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New Sci-Fi Book Review: The Far Shore By Glenn Damato

“The Martian” meets “1984”. Modern young adult literature meets realistic science fiction. But what is “The Far Shore” by Glenn Damato really about?

TV Review: The Meaning of the NCIS Franchise’s Recurring “Off The Books” Plots

Return to a “State of Nature?”

“…the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.  For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” – John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chap.VI, Sec. 57

For years now, whenever our daughter comes home from her adventures (which included West Point, Afghanistan, Iraq, law school, law clerk and now Supreme Court Fellow, thus explaining her interest)  we binge watch the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) franchises: NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles and NCIS New Orleans.  These shows have been highly rated for decades, though you don’t read or hear much about them.  I suspect that is because there is entirely too much patriotism, classical heroism, and American exceptionalism for the cynics in the media to swallow.

TV Review: “Mixed-ish” and Tribalism in American Culture

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.  He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for his decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold his deliberate decision. — John Stuart Mill – On Liberty

When I need to forget about life’s responsibilities for a time, I will watch with my wife some of the sitcoms she enjoys. Blackish, a widely acclaimed show focused upon the foibles and mishaps of trying to stay in tune with American black culture, has spawned the prequel Mixed-ish. Here we are taken back to the childhood of mixed-race Rainbow (or just “Bow,” the wife on Blackish) who started life in an idyllic commune, where supposedly race (among many other distinctions) was completely ignored. This wondrous paradise (with no flushing toilets?) was abruptly ended by an FBI raid, for undisclosed violations.

Book Review: ‘Spoiler Alert’ by Richard Greene

Spoiler Alert by Richard Greene is, no spoiler here, about spoilers. This philosophy book by Open Court Press is unusual for discussing the ethics, the ethos, the philosophy and many other details about spoilers.

As a science fiction fan and author, I found the concept intriguing. And as a periodic book reviewer, I wanted to know where others thought the line between blurbs and spoilers, trailers and big reveals were.

Dave Chappelle’s All-American Anti-PC Heresies Vs. Ramy Youssef’s Woke-Intersectional-Islamist Cousin-Loving

Check out my new article on Islamist entertainment at The Daily Wire

I had a new article published yesterday at The Daily Wire. I compare and contrast the comedy specials of two American Muslims, and Ramy Youssef, coming down very hard against the latter:

Among the fascinating phenomena of America’s most prominent Muslim activist organizations is how they decide which Muslims to lift up and which to ignore. Compare two recent comedy specials. One, Dave Chappelle’s newest Netflix special “Sticks & Stones,” which is generating intense reactions given its choice of material — including abortion, #MeToo, Transgenderism, “the alphabet people” (referring to the expanding acronym LGBTQIA+), and the implications of the “cancel culture,” which seeks to silence all who do not adhere to the “woke” doctrines of political correctness.

Thinking about this hilariously offensive special brought to mind another recent comedy special that challenged different cultural taboos: Millennial Ramy Youssef’s “Feelings,” released on HBO on June 29.

Reviewed: The BBC’s “Brave New World” Movie

The BBC is well known for its science fiction. Doctor Who is simply the most well-known. They have also been making science fiction movies based on classics like “1984” and “Brave New World”. The 1980 BBC version of “Brave New World” stands out for both its innovative style and its respect for the source material.

LI Novel ‘Red Line Blues’ Reviewed At American Spectator by Daniel J. Flynn

“Looking for Love in All the Wrong (Political) Places”

The author of such noteworthy books as A Conservative History of the American Left, Intellectual Morons, and his new title Cult City reviews one of Liberty Island’s literary novels:

Red Line Blues, the first novel by Scott Seward Smith, arrives more than six years after its Obama-Romney election backdrop. If its setting seems passé in the wake of the seismic presidential election in between then and now, its theme strikes as so very 2019.

Neither the decade nor the distance between the older Owen and twenty-something Audrey jeopardize their relationship. The political chasm does. Owen votes Republican; Audrey, Democrat. You can bridge a generation gap and wormhole the way to long-distance-relationship success. The notion that love can transcend political disagreements seems further fetched the further we find ourselves from James Carville and Mary Matalin’s wedding day.

Click here to continue reading at The American Spectator.

Read chapter 1 of Red Line Blues here.

Reviewed: The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF

I picked up the “The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF” out of curiosity because I read, write and review science fiction, especially apocalyptic science fiction.

The book contains a mix of new and classic science fiction stories grouped by type of apocalypse. For example, there are plague stories and catastrophic global warming stories are grouped together. Then there are classics like “A Pail Full of Air”, “Fermi and Frost” and “When We Went to See the End of the World”.

The stories themselves are hit and miss, and unfortunately, the classics are often better. One notable exception was “The Clockwork Atom Bomb”. A post WW3 Kinshasa has weaponized black holes, and a poor country hit by biowarfare will make use of every resource it has. Another was Cory Doctrow’s “When Sys Admins Ruled the Earth”. Of course a working IT clean room is a safe place to hide during a biowarfare strike. And as XKCD has joked, there are sys admins who will crawl over glass to maintain 99.999999% uptime.

The Psychology Underlying Robert Heinlein’s ‘Friday’

The titular character “Friday” in the novel of the same name is an artificial person. She’s quite human, but she was created in a lab, born via an artificial uterus and raised in a corporate crèche. Her society sees her as inferior, and she sees herself as inferior. That is despite her greater speed, strength and intelligence. I spent a while wondering why, and then it hit me. It is as much due to her upbringing as the much vaunted “conditioning”, though both are by design. Furthermore, social engineering (or a good PR campaign) of broader society has been undertaken for the same purpose.

A Look at “Bladerunner 2049 and Philosophy”

The “And Philosophy” series of books by Open Court Press generally involves two dozen philosophers giving their take on science fiction books, TV shows and movies. I’ve reviewed several of their more recent books like “The Handmaid’s Tale and Philosophy” and “Bladerunner 2049 and Philosophy”.

The “Bladerunner” is a deep franchise by design. The first movie makes you ask yourself what makes you human while encapsulating a very Biblical narrative of a fallen angel rebelling (and killing) his creator. Roy Batty kills not only his creator but the holy trinity of sorts, the creator of eyes/wisdom and the son of his creator, the rather innocent Jesus-analog. “Bladerunner 2049” begins with the birth of a child, the revelation of which threatens to overturn the moral order and liberate an oppressed people. At the same time, a corporate King seeks to claim the child (and likely dissect him/her) while his right hand angel kills, maims, and deceives to follow her false God’s will. Niander Wallace’s god-complex is his only well-defined, personal characteristic aside from being blind. He just wants to possess and likely corrupt the child to build an army to storm heaven. He’s compared to the Demiurge or false material world god in one of the “Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy” chapters.

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