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Showing posts from February, 2007

Coherent Plots are Overrated and Other "Dirty Hands" Thoughts

I surprised myself by enjoying this week's Battlestar Galactica entry, "Dirty Hands." By the standards of television in general, the episode was no great shakes, but compared to the level that Galactica has been striking in recent weeks, especially in its 'issue' episodes, it was quite an improvement. It certainly helps that Aaron Douglas is one of the few younger cast members who can hold his own against Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos, and that appearances by Starbuck, Apollo, and the love quadrangle that will not die were kept to a bare minimum. Liking the episode, however, doesn't mean that I accept its premise. Even as I was watching and enjoying "Dirty Hands", I found myself listing the ways in which the episode's plot doesn't make sense. Here are but a few:

The story hinges on the existence of a deep-seated prejudice against poor, rural colonies, extended to the fleet's post-colonial reality. It's not impossible for me to…

Not Dead

The tumbleweeds have been blowing through AtWQ lately, for which I apologize. I could blame work--and I will--but also February has turned out to be something of a dead month, culture-wise.

Happily, March is already shaping up quite nicely. The final Nebula ballot is online, and you all know what that means--look for my reviews of the short fiction nominees in the near future.

A few observations on the ballot:

Michael A. Burstein has a piece in the novella category. Oh, joy.

M. Rickert's "Anyway" didn't make the cut from the preliminary ballot, which is a crime. On the other hand, Rickert has a story on the novelette ballot.

The Nebula jury added Battlestar Galactica's "Unfinished Business" to the best script category, thus cementing its irrelevance.

Holy Crap

Scroll down to the bottom of the interview for some Doctor Who casting news almost as exciting as Christopher Eccleston's guest role on Heroes.

(Via.)

Recent Reading Roundup 11

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It's been a mainstream fiction sort of month (to counteract which, I am now rereading The Lord of the Rings), and here are some thoughts about the books I read:
The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart - The cover of Shteyngart's debut novel is plastered with so many accolades, award notices, and effusive blurbs that there is hardly any room for the title, and for the life of me I can't figure out what these reviewers, award committees and authors were thinking. This is not to say that Handbook is a bad novel. It's well written, and quite funny--laugh-out-loud funny, at points. The novel describes the coming of age of twenty-something, Russian-born, Jewish Vladimir Grishkin, who emigrated to the United States as a child and finds himself, in the early nineties, aimless and identity-less in New York, desperate to escape his past as a foreigner and his present as the scion of bourgeois, money- and status-conscious parents. Over the course of the novel, Vlad…

There Aren't Any Respectful Ways to Say 'Your Computer Sucks'

Charlie Brooker's anti-Mac rant on the Guardian blog, inspired at least in part by the UK version of the 'I'm a Mac; I'm a PC' ad campaign, has been ruffling some feathers (on the other hand, it also inspired Alison to track down this Mac/PC slash site). I love my Mac dearly--even more so now that I'm working and forced to use a Windows machine most of the day--but Brooker's screed is so obviously calculated to enrage that I can't be bothered to react to it. It's the equivalent of a middle-schooler shouting 'poo!' at the top of his lungs, and Brooker's irate--not to say hysterical--anti-Mac and -Mac-users arguments are so absurd that the entire piece goes right through aggravating and out the other end into funny.

Where Brooker does have a point, however, is in his criticism of the ad campaign. I haven't seen the UK version, but even though I find the US originals quite funny (although their effect might have been lessened had I known…

It Never Rains But It Pours

Seven years after the publication of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and a good four or five years since he first described the general gist of its plot, Michael Chabon is finally about to publish another (adult) novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, due this May. To tide us over that last stretch of Chabon-less months, however, the New York Times is serializing another new novel by Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road.

And, in other highly-anticipated-book news, J.K. Rowling.com reports that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be published on July 21st. Time to make that Amazon order.

UPDATE: More good news: season 2 of Life on Mars begins on February 13th.