Science Fiction Reviews

Science Fiction Books and Films reviewed by writer Colin Trafford

The Breivikian Subtext of 10 Cloverfield Lane

For the most part 10 Cloverfield Lane is a loathsome, somewhat Faulkneresque, piece of trash. Conceived in the modern Pavlovian manner, its elements are there more to make you drool than think. That puts it firmly in the realm of anti-sf, not science fiction at all. Still, the fact that its creators saw fit it to have it masquerade as science fiction merits comment.

The story line is simple…
Read More…

Email Colin

Wayward Pines – The (Hidden) Truth

With the appearance of episode five, Wayward Pines suddenly became interesting. Up to that point, the series appeared to be no more than a shoddy American remake of the even shoddier British remake of what is arguably the greatest television series ever done — Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. (Benighted readers of this review who are unfamiliar with that majestic narrative should not even bother with either of these limping xerox successors…

Read More…

Why In God’s Name Do I Like The Flash?

I like The Flash. I’ve seen every episode, I’ve enjoyed every episode, and I look forward to the coming episodes.

Yet each time I am absolutely puzzled as to why. It’s the sort of show I viscerally despise; its worst elements are so awful you wince; it’s horrible! Yet I can’t enough of it.

Read More…

 

Ambiguities Of Justice

Ancillary Justice, the first novel by Ann Leckie, went on to win nearly every prestigious science fiction award of the year.  And not surprisingly.  By SF standards — such as they are — it is an exceptional book.  Perhaps the most exceptional thing about it is that it is impressive even by non-SF standards.  How often, reading science fiction, does one feel the clear influence not of Heinlein or Asimov but Conrad?  How often does the writing make you think, even just slightly, of Hemingway?…

Read More…

 

Robot Overlords

Robot Overlords is not so much disappointing, as laughable and disappointing. One hoped for better — or, at least, different — solely on the basis of its British origin. After all, American science fiction film no longer even pretends to originality: it’s a marketing product pure and simple, endlessly re-packaging the same paranoiac power-fantasy tropes— the loathsome incomprehensible Other beaten to a pulp by the superhuman-yet-average-joe hero in glorious special-effects-laden technicolor…

Read More…

A Young Man’s Book

I was really hoping that I would like John Scalzi’s An Old Man’s War. Scalzi writes an entertaining blog, he’s well spoken of, is a Hugo notable and a former SFWA President. I particularly liked the way he went about getting it published. Legend has it Scalzi serialized the book on his blog in 2002 and, miraculously, got an offer from a slumming editor from Tor. Three years later it was out in hardcover, and one year after that it was a Hugo Best Novel nominee. Good Lord, could a good book and quality writing triumph after all?…

Read More…

Long Earth Short Fuse

The Long Earth begins by trotting out a classic SF trope: eccentric loner scientist X devises an Amazing Machine with Unexpected World-Changing Consequences. This one lets people “step,” ie, step into a parallel adjoining earth, and step easily, with barely a pop. Moreover one can just as easily step into the next and the next and the next, although one generally has to do so in that order. (You can’t hop from World #1 to World #1,000 without going through all the intermediary ones first.)…

Read More…

The Kingdom Of Auschwitz Is Within You

I sometimes think the only science fiction of any real value is social science fiction.  Where, after all, is the SF technology of yesteryear, the hover cars, the light sabres, the photon torpedos?  Where are the galactic empires, the landing tentacled Martians? All that may be a welcome and entertaining escape from the here and now, but here and now is where we are.  How do we deal with it — transform it?   Social science fiction, by presenting images of feasible alternative societies, offers us not escapism but up the possibility of real escape.  That is why it is dangerous.  And, as a rule, unpopular…

Read More…