Random relevant covid-19 reading: Graham Green and Henry Kuttner (and CL Moore)

A couple of short old novels randomly plucked from boxes where they’ve languished unread for decades suddenly have things to say about social distancing, contact and the legacy of these pandemic times.

From Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair (1951): end of the affair

She stood up abruptly and said, ‘Let’s go,’ and was suddenly taken with a fit of coughing. It seemed to big a cough for her small bdy: her forehead sweated with its expulsion. […] I moved towards her […]. ‘Sarah,’ I said. She turned her head sharply away, as though she were looking to see if anyone were coming, to see if there was time . . . but when she turned again the cough took her. She doubled up in the doorway and coughed and coughed. Her eyes were red with it. In her fur coat she looked like a small animal cornered.
‘I’m sorry.’
I said with bitterness, as though I had been robbed of something, ‘That needs attending to.’
‘It’s only a cough.’ She held her hand out and said ‘Good-bye – Maurice.’ The name was like an insult. I said ‘Good-bye’, but didn’t take her hand.

furySome 700 years later, on human-colonised Venus, in Henry Kuttner’s Fury (1950, co-written with uncredited CL Moore):

He clasped his hands before him and bowed slightly in the semi-oriental gesture of greeting that had for so long replaced the handshake.


Finally, the compleat Midsommar (Ari Aster 2019) one-sentence review tweets


So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Bizarre Demonisation of ‘Scandinavian Style’ Social Democracy

So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Dangers of Undertheorised Participant-Observation Methodologies

So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Need for Strong Research Ethics Committees and Rigorous Approval Processes

So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Never-Decreasing Need for Ari Aster to Hire a Script Editor

So l finally saw Midsommar and I am left wondering: what is the point of dressing up as a bear if you are not then going to punch out a nun?

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (Wegener 1920)

The-Golem-1-e1574353233440and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Paul Wegener’s Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920) is not the stunning 4K restoration, which makes it look like a completely different film to the one that’s only been available in shitty prints and ropey transfers for decades, nor is it sniggering at the subtitle, which I am told by a German friend would nowadays  mean ‘and how he ejaculated into the world’ , no, the very best thing about this film about a creature fashioned from clay and brought to life through mystical powers, is the way it it loses all credibility the moment Fabian (Lothar Muthel, below right, shirt-cocking, full-Winnie-the-Pooh) starts to express an interst in, well, girls…


A question about Knausgaard

51TfzLcO3BL._AC_SY400_ML2_So in the middle section of The End, the sixth and final volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, are we supposed to notice all the parallels between Hitler’s youth and his own early years, even though he never draws explicit attention to them, and thus be grateful he is merely making hilariously lofty claims for the significance of his work by subjecting us to 450 interminable pages of poorly argued and banal literary-philosophical-historical-aesthetic-theological exegesis, rather than, say, invading Poland or committing genocide?

Asking for a friend.

My top 31 films of 2019

1100This year I watched 320 movies, 214 for the first time – and of those, these are my top 31, in some kind of order:

Bait (Mark Jenkins 2019)
In Fabric (Peter Strickland 2018)
The Million Ryô Pot (Sadao Yamanaka 1935)
Happiness (Aleksandr Medvedkin 1934)
One Cut of the Dead (Shin’ichiro Ueda 2017)
Nitrate Kisses (Barbara Hammer 1992)
Us (Jordan Peele 2019)
Revenge (Coralie Fargeat 2017)
The Murder of Mr Devil (Ester Krumbachová 1970)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley 2018)
Knives Out (Rian Johnson 2019)
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler 2013)
The Wind-of-Youth Group Crosses the Mountain Pass (Seijun Suzuki 1961)
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (Robert D Krzykowski 2018)
Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem 1955)
The Mad Miss Manton (Leigh Jason 1938)
Deadpool 2 (David Leitch 2018)
A New Leaf (Elaine May 1971)
Turbo Kid (François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yohan-Karl Whissell 2015)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman 2018)
Eight Hours of Terror (Suzuki Seijun 1957)
Burning (Chang-dong Lee 2018)
The Big Short (Adam McKay 2015)
Eggshells (Tobe Hooper 1969)
Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (Miguel Llansó 2019)
Liebelei (Max Ophüls 1933)
Fruit of Paradise (Vera Chytilová 1970)
Sometimes a Great Notion (Paul Newman 1971)
Possum (Matthew Holness 2018)
The Guilty (Gustav Möller 2018)
Arctic (Joe Penna 2018)

The full list of 320 is below, but first this year’s awards

Best title
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2018), although some tough competition from 2 Lava 2 Lantula! (2016), The Wind-of-Youth Group Crosses the Mountain Pass (1961), Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (2019), The Phantom Museum: Random Forays Into the Vaults of Sir Henry Wellcome’s Medical Collection (2003) and Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum) (2011)

Best high concept utterly screwed up
Downsizing (2017)

Most delightful penis reveal
Border (2018)

Best escalation of violence in a pub
Bait (2019)

Most terrifying rabbits
A draw between The Favourite (2018) and Us (2019)

Best drowning
Sometimes a Great Notion (1971)

Best use of Inception fart horn in a hilariously inept conclusion
Annihilation (2018)

Best gorilla/sandwich routine
Son of Ingagi (1940)

Most pointless Gerard Butler film
A draw between Geostorm (2017) and anything else I might have seen this year that he was in

