science fiction

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin – Book Review

I’ve heard a lot of good things about N. K. Jemisin and I was impressed with this imaginative science fantasy novel, the first in her Broken Earth trilogy, even if I felt that it succeeds on a world-building level far better than characterisation.

The story takes place in a land called the Stillness, a bitterly ironic name for the world that’s plagued by constant seismic activity, and regularly experiences near-extinction apocalypses that are referred to by its inhabitants as the Fifth Seasons. Any settlement (or comm as they’re referred to in the book) can be certain that, sooner or later, it will be destroyed by earthquake, tsunami, volcanic activity or extreme climate change. In people’s imagination, Father Earth hates their very existence and does everything to wipe them off its face for good, but so far the human race has managed to pull through every cataclysm, even when the entire individual civilisations perish.

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The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin – Book Review

I read this remarkable landmark sci-fi novel all over again immediately after I finished it, which is exceedingly rare for me. I simply wasn’t satisfied with my first reading, which happened in short bursts separated by long periods of time; this is a kind of richly detailed and imaginative book that’s best appreciated by immersing yourself into it for a while.

Science fiction is a perfect medium for exploring “what if” scenarios, and the thought experiment in The Left Hand of Darkness goes like this: what would a human society look like if people had no fixed gender, and male/female dualism didn’t exist?

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Alien: Resurrection – Film Review

I’ve always had a soft spot for this black sheep of the Alien franchise, probably because I can never hate a movie that’s so utterly bizarre. Since I’ve re-watched Alien 3 recently I thought I might go back and bask again in its weird, awkward, misshapen glory.

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Alien 3 – Film Review

My usual stance on this movie is living in Denialville; lalalalala not listening, Ripley, Newt and Hicks made it back to Earth and lived happily ever after with Jonesy the cat. For whatever reason, recently I felt an urge to revisit this dour and divisive entry in the Alien franchise, maybe because watching Alien: Covenant gave me a new appreciation for the installments that at least attempted to do something different.

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