Psychic Landscape 2: Ladies' Night

This post is based on a true story.

 

(SPOILERS for various films)

The Conjuring movies are about good and bad women.  In the first movie the central antagonist is the spirit of a dead witch who killed her own baby and then herself, and whose spirit subsequently possesses every women who movies into her house, or onto her former grounds, and makes them kill their own children.  The ultimate evil then, for a woman, is to pervert the virtue of motherhood.  In the story, a mother of five daughters finds herself in the home of this dead witch, gradually possessed by her.  Her ultimate salvation, the thing that enables her to defeat the witch who is possessing her and trying to make her kill her daughters, is a memory of a perfect family day at the beach.  Yes, that’s right - in the end, all it takes is for Elaine Warren (psychic investigator) to touch the woman’s head and enjoin her to remember family values.  Ed Warren’s attempt at an exorcism fails, but Elaine is able to connect with the possessed woman directly, via their mutual motherhood.  This connection allows the possessed woman ...

Comics Reviews (June 29th, 2016)

From worst to best of what I read. Books bought by other people so that I could review them are marked with an asterisk. If you'd like me to review a book, just furnish me with a copy, whether by gifting it on Comixology, e-mailing me a download code, or PayPaling me the cost and telling me what you'd like me to buy. In all cases, snowspinner at gmail. (And it wouldn't be a bad idea, as there appears we'll be on hiatus next week due to a lack of any books I'm buying.)

Spider-Gwen Annual #1

A bunch of largely unremarkable short stories, of which only the Captain America one stood out worth a damn. A couple more were worth a chuckle, but on the whole this is firmly in the "annuals that aren't actually worth your time" category. 

Black Panther #3

Coates was talking up bits of the Alan Moore Swamp Thing run on Twitter a while back, and the influence is all over this issue. But maddeningly, the book continues to not quite click - three issues in there's yet to be any sort of triumphal "fuck yeah" moment where the ...

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Wave 2 (Part 1)

1994 didn't see Playmates unveil a lot for fans of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine side of the Paramount lot, but what it did release was more than enough. Because for the first time, Starbase Deep Space 9 was finally immortalized in plastic.

If you wanted a model of the one-time Terok Nor back in the day, your options were pretty limited. There was, of course, the laughably expensive and decadent pewter desk sculpture I talked about in my essay on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine, but you weren't going to be getting that. AMT/ERTL released a model kit of the station in 1993, but model kits are aimed at a very specific sort of fan, and I was not that sort of fan (I did eventually get one, as well as the 1995 re-release that had a fiber optic lighting system, but my crafting skills are so hopelessly inadequate I was never going to be able to do it justice). No, for the overwhelming majority of people, it was going to be up to Playmates to give us a version of Deep Space 9 we could take home and display on our shelves. It ...

A Brief Treatise on the Rules of Thrones 4.05: First of His Name

I don't really have a funny caption here, I just thought it was an ironic image to use this week.

State of Play

The choir goes off. The board is laid out thusly:

Lions of King’s Landing: Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister,

Dragons of Meereen: Daenerys Targaryen

Direwolves of the Wall: Jon Snow, Bran Stark

The Mockingbird, Petyr Baelish

Roses of King’s Landing: Margaery Tyrell

The Direwolf, Sansa Stark

The Direwolf, Arya Stark

The Dogs, Sandor Clegane

The Shield, Brienne of Tarth

Spiders of King’s Landing: Varys

With the Bear of Meereen, Jorah Mormont

The Dreadfort and Dragonstone are abandoned

The episode is in eleven parts. The first runs five minutes and is set in King’s Landing. The opening image is of Tommen being crowned.

The second runs four minutes and is set in Meereen. The transition is by dialogue, with Jorah informing Daenerys of Joffrey’s death.

The third runs seven minutes and is set in the Eyrie. The transition is by hard cut, from Daenerys on her balcony to rocks.

The fourth runs three minutes and is set in King’s Landing. The transition is by dialogue, from Littlefinger and Lyssa getting married to Cersei and Tywin discussing weddings.

The ...

Esoterica, Power, and Dick Jokes (The Time Monster)

No essay today -- instead we bring you a fabulous podcast!  Shana, Daniel, and I discuss the very weird Doctor Who story called The Time Monster, as a part of Shana and Daniel's ongoing Oi! Spaceman podcast series.  It's a hoot. 

Well, not like a hooting owl, which can screech terribly when flapping its wings in the glaring sunlight as it struggles to free itself from its crystalline prison. Hey, actually, now that I think about it, feathers aren't entirely dissimilar to flower petals.  Maybe I make this into some kind of a "jewel in the lotus" motif.  Nah, that would be ostentatious.  Certainly not appropriate for a gem like The Time Monster.

Anyways, you can get the podcast here. Enjoy.

The Winds of Winter

It is, of course, crass and ostentatious spectacle less interested in dramatically earning its major beats than it is in making sure they are explosively propulsive. Which is to say that it unapologetically plays to Game of Thrones’s strengths in a way that does not so much minimize its weaknesses as renders them largely irrelevant in the face of the giant fucking wildfire explosion that is the onrushing plot. Everything here is sufficiently thrilling, its implications generally punch-the-air triumphant, that their sheer momentum and the bald confidence with which it’s all carried off makes it work. This is what Game of Thrones’s aesthetic ultimately exists to do. It’s not a subtle pleasure. But, as Cersei would put it, it does feel good.

If there is a problem with it all, it’s that in the ludicrous din of it all moments that should have had real weight get swallowed. The biggest problem, of course, is the way in which the revelation of what actually happened at the Tower of Joy fails utterly to be a significant takeaway from the episode. The decision to save the revelation for this episode, as opposed to putting it in “Oathbreaker” where there would ...

God and Monsters

Sorry for the slightly belated update, but this week has been busy. This week in Oi! Spaceman, we put out the next episode of Searching For Fuchal, discussing Series One, Episode 4: "Waiting For God." The episode is very much about the search for meaning in a vast and uncaring universe, and our podcast attempts to connect Lister's rejection of his own godhood with his essential goodness, and Rimmer's finding patterns that aren't there with the Quagaars with the Cats coming to worship Lister's laundry list. "Waiting For God" is probably the most on-point to the central message of Red Dwarf we've seen yet, and it was actually a joy to revisit for the podcast. Download it here

Over on They Must Be Destroyed on Sight, we welcomed the triumphant (half) return of our old co-host Paul by discussing two sci-fi action films from 1990: Robocop 2 and Predator 2. Highbrow choices, I know. We had a great time chatting about the plundering of public resources by private enterprises, the birth of the neoliberal agenda, and the terribly racist idea of what drug cartels actually did. Also: why Robocop should really be the ...

Saturday Waffling (June 25th, 2016)

Neoreaction a Basilisk ebooks went out to Kickstarter backers yesterday. The first sentence never seemed so apt. I doubt I'll find myself writing anything substantial on Brexit before the Capaldi volume of TARDIS Eruditorum, and thus with the benefit of a couple of years' historicization. It's obviously never a good thing when this many fascists are this happy, though. I honestly didn't believe Britain would vote for the side that's literally got Nazis gunning down its enemies in the streets. But then, as I noted last week, I honestly didn't believe Britain would be a place where Nazis would gun down a politician in the streets. But of course, there's always been more to Britain than the bits I love and have written at length about. Equally, that doesn't mean the Britain I write about isn't there. It's always been a Britain of the margins. It's still a land of madmen - poets and snake-worshippers and yes, of course, with boxes. It's all still there, and still as important and central to what Britain is as it ever was. And if there's one thing it's lurking in the ...

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