Posts

Showing posts from October, 2006

By Now You've Read the Six Word Stories

But have you seen these cool cover designs?

(If you haven't read the stories, check them out here. I'm not being very original, but my favorite is Margaret Atwood's entry: "Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved.")

That's What You Get Folks, For Makin' Allegory

The person who pointed out this article in The American Prospect, which examines the reactions of conservatives to Battlestar Galactica--first latching on to the show as an emblem of right-wing thinking in modern media (“The more I watch the new Battlestar Galactica series, the more the Cylons seem like Muslims"), and now recoiling in horror as it supposedly makes an ideological shift to the left (one fan 'took exception to the use of suicide bombings, which he said wouldn’t work against Cylons because “terrorist tactics only work against the United States and Israel because we’re too good to wipe all of them out”'), takes its author, Brad Reed, to task for not delving into the complexities of Galactica's moral outlook, and for accepting unthinkingly the interpretation that these conservative fans attach to it. Which I think is a little unfair, as the focus of the article isn't Battlestar Galactica, but rather the alleged tendency on the part of right-wing politic…

Housekeeping Rides Again

I seem to have found a tentative fix for the problems with the site's LJ feed. Right now, the solution seems to be to switch the RSS feed to short entries instead of full ones. I personally find this less convenient when reading other sites, so I'm going to keep looking for a better solution.

Recent Reading Roundup 9

Image
Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers - the second Wimsey/Vane novel puts the two characters on a more or less equal footing, both in terms of their dominance over the narrative and in terms of their contribution to the investigation of the mystery--the murder of a professional dancer on a secluded beach. This is a more complicated story than Strong Poison, with a great many elements--eye-witness accounts, forensic evidence, common deduction--coming together to form a coherent picture of the murder like so many puzzle pieces (all the while, of course, Sayers is holding back the final, crucial piece). The result is clever, if at times too deliberately so--the timeline of events surrounding the murder is crucial right down to the minute, so Sayers makes all of the relevant characters compulsive about accurate time-keeping (three or four different characters take trouble to assure the detectives that they reset their watches every morning according to the radio clock, which, please)--to …

One Tiny Observation About Russell T. Davies' Casanova

When I wrote about Russell T. Davies' 2003 miniseries, The Second Coming, I remarked that Davies and star Christopher Eccleston carried over a great many of the lead character's mannerisms and attitudes when they created the character of the ninth Doctor. Which, at the time, was rather amusing. Now that I've seen Davies' 2005 mini, Casanova (pretty good. Very funny. Not nearly as smart or as moving as The Second Coming, but then, what is?), starring David Tennant, I'm starting to worry. You see, Tennant's Casanova is the tenth Doctor.

It's not just a matter of the actor repeating some physical tics (and anyway, I've seen Tennant in one or two other things and, while he many not have the greatest range in recorded history, he's certainly got more than one character in him). When Tennant reads his lines, you can see him wearing a pin-striped suit instead of gaudy, quasi-period dress. And those lines are thoroughly Doctor-ish:
Casanova: I'm …

Return of the Bride of Housekeeping

Those of you reading this blog off its LJ feed might have wondered why I've been so quiet this past week. Apparently, LJ thinks I'm fat. Neither of the entries I posted this week--a joint review of Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, and an entry about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Heroes--have shown up on the feed, and the excuse seems to be that they are 'too big'.

Yeah, I'm sure that's not going to keep causing problems.

Look, Up on the Airwaves

I'm not a big fan of comics, and especially not the kind featuring superheroes, but even I took less time than your average studio executive to work out that if you're going to port superhero comics over to an audio-visual medium, cinema is your absolute worst choice. For more than half a decade (well, for several decades, but there's been a glut recently), some of the finest filmmakers in the business have been trying to crack the comic book film formula. Some of their results have been financially successful, others have been well-received by critics. With the possible exception of Pixar's The Incredibles (I say possible because I'm not convinced that it's entirely accurate to describe the movie as a comic book film, not because I don't think it's excellent), none of them have even approached the distinction of good cinema, or the even more elusive honor of faithful adaptations. Most importantly, none of them have managed to replicate the intricately …

A Saturday Afternoon Double Feature

There are several reasons why, in spite of the fact that I don't consider myself to be a fan of either Darren Aronofsky or Richard Linklater (or, for that matter, Philip K. Dick)*, I made the schlep up to Haifa yesterday afternoon to catch festival screenings of their latest films. For one thing, there's the fact that both films had incrediblycool trailers, or the fact that one of them has already been buried by its Israeli distributer and the other is likely to, which means that yesterday was probably my only chance to view these films in a movie theatre (over at his blog, Israeli film critic Yair Raveh has been collating a list of films purchased for distribution in Israel and then forgotten by their distributors. It's a terrifying collection, and includes such embarrassing oversights as Donnie Darko, Garden State, and Hotel Rwanda). But the most important reason for making time to see A Scanner Darkly and The Fountain was powerfully brought home to me only an hour after…

Oh, How Wonderful

Orhan Pamuk Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

I've only read two of Pamuk's novels--My Name is Red and Snow--but they were both magnificent, beautifully written and fiercely intelligent, compassionately but unflinchingly exposing the failures of East and West and asking vitally important questions about the viability of a meeting point between the two, and about the purpose of art itself. This is a fantastic choice.

