Book Review: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World- A Novel by CA Fletcher

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This review is dedicated to my dog Max, who passed in November, 2019 at the age of 17, and to his lifelong companion, our 20 year old cat, Brody, who followed him a month later. I love you til the end of the world, guys.

Griz, the first person narrator and titular boy of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, lives in an empty world. Unlike our crowded world full of 8 billion people, Griz’s world went through a population collapse a few generations ago, reducing the global population to less than 10,000 people. The Baby Bust, as it was ironically known, happened over the course of one generation. No one is quite sure why, but almost everyone became infertile, worldwide, all at once and without warning.

Those who remained fertile were locked up for a time, theoretically for their own protection, in a sort of reverse witch hunt, then eventually allowed to leave. Most went into hiding in remote areas until the infertile population grew old and died off.

Now, everywhere is a remote area. Griz has only seen a few people outside of his family in his entire life, mostly the members of the family who live on a neighboring island off the coast of what used to be Scotland.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 13: Killshot Pt. 2 Recap

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Okay, kids, let’s buckle up for the uneven, slightly nonsensical ride that is the season 1 finale of ABC’s scifi series Emergence. As of this writing, 2/13/20, Emergence hasn’t been cancelled, so maybe there’s some truth to my wild theories that it has a place in the wider ABC/Disney universe. Or maybe ABC just likes to torture fans.

The finale dissolves into a game of cat and mouse in a haunted science lab with a love quadrangle thrown in to prove things can always get worse. Shockingly, not everyone gets out alive. Because if no one dies, there aren’t any real stakes. Isn’t that what you all find in your lives?

Recap

After she and Brooks lock themselves in a room to escape Helen, Jo realizes that the sounds in the pipes are Helen’s nanobots scurrying after them. Maybe hiding in a spot without an exit wasn’t such a great idea. Macho man Brooks pounds on a locked door that’s appeared since last week, until it breaks open, just as Helen materializes. Helen finds a drop of blood next to the door and follows them through.

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Charmed Season 2 Episode 12: Needs to Know Recap

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This week, Helen, the original Whitelighter, returns, along with her Darklighter twin. After an altercation at the Tulipe Institute, Maggie and Harry follow Darklighter Helen back to Plymouth. Macy fears that her demon powers are blocking the return of her witch powers and seeks help from Abby. Mel takes a chance on love.

Recap

It’s time for Darklighter Helen’s dinner at the Tulipe Institute where she and Whitelighter Helen are held. A guard unlocks her room to let in a nurse with her food. When they leave, they aren’t careful about closing the door, which allows Darklighter Helen to escape.

In Seattle, Mel, Macy and Maggie attempt to engage the Power of Three. Mel and Maggie call up and connect their witch power, but Macy’s power is still absent.

Abby has cooked dinner for Harry in her apartment. She made his favorite meal and makes everything she says to him sound like she’s talking about sex, but he still resists her advances because she’s a demon.

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Charmed Season 2 Episode 11: Dance Like No One Is Witching Recap

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This week, Mel and Harry return to rescuing witches from demons, which leads to Harry developing a mysterious illness after he’s injured during a fight. Macy enjoys time in Aspen with Julian. They take their relationship to the next level, then she meets the aunt who raised him. When Harry gets sick, Macy and Abby have competing ideas on how to save him.

Maggie and Jordan travel to New Orleans to pursue the buyers who purchased the chakram and black amber from Ray. They visit a magic survivors support group, where another man approaches them with an invitation to an exclusive party.

Recap

We begin with the aftermath of a terrible car crash on a dark and stormy night. Young Julian Shea’s parents are dead and he’s trapped alone in the backseat, crying for help. Cut to the present day, where he tells Macy that there’s been an empty place inside him ever since. He and Macy commiserate over the amount of bad luck and family trauma they’ve each had.

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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 3: The End is the Beginning Recap

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And we’re off! The action picks up in episode 3 of Star Trek: Picard, with Jean Luc acquiring a ship and skeleton crew, then setting off into space. Before that happens, the Romulan assassins find him and Agnes, he and Raffi negotiate a delicate peace, and we’re introduced to the eccentric captain of the new ship, Cristobal Rios, and his look-alike EMH.

Over on the Borg cube, Narek’s sister, Rizzo, arrives in person, Narek and Soji continue to grow closer, and Soji is allowed to interview an important ex drone.