Film Andrea most regretted coming to see with me in a cinema
Inland Empire (2006) – though in retrospect, she liked having seen it much more than she liked the actual process of seeing it

The Gee thanks for the recommendation Nick award
A draw between the two films Nick recommended: 6 Underground (2019) and Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Most brilliantly unexpected end credits
Assassination Nation (2018)

The 320
2 Lava 2 Lantula! (Nick Simon 2016)
6 Underground (Michael Bay 2019)
13 Tzameti (Géla Babluani 2005)
21 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Chris Miller 2012)
22 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Chris Miller 2014)
28 Days Later… (Danny Boyle 2002)
28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo 2007) 

Abwege (GW Pabst 1928)
The Agony and the Ecstasy (Carol Reed 1965)
Akutarô/The Incorrigible (Seijun Suzuki 1963)
Akutarô-den: Warui hoshi no shita demo/Born Under Crossed Stars (Seijun Suzuki 1965)
The Alcohol Years (Carol Morley 2000)
Alice in Not So Wonderland (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2007)
Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott 2017)
American Animals (Bart Layton 2018)
Anna and the Apocalypse (John McPhail 2017)
Annie Oakley (George Stevens 1935)
Annihilation (Alex Garland 2018)
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Jennifer Baichwall, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas de Pencier 2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed 2018)
Aquaman (James Wan 2018)
Arctic (Joe Penna 2018)
Ariel (Aki Kaurismäki 1988)
De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1991)
The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston 1950)
Assassination Nation (Sam Levinson 2018)
L’assassin habite…au 21/The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (Henri-Georges Clouzot 1942)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon 2015)
Avengers: Endgame (Anthony and Joe Russo 2019)
Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony and Joe Russo 2018) 

Badlands (Terrence Malick 1973)
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (Werner Herzog 2009)
Bait (Mark Jenkins 2019)
Beast (Michael Pearce 2017)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin 2012)
Beoning/Burning (Chang-dong Lee 2018)
The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen 1998)
The Big Short (Adam McKay 2015)
Bing feng: Chong sheng shi men/Iceman (Wing-Cheong Law 2014)
Black Rainbow (Mike Hodges 1989)
Black Rainbow (Mike Hodges 1989)
The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez 1999)
Blue Story (Andrew Onwubolu 2019)
Bokeh (Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan 2017)
Bush Mama (Haile Gerima 1975) 

The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1984)
Callan (Don Sharp 1974)
The Calligrapher (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1991)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller 2018)
Capharnaüm/Capernaum (Nadine Labaki 2018)
Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross 2016)
Captain Marvel (Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck 2019)
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey 1962)
Carry on Screaming! (Gerald Thomas 1966)
Casablanca (Michael Curtiz 1942)
Claudine (John Berry 1974)
The Comb (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1991)
The Congress (Ari Folman 2013)
Crash! (Charles Band 1976)
Croupier (Mike Hodges 1998) 

The Dark Mirror (Robert Siodmak 1946)
The Day After Tomorrow (Roland Emmerich 2004)
The Day Shall Come (Chris Morris 2019)
The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch 2019)
Deadpool 2 (David Leitch 2018)
Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce 2015)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel 1975)
Decasia: The State of Decay (Bill Morrison 2002)
Deliverance (John Boorman 1972)
Dellamorte Dellamore/Cemetery Man (Michele Soavi 1994)
Destroyer (Karyn Kusama 2018)
Les deux timides (René Clair 1928)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee 1989)
Dou foh sin/Flash Point (Wilson Yip 2007)
Downsizing (Alexander Payne 2017)
Dreams of a Life (Carol Morley 2011)
Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford 1989)
Dune (David Lynch 1984)

Edge (Carol Morley 2010)
Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman 2014)
Eggshells (Tobe Hooper 1969)
Emil and the Detectives (Milton Rosmer 1935)
Emil und die Detektive/Emil and the Detectives (Gerhard Lamprecht 1931)
The End (Burt Reynolds 1978)
The Endless (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead 2017)
The Equalizer (Antoine Fuqua 2014)
Eurydice: She, So Beloved (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2007)
Everyday Something (Carol Morley 2001)
Evolution (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2015)
eXistenZ (David Cronenberg 1999)
Ex Voto (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1989)

Face/Off (John Woo 1997)
Fast and Furious (Justin Lin 2009)
Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw (David Leitch 2019)
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos 2018)
Une femme douce (Robert Bresson 1969)
First Man (Damien Chazelle 2018)
Forbidden Planet (Fred McLeod Wilcox 1956)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell 1994)
The Front Page (Lewis Milestone 1931)
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler 2013)
Fumihazushita haru/The Boy Who Came Back (Suzuki Seijun 1958)

Gamer (Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor 2009)
Geostorm (Dean Devlin 2017)
Girl (Lukas Dhont 2018)
Gojira/Godzilla (Ishiro Honda 1954)
Gojira no gyakushû/Godzilla Raids Again (Motoyoshi Oda 1955)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Michael Dougherty 2019)
Goldstone (Ivan Sen 2016)
La grande illusion (Jean Renoir 1937)
Gräns/Border (Ali Abbasi 2018)
The Great Escape (John Sturges 1963)
Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn 2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2 (James Gunn 2017)

