I was simultaneously repelled and sucked in. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And I hid from my family to read it over Thanksgiving vacation. So, yeah, it was a pretty good read.
Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn (of Gone Girl fame), scared the ever-loving shit out of me.
And there you have it.
The story both sucked me in and repelled me. I wanted to know more, to solve the puzzle, to KNOW what happened. Simultaneously, I just wanted to get it out of my head.
It’s grizzly y’all. The scene that plays over and over again is horrific. It gave me nightmares. And I couldn’t shake it, couldn’t stop it from running on a loop in the back of my mind.
But what’s really compelling about the book is that there are no heroes. Everyone (save perhaps one character) is multi-faceted, complex, and far from perfect. The points of view vary, which adds a texture that builds suspense and draws out the mystery. And it relies on the one principle that shoots abject fear through my heart: everything can rest on one decision. One decision can end life as you know it.
But can it really?
Or is there something bigger at play, beneath the surface, in our subconscious, in events that other people set in motion?
I’m not sure this book will answer that question. But it sure as hell will make you ponder it. And isn’t that what horror is supposed to do: make us wrangle with the light & darkness within ourselves and question what really separates the good from evil?
And maybe that line is much thinner than we think.
I, Robot. It’s about adverbs & adjectives. I mean, it’s about robots. It’s sci-fi with interesting ethical dilemmas. After you get through the adjectives.
Recently, a friendly stranger proffered boxes of sci-fi and fantasy books to fuel my used bookstore dreams. I know enough to admit what I don’t know. And I don’t, at all, know sci-fi. I told my super-rad benefactor this. “No experience with sci-fi at all?” he asked, quizzically. “Well, I did love Battlestar Gallactica… the TV series,” I offered sheepishly. “Oh,” he responded with relief. “You’ll be fine then. Start with Asimov.”
So I did.
I picked I, Robot for the most basic of reasons: it sounded familiar. My copy (a 1983 edition) features a little girl & a pretty dang benign looking robot on the cover. Cool. I’m fascinated by the concept of robots actually developing feelings—evolving into them. Because can they be feelings, if they’re programmed “experiences”? And how the hell is the robot supposed to know what’s up?
I’m sure there are technical, sci-fi-y ways to describe this conundrum. Of course, I don’t know them.
But I do knowthat I could barely FIND the robots in the book for all the adjectives and adverbs Asimov through at me continuously. So many, many words to describe, well, not too much.
The book took me weeks to complete. Weeeeeeeks. But I learned the 3 Laws of Robotics, which tie the stories about nanny robots, mind reading robots, self-righteous robots, playful & clever robots, and machines together. And, ultimately, I was left with some weighty ethical & philosophical questions about free-will versus the greater good.
But it took so very many adjectives to get there.
The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Stars is a mash-up of sorts. He loosely chronicles his wife’s end of life journey & his own grief, which he views thought the lens of neuropsychology, philosophy, myth, and atheism.
Welcome to Remotely Intellectual! Grab a cup of coffee & let’s discuss life. Parenting? Oh, yeah. I’ll write about that in all it’s messy glory. Recovery? Yup. It’s the basis of everything good in my life. So it comes up quite a bit. Spirituality? Oof. I’m a hot mess on that one. But you can watch my explorations unfold right here! Atlanta? Love it! And coffee.
Welcome to Remotely Intellectual! Grab a cup of coffee & let’s discuss life. Parenting? Oh, yeah. I’ll write about that in all it’s messy glory. Recovery? Yup. It’s the basis of everything good in my life. So it comes up quite a bit. Spirituality? Oof. I’m a hot mess on that one. But you can watch my explorations unfold right here! Atlanta? Love it! And coffee. And social justice type stuff–like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia. We’re going to talk about it all.
Oh! And I’m reading 43 books during my 43rd year & reviewing them all for you–in 250 words or less. It’s currently one of my favorite projects. Check it out:
I’m super excited about this new space. For those of you coming over from Rocket Fuel, you’ll find the same content but under a much more apt name. Because really, what am I if not remotely intellectual?