Book Review: Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus: 1818 Text by Mary Shelley, edited by Marilyn Butler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008; originally published in 1818. 276 pp) Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in 1797 to authors William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Poet Bysshe Shelly courted Mary and the pair eloped in 1814, during which that summer Mary began writing Frankenstein. She died in 1851. Marilyn Butler is a former Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, and previously King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University. Questions in the Western Cultural Canon The western cultural canon offers an intriguing case study on how the roots of a story take hold before blending into whatever a culture requires of it. What starts as… Read More →

Film Review: Green Room

Green Room

Green Room written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (A24, Broad Green Pictures, Film Science, R, 95 min) Starring Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart. A Tough Genre to Master When it comes to uncomfortable viewing, the horror/suspense genre takes the cake. The viewer knows most of the characters aren’t going to make it; the question becomes the “why” and the “how” of the demise. The difficulty of the genre lies in replicating realism. Most days, killers aren’t stalking groups of friends a la I Know What You Did Last Summer. The writer and director must think carefully about the best possible way to conjure a scenario… Read More →

Television Show Review: Stranger Things: Season 1

Stranger Things Season 1

Stranger Things: Season 1 created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre) Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, and Cara Buono. With Age As a parent I’ve achieved equilibrium. I don’t mention this to suggest I have my life all lined up and perfectly balanced. Such a position is a work of sanctification for which I constantly strive. But, I do get to see the other side of the coin. As a dad, I see the world anew. When I was a child, I thought of childish things. I had a sense of play and curiosity. As a burgeoning young adult, I thought I… Read More →

Book Review: Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt Ruff (New York: Harper, 2016. 384 pp) Matt Ruff (b. 1965) wrote his first novel, Fool on the Hill, from his senior thesis at Cornell University. His fourth novel, Bad Monkeys, received a Washington State Book Award for fiction, an Alex Award, and a PNBA Book Award. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Lisa Gold. True to Identity What scares you? Ask the average person this question and you’ll likely receive as many answers as individuals asked. Given our current society, some may say assault rifles; some may suggest weapons of mass destruction. Some people might fear ghosts; others might fear monsters. In all likelihood, most people wouldn’t propose ethereal, systemic, or philosophical… Read More →

Book Review: Horrorstör

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör: A Novel by Grady Hendrix (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2014. 240 pp) Grady Hendrix has written for Variety, Slate, the New York Post, Playboy, Village Voice, Strange Horizons, and the anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. He spent several years answering the phone for a parapsychological research organization. He is currently employed by Orsk, Manhattan. Work as Occupation It’s startling and a bit over the top, but the theory behind work hasn’t changed much. We still live in a Taylorist world where the heart and soul of employee matter little and the efficiency and productivity of the employee matter greatly. The marketing team can dress up the work in all these high-minded ideals but too often this corporate… Read More →

Television Show Review: Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake created by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee (See-Saw Films, Escapade Pictures, Screen Australia) Starring Elisabeth Moss, Thomas M. Wright, Peter Mullan, David Wenham, Holly Hunter, Robyn Malcolm, and Jacqueline Joe.  Paper-Thin The wall beauty and horror is paper-thin. My hometown team, the Seattle Seahawks just won the Super Bowl. They dismantled the Denver Broncos with one of the most bruising defensive performances of all time. For me, it was a thing of beauty. Yet, early in the game, the Seahawks’ strong safety Kam Chancellor hit a Bronco wide receiver with such force that he separated the player’s shoulder. From one perspective, beautiful aggression; from another, sheer violence. Couldn’t the same be said of love? The ideal… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 3 Part 2

The Walking Dead Season 3

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Part 2 created by Frank Darabont (American Movie Classics, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Scott Wilson. Warning: Spoilers ahead for earlier seasons. Memento Mori Recently, the AV Club published a piece on how The Walking Dead succeeds at making death a character. Todd Van Der Werff offered sound reasoning for the artistic concept of the memento mori, the subtly inserted reminder to viewers that someday they might die. For me, this article offered the framework for understanding why I remain so invested in this series. I’ve mentioned it before in reviews of previous seasons, and… Read More →