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Viewing Blog: Asking the Wrong Questions, Most Recent at Top
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Abigail Nussbaum is a writer based in Israel.
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1. Five Comments on Hamilton

If you're like me, you probably spent some portion of the last six months watching your online acquaintance slowly become consumed with (or by) something called Hamilton.  And then when you looked it up it turned to be a musical playing halfway around the world that you will probably never see.  But something strange and surprising is happening around Hamilton--a race-swapped, hip-hop musical

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2. Crimson Peak

The first thing you notice about Crimson Peak is how deliberately, consciously old-fashioned it is.  This is a movie that starts with the camera zooming in on the cloth-bound cover of a book bearing the film's title, and whose scene breaks (chapter breaks, we should say) are signaled by irising in on a prop or a character's face, as if we were watching an old-timey silent film.  The second thing

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3. The Martian

When coming to write about The Martian, Ridley Scott's space/disaster/survival movie about an astronaut stranded on Mars, it's hard to resist the impulse to draw comparisons.  The Martian is perhaps best-described as a cross between Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity and Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away.  Its focus on the engineering challenges that survival on Mars poses for hero Mark Watney, and on the

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4. After-Dinner Conversation: Thoughts on Hannibal

Two years ago, writing after the end of Hannibal's first season, I called the show a rich but ultimately unsatisfying feast.  I admired a lot about Bryan Fuller's take on Thomas Harris's novels and their sadistic, cannibalistic central character: its use of visuals and music to set an almost oppressively dreamlike tone, its willingness to flaunt the conventions of good storytelling, its clever

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5. Recent Reading Roundup 38

For a number of reasons, I found myself neglecting my literary fiction reading in the first half of 2015.  I tend to bounce back and forth between litfic and genre--too much of the mimetic stuff and I find myself longing for something about more than a few people and their emotional issues; too much SF or fantasy and I end up wishing for something more concrete to hold on to.  So this last month

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6. The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts On the Results

It's 6hrs before the Hugos. I am going to bed, but before that I will make this public prediction: I think the pups are going to be trounced — Abigail Nussbaum (@NussbaumAbigail) August 22, 2015 This year's Hugo results are a landmark occasion: they are the closest I've ever come to guessing the entire slate of winners.  In an informal poll last week among friends (which I'm now kicking myself

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7. "I Thought I Was Alone": Thoughts on Sense8

You could probably run an interesting poll among genre fans to see which ones find the elevator-pitch description for Netflix's new show Sense8--a globe-spanning genre series from the minds of the Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski--an immediate selling point, and which ones see it as a reason to stay away.  I have to admit that I'm in the latter group. The involvement of the

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8. Ten

Today, July 14th 2015, marks the tenth anniversary of this blog's creation. Just writing that down amazes me.  This is where I'm supposed to say that when I started this blog I had no idea that I'd still be keeping it up a decade later, but the truth is that Asking the Wrong Questions's longevity, in itself, doesn't surprise me.  I started this blog because I had things to say and nowhere to say

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9. The 2015 Hugo Awards: One Month Out

I had originally planned to write this post some time last month, and make it an analogue to the one I made when the Hugo voting period open--more information than commentary.  But then the seemingly impossible happened, and this year's Hugo clusterfuck managed to throw up yet more sound and fury.  I was so angry about this latest iteration that I couldn't really bear to talk about it until I'd

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10. Jurassic World

Jurassic World is a pretty bad movie.  What's interesting about it, however, is that the reasons for its badness are, for the most part, the reasons it should have been good.  With only a few exceptions, the ideas that went into Jurassic World, the fourquel-slash-reboot of Steven Spielberg's paradigm-defining 1993 blockbuster, are solid and interesting.  The basic premise of the movie--that

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11. The Revengers' Tragedy: Thoughts on the Fifth Season Finale of Game of Thrones

Yesterday afternoon, before I'd watched the final episode of Game of Thrones's fifth season, I read this essay by Aaron Bady about the show, in which he argues that it has overshot its natural ending point, and therefore no longer has anything to say: What has changed, I think, is that tragedy has become pornography. Not literal pornography, of course, because very specific forms of gratuitous

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12. The Iain M. Banks Master List

As I wrote earlier this week, my review of The Hydrogen Sonata completes a decade of reading and reviewing Iain M. Banks's science fiction, and it seemed appropriate to put together a master list where all of these reviews can be found in order.  Not all of these are full-length reviews (though most are) and there are several books I might end up revisiting, in which case I'll update this post.

