Archive | Reviews

20 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Using MetaData For Clean Sorting of Fiction Podcast Episodes

written by David Steffen I’ve been listening to fiction podcasts for about 8 years, catching up on the backlog of one podcast before adding another.  I’m currently keeping up with about 10 podcasts.  I’m weird in that I prefer not to use a podcatcher, because I hate the iTunes podcatcher interface, so I manually download […]

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11 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a near future dystopia published in 1985 about a United States of America that has become an oppressive theocracy.  ((It has also very recently become a TV series streaming on Hulu, but I haven’t seen the show so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about that)

Offred lives in Gilead, the theocratic country that the United States has become in a near future.  The Christian Bible is the rule of the land, or at least a very strict interpretation of a very selective subset of the Christian Bible.  Tales of the “way things used to be” are a constant mantra told by those in power to justify the extreme measures taken to uphold the current law, tales of when women could not walk the street without being harassed, when women were expected to paint themselves for beauty, when women had to fear rape and assault.  Women are safe now, they say, treated as the precious vessels they are meant to be, to bear children as God intended.  There is a wall in town where the body of criminals are hung on display: atheists and homosexuals and adulterists and traitors and others.  All for the safety of the good citizens of Gilead, of course.

A lingering effect of the way things used to be is low fertility across the population, caused by some mixture of chemicals, diet, medications, intentional blocking of fertility, and other causes.  In the new world women who can’t produce children are unwomen, sent to labor camps to live short miserable lives.  Lower class women, at least.  Upper class women may be assigned handmaids who, inspired by the tale of Jacob’s handmaiden in the Bible, may act as a pregnancy proxy for an infertile wife (according to the dictates of Gilead, no man is infertile, it is always the wife).

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06 September 2017 ~ 3 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Shrek the Musical

Shrek The Musical is a theater version of the 2001 CG comedy adventure Shrek.  As with the movie, the play is about the ogre Shrek who lives a contented secluded life in a swamp, but his solitude is interrupted with an influx of fairytale creatures who have been evicted by Lord Farquad to transform his kingdom into his perfect image of a kingdom.  When Shrek goes to confront Farquad (meeting Donkey, a talking donkey on the way) he is coerced into mounting a rescue mission of Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower to bring her back to be Farquad’s bride.

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28 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

EVENT REVIEW: The Science of Pixar

written by David Steffen This summer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the touring exhibit was The Science Behind Pixar.  There are sections of the exhibit for every stage of the production from concept art, storyboarding, clay modeling, modeling, rigging, motion capture, rendering, and lighting. If you’ve ever wondered how computer animation in general is […]

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21 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: 1984 by George Orwell

1984 is easily the most well-known dystopian novels, and one of the most famous science fiction novels in history (whether or not Orwell would call it science fiction).  The book was written by George Orwell, and published in 1949.  Almost seventy years later, the political ideas in the story are as relevant as ever, and many of the concepts have since entered everyday vernacular even when those speaking are not familiar with the book itself.  .

In the future of the story, there are only three super-nations across the entire globe–Oceania (which contains the former United States and United Kingdom among others), Eurasia, and Eastasia.  The three super-nations are constantly at war with another in ever-shifting alliances.  The super-nations are all authoritarian states, which maintain control by a combination of ever-present surveillance, constant revision of history, and the limitation destruction of language.

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11 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Hugo Review: Graphic Story Finalists

The final category I’m reviewing in the Hugo Award review series for this year, this is for the graphic story category. I like graphic stories, but I tend to not do a very good job keeping up with them, so I use this category as a chance to get a sampling from some popular stories.

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07 August 2017 ~ 0 Comments

GAME REVIEW: Kill the Plumber

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Many gamers (especially those from the age of 30-40) grew up with Super Mario Bros. as their big introduction to games.  The music, the visuals, the enemies, the plot are all engrained deep in your heart with a lot of loving nostalgia.

Kill the Plumber is a platformer parody of Super Mario Bros. that turns the tables on the classic original.  A psychotic plumber has invaded your kingdom and he is massacring your citizens to pursue the princess who wants nothing more than to get away from her stalker.  So you mobilize your forces to fight this invader.  The plumber is fast and agile, and sometimes has extra powers like fireballs or invincibility, but you have numbers, and you can try each level as many times as you need to.

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31 July 2017 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The LEGO Batman Movie

written by David Steffen The Lego Batman movie is a comedy/action computer animated movie by Warner Bros. Pictures released in February 2017.  It is a followup, if not exactly a sequel, to The Lego Movie (reviewed here).  The connection with The Lego Movie is slight apart from the obvious connection that they’re Lego-based worlds:  Batman […]

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26 July 2017 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2 is a comedy action movie released in February 2016 by Paramount Pictures.  It is the sequel to the 2001 film Zoolander.

In the last movie, male supermodels Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and  Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) saved the world from fashion supervillain Mugatu’s (Will Ferrell) nefarious plans, and then founding The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to do Other Stuff Good Too.  Derek also had a beautiful baby boy with his wife Matilda (Christine Taylor), who they named Derek Zoolander Jr.

The unveiling of the center was a tragic disaster, as the cheaply built building collapses, killing Matilda, and leaving Hans with horrible scars that leave him exiled from the modeling community, and Derek leaves the public eye to become a hermit (or a “hermit crab”, as he would say).

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21 July 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Hugo Review: Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form Finalists

Another category in the Hugo Award review series for this year, this is for the novelette category which covers dramatic presentations (most often movies, but it could be dramatic stageplays or video games).

Not reviewed here are Deadpool, because it had cycled back out of Redbox by the time I looked for it, and Stranger Things, which I haven’t gotten my hands on either.

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