Tag Archives: Reviews

Hopeful Science Fiction: Semiosis

Last June I blogged about my desire to read more hopeful science fiction. Since then I’ve talked about Woman on the Edge of Time and The Lovely Bones. Today I’m back with another suggestion.

If you have recommendations for future instalments of this series, I’d sure like to hear them. Leave a comment below or send me message about it on Twitter.

Semiosis

Sue Burke’s Semiosis is a 2018 hard science fiction novel about colonists from Earth who travel to a distant planet in hope of making it their permanent home. The storyline followed the original group of explorers as well as their descendants for several generations. They knew almost nothing about the planet they named Pax  before they arrived there, so preparing in advance for what they were about to experience wasn’t easy.

Nearly every chapter in this book showed how the most recent generation in this timeline adapted to the many challenges they faced while attempting to survive on a planet where RNA, not DNA, was the building block of life. Generally, one chapter was assigned to each new generation as they came of age and began making decisions for their community.

Th experiences of the first generation were promising. The land was covered in vegetation, much of which their scans showed was safe and nutritious for humans. They quickly began attempting to build shelters and adjust to the many differences that came with living in such an alien environment.

Plot-Based, Not Character-Based

As you might have already guessed, this was a plot-based novel. Since each section more or less introduced an entirely new cast of characters (based on how many members of the previous generation had managed to live to see old age), there wasn’t a great deal of time for any one character to steal the spotlight.

I normally have a strong preference for character-based stories, so I did need some time to adjust to the fact that I would only have a short amount of time with any of the fascinating people I met as one generation was slowly replaced by the next.

Given how long it took the original group of immigrants to realize that many of their assumptions about what life on a distant plant would be like were completely wrong, it made sense for the whole adventure to unfold slowly over the courses of multiple lifetimes as new generations built on the knowledge their parents and grandparents had painstakingly put together. No individual human could ever live long enough to gather all of the clues they did over such a long period of time.

However, I would have liked to see more continuity between the generations. I understood why the lifespans were shorter for humans, especially in the beginning, but I spent so little time with the many characters that I didn’t feel like I bonded with any of them. They were there in one scene and then sometimes gone in the next.

Persistence

There are many details about the plot that I can’t share with you without giving away huge spoilers. Needless to say, the characters in this book were surprised over and over again by what life was really like on their new home in just about every way you can imagine. The food obviously didn’t taste anything like food does on Earth. Calibrating what was and wasn’t dangerous on this planet was hard for them, too, as well due to how little they knew about life on it ahead of it.

All of their previous training was useful, but it couldn’t have possibly prepared them for everything they were about to experience. They had no way to contact Earth, leave Pax, or receive any additional supplies, so they had to figure out ways to keep going no matter what happened to them.

The first generation had some really rough experiences due to a string of bad luck and not having the right types of supplies at critical moments. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. There were conversations about ordinary things like unpacking the ship or how to decide when to switch from the food they brought with them to scavenging for a fresh dinner. I especially loved the characters’ contagious excitement at finally getting to explore the land without having any idea what they might find there.

Mixing those moments of grief in with all of the other emotions they experienced was a nice touch. It reminded me a lot of what happens in real life when someone is dealing with a difficult problem but also still has to do totally mundane things like sweep their floor, plan dinner, or take their pet for a walk. Life is hard sometimes, but it still goes on.

This feeling returned once they realized there was an intelligent life form on that planet that all of their previous scans of it had failed to pick up. I couldn’t stop reading once I reached this section, and it only got better from there.

The Big Picture

There are two reasons why I’m recommending this as a hopeful science fiction read.

Number one, we’ve all had days that were so frustrating or painful they felt like they’d never end.

This book could describe a day like that and then zoom out and see how that experience mattered (or didn’t matter) in the longterm. There were questions asked early on that didn’t receive answers until decades or even generations later.

There’s something comforting in seeing that pattern play out over and over again. What doesn’t make sense to us now might make sense years from now. Alternatively, it might fade away and not be meaningful at all after enough time has passed.

Number two, things did improve for the characters over time. The tragedies they experienced were real, but so was the hope they found as they adjusted to the challenges they faced and figured out how to look after themselves long after all of their Earth supplies had run out.

What hopeful science fiction stories have you been reading recently?

