Thursday 10 May 2018

The City & The City | review by Rafe McGregor

Detecting the New Weird.

By curious coincidence, cinematic adaptations of works by both of the best-known practitioners of the New Weird have reached the small screen in the UK within a month of each other. In my review of Alex Garland’s Annihilation in March, I introduced the New Weird and noted that the term either referred to a new subcategory of speculative fiction that explored humanity’s place in the world in the era that sociologists are fond of calling ‘late modernity’ or a deconstructive take on the weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft that became so influential after his death. The genre was established with the publication of The New Weird, a collection of short fiction published by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer in 2008, and consists of two main strands, one in the US and the other in the UK. In the former, VanderMeer himself published the Southern Reach Trilogy, which begins with Annihilation, in 2014. In the latter, China Miéville published King Rat much earlier, in 1998, and The City & the City constituted one of his distinctively urban contributions to the genre, published in 2009. While the New Weird has existed for at least two decades and been an established genre for a decade, none of either VanderMeer or Miéville’s work has to my knowledge appeared on either the big or small screen – until now, when we have a Netflix film released in March and a BBC television mini-series released in April. This is of course great news for New Weird enthusiasts and I’ll return to the question of whether the New Weird is about to reach an audience the (Old) Weird never did in my conclusion.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Avengers: Infinity War | review by Douglas J. Ogurek

Big purple guy gives Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy a run for their money, and helps them make a ton of money

Since Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark first blasted onto the scene in Iron Man (2008), the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has pumped out 18 additional films… and changed the moviegoing landscape. Many thought that the latest offering, Avengers: Infinity War, which unites most of the Avengers plus the more adult-focused Guardians of the Galaxy in one of the most expensive movies ever made, was bound to break the opening weekend box office record. It did.