March 6, 2017
I think we’re about to hit peak superhero. There’s been another recent expansion of the genre, and how successful it is will determine how sustainable the whole genre is.
Logan. I haven’t seen in yet. I wasn’t planning on seeing it, because the trailers seemed self-indulgent and cliche. I’ve been tired for awhile now of Wolverine being the focus of the X-Men franchise — he was never my favorite. And there’s my cloying moppet rule. Wolverine + cloying moppet? Ugh. But the reviews and reactions to it have been phenomenally good, and now I’m curious. And another rated R superhero movie, so I guess that’s a thing now. Don’t know when I’m going to get to this, but when I do you’ll hear about it.
Powerless. Another one I haven’t seen yet. (See, this is how I know we’re saturated, I just can’t keep up with everything.) I’m curious, though, because it’s a different model — within the DC franchise, but adjacent to it, not involving any of the tent pole characters. A little like Agents of SHIELD, maybe. Oh, and a comedy. Trying something new, successful or not, so good job there.
Legion. Basically the reason I’m writing this whole post because I saw the first episode last night and it pretty much blew me away. What joy, that this genre can still blow me away! It’s X-Men, apparently, but a corner of that world I know nothing about, and it turns out I really like not knowing who these people are or what comes next. I’m resisting googling it all. The story didn’t even look like a superhero story until the word “mutant” is mentioned, and it’s mentioned so casually that the flow of the narrative isn’t jostled at all. I think it does for the superhero genre what Mr. Robot does for cyberpunk, which is apply post-modern storytelling conventions to a genre story. It’s delightful. I hope it can maintain this feel.
So, I know what I’ll be watching this week.
February 17, 2017
Reminder: I’m doing a library event with Kevin Hearne in Denver! Check the website for details.
When I did my viewing roundup I forgot to mention that season 2 of The Expanse has started, and it’s kicking ass and taking names. BOBBIE DRAPER IS IN THE SPACESHIP. And yes, my big spaceship fetish is well pleased.
But having read the books…I KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AND IT’S FREAKING ME OUT ARGH!
And now I think I’ll step outside and get some sunlight.
February 13, 2017
My current knitting project is a giant shawl done on #4 needles. For non-knitters, #4 needles are small (not the smallest), and make dainty little stitches. This thing is going to take me all year. It’s gonna be gorgeous, but wow.
So I’ve been watching some TV while I work on this.
Voltron. This is a Dreamworks Animation reboot running on Netflix. I watched a ton of 80’s Voltron as a kid, enough that I pretty much adored that scene in Pacific Rim when Gypsy Danger draws a sword out of nowhere and slices a ro-beast — I mean kaiju — from shoulder to hip. So I had to give this a try. And I like it. It’s cute and fun and has the spirit of the old show while updating some things (and very surreptitiously and neatly adding another girl character). I’m halfway through second season and Shiro is about to go do something foolish, I fear. But that’s what he does so it’s okay.
Taboo. I’m only a couple of episodes in, but I’m intrigued. This is Tom Hardy in 1814 London going up against the East India Company. There’s some very pointed post-colonial critique going on, which I hope to see more of. In the meantime, it’s sort of the evil opposite of most Regency-era stories. I gotta tell you, when Jonathan Pryce (playing the head of the East India Company) drops an f-bomb I about jumped out of my seat. I’ve been watching him in movies for thirty years and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say fuck. Huh.
CW DC superhero shows. These days, I just flat-out call this the Superfriends.
And a movie:
Lego Batman. Well, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. The first five minutes were kind of my favorite, where the pilots of McGuffin Air manage to poke at both The Dark Knight and Tim Burton’s Batman. So yeah, a little meta going on there.
January 9, 2017
One week until MARTIANS ABROAD! Don’t forget to check the “conventions and signings” link on the right for where I’ll be over the next couple of weeks. I also started a Goodreads List of some of the books I used for research, as well as other books about exploring space, in case you’re looking for some sweet sweet science.
Last week I read Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George. This week I’m reading Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France.
I caught some of the 2003 Daredevil movie on TV last night, and it’s kind of shocking just how much the basic mode of superhero movies has changed over the last decade. That thing had a voice over I’d forgotten about. A lot of cheesy cinematography. A lot of assuming the audience isn’t going to get it so we’d better dumb it down. And Colin Farrell as Bullseye? I had totally forgotten about that.
So is anyone watching Versailles? I’ve seen the first few episodes and I’m intrigued, but I’m not quite convinced it’s entirely good. If I was going to be flippant I’d say it was The Tudors in France, and I’m wondering if I’m enjoying this more simply because I don’t know the history the way I know Tudor history and so can’t get distracted and offended. It’s definitely of the Game of Thrones sexy sexy, naked women everywhere, court politics mode of TV. But it also has a few characters who entirely defy stereotypes. The brother, for one. The lady doctor is completely charming me — I want a show all about her. But mostly the aesthetics are amazing. There’s a theme about Louis’ vision for Versailles, and the dream-like nature of the project. He literally has dreams and visions about it, and sometimes memories intrude. There’s a fantastic ambient score underlying the whole thing, adding to the not-quite-real mood, and lots of beautiful, deep shots of gardens, rooms, crowds of people. It’s quite lovely. But in the end, is it really just The Tudors in France? (Sorry, Francophiles. Maybe The Tudors is Versailles in England?)
