Friday 12 April 2024

Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris) | review by Stephen Theaker

This review originally appeared in Interzone #288, September–October 2020).

Another short book exploring the effects of global warming. In this possible future, the equatorial region of Africa might be the centre of a ever-expanding desert, but it was still the most convenient place to build Ankara Achouka, an anchor for the space elevator to the Grand Celeste, a colony ship up in orbit.

Monday 8 April 2024

Twisted Metal, Series 1 | reviewed by Stephen Theaker

A Peacock original in the United States, PlayStation adaptation Twisted Metal took quite a long time to reach the UK, where, ironically, it joined Xbox adaptation Halo on Paramount+. Personally, I’ve been Xbox-exclusive ever since my PlayStation 3 got the yellow light of death, but I have a soft spot for Twisted Metal, from the original PlayStation. It wasn’t a complicated game: you chose a themed, armoured, battle-ready car, entered an arena, and fought against several other cars until one emerged the winner. Twisted Metal Black: Online was one of the first console games I ever played online, as part of a beta testing programme. The series petered out in 2012, presumably because its ideas were so easily merged into other car games. For such an old, dormant series to be adapted for television might seem a bit surprising, but books much older than that are adapted every year. I take it as a sign that this wasn’t produced simply for the sake of corporate synergy, but because people looked at the game and its concepts and thought it would make a good tv show. I think they were right. It’s a lot of fun!

Friday 5 April 2024

Every Day, by Jesse Andrews (Orion Pictures et al.) | review by Stephen Theaker

This review originally appeared in TQF65 (December 2019).

“A” is a being of unknown origin who wakes up in a different human body every day, one that’s about the same age as A. When asked if he or she is a boy or a girl, later in the film, A says, “Yes.” I suppose it doesn’t make sense to talk about being male or female if you don’t have a body. Or, to put it another way, in a male body A is male, and in a female body A is female, rather like Doctor Who.

Monday 1 April 2024

Femlandia, by Christina Dalcher (HQ) | review by Stephen Theaker

In the very near future, the American economy collapses and society follows suit. Trying to keep her 16-year-old daughter Emma safe from marauding men, Miranda, a formerly well-off woman, heads for Femlandia, the all-female radfem colony co-founded by her mother, Jennifer Jones. That might sound like the set-up for a feminist book, and it certainly has feminist elements (and a feminist author), but ironically I think anti-feminists might enjoy it more.