February 5, 2016
February 3, 2016
This is yet another Star Wars post.
So, I’m really enjoying the outpouring of love for Rey, Finn and Poe that’s cluttering up the internet right now. Like, these three are such an endearing ensemble of heroes, we just can’t help but wallow in it all.
Except: Rey and Poe never actually interact in The Force Awakens. When the Falcon returns to base after the big climactic thing, Poe glances at Rey, registers her, acknowledging that she’s the one Finn was so desperate to rescue. But he doesn’t know her, and a second later he’s totally focused on the unconscious Finn and that’s where he goes. Rey of course doesn’t know who the hell he is or why she should be interested in him.
Later, they’re both standing in the room when the pieces of the map get put together. One presumes they’ve been introduced by this point. There was no reason to show this introduction — it’s got nothing to do with the story, really. From a story perspective, it’s just fine that we never see them interact. It wouldn’t add anything, and it would clutter up an otherwise slick narrative. But gosh, wouldn’t it just be so neat?! And that would be the only reason to show that scene: because fans like me want to see it. Note: narrative flow ought to trump fan service. So, I’m glad the movie is the way it is. But still.
I mean, I can totally imagine it. They both arrive in the infirmary, waiting for news about Finn. And Poe introduces himself because that’s what he does. “Hi. I’m Poe Dameron. You’re Finn’s friend, aren’t you?” And I can just see the look on Rey’s face as she realizes that yes, she is Finn’s friend, and he is hers, and she’s never had a friend before, and she kind of wants to freak out a little. But she doesn’t. “Yes. He saved my life.” And Poe smiles and says, “Mine, too.”
And now they’re friends, too.
GAH!!! *falls over and fangirls a little more*
February 1, 2016
A couple of weeks ago I posted my award-eligible work from 2015. I like putting my annual publications in one place because it reminds me that, hey, I really have been busy and productive! Cool!
But this is the time of year I also like to think about the cool new stuff I’ve encountered.
I don’t think I’ve done enough reading — I never do enough reading. Especially short fiction. I used to try to read every anthology my work appeared in, but that got out of hand a few years ago and I’ve never been able to keep up. So, my reading is awfully scattered.
I did read some good novels, though: Uprooted by Naomi Novik is getting a lot of buzz, and rightfully so. Really excellent stand-alone traditional fantasy, in the same vein as the books I love so much by Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip, about a young heroine who discovers that she’s much stronger than she knows and sets about saving the world because someone has to do it.
Then there are some of my go-to favorites: James S.A. Corey and Paolo Bacigalupi both had new books out last year. Nemesis Games is the fifth Expanse novel and the one that left most of us fans going “Holy crap did they really just do that? OMG, they really just did that.” I cannot wait to see where they go from here.
Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife is near-future speculation about drought and water rights in the west — issues literally in my own backyard. Paolo really knows his stuff and this book combines thought-provoking SF with a cool thriller plot. Good stuff there.
I also encountered The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith, a rather strange and wonderful YA novel about some difficult subjects, but still with some funny bits and a weird Philip K. Dick worthy subplot holding it all together. The main character is a teen refugee from an unnamed war-torn country, who is sent to summer camp with his new foster brother. So, it’s like terrible refugee stuff combined with teen-boy summer camp comedy. And it kind of actually works. I don’t think this book is for everyone, but it’s one of the things I read last year that stood out for me.
The dramatic categories for the Hugo are going to be super-interesting this year. These short-run TV shows with only 8-10 episodes are almost mini-series covering one storyline — so do we nominate them as short-form by episode or long form for the whole thing? No idea. But some TV episodes that caught my attention are the season finale of The Flash, and Ep. 8 of Daredevil — the Fisk backstory. Agent Carter also gets my attention.
