Get well soon! Otherwise there'll be no one to manage the IMDB 250 chart!
Re: Thread for Regan To Be Embarrassed About Later (9 replies, posted in Off Topic)
For other "if you liked this you should do this" recs:
HEAVILY, UNRESERVEDLY recommend The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson for fantasy. It's hard fantasy from the perspective of a member of a society that's been colonized and ruined by the Empire of Masks (the obvious real-world parallel is Great Britain's imperialism, but Dickinson has said he's more inspired by the American colonization of the Philippines). She's taken into their ranks at a young age and begins a mission to bring them down from within using the tools of finance and politics. Not only does it have all sorts of candy for people who are into said tools of finance and political maneuvering, it's first and foremost a devastating character piece about a woman who, in endeavoring to bring down her enemy, is compromising her own humanity.
For the Snow Crash rec, David Louis Edelman's Infoquake and its two sequels are how I got into cyberpunk at a young age. Extremely twisty/turny/tense SF business thrillers, essentially, about transhumanism and multiple realities and boardroom meetings. Can't speak to whether I'd still find them well written, as it's been at least seven years since I last read them, but they're impossible to put down and loaded with ideas.
Also, what BDA said; the earlier Narnia books are good but it quickly goes insane. For a much better fantasy children's series, try Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Expanded from this article that was making the rounds last year.
The main criticism of this book seems to be that it's scaremongering by relating chains of events that wouldn't be as dire as it predicts unless we ended up in the worst-case scenario. To which I respond . . . *vaguely gestures at everything going on outside* Anyone who truly thinks meaningful action on climate change will be taken by governments and corporations within our lifetime is kidding themselves.
It's really hitting me over the last few months that we truly are living through a slow-moving apocalypse, so this book didn't generate anxiety so much as crystalize it. Looking forward to huge portions of the globe being a hellscape while those who remain try to explain to their children how we fucked up so badly.
Anyway, highly recommended. Wallace-Wells is writing a summary of the research rather than a hard-science book, but what it lacks in original ideas it makes up for in urgency and gripping writing.
Re: Thread for being deeply, non-fatalistically worn out about something (63 replies, posted in Off Topic)
The concept of a re-release is so foreign to me and it's so fucking neat. I mean, I know they still happen, but they're like one-week Fathom Events things and make $100 bucks apiece for the most part. The idea of the whole country just communally deciding to go rewatch Star Wars every couple of years is just . . . there's something warm about it, y'know?
Oh no, not a sequel—just a follow-up in the sense that it's Cornish's next project. It is a modern-day King Arthur riff, but one that's entirely out of Cornish's head.
Watched Scorsese's The Age of Innocence for the first time last night; Elmer Bernstein's score is so pretty.
After Trey's died, someone is gonna go to clean out his apartment and stumble upon the entrance to the Batcave.
Watched this one a couple of months ago but I'm posting about it now because I just realized I forgot to do so.
This would make a great double feature with Short Term 12—it's sort of the twisted mirror-universe version of that film. The halfway house it takes place in is a gay reeducation camp, and the adults, rather than the paragons of kindness present in ST12, are either absolute monsters or well-meaning shells (John Gallagher, who's in ST12, plays one of the latter). It's heartbreaking, but the monumental sense of empathy the film has for the kids forced to live through this is incredibly uplifting. Moretz is really damn good—she seems to be successfully transitioning from "really good child performer" to a serious actress and I couldn't be happier for her.
JJ and John just posted a wrap photo from IX (spoilered for those who don't want to see anything about the set/location the actors are embracing on).
Oscar tearing up is making me fucking lose it.
A lot of you are probably familiar with the work of John Harris even if you don't know his name; he's a "sci-fi impressionist" who's painted the covers for some of the most famous SF novels of the last few decades, including Ender's Game, Ancillary Justice, Old Man's War, and Seeker.
Jack McDevitt's book Polaris is what got me into SF lit at the age of eleven; the cover in particular is what captured my imagination, and ever since I first saw it I've wanted to own it somehow. Well, Harris sells prints of his artwork through his website, and this year I decided to get myself a Christmas present and finally buy one of the Polaris cover. Just got it framed and hung.
(Better image of the art itself here.)
"Unfortunately, I can't do all that typing right now."
*proceeds to write an entire manifesto*
Never change, Teague. Also, orsonwelles.gif
Corollary to the above: I don't know how to enforce this, but you cannot vote in a category unless you have seen all the nominees in that category. Full stop.
Yeah, she and Amanda Palmer share the same "manageable in small doses but really obnoxious if you listen to them for too long" vibe for me, but both have highlights that I'll revisit periodically.
@BDA, if you dig that you might like this track by Emilie Autumn; not necessarily a fan of hers in general but this particular song is black-comic period perfection.
