Friday, August 24, 2007

August 2007 

Still here; obviously. When I don't *have* to work on something, my attention slides back and forth; I can go for two months reading obsessively (as I did in June and July) without working on long-term projects, to months being focused every day on long-term projects, and letting reading slide. This blog is like that. There are periods I think I should post something every day, however short -- the ideal blog habit, I've previously acknowledged -- to periods where other activities capture my attention day after day and the blog is merely incidental. Which it is, actually, I suppose.

But to catch up, for anyone checking in:

Liked Stardust a lot. Sad it did poorly at the box office -- a lesson in Hollywood economics, that it all depends on the publicity. The film is charming and well-written in the sense that the multiple plot-threads merge together in an intelligible, almost inevitable fashion; there are no arbitrary plot elisions, as in so many Hollywood films where they assume the audience simply won't notice, amidst the dazzle of special effects. Of course the source material by Neil Gaiman is surely the foundation of the film's excellence.

The Invasion was OK. Gary Westfahl's review made the essential points about the film's currency to contemporary social concerns -- the threat to privacy, the impact on international conflicts. I wish it had followed through with that -- why *are* all those wars preferable to the *apparent* loss of personal freedom. (Is it only paranoia that personal freedom is lost to the pods? If not, where's the evidence?) More superficially, this film, unlike the first and second versions (I never saw the third), has a formula Hollywood happy ending. All is restored; the nightmare was just a dream.

I started it a year ago but only just finished it last week-- Julie Phillips' James Tiptree bio, a fascinating account of an unusual, exceptional life. I didn't know that about David Gerrold. Part way through I paused to reread "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" -- whose first scene I remembered vividly, from first reading it 30 years ago, but the rest of which, aside from the general theme, seemed fresh -- and was astounded how closely episodes from the author's life were recast as fiction. There's more of that going on than readers generally realize, I suspect.

Projects underway, and reading. I'm part-way through Michael Flynn's Eifelheim; if I can get through it, despite the tiny tiny print, by next week, I will have read all of the Hugo Award best novel nominees before the winner is announced, something I haven't managed in years and years and years.

Finally, my partner and I met Charles Brown and Amelia Beamer the other night for dinner, at Parkway Grill in Pasadena; they are down in SoCal this weekend for the annual Writers of the Future awards ceremonies, held this time in Pasadena at the Sheraton. (I attended the WotF event once, some years ago, and took photos and posted the news on the site, but I seem to have fallen off their invite list.) Charles was in good spirits, Amelia wise and patient; we drank Argentinian red wine and talked about books and movies and Dianetics and the purpose of art.

None of us are in Japan, you'll realize. I've pinged a few folks who do plan to be at Worldcon in Yokohama, but to the first contact who can email me the Hugo Winners when they are announced, I'd be happy to award some prize. A free subscription to Locus Online, perhaps, not to mention fame and fortune.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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