November is just around the corner, as a matter of fact as this is being written November 1st is tomorrow. This means that National Novel Writing month is upon us. If you happen to be a Wrimo and want a buddy I am doing it this year again so look me up at http://nanowrimo.org/participants/stoughe and we might be buddies.
-C. Marry Hultman
In a not so distant future man has suffered one of it greatest challenges; a flu like disease causing meningitis, death or something refereed to as Lock in. Lock in became a way to describe how the victims would lose the connection between the brain and the rest of the body. The person would remain conscious but unable to communicate or move, trapped in their own body. This came to be known as Haden’s syndrome and several million people around the world suffer from this. Through government funding and hard work the sufferers of Haden’s were able to partake in the world again by way of personal transports; robotic replacements called Threeps, integrators; people with the brain structure to carry Haden sufferers’ consciousness or the Agora; an online space reserved for those Locked in. This has effectively created a new class of citizens and a new industry and consequences for society.
With this world as its backdrop Lock In begins with the passing of the Abrams-Kettering act, removing all government funding for the Haden Community bringing opportunities for the private sector, causing walk outs and protests amongst the Locked in populous. Chris Shane, a famous Haden from early childhood, is set to begin his new job as a federal agent. He is partnered with a female agent named Vann, a self destructive renegade figure who used to be an integrator.
They are called to a hotel where an apparent murder has been committed involving an integrator. There are many things that seem off with the murder and when several other crimes involving integrators occur Shane and Vann realize that it is all a part of a bigger picture.
At its center Lock In is a classic crime fiction, the story in itself isn’t particularly advanced and there are several twists and turns, both political, technological and on the business level. It is a book that has much to say, it is both a comment on our dependence on digital technology and how it is creating a new class of people and what happens when the government no longer takes care of citizens who need it and the private sector instead steps in. The plot in itself might not be groundbreaking, but the setting and back story is very important and warrants a discussion about where we are headed, not only in the states but also Europe as the right wing organizations are marching back into the political sphere.
Scalzi is a very good writer, there are several things in Lock In that he never reveals until later in the book and then it is more of a foot note and it can at times startle the reader that they did not think of it before.
All in all Lock In creates an interesting possible future that really illustrates what might happen when faced with a new virus that we can’t control. It also sets up for more books in the series and a deeper intrigue, as well as more about the world that the Hadens live in.
Warner Bros. announced their DC vision heading towards 2020 releasing ten movies in six years. These include Wonder Woman, The Flash and a new Green Lantern movie, even actors have been revealed. According to Comic Book Resources the plan looks as follows:
- “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
- “Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (2016)
- “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot (2017)
- “Justice League Part One,” directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
- “The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller (2018)
- “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa (2018)
- “Shazam” (2019)
- “Justice League Part Two,” directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
- “Cyborg,” starring Ray Fisher (2020)
- “Green Lantern” (2020)
Read the full story at Comic Book Resources
Cast: Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Angela Basset, Kathy Bates et al.
It is once again time to delve into the dark recesses of horror that is American Horror Story, a show that really has pushed the envelope when it comes to what you can expect from a TV show. At least that was expected when the third season, titled Coven, rolled around. Where season one, these days known as Murder House, and Asylum did everything it could to shock and disgust the third installment fell tragically short. This would seemingly put the expectations of season four, Freakshow, quite low.
Murder House and Asylum felt fresh and sent shivers down the viewers spine whereas Coven promised to do so initially, but couldn’t keep it up. Maybe it was the modern setting, maybe it was the fact that there were several different parallel story lines going on that just seemed to go nowhere, or maybe it was that one got the feeling that the show just didn’t take the narrative very seriously. Granted, Asylum has its flaws as well, suffering from unexplained alien phenomena that also just petered out.
One gets the feeling that American Horror Story is somewhat at a crossroads; they continue on the path begun at the end of Asylum and fully followed through Coven or they go back around to follow Murder House and get back on track.
The idea of a Freak show in the American Heartland in the sixties is a great beginning, there is a lot of mystery and macabre things that can happen and anything set in the sixties or earlier is long enough ago to make everything a bit eery, it just something with that time, as if it the border between old superstition and modern science.
In the sleepy town of Jupiter the murder of an elderly farm woman is discovered, at the same time it is also revealed that she has been hiding a set of grown Siamese twins Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) who also seems to be injured. At the hospital the twins are approached by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) a German immigrant who runs a carnival on the outskirts of Jupiter. Seeing an opportunity to save her failing business and claiming to know that Dot and Bette murdered their mother Mars convinces them to join her freak show.
At the same time a hideous looking clown is murdering innocent people all over the town, making folks believe that whoever killed Bette and Dot’s mother is also behind the other killings, causing a detective to seek out the carnival looking for the twins.
The Freak show is inhabited by colorful oddities, played by the same cast as always; a bearded lady (Kathy Bates), flipper boy (Evan Peters) who also moonlights as some form of sex toy for lonely housewives and so on.
Much like the other American Horror Story seasons Freakshow jumps to shock directly and hopefully it can keep that momentum and keep the horror going until the end of the season. There is much to use in this story and hopefully the creators of the show have looked in the direction of Carnivale to get some inspiration. Whatever relation the murder clown has to the show it must be fairly creepy.
As always AHS sets the season up great and hopefully this time it will pan out and become really scary. The season premier makes big promises and a recommended watch.