Housekeeping, Redux

At Niall Harrison's request and with his kind assistance, AtWQ's comments feed has been syndicated on LJ.

Speaking of LJ syndications, I'm aware that the site's main feed has been spamming people's friends pages with an extended backlog. I apologize--I have no idea why this happened or whether the problem is with the RSS feeds or LJ. I'll keep an eye on the situation--hopefully these are isolated hiccups.

In Which Your Host Gets Angry and Other "Occupation"/"Precipice" Thoughts

I'm the sort of person who takes time to get angry. I need to think and work myself up to a good mad. As I write this, it's been a little over 24 hours since I sat down to watch Battlestar Galactica's third season premiere, "Occupation"/"Precipice," and in that time I've gone back to watch the episode a second time. I'd actually planned to lay off the Galactica reviews for a while, but about half an hour into the first half I knew I'd have things to say about this episode, and I've been trying to put them into a coherent form for nearly a day. It's only now that I've come close to succeeding.

It's only now that I've started to get mad.

This is not to say that "Occupation"/"Precipice" is a bad hour and a half of television. In terms of the quality Galactica is capable of, I rate the episode as comfortably adequate. There's very little about it that's bad, and quite a few things that are good. Sta…

No, I Did Not Chain Dan Hartland to a Desk and Force Him to Write Deadwood Critiques

...but I probably would have, if I'd thought of it.

Happily, such extremes are no longer necessary--Dan has supplemented his excellent essays about the show's first and second seasons with some thoughts about the third:
Swearengen spends much of the season trying to marshal a force large enough to combat Hearst's own when the time comes for gunplay, but ultimately he is instead forced to kill an innocent girl merely to ensure his town's diminished survival. There is no fighting a man like Hearst, nor the sort of world his type of person brings. In that world, Swearengen will carry on much as before - there will always be pimps and drug dealers - but he will not be master of his own fate. Civilization has come to 'Deadwood', and it means the end of total libterty. The age of the cowboys are over - this is the true creation of a nation. The viewer has thought they were watching a battle, but they never were. They were watching a rout.

Going Some Way Towards Alleviating My Battlestar Galacita Bitterness

Hot off the official website, this amusing music video, A New Crew in Town, which reminds us that, if nothing else, the new incarnation of the show is 'so much better than the one with Lorne Greene.' And, more importantly, that there's at least one person involved with the show's production who still has a sense of humor.

Housekeeping

With no small amount of trepidation, I've made the switch to Blogger Beta: Everything Wordpress Can Do, We Can Do Better or At Least As Well (We Hope). There are several new features that I've been clamoring for, mainly post categories (see sidebar) and a comment feed. Also, obviously, a layout makeover, which I think we can all agree was long overdue.

I'd be very happy for some feedback. Is the new layout pretty/ugly/in need of some drastic changes (I can change the color scheme rather easily and may in fact end up doing so)? Are there any categories I've missed or that I should get rid of? Should I syndicate the comment feed on LJ? For that matter, which is preferrable--a site-wide comment feed or individual comment feeds for each post?

Just About the Only Thing That Might Get Me to Watch Lost Again

E! Online's Insider Community reports:
Sources confirm to me that Nathan Fillion (Buffy, Firefly) has been cast on Lost! He starts filming the show next week in Hawaii, and will guest star in at least two episodes this season, from what I hear.Of course, given how little the show's writers did with Wayne Pygram last year, I'm not sure this is worth getting excited over.

A Conversation About In the Forest of Forgetting

A couple of weeks ago, Strange Horizons published my review of Theodora Goss's debut collection, In the Forest of Forgetting. Niall Harrison, SH's reviews editor, is also the editor of the BSFA newsletter, Vector (as well as blogging on Vector's editorial blog, Torque Control, and at the group-blog Big Blog of Cheese, and, for all I know, fighting crime) and had written his own review of the collection. Niall's review won't be published until January, but he let me take a sneak peak and we ended up discussing the collection and our very different reactions to it. The following is an edited form of our discussion (you should probably read my review first or this won't make much sense).

Abigail Nussbaum: I am, as usual, tickled by our differing responses to the same work, but especially in this case because so many of my favorite stories in the collection have ended up on your least favorite list, and vice versa. For example, you found the collection's ope…