Away, Away

This blog has been quiet enough recently that such an absence might go unnoticed, but for the next two weeks I'm going to be on holiday in the UK.  This weekend I'll be attending Odyssey, the 2010 Eastercon at the Radisson hotel in Heathrow airport, and following that I'll be visiting friends and hopefully charging up on blogging fodder.  I'm participating in a panel, on Sunday the 4th:
Writing Meaningful Reviews of TV Shows and Books.  12PM-1PM.  Room 41.  Too often reviews of TV programmes (or books) are a knee-jerk reaction condemning (or praising) a production while considering just one or two facets. What should a detailed review consider? How can we analyse more deeply? John Clute (mod), Chris Hill, Abigail Nussbaum and Alison Page.
Other than that, I'm trying something new by taking my laptop with me, but will endeavor to spend more time offline than on, so though I may pop up on occasion, normal service won't resume until the middle of the month.  I leave you, in the meantime, with the following links:
  • The shortlist for the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award was announced yesterday.  Niall has a roundup of reviews, and of reactions.  I agree with the general consensus, that what's controversial about this year's shortlist is how uncontroversial it is, and confess a preference for the slightly out there choices of previous years.  That said, the solidity of the list can't be argued with, and the three nominees I haven't read (the Robinson, Theroux, and Wooding) all look appealing.  This weekend will also see the announcement of the 2010 Hugo nominees at Eastercon.

  • It started with the Tournament of Books a few years ago, and by now March on the internet is wall to wall zany tournaments.  This year's ToB has proved something of a disappointment, due to two rather pointless judgments in its third round, one from a judge who spent more time discussing the contestants' physical appearance than he did their contents, and the other from someone who did not actually appear to care about books in general nor to have read his contestants in particular.  Together, they crossed the line from the irreverence and idiosyncrasy that makes the ToB fun to a seeming randomness that renders it pointless.  Happily, Jezebel has been running a cake vs. pie tournament, which though featuring some baffling decisions (red velvet cake--a cake whose distinction derives from food coloring--has made it to the quarter finals) offers, in the passionate and devoted comments of its participants, some of the best comedy to be found online this month.

  • At the group blog Big Other, A.D. Jameson has been writing a multi-part retrospective of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, now up to its fourth installment (1, 2, 3, 4).  I'm not a big fan of comics in general, and when I read it a few years ago I admired The Dark Knight Returns, and realized how important it was to superhero comics and the development of the Batman character, without becoming particularly attached to it, but Jameson's series is nevertheless fascinating.  He discusses the state of comics, both from a storytelling and technical perspective, at the time Miller envisioned the series, and analyzes the physical arrangement of the comic's pages to reveal the ways that Miller took full advantage of his medium's abilities.  It's a fascinating, in-depth reading.


Martin said…
and the other from someone who did not actually appear to care about books in general nor to have read his contestants in particular.

Wow, I've just clicked through and I can't believe this is Andrew WK. I can't imagine anyone more unlikely.
Look forward to seeing you.
I can't believe this is Andrew WK. I can't imagine anyone more unlikely.

I have no idea who he is. To take a more charitable approach, it's possible that he was trying to be funny and overshot.
N. K. Jemisin said…
Properly done, Red Velvet Cake has a malty taste, the product of the vinegar used to give the cake its famous density, and the buttermilk. The chocolate is an accent, not a primary flavor. Badly-done, Red Velvet Cake just tastes like chocolate cake with red food coloring. Hopefully most of the people in cake v. pie have had proper RVC.

The comments there are to die for.

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