January 2, 2017
Happy New Year! You should know I made blood sacrifice to ensure a good year. i.e. I sliced my fingers cutting limes at the New Year’s Eve party. It’s fine, except sliced fingertips plus typing = ouch. I also successfully sabred a champagne bottle with my rapier. Not very well, mind you, but I did it.
Meanwhile, I’ve caught up on some viewing.
In this month’s Lightspeed, I briefly review Moana, Rogue One, and Passengers.
Here’s the short version of my review of Passengers: This film miserably fails its premise. It could have been a good middling Hollywood SF adventure romance. If they both woke up at the same time, and by accident. But he wakes up first, then purposefully sabotages her hibernation pod. So it turns into a movie about how this stalker and kidnapper really isn’t such a bad guy once you get to know him. Big side eye, there. I have a lot more to say, in the full review.
Legends of Tomorrow: I watched the first couple of episodes of this season to get the Justice Society glimpse, and my speculation was correct. My longed-for Starman reference appeared here. Well, not exactly. I mean, my Starman is Jack Knight and the mid-90’s run. This was Stargirl, a more recent incarnation. But I believe that is Jack’s cosmic rod she was using (or what will become Jack’s, in 50 years…) And it was kind of fun to get what is essentially her Bombshells version, sort of. (Bombshells: a graphic novel excuse to draw all the DC heroines and villains as 40’s pinups, but they have excellent adventures and it’s a lot of fun.)
And Rogue One was better on the second viewing. I liked seeing the setup, that we do get a pretty good introduction to each member of our gang before they finally all end up on a ship together, bonded by chance and circumstance. Classic gaming setup.
Those last five minutes are still a kick in the teeth. The whole last battle, really, (The hammerhead corvette, OMG. “Are they doing what I think they’re doing?” Yes, yes they are.) but once you understand what’s happening when that disk gets passed hand to hand and finally ends up on the blockade runner, and you know exactly what happens next — that’s how you do a prequel. A brilliant bit of fan service, there.
November 16, 2016
First off, if like me you’re wanting to be pro-active about the U.S. political situation, here is A List of Pro-Woman, Pro-Earth, Pro-Immigrant, Anti-Bigotry Organizations that Need Your Support.
And now for some superheroics.
Legends of Tomorrow almost got me back with the promise of a proto-Justice Society, World War II, punching Hitler trip. Almost.
Supergirl: Oh, my. Off to such a good start and now it’s back to sucking. The Clark Kent/Superman appearance was adorable and awesome. I love the idea of Earth as a kind of Casablanca/Rick’s Place where aliens from all over wash up on, or come here to lay low. But man, they’re taking some wrong turns. The Alex comes out storyline should have been delightful and was just cringe worthy. And James Olson does not need to be a masked hero, dammit. I swear, vigilante-ism is a freaking disease in these shows. I keep watching because I love Melissa Benoist and the character’s ethos. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Arrow: Wut? I don’t even. We had a perfectly good team, and we flushed it for the most generic bunch of random kids? The J.V. team, indeed. So not interested. At this point I just want to see flashback Ollie get back to the island and have the whole thing come full circle to the premier. I’m watching the increasing length of his hair with great anticipation and joy.
Flash: Still my favorite. Still earnest as all get out, and still just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. Also: THERE IS A STEAMPUNK ALTERNATE EARTH.
My favorite post-election one-line post: DAMN YOU, BARRY ALLEN!!!
October 17, 2016
This Halloween my niece wants to be Mary Poppins, so I’m making the outer layer of her costume (hat, coat, etc.). I actually found a parrot-head umbrella so I won’t be embarking on adventures in Sculpey this time around. But the coat. Heh. I can tell I’m a real costumer now because I looked for a coat and couldn’t find anything that worked. I hit up thrift stores. I searched online. And all the coats for little girls were too frilly, too cute, or too pink. I needed a nice somber, tailored, governess’s coat, right? I checked “how to make a Mary Poppins costume” websites and they’re all like, “Just take a jacket out of your closet!” But they don’t look right. So I made one from scratch, and I’m quite pleased with it. All I have left are buttons and buttonholes, and then it goes off to the kid. I’ll show you when I get pictures of the complete ensemble.
Mr. Robot, second season: I’m through episode 8. This show. THIS SHOW. Taking unreliable narrators to a whole new level. It’s kicking my ass and I’m loving it so much, and it’s still so cyberpunk, without being actual cyberpunk. I am all amazement.
I have a story to wrap up and send to an editor, another to revise and send back, a new novel to start, a critique to finish up. I bet I can get it all done this week and I’ll feel so accomplished. Oh yes. Must hang on to that feeling, it doesn’t come around very often…