For All Mankind, Godzilla, Antisemitism, Poe

Here’s a nice way to start November: Actress Tasha Dixon (who plays Amelia Gomez on the show For All Mankind on Apple TV+) is seen here with my book REDSPACE RISING! Both the show and my novel deal with Mars, though in decidedly different ways.


And speaking of movies, it was with extreme reluctance that I went to see GODZILLA MINUS ONE… and extreme surprise that I can report it is a genuinely excellent film.

The famously radioactive lizard was a key part of my childhood. The entire kaiju gaggle were like friends of mine, from Rodan to Mothra to that ill-tempered guest Ghidorah, thought as much as I enjoyed them (even GODZILLA’S REVENGE… shut up, I was eight-years-old) I wouldn’t declare any of them to be examples of quality cinema.

GODZILLA MINUS ONE is quality cinema.

Earlier kaiju movies were all about monsters knocking down cities, with obligatory attention paid to the humans in the background. You rooted for Godzilla because he was a big lizard, and for the spectacle of Tiamat-sized reptiles (and Anzu-sized moths) battling it out in an arena of concrete and steel. If nothing else, this childhood fascination with monsters and destruction has continued with the rebooted films of recent years.

But GODZILLA MINUS ONE? It came out of nowhere to remind us what a great monster movie can be.

Rather than be relegated to the background, the human drama is front and center here. Set at the end of World War II, we’re immersed into a serious study of PTSD and a nation struggling in the aftermath of cataclysmic defeat. Never before has a Godzilla movie so openly embraced what the monster really stands for: the ghastly horror of war. When he shoots a radioactive heat-ray to create a mushroom cloud, sending black rain down on a screaming populace, this is a movie that wears its historic inspiration on its scaly sleeve, and it absolutely works.

Far from the CGI-heavy bombast of recent years, GODZILLA MINUS ONE is a heartfelt study of tragedy and hope wrapped up in an unexpectedly touching package: this is as much about one man’s struggle with PTSD as it is a creature feature. But speaking of creatures, the Godzilla on display here is a specter of terror, and a particular boat-chase scene is worth the price of admission alone. Add in the iconic music from the 1954 original, and a mature script by Takashi Yamazaki that knows exactly what it’s doing, and this is a winner. “My war isn’t over,” the main character says, and the line resonates well after the credits have rolled. Very much recommended, and one of the best movies of the year.


A Cornell student was arrested this month for making vile threats against Jewish students at the school. But this isn’t an isolated case on college campuses, and it’s downright chilling to see how prevalent it has become.

Ever wonder how someone could deny the Holocaust happened? Well, we’ve got people right now (including in my home state) who are pretending the slaughter perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 didn’t really happen (even though it was broadcast in real-time). We’ve got students here (and some professors) who are reposting Hamas slogans (presumably not understanding what “from the river to the sea” actually means). Antisemitism is apparently something that the far left and alt right can agree on, and it’s on display in technicolor.

I hate this fucking timeline.

It’s one thing to acknowledge the suffering of civilians in both Israel and Palestine, to support Palestinian statehood, and to criticize Netanyahu’s government. It’s quite another thing to cheer on the sadistic rape and murder perpetrated by Hamas, to blindly echo their chants, and to use the worst form of victim-blaming when talking about the 1,200 Israelis who were tortured and butchered (essentially saying they “deserved it”.)

No one deserved that. Full stop.

To say otherwise–or to deny it happened–isn’t just the worst species of whataboutism. It’s villainy.


To finish off the month of November, Donna and I attended an Edgar Allan Poe Speakeasy at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport. The event paired cocktails with live performances of Poe’s tales, including evocatively named libations like the Pale Blue Eye and the Raventini. My favorite Poe story was also featured (“The Masque of the Red Death”).

This was a deliciously gothic night, with actors (and an audience) who clearly loved the source material. Special thanks to my friend Serena Forbes for making me aware of this. Quoth the raven, “Drinksomemore!”

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