The X-Files: Ghost in the Machine

Mulder and Scully in Ghost in the Machine.In which Mulder and Scully battle an evil computer. Yup.

Ghost in the Machine: Season 1 Episode 7
Written by Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon, Directed by Jerrold Freedman
First aired October 29, 1993

I don’t know whether it makes me more nostalgic or sad to remember how afraid we were of computers in the early 90s. In the intervening years we’ve learned a tough truth: it’s not the computers you need to be afraid of. It’s the people who use them.

But let’s revisit a simpler, more innocent time: Clinton is in office. Laptops are as thick as phonebooks and only half as useful. The only thing you need to worry about is that computers are obviously going to develop self awareness and kill us all. Sounds reasonable.

Read more

A black and white engraving of William Shakespeare is shown.Don Pedro: Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.

Beatrice: No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.

—from Much Ado About Nothing

The cover of Tamsin by Peter S Beagle is shown. It happened six years ago, when Sally and I first got here, but it seems a lot longer, because in a way it happened to someone else. I don’t really speak that person’s language anymore, and when I think about her, she embarrasses me sometimes, but I don’t want to forget her, I don’t ever want to pretend she never existed. So before I start forgetting, I have to get down exactly who she was, and exactly how she felt about everything.

—from Tamsin

Book Review: The Jane Austen Cookbook

The cover of the Jane Austen Cookbook shows a woman in 19th century dress at a food market.

The Jane Austen Cookbook
Written by Maggie Black and Deirdre le Faye
Published in 1995 by McClelland & Stewart

Deirdre le Faye edited the go-to collection of Austen’s letters, so I knew the The Jane Austen Cookbook would be more for the scholar than the casual reader. I wasn’t as familiar with Maggie Black’s work, but I found her expertise on historical cooking complimented le Faye’s knowledge of Austen very well.

Read more

Peter S. Beagle and his Fight to Take Back the Unicorn

Peter S. Beagle (7271128160)


Peter S. Beagle is a wonderful writer. I adore him. He is of course best known for writing The Last Unicorn, which was an incredible influence on me growing up—not just artistically, but morally and ethically. The central theme of The Last Unicorn is that (goodness, true love, healing, purity, whatever unicorns mean to you) is never completely lost, no matter how hopeless life may seem. So long as there is one person willing to face (fear, despair, oppression, whatever the Red Bull means to you), there is hope.

The Unicorn raises her horn in defiance.“Unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever.”

Read more

The X-Files: Shadows

Mulder and Scully stand side by side in an autopsy room.In which Mulder and Scully chase at spectral phenomenon and psychokinetic manipulation.

Shadows: Season 1 Episode 6
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed by Michael Lange
First aired October 22, 1993

I’ve noticed a trend in my reviews thus far: I love talking about the Deeper Meaning of each episode. That’s not gonna happen with Shadows, because there are no depths to be mined here. It’s just an X-File.

Read more

Book Review: Dragonflight

A painting shows Lessa riding her dragon.

Dragonflight (Pern: Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
Written by Anne McCaffrey; First Edition 1979
Published by Del Rey Books

Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey’s first novel of her fantastically successful Dragonriders of Pern series, introduces us to the world of Pern and to Lessa and F’lar, the hero and heroine.

Pern is the planet of a far-off star, plagued by a sister planet whose orbit sometimes passes close enough to launch nefarious Threads (science-y spore-type life forms which attach and burrow themselves to Pern’s ground and devour plant life). It has been so long since the last attack of Threads that most people no longer believe they exist. The planet has settled into those human goals of acquiring wealth and being the best at politics.

Read more

The X-Files: Jersey Devil

Mulder and Scully requisition a car in Jersey Devil. In which Mulder and Scully meet the Devil.

Jersey Devil: Season 1 Epsiode 5
Written by Chris Carter, Directed by Joe Napolitano
First aired October 8, 1993

There are a number of episodes, especially from the earlier seasons, that hold a special place in my heart because I watched them back when I was thirteen and still new to the series. I wasn’t as discerning an audience member then, so I loved them whether they were good or not. Which is why I love this episode, even though I know a lot of people find it embarrassing.

Read more

The X-Files: Conduit

Scully and Mulder in ConduitMulder has to know.

Conduit: Season 1 Episode 4
Written by Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon, Directed by Daniel Sackheim
First aired October 1, 1993

Conduit is a tricky episode. On the surface it seems simple: a girl with a brother disappears in a case that suggests aliens, which triggers Mulder’s Samantha Complex. That in and of itself would make for a decent episode—I love the first season for spending more time looking at the long-term effects of Mulder’s trauma than faking us out with the possibilities of what “really” happened to Samantha. But there’s more to Conduit than just rehashing Mulder’s pain.

Read more