Showing posts from February, 2009

The 2009 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot

The deadline for submitting Hugo nominations is this Saturday, and at this point my ballot is more or less complete. I'm hoping to get the chance to finish reading Matter before I have to send in my nominations, though at this point that seems unlikely, and of course any short fiction that suddenly gains great acclaim (and is available online) will warrant a glance (so by all means make your suggestions if you have any). These aren't all the categories I plan to nominate in--for example, I've only read one book that qualifies for Best Related Work this year, Farah Mendlesohn's Rhetorics of Fantasy , and though I do plan to nominate it I hardly think a field I'm so poorly read in is worth talking about much. Still, in the major fiction and A/V categories, my nominees are: Best Novel: I've only read a few of the novels eligible for this category, and of them only one, Anathem , excites me and feels worthy of the Hugo. Which in itself is unexciting as this is p

What a Difference a Script Makes

Via Micole , what's rumored to be the original script for the Dollhouse pilot.  As several scenes and lines of dialogue within it appeared in the first Dollhouse trailer , I think this is the genuine article.  Unsurprisingly, it's a massive improvement on "Ghost," not only because it dives right into the arc elements of the show, stressing Agent Ballard's investigation of the Dollhouse and Echo's potential awakening, but because it's engaging--unlike the by-the-numbers kidnapping story in "Ghost" the plot here is interesting and entertainingly twisty, taking me by surprise with its turns on several occasions.  The secondary characters--Boyd, Topher, Dr. Saunders--are also more believably sketched and and more intriguing, and there's some interaction between Echo and Ballard.  Perhaps most importantly, the episode suggests believable uses for the actives that go beyond the jumped-up prostitution the show has thus far concentrated on. As dep

Three Links Make a Post

Some of my recent online reading. Hal Duncan writes about Battlestar Galactica , and, as on most topics, does so intelligently, forcefully, and at great length.  Lots of interesting ideas here: some more exploration of what it means that the show's premise maps more accurately to the Holocaust than to 9/11 (I hadn't, for example, thought of Gaeta as embodying the cliché of the victim made monstrous by his victimhood, mainly because I was too busy being aggravated by the fact that the show's one and only acknowledged homosexual character was being depicted as a villain who kept seeking out powerful, charismatic men to follow), some provocative meditations on just how telling it is that its writers have favored the 9/11 parallel, and mainly a lot of insights into the kind of story the writers produced as opposed to the one they thought they were telling. Dan Hartland is rereading the Sherlock Holmes stories in order of publication.  I read these stories, and the Holmes nove

Saturday Afternoon Sci Fi

What is it with TV scheduling?  It was bad enough that something like half of the shows I follow air new episodes on Monday, but now Friday's become a hot spot as well.  On the other hand, maybe it was a good idea to suddenly supersize the quantity of shows I watch on this night, because quality-wise nobody brought their A-game this week. Battlestar Galactica , "No Exit": This episode was trying to be one part "Downloaded" and one part "quick!  There's only six episodes left in the series and we still haven't tied our wildly self-contradictory backstory in a satisfying bow!"  It's kind of a dud on both counts.  I liked seeing Ellen again, and liked even more that in her present incarnation she has both a spine and self-respect, since in the past it's seemed like she could only muster up one at a time.  I also liked that the episode made some vague gestures towards some of the issues I raised in my most recent Galactica post, including

Out of Focus: Thoughts on Battlestar Galactica's Mutiny Arc

Here's a hypothetical scenario for you: imagine that several years after the September 11th attacks there was a violent split in Al Qaeda, and some of its top members had been forced to flee for their lives. Imagine that in their desperation, they turned to the US, offering crucial intelligence in exchange for, not asylum, not immunity from prosecution, not the right to live and move freely in the US, but American citizenship. Or, you know what, that's not bad enough. Imagine that the people in question are members of the SS Einsatzgruppen, the ones who used to walk into Eastern European villages, march the local Jews to a freshly dug pit, and start firing. Imagine that the citizenship they were demanding was Israeli. How would you feel if your government decided to acquiesce to such a demand? Appalled? Offended? Like you wanted to take to the streets, and vote the people who supported this decision out of office? Neither of these scenarios even approach the awfulness of the pr

Quick, Before the Rest of the Internet Links to It

The inimitable Adam Roberts hits on the perfect approach to reviewing Anathem : it is surely beside the point to object to the tell-don't-show styless, or to the myriad annoylogisms, which are amongst the showiest elements in S.’s worldbling. My problem with the tekst can be boiled down to one focus: its monstrous and inflated infodumping. Of course I appreciate that for some ridders, and perhaps for many ridders, this 'problem' will be the whole point of the book. The entirety of the tekst is one gigantic Infodump, and that’s that. The review itself, however, is merely a backdrop to a glossary that simultaneously parodies Stephenson and, for people like myself who found the wordplay in Anathem surprisingly enjoyable, gives him a run for his money, all while supplying genre reviewers with a wealth of apt and much needed terms such as 'worldbling', 'narractor', and  HARI-PARTER . Committing a form of tekstual suicide by increasingly expanding the parts of