Friday, February 27, 2009

Bits And Pieces (1)

No time for a full post right now. Here's some odds and ends. Err . . . bits and pieces. (Whatever.)

  • WATCHMEN: I'm not impressed with any of the Watchmen clips I've seen so far. The early reviews are all good so I'm quite hopeful. But these scenes I've looked at seem to lack balance. Some are extended action, drawn out in slow motion but lacking any tension. Others are dull conversations also lacking tension. The drama seems to be falling flat! I know these are very short snippets so it is impossible to judge the film right now. (And I remember the early scenes from the Fellowship of the Ring that had me quite worried, and, well, everything turned out just fine). Is it just me? Do I need to scale my expectations down?

  • BOOKS: The last three books I read were all very good. They all happen to be short story collections. First was Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser. The highlight here was "Cat 'n Mouse" (a story in which cartoon characters like Tom and Jerry ponder philosophically about their prescribed roles in a predestined life). Second was Eclipse 2, a solid collection of new science fiction stories edited by Jonathan Strahan. (The stand-out story is "Exhalation" by Ted Chiang, which is as good as anything he's written and provides further proof that Chiang may be one of the genre's greatest short-story writers). Finally there was Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald, a collection of all the author's future India stories in one volume. McDonald's India stories are superb pieces of science fiction and possibly the best work he has ever done. Highly recommended.

  • TELEVISION: I'm totally engrossed with LOST. I count the days until the next episode. Big Love is superb television and last week's episode was the best of the season so far. I've said it before, you won't find a better ensemble of actors on TV right now. Battlestar Galactica has improved this season with some thrilling episodes (the mutiny arc was great). I still think the series would have been stronger had it been shorter. Finally, I'm intrigued with Dollhouse. The second episode was a better than the first and there seems to be is a solid backstory to explore. I'll be sticking with it.

  • WRAPPED IN PLASTIC: Craig Miller has finally updated the WIP website. Read his thoughts about the twentieth anniversary of Laura Palmer's death and his overview of Lynch's post-Peaks work. You can see it all here.

  • DAVID FOSTER WALLACE: I haven't written about Wallace yet. His death is still hard to think about. Ever since I started reading David Foster Wallace in 1997 he was a near constant presence in my mind. Really. For eleven years, I knew that David Foster Wallace was out there somewhere thinking about things, processing and clarifying the world. His thoughts and observations were always precise and enlightening. His tragic death was a major loss for the world. There have been a number of superb tributes to Wallace online. Amherst College has the latest.

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