Review: Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

March 17, 2016 in General Topics

Cover, <i>Cloud Atlas</i>

Yes, I read the version branded with the film’s poster as the cover.

No one would ever accuse Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, of being a lightweight novel. Weighing in at nearly one hundred and sixty four thousand words, and spanning six distinct genres and storylines, the book asks a lot of its readers. Mitchell’s approach to the stories, which are all connected by a broader plot and theme, ranges from revelation to mere allusion.

All this means Cloud Atlas is an incredible gamble on Mitchell’s part, and a difficult book to recommend to most readers. A rare soul embraces all the genres present, and as such they’re being expected to slog through long tracts of the novel they might find evoke ennui. It’s almost like someone recruited six different authors, gave them some ground rules, then published an anthology of the results. Read the rest of this entry →

#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 23, “To the Death”

February 19, 2016 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

DS9, Season 4, Ep. 23, "To The Death"

Very bad things. DS9, Season 4, Ep. 23, “To The Death”

Here’s an episode that’s very consequential, not just in Deep Space Nine‘s canon, but also for the career of one of its lead actors.

It’s easy to see why. “To the Death” gives us a solid (if somewhat unbelievable) hook and then drops into it a mixed bag of characters completely uncomfortable together. That’s a setup common to many of Trek’s finer episodes. Ultimately this is less about a throwaway gimic (rogue Jem’Hadar have access to an interstellar gateway) and more about the Dominion’s many barely-subdued power struggles. A happy polygamous marriage between multiple species, this is not. Read the rest of this entry →

Review: The Clockwork Russian and Other Stories by Josh Roseman

January 26, 2016 in General Topics

A solid cover, I have to say

A solid cover, I have to say.

The Clockwork Russian and Other Stories culls from author Josh Roseman’s genre fiction publishing history, delivering everything from first contact with aliens to a boy and his dog switching bodies, and does it all for $2.99. This really is a no-brainer. The best thing I can say about this collection is I found several of the characters and worlds deserving of longer works. Perhaps readers can hammer the author’s inbox until he concedes to making such novels. We’ll see. Read the rest of this entry →

A Story of Steve (1980-2015)

November 8, 2015 in General Topics, Other Stuff

(I wrote this for the celebration service for my brother, Steve Henry Gillespie, 11/7/2015. I’m in no mood to edit this and would think it’d lose something if I did, so here you go…)

Good afternoon. I think everyone here knows it, but on the off chance you don’t by now, I’m Jonathan Gillespie, Steve’s brother. The angel just up here was my wife.

I wanted to say something before I began. I’ve been in a number of churches in my life, from the small Church of Christ of my youth and several informal Bible study groups of my adolescence on through the prison ministry I was a part of and my current church, Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, GA. The Church of the Apostles is in many ways 180 degrees from the church of my youth. For one thing, it’s so large I’m pretty sure planes that lost their instruments on an approach to Hartsfield-Jackson could use the building as a visual reference.

I bring this up because in every good congregation I have seen that great Biblical promise borne out: that wherever two or more of us are gathered He is among us. That’s certainly been the case over these past, difficult days following my brother’s passing. I can say with complete certainty that my parents are part of a church that exemplifies Christian love and fellowship. I wanted to express on my family’s behalf our deep gratitude for all of you and all you’ve done.
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#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 22, “For the Cause”

September 26, 2015 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Yes, I know. It’s been forever.

Still, one couldn’t blame me. I’ve grown a little frustrated with Deep Space Nine. It seems like–at this point in its run–that it kept veering toward greatness, but was afraid attaining that would somehow compromise itself.

If there’s one thing the show needed by now, it was someone to kick the writers in the butt and tell them they needed to get on with it. The Kasidy Yates subplot is a good idea, and keeping up with Gul Dukat’s illegitimate child is important, and Garak lingering around the station will be consequential and the Marquis are bad hombres and that the Bajorans are still upset and…and…
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