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Showing posts from July, 2010

Inception: Further Thoughts

Between them, Niall Harrison, Adam Roberts, and, in the comments to my post about it (starting here), Brian Francis Slattery, have talked me over to their reading of Inception--the film and the concept at its core--as a metaphor for storytelling and the artifice of filmmaking (which probably means that my original take on the film, as an SFnal story about learning the world, is, if not off-base, then probably no more productive than obsessing over whether Cobb is still dreaming in the last scene).  As I say to Brian, however, I think that as an analogy to storytelling, dreaming is a very poor fit.  Niall is right to point out that most of us don't dream as vividly and imaginatively as the more common filmic represenation of dreams--vividly colored surrealist landscapes--would have us believe.  My dreams, the ones I remember at least, usually feature familiar settings and actions (though I did once dream that I was investigating the murder of Kermit the frog--I'm still pissed a…

Making Yourself Heard: You're Maybe Doing it Wrong?

Quoting from the most recent issue of Locus, Sean Wallace reports on the voting statistics of the Locus Awards (results here), which, as we discussed a few months ago, have for the second year running persisted in their policy of counting non-subscriber votes as half of subscriber votes.  The language is muddled (and continues to spin the unequal vote-counting policy as a response to alleged "ballot-box stuffing" in 2008), but a quick calculation gives us the following results:

YearTotal VotesSubscriber VotesNonsubscriber Votes% of Nonsubscriber Votes2008101238572662 72
200966235730546
201068030637455
The good news is that the overall number of votes has remained low, and that the significant drop in nonsubscriber votes between 2008 and 2009 has not been reversed.  The bad news is that there were more nonsubscriber votes in 2010 than 2009, and that their percentage is creeping back up to its 2008 levels (though this is also the result of the steady drop in subscriber votes over…

Inception

Has there ever been a film as hotly anticipated, as burdened with expectations, as Christopher Nolan's Inception?  It's certainly hard to think of one, nor to credit all the things that we thought, believed, or hoped that this film would accomplish.  It would rescue one of the dullest and most underperforming summer blockbuster seasons in recent memory.  It would combine the best qualities of all of last year's science fiction films--the stunning visuals of Avatar, the originality of District 9, the enthusiastic fannishness of Star Trek, the detail-oriented fannishness of Watchmen, the attention to character of Moon--into a single perfect storm of SFnal moviemaking.  It would prove, once and for all, that a film that both demonstrated intelligence and demanded it from its viewers could triumph at the box office.  It would put an end to the plague of sequels and remakes that has blighted Hollywood's blockbuster production for the better part of a decade.  It would bring…

Recent Reading Roundup 26

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Looking over this list, I see that it creates a distinctly underwhelming impression of my recent reading--even the one book I really liked proved less impressive in hindsight.  That's not actually an accurate picture, because there's a whole pile of books that I'm planning to write about in the near future that I've been very pleased with.  But for the time being, here are some books I wasn't too crazy about.
The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers - This is only the second Powers I've read, and the first, The Anubis Gates, was more than a decade ago and thus one of my earliest forays into non-Tolkienian fantasy.  That, and the fact that The Anubis Gates is a fantastic book with a twisty time travel plot that is a joy to unravel, created some high expectations from Powers, which I thought this novel, in which the Romantic poets turn out to be entangled in relationships that are one part abusive, one part addictive with vampires who fuel their creativity and feed …