12 November 2010

Never Let Me Reload

A couple quick notes...
  • Weeks ago, Mary Rickert emailed me to let me know about a lovely YouTube video created as a trailer for her forthcoming book Holiday.  I completely forgot to post it.  I haven't seen the book yet, but I know many of the stories in it, and I know Mary, so I have no hesitation in recommending it.
  • I just received my contributor's copy of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, and even though it doesn't have a picture of a steampunk reloading press, it's still a good book.  The interior design is particulary striking, especially in the section to which I contributed some lesser-known information about an ancestor of mine, the "Secret History of Steampunk".  (Also, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly deny all knowledge of the Mecha-Ostrich, despite the vicious rumors circulating about some sort of illicit scholarship I am said to have engaged in.)  I thought the first Steampunk anthology was good fun, and I especially enjoyed Stepan Chapman's story in it; Steampunk II feels, on a cursory glance and glimpsing read, even richer and weirder.
  • Strange Horizons has now published my review of the movie Never Let Me Go.  For some reason, I really struggled to write this review, partly because it was a struggle for me to figure out what I really made of it.  Further complicating the attempt was the fact that I had no easy access to see the movie a second time to clarify things -- I had seen it over at Dartmouth as part of their mini version of the Telluride Film Festival, and the movie wasn't playing anywhere within 100 miles of me other than that.  I really thought I was going to have to bail on the review, but then I decided to do what I always try to do in such cases: make the struggle part of the writing, because it would be dishonest to create a fluid and uncomplicated piece when my response was neither fluid nor uncomplicated.  So that's what I did.  (Some folks might be curious to reference that review with my 2005 blog post about the novel.)
  • Over at Gestalt Mash, Paul Smith has written about Hou Hsiao-Hsien's film Three Lives, and it's a review well worth reading, especially if you're not familiar with Hou's movies.  I'm still learning to appreciate Hou's pacing, so can't call myself a real fan yet, but I liked some of Three Lives and some of Goodbye South, Goodbye.  Of the films I've seen, my favorite (at the moment) is Millennium Mambo, which one of Hou's greatest supporters in the U.S, Jonathan Rosenbaum, called "one of the emptiest good-looking films by a major director that I can recall".  Ahh well.  I may be fated never to appreciate Hou fully, which is why I keep reading folks like Rosenbaum (and Paul Smith): it's clear to me there's a there there, but it takes me some work to find it.  Worthwhile work, though.
  • Speaking of Paul Smith, he's joined with Larry Nolen and Jeff VanderMeer to write the occasional group-review of a book.  Their latest is Matt Bell's How They Were Found.  Paul's take is here, Larry's here, Jeff's here.

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