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13. Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Over at Strange Horizons, I review Rachel Hartman's Shadow Scale, the sequel to Seraphina, one of my favorite books of 2013.  One of the things that most impressed me about Seraphina was how it managed to juggle so many characters, plotlines, and worldbuilding details without ever seeming overstuffed or rushed.  Shadow Scale doesn't quite manage that trick--it's longer, more episodic, and less

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14. The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

Whichever book ended up being the last stop in my meandering progress through the SF novels of Iain M. Banks--a journey that began nearly ten years ago--it was bound to be a bittersweet experience.  That that book has ended up being The Hydrogen Sonata only makes it more so.  Banks could not have known, when he sat down to write this novel, how little time he had left, or that it would turn out

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15. Persona by Genevieve Valentine

The problem with writing a review of Genevieve Valentine's new novel Persona is that the first and most urgent compliment I want to pay this novel might come off as a criticism.  Persona, you see, is The Hunger Games minus the actual hunger games.  To the uninitiated, this might sound as though I'm calling the novel unexciting or lacking an actual point.  But if you're like me, and you thought

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16. Tomorrowland

"When I was younger, the future was... different."  So says Frank Walker (George Clooney), one of the heroes of Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, in the opening narration that acts as a frame for the film's story.  It probably says everything you need to know about this movie that Frank--and the film itself--seem entirely unaware of the irony and self-contradiction inherent in a statement like this, and

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17. Mad Max: Fury Road

Before I start talking about Mad Max: Fury Road, I should probably say that I haven't seen any of the other films in the Mad Max series, and that I'm not feeling a particular need to catch myself up.  This should not be taken as a criticism of Fury Road, which is indeed as brilliant and exhilarating as advertized, and whose gorgeous, pulse-pounding action scenes put the rest of Hollywood's

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18. The 2015 Hugo Awards: A Few Thoughts as Voting Opens

Nearly a month after the announcement of this year's Hugo nominations, the story has settled down from a furious boil to a steady simmer.  The best sources for ongoing discussion and the increasingly silly backpedaling from the Rabid Puppy camp continue to be Mike Glyer's File 770 and James Nicoll's LJ, but I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling overwhelmed by the sheer breadth and depth of the

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19. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Publishing and Fan Categories

With only a week left to the nominating deadline, let's continue swiftly to the publishing and fan categories.  As I did last year, I'm going to be skipping the best editor categories, because I don't feel that I have enough of a sense of what each editor does to know which one of them deserves an award.  I also don't listen to podcasts, so I'll be leaving the best fancast category blank as well.

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20. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Media Categories

Last year when I wrote about this group of categories, I noted that it consisted of two categories in which I didn't feel that my vote mattered much, and two in which I didn't feel knowledgeable enough to nominate well in.  That hasn't changed much this year--in the case of the Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category, in fact, my vote feels even more useless than usual.  2014 was full of so

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21. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Best Novel and Cambpell Award

With just under a day and a half left to nominate for the 2015 Hugo awards, I have an embarrassing confession to make: I don't actually have any best novel nominations.  I don't tend to keep up to date with my reading, and in 2014 I fell seriously behind--there are more than a dozen Hugo-eligible books that I hoped to get to before the nominating deadline, but that is clearly not going to happen.

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22. Review: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho at Strange Horizons

Today at Strange Horizons, I review Zen Cho's Crawford-winning short story collection Spirits Abroad.  This is something of a milestone for me--the first review I've had published in Strange Horizons since stepping down as a reviews editor.  It's also a welcome return to writing full-length book reviews, and for both of those occasions I couldn't have chosen a better subject with which to mark

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23. The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees

If you've been hanging out on (certain parts of) twitter in the last two weeks, you probably had a sense of what was coming in this year's Hugo nominations.  The rumor storm has been brewing furiously, and yet even those dark hints were not quite enough to prepare us for just how dismal this year's nominees would be.  The organized right-wing voting campaign that last year gave us Vox Day, Hugo

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24. The 2015 Hugo Awards: Why I Am Voting No Award in the Best Fan Writer Category

It's been six days since this year's Hugo nominations were announced, and in fandom time that feels like an eternity.  As dispiriting as the nominations themselves were, the response to them has been gratifying--the consensus that the Sad and Rabid Puppies crossed a line in promoting a single slate of nominees has been swiftly reached (including in mainstream venues like Salon, Slate, and The

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25. An Impressionistic Painting: Thoughts on Daredevil

In the fifth episode of the new Netflix series Marvel's Daredevil, lawyer-by-day, vigilante-by-night Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) explains to his new friend Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) how he sees the world.  Blinded in a childhood accident, Matt discovered that his other senses had become superhumanly sharp, allowing him to perceive far more than ordinary people.  "You have to think of it as

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