Come Back, Shane! The National Nostalgia

[This appeared in the Southwest Review 98 (No. 1) 2013 and won the McGinnis-Ritchie Prize for best essay of the year] “The Old West is not a certain place in a certain time, it’s a state of mind.  It’s whatever you want it to be.”  … [Read more...]

Bid Time Return: Time-Travel Romance on Film and TV

We are indebted to H. G. Wells not only for the notion of voluntary time travel but also for the image by which we conceive it: a sunny, Edwardian gentleman perched on an ornate steam-age contraption that moves through time in much the same manner that a streetcar moves across town.  This linear … [Read more...]

Our Game

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.  America has rolled by like an army of steam rollers.  It has been erased like a blackboard and rebuilt, and erased again.  But baseball has marked the time.  This field, this game; it’s a part of our past, Ray.  It reminds us of all … [Read more...]

The Romance of Extinction: Nuclear War Films

  Of all the contrived analyses that cling to science fiction films of the fifties—McCarthyist body snatchers, Russians from Mars, the Bomb in the guise of Godzilla—the most pervasive has been the anemic notion that viewers sublimated the Bomb as the stereotypical Victorians did sex.  The … [Read more...]