Hachijikan no kyôfu/Eight Hours of Terror (Suzuki Seijun 1957)
Hadaka no shima/The Naked Island (Kaneto Shindo 1960)
Hai tiin yakuza/Teenage Yakuza (Suzuki Seijun 1962)
Halloween (David Gordon Green 2018)
Happy Death Day (Christopher Landon 2017)
Happy Death Day 2U (Christopher Landon 2019)
The Happytime Murders (Brian Henson 2018)
The Heat (Paul Feig 2013)
High Life (Claire Denis 2018)
His Kind of Woman (John Farrow 1951)
The Hole in the Ground (Lee Cronin 2019)
Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter 2016)
The Hurricane Heist (Rob Cohen 2018)

Iceman (Fred Schepisi 1984)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins 2018)
In Absentia (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2000)
In Fabric (Peter Strickland 2018)
Inland Empire (David Lynch 2006)
Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1995)
Inventorium of Traces (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2009)
It’s Alive (Larry Cohen 1974) 

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Edward Zwick 2016)
Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (Miguel Llansó 2019)
Jiang hu er nü/Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhangke 2018)
Jigsaw (Michael and Peter Spierig 2017)
Jin yi wei/14 Blades (Daniel Lee 2010)
John Wick (Chad Stahelski and David Leitch 2014)
Joker (Todd Phillips 2019)
Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow 2015) 

Kamera o tomeru na!/One Cut of the Dead (Shin’ichiro Ueda 2017)
Kemono no nemuri/The Sleeping Beast Within (Seijun Suzuki 1960)
Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn 2010)
Kick-Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow 2013)
Kimi no wa wa/Your Name (Makoto Shinkai 2016)
The Kindergarten Teacher (Sara Colangelo 2018)
Kinoteka: Ident (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2008)
Knives Out (Rian Johnson 2019)
Kokoa (Moustapha Alassane 1985)
Koroshi no rakuin/Branded to Kill (Seijun Suzuki 1967)
Kozure Ôkami: Ko wo kashi ude kashi tsukamatsuru/Sword of Vengeance (Kenji Misumi 1972)
Kurôn wa kokyô mezasu/The Clone Returns Home (Kanji Nakajima 2008) 

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (Anthony C Ferrante 2018)
Lavalantula (Mike Mendez 2015)
Lazzaro felice/Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher 2018)
The Learning Tree (Gordon Parks 1969)
The Legend of Hell House (John Hough 1973)
The Lego Ninjago Movie (Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan 2017)
Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Aki Kaurismäki 1989)
Liebelei (Max Ophüls 1933)
The Limehouse Golem (Juan Carlos Medina 2016)
Lone Star (John Sayles 1996)
Lost River (Ryan Gosling 2014)
The Love Witch (Anna Biller 2016)

Ma (Tate Taylor 2019)
The Mad Miss Manton (Leigh Jason 1938)
Mandy (Panos Cosmatos 2018)
Mansfield Park (Patricia Rozema 1999)
Man-Thing (Brett Leonard 2005)
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (Robert D Krzykowski 2018)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford 1962)
Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov 1929)
The Man with the Iron Fists (RZA 2012)
Maska (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2010)
Maska (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2010)
The Meg (Jon Turteltaub 2018)
Menschen am Sonntag/People on Sunday (Robert Siodmak, Edgar G Ulmer 1930)
Mikkô zero rain/Smashing the O-Line (Suzuki Seijun 1960)
Mile 22 (Peter Berg 2018)
Miracle on 34th Street (George Seaton 1947)
Monsters and Men (Reinaldo Marcus Green 2018)
Mr Nobody (Jaco Van Dormael 2009)
Muerte de un ciclista/Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem 1955)
My Fair Lady (George Cukor 1964)
Mystery Road (Ivan Sen 2013) 

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Jon Turteltaub 2007)
Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow 1987)
A New Leaf (Elaine May 1971)
New Towns, Our Town: Stories on Screen (various 2019)
Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur 1957)
The Nile Hilton Incident (Tarik Saleh 2017)
Ninjô kami fûsen/Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka 1937)
Nitrate Kisses (Barbara Hammer 1992)
Nocturna Artificiala (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1979)
Noisy Licking, Dribbling and Spitting (Vicky Smith 2014)
Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock 1946) 

Ocean’s Eight (Gary Ross 2018)
The Old Dark House (James Whale 1932)
Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino 2019)
Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo 1964)
Opium (Robert Reinert 1919)
Örökbefogadás/Adoption (Márta Mészáros 1975)
Otesánek/Little Otik (Jan Svankmajer 2000)
Out of Blue (Carol Morley 2018)
Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper 2013)
Overlord (Justin Wyatt 2018)
Ovove stromu rajskych jime/Fruit of Paradise (Vera Chytilová 1970)

Pacific Rim Uprising (Steven S DeKnight 2018)
Paris, Texas (Win Wenders 1984)
The Phantom Museum: Random Forays Into the Vaults of Sir Henry Wellcome’s Medical Collection (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2003)
La piel que habito/The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar 2011)
Pit Stop (Jack Hill 1969)
Possum (Matthew Holness 2018)
Prospect (Zeek Earl and Christopher Caldwell 2018) 

Qi jian/Seven Swords (Tsui Hark 2005)

