05 February 2007

Catching Up

This blog has been more sporadic and had less content in the past couple months than I would like, but life got suddenly very busy in a bunch of different ways, and I'm still playing catch-up. But some stuff is winding down, and I'm hoping to be able to make things a bit more consistent and varied around here within the next month or so. In the meantime, here are some almost-random fragments of whateverness...
  • It's Wizard of the Crow Week over at the LitBlog Co-op. Most, if not all, of my blogging this week will be over there. We've already posted the first part of a roundtable discussion, and we'll have more parts going up later, as well as some contests for people to win copies of the book, a podcast interview with Ngugi, and various other fun things.

  • We're putting the finishing touches on Best American Fantasy and have put out a call for submissions and recommendations for the second volume. The book is currently available for pre-order from Amazon and from Clarkesworld Books, and by its release in June it should be available all over the place. Jeff and Ann have done extraordinary work on it, and the contents will be, we think, exciting and marvelous. (We're keeping a tight lid on the actual choices right now, but have released that we are taking stories from Elizabeth Hand, Kelly Link, Peter LaSalle, Brian Evenson, and Sarah Monette. And lots of others. Some people's first published fiction, some people's gazillionth. Some not so surprising choices, some utterly and completely and magnificently surprising. To be revealed later. Bwahahahahahahaha!)

  • Quick and dirty and probably unfair movie reviews: The Queen: Helen Mirren was pretty good, but I completely don't get why this is such an acclaimed film. The writing seemed clunky, the filming seemed adequate, and none of the actors other than Mirren seemed to be anything more than animatronic. Clearly, I am the wrong audience member. Venus: Now this is my kind of movie. Both touching and mildly icky. (Sometimes icky because of the touching.) There's a complexity to the situations and characters that I didn't expect, and so the disturbing elements of the story -- the mixed-up power relations -- were tempered by an overall humanity. And some utterly perfect scenes, methought, as well as lovely cinematography, marvelous acting, smart writing. The Departed: My favorite Scorsese movie in a while, but that's like saying my favorite shade of beige. I keep trying to like Scorsese's work, because it's one of those things You're Supposed To, but I tend to find it all slick, vapid, and long. At least The Departed is mostly entertaining, and though in general I liked how the characters were fleshed out, I did sometimes prefer the efficiency of the storytelling in its source, Infernal Affairs. Dreamgirls: I only went to see this because everybody else was watching the Superbowl. Definitely not my kind of movie. I think I laughed inappropriately a few times. (Just about the only movie musicals I can stand are Cabaret and All That Jazz. Bob Fosse directing Dreamgirls -- now that would have been interesting...) Some of the songs were tolerable, most of the acting wasn't.

  • A bunch of books have come in recently that are clamoring for my attention, and I barely know what to read next. I've just turned in a review to SF Site of John Crowley's collection of nonfiction, In Other Words, a book I enjoyed very much. I also enjoyed Nick Mamatas's Under My Roof, which I just read because I'm going to interview Nick for Eclectica. (It's a fun little book about family, neighborhood nuclear proliferation, and garden gnomes.) I'm now reading Jan Morris's Hav for a review for Strange Horizons and Fires by Nick Antosca for Rain Taxi. (More on those later.) Next I plan to finish Chris Adrian's The Children's Hospital (the bits of which I've read so far I have loved), then proceed on to, perhaps, African Psycho or Carnival or Things in the Night or The Future is Queer or Equiano the African or Breakfast with the Ones You Love or -- and that's not to mention the pile of books out from the library or the pile of books I brought back from Kenya or -- ugh, if only there were time...