Recap

Every episode so far, including this one, has begun with a PTSD vision of the destruction of Mars in 2385, an event which, 14 years later, collectively haunts the Federation the way 9/11/01 haunts the US and WW2 haunts the entire world. Once the worst of the nightmare recedes, the scene changes to Starfleet Headquarters, not long after the attack on Mars. Picard’s personal nightmare isn’t over yet.

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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Episode 2- Maps and Legends Recap

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Admiral Picard stays earthbound again this week, as he continues his search for clues into Dahj’s origin, sister and killers. The show, however, does not, as the audience is treated to an extended visit to the decommissioned Borg cube known as the Artifact. The cold open shows the synth rebellion on Mars from the perspective of one synth, giving viewers a glimpse into how Picard’s Starfleet career ended.

The CBS All Access companion series Star Trek: Short Treks season 2 released a companion episode about the day of the Mars attacks, titled Children of Mars, that’s worth checking out. Besides showing the day of the attack from a different perspective, the episode shows a slice of modern day life in the Federation and contains hints of conspiracy similar to those in ST:Picard. All of the Short Treks season 2 episodes are delightful and worth watching for long time Trek fans. (More in the commentary section.)

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Movie Review: The Farewell

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The Farewell * 2019 * Rated PG * 1 Hour 39 Minutes

😸😸😸😸½  4 1/2 out of 5 Happy Lap Cats

In The Farewell, writer-director Lulu Wang tells the true story of a giant fiction her family created together as a kindness toward her dying grandmother. It’s a complicated story, full of truths and lies and messy family relationships that aren’t easily pinned down into simple words, beyond the word “real”. Despite the fact that this is a story about lies, Wang’s film is painfully honest, showing the love that went into the decisions her family made when her grandmother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

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Avenue 5 Season 1 Episode 3: I’m a Hand Model Recap

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The passengers and crew are in for more startling revelations in episode 3 of Avenue 5, as their true predicament sinks in and the situation further unravels. Mental health declines, leading to a sphincter-shaped guest towel, an emotional video sent from the guests to Rav, and a new assignment for Karen.

Judd, Iris, and the crew continue to work on new plans to get the ship back to Earth, ranging from an unethical fundraising vigil to an unethical method of reducing the ship’s weight. Ryan, the fake captain, continues to be shocked at the level of fakery on Avenue 5. Billie continues to be the lone voice of sanity and reason.

Recap

The 3 dead passengers and late engineer Joe continue to orbit the ship and frighten the passengers like 4 small, gruesome moons. Captain Ryan checks in with the bridge on the regular, comforted in the fact that while he might be fake, the hard-working, good-looking bridge crew know what they’re doing.

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Movie Review: One Child Nation

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😸😸😸😸½  Rated 4 1/2 out of 5 Happy Lap Cats

One Child Nation is a very personal documentary, made by director Nanfu Wang when she had her own first child and began to seriously consider, for the first time, the implications of China’s one child policy, which she had been born and raised under. Wang had relocated to the US years before her son was born, so her pregnancy was unaffected by the harsh government program, which was in force from 1979 to 2015. But the internalized trauma from growing up in that environment, from events she didn’t even realize she’d absorbed, began to affect her attitude toward her own pregnancy, so she set out to examine the wide-ranging effects of China’s long-term push to gain control of its population size.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 4: On the Principles of Horsehound Recap

Burt Watches Fire: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." -- Lieutenant Kilgore, Apocalypse Now
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” — Lieutenant Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

Episode 4 opens on darkness and the sound of automatic weapons fire. Gradually, Burt Harlow’s face is revealed, lit by flickering, orange flames. He sits on the back of a truck and watches a large fire in the distance, on the order of several buildings. There’s a man with a gun several feet away. Burt notices the flames are slowing down and goes to the man with the gun, who is wearing a 3 River Phoenixes jacket and surrounded by a dozen bodies.

The camera pulls out to reveal that they are at the old racetrack and this is the night Katherine Harlow was left for dead. The man with the gun is Joel Kelly. He was the third man on the scene that night, along with Burt and Bash, and the man who drove the truck, but he was a Phoenix, not yet a full Brawler.

Burt goes to Joel and jostles him out of the trance he seems to be in. Now Burt begins to create the legend we heard Matty and Johnson tell Ethan in episode 3.

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