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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. Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2014 Edition

Well, here we are again.  As has become traditional, the US networks scheduled a boatload of new shows for the week of Rosh HaShana (happy 5775 to those of you celebrating!), which is very convenient as it gave me some time to wade through the deluge.  As usual, there are some shows I just don't have much to say about--I don't need several hundred words to say that Scorpion is awful and dumb, and

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2. The Problem of Mike Peterson: Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD and Race

[Note: This post is the result of thoughts that I've been having since the end of Agents of SHIELD's first season in the spring, and which I haven't seen addressed elsewhere.  I held off on writing and publishing it because I wasn't certain that I had the proper grounding to do justice to the issues it discusses, and because I wasn't sure that it was my place to discuss them at all.  Nevertheless

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3. All Change

It seems like only yesterday that I was announcing on this blog my new position as Strange Horizons reviews editor.  That day, however, was nearly four years ago, and in that time I've worked with incredible people and helped bring fantastic, thought-provoking, necessary criticism into the conversation about genre.  It's been a privilege, and an enormously rewarding experience (not least in the

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4. Lucy

Three things you will probably have heard by now about Lucy, Luc Besson's latest film and his first foray back into proper, no-holds-barred science fiction since The Fifth Element.  One, that the film's success demonstrates the viability of a female-led action/SF movie, and cements Scarlett Johansson's position as the reigning queen of filmed SF (or at the very least co-reigning queen, along with

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5. London and LonCon

Well, here I am, back from London and Loncon, with much to tell.  I combined my third foray to Worldcon (and my first as a Hugo nominee) with a family vacation, both of which were delightful if a little tiring--a classic "I need a vacation after this vacation" situation.  The experiences of both convention and city are already swirling in my head, so I'd better get them down while it's still

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6. My Worldcon Schedule

The Worldcon program was published today, and just from a quick glance I can already tell that I am going to be a) worn off my feet running from panel to panel, and b) overcome by agonizing choices between conflicting but equally awesome events.  I'm truly looking forward to this convention. My own excellent slate of panels is below.  In addition to these, I will be on hand at the Strange

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7. He Would Never: Thoughts on Game of Thrones's Fourth Season

Jaime: When we make camp tonight, you'll be raped.  More than once.  None of these fellows have ever been with a noblewoman.  You'd be wise not to resist. Brienne: Would I? Jaime: They'll knock your teeth out. Brienne: You think I care about my teeth? Jaime: No, I don't think you care about your teeth.  If you fight them, they will kill you.  Do you understand?  I'm the prisoner of value, not

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8. Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Over at Strange Horizons, I review the Tom Cruise time travel movie Edge of Tomorrow, a film that I thought was just terrible but which seems to be getting good reviews from all other quarters, which I honestly find quite baffling.  It's starting to feel a little like being the only reviewer not blown away by Looper, but where Looper had some genuine strong points (not least, recognizing that

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9. The 2014 Hugo Awards: The Hugo Voter Packet

As has become traditional, the Hugo award administrators have published the Hugo voters packet, which includes ebook copies of many of the nominated works and samplers from many of the nominated people.  This includes myself and the other nominees in the best fan writer category (as well as Strange Horizons, nominated in the best semiprozine category).  I was a little mortified to discover that

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10. Just Following Orders: Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD's First Season

Coulson: You're going to lose Loki: Why? Coulson: It's in your nature. Loki: Your heroes are scattered.  Your floating fortress falls from the sky.  Where is my disadvantage? Coulson: You lack conviction The Avengers, 2012 Sam Wilson: How do we know the good guys from the bad guys? Captain America: If they're shooting at you, they're bad. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014 What a

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11. Recent Movie Roundup 19

Spring has sprung, and with it a whole bunch of movies I want to watch have arrived at the movie theater (as well as this bunch, see my recent review of Snowpiercer at Strange Horizons).  Though I haven't exactly been suffering, there's certainly a somewhat fannish slant to my recent moviegoing that verges on the embarrassing--I need to get around to watching some grown-up films, pronto.  Of

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12. The 2014 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees

The nominees for the 2014 Hugo awards were announced last night, and now I can reveal the news that I've been sitting on for one of the longest weeks of my life: I am nominated in the Best Fan Writer category!  I want to congratulate my fellow nominees, Liz Bourke, Kameron Hurley, Foz Meadows, and Mark Oshiro (who together make up what I think is the most female-dominated slate in the category's