The Unforgiving Dead: A Review of Winchester

Winchester was originally mentioned in my to-watch list in this post. So far, I’ve also reviewed Into the Forest, Annihilation, and Coco from that list. A content warning for anyone who is sensitive to this topic: this film does contain a few brief references to the death of a child, but I will not be discussing that part of the plot in this post. This will otherwise be a spoiler-free review. 

The real-life Sarah Winchester lived from about 1840 to 1922. (The exact year she was born is unknown, but it is generally thought to have been between 1835 and 1845). She was the heiress of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. I’ve long been interested in the story of why she began adding so many rooms to a mansion that eventually had seven floors and a couple of hundred rooms.

Some people have speculated that she was expressing an interest in architecture in the only way she could at a time when such a career was forbidden to women. Others have passed around legends about Mrs. Winchester believing she was haunted by the ghosts of people who were killed by Winchester rifles. They’ve wondered if Sarah’s mansion had so many staircases that lead to nowhere, hidden rooms, and other architectural oddities in order to confuse the spirits and prevent them from harming her.

We’ll never know for sure why she spent so many years building and tearing down sections of the Winchester mansion, so this film took these nuggets of truth and spun them into a full-fledged ghost story that is only somewhat related to the actual events of this woman’s life. I only knew a few details of the original legend when I first heard that this movie was being made, but it was more than enough to convince me to watch it.

If you’re interested in learning more about the real Sarah Winchester, the links above will give you factual information about her life. There are a few plot points from the film that ended up mirroring the truth, though, so be cautious about clicking on those links if you’re a stickler for avoiding all spoilers ahead of time.

The Characters

 


Jason Clarke (left) as Dr. Eric Price

Eric Price, the protagonist and a medical doctor who lived at at time when psychiatry as a distinct type of medicine was still in its infancy, was hired by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to determine whether or not Mrs. Winchester was mentally fit to continue running the company she’d inherited.

Some of the other stills featuring this character reveal huge plot twists, so be cautious about googling him before you watch Winchester.

Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester

Sarah Winchester owned half of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. This character lived with an overwhelming sense of guilt over the deaths of all of the people who had been fatally shot by Winchester rifles. She used some of the profits she earned from her successful business to add, renovate, and remove rooms from her massive mansion twenty-four hours a day in an attempt to help those restless spirits find peace.

Sarah Snook as Marian Marriott and Finn Scicluna-O’Prey as Henry Marriott

Marion Marriott was Sarah Winchester’s loving, protective niece. Marion had been recently widowed, and her son, Henry, was still grieving from the loss of his father when the events of this film began.

My Review

Originally, I was quite excited to watch Winchester. There’s something about knowing that a film was inspired by the lives of real people that makes it even more appealing to me than it might otherwise be. (I should warn you again that the screenwriters took a lot of liberties with the original story, though! This wasn’t a biography by any means, but given how many contradictory facts there are about Sarah Winchester’s life and unusual hobby that ended up being a good thing).

The Winchester Mansion

With that being said, there were some pacing problems. The Winchester mansion filled with restless, angry spirits, but there weren’t quite as many scenes about them as I was hoping to see. Yes, the setting itself was incredibly spooky. There were multiple times when the Dr. Price took a wrong turn and suddenly realized that the architecture of the house lead to quite a few dead ends. I was creeped out at the thought of trying to open a door that wasn’t actually meant to open or climb a staircase that didn’t go anywhere after all. It would have been nice if such a scary setting had been matched by ghosts who were a little more active in the beginning and middle of the plot.

It was nice to have hauntings that weren’t gory, however. It’s been my experience that many modern ghost movies assume the audience want to be frightened by dumping a lot of gory scenes into the plot regardless of whether or not such a thing actually makes sense for the characters or storyline. This is appealing to some viewers, of course, but I prefer a less bloody approach to the horror genre in general. The fact that Winchester relied on building a deliciously creepy atmosphere and asking the audience to silently dread what might happen to the characters next without showing anything gruesome was refreshing.

I would have liked to see the characters behave a little more intelligently once they realized they were in danger. Yes, horror movies do depend on their characters making terrible decisions in the beginning for the sake of giving the plot an adequate amount of time to put them in mortal danger and frighten the audience, but I kept shaking my head at the silly choices Dr. Price and the other members of the household made after they realized just how much they’d underestimated their foe.

