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Showing posts from September, 2006

Dear Aaron Sorkin: One Tiny Studio 60 Response

Welcome back to television, Aaron Sorkin--we've missed you! It's been a lonely three years without you, watching The West Wing teeter and topple (and then right itself, a little, towards the end). I've got quite a few things to say about your new show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip--most of them, just to be clear, quite complementary. But I'm going to hold off on any serious discussion for a while, let the show find its voice before I start taking it apart to see what makes it tick. Right now, however, I have one teeny-tiny complaint.

We all laughed, some of us less comfortably than others, at the LemonLyman.com subplot on The West Wing a few years back. Sure, you were sticking it to your fans for being so uppity as to have an opinion about your work, but you had the presence of mind to latch on to the caricature of the bossy, tyrannical forum moderator--a stereotype rooted in an all-too painful reality, which most internet users had probably encountered and lampoo…

Old New York, New Wyoming: Two Short Story Collections

It seems impossible to credit, but after more than a year of blogging, I have yet to talk about Edith Wharton, whose two most famous works, The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, are, in my opinion, two of the finest novels in the English language*. Since reading and falling in love with the latter some two years ago, I've been meaning to make further inroads into Wharton's bibliography. Last week, I finally got around to doing so, first with the novella Ethan Frome--bane of American high school students--and then with The Muse's Tragedy and Other Stories, which selects twenty of the 83 short stories published by Wharton over a career that spanned four decades.

Ethan Frome is a famously atypical story for Wharton--it is set, not in the opulent New York drawing rooms and sun-drenched meadows of country retreats which make up the scenery of most of her writing, but in rural Massachusetts, and among poor, hardworking farmers. The stories in The Muse's Tragedy, howeve…

Self-Promotion 10

Today's Strange Horizons features my review of Theodora Goss's debut short story collection, In the Forest of Forgetting.

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't I?

Well, by everyone I mean Martin and Alison. At any rate, it's been rather quiet here recently, for which I apologize--September is turning out to be a cultural wasteland. There's some nice stuff lined up for October, though--Neil Gaiman is this year's guest of honor and ICon and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain is the Haifa Film Festival's opening film--but for now you'll have to do with my top ten unread books, listed in descending order of the amount of time I've put off reading them:
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov - has been sitting on my bedside table for several years now. No idea what the block is about, as it is supposedly crazy good.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - see above, although I've found myself strangely reluctant to read classic tragic romances these last few years. I think there might have been a very brief period in which I was old enough to appreciate the complexity of the writing but not too old to be exasperated by au…

Curse You, Michel Faber

From Amazon UK's description of The Apple:
Enjoy more sugar...Take a saunter down Silver Street once more for an early Christmas encounter with the determined heroine of "The Crimson Petal and the White", and find out more of what became of her. In this collection, Michel Faber revisits the world of his bestselling novel, briefly opening doors onto the lives of its characters to give us tantalising glimpses of where they sprang from and what happened to them.I don't even know why I'm so excited. I happen to be one of only eight people on the planet who didn't find the ending of The Crimson Petal and the White rushed and unsatisfactory (I guess once you've got a couple of Neal Stephensons under your belt, Faber's hurriedness doesn't even register). Not to mention that the entire concept puts my back up--going back to the universe of a mega-bestseller to tie up loose ends and tell additional stories? It was a bad idea when Neil Gaiman did it in Sa…

Heads Up

Today sees the premiere of Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance, a ten part webseries that bridges the gap between the second season finale and the upcoming third season premiere. New episodes will go up on the official Sci-Fi site every tuesday and thursday, but here's a torrent for the first ep if, like myself, you keep getting shitty quality off Sci-Fi's streaming video app.

Attention TV Producers: How to Turn Me Off Your New Show In One Easy Step

The fall TV season is upon us, and first up for a test ride is 24/Prison Break clone Vanished. The show revolves around the kidnapping of a senator's wife and the ensuing investigation, which is already turning up deep dark secrets, with hints of vast conspiracies and cryptic puzzles to follow. At the end of the pilot episode, the action shifts away from the story's setting in Atlanta and moves to Boston, where a well-dressed, well-coifed man joins his friend at an upscale club (complaining of being held up at work by "the Lawrence account"), only to catch word of the kidnapping on the news and realize that he knew the kidnapped woman under a different name.

In the second episode, we rejoin this character, but we might be forgiven for feeling a little confused. The club has transformed into a working-class bar. The character wears jeans and flannel and, as we later discover, captains a fishing boat.

It's by no means uncommon for some fine-tuning to take place b…