March 4, 2015
I’m not a big fan of cold, but I do like snow (which is one of the many reasons why I stay in Colorado). One of the things I like about snow: the way it sometimes partially melts and then re-freezes in really cool ways. Like, half-melting through the slats in the pergola over the back porch.
It’s like a giant snow fungus, isn’t it?
What can you do in the snowy season but stay in and watch movies?
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Nebbish middle-aged dude teams up with his flighty neighbor to a) find his lost love and b) get flighty neighbor back to England before the world is destroyed by a giant asteroid. This is the kind of movie you can sit around arguing about whether or not it’s science fiction. Either way, it was pretty well done.
SPOILERS! Because I am going to fix the ending for you.
I didn’t want to like this, dripping as it is with Manic Pixie Dreamgirl, but it got me. The scene where he puts her on the airplane? I sobbed like a freaking baby. He spends the whole movie saying he knows a guy with a plane to get her home, and when you realize who has the plane and the emotional hurdle Dodge had to clear to get to that point — oh, it’s just a great moment.
I would have ended the movie with Dodge lying on the floor of Penny’s apartment, listening to her records, smiling.
Instead, the movie goes the ultra cliche romantic route, and she comes back, which to my thinking completely undermines the power of the scene at the airplane. It may also completely undermine the emotional arc of the entire movie, during which both characters admit they don’t know how to be alone and have gotten into really bad relationships because they’re scared of being alone. And here they are doing it again, because the only reason this relationship isn’t going to go bad is that the frakking world is over. But anyway. Still not a fan of ultra cliche romance I guess.
The movie also got me thinking about what I would do if the world was ending in a week. And I realized: I would stop writing. (Now, if I got some kind of terminal diagnosis I would probably keep writing for as long as I could, because someone will still be there to read it. End of the world? Not so much.) I’d make a nice dinner for my friends. I would read The Blue Sword one more time, and watch Star Wars and Labyrinth one more time. I would go birdwatching at Walden Ponds for a day, and listen to a lot of music. I would go hug TinyHorse, and all the other horses too. I would buy a $100 bottle of wine and drink it very slowly. I would call my niece. And then I’d probably do whatever my mom wanted me to do, because, you know, mom.
March 2, 2015
I listen to a lot of classical music on the radio, and my current station is pretty stodgy — I judge a classical station’s stodginess by how frequently they play John Williams movie scores, and this one doesn’t play any at all.
But they played the theme song to the original Star Trek to announce Leonard Nimoy’s passing. And they kept playing it throughout the day, on the hour. It was like the geek version of church bells tolling.
That’s a measure of the impact Nimoy had — particularly in his role as Spock. Even non-geeks, even the most mainstream outlets imaginable, even places I didn’t expect an acknowledgement at all, marked the news. Everyone understands how important that character is as a model, as a symbol. As Scalzi said: Every geek just lost their favorite grandparent.
I don’t think I realized how far-reaching Nimoy and Spock’s influence really reached, and I just keep thinking, what a life. What a profound and meaningful life.
February 27, 2015
I spent a lot of Boskone joking that I was kind of enjoying the massive amounts of snow because Colorado had had a light winter so far. Well, we’re now on track in my area for having one of our snowiest Februarys on record — we’ve had three major snowfalls in the last week. And I’m patting myself on the back for successfully bringing snow back from Boston with me.
I’m having a busy kind of distracted ADD sort of week (cleaning, revising, finishing a draft, generally bouncing between too many things at once), so in lieu of a more in-depth blog post (and worrying about whether I should do more manifesto and less geek-tastic type posts? Hm? There’ve been a lot of manifestos out there in SF&F blog land lately. So maybe not), here’s another piece from my Big Fat Crafting Holiday Season:
This is a lacey pattern I got off Ravelry. You can find it here. I’ve probably knitted four or five of these. It’s relatively simple but deeply satisfying, when that beautiful leafy pattern starts to come through.
A gave this to my grandmother. It’s her color, and that’s exactly what she said when she opened it, “It’s my color!” I love it when I can zero in on a perfect gift like that.
February 25, 2015
1. Logistics are not a substitute for plot.
2. If your viewpoint character has a deep dark secret, do not keep that secret from the reader for two thirds of the book. (“She had a secret. It really was a terrible secret. Unmentionable, really. No — it’s really terrible! It did not even bear thinking on, so she didn’t. Just that, you know, she had a secret.”) If you do, the reader will be reading to discover the secret, and not to see what happens to the character, and by the time you finally reveal that damned stupid secret, your reader’s reaction will likely be, “That’s it? That’s the big secret? Seriously?” and to throw the book across the room. (Drawback of e-books — unable to throw book across room.) Instead, state the secret up front and show us how it informs the main character’s actions and thoughts. The revelation of the secret to the other characters will be the big climactic moment, not the revelation to the reader.