There were several subplots dealing with grief and regret that I thought were handled nicely. While I can’t go into much detail about them without giving away spoilers, I will say that every single main character in this film was dealing with a loss of some kind. Most of them had not processed that grief, and the weight of those unexamined emotions was heavy. Watching for the gradual exposure of their backstories was rewarding. It was these subplots that kept me watching until the end. While I was curious to see if the ghosts would become more active, I was honestly far more interested in finding out how or if the characters would resolve their complicated feelings about their pasts.

Should You Watch It?

If you love paranormal movies that are loosely inspired by the lives of real people, go for it. This may not be so intriguing for anyone who isn’t already a huge fan of this sub-genre, however.

Winchester is available on Netflix and iTunes.

Families Are Forever: A Review of Coco

This review is spoiler-free and suitable for all audiences. This was one of the films I talked about wanting to watch in this post. So far, I’ve previously reviewed Into the Forest and Annihilation from that original list. 

Coco is a 2017 film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It followed the adventures of a young boy named Miguel who dreamed of becoming a musician one day against the wishes of his parents, grandparents, and other elders.

They wanted him to follow in their footsteps and become a cobbler instead. This conflict between Miguel and his elders not only provided the catalyst for his adventures in the Land of the Dead, it asked a lot of thought-provoking questions about how far someone should go to pursue their dreams and what sorts of things it should be okay for a family to ask one member to give up for the sake of everyone.

(Some of the) Characters

This movie had an incredibly large cast of characters in large part because Miguel was part of a massive extended family that included generations of people who died long before he was even born. Mentioning certain characters would also make it difficult for me to avoid spoilers, so I will only be talking about the most important ones who can be discussed with giving away any plot twists.

The introduction to this film did an excellent job of explaining who everyone was and how they were related to each other, though, so you shouldn’t have any problems catching up on the secondary characters I didn’t include in this post.

Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel Rivera

Miguel, the protagonist, was a 12-year-old boy who was caught between his dreams and what his elders wanted him to do with his life. On Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), when the dead are allowed to come visit loved ones who remember them during this Mexican celebration of loved ones who have died, Miguel accidentally crossed from our plane of existence to the Land of the Dead. In order for him to return to the Land of the Living, he had to receive the blessing of one of his dead relatives before the sun rose again. If he failed, he’d be trapped there forever.

Dante

Dante, Miguel’s dog, was his mischievous and occasionally silly pet who accompanied him to the Land of the Dead. This character was responsible for almost all of the humorous moments in the plot thanks to the fact that he wasn’t a particularly bright dog and he didn’t always think through his choices ahead of time. I’d love to see a sequel starring him someday.

 

Ana Ofelia Murguía as Coco Rivera (right)

Coco was Miguel’s great-grandmother and the oldest living member of their family. She’d been abandoned by her father, a musician, as a small child, and the pain of that experience was something she’d carried with her for her entire life. It was this story that made the rest of Miguel’s family so opposed to his desire to become a musician.

Renee Victor as Abuelita

Abuelita was Miguel’s grandmother, Coco’s daughter, and the head of the family in the Land of the Living (or what we would think of as our world). No one made any major decisions without getting her blessing first.

 

Alanna Ubach as Mamma Imelda Rivera

Mamma Imelda was Miguel’s great-great grandmother. Coco was the daughter she’d been left to raise on her own after her husband went away and never came home again. She still resented her husband for that decision when Miguel met her in the afterlife and asked for her help to get home again.

Gael García Bernal as Héctor

Héctor was a friend Miguel made in the Land of the Dead. He lived in a section of the afterlife that was reserved for people who were no longer being honoured by the living on Dia de Los Muertos. If he couldn’t find a way to get the living to remember him before the last person who had known him in life died themselves, he would disappear from the Land of the Dead forever. What happened to dead people who were completely forgotten was unknown.

Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz

Ernesto was the man Miguel believed to be his great-great grandfather. He was never honoured, remembered, or even mentioned by the Rivera household due to how poorly he’d treated his wife and child, but the songs he sang while he was alive ensured that other people remembered him on Dia de Los Murtos and kept him going in the Land of the Dead. Ernesto was a talented musician whose songs were still sung decades after his death in our world, The Land of the Living.

My Review

Everything I’m about to say about Coco will be complimentary. I normally try to sandwich my criticisms between compliments, but in this case I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about this film. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be.

The storytelling was beautiful. While this was marketed as a children’s movie, I’d honestly recommend it to adults just as much, and maybe even a little more, as I would to the age group it was actually intended for. Miguel’s family was large, but I felt like I got to know each character in it well due to how much time they spent exploring their complicated relationship with each other and their shared pasts. They dealt with serious issues that many people face.

