Review: Version Control by Dexter Palmer

Spoiler Alert: This review contains some spoilers.

Wow. I don’t get to read books as good as Version Control very often. I mean, I should probably preface this review by saying that I don’t think every fan of science fiction or time travel stories will enjoy this book. This is because even though this novel has clear science fiction elements, it often feels more like a contemporary or literary novel than a science fiction one. It is supremely character driven and the plot (although very good) takes a back seat. There are various digressions into the thoughts and lives of characters who aren’t particularly important to the overall story. There are discussions about philosophy, religion, and race. There are numerous ruminations on the dating habits of millennials. All of this is really well done and fascinating, but if your idea of a good science fiction novel is a tightly plotted, action-packed type of affair, then this book may not be for you.

All that said, I absolutely loved Version Control. The book centers on a rather ordinary-seeming millennial woman named Rebecca Wright. The novel is initially split between chapters in which she is a young woman dealing with unemployment and trying to decide whether she should marry a dude she met on a dating site and chapters in which she is middle-aged and dealing with the loss of a child and a crumbling marriage. This sounds like the description for a literary novel, right? So where does the science fiction come in? Well, Rebecca’s husband Phillip leads a team of physicists in attempting to build a time machine (which they all insist on calling a “causality violation device”). Continue reading “Review: Version Control by Dexter Palmer”

5 Revolutionary Ways That Life Is Strange Portrays Female Characters

With the three-part prequel to Life Is Strange dropping soon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the original game and what made it so great. Specifically, I’ve been thinking of all the revolutionary ways that the series portrayed female characters. And look, I’m not saying that Life is Strange was a perfect bastion of diversity and inclusiveness – notably, most of the characters are white and the series manages to throw in the dead lesbians trope. But problems notwithstanding, this game does several fairly radical things when it comes to its portrayal of gender that I would like to see more in games. And it is not just that the main character is a girl – it’s the specific way that female characters and gender are portrayed throughout the game. Continue reading “5 Revolutionary Ways That Life Is Strange Portrays Female Characters”

Why The “Bad Slytherin” is One of the Most Important Ideas In the Harry Potter Books

Fandom, we need to talk about Slytherin.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that the issue of Slytherin and indeed any issue pertaining the Harry Potter sorting system has been talked to death. Fandom, you have given us everything from wonderfully detailed sorting systems to ruminations on the nature of choice to hardcore Slytherin apologia. And that’s cool! One of best aspects of fandom is its ability to make us see the original creation in ways that we previously couldn’t have imagined. Continue reading “Why The “Bad Slytherin” is One of the Most Important Ideas In the Harry Potter Books”

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