‘The Last,’ by Hanna Jameson

Novel, 2019 Post-apocalyptic story of twenty survivors of nuclear war, holed up in a Swiss hotel, and central character’s pursuit of the killer of a child discovered in the water tanks up on the roof. While this is a lively read for much of the time, the pace and actions going on can leave the inattentive reader working out the different characters as they go … Continue reading ‘The Last,’ by Hanna Jameson

‘Ant Man,’ directed by Peyton Reed

Movie, 2015 Super-hero film which swerves around being half-way great entertainment, to occasional ludicrous, too-stretched daft, to just a little confusing, in either the too real stupid action scenes and intertextuality with other Marvel characters. It feels as if the tropes and clichés are given the twist of including intelligent yet brainwashed ants. That’s about it. Otherwise, you have removed parents, a protégé gone bad, … Continue reading ‘Ant Man,’ directed by Peyton Reed

‘Don’t Look Up,’ directed by Adam McKay

Movie, 2021 A dystopia set in contemporary America, in which the scientific discovery of a comet heading for collision course with Earth is snatched as a political, media and hugely divisive event. A bold film for the star-studded cast to hook into, and while there’s a didactic tone, the look of the film, including the intercutting of images in montage, make it feel relevant and … Continue reading ‘Don’t Look Up,’ directed by Adam McKay

‘They Live,’ directed by John Carpenter

Movie, 1988 One of those full-bloodied action films, where the excuse of the machismo being ‘of its time’ partly but doesn’t wholly expunge the embarrassment of some, and particularly the longer buddy punch-up scene. And yet, ‘They Live’ offers plenty of invention and wit in the way things are set up at the beginning of the film. Things are believable and persuasive and the dystopia … Continue reading ‘They Live,’ directed by John Carpenter

‘The Windup Girl,’ by Paolo Bacigalupi

Novel, 2009 Science-fiction dystopia, with some great ideas and scenes set around the precarious management and incipient crash of ecosystems and food chains, but one whose cast of characters, intrigues, adventures and interventions immediately dazzle, then quickly confuse the reader. This may be a book suited to the hardwired genre reader adept to retaining a good deal of information about myriad characters and situations, but … Continue reading ‘The Windup Girl,’ by Paolo Bacigalupi

“Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve

Movie, 2016 A Close Encounter-tinged movie, in which a Language Professor is tasked by a gruff and not-too patient military, to translate alien messages. This basic framework, in a film which is darkly lit and mumbled, uses many sci-fi tropes and devices to inject significance and tension. A film, really, which tries too hard and doesn’t quite deliver, with everything about if feeling old-fashioned and … Continue reading “Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve

“Make Room! Make Room!” by Harry Harrison

Novel, 1966 Dystopian New York novel set in 1999, in which the unchecked population has led to a starved planet struggling and largely failing to feed itself on scraps and ersatz food produced. There is a vaguely didactic feeling to the book, but also a pace and energy, helped along by noirish elements and nods including a murder, high level corruption and an idealised romance, … Continue reading “Make Room! Make Room!” by Harry Harrison

“The Curse of The Fly”, directed by Don Sharp

Movie, 1965 Cheap, schlocky addition to the black and white horror/sci-fi Fly movies of old. The mixture of mad science and the familial torment surrounding it, together with the teleportation and romantic, gothic motifs are well worn tropes, and the story plods with no hint of any major surprise up its sleeve. Still, the film’s gloominess – enhanced by a rock bottom budget and some … Continue reading “The Curse of The Fly”, directed by Don Sharp

“The Mind of Mr Soames,” directed by Alan Cooke

Movie, 1970 Science-fiction in which a 30 year-old man is woken up from a coma he’s been in since being born. A film whose setting and themes of nature and nurture feel and are treated through the time of the film’s production, and which combine, at times, with the low budget to cut corners and make things feel a little under powered at times. There … Continue reading “The Mind of Mr Soames,” directed by Alan Cooke

“Target Earth,” directed by Sherman A Rose

Movie, 1954 B-movie science-fiction with a terrific, eerie start in the company of a woman waking up after a failed suicide attempt, with no power or services in her apartment and no one out and about – on first inspection – out in the city. As the film picks up speed, it’s still watchable, despite the stock footage and creaky characters. Right up until the … Continue reading “Target Earth,” directed by Sherman A Rose