Here are a few selected works from across the web:
At the end of the world, pop-culture icons act as old friends and confidantes, earning a kind of permanence in a life with no certainties. These references enable the characters to discuss their new realities using a familiar grammar, re-contextualizing a dystopian future and lending some air of normalcy to an extreme situation.
Invisible Planets, translated and edited by Ken Liu
in Strange Horizons, 1.23.2017
While reading the collection, it’s hard to shake the feeling that China itself is a character within its pages. Particularly in the West, we’re trained to view China as some sort of ineffable specter that’s taken on a life of its own, one whose shape and substance is glimpsed only through a distorted lens. The idea persists that the East is, as a general rule, old, mystical, unknowable. But this is exactly the set of assumptions that translator and editor Ken Liu warns against.
The First Ever African Fantasy Action RPG, Aurion
in Geeks of Color, 1.9.2017
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “fantasy”? Is it knights and dragons and Tolkien elves? Kiro’o Games is looking to change that — starting with Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, the first African fantasy action RPG by Cameroon’s very first game studio.
Mystic Messenger and the Power of Texting Games
in Kill Screen, 10.26.2016
If I have learned anything from Mystic Messenger, it’s how astonishingly easy it is to get emotionally invested in a chat with a fictional character. Forget the Turing test, I discovered that I’m happy if my talking partner can pass a Turing quiz.
“Where Would the Gun Debate Be Today Without James Brady?”
in The Daily Beast in partnership with The National Geographic Channel, 9.26.2016
In June 2016, the worst mass shooting in American history occurred in Orlando. In August 2016, Chicago recorded the most homicides in a month since October 1997. No matter the differing opinions, everyone agrees that something needs to change and fast.
Review of Imaginarium 4 edited by Sandra Kasturi and Jerome Stueart
in Strange Horizons, 2.19.2016
The strength of speculative fiction is often that it’s so delightfully self-aware, testing the boundaries of tradition and re-imagining old tropes. Imaginarium 4 really shines when its stories get a little weird and question their own nature. These are the stories that are offered up shaken, not stirred, from some bottom-of-the-ocean sleep: they are having out-of-body experiences and living not just as stories but as answers to the question “What if?”
“A Day in the Life of Santa: The Man and The Myth”
in The Daily Beast in partnership with Fitbit, 12.3.2015
There are a few enduring questions for skeptical Santa Claus truthers. For instance, how does he get around the world in 24 hours? Does he actually eat all those cookies and drink all that milk? And does he have a permit for those reindeers?
“When Simple Living Is No Simple Proposition”
in The Daily Beast in partnership with National Geographic, 9.8.2015
This bid to declare independence from societal confines is inspired by everything from a calculated strategy for financial independence to a deep desire to discover what life is like beyond concrete and steel. Not all of these communities surrender all their ties to technology or their modern lifestyles, but they all have one thing in common: a need to get back to the basics.
“Which Way Does the Pop Culture Moral Compass Point?”
in The Daily Beast, 9.3.2015
These days, it’s not enough for the hero to ride off into the sunset. If the number of recent “grimdark” movies and television shows is any indication, audiences have a particular craving for complex, flawed protagonists who live in the moral gray and, for better or for worse, seem to remind us of ourselves.
“Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Scalding”
in The Daily Beast, 8.31.2015
Revenge and stories of revenge seem to hold so much appeal because, in the absence of state-meted justice, they harken back to a time when stabbing was an acceptable form of problem-solving—especially when the person deserved it.
Review of Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep ed. Peter Öberg
in Strange Horizons, 8.14.2015
Unfortunately, many of the stories in the anthology recycle so many science fiction tropes that they might as well be the aforementioned prefabricated IKEA loungers, riffing on the same showroom pieces we’ve all seen before.
“TGIF: Arts in Bushwick Gets Personal”
in Bushwick Daily, 5.1.2015
The ninth annual Bushwick Open Studios isn’t here yet (you have to wait until June for that), but people in Bushwick are still getting their art on.
Review of The Wilds by Julia Elliott
in Strange Horizons, 1.23.2015
The Wilds is a short story collection that brims with untamed energy and exults in the unknowable shadowland between today and tomorrow. It’s a world where grandmothers still eat Tootsie Rolls and throw revivalist storytelling sessions about the rapture. It’s also a world where robots can fall in love and women occasionally start tribes of neo-Neanderthals. In short, it’s a whirlwind tour of an electric forest where you can still hear the call of the wild—v2.0.
“Fashion And Tech Companies Merge Online And Offline Sales”
in TechCrunch, 12.7.2014
In November, fashion and tech entrepreneurs and experts gathered at the Decoded Fashion New York Summit to discuss integrating technology, fashion and the retail experience — like the partnerships between retailers including Rebecca Minkoff, Nordstrom and eBay.
“Marquetry and Moving Images: Julien Gardair”
in Arts in Bushwick blog, 12.9.2014
From expansive site-specific installations to coffee table collages, multimedia artist Julien Gardair seems to do it all. His extensive portfolio includes video sculptures, outsize cutouts of free-form felt and asphalt, and innumerable glossy magazines, excavated for color, form and meaning.
“Tim Walker Photographs of Fairy Queen Tilda Swinton”
in Beautiful/Decay, 12.4.2014
If you weren’t already convinced that Tilda Swinton is a dream-walking faerie queen, then Tim Walker‘s photography will certainly dispel all doubt.
“Nuna’s Geometric Popsicles Show that Design Can Be Delicious”
in BOXY, 12.17.2014
Nuna elevates the humble popsicle by mixing the delightfully kitschy aesthetics of ’90s Ring Pops with fine-tuned elements of design. The result: gorgeous gem-cut treats that are sleek yet playful.
“James Ostrer’s Post-Apocalyptic Candy People”
in BOXY, 12.19.2014
What says “Happy holidays!” more than post-apocalyptic candy monsters? While other people are blithely building gingerbread houses, James Ostrer is merrily arranging doughnut-hole orifices and slathering frosting and ketchup all over himself and others.
“Maria Rubinke’s Bloody Porcelain Sculptures Embody the Terrors of Dark Forests And Nightmares”
in Beautiful/Decay, 10.23.2014
In the days leading up to Halloween, leave a little room in your nightmares for Rubinke’s vacant-eyed children.
“Gareth Pugh’s Mind-Bending Fashion With A Ritualistic Twist”
in Beautiful/Decay, 10.30.2014
Pugh drapes his models in the regalia of pagan rituals, occasionally borrowing from the mind-expanding sensibilities of modern glitch art.
“A Magical 3D Laser that Projects Images and Text into Thin Air”
in Beautiful/Decay, 11.10.2014
By focusing laser beams onto a single spot and firing the lasers in bursts of 100 times per second, images appear out of nowhere like 21st century pointillist magic. So far, the images are rudimentary, looking for the most part like simple sketches in .GIF form. But it’s still a fantastic advancement of the technology.
Review of After Dark by Haruki Murakami
in YAM, 1.24.2012
Haruki Murakami writes as though he’s remembered every single dream he’s ever had. Not only does he remember them, but he visits them freely, trims their hedges, contemplates their form and color, and even brings back small trinkets and souvenirs.