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13. Review: Snowpiercer

As I say at the beginning of my review of Korean director Bong Joon-Ho's first English-language film, if you're like me then the first thing you ever heard about Snowpiercer was that it was in danger of being chopped down and dumbed down by its distributors for the sake of English-speaking audiences.  And then you were probably incensed, not only because you're fully capable of watching a

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14. Recent Reading Roundup 36

So the good news is that since the beginning of the year I've been reading up a storm, the last vestiges of the reading drought I'd suffered under for nearly two years blowing away.  The bad news is that I'm much more interested in reading books than writing about them, which is why this recent reading roundup only covers a selection of my reading this year, the others having passed too long ago

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15. How I Met Your Ending

One of the reasons that I'm not so down on spoilers is that, for someone who consumes pop culture the way I do, they're essentially impossible to avoid.  Online fandom talks a big game about its spoiler-phobia, but if you've ever spent a day on twitter in the wake of a major pop culture event, you know that there's no way not to pick up exactly what happened, even if people haven't said it

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16. The 2014 Hugo Award: My Hugo Ballot, Best Novel and Campbell Award

With a little over 36 hours left in the Hugo nominating period, we come down to the last two categories on my ballot.  In recent years, I've found the best novel category less and less interesting, partly because I'm not interested in keeping up with novels as they're published (that's a great way to concentrate on a single genre and let all other kinds of books go ignored) so usually don't have

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17. The 2014 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Media Categories

Continuing on to the media categories, which include some of the most popular categories on the ballot, and also the ones that have become the least interesting to follow.  The problem of the Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form category is well-known.  For years the award has belonged to Doctor Who, which routinely receives three nominations on the ballot, all but ensuring its victory due to

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18. The 2014 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Publishing and Fan Categories

My, how the time has flown.  I had honorable intentions of posting new segments of my Hugo ballot every few days, but here we are with less than a week to the nominating deadline and only three categories covered.  Let's continue swiftly, then, to the publishing and fan categories, an easy choice for the next step through my ballot because I won't be bothering with several of them.  As has been

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19. Her

Science fiction films, it often seems, are the idiot cousin of the genre.  Not that there aren't some excellent SF films out there, but even if you ignore the vast majority, which are actually action or horror films in an SFnal setting, what you'll be left with will be mostly small, simple stories in thinly drawn worlds, often with a thuddingly obvious political subtext.  Again, that's not to say

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20. SherLinks

One of the good things about the long, two-year gap between Sherlock's second and third seasons (aside from the fact that in it we discovered Elementary, and suddenly Sherlock and its flaws seemed a lot less important) is that in that time the mainstream conversation about the show shifted from a tug-of-war between near-ecstatic praise and near-total denigration to a more universal acceptance of

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21. The Detective Dances: Thoughts on Sherlock's Third Season

As the 2014 Sherlock extravaganza draws to a close, let's pause and reflect on a single moment.  The star of the show is buttonholed.  In front of an expectant audience, he's asked to read words not of his own composition.  Words of an emotional, overheated nature.  Words that might be considered embarrassing.  Great merriment is had, both at his embarrassment and discomfort, and at the silliness

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22. Becoming Something Else: Thoughts on Arrow

For the last decade and a half, as superheroes have migrated from the pages of comics to the very heart of mainstream pop culture, they've been almost exclusively the purview of feature films.  This despite the fact that the long-running, episodic, open-ended comics medium and the bite-sized film medium map very poorly onto one another, a disconnect that has told in what passes for most superhero

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23. Short Fiction Snapshot: "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" by Ted Chiang

When I introduced the Short Fiction Snapshot series at Strange Horizons, I noted that it wasn't intended just for positive reviews.  Reviewing short fiction at essay length can mean reviewing it negatively as well, and in today's installment I give the series's first negative--or at least mixed--review to Ted Chiang's "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling," from Subterranean Online.  Chiang is

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24. The 2014 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on Award-Pimping

It might be hard to remember, because there have already been two bigger and more bitter slapfights since, but the first genre kerfuffle of 2014, lo these six or seven weeks ago, was about award-pimping.  More specifically, it was about the increasing prevalence, in the last half-decade, of "award eligibility posts," those lists posted by authors around the beginning of the year and of

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25. The 2014 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Short Fiction Categories

I don't think it will come as a shock to regular readers of this blog that the short fiction categories are my favorites on the Hugo ballot, to the extent that I attach to them an importance that is probably completely out of proportion to how most of the voting base thinks of them.  Yes, I know, the best novel category is the only one most people (and especially anyone outside of fandom, or even

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