Showing posts from August, 2012

Worldcon Fair

In a few hours I'll be getting on a plane, and then several hours after that I'll be getting on another plane, and the end results of this will hopefully be that some time tomorrow I'll be in Chicago for this year's Worldcon.  I haven't written that much about Worldcon or the Hugos this year (I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess why, on the latter front), and I'm not participating in any panels or events (though I'll be at the Strange Horizons tea party on Saturday), but I'm very much looking forward to meeting people I haven't seen in a while (or at all) and to the convention itself.  Last time I was at Worldcon I came away very invigorated about my participation in fandom and about the genre in general, which is something I could use right now. I'll have what I suspect will be a long and detailed report some time after my return at the end of next week.  Between now and then, I will most likely see blog comments but not re

Late to the Party: Thoughts on Mad Men and Breaking Bad

The golden age of television is about a decade and a half old now and going strong, and the best thing about it is also the worst--there is, quite simply, too much to watch.  Even an avid fan of the medium has to make choices about what they will and will not follow, and sometimes those choices turn out to have been wrong.  Sometimes the shows you passed on become the most talked-about, critically-lauded series of the last few years, and you find yourself with several seasons' worth of material to catch up with before you can join the conversation.  This summer, then, was dedicated to doing just that--catching up with the two series that between them have come to dominate the critical and fannish conversation about quality TV, Mad Men and Breaking Bad (actually, the original plan also included The Wire , but the time proved too short).  The problem of coming to these shows so late and after so much ink has been spilled about them is that there is already an ironclad critical cons

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides's third novel, The Marriage Plot , has what is probably one of the most perfect opening paragraphs I've ever read: To start with, look at all the books.  There were her Edith Wharton novels, arranged not by title but date of publication; there was the complete Modern Library set of Henry James, a gift from her father on her twenty-first birthday; there were the dog-eared paperbacks assigned in her college courses, a lot of Dickens, a smidgen of Trollope, along with good helpings of Austen , George Eliot, and the redoubtable Brontë sisters.  There was a whole lot of black-and-white New Directions paperbacks, mostly poetry by people like H.D. or Denise Levertov.  There were the Colette novels she read on the sly.  There was the first edition of Couples , belonging to her mother, which Madeleine had surreptitiously dipped into back in sixth grade and which she was using now to provide textual support in her English honors thesis on the marriage plot.  There was