Category: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Expanse Season Five: Episodes 1-3

“Exodus“, “Churn“, “Mother”

Possibly the best thing that Jeff Bezos has ever done is bring The Expanse TV series back from the brink of extinction simply because he wanted to see more of it. The insane whims of billionaires should always be pointed in that sort of direction, because it is the one that bears the most fruit and hurts the fewest people. Though it has been recently announced that The Expanse ends (or “goes on hold”) after season six (out of a potential nine), we’ve got two entire books worth of story to tell. 

Season five is based largely on Nemesis Games, the book where shit gets real. A lot has happened in the series to date, but this particularly story raises the stakes to an intense degree. In the first three episodes of Season Five, handily released together before the show switches to a weekly onslaught, we have the prelude to all bets being off – and, with some of the changes afoot, not even a dedicated book reader can see all of this coming.

The initial set of Expanse coverage does not contain heavy spoilers – this is subject to change as the season progresses. This piece should be pretty safe if you’ve seen up to the end of season four – and can handle cryptic references to the book series.

Book Review: Ancillary Sword — Ann Leckie

What happens when you concatenate something that had taken place over thousands of years across a galaxy into a short hop through a space gate and a visitation to a space station and a planet which practices slavery in all but name? You have Ancillary Sword, the compact second instalment of the Imperial Radch trilogy. Now Ann Leckie is wasting no time, and she’s straight to business: one way or another, the Radch must go.

Book Review: Ancillary Justice — Ann Leckie

In 2013, Ohioan debut author Ann Leckie cleaned up all of the major science fiction awards with Ancillary Justice, a slow burn, pseudo-gender-neutral, dual timelines, interstellar space opera that spans thousands of years. It makes sense, even without looking at the other titles it was against, but Ancillary Justice is not to every taste.

Book Review: Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel

You may have noticed that there are things happening in the real world, hopefully outside your window, and that you will never have to venture outside again. Station Eleven is (was?) due to become an HBO series starring Mackenzie Davis and Himesh Patel this year, so it was already on a reread list. 

This particular reading of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven commenced after things had kicked off globally and ended the day before “shit got real”, as Danny Butterman has been known to say. Station Eleven is a novel about a global pandemic, for certain, but it has something that the real global pandemic of 2020 currently lacks: hope for humanity.

Book Review: Tiamat’s Wrath — James S.A. Corey

The Expanse is back. It may have been delayed four months, but four months is as nothing when you realise that fifty years of story time have passed since Leviathan Wakes was published in 2011. Tiamat’s Wrath is the second entry in the third and theoretically final trilogy in the series, but it is not a bridge, it’s a ramp: everything is dialled up to eleven in anticipation of book nine, and things are ready to explode. Tiamat’s Wrath takes the reader on a wild, crushing journey, and is sure to upset devoted followers for all the right reasons.

Book Review: No Way — S.J. Morden

Modern science fiction authors, realising that they have yet to receive their flying cars and that their electric cars are distributed by a libellous megalomanic Bond villain, have set their sights on the most vaguely obtainable goal: Mars. In No Way, the sequel to One Way, S.J. Morden revisits Frank Kittridge moments after he became the last man standing on the red planet. One Way is a damning indictment of capitalism’s propensity to ruin everything, so it’s no surprise that a corporation would be so bold as to try to get the jump on our second nearest neighbour.

Book Review: Nightflyers — George R.R. Martin

There was a time when George RR Martin was a somewhat prolific writer. Before he was sitting on a large pile of money and an even larger writer’s block, Martin wrote a little bit of everything: short stories about psychic rats; novels about Southern vampires long before Sookie Stackhouse; a fantasy history of a fake band. Nightflyers is his psychic science fantasy horror novella. 

Prometheus

Someone has been waiting for Prometheus for 33 years. I hope they’re not disappointed. Me? Please, I’m only 26. Regardless, I’m satisfied. Others might not be so happy, but I don’t care: it’s my movie. They don’t need it, and they can’t have it.

Prometheus is kind of an entry in the Alien canon. It’s actually pretty unambiguous about that, but some people will want to ignore the various “clues” – that is, the names of entities featured in later Alien films, the designs inspired by Giger, the … Well, the everything. This is an Alien film, with echoes of the original and with something new besides. It’s not the evolution that Aliens represented, nor the declension of the latter two films. It’s its own film, and a hard film to classify at that.

But it’s good. It’s good.

Ghostbusters

“Bustin’ makes me feel good!”

Ghostbusters is legitimately one of the greatest films ever made. I like it more every time I see it, and I get more out of it each time I see it. There is something about it that simply works, whether it’s the encapsulation of New York City in 1984, the special effects that still hold up 27 years later, Bill Murray, Rick Moranis or simply its flawless script. The only element that is not all there is the soundtrack, which features a bizarre Ghostbusters swing on two occasions.

 

Still, this is a brand of perfection and it endures for that very reason. Not for Ghostbusters is the endless mystery of enduring popularity; Ivan Reitman, in his days of talent, laid his cards on the table: Ghostbusters is flat-out great.

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