In other news, god this recording is gorgeous.
Re: what are the Oscars for? In theory, to recognize the filmmaking achievements of the year and award honors based on a jury of one's peers. In practice, to form an increasingly tasteless gathering of Big Names and hand out awards based largely on ignorance rather than excellence (Moonlight's Best Picture win notwithstanding).
Re: who are the Oscars for? In theory, hardworking members of the industry and cinephiles everywhere who want to see craft rewarded. In practice, a "general" audience that no one seems to know how to define but who they're desperately trying to appeal to with increasingly bad skits and programming decisions. (In terms of a "better" audience, I'm all for making it more inclusive but not in the "let's only focus on the big names" approach. It's a celebration of the craft, so explain the craft. Show the people tuning in who only watch big blockbusters every year what's so awesome about editing. Make them want to watch the indies that got nominated. Open a gateway to a larger world.)
Re: what is absolutely necessary to include—besides the presentation of awards, we absolutely need to keep the cheesy montages about the magic of movies. They're a reminder of what this is all about, or what it should be all about. (Tell me you watched this without feeling your heart swell. I dare you.)
Re: what is absolutely necessary to change or remove—the ridiculous hours of pregame that's nothing more than commenting on people's outfits on the red carpet. It's always been tacky and a timesink but it's even less justifiable now that they're cutting categories in the name of "saving time."
Re: what would be slightly better than this—ditch it as a television event entirely, make it a livestream with ads running in constant banners below the window rather than in several-minute chunks.
Re: what would be way better than this—stealing the idea from Reddit, the host each year should absolutely be the Muppets.
Re: crazy idea that would never work in a million years—fuck it, let's make this an all-night thing, a bastardization of Election Night. Professional commentators on TV networks, votes coming in live from around the nation (mostly LA, cuz it's the Academy, but whatevs). This is already inside baseball that a lot of the country doesn't care about, let's lean the fuck into that and get 538-y with it. (Yes, this contradicts my "Let's make it a learning experience!" thing above. I contain multitudes.)
Re: what would be a huge mistake—continuing to let Disney broadcast the ceremony once their contract is up.
Today's news of the incoming death of literally all insects on the planet put me in the mood to re-read this very short story by Ursula Vernon (writing as T. Kingfisher). Text below; also posted in full on Uncanny Magazine's website.
Today is not the day I wanted to do this, but we aren’t always given choices. It’s time to pack for the new seasons.
No, you can’t stay. This place won’t be here soon. It’s already going, slipping away, each new summer tearing off strips. You can see the new flesh underneath. We’re still guessing at the shape of it. Probably the cicadas know, but we can’t understand their buzzing, and there are more of them every year.
All these choices were made long ago. Now is not the time to relitigate them.
Now our job is to decide what to bring with us.
No, you can’t take the polar bear. I’m sorry. I know you loved him. He takes up too much room, and he requires refrigeration. So does his food. We have to make hard choices now.
(Look, he’s already making his own way, trading his coat to the grizzly bears, the seals for salmon. Let him go. Remember that you loved him.)
Stop. There is no time left for crying, either.
Don’t talk to me about Noah. He got an ark and everything came to him. In breeding pairs, no less! We get a suitcase and our own two hands, and only so much as we can carry.
The beekeepers began long before the rest of us, stuffing the hives into their knapsacks, bubble-wrapping up the queens. You can tell them by their honey-streaked T-shirts, by the way they greet each other, with buzzing luggage, performing the secret handshake of beekeepers.
The people who love wasps are rarer, but they will open up their coats and show you the rows of black and gold, all lined up in tubes with stingers pointed down, like an array of hypodermic needles.
The beetle lovers are fretful. There are so many beetles, you understand, and so many of them look alike, and sometimes they swap their tiny nametags and set taxonomy back a decade. When the beetle woman goes by, bent under the weight of a thousand carapaces, you can hear her muttering Latin names to herself.
Plants are easier, provided you don’t get too attached to water lilies or massive, stinking arums. The seeds pack into very small spaces, a whole potential forest cupped in the palm of your hand.
What will it be, then? Rare orchids? The cucumbers that went in your grandmother’s pickle recipe? The parrots with red feathers on their heads? The apples will be hard. It has to do with chilling hours, you understand. I wouldn’t weep. The Red Delicious has been a soggy travesty for years.
Of course I understand. My first love was Przewalski’s horse, from a poster I had on the back of my door when I was not much older than you. They won’t fit in my suitcase, though. Now we must choose practical things. Sturdy species that can’t be broken by the weather.
Sunflowers? Yes, certainly. We can sit on the steps and spit out the seeds together. And peppers, yes, those will do well. Tomatoes, too—not the big ones, maybe, but the little ones, in red and gold. The earthworms have already gone ahead. They’ll be all right.
