Showing posts from June, 2007

Recent Reading Roundup 12

Most of my reading over the last few months has been for reviews, which has left this blog rather silent on the book front. The following is a selection of some of my non-review reading. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld - Lee, the protagonist of Sittenfeld's apparently semi-autobiographical debut, is a not-too-bright, not-too-talented, not-too-special middle class, Midwestern girl who somehow manages to finagle a scholarship to a prestigious East coast prep school. This is a familiar premise, but unlike most school story protagonists, Lee has very little to recommend her. Her primary motivation throughout her four years at Gault Academy is to fit in, but the harder she works at achieving this goal the more isolated she becomes. Lee is so terrified of being different, and of being singled out for that difference, that she forgets to be anything at all. She is so focused on popularity as an abstract concept that she doesn't even notice the people around her, who might have become

Recent Movie Roundup 4

The summer of three plus one. Spider-Man 3 (2007) - I appear to be one of the few people on the planet to have liked the second Spider-Man film, mainly because, rather than reiterating its character's core concept as so many other superhero films do (Batman: the fine line between fighting evil and becoming it; X-Men: being different is something to be celebrated, not feared, or lorded over others) it expands upon it, using it as jumping-off point for character development. The first (and, I've always thought, severely over-praised) Spider-Man film got the 'great power = great responsibility' formula out of the way, and while the second film plays around in the same neighborhood it ultimately uses the Spider-Man framework to expand on the theme of heroism, ultimately bringing Peter to the realization that his doesn't originate in his superpowers, and that even ordinary people can be heroic from time to time. The third film takes the same premise and uses it to dis

Self-Promotion 12

In case you've been wondering what I've been doing with myself for most of this month, here it is: Infinity Plus 's review of the 2007 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominees (by now not even fashionably late, I know, but there was some trouble getting hold of review copies). That's at least a month's worth of a blogging in a single pop, so enjoy yourselves, and come back here if you feel like arguing about anything. If you're looking for contrasting opinions, Farah Mendelsohn disagrees with almost every one of my assessments in her own (timely) overview at Strange Horizons (we both agree that Streaking sucks, though), and over at Torque Control Niall has a roundup of individual reviews of the nominated books. I'm particularly fond of John Clute's review of Streaking , and of Nic Clarke and Victoria Hoyle's joint review of Gradisil at Eve's Alexandria, a blog I would have added to the blogroll a long time ago if I weren't horribly lazy abou

The Next Logical Step

...after killing off most of the women and characters of color: David Anders, best known for playing the evil British freelance spy Julian Sark on TV's "Alias", will play ancient samurai warrior Takezo Kensei in NBC's sci-fi drama "Heroes" next season. There are times when loving this show takes a lot of effort. (reported by Strange Horizons )

Everybody Dies!: Doctor Who Thoughts

There are some good reasons to draw comparisons between the recently completed Doctor Who two-parter, "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", and Steven Moffat's first season story "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances," and not simply because the latter is the last time Who was as good as it's been these last two weeks. As Iain Clark points out in this entry on "The Family of Blood", "this two-parter does for World War One what 'The Empty Child'/'The Doctor Dances' did for World War 2: make an abstract historical event into a real and relevant thing for a young generation of viewers." The comparison seems particularly apt when one notes the two stories' emotional arcs. "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" is a story that emerges from the bleakest despair into the most miraculous, unexpected hope and redemption. "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" tells an o

Poking My Head In

I know, it's been ridiculously silent around here lately, and I never got around to posting those pictures from Brazil (I might yet, if it doesn't seem absurdly late to do so). In my defense, I have been writing--it's just that most of it is for other venues and is leaving me with very little free time to consume books or films or TV, much less write about them. That'll change, hopefully, in the near future. In the meantime, a few thoughts and links: I'm glad the Danish kidney donor show turned out to be a hoax, but I haven't exactly regained my faith in humanity in the wake of this revelation. Most of the reactions I read over the last week assumed the show was in earnest. Maybe I just hang around a particularly gullible corner of the internet, or maybe we've reached the point where we no longer believe there are any depths to which people won't sink in the pursuit of fame and fortune. More importantly, the people who tuned into that show probably did b