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David Hines [userpic]

Working blue: advance worries about HBO's series of A GAME OF THRONES

April 16th, 2011 (06:25 am)
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Based on the footage released thus far, I’m getting a sinking feeling that HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series is going to suck.

I’m not saying this lightly. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this series filmed for years, and I’ve been looking for George R.R. Martin to get an awesome Hollywood victory for longer (we couldda had DOORWAYS!). The ingredients for excellence are there, because HBO has not been stingy, and the series producers have clearly gone to considerable amounts of effort: hordes of extras, huge detailed sets, a costuming budget larger than the budget for some films. Casting is remarkable -- PETER DINKLAGE as Tyrion! Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon! Sean Bean as Ned Stark!

And there's a good chance none of it’s going to matter, because the filming is absolute shit.

Here"s what I mean.Collapse )

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

David Hines [userpic]

thoughts on Dunnett's A GAME OF KINGS

February 2nd, 2011 (08:07 pm)
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I'd picked up A GAME OF KINGS, the first in Dorothy Dunnett's Chronicles of Lymond series, based on a rec somebody had made a while back (I forget who or when or where). And I'd gotten a little way into it, but found it remarkably annoying, so I'd put it down. Then [personal profile] marina started reading it and flailing like a flailing thing over it, so I had to press on with the damn thing to see what she was going on about. And the book got better, but it was really interesting to see how my reaction was completely different from Marina's, in part because we're looking for totally different things.

Which is to say, I am not fond of it, but fandom will fucking love this thing.

Read more...Collapse )

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

David Hines [userpic]

review: GAME OF CAGES, by Harry Connolly

October 12th, 2010 (03:30 pm)
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The paranormal/modern fantasy genre is all the rage these days. From romance to thrillers, the urban fantasy is all over the bookshelves. More than such literary antecedents as, say, Charles de Lint, the authors tend to be heavily influenced by television and film, most notably Joss Whedon's BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: the typical urban fantasy protagonist is smart, good-looking, honest, romantic, and the clueful, in-charge expert on the supernatural threats that most of the world doesn't know about.

Then there"s Ray Lilly.Collapse )

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

David Hines [userpic]

Charles Dickens and Uriah Heep

April 24th, 2010 (11:30 am)
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Found via a forgotten course, Roger Boylan links to an article about writers who fail as human beings and has the same reaction I do to a key quote:

[Dickens] gave an interview in 1862 to a young Russian journalist named Fyodor Dostoevsky which Slater [Dickens's biographer] guesses Dickens thought would never see the light of day:

"'He told me that all the good simple people in his novels [like Little Nell] are what he wanted to have been, and his villains were what he was (or rather, what he found in himself), his cruelty, his attacks of causeless enmity towards those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to live for, being used up in what he wrote. There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life.'"


This is remarkable to me because the article refers to DAVID COPPERFIELD and to its readers' ignorance of Dickens's own terrible early life in poverty, and it made me realize that Dickens saw himself in both his protagonist and in the villain, Uriah Heep. Dickens is one of those love-or-loathe writers for me -- A TALE OF TWO CITIES is immortal, DAVID COPPERFIELD is freaking great, and OLIVER TWIST should be hurled aside with great force -- and COPPERFIELD is one of his best works, for me, in part because the villain is so magnificently human and no less evil for being understood as such. Often, especially in fanfic, dark characters are revealed to be nursing a sympathetic heart beneath a cruel exterior, but Dickens's genius is that Uriah Heep's personal tragedy have formed a person who is a through-and-through bastard.

Heep has a bit of dialogue that concludes with what I think is one of the finest villainous monologues, ever:

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Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

David Hines [userpic]

quick book review: Justine Larbalestier's LIAR

April 17th, 2010 (02:23 pm)
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I read Justine Larbalestier's YA novel LIAR, about which I've seen a number of people raving. I'm sure you'll be stunned to find that I didn't like it much; I found it intensely boring until a certain point, and then found it mildly interesting until I got grumpy with it again at the end. This is not because the book is terrible, but because Larbalestier has a writing style that I've seen a lot of in recent years and find deeply annoying: Evocative Monotony.

