Why We Need Utopian Fiction Now More Than Ever

From the neon-drenched noir of Altered Carbon to the technophobic Black Mirror, dystopia is all over mainstream entertainment these days—and considering the current political climate, it’s easy to see why. But when was the last time you watched a utopian show or movie? Unless, like me, you’re watching Star Trek on repeat forever, it’s probably been a while since your imagination took a trip into a better world.

Everything we struggle with today, from climate change, to human rights abuses, to police brutality, is paralleled and explored in countless fictional dystopias. And for many people, this is a welcome outlet for their frustrations. But the more reality starts to resemble the dystopias on our TV screens, the more we need another kind of story. Utopian fiction dares to hope that we can, and will, be better. And I don’t know about you, but I could really use that dream right now.

Read More – Why We Need Utopian Fiction Now More Than Ever – Gizmodo

Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens

At the ancient site of Hatnub, a quarry in the eastern Egyptian desert not far from Faiyum, archaeologists have recently discovered a sled ramp system used to transport alabaster blocks. Post holes and a ramp with stairs on either side indicate that the contraption allowed Egyptian builders to move heavy blocks up and down steep slopes. Inscriptions have now helped archaeologists from the Institut français d’archéologie orientale and the University of Liverpool to date this groundbreaking technology to at least the reign of Khufu, who ruled from 2589–2566 BCE. Khufu is known as the pharaoh who likely commissioned the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Discovery and reconstruction of the ramp allows us to better understand ancient construction techniques. It also chips away at the long-held but fringe theory that the blocks were so heavy and the distances they would have to travel so lengthy that aliens must have built the pyramids.

Where did the theory of aliens building the pyramids actually come from? Since the late 19th century, science fiction writers have imagined Martians and other alien lifeforms engaged in great feats of terrestrial engineering. Earlier alien theories surrounding Atlantis may have spawned fantasies about alien building. The most substantial evidence for non-earthly creatures arrived in the wake of H.G. Wells’s success.

Read More – Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens – Hyperallergic

[Review]THE TERRIBLE ELIZABETH DUMN AGAINST THE DEVILS IN SUITS

“God gives you what you need, the Devil gives you what you want”

When you want something bad enough, would you do anything you can to get it? Would you make a deal with the devil? You wouldn’t? Even if you knew that the person paying for your bargain wasn’t you?

In Brazilian artist Arabson’s comic, Elizabeth Dumn is the daughter of a religious man who promised his first born child in exchange for wealth and success, when the Devil comes for what he was owed, its up to her to fight for her soul. Elizabeth is unloved, accused by her family of being unlovable, she is mean and vulgar and violent. She is sent to a boarding school where she is taught to fight and hold on to her will, away from her family, where they don’t have to think about her anymore. She stands in opposition to her brother, who is the perfect version of what their parents want in a child, he is Christian, virginal, obedient and docile, he’s the only one that shows real concern for Elizabeth. Whether because of her gender or because of her nature Elizabeth’s sacrifice is seen as being for the families greater good, but she doesn’t see it that way.

There are many elements in this comic that are striking despite it’s short, one-shot format. The family is seemingly Christian, but hides domestic violence and selfishness. Elizabeth is pegged as being no good because of her unfeminine and wild ways, but it’s all of those unfeminine ways that help save her life.

The comic’s art style is reminiscent of French artist Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belville) with grotesque lines and repulsive expressions, it gives the whole thing a dark sense of humor. No one is good in this. No one is innocent. The action is fluid and fast and manic, at times disgusting, at others the emotions of the characters hit you before you even know it.

Pick it up November 15th if you’re looking for something with a bad-ass female lead who doesn’t suffer the sins of her father.

With colors by Anderson Cabral and translation by Eisner Award winner James Robinson – See more at: https://imagecomics.com/content/view/the-terrible-elisabeth-dumn-against-the-devils-in-suits-takes-readers-throu#sthash.5tqEt7ux.dpuf

Netflix and Warner Bros. Hit With $50 Million Suit Over Satanic Temple in ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ — Variety

The Satanic Temple made good on its threat to sue Netflix and Warner Bros. on Thursday, filing a $50 million copyright suit accusing them of ripping off the temple’s statue of Baphomet to fuel “Satanic panic” in the Netflix series “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” The Satanic Temple is best known for making life difficult…

via Netflix and Warner Bros. Hit With $50 Million Suit Over Satanic Temple in ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ — Variety

Black Women In Horror History: Considering Beloved

Beloved is a film I touched briefly on here before. Set not long after the emancipation of enslaved Africans in America in the midwest, a Black woman named Sethe grapples with her enslaved past when she is reunited with the child she bore and slain for fear of being recaptured by her slave master after escaping.
Recently watching this for the first time, my visceral and intellectual response was pleasantly mixed and complicated. It was such an uncomfortable movie to experience and at the same time, empathetic and endearing. Some re-affirming academic work as been done on the film by Ellen C. Scott who titled her work, “The Horrors Of Remembrance: The Altered Visual Aesthetic of Horror in Jonathan Demme’s Beloved,” Jonathan Demme being the director, Toni Morrison, the author and source of content and inspiration.
What is profound to note is the film’s intimate relationship to traditional horror/the Southern gothic as well as it presents itself as removed from that tradition but broadening our concepts of horror as well as how it positions the historical horror of slavery within the film. Beloved takes us on one journey of the Black American experience of slavery through the body of a Black female protagonist.

In Scott’s words, “Beloved disrupts horror’s narrative impetus, visual regime, and phenomenological economy to create a different iconography of fear, one that exceeds spookiness and thrill and sheds light on the representation of cinematic horror’s social, historical and cinematic repressed.”

Pre-Broadway Review: ‘Beetlejuice’ — Variety

The 1988 film “Beetlejuice” spawned a cult following for the freshly minted “gothic fantasy” style of its director, Tim Burton, and for Michael Keaton’s delicious performance as a comically macabre maître d’ of the netherworld. Thirty years later, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and its partners have turned the concept into a decidedly raunchy musical that […]

via Pre-Broadway Review: ‘Beetlejuice’ — Variety