Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.
Review of Heather, the Totality
As everyone knows who has read my blogs, listened to my podcasts, or seen me talk at conferences about The Sopranos, etc., I've long admired Matthew Weiner's work on both The Sopranos and Mad Men, and indeed consider it to be at the very apex of television. I was thus more than pleased to get a slightly-advance copy of Weiner's first novel (published November 7), and read it in one-and-a-half sittings (a little in the wee hours of the morning, the rest just this afternoon). It's only 134 short pages, but it's so compelling I'm sure I would have read all of it in that time anyway, had it been twice as long.
Review of The Orville 1.1-5
I'd planned on catching up on all the episodes of The Orville thus far before writing a review, but episode 1.5 was so good -- and a time travel story to boot, my favorite kind of science fiction -- that I couldn't wait any longer. So here's this, and then I'll post another review when I'm caught up, and then I'll review every episode that comes after.
Review of Stranger Things 2
I found Stranger Things 2 bigger and better than 1. 1. More science, less metaphysics in 2 than 1. For me, this makes the horror impact of the story even stronger. Will is infected by a kind of virus from the other dimension. That means there's a logical way to fight it — in this case, heat. And this in turn means our heroes have a logical chance of winning, in addition to the supernatural, supra-physical, which also plays a major role, in the person of Eleven, AKA Jane.
Review of 'Bladerunner 2049'
I loved it. So did my son Simon, who's now a father of his own. We loved it almost as much as the original Bladerunner, which we saw more than once on videotape, before there even were DVDs for rent, back in the early 1990s. That's high praise. The only reason Bladerunner 2049 wasn't as good as Bladerunner circa 1982 was that the 1982 movie broke so much new ground. Back in the mid-80s, when I was teaching in the MA in Media Studies Program at the New School, I asked Stephen Jacobs (who then was my student, and has long since become a professor himself, at the Rochester Institute of Technology) to give me an example of cyberpunk movies. "Bladerunner," he replied. It defined the field, at least in the movies. It was and still is that good. Not only that, it began Philip K. Dick's run of stories made into great movies and TV series, with the current example of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon. And it inspired me to write The Civil Right of Robots.
Review of Outlander 3.5
Outlander 3.5 finally got Claire and Jamie back together — 20 years after they last were together, in the 1700s, with Jamie now in Edinburgh. There were lots of nice touches, including Jamie being located by a literary device — literally — I first noticed in Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity (still my all-time favorite time travel story) back in the 1950s. The person in the past wanting to let someone in the future know where to find him or her puts an ad in a newspaper with some reference to some event that hasn't happened yet (Asimov's method) or a poem from the future (Jamie's method) as a marker for the future to see. It's a nice, soft touch, and usually does the trick.