blood, action, joke-cracking, and social commentary. A person can’t go wrong, and I anticipate that this movie will be like the sci-fi version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding: an underground hit that will last far longer than anticipated, based on the rave word-of-mouth reviews of anyone who sees it.

And last, I pose a philosophical problem to Cowboys and Aliens:

What stood out to me was the irony of the film itself; I found it fascinating, the way that it put the dominant Eurocentric invader culture of America at the time on the defensive, and tried to explain to them how it might have felt to be on the other side of history, on the side of the conquered peoples. In history classes, we hear about how the Spanish conquered the Incas and Aztecs for their gold, and the only story told in that scenario is that of the conquerors. But that story is also played out here: another culture with superior technology and knowledge has invaded. How do you fight?

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