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Showing posts from June, 2016

Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream, adapted by Russell T. Davies

Today at Strange Horizons, I write about Russell T. Davies's adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream for the BBC.  It was a bit of a surprise to me that this film even existed--whatever promotion there was for it seems to have been swallowed up by the media blitz for the second season of The Hollow Crown.  And as I write in the review, this turns out to have been massively unfair, because whereas this year's Hollow Crown sequence was an uninspired slog enlivened, here and there, by a few fine performances, Davies's Dream is witty, fun, and most of all very smart in its approach to the play and its problems.  To be clear, this is still a Russell T. Davies production, with all the good and bad things that implies (the Murray Gold soundtrack is quite a hurdle, for example).  But ultimately, he and the play turn out to have been a perfect match, and the result is one of the most rewarding Shakespeare adaptations I've seen in some time.

My positive rea…

Recent Reading Roundup 40

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2016's reading continues to be rewarding, and though perforce less swift now that I'm no longer on holiday, still moving along at a steady clip.  This bunch of books includes several that I can already tell will be on my list of favorite reads at the end of the year.
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie - This spring's it-litfic comes with blurbs by Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler, and has a quasi-literary, quasi-romantic, quasi-slipstreamy premise that seems instantly appealing.  The novel spans the short but eventful engagement of Veblen, an underachieving temp worker and sometimes translator who lives in a storybook house in the woods and talks to squirrels (who sometimes talk back), and Paul, a neurologist whose new gadget to prevent traumatic brain injury in the field has been picked up for testing by the US military.  Right off the bat, the book feels like an invigorating blend of the personal, the political, and the topical.  Veblen, whose retiring, accom…