The Lost Cause by Cory Doctorow

This was very strange book. I read Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which I enjoyed a lot, and I expected that the Lost Cause would follow in a similar vein: a story of future society which is striving to better itself. … Sounds nice. But as we quickly find out in The Lost Cause, not everyone shares the same idea as to what constitutes better.

In a fairly non-specific future, and following the death of his parents in a Canadian epedemic, Brooks Palazzo is shippped down to Burbank to be raised (if you can call it that) by his MAGA-fanatical grandfather. While Brooks is growing up, America is changing; government policy is driven by the burgeoning refugee crisis (parts of the United States are submerged underwater), food shortages and climate change. The world is making progress to stopping it from getting worse, though it’s probably too late to dial it back to any significant degree. Still, Brooks is part of a new generation that doesn’t fear the future.

And they’ve banned firearms.

As you can imagine, this has not gone down well with everyone, which is why, following the death of his grandfather, Brookes discovers a cache of automatic weapons under the floorboards of his home.

So while Brooks has to navigate his late teens, figuring out where to hide the guns and getting involved with rebuilding the planet, and homes for an influx of refugees, he finds himself at loggerheads with his grandfather’s old MAGA friends, who take great pains to warn him that a reckoning’s a’coming … and he’s standing on the wrong side.

Continue reading “The Lost Cause by Cory Doctorow”

Film review: The Marvels

There’s a lot of weird stuff happening around this film. First, it was released later than planned, and second, it was released without the usual wall-to-wall guest appearances and press junkets that usuall accompany a Marvel film release. So, in the midst (or rather, close to the end) of the writers’ strike, no one should be too surprised that The Marvels had something of a soft launch. What did surprise me though, was the amount of glee floating around the Twittersphere when declaring that this was the worst weekend opening for a Marvel flick, ever. Never mind the fact that it was still the highest-grossing movie for that weekend. Without diving into the conspiracy swamp, I did wonder if there was something about the film that was attracting such vitrole.

This was a rare outing for a superhero film, in that it was fronted by not one, but three female characters, something we haven’t seen since Wakanda Forever. We also had a female villain too, in the form Zawe Ashton, who gave a creditable perfomance as the Kree Accuser, Dar-Benn.

Iman Vellani did a superb job of bringing her Ms Marvel character from the Disney+ to the big screen; same with Lashana Lynch who eased Monica Rambeau from WandaVision to make the third side of the body-swapping triangle.

So how was it? Well, formulaic, but it’s a formula that works, and Marvel can now churn them out in its sleep. And again, maybe that’s the problem, but hell, why change what you know works?

The Marvels was the usual mix of camaraderie, action, sorrow and sacrifice. The ending lacked the dynamism of the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Ⅲ, but it was enjoyable, with a nice post-credit surprise thrown in for good measure.

Ignore the naysers; if you’re a fan of the Marvel franchise, there’s no reason why you won’t enjoy this one.