Notes from The Buffer Zone: Escapist Fiction

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It’s been a hell of a last six months or so. Not only was the American election a nightmare of screaming and fighting—not just among the candidates, but among the voters as well—and in 2017, the acrimony has grown worse. To make matters even worse, celebrities, icons, and just plain marvelous folk have been dying at the rate of two and three a day.

The news isn’t just bad on a daily basis. It’s stress-inducing, sad, and often terrifying. And our usual comforts—our friends and family—have discovered that they don’t agree about everything, so they’ve joined the screaming as well. Blogs, etiquette watchers, advice programs warned us not to discuss politics over the holidays. When the holidays ended, that advice carried into the Super Bowl, for heaven’s sake, and will probably, by the time you read this, cover other social gatherings as well.

The death and destruction and general stress levels have sent me in search of comfort in my entertainment. I don’t read reviews of movies, so that I can see them in the theater as a blank slate. So, after the first of the year, when I finally freed up some time for movies, I saw Passengers, which had this dicey and somewhat icky (but very sf) ethical quagmire in the middle, and then I saw Rogue One.

I hadn’t expected a lot out of Rogue One because of my dissatisfaction with Star Wars movies since Empire Strikes Back (which is still my personal favorite), but…








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