Rabid (Jen and Sylvia Soska 2019)
Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa 1950)
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg 2018)
Red Sparrow (Francis Lawrence 2018)
Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1988)
Resolution (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead 2012)
Le retour d’un aventurier (Moustapha Alassane 1966)
The Return of Swamp Thing (Jim Wynorski 1989)
Revenge (Coralie Fargeat 2017)
The Ritual (David Bruckner 2018)
The Ruins (Carter Smith 2008)
Saat po long/SPL Kill Zone (Wilson Yip 2005)
Samba le grand (Moustapha Alassane 1977)
Sandanju no otoko/The Man with a Shotgun (Suzuki Seijun 1961)
San xia hao ren (Jia Zhanke 2006)
Saw (James Wan 2004)
Saw II (Darren Lynn Bousman 2005)
Saw III (Darren Lynn Bousman 2006)
Saw IV (Darren Lynn Bousman 2007)
Saw V (David Hackl 2008)
Saw VI (Kevin Greutert 2009)
Saw 3D (Kevin Greutert 2010)
Schaste/Happiness (Aleksandr Medvedkin 1934)
The Seventh Victim (Mark Robson 1943)
Sharknado (Anthony C Ferrante 2013)
Sharknado 2: The Second One (Anthony C Ferrante 2014)
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (Anthony C Ferrante 2015)
Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (Anthony C Ferrante 2016)
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (Anthony C Ferrante 2017)
The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch 1940)
A Simple Favor (Paul Feig 2008)
Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly 1952)
Skjelvet/The Quake (John Andrea Andersen 2018)
Den skyldige/The Guilty (Gustav Möller 2018)
Skyscraper (Rawson Marshall Thurber 2018)
Sleuth (Joseph L. Mankiewicz 1972)
Sometimes a Great Notion (Paul Newman 1971)
Songs for Dead Children (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2003)
Son of Ingagi (Richard C Kahn 1940)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley 2018)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley 2018)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley 2018)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman 2018)
Split Second (Tony Maylam 1992)
The Spy Who Dumped Me (Susanna Fogel 2018)
Stalin My Neighbour (Carol Morley 2004)
A Star Is Born (George Cukor 1954)
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson 2017)
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (JJ Abrams 2019)
Stella Dallas (King Vidor 1937)
Stille Nacht: Dramolet (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1988)
Stille Nacht II: Are We Still Married (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1992)
Stille Nacht III: Tales from Vienna Woods (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1993)
Stille Nacht IV: Can’t Go Wrong Without You (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1993)
Street of Crocodiles (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1986)
Streets of Fire (Walter Hill 1984)
Swamp Thing (Wes Craven 1982)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Melvin Van Peebles 1971) 

Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryô no tsubo /The Million Ryô Pot (Sadao Yamanaka 1935)
Tarzan and His Mate (Cedric Gibbons 1934)
Tarzan Finds a Son! (Richard Thorpe 1939)
Terminator Genisys (Alan Taylor 2015)
Te shu sen fen/Special ID (Clarence Yiu-leung Fok 2103)
Test pilota Pirx/Pilot Pirx’s Inquest (Marek Piestrak 1979)
La tête d’un homme (Julien Duvivier 1933)
Thale (Aleksander Nordaas 2012)
Thelma (Joachim Trier 2017)
The Thing (John Carpenter 1982)
The Third Man (Carol Reed 1949)
This Unnameable Little Broom (Stephen and Timothy Quay 1985)
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh 2017)
Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum) (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2011)
Tintin et le mystère de la Toisin D’or/Tintin and the Golden Fleece (Jean-Jacques Vierne 1961)
Tôge o wataru wakaikaze/The Wind-of-Youth Group Crosses the Mountain Pass (Seijun Suzuki 1961)
Tokyo naito/Tokyo Knights (Seijun Suzuki 1961)
Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono 2014)
Tomb Raider (Roar Uthuag 2018)
Transamerica (Duncan Tucker 2005)
Triple Threat (Jesse V Johnson 2019)
Trudno byt bogom/Hard to Be a God (Aleksey German 2o13)
Turbo Kid (François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yohan-Karl Whissell 2015)

Unmistaken Hands: Ex Voto F.H. (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2013)
Us (Jordan Peele 2019)
Us (Jordan Peele 2019) 

A Vigilante (Sarah Daggar-Nickson 2018)
Vrazda ing. Certa/The Murder of Mr Devil (Ester Krumbachová 1970)

W. (Oliver Stone 2008)
Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff 1971)
Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg 1971)
Walkabout (Nicolas Roeg 1971)
Watermark (Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky 2013)
Wet Job (Shaun O’Riordan 1981)
Wonderwood: Comme des garçons (Stephen and Timothy Quay 2010)
Wong Fei Hung/Once Upon a Time in China (Tsui Hark 1991)
Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung/Once Upon a Time in China II (Tsui Hark 1992)
World War Z (Marc Forster 2013)

xXx (Rob Cohen 2002) 

Yi dai zong shi/The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-Wai 2013)
Yi ge rende wu lin/Kung Fu Killer (Teddy Chan 2014)
Yip Man 3/Ip Man 3 (Wilson Yip 2015) 

Zama (Lucrecia Martel 2017)
Zatôichi abare-himatsuri/Zato-ichi Goes to the Fire Festival (Kenji Mitsumi 1970)



My top 23 (or 34) books of 2019

01Evaristo2-superJumboOf the 260 books I read this year (245 for the first time), these are my top 23 (or 34, depending on how you count them)

Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other (2019)
Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt trilogy (1984–89)
Lucy Ellmann, Ducks, Newburyport (2019)
Annie Proulx, Barkskins (2013)
Richard Powers, Orfeo (2014)
Marlon James, The Book of Night Women (2009)
Leni Zumas, Red Clocks (2018)
Paul Auster, 4321 (2017)
Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace (2000)
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels (2016)
Francis Spufford, Red Plenty (2010)
Chester Himes, The Third Generation (1954)
Larissa Lai, The Tiger Flu (2018)
Wu Ming, Altai (2009)

Richard McGuire, Here (2014)
Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, volume one (2017)
Yeon-Sik Hong, Uncomfortably Happily (2012)
Laura Redniss, Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout (2011)
G. Willow Wilson, et al, Ms. Marvel, volumes 1–10 (2013–15)
Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä and Jason Wordie, Abbott (2018)

Critical works
Jennifer Fay, Inhospitable World: Cinema in the Time of the Anthropocene (2018)
Mark Fisher, k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004–2016) (2018)
Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, eds, The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (2015

The full list of titles is below, but first the stats:
all of the world except 112… (but only 47 women)
…straight white men writing in English 82
multi-authored or otherwise don’t fit 66

The full 260
Basma Abdel Aziz, The Queue (2013)
Dan Abnet, Andy Lanning et al, Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy (2008)
–. Guardians of the Galaxy: War of Kings, Book 1 (2009)
–. Guardians of the Galaxy: War of Kings, Book 2 (2009)
–. Guardians of the Galaxy: Realm of Kings (2010)
Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä and Jason Wordie, Abbott (2018)
Naomi Alderman, The Power (2016)
Martin Amis, Night Train (1997)
Steven Amsterdam, Things We Didn’t See Coming (2009)
Charlie Jane Anders, The City in the Middle of the Night (2019)
Edward Anderson, Thieves Like Us (1937)
Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves (1972
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814)
–. Northanger Abbey (1818)
Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009)
Paul Auster, 4321 (2017)

Paolo Pacigalupi and Tobias S Buckell, The Tangled Lands (2018)
Aimee Bahng, Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (2018)
James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk (1974)
James Baldwin and Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
JG Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)
Gary Barker and Michael Kaufman, The Afghan Vampires Book Club (2015)
Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism (2019)
Samit Basu, Turbulence (2012)
–. Resistance (2014)
Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility (2017)
Sebastian Berger, The Social Costs of Neoliberalism: Essays on the Economics of K. William Kapp (2017)
Hassan Blasim, The Madman of Freedom Square (2009)
Olivier Bocquet and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer 3: Terminus (2016)
Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us (2013)
Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006)
Eric Brown, Penumbra (1999)
Ken Bruen, Purgatory (2013)
Kenneth Bulmer, ed., New Writing in SF 29 (1976)
Daisy Butcher, ed., Evil Roots: Killer Tales of the Botanical Gothic (2019)
Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979)

Pedro Cabiya, Wicked Weeds: A Zombie Novel (2016)
Bill Campbell, David Brame and Damian Duffy, Baaaaad Muthaz, volume one (2019)
Ramsey Campbell, The Influence (1988)
–. Obsession (1985)
John Carnell, ed., New Writings in SF 3 (1964)
–. New Writings in SF 4 (1965)
–. New Writings in SF 5 (1965)
–. New Writings in SF 6 (1965)
–. New Writings in SF 7 (1966)
Arthur C. Clarke, The Deep Range (1957)
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman (2015)
Stanley Cohen, States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (2001)
Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883)
James S.A. Corey, Cibola Burn (2014)
–. Nemesis Games (2015)
Clive and Dirk Cussler, Arctic Drift (2008)

Didier Daeninckx, Murder in Memoriam (1984)
William Davies, ed., Economic Science Fictions (2018)
Anthony Del Col, Jahnoy Lindsay and Ian Herring, Luke Cage: Everyman (2018)
Damian Duffy and John Jennings, Octavia Butler’s Kindred (2017)
Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers (1844)

Esi Edugyan, Washington Black (2018)
George Eliot, Middlemarch (1871-72)
Erle C. Ellis, Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction (2018)
Lucy Ellmann, Ducks, Newburyport (2019)
Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, This is How You Lose the Tie War (2019)
Frederik Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880)
Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other (2019)

Michel Fabre and Robert F Skinner, eds, Conversations with Chester Himes (1995)
Brian Fagan, The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present and Future of Rising Sea Levels (2013)
Christa Faust, Gary Phillips and Andrea Camerini, Peepland (2017)
Jennifer Fay, Inhospitable World: Cinema in the Time of the Anthropocene (2018)
Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, volume one (2017)
Mark Fisher, k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004–2016) (2018)
–. The Weird and the Eerie (2016)
Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon, 1636: The Vatican Sanction (2017)
Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble, Iron Angels (2017)
Eric Flint, Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, The Alexander Inheritance (2017)
Philip S. Foner and Alexis Buss, eds, The Letters of Joe Hill (2015)
Seshu Foster, Atomik Aztex (2005)
Carl Freedman, ed., Conversations with Isaac Asimov (2005)
–., ed., Conversations with Ursula K. Le Guin (2008)
Max Frisch, Man in the Holocene (1979)

Jostein Gaarder, The World According to Anna (2013)
Maggie Gee, The Flood (2004)
Steve Gerber et al., The Man-Thing: The Complete Collection, volume 1 (1970–74)
–. The Man-Thing: The Complete Collection, volume 2 (1974)
Amitav Ghosh, The Circle of Reason (1986)
–. The Calcutta Chromosome (1996)
–. The Glass Palace (2000)
–. The Hungry Tide (2004)
–. Sea of Poppies (2008)
–. River of Smoke (2011)
–. Flood of Fire (2015)
–. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016)
–. Gun Island (2019)
Axel Goodbody and Adeline Johns-Putra, eds, Cli-Fi: A Companion (2019)
Greg Grandin, The Empire of Necessity: The Untold History of a Slave Rebellion in the Age of Liberty (2014)
Boris Groys, ed., Russian Cosmism (2018)

