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Showing posts from January, 2012

Rewarding News

The nominees for this year's BSFA awards have been announced, and I'm very pleased to report that my review of Arslan by M.J. Engh has been nominated for best non-fiction.  I'd like to take this chance to thank the BSFA and the award's administrators, as well as everyone who nominated my review, and to congratulate the other nominees.

I don't expect to win, nor do I think that I should.  As proud as I am of my Arslan review, and as gratified as I've been by the positive response that it has engendered, I can't hold it up against the entire third edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, or the SF Mistressworks project, or the other, more "conventional" nominees such as the blog Pornokitsch, the catalogue for the British Library's much-lauded Out of This World exhibition, or the essay collection The Unsilent Library.  The BSFA's nonfiction award casts a wide net and has a history of producing rather esoteric shortlists.  Which makes i…

The Big Guns: Thoughts on Sherlock's Second Season

Two seasons into its run, I'm having trouble deciding whether Sherlock is a brilliant show or a terrible one.  The episodes themselves seem to alternate between the two extremes, with little in the way of middle ground--devastatingly clever updates on Sherlock Holmes tropes alongside plots so full of holes that they barely hold together, gags that make you gasp with laughter alongside lines so leaden and overwrought that you hardly know where to look, characters you fall in love with in a single scene alongside one-dimensional harpies.  My reaction to these episodes is similarly bi-polar--sometimes the credits roll on what seems like a perfect story, but thirty seconds later the whole thing has collapsed into a pile of contradictions, implausibilities, and contrivances; other times, you switch off an execrable story and the only thing that sticks in your mind is that one hilarious scene.  When writing about Sherlock, I invariably find myself making laundry lists of its faults, the…