There were a few emotional scenes about death and regret that would almost certainly fly over the heads of the youngest viewers, but they meant a lot to me as an adult who has faced similar conflicts myself. One of the things I love the most about Pixar films is how well they straddle the line between appealing to adults while also writing something that children will find meaningful. Once again, they did a fantastic job of speaking to both groups without talking down to the kids or simplifying anything for older viewers.

Mama Imelda, Coco, and Coco’s father in a family picture.

I didn’t grow up in a family or a culture that observes Dia de Los Muertos, so I really appreciated the attention to detail when Miguel and his family were preparing for and then later celebrating it. There was something beautiful about seeing the alter Miguel’s elders had set up with photos of their deceased relatives and offerings of food and other things that the dead would have enjoyed. Yes, there were moments of grief, but there was also a lot of love and joy in that tradition. It seemed to me that it was about remembering the good times with people who have passed on and sharing your happy memories of them with the next generation.

Some of the elders in my family have historically been a bit resistant to the idea of telling stories like this as a coping mechanism for grief, so I found it refreshing to see a family speak so openly and fondly of the dead. It struck me as something that could be much more emotionally healthy for people who found themselves missing a parent, grandparent, or other relative who is no longer part of the Land of the Living no matter how many years ago they’d crossed over.

The conflicts in this story were written in such a way that I could sympathize with both sides. Of course Miguel wanted to explore his musical talents and learn how to be a better musician. On the flip side, of course his elders would be horrified at the thought of another family member abandoning them to make music. This was a case when there was no right or wrong answer and I could imagine Miguel and his elders changing their opinions if their places could somehow be reversed.

The best scenes happened after Miguel crossed into the Land of the Dead and finally met the relatives there he’d been honouring his whole life but had never actually known when they were alive. I enjoyed seeing the tension build between this character’s individualism and his ancestors’ collectivistic understanding of how a life should be lived. It was a nice reminder of how a culture can change from one generation to the next, and it also provided a lot of fodder for conflict as Miguel tried to figure out how to get home before sunrise.

I was also impressed with the music. Every single song was something I’d love listen to again, especially when it came to “Remember Me.” For those of you who have seen a lot of animated films, the music in this one reminded me of classic Pixar songs like “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. Not only were they meaningful for the storyline, they were nice pieces of music in and of themselves. I could see myself adding several of them to the list of songs I listen to every day, and that’s not something I do very often.

Should You Watch It?

Yes, you absolutely should. I’d heartily recommend Coco to audiences of all ages with no caveats.

Coco is avaliable on iTunes and Netflix.

My Review of Bipasha Basu’s 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine. 

Before I dive into this review, let me also note that I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for this post, I don’t know Ms. Basu personally, and there is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site. I’m reviewing this workout simply because I loved it and think some of you might, too.

Now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about dancing.

When I was a kid, I was a member of a church dance team for a little while. The style of dancing we did was much slower than the one I’m about to share with you, but I loved every second of learning the various moves we did together. There’s something so energizing and exciting about practicing this sort of routine over and over again until everyone is moving in perfect sync with each other.

That experience ignited a lifelong love of this form of exercise. While I’ve yet to join any other dance groups, I still smile every time I get the chance to learn a new move.

About the 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

This Bollywood dance routine includes warmup and cool-down sections, so I’d estimate that it’s closer to a 20-minute workout without those things added in. Nearly all of the moves in the warmup were repeated and combined in different ways later on, so there was a lot of overlap between one section and the next. There was also a short water break included a little over 20 minutes into the session before the dancers put everything they’d been practicing together into a fun, fast-paced routine at the very end.

I’d especially recommend this video to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with dancing in general. Since all of the moves were repeated multiple times and in various combinations,there were plenty of opportunities to practice anything that might have seemed complicated at first.

However, this doesn’t mean that more advanced viewers won’t enjoy it as well. The music made me want to jump up and keep dancing long after the 30-minute session ended. This is still something I fall back on when I have one of those days when I don’t feel like exercising at all. That’s how much fun it is!

No special equipment is needed for this workout. All you’ll need is a flat, even area to dance in that has been cleared of any tripping hazards.

If the embedded link above doesn’t work, click here instead.