Paul Hawken, Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution (1999)
Arthur Herzog, Heat (1977)
Elina Hirvonen, When Time Runs Out (2015)
Jack Halberstam, Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability (2018)
Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change (2010)
Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree (2015)
Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders (1877)
Aleksander Hemon, The Making of Zombie Wars (2015)
Chester Himes, The Third Generation (1954)
Philip Hoare, Leviathan or, The Whale (2008)
Mike Hodges, Bait, Grist and Security (2018)
Yeon-Sik Hong, Uncomfortably Happily (2012)
Saad Z. Hossain, Escape from Baghdad! (2012)

Rita Indiana, Tentacle (2015)
Simon Ings, The Weight of Numbers (2006)
Emmi Itäranta, Memory of Water (2012)

Marlon James, The Book of Night Women (2009)
Daisy Johnson, Fen (2016)
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels (2016)

William Melvin Kelley, A Different Drummer (1962)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Red Tree (2009)
Paul Kingsnorth, Beast (2016)
–. Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist (2017)
–. One No, Many Yeses: A Journey to the Heart of the Global Resistance Movement (2003)
–. Real England: The Battle Against the Bland (2008)
Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behaviour (2012)
Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal, Robot… (2011)
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle 1: A Death in the Family (2009)
–. My Struggle 2: A Man in Love (2009)
–. My Struggle 3: Boyhood Island (2010)
–. My Struggle 4: Dancing in the Dark (2010)
Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human (2013)
Mary Robinette Kowal, The Calculating Stars (2018)

Larissa Lai, The Tiger Flu (2018)
Joe R. Lansdale, The Elephant in the Room (2019)
Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climate Regime (2017)
Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, eds, The People’s Future of the United States (2019)
Ann Leckie, Provenance (2017)
Dennis Lee, Civil Elegies and Other Poems (1972)
Benjamin LeGrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer 2: The Explorers (1999–2000)
Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer 1: The Escape (1982)
Jeff Loveness and Brian Kessinger, Groot (2015)
Roger Luckhurst, Alien (2014)

Gregory McDonald, Snatched (1980)
–. Safekeeping (1985)
Richard McGuire, Here (2014)
Kristi McKim, Cinema as Weather: Stylistic Screens and Atmospheric Change (2013)
Pierre Macherey, A Theory of Literary Production (1966)
Sophie Mackintosh, The Water Cure (2018)
Ken MacLeod, Newton’s Wake (2004)
Nick Mamatas, I Am Providence (2016)
Bill Mantlo, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, et al., Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Complete Collection (1959–2013)
James Vance Marshall, Walkabout (1959)
Richard Matheson, Someone is Bleeding (1953)
–. Fury on Sunday (1953)
–. Ride the Nightmare (1959)
Farah Mendlesohn, The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein (2019)
Tobias Menely and Jesse Oak Taylor, eds, Anthropocene Readings: Literary History in Geologic Times (2017)
Jim Miller, Flash: A Novel (2010)
Wu Ming, Altai (2009)
Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, eds, The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (2015)
Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017)
Rosa Montero, Tears in Rain (2011)
Alan Moore, Stephen Bisette and John Totleben, Saga of the Swamp Thing, book one (1983–84)
Alan Moore, Stephen Bisette and John Totleben, Saga of the Swamp Thing, book two (1984–85)
Alan Moore, Stephen Bisette and John Totleben, Saga of the Swamp Thing, book three (1985)
Alan Moore, Stephen Bisette, John Totleben and Stan Woch, Saga of the Swamp Thing, book four (1985–86)
Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, John Totleben and Alfredo Alcala, Saga of the Swamp Thing, book five (1986–87)
Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, John Totleben and Alfredo Alcala, Saga of the Swamp Thing, book six (1987)
Jason W. Moore, ed., Anthropocene or Capitalocene?Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (2016)
James Morrow, The Asylum of Dr Caligari (2017)
Oli Mould, Against Creativity (2018)
Fiona Mozley, Elmet (2017)
Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt (1984)
–. The Trench (1986)
–. Variations on Night and Day (1989)
Haruki Murakami, The Elephant Vanishes (1993)

Fred Nadis, The Man from Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey (2013)
Kim Newman, An English Ghost Story (2014)

Craig Oldham, ed., They Live (2018)

Christian Parenti, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011)
Adrian Parr, The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change (2013)
Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (2018)
Jamie Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (2010)
Petrocultures Research Group, After Oil (2016)
Leigh Phillips, Austerity Ecology and the Collapse-Porn Addicts: A Defence of Growth, Progress, Industry and Stuff (2014)
Leigh Phillips and Michael Rozwarski, People’s Republic of Walmart: How the World’s Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism (2019)
Karen Pinkus, Fuel: A Speculative Dictionary (2016)
J Posadas, Flying Saucers, the Process of Matter and Energy, Science, the Revolutionary and Working-Class Struggle and the Socialist Future of Mankind (1968)
Richard Powers, Orfeo (2014)
Vijay Prashed, Red Star Over the Third World (2019)
Robert N. Proctor and Londa Schienbinger, eds, Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance (2008)
Annie Proulx, Barkskins (2013)
Annie Proulx, Barkskins (2013)

