Category: Blog

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Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2

The following review contains spoilers for Kick-Ass. It also contains adult language, due to the name of one of the characters. Reader discretion is advised.

In my reviews of movies here on the site, one thing I always try to mention is the film’s soundtrack. Much as some people writing about Firefly say that the ship is a character, so too is the music in any TV show or film. And sometimes movies that get little or no play can have great soundtracks.

Kick-Ass 2 is one such film.

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Tea, Bodies and Business: Remaking the Hero Archetype by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is the author of the novels God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture a science-fantasy noir series which earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. She has won the Hugo Award and been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award, BFS Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her latest novel, The Mirror Empire, will be published by Angry Robot Books on August 26th, 2014.


 

 

Tea, Bodies and Business: Remaking the Hero Archetype

Hero.

Ok, I want you to stop right there.

Think about what image popped into your mind when you read “hero.” The first one.

NO CHEATING.

What’s the first image your mind conjured on reading that word?

Hero.

Who is it?

Who is… he?

These days, when I read “hero” the image that pops up is some superhero, because I’m inundated with Marvel movie images all day. Thor comes to mind. Maybe, if I haven’t been eating movies for awhile, it’s Conan.

Hero: a dude. Muscles. White. Butch.

Hero. First image. Every time.

It takes some additional thought, some re-training, for me to see anything but that archetype when I first think “hero.” I have the same trouble with nearly every term we say is gender-neutral or totally inclusive that… well… turns out isn’t. That’s because when we learned what words meant, we had certain types of images placed in front of us. We learned to associate those images with the word.

We ate what the stories and media fed us, and it’s why, to this day, we conjure them again and again when we see those words in text, when we hear them in conversations. We carry those expectations. It’s why, often, we get so upset or simply surprised when the hero we see on the page doesn’t conform to the image we learned.

Subverting expectations has become a hallmark of the gray, grimdark(er) fantasy tales now, and the even darker obsession in more general media of mythologizing serial killers (Bates Motel, Hannibal), elevating them to, if not heroes, then complex protagonists worthy of having their stories told; it’s cultivating compassion for killers. Yet still, there anti-hero heros are the same sorts of heroes: white, male, butch.

I can think of only two movies with women killers we’re meant to sympathize with, and both because they’d been sexually assaulted – Thelma and Louise and Monster. And to be honest, I don’t imagine anyone would call the women in these films heroes. Red Sonja is, perhaps, a proper hero, but is, once again, motivated by a sexual assault. Male heroes are heroic because of what’s been done to women in their lives, often – the dead child, the dead wife. Women heroes are also heroic for what’s been done to women… to them.

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Interview with Uncanny Editors

Uncanny Kickstarter

Uncanny Kickstarter

1) It was last year that Lynne and Michael stepped down as editors at Apex. Now, suddenly, Uncanny. Was Uncanny always the plan, or was it just that hard to stop editing having once started?

It was just hard to stop. We took time off for our daughter’s spinal fusion surgery. Her recovery went well, and we felt the need to scratch that editorial itch again. We love this community, and we were anxious to get back in the game!

2) I notice that most of the editing team is spread pretty far out, but also all are members of at least one Whovian club. Would Uncanny exist without Doctor Who?

I think we can safely say that Uncanny would not exist without Doctor Who. Lynne’s editorial career began with co-editing Chicks Dig Time Lords with Tara O’Shea. If it hadn’t won a Hugo, Lynne might not have been offered the editorial position at Apex Magazine. Michael’s editorial career also started at Mad Norwegian Press, the publisher of the “Dig” books like his Queers Dig Time Lords and many other Doctor Who nonfiction books. We met Deborah Stanish (a Chicks Dig Time Lords essayist), Steven Schapansky, and Erika Enisgn through Doctor Who conventions. Erika, Deb, and Lynne are now all members of the Hugo-nominated Verity! Doctor Who podcast. Though we didn’t initially meet Managing Editor Michi Trota at a Doctor Who convention, Michael did meet her on a Doctor Who panel at a general SF/F where he found out that she was a fan of the “Dig” books, and Lynne got to know her better at a local Doctor Who convention, Chicago TARDIS. So yes, Doctor Who had more than a tiny role, if only in bringing us into contact with excellent, intelligent people with whom we enjoy interacting. They get our jokes!

3) Follow up: Which Doctor is best Doctor? Each editor may answer separately and weapons are permitted.

Michael: Sylvester McCoy. All arguments against him are wrong. Lynne: I don’t go with “best” because what’s the metric for that? Splendid chaps, all of them. Sylvester McCoy made me a fan of the series, but I would rather travel with David Tennant to the ends of the universe. I’d travel with Tennant and Ace together, given my druthers. Emo AND explosions!

4) As a better/less stupid follow-up question: What are the challenges of working as a team while separated by physical distance, international borders, and possibly time zones, and how have you (or how will you) overcome them?

Lynne and Michael live in the same house, so that’s easy. Luckily, pretty much everything we do for the magazine is done online. Thanks to email, Skype, Twitter, and Google Docs, we can accomplish everything asynchronously without physically seeing each other. Occasionally we even use this thing called a “telephone” if we have no other choice. Once in a while, we even get together in person when we can manage it.

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Book Review: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain by Richard Roberts

In a world where superheroes and supervillains are locked in honorable combat… in a world where science and magic are both real… in a world where superheroism is an inherited trait… three middle-school students are about to discover their true potential.

The book: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain. The author: Richard Roberts. The review: now!

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Book Review: Ghosts of Engines Past by Sean McMullen

When I was offered the opportunity to review Ghosts of Engines Past, a short-story collection by one of my favorite authors, Sean McMullen, the initial e-mail said it was a steampunk anthology. I suppose this is broadly true, in much the same way that an anthology about veterinarians might be 80 percent dog stories. In this case, the 80 percent is stories of flight.

And if there’s one thing McMullen knows how to do, it’s make people fly.

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Film Review: In Your Eyes

When Joss Whedon writes something, you generally expect it to have great dialogue and characterization, some stuff that will make you uncomfortable, and an ending that, while not necessarily happy or good, will be satisfying.

The new film In Your Eyes has two of those. It’s a start.

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Album Review: Flossophy

Nostalgia is a weird genre. It can be hard to hit a large audience because not everyone is nostalgic about the same things. But it’s safe to say that most people who’ve played video games are nostalgic about the games they played as kids — and that’s the sweet spot where we find Brent Black, a.k.a. brentalfloss, and his third album, Flossophy.

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Movie Review: Upside Down

The concept of a world that’s opposite to our own isn’t a new one. I mean, even John Norman did it with his Gor novels. And the concept of playing with gravity isn’t new either.

But mix them together and you might just end up with a film like Upside Down.

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Movie Review: Upstream Color

This review contains strong language, as well as moderate spoilers for the film.

And you thought Primer was confusing…

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Movie Review: Europa Report

This review contains strong language.

In addition to Apollo 18, another recent found-footage sci-fi film has made its way to Netflix. This one had similar elements to Apollo 18, but the difference was in the nature of the monster.

This film is called Europa Report.