The first season of Stranger Things has been released on Netflix, and most viewers have devoured all eight episodes in less time than it takes to travel to the Upside Down. While a second season has been announced, those anxious for more supernatural tales set amid a believable and detailed setting need look no further than one of the primary inspirations for the show – the master of horror himself, Stephen King.
The third volume in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, The Waste Land, is built on duality. From its structure to its characters, the novel is fixated upon binaries, the spaces created between two extremes, and the often-flawed methods used to bridge that divide. Spoilers for The Waste Land begin after the jump.
Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 has been released, and as a direct consequence, users of the internet have collectively lost their minds. Spoilers (that you’ve already seen everywhere on twitter) follow the jump.
From the outset, The Dark Tower series is a story about stories. Drawing on a tradition that includes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, King folds the narrative of the first book in The Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger, back over itself. This layers tension on the plot while simultaneously providing an introduction to a self-reflexive theme that will prove essential to the series as a whole. Spoilers for the majority of The Dark Tower series follow the jump.
Wanda Maximoff, better known as the Scarlet Witch, is near the epicenter of the event that serves as the catalyst for the MCU’s Civil War: during a botched heist in Lagos, Wanda manages to save Captain America from death by suicide bomber, but deflects the explosion rather than diffuse it, resulting in the death of a dozen innocent Nigerian citizens. While the resulting media outrage largely places responsibility for the tragedy on Wanda, the reactions of her fellow Avengers are more varied, and reveal a full spectrum of responses to Wanda’s unprecedented demonstration of power.
So it’s come to this: the culmination of the Avengers Standoff event! The story comes together for an ending that brings most of the hanging plot threads to a satisfying conclusion, while holding the door wide-open for Marvel’s next event. Spoilers for the entirety of Avengers Standoff after the jump.
Although an overabundance of postmodern conventions can alienate a reader from the story, adding a touch of metafiction can go a long way towards defining the relationship between several distinct works tied together across an extended universe. As mentioned in a previous entry in this series, using a touch of metafiction to obviate reader confusion has a history that extends all the way back to Don Quixote, a work often credited with being the first Western novel. While Cervantes judiciously applied pressure on the fourth wall, this article examines an extended universe that delights in constructing an entire room of fourth walls before gleefully knocking down the building: Jasper Fforde’s Nextian universe.