Happy New Year! #2019

I hope you all have a great 2019! I’m looking forward to, amongst other things, finally reading Malka Older’s Infomocracy trilogy, reading submissions for my book on Dune, rereading some of the older Star Wars books, and of course Episode IX. Looks like it’ll be a good year for pop culture and fandom.



The Faded Sun (C.J. Cherryh)



I happened to find The Faded Sun trilogy on my dad’s bookshelf when I was helping him sell his house. I had never heard of C.J. Cherryh, but it had been a while since I’d read space opera from the 1970s, so I figured I’d try it. Plus, the beautiful cover art by Michael Whelan evoked Dune, with a race of ancient warriors on a desert planet.

The Faded Sun takes place some time in the distant future. Humanity has established colonies on other worlds. As the book opens, humans and an alien race called the Regul had just signed a peace treaty putting an end to a forty-year war. As part of the agreement, the Regul agree to cede the planet Kesrith to the humans. Kesrith also happens to host a colony of Mri, who served as mercenaries for the Regul during the war.

*** SPOILER WARNING *** Continue reading “The Faded Sun (C.J. Cherryh)”

“The Man in the High Castle” (Amazon)


Another year, another adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. Dick’s oeuvre has proven to be a considerable source of fodder for Hollywood. Some of the biggest science fiction movies in history originated from Dick’s mind, including Blade RunnerTotal Recall, and Minority Report (as well as a few bombs, like Screamers).

Even amongst this storied history, Amazon’s TV adaptation of Dick’s 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle is special. It’s not just a good sci-fi story, but an important one. I admit I haven’t read the book in decades (something I hope to rectify soon), so I can’t provide a detailed comparison of the book and the TV series, but the show manages to hit upon the core themes Dick explored in the novel. Of particular importance is the idea that humanity can become shockingly complacent to brutality given the right circumstances. Continue reading ““The Man in the High Castle” (Amazon)”

Daredevil was right…

Daniel Kish, a.k.a. Daredevil
Daniel Kish, a.k.a. Daredevil

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Netflix’s Daredevil TV show. I noted that Matt Murdock does not possess any notable superpowers. A few people (correctly) noted that Murdock uses a form of echolocation to view the world around him. This certainly seems to be beyond normal human ability.

I thought I was wrong in my review, but it turns out I was mistaken. I’ve since read about Daniel Kish, a (real) blind person who has learned to “see” using a form of echolocation. Mr. Kish clicks his tongue to send sound waves that bounce off hard surfaces. He claims to be able to detect houses, cars, and even other people. He even demonstrates his ability in a recent TED talk. It’s fascinating to think that real humans are developing the same superpowers as a Marvel superhero!

Time to Tweet!

I’ve finally entered the 21st century… I’ve set up a Twitter account (@NardiViews). From now on, I’ll tweet links to new content on my blog. I might also tweet links to articles or short comments that don’t necessarily deserve an entire post. So, there are now even fewer excuses not to read my latest rantings.

Summer 2015 Mythgard Institute Courses

Mythgard offers great online courses on sci-fi and fantasy. Check them out!


In case anyone here doesn’t know, I’m pursuing a master’s degree with the Mythgard Institute at Signum University. This is a totally online institute that offers courses in fantasy, science fiction, and medieval literature for students and auditors. Things are getting along – I’m finishing up my last credit course this spring, and will spend the summer and fall writing my thesis. The course content offered and caliber of faculty associated with this program are consistently impressive, so I thought I’d link to what’s coming up in the near future.

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Very Merry Unspoilers: Unfinished Hobbit Business

A great overview of some of the plot holes and lingering questions in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy…

The Oddest Inkling

Today and the rest of this week I am participating in The Battle of the Five Blogs about the new Hobbit movie. It’s not really a battle, of course: merely a chance to share ideas in a kind of Round Robin of blogging. Here are the other bloggers:

Brenton Dickieson of A Pilgrim in Narnia
Crystal Hurd

Matthew Rettino at The Vinciolo Journal
James Moffett is of A Tolkienist’s Perspective
Kat Sas of Raving Sanity

(Please don’t point out that makes SIX blogs. I’m an English teacher; I don’t need to know how to count.)

hobbitSince I have already written my official review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies for Christianity Today Movies, this is not a review. It’s a list as long as Bilbo’s contract: a list of Items of Unfinished Business. As I wrote in my review:

There are many pieces of unfinished…

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Happy 2015!

To all my readers, Happy 2015! Science fiction has made many predictions about the future, often with mixed success. Of course, 2015 is the year Marty McFly allegedly visited in Back to the Future II. And let’s just say I’m still waiting for my hoverboard. In the meantime, Newsweek (among many, many other websites) has a retrospective looking at what the movie got right and wrong about 2015. Read it here.

Where's my hoverboard!
Where’s my hoverboard!