Chen Qiufan, Waste Tide (2013)

Laura Redniss, Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout (2011)
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997)
–. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017)
Nicholas Royle, The Uncanny (2003)

Hiroshi Sakurazaka, All You Need Is Kill (2004)
George Saunders, Fox 8 (2013)
–. Lincoln in the Bardo (2017)
James C. Scott, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest State (2017)
Michel Serres, Malfeasance: Appropriation through Pollution (2008)
Andrew Shaffer (with Fin Shepard and April Wexler), How to Survive a Sharknado and other Unnatural Disasters (2014)
Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf (1976)
–. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf (1976)
Ali Shaw, The Trees (2016)
Sue Short, Darkness Calls: A Critical Investigation of Neo-Noir (2019)
Georges Simenon, The Stain on the Snow (1948)
–. Maigret and the Dead Girl (1954)
Upton Sinclair, The Flivver King (1937)
Johanna Sinisalo, The Blood of Angels (2011)
Nihad Sirees, The Silence and the Roar (2004)
Quinn Slobodian, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (2018)
Ben Smith, Doggerland (2019)
Scott Smith, The Ruins (2006)
Zadie Smith, Swing Time (2016)
Francis Spufford, Red Plenty (2010)
Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (2017)

J.P. Telotte, Animating the Science Fiction Imagination (2018)
Rupert Thomson, Divided Kingdom (2005)
Tade Thompson, The Rosewater Insurrection (2019)
Lavie Tidhar, The Vanishing Kind (2018)
Samo Tomšič, The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan (2015)
Duncan Tonatiuh, Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight (2018)
Ilija Trojanow, The Lamentations of Zeno (2011)
Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan and Nils Bubandt, eds, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghost and Monsters (2017)
Antti Tuomainen, The Healer (2010)

John Updike, Rabbit, Run (1960)

Catherynne M. Valente, The Refrigerator Monologues (2017)
Juan Gabriel Vásquez, The Sound of Things Falling (2011)
Jules Verne, Backwards to Britain (1989)
–. Robur the Conqueror (1886)
Sherryl Vint, Science Fiction: The Essential Knowledge (2020)
William T. Vollmann, No Immediate Danger: Volume One of Carbon Ideologies (2018)

Howard Waldrop, Horse of a Different Color: Stories (2013)
David F. Walker, Guillermo Sanna and Marcio Menyz, Luke Cage: Caged! (2018)
Edgar Wallace, The Green Rust (1919)
Rosie Warren, ed., Salvage 7: Towards the Proletarocene (2019)
Mike Wayne, Marxism Goes to the Movies (2020)
Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, Nestor Redondo, The Bronze Age Swamp Thing, volume one (1973–74)
Andy Weir, Artemis (2017)
Harald Welzer, Climate Wars: Why People Will Be Killed in the 21st Century (2008)
Tommy Wieringa, These Are the Names (2012)
G. Willow Wilson, The Bird King (2019)
G. Willow Wilson, et al, Ms. Marvel, volume one: No Normal (2013–14)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume two: Generation Why (2014)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume three; Crushed (2014)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume four: Last Days (2014)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume five: Super Famous (2015)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume six: Civil War II (2015)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume seven: Damage Per Second (2015)
–. Ms. Marvel, volume eight: Mecca (2015)
Ariel S. Winter, The Twenty-Year Death: Malniveau Prison (2014)
–. The Twenty-Year Death: The Falling Star (2014)
–. The Twenty-Year Death: Police at the Funeral (2014)
Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World (2015)
Matthew J Wolf-Meyer, Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology (2019)

George M Young, The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and His Followers (2012)
Lidia Yuknavitch, The Book of Joan (2017)
Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (2018)

Jan Zalasiewicz, The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks? (2008)
Leni Zumas, Red Clocks (2018)

The stuff what I done in 2019

As I continue this Xmas to struggle with The Anthropocene Unconscious, this fucking recalcitrant book that refuses to be written, it is nice to look back over the year to see what else has happened – though that warm sensation might just be procrastination…

The biggest thing this year was receiving the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award, and being the Scholar Guest of Honour at the 40th International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, 2019. It was lovely to be back at the conference, and to catch up with so many people, after a seven year hiatus.

My GoH speech  received the not-so-rare distinction of being mocked in Private Eye‘s ‘Pseuds Corner’, between Charlotte Church and Grimes – ‘Our Frightful Hobgoblin, or, Notes Towards Full-On Fully-Automated Luxury Green Interspecies Feminist Queer Space Communism of Colour’. (A longer version of it, with a longer title, is forthcoming in Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts some time.)

Private Eye

I also appeared on a panel with Sarah Pinsker, John Rieder, Nisi Shawl, Joan Slonczewski, Fran Wilde, and did an opening plenary with Sherryl Vint and author GoH G. Willow Wilson (!), whose work I’ve loved since first reading Cairo. And as a special bonus, Willow is just lovely to hang out with.

