My Blog is 3 Months Old!

The best book I read this month: Parasite by Mira Grant, out for consumption on October 29th, get ready for this sci-fi tale to eat your brain! In the not so distant future, human bodies are regulated with “intestinal bodyguards.” Sally Mitchell is the first to have her tapeworm save her life after a near deadly accident leaving her an amnesiac lab rat for SymboGen. It’s not all bad for Sal, she gets along better with her sister, has a gig at an animal shelter and a doctor boyfriend. But when people start getting a “sleepwalking sickness” she finds herself in the heart of a SymboGen cover-up. Who’s good, who’s bad? Twist turns and gray areas ensue.

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I was going to squick you out with some tapeworm photos, but opted for this gem: an ad for a tapeworm diet!

Top Posts this month:

Rachel Deering’s Anathema Vol. 1

Movie Review for Elysium

Discussion: The Slut Shaming of Buffy Summers

That’s it for August! What will September bring?

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Lazarus #3

Forever Carlyle is in Magdalena, Mexico after being “taken” by the Morray family.

This happens:

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Yeah, Forever is such a bad ass that it gives me indescribable joy.

She hands over her gun without much ado, but when pressured to give up her blade… uhhh… she teaches them the meaning of “dis-arm.”

The Morray’s Lazarus, Joacquim, and Forever look pretty tight.

Back in California, Jonah is arguing with Forever’s doctor to tell him where Forever is. He won’t. But he is giving hourly updates to her father.

Forever and Joacquim are bonding over being the only Lazarus’ they know and all the weird implants and engineering they’ve had done by their families. They had been ordered to kill each other, and in quite Shakespearian fashion, they are totally sweet on each other.

Jo and Jonah are upset that Forever is talking peace with the Morrays when they want war. Jo decides that they will kill Forever and frame the Morrays and that will be war.

But she’s the Lazarus, she can’t be killed.

Some revelations are made before the Morrays and Forever, representing the Carlyles come to a trade agreement. Joacquim escorts Forever back and they start to get a little close, a tender moment for our tough guys …before the earth beneath them goes KABOOM!

Forever Carlyle… the Lazarus, ultimate weapon with no ability not to obey her family, a tool created… who has a crush. What will become of Joacquim? Will Forever get free-will (in so much as free will can exist)? What’s Jonah’s angle?

The most bad ass opening possible, and some insight into Forever’s character, what life is like for the ultimate weapon.

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Greg Rucka continues to be my extra-favorite with his responses to fan letters …”We’ve found the variety of responses to Forever’s design to be… interesting. To those who have a problem with her strength, size and relatively modest bust (in comic art-style terms, at least)… get over yourselves.”

The 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech post

Lately I’ve been watching Under the Dome, right? That shows, like 40% of my blog hits. It’s crazy. This show is problematic beyond all belief. You can read the recaps if you want to know about the plethora of problems… but specifically, for my point today: All of the people of color have disappeared, or frequently do not appear and no one seems to notice, or they show up here and there to do a favor for a white lead and then fall off the screen. Dodee shows up here and there (all though, she was absent during the meningitis episode and no one noticed) has gadgets and special talents to save everyone’s ass (but no story of her own), Phil was missing for 2 episodes, showed up long enough to have one line and get shot, then disappeared for 2 episodes. Carolyn’s wife died, and she’s been grieving off camera for 2 episodes. And Ben, who was written as a wacky side kick for Joe, has been absent since standing up to Angie’s abusive and unstable boyfriend… for three episodes. Carolyn and Ben used to be in every episode. They were not the most well formed, multidimensional characters (which was shitty enough), but they were there… and now they are not there. WTF? Where are you?

Have you seen me?

Have you seen me?

I’m actually really worried about Ben. If Junior killed him and threw him in a ditch we should have at least seen him go down fighting.

The only PoC who gets any screen time is Linda, a cop who’s defacto sheriff (and she frequently gives her authority to Barbie, a white male).

No. really. It’s jacked up.

