BOOK REVIEW: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

written by David Steffen Insurgent is a 2012 dystopic science fiction novel by Veronica Roth, the sequel to Divergent (reviewed here) and the second in the Divergent trilogy. These stories take place in a future Chicago which is walled-off from the rest of the world and has been split into five factions: Candor (who value … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

BOOK REVIEW: Divergent by Veronica Roth

written by David Steffen Divergent is a 2011 dystopic science fiction novel by Veronica Roth, the first of a trilogy of books. The story takes place in an isolated city-state that used to be Chicago in the future, where it is walled off from the rest of the world where no one seems to know … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Divergent by Veronica Roth

MOVIE REVIEW: Rango

written by David Steffen Rango is a 2011 computer-animated western comedy film distributed by Paramount Pictures. The protagonist (Johnny Depp) is a chameleon living a solitary life in a family’s terrarium acting out fantasy scenarios he invents in his ample spare time, and the family is driving with the terrarium in the back, when an … Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Rango

TV REVIEW: Tales From the Loop Season 1

written by David Steffen Tales From the Loop is a science fiction series with a montage cast that premiered on Amazon Prime in April 2020, based on illustrations from the narrative art book of the same name by Simon Stalenhag. Underneath a small coastal town scientists have built The Loop, an experimental facility intended to … Continue reading TV REVIEW: Tales From the Loop Season 1

The Lodge and Seven Contrivances: How Contrivance Affects Horror Plots

written by John Wiswell Most Horror stories are built on contrivance. In Jaws, a shark that absolutely isn’t native to that region attacks swimmers. How did it get there and why is it behaving this way? Neither Benchley’s novel nor Spielberg’s film cares. Little more effort is put into justifying the mayor and business owners … Continue reading The Lodge and Seven Contrivances: How Contrivance Affects Horror Plots

TV REVIEW: Miracle Workers Season 2: Dark Ages

written by David Steffen Dark Ages is the second season of TBS comedy series Miracles Workers. I use the term “series” very loosely here, because there is no plot continuity whatsoever between the two seasons–if they didn’t actually have the same name I wouldn’t call it a series. Besides the name, they do have a … Continue reading TV REVIEW: Miracle Workers Season 2: Dark Ages

MUSIC VIDEO DRILLDOWN #7: Foil by Weird Al Yankovic

written by David Steffen This is one of a series of articles wherein I examine a music video as a short film, focusing on the story rather than the music, trying to identify the story arcs and characters motivations, and consider the larger implication of events. The film this week is Foil by Weird Al … Continue reading MUSIC VIDEO DRILLDOWN #7: Foil by Weird Al Yankovic

Diabolical Plots Submission Window Postponed

written by David Steffen Hello everyone! Greetings and I hope that you and your family and friends are well, or as well as can be expected. For the last several years, Diabolical Plots has opened for a regular submission window every July. I’ve found that having a single month every year helps me to compartmentalize … Continue reading Diabolical Plots Submission Window Postponed

TV REVIEW: Miracle Workers Season 1

written by David Steffen Miracle Workers is a TBS dark comedy series which, so far, has completely different topics and focus each season. Season 1 aired from February-March 2019, and is centered around the bureaucracy of heaven which is not as heavenly as we would like to believe, and is based on the novel What … Continue reading TV REVIEW: Miracle Workers Season 1

TABLETOP GAME REVIEW: Skip-Bo

written by David Steffen Skip-Bo is a card game created by Minnie Hazel “Skip” Bowman in 1967, that has since been sold to Mattel. The object of the game is to completely empty your stock pile of cards, which in the standard rules starts with 30 cards (rules recommend changing this to 10 for a … Continue reading TABLETOP GAME REVIEW: Skip-Bo