On Netflix’s Stranger Things

Imagine a pastiche of all the most popular horror and sci-fi films of the 1980s.

Imagine a smattering of Stephen King (circa late 70s and 80s) woven into the DNA.

Imagine a careful duplication/homage of Spielberg’s shooting style.

But imagine it done well.

That’s Stranger Things.

Most of the story is told form the perspective of children and the adults who are supposed to be looking after them.

I found pretty much all of the episodes engaging, with some genuine frightening moments and cool Easter Eggs if you’re into that sort of thing.

Give it  a try.

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On ‘Division by Zero’ by Ted Chiang

This is a short, spoilerific rumination on the short story ‘Division by Zero’ by Ted Chiang.

We are told in the opening paragraph of this story that, unlike what we may have learned in elementary school, the result of division by zero is not infinity, but “undefined”.

This is a story about negation, about depression, about suicide. Both characters have attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

Renee is a brilliant mathematician whose world is shattered when she proves something quite basic simply isn’t true. This introduces uncertainty into the simplest of things. She has proved that any number can be equivalent to any other number. She becomes depressed and tries to kill herself.

“Her concentration was gone, and last night she had had a nightmare about discovering a formalism that let her translate arbitrary concepts into mathematical expressions: then she had proven that life and death were equivalent.”

But her partner Carl finds himself in a similar state because of his inability to help Renee. He has experience of attempted suicide, as well as comforting others who had been suicidal. His world view was that he could handle this kind of situation. He can not.

“He had always had reason to consider compassion a basic part of his character, until now. He had valued that, felt that he was nothing if not empathic. But now he’d run up against something he’d never encountered before, and it rendered all his usual instincts null and void.”

Renee’s situation is to Carl what the now-unreliable mathematics is to Renee. They are both mired in uncertainty.

The ending of the story is foreshadowed by the opening paragraph. It is, in fact, a division by zero: undefined.

(Division by Zero can be found in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others)

 

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Myriad Lands Anthology

The Myriad Lands fantasy anthology is out, and it contains my contemporary fantasy story  Household Gods

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Available at all good interwebs.

 

 

 

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Back…

What does one post after a week like this?

There seems to be so much hate in the world right now. I’m not going to rehash because your news outlets are playing the stories on heavy rotation like a Queen song.

I’ll be over there, processing.

I’ll have some news soon, and probably some opinions, maybe some art.

 

 

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Making Wolf at The Kitschies

Yeah, so, this happened.

My debut novel MAKING WOLF won The Golden Tentacle Award at The Kitschies.

The Guardian says:

‘The Golden Tentacle for best debut, worth £500, went to Tade Thompson’s Making Wolf, the story of a London supermarket security guard who travels home to Nigeria, where he is kidnapped and forced to investigate the murder of a local hero. Judge Nikesh Shukla described it as a “strong, strange political thriller that oozes with one-liners and thrills galore”’

Which isn’t bad.

For me it was great to meet one of my literary heroes, Margaret Atwood, who won The Red Tentacle Award that night. She was funny and just generally awesome.

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Yes, Margaret Atwood wore a tentacly fascinator all night.

More later.

 

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Tenth Science Fiction Foundation Masterclass in Science Fiction Criticism 2016

I’m going to be one of the Class Leaders for this:

Tenth Science Fiction Foundation Masterclass in Science Fiction Criticism 2016

As soon as enrollment is over I’ll be sharing my reading list here.

I’m quite stoked, actually, and I hope it’ll be a fantastic session.

More on this later!

 

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Forbidden Planet and African Monsters

african

I’ll be signing copies of African Monsters and perhaps singing a solo (kidding!) at Forbidden Planet in London on Thursday 8th March. 

Apparently there will be Monster Victim Cookies too.

monst

 

 

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