Cats and dogs? No, don’t worry. They got there ahead of us, and the coyotes trotted in their wake. Rabbits, goats, and bristle-backed hogs—they’ll all be fine. The new seasons don’t worry them. We’ll still be neighbors.
What’s in my suitcase?
Here, I’ll show you.
These jars here are full of beans. Don’t ask me to unpack them. There were so many and my hands cramped writing labels, trying to save them all. And here in this corner, in damp tissue paper, a tree frog with flashing orange patches on her legs. There were so few frogs that we could save. The ones that handle fire and acid and strange seasons, only. I packed spotted salamanders in around the box turtle’s shell, and yes, I cried over the ones I couldn’t save. But there is no more time, and grief takes up too much space in any suitcase.
Warblers, yes, I packed a few already. Nothing fancy. Let’s not get too ostentatious. If they can only breed in young jack pine, it’s probably best to leave them here. The mockingbirds have gone ahead of us. They know a thousand songs you know, and the warblers only one.
I fit the nuthatches into my other pair of shoes, their feathered bodies packed tightly in the toes. The vireos are rolled inside the tube socks, waiting to be released, so that they can sing at burning noon “Here-I-am, where-are-you?”
There were so many things I wanted to bring. I sacrificed my toothbrush for the pallid coneflower, my hairdryer to make space for hellbenders. But we can only bring what we can lift. The people who pooled all together to bring an elephant have strong backs, and I try not to resent how many frogs could have fit inside those boxes.
Yes, I know you’ll miss the others. We all will.
But it is exciting to move to new places. Try to remember that. Think of the people you’ll meet. And the creatures that will sit beside you as you travel: the crows snickering together, the mosquitoes reading newspapers on the train. The dragonflies clinging to the zipper pulls, with their great eyes reflecting the new shape of the world.
The friends you make now may be with you for the rest of your life.
Come on then. It’s time to pack.
The DIFpocalypse seems to have wiped out all the resurgent activity in this thread from the last year, including Teague and my posts about Peter Watts' Blindsight. Popping in because I'm in the middle of his Rifters series (body horror/hard SF about engineered humans at the bottom of the ocean) and the first page of the second book may be the most badass epigraph of all time.
That pops up occasionally for some weird reason--you go to upvote someone and instead you dock them a point.
Matt Zoller Seitz shared this on Twitter along with the note, "I’ve gotten to the point where if I see a poster that doesn’t have any actors on it, just a graphic, it makes me want to see the movie, because the filmmaker has to be an absolutely relentless person to get the money people to approve a poster like that."
Just saw Joe Cornish's latest flick, after eight years of silence!
As a followup to Attack the Block, it's kind of meh. As an adventure film intended for kids it's quite a bit of harmless fun, and definitely deserves better than the terrible marketing it was given and the box office wasteland it's currently experiencing. The visual effects are quite impressive for a budget of only $50 million as well—I assumed it was closer to $100 million. The years have done nothing to diminish Cornish's ability to wring every penny out of his budget.
Re: Thread for being deeply, non-fatalistically worn out about something (63 replies, posted in Off Topic)
WONDERFUL news. Absolute best wishes for the recovery.
Just checkin' to see if anyone else here uses Letterboxd. For those not in the know, it's essentially Goodreads for movies—allows you to rate, review, and log what you've seen, read and comment on other people's reviews, make custom lists, etc. The list feature functions a lot like Regan's IMDB 250 checklist—you can automatically see what percentage of any given list you've watched.
I don't tend to write substantial reviews on there (any that are longer than a few paragraphs are generally also posted on my blog/on here), but it's a very nifty website/mobile app for cataloging your viewing habits and seeing other people's opinions (which run the gamut from silly joke reviews to genuinely excellent criticism).
No matter how sloppy a Tarantino script gets, I'm apt to largely enjoy it (Django the one exception). And indeed, there is fun to be had here--the comic beats largely work, and the famed standoff between Walken and Hopper is, in terms of construction, flawless.
That said, Jeeeeesus Christ, this is like Tarantino's id just vomited all over the page. At first I was willing to believe Oldman's character (nasty white pimp who's convinced he's black) was QT parodying himself, but then the aforementioned Sicilian scene came along and bulldozed that idea. It's always been obvious that the man gets his rocks off at using the n-word wherever possible, but it's never been so gleefully gratuitous as it has here. And while all manner of people get violence wrought upon them here, it's telling and more than a little disturbing how lovingly
Also, it's annoying rather than ethically problematic, but the male protagonist is such a masturbatory self-insert that I rolled my eyes on multiple occasions. Of COURSE the guy who spends his day working in a comics shop, watching kung fu movies, and monologuing about Elvis is also a sexy mastermind.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have fun along the way, but yeesh.