On Being Human Redux: Notes on “Orphan Black”

An occasional series that is a continuation of my essay anthology, On Being Human: critical looks at books and movies that examine the question of humanity. (Buy the limited edition hardcover, Kindle version, or download it for free at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography.) Via Orphan Black: Season 3 will be premiering on April 18, 2015 on BBC America. Below are a series of notes on Seasons 1 and 2. Due to the nature of these essays, they contain many spoilers, major and minor. If you haven’t seen the series, I would suggest watching it before reading these … Continue reading On Being Human Redux: Notes on “Orphan Black”

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Critic’s Notebook: Riffle, LibraryThing, and Connectivity

In this installment of the Critic’s Notebook, Karl Wolff looks at the intersections between social media and new technology on sites like Riffle, LibraryThing, and Facebook. Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: Riffle, LibraryThing, and Connectivity

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What I’m Reading 2012 and Other Business

What I’m Reading 2012 Overview: I’m currently reading five books.  Each poses certain challenges (in some cases, self-imposed challenges) to me as a reader, reviewer, critic, historian, and aesthete.  While New Year’s Resolutions get broken seconds after they’re uttered, these challenges will form an informal backbone to my reading schedule.  As it stands, I want to increase the frequency of my blog posts from bimonthly to weekly.  (The same goes for my other blog, Coffee is for Closers.)  The positive responses from readers has really inspired me to do more. As you’ll see with these challenges, I want to “raise … Continue reading What I’m Reading 2012 and Other Business

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Critic’s Notebook: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies of the 1980s

Introduction “Interest in film, pop and television stars and science fiction peaks between the ages of 12 and 13.” Media Genres and Content Preferences by Carmelo Garitaon and Jose A. Oleaga, Patxi Juaristi (The London School of Economics and Political Science). One of the most challenging aspects of criticism is Taste.  How is it formed?  What differences are there between Good Taste and Bad Taste?  Can these differences be investigated with an objective concrete analysis, or is it a phenomenon based entirely on subjective experiences? The creation of Taste occurs when we grow up, sifting through the various cultural products … Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies of the 1980s

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Critic’s Notebook: Unpopular Causes, Part V

Two Personal Favorites: Spook Country (2007) and Domino (2005) Spook Country The toughest challenge for any author is to follow up a big hit with an equally big hit.  Following the epic genius of Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon released the misunderstood novel Vineland.  In the case of William Gibson, he experienced career resurgence with the release of Pattern Recognition, an “empathetic thriller” about advertising, intelligence, and an elusive video.  Gibson set the novel in the present and it reads like a strange relic, an artifact set in a world after 9/11 but before YouTube. Spook Country follows the same general … Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: Unpopular Causes, Part V

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