“This world must differ from the given in at least one way, and this one way must be sufficient to give rise to events that could not occur in our society — or in any known society present or past. There must be a coherent idea involved in this dislocation; that is, the dislocation must be a conceptual one, not merely a trivial or a bizarre one — this is the essence of science fiction, the conceptual dislocation within the society so that as a result a new society is generated in the author’s mind, transferred to paper, and from paper it occurs as a convulsive shock in the reader’s mind, the shock of dysrecognition. He knows that it is not his actual world that he is reading about.”
Philip K. Dick on worldbuilding a science fiction story
The Department of Truth is an inventive spin on conspiracy theories. In this world, every conspiracy is true, but at the same time, no conspiracy theory is true. It’s a slight spoiler to explain that, basically, if enough people believe in a conspiracy then it manifests in reality. The “Department of Truth” is a government agency that works to prevent dangerous conspiracies from spreading and becoming real. The books are well-researched in conspiracy lore, featuring popular theories like JFK, flat earth, the Satanic panic, Bigfoot, and more. My only gripe is that it’s a bit too anti-conspiracy theory, the subtext being all conspiracy theories are false and conspiracy theorists are dangerous. In reality, many (but not all) conspiracy theories are false, and some (but not most) conspiracy theorists are dangerous. Overall, this was really well-written with great artwork and I can’t wait for the next volume.
In my final “Best of 2019” post, I’ll be listing my favorite television shows, comic books, video games, and music albums of the year. I haven’t been watching as much television as I used to, (I simply don’t have the time) focusing more on movies, documentaries, and books (and of course, my own writing). There are several 2019 shows I’d still like to watch but haven’t gotten around to yet, such as The Mandalorian and the new Twilight Zone reboot (though I did watch a lot of the original series this past year, and most of the episodes hold up extraordinarily well). Continue reading →
It’s ironic that I write science fiction books as an adult considering I didn’t even read science fiction books as a child. Actually, I didn’t read any books at all, other than those assigned in school—which, aside from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, were never science fiction. I loved sci-fi movies as a child and was captivated by space exploration and future technology, but I struggled with books about those same topics. It wasn’t until later in life, post-college, that I really started to enjoy reading (books in general and science fiction in particular). Continue reading →
I did this list last year and may make it an annual tradition. It’s essentially a random and arbitrary list. These aren’t “the best” movies that are 10+ years old—just the ones I happened to watch this past year. My intent was to create a unique “best movies of year” list, though also, it can sometimes take ten years to accurately judge a film in a historical context. I’ve already seen most of the consensus top films from history, so this list consists of deeper cuts that I never saw or mainstream classics that I re-watched this past year. Continue reading →
With Blade Runner 2049 coming out, I rewatched the original in preparation. I got to see The Final Cut on the big screen for the first time, and it was an incredible experience. For the past dozen years or so, Blade Runner has been one of my favorite films and a major inspiration on my writing, particularly the way it fuses science fiction with noir (my two favorite genres). Blade Runner wasn’t always a favorite movie of mine, however. The first time I saw it, sometime around 2005, I just didn’t get it. But after hearing Christopher Nolan, praise Blade Runner as his favorite film, I figured I must have been missing something, so a couple years later I gave it another shot.
Bad movies get worse with repeated viewings, good movies hold up with repeated viewings, and great movies get better with repeated viewings. Blade Runner is a great movie. The second time around, I appreciated the film a lot more, and my appreciation has only grown with each subsequent viewing. Having seen Blade Runner about ten times now, I recognize it for what it truly is: a cinematic masterpiece and one of the greatest films ever made.Continue reading →