Author Archive

Review: Tenth of December

Posted by: |

Review: Tenth of December

I picked this one up because of a challenge. Or maybe it was more of a dare. My youngest sister (*waves* Hi Hannah!) read this collection first, and while she was impressed that the author had the range to write such wildly different stories – many of them in completely different genres – she also found it grim, depressing, and with a truly bleak view of humanity, and by God she wanted someone else to read it so she could have someone to talk to about it.

There are ten stories in George Saunders’s collection Tenth of December, and I tore through all ten of them in about two days. Maybe closer to a day and a half. Readers beware, these are all very dark (with an occasional moment of dark humor), but the author’s writing style flows so easily that it makes for perfect summer reading. But maybe not bedtime reading, since you might have trouble sleeping afterward.

Read On

Binary System #50 – Fifty Episodes. Still no plan.

Posted by: |

Binary System #50 – Fifty Episodes. Still no plan.

It’s the 50th episode of Binary System Podcast! What do we have planned? Absolutely nothing! Seriously, are you surprised? After 50 episodes if you think we’ve got a game plan we’d like to talk to you about this section of prime real estate in the Everglades, lovely spot, we’ll just need your credit card number…

Seriously though, we tackled this episode with all the randomness we could put behind it, and jumped from Penny Dreadful to Stranger Things, Mr. Robot, the Foreigner Series, Game of Thrones, the Craft Sequence, Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, prom night, Civil War 2, time travel, the Thessaliad, Sins of the Wreckers, Transformers that break, and being surprisingly girly about it. Don’t judge.

Read On

Review: How to Talk to Girls At Parties

Posted by: |

Review: How to Talk to Girls At Parties

Enn: “I don’t know what to say to girls.”

Vic: “They’re just girls. They don’t come from another planet.”

Awkward teenager Enn was already unhappy about being dragged to the local party by his confident friend Vic. He was even more uncomfortable when it turned out to be the wrong party. But Vic decided they were going to stay anyway. Because this party had lots of girls. 

Enn didn’t have a lot of experience with girls, so he was going to have to stick to Vic’s suggestion: just try talking to them.

It sounds like a regular coming-of-age story (or at least trying to survive being a teenager with one’s sanity intact). And it is, sort of. Except for the fact that the girls at this party are from much further away than either boy realizes.

If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to read something by Neil Gaiman (or if you’re like me and you’ll read anything that has his name attached to it) then you might want to pick up this graphic novel adaptation of his short story How to Talk to Girls At Parties, with artwork by the incomparable Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

Read On

Review: The Last Days of New Paris

Posted by: |

Review: The Last Days of New Paris

…the other was a torso, jutted from the bicycle itself, its moving prow, a figurehead where handlebars should be. She was extruded from the metal. She pushed her arms backward and they curled at the ends like coral. She stretched her neck and widened her eyes.

Thibault swallowed and tried to speak, and tried again, and screamed, “It’s the Vélo!”

Just a novella this week, but that’s okay because there’s enough glorious weirdness in China Mieville’s latest work to fill a whole novel.

The story begins with the sound of gunfire. German soldiers scatter as they’re attacked by a creature in the shape of a woman merged with a bicycle. Even stranger, the reaction of the French Resistance fighters watching is less Dear God What Is That Thing, and more Look Out, It’s Another One.

The Last Days of New Paris is set in an alternate history version of Nazi-occupied Paris, where an unexplained event, the S-Blast, has somehow tapped into the soul of the Surrealism movement. Now images from works by Max Ernst, André Breton, Yves Tanguy, and hundreds more are stalking the streets, while demons called from Hell reluctantly follow the German soldiers’ orders, and the very landscape of Paris has been twisted into something impossible.

Read On

Binary System Podcast #48 – WTNV #92 “If He Had Lived”

Posted by: |

Binary System Podcast #48 – WTNV #92 “If He Had Lived”

This week’s episode of Welcome to Night Vale was so wonderfully weird, such a jewel of strangeness, we’re just going to dance around the details in the recap because we really really want you to listen to it yourself. Instead we discuss the additional weirdness that is The Last Days of New Paris, and Saga, the beautiful art of Civil War 2, and how last month’s issue of Transformers More Than Meets The Eye ripped our hearts out. Seriously, IDW, how could you? (We don’t want you to stop, but seriously. Ow.)

 

Read On

Review: Compendium – Artifacts of Lumin Book One

Posted by: |

Review: Compendium – Artifacts of Lumin Book One

Lumin is a forest world, with trees who’s roots reach all the way to the planet’s core. The lives of the people of Lumin are closely entwined with those trees. Maybe too entwined; after using the energy that flows through the forests to power every aspect of society, the Core is heating up and the trees themselves are dying. There’s only one way to reverse the damage: shut down the entire Network, cutting off all advanced technology that feeds off the trees and throwing the planet into a new dark age. The Core will stay sealed for as long as it takes the planet to heal.

More than six hundred years later, a young woman named Mia stumbles across a treasure in the Archives of the Order of Vis Firmitas. The treasure is a book, hidden away for centuries. The history of an ancient battle and the key to the lost technology of the planet may be contained inside the mysterious artifact that slowly comes to life in Mia’s hands: the Compendium.

Read On

Binary System Podcast #47 – WTNV #91 “The 12:37”

Posted by: |

Binary System Podcast #47 – WTNV #91 “The 12:37”

If all the news stories about travel delays are getting you down, you’ll be happy to hear that the 12:37 to Night Vale has arrived right on time! Well, one hundred years late. On tracks that don’t exist anymore. At a station that was torn down and turned into a baseball field decades ago. Oh, and no one who goes inside has been heard from since. All aboard!

Listen in as the twins dissect the latest episode of Welcome To Night Vale, then ramble some rambles about Stranger Things, Suicide Squad, Zootopia, Batman v Superman, Inception, Niagara Falls, fan art, and maybe just a little bit of Pokemon Go, and how to pretend that’s not what you’re doing with your phone.

Read On

Review: Her Husband’s Hands and Other Stories

Posted by: |

Review: Her Husband’s Hands and Other Stories

Last week the Binary System Podcast was on vacation (check out the BSP Facebook page for pictures taken in and around Niagara Falls), and traveling means picking something want to read, something out of a list of books I’ve been saving for a special occasion. Adam-Troy Castro’s short story collection Her Husband’s Hands and Other Stories was the perfect choice for some light reading while waiting around in airports.

Keep in mind that “light” in this case refers to the size of the book. It does not mean “happy”.

Shakespeare wrote that art is “a mirror held up to nature”; for this book Adam Troy-Castro is using a funhouse mirror with a magnifying glass, reflecting some of the very worst that human nature has to offer. These stories are dark like you wouldn’t believe. They’re also fascinating, thought-provoking, hard to put down and, in several cases, deeply upsetting. You could plow through all eight stories in a matter of hours, but I’d recommend following the suggestion David Gerrold wrote in the intro: don’t read all of them at once.

Read On

Binary System Podcast #46 – SDCC 2016 Debrief

Posted by: |

Binary System Podcast #46 – SDCC 2016 Debrief

Elizabeth’s back from San Diego Comic-Con and Kathryn’s had a cold kicking her butt for a week so we’re both brain dead and rambling. That’s the kind of podcast we like best. (No one who knows us is surprised.)

Listen in as we debrief on Nerdigras (Nerd Mecca if you will) and spaz out about Civil War II, Dave McKean, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Doctor Strange, Moffat, and more.

Read On