Long form — this is going to be an immensely interesting year, because we have an embarrassment of riches. Marvel movies, Hunger Games, Star Wars — but I have to say, I’d rather avoid the long-running franchise in favor of nominating Fury Road and The Martian — both really solid stand-alone stories that showcase what SF storytelling is capable of. (Marvel and Star Wars in particular have gone past basic storytelling and have become something else — communities, wherein the movies are rituals of celebration. I have an essay about that brewing.)
And now I have really got to catch up on some short fiction before I fill out my ballots…
January 29, 2016
I just got my first smartphone. My very first. It was my birthday yesterday, and this was my gift for myself. I’d been thinking about upgrading for like six months and finally decided, this was the week.
All the clerks at the mobile phone place had to come look at my old phone. It was a novelty, a little red Nokia, 7-8 years old. So old they couldn’t port the data onto the new phone. “This is in really good condition for being so old,” one of them said. “Yeah,” I said. “I don’t use it much.” And I really don’t. I’m still not sure if the new phone is going to change that. I actually want to use it more, to take advantage of all the nifty things it can do.
And I’m trying not to be scared of it. I really want to use these powers for good. Like, to actually make travel easier, stuff like that. Better organize my calendar and contacts and to do list and things. I’m taking it in baby steps.
But, yeah. I have a smartphone now. Imagine that.
January 27, 2016
January 25, 2016
There’s too much TV on right now. I can’t keep up with it. Monday TV night has split into two nights because we’re trying to add Legends of Tomorrow and Agent Carter to the line up. And I really want to watch The Man in the High Castle as well as Mr. Robot, to see if it’s a data point in my evolution of cyberpunk hypothesis, but just haven’t had time. This is even with all the TV I’ve stopped watching, like Castle and Doctor Who.
So, here’s what I caught up on this week. Mid-season premiers. WITH SPOILERS.
Agent Carter: *insert every emoticon of joy here* Love love love. They’re nailing that L.A. noir thing, and I love how there are women villains, but also lots of supportive women who loan Peggy gowns and garter holsters and stuff like that.
Flash: Oh come on, Barry, you’re smarter than that! Oh come on, Patty, even Lois Lane eventually notices that whenever her honey disappears, the guy in the supersuit shows up a second later. That was kind of urgh-worthy.
Arrow: OMG is Felicity going to be Oracle? Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease.
Legends of Tomorrow: Starring Arthur Darville as the 10th Doctor. Wait a minute, Rory never even met the 10th Doctor.
Supergirl: The show is clunky but I still love the ethos of it: that Kara loves being a superhero and wants to be good at it. Also: Martian Manhunter.
The Expanse: I know too much, because of the books. OMG THEY’RE GOING TO EROS ARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!
The X-Files: Haven’t actually got to this one yet. See what I mean about too much TV? However, I did go back and watch the very very first episode again — and it holds up really, really well. Just as brilliant now as it was then. Manages to lay out a ton of exposition while also being really smart. And I keep forgetting that the Smoking Man is right there in the room when Scully gets the assignment. ARGH!
I’ll always have fond memories of this episode because of what was happening in my life when I first saw it. It aired for the first time just a few weeks before I left for my junior year in the UK. Because college in the UK starts later in the fall, all my friends had basically already started school and I was sitting at my folks’ house, killing time, waiting for the biggest adventure of my life so far to start. A really weird place, you know? But there were ads for this new show that seemed right up my alley — UFO conspiracy stuff with a dose of skepticism. I watched, and it was so freaking smart, and Scully was so brilliant, and even Mulder for being kind of a loon was also so smart, and the two clicked so beautifully. It had the structure of a police procedural while being different from any other police procedural I’d ever seen. And the supernatural was both edgy and subtle. I was an instant fan.
And then I missed the entire rest of the first season because I was in the UK and this was long before the days of streaming anything. But the next year, I started viewing nights in the college dorm and sucked in dozens of fans along with me.
So, I’ll always love The X-Files. But it’s going to take me a couple of days to catch up on the new one. Thank goodness for the days of streaming and On Demand. I can watch ten shows at a time because I can actually keep up with them all, and still have a life.