28 January 2008

Quick Thoughts on Diverse Things

Amazingly, the world didn't pause while I paused blogging, and, in fact, lots of things happened. I also managed to see some movies and read some books (or parts of books). I may come back to some of these topics later, but here's a quick run-down...
  • Kenya: I have been trying to keep up with the news from Kenya, where violence has continued since the disputed election. Occasional Mumpsimus contributor Njihia Mbitiru let me know that he and his family in Nairobi are well, but he said there is plenty of chaos. The Kwani? Blog has been publishing a series of opinion pieces, all worth reading.

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy: A friend gave me his copy of this book, forcing me to read it at last. The arguments that were made by some people about whether it's science fiction, or whether McCarthy should have steeped himself in genre writing before setting out to create his own book, or whatever -- all these arguments felt irrelevant to me as I read the book. Perhaps even more than irrelevant: they seem to me to completely miss the point. (But what's the point? Maybe points...) The book's ancestry is closer to Faulkner and Beckett than The Long Tomorrow or A Canticle for Liebowitz. The only thing that disappointed me about the book was its deus ex machina ending, which is what, I expect, made it catch Oprah's eye, but which seemed to me to be an easy way out of the circumstances McCarthy had set up. That, though, is subject I don't have time to really develop here...

  • The Oscars: I was disappointed I'm Not There didn't get more nominations, but on the other hand, I'm glad, because if the Academy had shown similar taste to my own, I'd be terrified that I was becoming much too predictable in my affections. (Except now I'm terrified I'm becoming much too predictable in my affections by liking movies such as I'm Not There...)

  • Lars and the Real Girl: I saw this movie with a couple of friends. We all thought it was amusing, but also agreed it would have had more substance if it had been more willing to delve into the darker areas of its story. It could easily get a G rating, despite the presence of a sex doll. It's a Hallmark Hall of Fame story about generosity, love, community, and tolerance ... and it happens to have a central character who thinks his anatomically-correct toy is a real person.

  • I loved Alan DeNiro's thoughtful review of The New Space Opera, because it expressed eloquently and insightfully exactly my feelings about so many things, particularly the often-missed possibilities of contemporary science fiction.

2 comments:

  1. You've an amazing blog here. Very informative and delightful!
    Fondly,
    Jo

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  2. In re: THE ROAD. I read it last year, the only book by Macarthy I've read, and yes, the ending is a bit of a deus ex machina. If he'd been more rigorous, more willing to stick to the reality he'd created, the ending would have been very different. That being said, I thought it a powerful book, one that has stayed in my mind for a long time, and it's not unusual as I walk down nearly deserted early morning overcast New York streets for me to imagine myself in THE ROAD's grim world.

    The very last paragraphs did bring tears to my eyes, something no other book has done.

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