Showing posts from January, 2009

File Under 'Hmm'

Via Edward Champion , we learn that Tom Tykwer ( Run Lola Run ) is trying to adapt David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas for the screen, with the help of the Wachowski brothers.  Note that this article erroneously (I hope) assumes that Tykwer's adaptation will focus on only one of the novel's six narratives, and also that there's no indication of an actual production deal in place. Champion calls Cloud Atlas 'an unfilmable novel', but I'm not sure I see how it is any more so than any other big, sprawling piece of fiction.  The nested narrative structure is unusual, but there have been plenty of films--including Run Lola Run --whose narratives were far less linear.  Unlike, say, Possession , Cloud Atlas makes the switch from story to story, period to period at only a few clearly marked locations--in that sense, the shape of the movie is predetermined, and 'all' that's left for a screenwriter is to fill in the details of each narrative.  Which of course

Recent Reading Roundup 20

After last month's frenzy, it's been a little slow on the reading (and posting) front around here recently, but here are a few books I haven't had the chance to talk about yet. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - My reading for the last few weeks has been dominated by YA novels , but my very first foray was something of a dud, and not worth saying much about. As its title suggests, Gaiman's latest effort is a play on Kipling's The Jungle Book . In its first chapter, a toddler escapes the massacre of his family by crawling to a nearby graveyard, where the ghost residents vote to extend him their protection, and a long-dead couple adopt him and name him Nobody, Bod for short. Gaiman emulates Kipling in more than his premise--like The Jungle Book , The Graveyard Book is a series of nearly self-contained stories which follow Bod from early childhood to adulthood. In each one he explores different facets of the graveyard, makes ever more adventurous forays into

Let's Hear It For the Girls? Sarah Connor Thoughts

A few weeks ago, Micole wrote a short piece about the qualities that make The Sarah Connor Chronicles unique in the television landscape. I want to say something passionate and convincing about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, something that will convince you all that this is the BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION, that will make you watch it, that will reprieve it from the imminent danger of cancelation, something about the prominence of women and women relating to women and women not talking about men and about the uncharacteristic depictions of men too You can find my reaction at the time in the comments, concentrating mostly on the show's failings in the realm of plot while acknowledging its (sadly unusual) strengths as a depiction of women in positions of power and responsibility--strengths which are the main reason I continue to watch the show despite finding it disappointing, to the point of being almost completely unengaging, as a piece of storytelling. I've been thinkin

Sometimes A Not-So-Great Notion

Well, what do you know: it's possible to be underwhelmed while expecting an anticlimax. A while back, I came across this quote from Ron Moore in an io9 spoiler roundup : [The revelation of the identity of the final Cylon] will never be as powerful as the build-up. I resigned myself to that a long time ago. The "Who Shot JR" of it all is an instructive lesson: No matter who it is, it's still going to be a bit of a letdown. I considered saying something about this here at the time, but then decided that I'd already said my piece on the topic of the final Cylon. Having watched the premiere of season 4.2 (or whatever the hell we're calling it) and having had that identity revealed to me, I feel that my reaction at the time bears repeating. And it is: fuck you, asshole. How dare you make such pathetic excuses for your own incompetence? That's the kind of bullshit I expect from the writers of Lost , and even they've had the common decency to realize

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

It has for some time been a pet theory of mine that the common thread tying together Neal Stephenson's fictional output over the last decade is not, or at least not only, his fascination with science, technology, their development and the philosophies and worldviews that developed with them, and those philosophies and worldviews' effects on human society, but rather his desire to write an epic fantasy centering around these topics. Well, that's probably putting it too strongly, but already in my first reading of Cryptonomicon I couldn't shake the feeling that if I only poked hard enough at the novel's flesh and fat I'd be able to discern the skeleton of a fantastic story beneath them. It is, after all, a novel in which a running gag involves the main character classifying the people he meets into Tolkienian races, and there is something There and Not Quite Back Again-ish about most of the main characters' plotlines. The Baroque Cycle begins and ends with b