I saw 3 movies over the weekend… of the three… there were two PoC. As minor characters. And they were in the same film.

The comics I’ve been reading lately have been doing a better job at being diverse (The Movement, The X-Men, Lazarus) and looking like an actual microcosm/representation of a city. But I’ve been reading some good comics.

By and large, people of color are hugely under represented in the area of science fiction, superheros, fantasy and speculative fiction. Most of this is due to institutional racism that has been impacting fandom for decades upon decades. And because PoC are stereotyped into non complex roles and are only shown as background players.  Women of color are often highly exoticized and are often only used to further the white male protagonist.

Pretty much because the writers who are accepted into the archaic sci-fi boy’s club write a bunch of wish fulfillment garbage and can’t even be bothered to talk to someone who isn’t of their general social description.

It’s terrible.

Erasure is racism. Just admit it.

Links! from people who write better than me and will enlighten you so you don’t shoot your mouth off like an over privileged asshat as often, please:

Fangs for the Fantasy: What will you do in a dystopian?

Dennis R Upkins: Geek Culture is for White People

The Movement #2 & #3

I’m still playing catch up. Double review!

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#2 opens with The Movement having captured Officers Whitt and Pena. Whitt looks THOROUGHLY beaten. smashed in nose, missing teeth. Katharsis doesn’t mess around.

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Ever. Apparently. 

They take the officers back to an old shirtwaist factory that was the scene of a horrific event in the early 1900’s where the mostly female and child immigrant workers had been locked in to increase production before being hit but an earthquake and landslide that trapped and killed the workers. Nothing ever happened to the owners.

The officer asks Virtue if she’s any better than the bosses, locking them up. (Umm.. yes. Telling a girl she has to show her breasts in order to go home is not a necessary part of their job. The bosses used to work people till death or they would be fired and starve. That’s not the same.) Then they are guarded by a perky girl in a wheelchair called Vengeance Moth.

The Movement is having a War Council meeting (in the daycare room) and they’re discussing what to do next, what to do with the prisoners and how to find the serial killer. Katharsis wants to send the cops back tortured. Everyone disagrees. They aren’t monsters, the point was to observe them and get the truth out. But with a killer to be caught, and someone from The Movement leaking intel; tensions are high.

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Meanwhile, the officers are playing up the beating they’ve taken and that they were imprisoned without due process and have no idea when they will be able to contact their families. Those poor abused… umm.. corrupt, abusive, pedophile officers? Hmm…

But they do succeed in bring out the divided ideologies.

Katharsis goes after James Cannon: the man who runs Coral City. He’s a wealthy developer who’s got cops on payroll. Apparently cops who get close to the killer get taken off the case. Someone doesn’t want the killer found. 

Virtue, Burden (the kid who thinks he’s possessed by demons), Tremor and Mouse head over the see The Witch. Around each victim they have seen evidence of a localized rainstorm, The Witch can control weather.

Things don’t go well on either mission.

Katharsis gets a beat down from guards in riot gear (during which she screams that she IS a cop…) 

And the others get held up by the Weather Witch’s people.. then she shows up.

This issue showed the conflicts within the movement (the difficulty of creating a cohesive argument and solution among the 99%) The goals and objectives are varying, and their ideals are varying.

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#3 Katharsis is brutally beaten and taken in to the station. Cannon says he wants to be the one to interrogate her (after just claiming that he was a developer with no control over the police).

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Burden, Virtue, Tremor and Mouse are having a hard time taking on the Weather Witch. 

Meanwhile.. a homeless veteran, Ryan Jennings, is begging on the street before being stalked by the serial killer and his rain cloud. The man begs that his dog be unharmed.

Back in the warehouse: Vengeance Moth brings Pena and Whitt a hamburger. She catches Whitt trying to surmises where they might be by the heat of the burger (I started thinking about what Virtue said about the women who died there back when they made shirtwaists. Virtue may have “read” the place a known that way, The truth never came out. And the bosses got away with it unscathed. Regardless, there probably wasn’t THAT many shirtwaist factories in the ‘tweens, he can probably figure it out easily without seeing how warm his Big Belly burger is.)

