Category Archives: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Murder Hornets? Really?

Remember the opening from the 1980s Flash Gordon, where the villain has a dashboard with buttons labeled with various disasters? He used it like a sound effects board: Press the Earthquake button and it would trigger an earthquake. Press the Hurricane button and trigger a hurricane. Press the freaking Hot Hail button and it would trigger a fiery hailstorm. (seriously).

I kinda feel like “Murder Hornets” is another button on that patch board.

For what it’s worth, the Smithsonian has a more…measured take on them: No, Americans Do Not Need to Panic About ‘Murder Hornets’

The Asian giant hornet, seen for the first time in North America in 2019, is unlikely to murder you or U.S. bees, according to Smithsonian entomologist

The Rise of Skywalker vs. the Other Star Wars Sequels (spoilers)

I saw The Rise of Skywalker last week, and I’ve had some thoughts bouncing around in my head for a while. I think it’s been long enough. So, to start with, let’s look at the major themes of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

The Force Awakens: There will always be a new generation of fascists, and people from all walks of life can (and must) band together to work against them.

The Last Jedi: Evil will relentlessly work to snuff out hope. Do what you can, even if you’re just some nobody, even if you’ve failed before, and you may be able to inspire others as well.

SPOILERS for The Rise of Skywalker!

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Doom and Gloom are Not Enough

Doom and gloom alone aren’t enough to help us deal with climate change, or any of the other problems we face. Fear sustained turns to despair, and to inaction – because why bother?

We have to celebrate successes to keep hope alive so we can keep going.

We do need to know what we’re up against. We need to understand how serious the stakes are. But we also have to believe that what we do will – or at least can – make a difference.

I keep thinking of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The first time through was grueling, watching the relentless assault of the First Order as it tried to snuff out every last bit of hope. The scenes with Rey and Luke were a relief because he was “only” depressed, not doomed.

But Luke eventually regains enough hope to take action. And enough of the Resistance is able to survive, keeping the spark of hope alive. And their legend survives, passed from Rose and Finn to a stable boy on Canto Bight, who’s already fanning that spark.

The whole movie is about hope: whether you’ve lost it or someone is actively trying to stomp it out, as long as it exists, you can hold onto it. That hope that, to quote another trilogy, “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”