My Review

Bipasha Basu

I originally discovered this dance workout about four years ago. During that time in my life, I had recently begun exercising regularly again. I’d never been the sort of person who thought of myself as athletic, so I was still figuring out what I did and didn’t enjoy as I attempted to get back into shape.

Bipasha Basu’s dance routine quickly became my favourite way to get moving on days when I honestly didn’t want to do anything at all. As I mentioned above, I still feel the same way about it.

First of all, dancing is a great deal of fun. There were times when I forgot I was technically exercising at all because of what a good time I was having learning the moves and enjoying the cheerful music everyone was moving their bodies to. This was especially true during the warmup and cool-down portions due to how nicely the background music was matched to them.

Speaking of warmups and cool-downs, I appreciated the fact that they were built into this workout. To be honest with you, I get awfully tempted to skip this kind of stuff when I need to do it on my own even though I know how important it is. The more vigorous portions of any exercise session generally appeal to me more, so it’s nice to be encouraged to remember to stretch, breathe deeply, and ease myself into and out of a workout as well.

Basu’s friendly and encouraging reminders throughout this routine made me smile. She did everything from talk about what moves were coming up to cheering her audience on to reminding us to love ourselves at the very end of the workout once the cool-down was finished.

Ms. Basu even reminded everyone to pause and drink a little water if and when they felt thirsty. I appreciated all of her kind words and good advice. It almost felt as though she was standing in the room next to her audience while gently cheering us on on to do our best and not worry if every single move was perfect the first time.

I don’t know about you, but I respond really well to this form of “coaching.” There’s something to be said for framing exercise as a cooperative experience instead of a competition for those of us who want to worry about winning or losing while getting fit. (Kudos to those of you who are energized by competition, but I’m simply not wired that way at all…..well, unless we’re talking about certain board games).

It sure isn’t easy to determine how difficult a workout is. If only there were some sort of universal scale for such things!  I did find the last ten minutes challenging when I first began doing it, but the earlier sections were easy once I memorized all of the different moves. Obviously, your experiences  of the same routine could be quite different from mine based on what kinds of activity you’re currently used to.

If you’re brand new to working out in general, I would recommend giving the first ten minutes a try and seeing how challenging you find it.

One Minor Criticism

There was only one thing I would have liked to see being done a little differently with this video, and it had to do with what Basu’s female backup dancers were wearing. While her male backup dancers wore loose, comfortable clothing, nearly all of her female dancers wore much tighter and ab-revealing clothing that honestly didn’t look ideal for all of the shimmying and moving around they were doing.

Bipasha and her backup dancers

This has nothing to do with modesty or body shaming. I would have preferred to see all of the dancers wearing loose and comfortable clothing for this routine from a purely practical point of view given how much bending and twisting was involved in it.

Yes, I know that sex sells, but I don’t think it’s necessary to mix that into what was otherwise a wonderful workout. This is even more true since only the women were expected to wear such skimpy outfits. If everyone had been wearing more or less the same types of clothing, I wouldn’t have had the same feelings about it.

Don’t let this discourage you from trying it, though. Everything else about it was really well done.

Have you all ever tried a dance workout? if so, what did you think of it?

Hopeful Science Fiction: The Lovely Bones

This past June I blogged about my desire to read more hopeful science fiction. Last month I reviewed Woman on the Edge of Time as my first selection for this list. Today I’m back with a review of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones.

If you have recommendations for future instalments of this series, I’d sure like to hear them. Leave a comment below or send me message about it on Twitter.

As I mentioned last month, the books I include in this series don’t have to start off in a hopeful place, and I don’t require them to shy away from difficult topics. I’m including a trigger warning for today’s review because The Lovely Bones does begin with a teenage girl being raped and murdered by someone who lived in her neighbourhood.

The story briefly discussed the end of this character’s life without going into any graphic details about it, and I will be talking about it even less than the narrator did. However, I want everyone who reads the rest of this post or check outs this book for themselves to be fully aware of those potentially upsetting references ahead of time.

The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones was first published in 2002. The story it told began in the 1970s with the disappearance and violent death of the protagonist, a fourteen-year-old girl named Susie. Her parents and siblings struggled to move on with their lives without knowing for sure what had happened to her, and the main character found it equally difficult to say goodbye to a life that had only just begun for her.

Interestingly enough, the plot had much less to do with how Susie died than what she decided to do with her time after her death.