Whitt’s still pouting that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime (wahhhh, poor you. I’m sure that never happened to anyone  you picked up?). He comments about their wifi hookup via off the grid energy sources and asks is it was Vengeance Moth’s doing. She says, “Because everyone in a wheelchair is Stephen Hawking, Right? No, officer Whitt.” 

(Hell yes, I like her.)

Kristin (the 16 year old that Whitt attempted to molest) comes by and Ven leaves with her.

Mouse and Virtue manage to stop the Weather Witch’s assault and talk. She leads the rest of them to Cannon (and gives Virtue her phone number). She says Cannon wants a perfect city “with people in spending little furrowing cages, never knowing they are in prison at all. No crime, no strife, and above all.. no poor people.”

They find out the cops have taken Katharsis. At the station Officer Yee is outraged that they have taken her prisoner and are beating her brutally. Captain Meers returns to his office to find Virtue waiting. She offers to exchange prisoners. He refuses and threatens her reminds her that they are the police. She opens the window to a crowd of people in Channel M masks.

What I’m really liking so far: the realistic portrayal of power and corruption, the diversity of the people involved on both sides of the “law” (which is a sliding term), anyone and everyone has a place in The Movement. 

Also, the way the officers try to get in their heads and dismiss them as naive kids, while the officers themselves turn a blind eye to ages of injustice. 

It’s good.

Is Katharsis really a cop?! Is anyone going to get Burden some help? 

My review of #4 will be up later tomorrow. 

Stay vigilant, comic book fans! 

Under the Dome- Episode 10

10 days Under the Dome.

There’s been fire, a plague, nervous breakdowns, riots, renouncement of constitutional rights, deaths and more deaths, contaminated water supplies…

And now: a fight club

Our show opens: The egg has a visitor. A caterpillar. It will turn into a MONARCH BUTTERFLY. Off to find the fourth hand/someone else having seizures.

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Dodee has been following them around. Sneaks a peek at the minidome.

Barbie goes to see Big Jim he needs “to talk about Max” they need to get rid of her “insurance policy” so they don’t have to sweat her blackmail threats. Big Jim surmises that whatever she’s got is off the coast on a small island. Max busts in and makes threats on account of Big Jim not wanting to find her chocolate and conditioner. Please.

The minidome shocks Dodee and Joe, Norrie and Angie rush back to find her out cold. They rush her to the hospital where she’s forgotten what happened and she thinks its from the generator at the radio station. Angie asks about the seizures, someone had one at her 10th grade dance.

Julia is looking for Barbie and finds Linda and Linda asks her about the woman who gave a tip about propane deliveries. Linda shows Julia the footage with Max and Duke. Linda finds a safe deposit box key in Duke’s hat.

Salt is better than cash if you want to get in to the cement factory. What’s at the cement factory? A fight club.

And a new part of Chester’s Mill we hadn’t heard about,

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Apparently more people in town owe Max money. If she’s going to be trapped in this hell hole she’s going to live as well as she can.

Angie comes clean to her brother about how she was kidnapped and why she thinks Junior is the fourth hand. Norrie is all for beating his ass after they try to unlock the mini dome.

Speaking of getting his ass kicked, he gets punched down as he tries to enter the fight club… where Barbie is the main event. SHOCKER!!

The woman that’s been so polite while Big Jim investigates turns out to be Max’s mom, and she’s well armed. Claire got pregnant with Max at 16 and turned to prostitution to support her family. Neither will forget the “Real Chester’s Mill” the back stabbing, the nefarious plots, a magnet for the worst of humanity… like Junior.

Angie, Joe and Norrie went and saw Junior’s mom’s studio and he creeps out of the shadows and Joe tries feebly to attack him.

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After taking some hard hits, Barbie gets the upper hand and taunts the man instead of kicking him while he’s down… to Max’s dismay. She knew he’d throw the fight, so the town loses their shirts while she cleans up.

