Tag: sci fi

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A stylized shot from Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin", depicting an alien (Scarlett Johansson), in profile, at the beach.

Through the Void: on Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin” (2013)

Jonathan Glazer might not be the greatest director still active, but his filmography is surprisingly varied, considering how relatively few films he’s made compared to the other top dogs in the business. His third film, Under the Skin, further estranges itself from the others in terms of its subject matter, and while it may be his weakest film (particularly in light of its finale) it still bears an unmistakable Glazer imprint, and, like Birth, manages to carry itself most of the way through in spite of an outlandish premise.

But not so outlandish, really. We’ve seen alien sci-fi before, but what distinguishes Under the Skin from other such movies is its distinct style. There is an almost Kubrickian detachment from its genre elements, an arthouse stylization that mixes a strong sense of formalism with authentic guerilla filmmaking.

Now, I’ve never been the biggest Scarlett Johansson admirer, and that’s not because I think she’s a bad actor—on the contrary, I’ve only ever seen her be passable to good. Maybe it’s simply due to the fact that I watched a lot of those Marvel blockbusters and I’m used to her being utilized as kickass eye-candy and not much else. […]

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A stylized photo of Bob MacKenzie, author of "The Miriam Conspiracy" (2023), originally published under the title "Another Eternity".

Renewing Canon: On Bob MacKenzie’s “The Miriam Conspiracy”

The experienced reader encounters a work with a certain awareness of literary history, of written genres; in some cases, it might be that an experienced reader will avoid certain genres as having less personal resonance, of being unsatisfying to read, perhaps because of the superficiality of the text—a situation that can both attract or repel a reader because the work is “brain candy”. For those readers who enjoy a more demanding reading experience, there are literary works; and while there is an established, historical canon of such literary works, new additions being made to that canon are subjected to as laborious a process as that of the canon of sainthood. The experienced reader may or may not defer to the institutionalization of written works as being thus canonized, but there are those experienced readers who find delight in discovering works worthy of literary consideration that may be otherwise unknown. In this latter case, of undiscovered country, readers are invited to tour a novel by Bob MacKenzie originally called Another Eternity, but which is being re-released under the title The Miriam Conspiracy.

An investigation into the physical entity of this book reveals a number of interesting aspects: inclusion of color plates, font changes, use of symbols in the text itself that concur with the symbols referenced in the narrative and used to separate sections within chapters. The book has a visual vibrancy, despite being a soft cover trade sized volume. The older edition (with copyright 1982 and 2012 by Dark Matter Press, Canada), also displays award stickers from Readers Favorites as a kind of promise to the potential reader choosing a book by its cover. Additionally, the author information page tells us of a full life spent in the arts, of awards and rare editions; the author photo itself is the opposite of the glamor shot so prosaic now, as it mostly shows the beard of the author at a podium, apparently in performance—this is no neophyte effort, and a discerning reader will enter the text with perhaps a bit of a gourmand sensation, with an anticipation of encountering a savory read. […]