3. If in the first book of a series you establish that one of the main characters becomes something of a father figure to the other main character, then in the second book you should probably make sure those two characters interact at some point, instead of purposefully keeping them apart because you think that having them actually talk about stuff will derail the plot in which the second character does something stupid that the former character might presumably talk her out of. Don’t jettison an entire prior book’s worth of characterization just to make the plot easier for you to handwave into existence.
February 23, 2015
Yup. I totally went to see this. Because SPACESHIPS. So, what’s the verdict?
“Wizard of Oz” meets “Dune” except the main characters are super boring, and did you notice how Jupiter doesn’t actually make any active decisions through the whole movie? She’s entirely reactive. I mean, sure, she decides to save Earth by not signing this thing, but really only when she realizes Wise is going to come rescue her after all. Again. Because this movie does the same plot like three times in a row because it has three villains. The action scenes were nonsensical and too long.
And the more I think about it, the more it’s thematically basically just like the Wachowskis’ best known film, The Matrix: Earth is not what it seems and human beings are Product. Fight the system! Ride your rocket boots into the camera!
But it does pass the Bechdel test quite handily, multiple times, so there’s that.
The Good Stuff, because there was some Good Stuff:
You know how I have this thing about big space ships? Ho-lee shit, people. There were some really gorgeous space ships in this thing. Go for the space ships. And space stations, and planets, and cultures, and people, and I basically loved all the secondary characters from the two Cyberpunk Bounty Hunters to the Dinosaur Gargoyle Guards to the Pretty Bureaucratic Androids. And Captain Tsing. Captain Tsing is my new favorite character. Give me a movie about the Adventures of Captain Tsing, please.
Basically, this whole thing is a proof-of-concept for making a movie based on Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. SOMEBODY PLEASE DO THIS RIGHT NOW.
How The Movie Would Have Gone if I Were the Main Character:
Me: So wait. I’m a space princess?
Wise: Queen, Your Majesty, but yes.
Me: And how many worlds are there?
Wise: Millions, Your Majesty.
Me: And how rich am I?
Wise: Very, Your Majesty.
Me: I would like my own ship and a tour guide, please.
Wise: You do realize the economy of this culture is based on turning entire planets of people into Oil of Olay, right?
Me: And that is wrong, and I will fight to change it, I promise. But I still want my ship and tour guide.
February 20, 2015
Random nattering today. I had a really good day yesterday: started with a great ride on TinyHorse, I finally got to sit down and write something substantial, I made cashew chicken for dinner, and then I watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as I remember. Turns out, IT’S BETTER. Plus, Dancing Baby Groot still leaves me weeping with joy. I still really appreciate that the movie doesn’t have an opening scroll or voiceover, and this time I really noticed that all the pop music is actually playing in the course of action. As in, if the song is playing in the soundtrack, it’s because it’s playing on Peter’s tape deck. I love that. So many movies and TV shows use pop music in a soundtrack as some kind of emotional shorthand, but in Guardians it’s part of the action.
What I’m working on: I finished up two short stories this month, which was nice. Next, revisions on the YA space opera, and a secret project. I’m hoping to finish up both of those in March. Then. . .well, gosh, I’m not sure!
We’re supposed to get a big snowstorm this weekend. We’ll see if it actually happens. If it does, I may stay home and binge watch the Robotech DVD’s I got for my birthday.
February 18, 2015
Quick Wednesday post. I had a great time at Boskone but it’s taking me a little while to recover. Even though I think I may be the only person at the convention whose flight wasn’t cancelled. May I always be so lucky.
So here’s more stuff that I’ve made/acquired, this time in the category of OOOH SPARKLIES. It’s my weakness.
At some point I acquired some pearls. (This is another thing that happens in the SCA. You get gifted with the most marvelous things like fabric and jewelry and odds and ends.) I had them for years, waiting for inspiration, which finally struck: I had a Renaissance gown with no jewelry to go with it. Eeek! So I made a necklace:
And another one:
I love them! I’m glad I waited to use the pearls because these turned out so nice, and I have a feeling they’ll be versatile and I’ll get to wear them with lots of different outfits.
This one, I didn’t make, but acquired at the Boskone art show. It’s by Priscilla Olson, and I grabbed it up because I think it’ll go with both my period outfits and my steampunk wardrobe.
SPARKLIES! It’s a bit of an addiction, but it’s one I indulge in because I like to support the artists who make these pretties, and it’s wearable, which speaks to my practical side.