The Bored Ghost storygame podcast invited me back on to play Icarus, a game about the fall of great civilizations. We wove a story about a towering Martian city brought down by hubris, whaling, and experimental music. In this game, I play Sarta Morningstar, the winningness lobbyist on Mars. (Warning: Rated RG-13 for allusions to sci-fi sex and violence.) Listen to both parts of the story at the links below: Part One (49 min) Part Two (41 min) #Podcast #BoredGhost #Games #Sci
I sat down to record a conversation with Doxacast, the Christian sci-fi/fantasy podcast associated with Doxacon. We discussed the history of science fiction, the eugenic dangers of utopia, and the best religious science fiction. I also give a small preview of my upcoming Doxacon talk on theology and teleology in Magic: The Gathering. Here's an excerpt from the conversation: "If we consider science fiction to be a category of worlds where there are revolutionary changes and wh
I review Science Fiction: A Literary History: "[W]hat becomes clear from a survey of science fiction’s history is that, if there’s one thing these authors love more than cosmic wonder and terror, it’s petty fights about what constitutes “real” science fiction. Not, of course, that these science fiction fights aren’t proxies for fights about science or society itself. Science Fiction: A Literary History, recently published by the British Library and edited by Roger Luckhurst,
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an excellent addition to the Star Wars canon, precisely because it is not cowed by its predecessors. Instead, the new film is a surprising, occasionally subversive continuation of the saga—and a film designed to get at the heart of what makes Star Wars stories appealing, what makes them matter. It seems director Rian Johnson set out to make the essential Star Wars film, and in many ways he succeeded. The film moves forward the stories of classic c
"Now, there are ways that Cushing’s digital resurrection is not so different from techniques used in other Star Wars films. Guy Henry wore the mask of Grand Moff Tarkin; puppets and masks were used to give life to characters in the first three films. Is the 2016 version of Tarkin so different than, say, the Darth Vader of the original trilogy? Darth Vader was embodied by bodybuilder and character actor David Prowse (who, as it happens, once played the Creature in a Cushing Fr
"There’s something monstrous about living without responsibilities to others. That’s the clearest theme of Colossal, the new film starring Anne Hathaway as Gloria, an alcoholic piecing her life together while discovering a strange connection to a giant monster wreaking havoc in Seoul, South Korea. The film, written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, uses the kaiju genre (Godzilla and its progeny) to meditate on addiction, self-loathing, and toxic friendships. Yet the film is al
"Arrival stars Amy Adams as a linguist named Louise Banks who is tasked with learning how to speak to the aliens who have arrived in monolithic ships all over the earth. Her military handlers, suspicious of the extraterrestrials’ intentions, want her to do this without teaching them English. Adams convincingly plays a gifted scholar who is in over her head, until she starts seeing the world from the aliens’ viewpoint and gets glimpses beyond the limits of human consciousness.
I reviewed The Force Awakens for First Things: "Every time the new Star Wars film tried to be bigger than the last one (with “the last one” here meaning both previous Star Wars trilogies) it disappointed. A Death Star, after all, is a Death Star, even if you engorge its size and call it a Starkiller Base. We’ve seen that space battle already. What worked in the film, what impressed me and excited me, were the moments when it went small. The heroes of the movie were instantly