The Lows and Highs of Fifteen Dogs (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1 Andre Alexis’ novel, Fifteen Dogs, has its moments of elevated hopefulness. Before diving into the storylines of two dogs whose intelligence leads them towards meaningful lives, I must pause to reflect on what I feel is a major weakness of the novel, a tragedy wrought by the author’s hand. Among…

Between Gods and Dogs: A Fable about Human Nature (Part 1)

Have you ever wished you could speak with and understand your dog? With their sympathetic eyes and joyful energy, dogs can be uplifting companions through the toughest times and the worries of every day. When our minds are preoccupied with regret and anxiety, dogs can bring us into the present moment and make us feel…

All Hail the Gods of Cinema: A Review of Avengers: Age of Ultron

I want to be a superhero—really badly. When someone asks me, “if you were a superhero…”, I respond with a full run-through of my back-story, my sidekick, my side-squirrel super-pet, and the stitching pattern on my tastefully cut leather boots. It pays to be ready, you see, when the Avengers’ recruitment agent inevitably comes knocking….

Impractical Immortality: Do You Really Want to Live Forever?

Well, do you? Really? The idea of immortality, in one form or another, comes up frequently in speculative fiction: elves, Timelords, divine beings, cursed humans, and undying monsters are all easy to find between pages and on screens. Immortality is often a flexible concept, ranging from gods that are all-powerful and cannot die but can—with…

Sandman : Handful of Dust

  When a young Neil Gaiman first approached Vertigo comics about The Sandman, he was pitching a simple revival of the 70s series of the same name by Joe Simon and Jack “The King” Kirby. But DC editor Karen Berger insisted that while they keep the name, Gaiman should create a new character. And thank…

The Giants Made Me Eat My Spinach: From Then to Now

Giants.  From the English fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk” to the most recent iteration in the anime and manga Attack on Titan, giants are a well-established element of fantastical stories. However, as with all story elements, they are subject to evolution. Giants in some form or another had existed in folktales and stories well before…

Imagine Magic! In Defense of Fantasy Literature

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ― Dr. Seuss Fantasy has been a part of the literary tradition since literature began. In fact, the case could be made that fantasy was the first literature of ancient culture. From Jewish folklore thousands of years old to…

Getting Dragons on Screen: The Cycle of Readers and Viewers

At its birth, the literary elite refused to accept fantasy as a legitimate genre. Fire-barfing dragons, scantily clad elves, and steel-swinging hunks could not possibly make for capital “L” Literature. Even after the explosive popularity of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, and yes, even J.K. Rowling’s Harry…

A Good Land for Myths

Throughout Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Gods, many different characters state that “America is a bad land for gods.”  The novel argues that when many beliefs sail across the ocean to reach our continent, they struggle to survive. While I cannot say whether America is in fact a good or bad land for gods, I…