Month: January 2012

Alastair Reynolds – The Six Directions of Space

I’m very slowly making my way through the massive 700+ page novels by Alastair Reynolds (three down, many to go) but I took a side trip with this short story/novella mainly because I like a challenge. It is very much out of print and available on Amazon for something like $125. There is *one* copy of it in the New York Public Library system. I tracked it down, read it in one sitting, then sent it back into the stream. Is it any good? Yes, because Reynolds is incapable of writing something that doesn’t have a few “woah, where the hell did that idea come from?” moments every 30 pages. This one is something of a space spy story, but (as usual) with characters that are both good and bad and over long stretches of time tend to play both sides of that line. It imagines an alternate Earth where Genghis Khan conquered the world, and the Mongol Empire is now making leaps into deep space (hey, just go with it.) What they find in some wormhole hub thingy is, well……maybe I shouldn’t spoil that for...

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Philip Roth – Deception

Quite possibly the most “meta” thing I’ve ever read – this may very well be the actual notebook Roth was keeping when he wrote “The Anatomy Lesson,” without intending ever to publish it. At least that’s what “Philip Roth” claims when his jealous wife finds the text, most of which are intimate details from an affair that are too specific not to be genuine (as is what happens in “The Anatomy Lesson.”) The text is almost exclusively dialogue – it is practically a play – and even if you aren’t familiar with all of the names in the greater Roth Universe (Zuckerman, Carnovsky, Tarnopol etc) a reader will still find some marvelous, crystalized moments. Some of Roth’s navel-gazing can be a but much (skip “The Facts” and “My Life As A Man”) but sometimes his insights are revelatory (as it “Patrimony” and “Operation: Shylock.”) I place this one somewhere in...

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Films Watched 1/1 – 1/18

I’ve been horrible. I haven’t watched anything. It’s because I went bananas with the screenings just before the new year, then went away for a week. I’ve seen two things this year, but that’s about to change because I am heading to Sundance. I saw: Haywire (2012), Steven Soderbergh, A- (look for forthcoming review on Art Blakey: Live in 65 (2009), Unknown Director,...

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Recent Links

There’ve been some new, fun things that I’ve written for various outlets that you may want to check out. Firstly, my review of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN is over at It’s a great movie, and not quite what you expect. I have a new column over at MTV’s NEXT MOVIE called Planet Fanboy. It’ll go live every Thursday, kinda in the middle of the day. The first one is a welcome post and the second one is how you should prepare for the first half of 2012. Lastly, things continue to heat up at One Trek Mind. I’m very proud of the one I wrote for Friday the 13th of Freakiest Star Trek moments. But you should also check out the rundown of Strong Female Characters, Best DS9 Supporting Players, Best Trek Food and Best Trek...

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Comics Read – Week of 12/28

All-Star Western #4 – B+ DC Universe Online Legends #20 – D (I’m taking this off my pull list. Once the Sinestro arc ended I just haven’t cared.) Green Lantern: New Guardians #4 – C+ (This one is in danger of getting dismissed, too) Captain America #5 – B Captain America #6 – A- Kick-Ass 2 #6 – B Aquaman #4 – B+ The Strain #1 – A- Voodoo #4 – B Star Trek #4 –...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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