Late to the Party: World War Z (The Book)

[This is the first in a continuing series, Late to the Party, talking about culture that’s not so ‘pop’ anymore, because sometimes you have things to do for years on end instead of reading the latest book or watching the latest movie.  Max Brooks’s World War Z came out in 2006 and I’m only now getting around to read it.]

On the gorgeous Friday of Memorial Day weekend, my partner and I set off to Portland.  I had heard good things about the audiobook of World War Z and, knowing little about it except that people liked it and there were zombies, we downloaded it for the 3.5 hour drive.

[Note: An unabridged audiobook came out May 14 of this year but was not available for purchase on iTunes on Memorial Day weekend.  Or I didn’t see it.  Whatever.  Either way, this article is primarily about the abridged version of the audiobook, which has been in the market since 2007.]

I do want to be clear about this up front: I like a LOT of this work, both the audiobook and the book.  (After I finished listening to the audio, I ended up borrowing a copy to compare the two.)  Brooks’ prose isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, but the level of research and commitment that he brought to this hypothetical situation is outstanding.  I think that it achieves one of the most important objectives of science fiction, which is an earnest re-examination of our lives as they are through the lens of what they might become.

But (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming!), this achievement makes Brooks’s failures stand out in greater contrast.

Spoilers: There will be some about this work and the seminal zombie masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead.

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Pick-Me-Up: Hello, Tailor Discusses Pepper Potts

WARNING: this site is addictive if you care at all about costuming.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts – ass-kicking girly girl who isn’t afraid to work hard, look good, or work hard at looking good.

Hello, Tailor is my newest obsession, thanks in large part to this post on Pepper Potts and why she is a great female character that is also an underrepresented type: that of the non-bitchy, intelligent, highly motivated girly-girl. Pepper (like Gwyneth) likes looking pretty and clearly puts effort into it. This article goes into all of the reasons why her character design is AMAZING, and how her costuming does a lot to enhance her character traits.

If you have any interest at all in costuming and the way that clothes shape our perceptions of people, I highly recommend checking the blog out. Nothing too technical or fussy, just an interesting take at a side of the movies that most people don’t actively think about.

Kate now has an overwhelming urge to go get her sewing machine fixed.

Why I Liked Star Trek: Into Darkness, But Mostly Why It Made Me Mad

main-star-trek-into-darkness

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Also, rants. I freely admit that I go into waaaaay more detail about some things that I didn’t like than the things that I enjoyed.

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed the new Star Trek movie. I repeat – I had fun watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, and overall, I liked it. It was a well-made blockbuster action movie. It was pretty to look at, it was full of attractive people, and the set (for the most part) looked like the high-tech love child of the original Enterprise and an iPad. I really, really liked how much screen time was given to Benedict Cumberbatch. Because seriously. I would pay money to watch him in anything. A movie about watching paint dry, you say? Fine. Take my money. It was well spent.

I did not prefer the blatant sexism. Because seriously, Mr. Abrams, what the hell? I know that it is a blockbuster, and thus I expect for the focus to be on a white male protagonist, because unfortunately that is the world we live in right now. I accept that. If I wasn’t prepared for some sexism and/or racism, I would not go see a summer blockbuster, just like I wouldn’t have gone to see Into Darkness if I had an overwhelming hatred for lens flare. I’ve made my peace with the fact that I can like something in spite of its flaws.  But this went kinda overboard on the sexism, and the worst part is that I don’t know that Abrams & Co. even cared enough to notice.
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