Julia and Linda find a confession from Duke. He vowed to keep drugs out of Chester’s Mill and payed off Maxine to keep her drugs out of there. Julia breaks into her husband’s deposit box, finds a letter and says she needs to talk to Barbie.

Big Jim has Claire hostage on a boat. And then she falls in. Big Jim just drives the boat away. +1 to Big Jim’s body count.

Max: “I won. You… umm.. helped me win.”

Barbie: “What if you don’t get it? Don’t get your whiskey, don’t get me?”

Max: “I’ll burn this whole place down.”

Julia is waiting for Barbie. Barbie comes in bloody and beat up and ready to confess (which he almost did, back in the MOAB episode). Julia knows her husband pulled a gun on Barbie. She also knows it was never loaded. Her husband was committing suicide.

Linda visits Big Jim and summons him to the station.

The mini dome explodes into pink stars when all 4 hands are on it.

So… Junior is necessary and his secret is out but he’s mostly forgiven… Barbie’s secret is out but he is forgiven.

Which is BS.

But now Max has nothing to hold over Barbie… she’s probably not going to last long.

Dodee got 30 seconds screen time. No Carolyn. No Phil. No Ben. AGAIN.

WTF is that? Minority characters get the boot when they can’t advance the plot of… the murders and kidnapper… and the oblivious/boring… white people. #fail

Last time we saw Carolyn she lost Alice. And while I know grieving takes time… I’m sure she would check on her daughter.

Last time we saw Phil he had gotten shot when Big Jim went after Ollie’s well. He’s not dead… but where is he?

Last time we saw Ben he stood up to Junior when he told Ben to leave Angie’s diner.

Movie Reviews #8-#11 (City of Bones, You’re Next, The World’s End)

Spoiler minimal reviews of the week’s hottest Sci-fi, Urban Fantasy and Horror titles + one direct to DVD waste of time.

The World’s End– Was more serious and heartfelt than I thought it would be. Gary King (Simon Pegg) borders on unrelatable (while reminding me of Charlize’s character in Young Adult) as a forty something 12 stepper looking to reclaim his lost dream… of hitting 12 pubs  in one night on a crawl in his hometown of Newton Haven that they call “The Golden Mile” he hooks up with his estranged friends… and while they may not have picture perfect lives, most are beyond clinging to their frat boy dream. Through a series of deceptions, Gary convinces his friends to join him and reclaim the glory they/he has lost…. and then some don’t-call-them-robots filled with blue blood show up and start replacing the whole town of Newton Haven. There was so much awkward, “You aren’t as cool as me! I’m the King! Gary King!”

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The special effects were really cool… better than Hot Fuzz, but doesn’t hold a candle to Shaun of the Dead. 3.5 Pints!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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I didn’t read the books and was only slightly aware of what to expect. (I wanted to read the books before I saw the movie… didn’t pan out, whatevs). It’s about a girl, Clary, who starts coming into a power that her mother has desperately been hiding from her. On her birthday, after sneaking into a club and seeing a demon murdered… a chain of events unfolds which ends with her mom missing, her “best friend” being attacked by vampires and an interesting bunch of Shadow Hunters, powerful dudes, werewolves and demons making a grab for the mortal cup which Clary holds the key to. This movie was visually awesome. The demons were exceptionally cool, and I’m a little bit of an amateur architecture nerd… it was really awesome. It was also a little like Star Wars… lol. Clary was awesome and after realistic amounts of being stunned and overwhelmed grasps her new found powers and charges bravely forward. Oh and also, everyone who is all “boohoo, poor Simon” I’m telling you right now: Clary was clear that she didn’t have feelings for him and he was all “but I love youuuuu and I’m sooo sad” Yeah? Too bad. She doesn’t have to love you just because you are nice to her. Friendzoning is BS.

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers had incredibly bad hair in this movie. But he is really just a fantastic looking human being. Can’t wait to see how he does Dracula, BTW.

