Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bookworming: Wytches, Vol. 1

Wytches Vol. 1, Scott Snyder, Jock, Matt Hollingsworth, Clem Robbins, ***
I can get into a good, creepy, psychological horror story. This is one of those. The art style, with its abstract painting overlay, gives it a dream-like quality for me. I do wish Snyder had come up with another name for his monsters as they have nothing to do with what anyone thinks of when evoking witches. If I were to criticize, I would have to say that horror fans have seen this type of story before, often. However it is a tale well told, so it gets a solid if-you-like-that-sort-of-thing recommendation.

Bookworming: East of West, Vol. 2

East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One, Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, and Frank Martin, **
Sometimes I am pulled along in a story because I find the setting or premise of it more compelling than actual the execution. East of West looks to be one of these cases. Everything I said in my review for volume one remains true here. Volume 2 in my opinion is somewhat better than the first because the plotting, such as it is, tightens up. Slightly. The artwork remains wonderful. And I'm still not sure I would actually recommend it.

Bookworming: Locke and Key, Vol. 6

Locke & Key, Vol. 6: Alpha & Omega, Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez, ****
Alpha & Omega continues the series's excellent artwork and imaginative writing and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Bookworming: An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir, ***
While the tropes of YA are on full display here, this is a fast-paced, dark, low fantasy tale that is well worth your time if you like the genre. The world is unique enough and the main characters drawn well enough to make it compelling. And crucially, it has an excellent villain. It tells a complete story, but very much in the style of the first in a series.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Bookworming: Locke & Key, Vol. 5

Locke & Key, Vol. 5: Clockworks, Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez, ****
As the end approaches, some of the secrets of the history of the keys are revealed. I do not have much to say on this one save the excellent art and interesting writing remain in full force, aided by something of a change in setting. If you liked the previous volumes, you will likely enjoy this as well.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

For Future Reference

"'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens"
—Recurring story in "The Onion"

Self-focusing Eyeglasses

A tech startup in Israel is using technology from smart-phone cameras to develop eyeglasses that can auto focus on whatever you are looking at. It is several years out in development, but as someone who recently went to progressive lenses, I believe the proper meme in this case is shut up and take my money. Of course that does mean that some years down the road, I will have to recharge my glasses every night...

Saturday, June 11, 2016

An Unusual Narrative: The Interface Series

For those that follow high weirdness on the Internet, a new thing has appeared. A series of posts on reddit in a variety of different forums weaves a disturbing narrative. Like Fringe, the writings take the CIA LSD experiments of MKUltra and use it as a jumping off point, but these vignettes are of a significantly darker tone. They touch on geopolitical events, from WWII through the Vietnam War and the Korean War and into a future, and cultural events from Charlie Manson to Michael Jackson to, of course, the Internet itself. All have a heavy conspiracy theory flavor. Altogether, a good horror mythology. It is known as The Interface Series, referring to recurring "flesh interface" objects.

Horror is often a metaphor for something else. My interpretation of the obvious through-line here would be addiction, but there is likely enough that other things may suggest themselves. Perhaps some social commentary, or mental illness. And I suppose it would be best to say that this is not for children or those sensitive to disturbing imagery. It remains to be seen whether the tales will end like Fringe (directionless and far past its point of natural resolution), like Lost (bogged down by its own unanswerable questions until it became exactly what it was promised not to be), or Battlestar Galactica (the 2004 version, adrift without internal consistency, undermining its own prior material), or simply peter out as the Internet's attention moves on. And no, I do not think it will come to a satisfying conclusion. Such things don't, it is part of the pattern, part of the metaphor. Perhaps the metaphor self-actualizing.