Fiction Potpourri

Dated Sep 6, 2022; last modified on Tue, 30 Jan 2024

A collection of notes/impressions from titles where I didn’t find enough to necessitate a dedicated page. Usually short works of fiction.

Unknown Number

Unknown Number. Blue Neustifter. . . Jul 27, 2021. Accessed Sep 6, 2022.

tells the story of a person who has gender dysphoria. In an alternate universe, they never transitioned but went on to become an established physicist who could communicate across parallel universes.

The use of text message screenshots (and corresponding alternative text) brings a modern feel to the piece.

The Sin of America

The Sin of America. Catherynne M. Valente. . Mar 2, 2021. Accessed Sep 6, 2022.

There’s a woman outside of a town called Sheridan, where the sky is there to only witness, not to intervene… They all swarm hungrily over her, caring nothing for who she is or where she has been or where they will go when this is over. There are good God-fearing people outside of Sheridan and they are killing the sin of America, a place born with half a heart that demands to be made whole, year in and year out. They are crushing the sin of America into a paste. They are releasing themselves from it. They are ridding themselves of it forever. It’s not their fault. Nothing’s their fault. It never has been. It never will be. They are so innocent, innocent as the sky.


Set in modern times, ritualistic sacrifice is so gruesome, given that we’ve gone through The Age of Reason™. Sheridan’s residents seem deliberately ignorant that sacrificing one of their own doesn’t actually change things.

Or… we could make a religion out of this! .

Proof by Induction

Proof by Induction. José Pablo Iriarte. . May 4, 2021. Accessed Sep 6, 2022.

“Can he think creatively? In the, uh, simulation, I mean. Can he do math? Can he have insights?” “Again, that’s not your father in there. That’s a slice –” “Yes, I know, a snapshot of who he was in his last moments.

Most simulation-related sci-fi that I encounter is set in post-singularity era, where the AI has super-human intelligence. is different in that the tech is not yet mature – the main character needs to rehash everything when conversing with his dad.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. Mariko Tamaki; Steve Pugh. . . . 2019.

Failures of the criminal justice system showcased twice when Harley and a rich kid commit crimes, but Harley gets harsher treatment, e.g. Harley goes to jail, while the Kanes meet the $500k bail.

Sometimes the characters, e.g. Ivy, monologue about social justice in an unnatural way. The parts where social commentary was intrinsic to the plot were more impactful. Happens towards the second half of book.

The joker being a rich kid with anarchical fantasies was an unexpected twist. Though it made it easier to dislike the character. Harley is not yet evil at this point of the story.

Old Man Logan

Wolverine: Old Man Logan. Mark Millar; Steve McNiven. . . . Oct 28, 2009. Accessed Dec 14, 2022.

[Hawkeye] Sometimes I feel insulted they didn’t kill me. Like I was so insignificant they didn’t need to worry. Thor and Cap and Tony Stark – they all got targeted and taken down inside the first few hours. But the bad guys basically ignored me.

[Hawkeye] I thought you came here to free everybody. [Ashley Barton] That’s because you’re stupid, Dad. I killed The Kingpin like he killed Magneto. Now it’s time to show these boys what their new boss is made of…

Alternate universes have leeway, but this part’s weird. Ashley is listed as the daughter of Tonya Parker (Peter Parker’s youngest daughter) and Hawkeye. How do the ages work out? Unless Earth-807128’s Peter Parker was way older than Hawkeye.

[Mysterio] Did you really think you could do this alone? Take down forty super-villains? Talk about delusions of grandeur. But for your friends. People who would hesitate. That’s a different matter entirely

Alternative universes are especially exciting because decisions carry weight; fewer deus ex machina’s, lower plot armor, etc.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Led here after seeing in featured in Apple TV’s Invasion in a poster in one of the character’s apartment. Per , the 1976 file featuring David Bowie, based on the 1963 novel, was quite the hit.

The Man Who Fell to Earth. Walter Trevis; Dan Watters; Dev Pramanik. . . Oct 25, 2022. Accessed Feb 5, 2023.

[Simonson Cap] And he didn’t. He didn’t do anything. He just sat there as Farnsworth read the files. For hours. I realised then that I’d never actually seen someone actually do nothing before. He didn’t read, or look around the room, or pick his nose. I suppose technically he was – he was sitting, and breathing, those sorts of things. But all of that seemed like he might forget to do it any second too. Like he was doing those things for the sake of appearances.

[Mr. Peters] It’s not so much that the technology was impossible. It wasn’t magic. It was more the case that the technology was unimaginable to our current way of thinking. It didn’t build off a foundation of chemical exposure, or even what we would now call digital technology. It wasn’t an improvement on what we and our other competitors made, but rather it was as if someone had arrived at the idea of a camera without ever having seen one.

[Mr. Peters] I think someone will come when they see what happened to him. Whether to rescue him or seek revenge… It doesn’t really matter. They’ll come, and they’ll bring more beautiful technology with them. Resources, Arthur, it’s all about resources… And we’ve wrung Mr. Newton dry.

I focused on the CIA as the major villain, that Newton’s succumbing to alcohol and sex instead of saving his drought-ridden home planet. Only when pointed it out in the epilogue.


  1. Wolverine Vol 3 #67. Old Man Logan: Part 2. Mark Millar; Steve McNiven. . Jul 30, 2008. Accessed Dec 14, 2022.
  2. Wolverine Vol 3 #68. Old Man Logan: Part 3. Mark Millar; Steve McNiven. . Aug 27, 2008. Accessed Dec 14, 2022.
  3. Ashley Barton (Earth-807128) | Marvel Database | Fandom. . Accessed Dec 14, 2022.
  4. Wolverine Vol 3 #70. Old Man Logan: Part 3. Mark Millar; Steve McNiven. . Jan 2, 2009. Accessed Dec 14, 2022.
  5. The Man Who Fell to Earth: The Making of a Classic. Stephen Dalton. . . Oct 25, 2022. Accessed Feb 5, 2023.
  6. Invasion. . Oct 22, 2021. Accessed Feb 5, 2023.
  7. The Man Who Fell to Earth - Wikipedia. . Accessed Feb 5, 2023.