While I’m namedropping, this year I also got to drink way too much wine with:

  • the Quay brothers, before and after but not actually (and surprisingly) during a panel I did with them (and Andrzej Klimowski, Danusia Stok and Simon Ings) on Stanislaw Lem for the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival/Polish Cultural Institute at The Barbican in April
  • Mike Hodges (again), before and during a screening of his Black Rainbow, which I introduced for Cinema Rediscovered in Bristol in July
  • Andrea, Karolina and Claudia before and – from a shared bottle classily passed back and forth along the row – during a screening of Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead I introduced at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw in December

There was, however, no wine consumed before, during or after the screening of Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer’s Menschen am Sonntag I introduced for Bristol Festival of Ideas’ Festival of the City/Southwest Silents in Bristol in October. (In my very slight defence it was a Sunday at noon, and I had neglected to bring any bad influences with me.)

I gave one other keynote this year

  • ‘Revenant, Repetition, Road Block: Foreclosed Futures in Late-Anthropocene SF’, Striking Back? On Imperial Fantasies and Fantasies of Empire, Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany in September

but after the absurd number I’ve done in the last few years, I figured it’s about time to get back into the discipline of giving 20 minute papers, so I did these two (though the first one was pulled out of the hat when someone had to withdraw at the last minute from a conference I organised):

  • ‘The Great Derangement and the Anthropocene Unconscious’, Imag(in)ing the Anthropocene, UWE/Watershed in June
  • ‘Other Affect in Slow SF: The Clone Returns Home and Dead Slow Ahead’, Senses of Science Fiction: Visions, Sounds, Spaces, University of Warsaw, Poland in December

Oh, and I organised a conference, Imag(in)ing the Anthropocene, mainly as an excuse to hang out with Karolina and Dan over a rainy Bristol weekend in June

Publications-wise, Global Studies in Science Fiction, which I co-edit with Anindita Banerjee and Rachel Haywood Ferreira, published a couple more volumes:

  • Amy Ransom and Dominick Grace, eds, Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Bridging the Solitudes
  • Simone Brioni and Daniele Comberiati, Italian Science Fiction

The collection I co-edited with Rhys Williams finally appeared:

  • M John Harrison: Critical Essays


I published my first journal article for a couple of years, but it has a long and complicated history, and was written ages ago:

  • ‘Afrofuturism and the Archive: Robots of Brixton and Crumbs’, Science Fiction Film and Television 12.1 (2019): 171–193

It was uncommissioned and is actually the first article I have ever cold-submitted to a journal. Which felt like an accomplishment of some sort until Gerry Canavan kindly pointed out that since I founded the journal what else could they do…

I published a couple of book chapters and my first review in a couple of years:

  • ‘Afrofuturism in the New Wave Era’ in Eric Carl Link and Gerry Canavan, eds, The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (Cambridge UP 2019), 396–414
  • ‘Science Fiction and Cult Cinema’ in Ernest Mathijs and Jamie Sexton, eds, The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema (Routledge 2019), 59–68
  • ‘Bradley Schauer, Escape Velocity: American Science Fiction Film, 1950–1982’, Science Fiction Studies 137 (2019): 200–203

I also contributed to the ‘Extrapolation­ at Sixty’ symposium, and wrote screening notes for the first time

  • ‘Ice Ice Baby’, screening notes on Iceman (Schepisi 1984) for Science Fiction Theatre/Castle Cinema in London in April

And I finished my three-year stint as a jury member for the SFRA’s Pilgrim Award – John Rieder received it his year – and I examined a couple of pretty impressive PhDs:

  • Sinéad Murphy, Present Futures and Present Pasts: Speculative Aesthetics in Contemporary Arab Literature (King’s College, London 2019)
  • Evdokia Stefanopoulou, The American Science Fiction Film in the 21st Century: Between Bodies and Worlds (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece 2019)

Now if only The Anthropocene Unconscious was as easy to write as this post…

Some unexpected praise for Martin Amis

51E21ChU8mL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_I am no fan of Martin Amis, but kudos for the truly incredible piece of confessional writing that is his 2011 intro to Ballard’s THE DROWNED WORLD, which goes: I don’t understand sf, I don’t understand Ballard, I don’t understand this novel, I don’t understand climate science, I don’t understand DeLillo (but I do have a crush on him), I don’t understand introductions, and I’m less than 100% on the placement of commas, but I do understand I get paid the same if I pad this out with long quotes, and I do understand spoilers – and to prove it I’ll end with a really big one:

Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott 2017)

michael-fassbenderand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Sir Diddley Squat’s latest xenomorph instalment is that after the prologue – and if you overlook the clunky dialogue, indistinguishability of the ‘characters’, poor grasp of physics, idiot plotting and general boring-ness of it all – most of the first hour is nowhere near as bad as Prometheus (Scott 2012) or, indeed, as the second half of Alien: Covenant, even if the second half is the half in which we get to see Michael Fassbender in a dopey hat, Michael Fassbender play Kurtz as Hannibal Lecter, Michael “you blow into it and I’ll do the fingering” Fassbender finally have a queer romance with Michael Fassbender, and, in the very final shot, Michael Fassbender show off his enormous feet in clown shoes…

Overlord (Justin Wyatt 2018)

hero_overlord-image-2018and so anyway it turns out the best thing about Overlord (2018) is, as any sane person would expect, the always awesome Bokeem Woodbine, though the second best thing about this very silly film featuring a mission behind German lines in Normandy in the early hours of 6 June 1944 discovering mad scientists manufacturing a Nazi zombie army is the way it poses a mystery every bit as big as how Bokeem “Okay I’ll Be In It, And The Best Thing In It, But Only For 5 minutes” Woodbine makes a living, namely, how in the hell was this film not called D-Day of the Dead