Justin Slaughter

  • culture April 10, 2018

    Goddess of Anarchy by Jacqueline Jones

    More than a century before Antifa or Occupy Wall Street, thousands showed up to hear lectures on wealth inequality and its discontents from Lucy Parsons, the subject of Jacqueline Jones engrossing new biography, Goddess of Anarchy. A former slave, Parsons transformed herself from a rural seamstress with only the “bare bones of a formal education” into a revolutionary essayist, orator, and celebrity. Railing against the Dickensian horrors of capitalism from the Gilded Age through the Great Depression, Parsons was one of the few female activists of color to capture a mass audience. But despite

  • culture January 25, 2017

    Americans Under Occupation

    The idea of an autocratic regime ruling America has long been a preoccupation of alternate-history enthusiasts and sci-fi authors, With Donald Trump now in office, those fictions suddenly seem all too real, (The Republican National Convention, at which Trump bellowed "I am your voice," and insisted that he alone can fix the nation's problems, was like a scary set piece from a dystopian novel.

    The idea of an autocratic regime ruling America has long been a preoccupation of alternate-history enthusiasts and sci-fi authors. With Donald Trump now in office, those fictions suddenly seem all too real. (The Republican National Convention, at which Trump bellowed "I am your voice," and insisted that he alone can fix the nation's problems, was like a scary set piece from a dystopian novel.) In 2015, Amazon began streaming a slick TV adaptation of one of this genre's best books, Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. Both the book and the show take place in an alternate version of

  • politics October 31, 2016

    Android Hero

    The theme park at the center of Westworld—HBO’s new series, adapted from the 1973 sci-fi film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton—is a simulation of a dirt-on-the brow, snake-in-the-boot nineteenth century frontier town where the only consequence of sin and murder is profit. The park’s hosts are sentient androids covered in impeccable artificial flesh, ignorant of the fact that the “new comers” to the park’s central town of Sweetwater are human guests who pay $40,000 per day for the chance to lay a saloon prostitute or shoot a man just to watch him die. But as expected from