HOORAY, WE'RE DEAD!
Had a very strange moment coming home from dinner on Friday night. Luscious and I were driving past the WACA and fireworks were going off above it, obviously from the trotting track tucked behind the venerable cricket ground. But from where we were situated it looked as if they were emanating from the tiny cemetery on top of the hill, overlooking both parks.
Wonder what they felt they had to celebrate?
SOME SORT OF SF FAN
Sigh. I have to admit to a rather large attack of ennui when it comes to genre stuff at the moment, a result of reading a bucket load of submissions for Ticonderoga Online, my manuscript assessment work, my normal prodigious reading load anyway, and the mountain of my own work that I'm trying to shift with a literary teaspoon. Which is good news for sellers of biographies (just finished an Asimov and am barreling through a very entertaining one about Douglas Adams) but bad news for conversations that require me to offer an opinion on Lost or the new Battlestar Galactica.
About all that might happen is that six months from now I'll write a story about a transsexual cyborg being chased by something vaguely Jurassic after he/r spaceship crashes on an island, and wonder where it came from.
DOCUMENTARY (-EEE) GOODNESS
As a treat for ourselves, Luscious and I bought the DVD box set of Simon Schama's History of Britain, and have been watching our way through it with great delight. I'm a huge buff for archaeology, and particularly British history, so I'm soaking it all up with a big smile on my face. But: boy, isn't Schama a pillock? This is the second offering I've had from him, and does he ever get off centre screen and let the history tell the story? And what's with the adjectives? He really, truly, magnificently, almost incredibly, loves his bloody adjectives...
I've had the great joy over the last day or two of getting reacquainted with the writings of John Sladek. If you haven't discovered him yet, you should. Sladek, who died a couple of years ago, was part of a generation that gave us the likes of Barry N. Malzberg, Thomas Disch and Ed Bryant. (And if you don't know who they are, let's begin with the simple stuff: It's called Science Fiction, and it started with Mary Shelley...)
Sladek was the master satirist, the black little heart pumping poison into the smiles of SF readers. Find a copy of Keep The Giraffes Burning (my vote for 'Best Title of All Time); The Focker-Mueller Effect; Bugs; The Best Of... or his masterpiece, the anti-Asimovian novel Tik-Tok, in which a murderous robot decides that the best way to harm as many humas as he can is to become Vice-President.
Black genius. As black as the humor in Dr Strangelove or A Clockwork Orange, or an Aubrey Beardsley print. Sladek is almost forgotten now: when he died in 2000 there wasn't a single volume of his work still in print. This is a genuine shame. Do what you can to reverse it. Sladek should not be forgotten while the likes of Matthew Reilly get to live on...
DOING A FATHER TED...
Is the phrase Luscious and I use for a show that we remember with great fondness, but which turns out to be rather awful when we sit down to watch it again, after watching a video of the abovementioned series a couple of years ago, with nary a laugh between us.
Splanky was very lovely, and loaned us her entire collection of The Brittas Empire DVDs last week.
We gave up halfway through the first one.
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF 1932
Actually, it's ...And The World of Tomorrow, but my title is more accurate. Wow. What an odd movie. For those who have ever wondered what an entire issue of a 1930s pulp SF magazine would look like if they ever filmed it.
I honestly don't know whether to recommed this one or not. There was such a lot to like: giant robots, giant ornithopters, seriously cool giant airborne aircraft carriers, Angelina Jolie in a leather flying suit....
But for all the things that made seeing an issue of Astounding made flesh, there are the equivalent weaknesses: the dialogue is truly awful until well into the final act, the verisimilitude just shoots itself to hell (someone want to explain to me how he's flying a plane in the late 1930s that wasn't built until 1942?), and the performances by the two leads are as wooden as, well, as the hero and heroine in a pulp magazine. And you have to have grave doubts about a movie that can make New York being smashed up by 100 foot-tall robots boring.
Watch it, and watch it at the cinema because I'm not sure it will translate that well to the small screen. And if you get past the first 25 minutes, tell me what you thought.
SHE LOVES ME
My sweetie bought me The Last Goon Show of All and Kenney Everett Naughty Bits DVDs and a Dalek BBQ apron for Hallmark Day.
'Nuff said :)))
Read this in Tangent Online's review of ASIM 16 today, and I include it for no other reason than to blow my own trumpet :)
A princess, a king trying to get her married, a wise advisor, political maneuvers, and a stable boy: Lee Battersby gives us the classic fairy tale tropes in "Through the Window Merilee Dances." And, yet, this isn't a fairy tale. For even as grim as the original Grimms' tales were, what with the cannibalism, self-mutilation, and other such cheeriness, fairy tales leave you with the dream that the world can be an all right place, that, in the end, you too can live happily ever after with your prince or princess. This story leaves you with no such illusions. While it's not a story I would recommend to anyone hovering on the edge of a major depression, I have to admit to a certain perverse fondness for it.
That's right-- Battersby, OzSF's answer to listening to Pink Floyd in the bathtub...