Irregardless… 4.5 Mortal Cups

You’re Next– A wealthy family is reuniting for their parents 35th wedding anniversary, with their own significant others in tow where a group of killers terrorizing the out of the way vacation home neighborhood set their sights on the dinner party. The women really have the lockdown on being awesome in this movie… well, one specifically.

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She was raised on a survivalist compound. Yeah. no one saw that coming. Especially not the mysterious psychos.

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(But the mom gets bonus points… male family members were treating her as irrational while they would have done better to listen to her paranoid meltdown). The gore, the survival tips, the plot, the creepy cute masks, the coldblooded killers, the surprises… eeep… No one is NOT over-killed. So many moments to gasp, and clever writing that sets it apart from others in the genre. 5 Severed Arteries!

Bonus Content:

The Cloth– which I was supposed to review last week. The big names promoting this movie hardly made an appearance. Promiscuous blond guy tells virginal Mexican girl that she’s so uptight because she never got laid. There’s a threesome that was highly unnecessary and just pandered to male fantasy with out any regard for plot. The opening scene was really gross and cool (a girl is getting a demon exorcised and blood is pouring out of her mouth and it’s irrationally gross and well done… sadly, that seemed to be all this movie had to offer. 1 Star.

X-Men #4

Issue 4 opens… in glamorous Santa Monica. Jubilee, the vampire is limiting her UV exposure with a super cute purple animal umbrella. Just Logan, Jubilee and Shogo having a beach day.

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However, back in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range a plane is making and emergency landing with the help of Storm, Rachel and Psylocke.

Stockton, Fresno and Sacramento are all reporting delayed landings due to fire.

Rachel and Storm are a little tense since the last issue where Storm was willing to destroy Karima to destroy Arkea. Rachel challenges Storm saying “Who died and made you leader of the X-Men?” Storm is unamused, she adds that she considered making a tactical call and Rachel couldn’t stop her if she tried.

While I am disappointed to see a rift between my babes so early on, this is a likely scenario. Storm and Rachel are both powerful and headstrong, but Storm’s more selfassured. Psylocke and Rachel gossip telepathically. Kitty and Rogue mind their necks… oh yeah, and the plane that’s crashing:

Flight 177 is chockful and has an engine blown. Kitty, Psylocke and Rogue hatch a plan involving brute force and grappling hooks. Psylocke admits she’s crushing on the virtual medieval quartermaster sim and wrangles in a jet with a psionic crossbow, Rogue absorbs Psylocke’s powers to finish the job… and she loves it, who wouldn’t want to be Psylocke? But she over does the telekinesis and starts sucking up all of Psylocke’s energy.

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The tension between the ladies stopping the crash lading is juxtaposed with cute vacation scenes with Logan, Jubilee and Baby Shogo as they pal around the because, Jubilee’s old house and the mall (where Jubilee made her first ever appearance).

The argument between Rachel and Storm is well done. Storm, rightfully, asserts that she never was willing to sacrifice Karima (rather the call was that if Karima wasn’t in there, they should shut her down to stop Arkea). Karima is the one who fought back against Arkea. Rachel didn’t save her. But under pressure things are perceived differently. But they talk it out. And Storm gets to end the issue with some class A heroics. (And I’m glad they worked it out now, because I dislike when heroes are off fighting a bad guy and dealing with their personal issues at the same time.)

After eavesdropping on the inner workings of the X-men (and stalking Jubilee and Logan on their day off). I’m stoked for BATTLE OF THE ATOM.

The art. Is different. David Lopez takes over here from Olivier Coipel. It’s more “serious looking” the lines on Rachel’s face are more pronounced, everyone looks more human than cartoon, the colors are more subtle and less bubble gum. I liked it better before. But that’s a matter of preference.

Also…

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Wolverine showed up on the cover (and Storm’s variant was way more awesome) and I bet you thought some claw ripping, hairy chest having, manly stuff was going down, huh? HAHA he goes to the mall with Jubes and babysits while she takes a nap.

PS- I want to see Jubilee doing really brutal vampire stuff! Gimme Gimme!