The afterlife Susie was welcomed into was everything anyone could hope for. There were no harsh judgements awaiting her or anything like that. She was loved, cared for, and reassured in a safe, happy place as she adjusted to the thought of a future she could have never predicted ahead of time.

Yet she still wanted to return to the life she’d once had. This yearning that Susie felt to reconnect with her loved ones was overwhelming at times, and it made her an incredibly sympathetic character. Anyone would have felt the same way in her shoes. I wanted her to find a way back home more than anything, but I couldn’t imagine how the plot could ever bend in that direction.

Grief

One of the things I wish I could change about western culture is the way it reacts to grief. There’s an expectation in many western societies that one should grieve quietly, briefly, and in private. I’d like to make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with this kind of grief, but it’s not the only way to respond to loss.

The Lovely Bones showed characters who grieved in many different ways. Some of them spent years trying to figure out what happened to Susie. Others moved as far away from the town where Susie had lived as they possibly could or buried themselves in various projects as a way to cope with the past. Even Susie herself had to figure out how to say goodbye to the life she expected to have so she could embrace the (after)life she was experiencing instead.

There’s no shortcut through grief. As hard as it was at times to watch the characters mourn everything they’d lost, I appreciated their realistic responses to the days, weeks, months, years, and decades that followed after the heartbreaking opening scene. These were some of the best portions of the book. I’m not embarrassed to admit that they occasionally brought a tear to my eye.

Acceptance

Pain is unfortunately a part of life for every living thing. While some know more of it than others do, no one that I’ve ever met has been able to escape it entirely.

What The Lovely Bones did exceptionally well was to show how someone can accept what has happened to them without anyone making excuses for the perpetrators or calling those experiences good ones by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s been my experience that some well-meaning people will do both of those things in an attempt to help the person who was hurt begin to heal. They almost always have no idea they’re actually making the problem worse, but it was still refreshing to read about characters who tried to find acceptance without downplaying what happened or pretending like it had some mystical or uplifting purpose that Susie needed to discover in order to move on with her (after)life.

One of the few criticisms I have of this tale has to do with Susie’s multiple attempts to accept what had happened to her. The plot went into a lot of detail about her resistance to this idea early on, but it wasn’t quite as thorough in later chapters once her siblings grew up and began to find their own sense of peace. I can’t say much else about this without giving away spoilers, but the ending would have been even better if the audience could have seen more examples of Susie’s later reactions to this topic.

Hope

The hope in this story arrived gradually. Don’t look too hard for it in the first few scenes or chapters. Just like what often happens in real life, it will take time for everyone to adjust to their new reality and for certain parts of the plot to be set into motion before you begin to realize what will await Susie and everyone who loved her.

You see, hope isn’t something you get one dose of and then are set for life. There’s nothing delicate or whimsical about this emotion.  It also won’t magically appear and make every problem in your life disappear in a puff of smoke. (If only life worked that way!)

To see the true effects of hope over a long period of time, one often has to look at the longterm evolution of a person, memory, idea, or wish. What will happen to this individual in ten years? How does someone live with decades of unanswered questions? What might be waiting for you on the other side of unimaginable grief?

The beauty of this tale comes in how it defines and describes this concept for people who aren’t interested in pat answers or ignoring the types of pain that make hope so meaningful for those who seek it.

Hopeful Science Fiction: Woman on the Edge of Time

Last month, I blogged about my desire to step back from the dystopian genre and read hopeful science fiction instead. The rules were simple. I didn’t require a story to start out in a hopeful or happy place, but I did want to read scifi that ended that way. Since then, I’ve started to compile… Read More

Dangerous Mutations: A Review of Annihilation

This review is spoiler-free. As always, the only time I’d share spoilers in a review would be if I needed to warn my readers about potentially triggering themes or scenes in the source material. This was one of the films I talked about wanting to watch in this post. So far, I’ve also reviewed Into the… Read More

It’s More Than Just Survival: A Review of Into the Forest

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the never-ending list of films I’d like to see someday. Into the Forest was the first movie from that list I’ve watched since then, and I liked it so much that I decided to review it today.  This story does include a rape scene that I will be discussing… Read More

5 Reasons Why You Should Become a Reviewer for Long and Short Reviews

Today’s post is a little off the beaten path when compared to the topics I normally blog about here, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about discussing with my followers for a while now. First of all, you might be asking yourself what this site is and why I’m telling you about it. Well, Long… Read More