Wooden tiles with letters printed on them.
Wooden tiles with letters printed on them.

Thus far, all literary criticism has focused on the impression created by many letters juxtaposing each other, such as in books or on wordtrucks. In pursuing this obsession, we have come to lack a fundamental theory of written art. See, no commentator has been brave enough to review the individual characters that make up that writing. Until today. In a radical act of critical enlightenment, I will sort the beef from the chaff, and present, from stinking to supreme, every known letter.

F
From its stale mouthfeel to its unsightly appendages, it’s a wonder that F was ever allowed into the…


Image by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When faced with a deadly pandemic, we find ourselves in the delicate fingers of systems and people that could ruin lives or save them. But this type of interaction is not new. Cars, security systems, surgeons, and pilots are all examples of everyday mechanisms or professionals that, if not up to their task, could do untold damage. In most cases, none of the vehicles or workers we’ll encounter will be dangerous to us, but because they’ve all been rigorously tested to ensure they can carry out their job.

For something or someone to be adequately tested, it or they must…


On December 12th 2019, the Conservative Party was re-elected to UK government with 163 more seats than the Labour Party. It is the biggest defeat of the major left-wing party since 1935, and Corbyn, the only socialist leader of the organisation there’s been in the 21st century, is resigning. This merits reflection, and I want to talk about the significance of this event particularly to readers outside of the UK because I don’t think citizens abroad have realised how dire conditions have gotten for the British public.

Despite the UK being the fifth richest country in the world, an estimated


Note: The following article contains major spoilers for Blade Runner and talks specifically about the final cut of the film.

When a prolific sci-fi film reaches a certain age, it goes through a rite of passage in the critical space. Writers inevitably see agreements and disagreements between the film’s vision of the future and how our present actually shook out, and the printing presses begin churning with articles on what the movie “got right” about the future. The seminal 1982 cyberpunk film Blade Runner is set now, in November 2019, and fittingly, magazines and websites are awash with verdicts on


Last week, I published a long-form piece on The Beatles: Rock Band and the group’s history. As you’d expect, there was a lot of research behind the article, and that’s left me with a notebook full of Beatles facts that didn’t fit into the piece proper. These facts aren’t anything that will have escaped Beatles buffs, but they were new to me, so why waste them? Here they are in roughly chronological order:

•The Beatles and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes were both playing a venue where the stage was made out of wooden planks and beer crates, and so…


When I ask people about where Richard Pickman is today, most of them dodge the question. They tell me that they knew someone who knew someone who knew him, or they say they just don’t care, before asking me four or five questions about him. A common response is the stinkeye, like even mentioning Richard was associating yourself with something sleazy; a sordid ritual performed in Boston’s least savoury back rooms away from prying eyes. And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. …


Note: The following article contains major spoilers for Black Mirror Season 5.

When Black Mirror initially aired back in 2011, you couldn’t get me to shut up about it. The first two series each had one episode that wasn’t too hot and two others that were phenomenal. When the programme made the jump from Channel 4 to Netflix, however, it doubled its episode count per series, and the show’s quality began to drift more from narrative to narrative. It was still some of the most gripping and cerebral science fiction in the TV format; it’s just there were a few…


Life’s easier without things. No colours or shapes, no up or down. That’s what it’s like for me, gently floating in the liquid sphere of my living room. It’s a way to while away a day. I didn’t always spend so long in here, but somewhere along the line, it became better for me than what was on the outside. I’d spend eight hours here a day, then ten, then twelve. I go out to put the bins out or to say “Hi” to Lead Greg from next door, but then I come right back.

“Rise and shine sleepy-head”. It’s…


If you’ve spent some time writing and publishing on the internet, you’ve probably heard of Grammarly. Grammarly is a service that scans text both for formal errors and clunky uses of language, then scores your document on a scale from 0–100. On the back of its assessment, it suggests changes you could make to improve your writing’s professionalism and readability. I’m not sponsored by Grammarly or financially affiliated with them, but I do use it all the time, and over the months, I’ve learned that its scoring system is remarkably permissive. Even when I’m banging out an article at breakneck…


Note: The following article contains major spoilers for Velvet Buzzsaw.

There’s a certain trap that’s apparent to anyone writing or reading a review of Velvet Buzzsaw. Dan Gilroy’s 2019 satirical horror eviscerates the gatekeepers of the art gallery scene first figuratively and then literally. Its characters are arrogant, preening, and self-obsessed, but none more than Morf Vandewalt. An egotistic reviewer with a taste for red meat, Morf is out to make artists wither beneath his practised pen. Velvet Buzzsaw seems to be daring any critic who sinks their teeth into it to display the same pretention towards it that Morf…

Gamer_152

Moderator of Giant Bomb, writing about all sorts. This is a place for my experiments and side projects.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store