Evocative Monotony isn't about the story -- not the plot, not even so much the characters -- as much as it is about the emotional effect of the prose. The fiction I go nuts for can have evocative prose, sure, but it produces the bulk of its emotional effect at a remove, by using the characters and what's happening to evoke feeling. Evocative Monotony, on the other hand, is all about prose stylings; it's intended to induce the emotional effect in the reader directly, with less regard for what's happening on the page.

My problem with this approach isn't that it's ineffective. It's that it's unvarying. Hence the "Monotony." For me, this kind of writing induces *one* emotional effect, usually a certain level of angst, and then stays there throughout the entire course of the piece. It doesn't change. It's confining, and it's boring. LIAR made me feel a certain way, sure, and it kept me feeling that way, and it didn't make me feel any other ways.

I honestly don"t think there are any spoilers in this post, but you never know about the comments, if there are any.Collapse )

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

David Hines [userpic]

the Scalzi remakes LITTLE FUZZY thing

April 7th, 2010 (11:24 pm)

Acclaimed SF writer John Scalzi has written and will be publishing a remix/reboot of H. Beam Piper's acclaimed, beloved, Hugo-nominated SF novel LITTLE FUZZY. I am, as y'all know, JUST SLIGHTLY IN THE TANK for H. Beam Piper, and so roughly half the people I know dropped me a line about this and asked for my reaction.

My initial reaction to this news is visible at 2:37 (video).

I"m slightly calmer now.Collapse )

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.

David Hines [userpic]

reality catches up with fandom. or possibly with Japan.

February 18th, 2010 (10:51 pm)
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So, the Consumerist had an article about the Manllow, a fan-crafted Etsy item available in Edward and Jacob versions. (The scariest part: IT HAS HANDS.)

Y'know the first thing I thought of? Other than Japanese 2D love, I mean. Substitute Logan, as seen in Nancy Lorenz's Wolverine/Rogue fanstrip Cheeto Run.

Fandom, you don't know how ahead of your time you are sometimes. Then again, I remember fanfic in which Rogue was sighing over WUTHERING HEIGHTS because Heathcliff reminded her of Logan, and now there's actually an edition of WUTHERING HEIGHTS with a blurb on the cover noting that it's Bella and Edward's favorite book.

...do love-crazed teens really need *advertising* to find WUTHERING HEIGHTS?

David Hines [userpic]

review: CHILD OF FIRE

January 27th, 2010 (05:27 pm)
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I've owed Harry Connolly a review of his CHILD OF FIRE, the first novel in his Twenty Palaces series, for a while now. Full disclosure: Harry and I have known each other online for several years and pop up in each other's comments sections fairly often. That said, his book sucked. -- no, I'm just kidding; it's really pretty damn awesome, and its characters are so engaging and its pace so relentless that I tore through it in an afternoon, which makes the delay in this review a little embarrassing.

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David Hines [userpic]

the most horrifying thing Piers Anthony has ever written

January 25th, 2010 (09:02 pm)

Some of you folks may recall that a while ago I mentioned that the curious thing about Piers Anthony, to me, is that while people often dump on Anthony for being weird, skeevy, disturbing, and that sort of thing, nobody doing so ever mentions the stuff that *I* find to be really disturbing. (And remember, when we say "Piers Anthony" we're talking about the guy who wrote protoplasmic sex scenes and a story with a dude boinking a mentally retarded woman who was hooked up to a milking machine.) This is odd as hell, because I remember glancing at the book when it first came out, doing a massive double-take on reading that passage, and thinking, "Holy dogshit, this'll get him run out of town on a rail." Curiously, that never happened.

I'm referring to TATHAM MOUND, in which Piers Anthony's hero boinks a ten-year-old girl, using honey for lube.

OH PIERS ANTHONY NO.Collapse )

David Hines [userpic]

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's word rate

January 11th, 2010 (08:38 pm)
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I happened to pick up W.S. Baring-Gould's ANNOTATED SHERLOCK HOLMES over lunch, and lemme tell you, it is danged interesting to contemplate the introduction when you have ready access to an iPhone with an inflation calculator app, because W.S. Baring-Gould tells you how much money Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made. Even better, Baring-Gould generously translates these prices into their equivalents in the corresponding years' dollars. This means that I can plug Doyle's earnings into my iPhone and figure out how he was doing, as a doctor and as a writer. In case I haven't mentioned it, the future is awesome.

I honestly don"t know whether to stare in slackjawed admiration or just travel back in time to strangle him.Collapse )

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