Blog Posts

I wish it were #NotMyCanada, but it is, so let's talk

So it’s Canada Day. Whoo! PARTY TIME! Crack open those drinks, lay out the snacks, enjoy the sun—sigh. I can’t do it, guys. Look, if all you want to do with your day off is party, this blog post is not for you. I can’t just join in this year, for two reasons. Firstly, this year is important, because later this year we are having a federal election.

Report cards are not the problem here

Yesterday Martin Regg Cohn wrote in the Toronto Star about how the work-to-rule action by ETFO is harmful to students because of the inconvenience and delay it causes in notifying parents about those students’ final marks. He says: Marks don’t matter. Achievement goes unnoted.

Trends I'm sensitive to in current science fiction

This post began as part of my review of The Man Who Sold the Moon. I began contrasting Heinlein’s subject matter with what’s hot in SF these days. Gradually I realized I was eliding too much in my attempts to be as succinct as possible, so I was faced with the choice of expanding an already long review … or excising most of the discussion. Fortunately, I have a soapbox all my own where I can put this kind of stuff. First, a disclaimer: science fiction is a diverse field.

An open response to “Teachers have no right threatening education”

Dear Mr. Lavallee, You wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in The Chronicle Journal on Saturday, April 11: “Teachers have no right threatening education.” Your letter communicates a great deal of frustration with teachers, arguing that we suffer from a sense of entitlement, that we strike because we aren’t satisfied with how easy we already have it. You ask us how we “dare” to “hold our kids’ education hostage.” The truth is, the decision to strike is never an easy one.

On binge-watching

Two interesting television-related things happened this weekend that have me thinking about our (and by that I mean, my, I suppose) relationship with consuming new television shows in 2015. Firstly, Netflix released the first season of Daredevil, a “Netflix original” series it produced with ABC Studios for Marvel.

Fighting CryptoWall on Windows XP: caltrops, scorched earth, and triage

How was your Easter break? I spent a good portion of my four-day weekend fighting a ransomware attack. My boss’s computer at the art gallery (not at my other job) is still running Windows XP while connected to the Internet. This is, no joke, a terrible idea. But they are a not-for-profit organization with very little money—she is finally getting a modern computer in May. Not soon enough.

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4) cover image

There’s nothing quite like a good Agatha Christie novel, hmm? I find reading one of her mysteries so comforting. It’s like the perfect intellectual beach read: you know what to expect, yet there are still surprises (even if you manage to guess whodunit, which I seldom do). The Hercule Poirot novels in particular must be among my favourites. Mystery was my first genre love, even way back before I got into science fiction and fantasy, and in mystery, Christie made history. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd…

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1) cover image

World War I is not the sexier World War. The technology isn’t advanced; it didn’t end with a noisy double atomic bang; and it lacks the grandiose operatic tragedy of the Holocaust to offer a thematic background. Indeed, the political quagmire of nationalism and militarism that precipitated and fuelled the Great War might be interesting to historians, but to bored schoolkids, it just prompted us to wonder what we had done so wrong to deserve this. Wouldn’t World War I be cooler if it had genetically…

The Reaction (Animorphs, #12) cover image

When it comes right down to it, Animorphs plots are pretty silly. I mean, they kind of have to be, for a bunch of kids to stymie Visser Three on a regular basis. He is only slightly more competent than Dr. Drakken.

(I’m just going to pause here for a moment so you can envision the gloriousness that would be an Animorphs/Kim Possible crossover. That’s right. How awesome would that be?)

Fortunately, Applegate recognizes this, and that’s why she tends to serve up a helpful dosage of internal conflict…

Boring Girls

Sara Taylor

Boring Girls cover image

Picked this up off the New Books shelf at the library and decided to take a chance. As I’ve said before, this is why I love libraries. I have no interest in heavy metal, and the back cover copy is somewhat vague in communicating what this book is about. But what’s the worst that could happen? I don’t like it, and I have to return in a few weeks. Libraries are awesome for letting you take a chance on a book you’re not sure about—and sometimes, as in the case of Boring Girls, you’re pleasantly sur…

The Fuller Memorandum cover image

It’s safe to say that the Laundry Files is my favourite of Charles Stross’ series. It’s starting to rank up there with the Dresden Files as far as urban fantasy goes. The two series have a lot in common: each book is a self-contained, madcap thriller with supernatural elements; while overall, the series mythology continues to grow and head towards some kind of apocalyptic climax.

In The Fuller Memorandum, Bob and Mo become tangled up in a plot by some cultists to steal Teapot, also known as the…

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks cover image

This book has an amazing title, and amazing art, and very clever writing. It’s filled to the brim with witty advice and brief interviews from a panoply of self-proclaimed fangirls. So why did it leave me feeling so meh?

Obvious disclaimer here: I identify as a cis man, so by most definitions I’m not really a fangirl, and I’m never going to experience the discrimination that women often face when they present as geeks in person or online. Nevertheless, I’m interested in geekdom, and I like building…