Showing posts from November, 2021

Review: The Final Girl Support Group

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix My rating: 4 of 5 stars Hendrix's novel is an intriguing romp through slasher films of the 1980s-1990s seen through the eyes of the final girls (the "girls" that survived the slashers). It's decades later and they run a closed support group, processing everything that has happened to them (the incidents themselves and also, the media circus that continues to haunt them).  But now, a slasher has arrived on the scene and is attempting to pick off the women one by one. Lynnette, an outsider, even among the "final" women is the only one who can see it coming but none of the others seem willing to believe her--and it doesn't help that she was largely discredited when her computer was hacked, the others find out that she's possibly betrayed them.  It's a fun narrative that keeps you guessing about who is the slasher, who is the prey, and how it is all going to end.

Review: Billy Summers

Billy Summers by Stephen King My rating: 3 of 5 stars King delivers a new novel that diverges from his traditional realm of horror and supernatural and into a tale of suspense and crime.  Within that, King also flexes his literary chops in ways that are both familiar and enjoyable.  The story, as King reminds readers throughout, is the typical "last gig" crime story wherein hitman, Billy Summers, is set to do a final kill before disappearing forever.  And just like every other story, this one does not go as planned.  Summers is set up to take out a hitman while pretending to be a writer in a nowhere town but Summers keeps getting the sense that nothing is on the up and up and so plans accordingly to avoid ending up in a ditch.  The tale is a bit of cat and mouse, with Summers sometimes the cat and sometimes the mouse.  It's an enjoyable tale for anyone who likes thrillers or King in general.  What's interesting is how much me

Review: Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone by Sarah Jaffe My rating: 4 of 5 stars Jaffe's tour of the working world is filled with keen insights and considerations about work as the center of most of our attention along with the unending ways we will sacrifice our mental and physical selves in order to be productive for work because there is rarely any other possibility. Through a series of chapters, she explores how work is construed and experienced in different industries from K-12 elementary to nonprofits to artists to babysitting/childcare to retail to technology to sports and even internships. It's a fascinating consideration of the similarities of disfunction that transcends all of these industries. Each industry thrives by preying upon people who are interested and often, excited about the work, and that excitement is used against them to eke more and more from them in terms

Review: Everyman

Everyman by M Shelly Conner My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book has a flavor of Toni Morrison though with brevity and style that reminds me of Alice Walker (more Meridian than The Color Purple ).  It also has a particularly interesting vibe when thinking about the story in the context of the last few years as well as the rise of DNA tracking.  Eve Mann is trying to find her roots, particularly her mother, Mercy. Raised by her aunt, Ann Man in the North in the 1960s and early 1970s, she has never been able to get from her the truth about her mom and much of her family. At 22, she sets off on a pilgrimage to go to the town in Georgia named, Ideal. The story is so very little about Eve going to find her family and more about the stories and experiences that led Eve to arrive there.  Conner weaves together these different threads into a tapestry that captures the power of racism, naming, and kin. It's definitely the kind of story that one finds themselves le

Recently Featured Short-Short Story: Your Future Destination

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes A few months ago, there was a call for short-short stories (500 words or less) from New_ Public that explore technology and society in some interesting way. A short-short that I had written in the previous year came immediately to mind.  Well, I found out last week that it would be featured and accompanied with some art to capture the story in some way.  It was published on Sunday, October 31 (fairly appropriately given the story) and I figured I would share it here for your enjoyment as well. Your Future Destination My future arrived on a Thursday. Future Destination knew when and where I needed to go. Silicon Valley showered it with accolades as the second coming of the wheel or rather, the second coming of the FAANG; after all, the wheel yielded to gravity, but anticipated auto arrival (A³ in tech lingo talk) yielded to unspoken human desire; the profit possibilities were infinite. They scooped up business, municipal, state, and federal driving co