Writing Quote Of The Day: K.A. Bedford

September 25, 2007

FAQ 2.0

7. So you somehow defied the odds and got published by an actual for-real publisher! What’s the secret to beating the Evil Publishing Company Conspiracy to keep the “little guy” (particularly the ones with the “Unique Artistic Vision) out of publishing?

Well, the key secret to getting published, above and beyond all others, is this: you have to write a good book. That’s the whole thing, right there, in a nutshell.

=======================
Did you just read this post? Now click here.

Previously in this blog:
Second Quote Of The Day: Walter Jon Williams
Book Drooooool!
Hemorrhaging the Neural Net
Writer Added

Advertisements

NBC’s Journeyman: Thumbs Down

September 24, 2007

Update 12/13/07: NBC did not order more episodes beyond the original thirteen. I guess the creator now has much time to frivol.

Spoilers ahead. Skip this post if you haven’t seen the first episode tonight. It debuts on NBC at 10PM EDST.

journeymandvd-02.jpg

After all the hyping I did of Journeyman here, seeing the actual pilot (courtesy of “Chuck” and also Amazon Unbox) was a letdown.

I don’t like the star playing his wife. Let me just come out and day it: She’s a shrike, a bitch, and if I had her for a wife I’d want to travel back in time too! And as for the actress herself, she looks more like a supermodel than someone who’d risk her figure to have a kid. This is bad casting.

I don’t see the appeal of the woman he pines for. All that time he thought she was dead — and she’s not? Did I care? No.

His journeying back in time made no spatial sense. He’d go to sleep in his bed and somehow wind up miles away in a park? Are they going to use earth rotation as an excuse? For that matter, what triggers the time traveling? There’s an inference of either the Hand of God or mental illness being the catalyst. The latter is more convincing than the former.

Is every episode going to involve him intervening in some aspect of the past, in someone else’s life? This reeks of Early Edition. That show had more appealing, more true-to-life, characters — plus a cat!

His initial journey back into the past lacks emotional realism. To understand what I mean, I now have to recount my own “journeyman” episode. It was a dream I had back in 2003 (1/26 to be precise; it’s in my Palm) and it left a permanent mark on me.

I “woke up” standing on the sidewalk looking at a protest marching north near Columbus Circle. It is sometime in the 1970s (I can’t pinpoint the year). I am seeing a protest I had actually witnessed in real life back then. But I am back there with my knowledge of today. And it hits me that I am back there with what I know now. I have traveled back in time. The vividness of the dream, its reality, is as real as real, if not realer (you know how hyper-real dreams can be; if you don’t, I feel sorry for you!). I am there. And I know the future. And all the shit that I’d been through in that future is now gone. Wiped away. I had a sense of freedom, of liberation, that I’d never before experienced in my life. I could do everything differently — and with the foreknowledge I contained inside me. I walked down to a neighborhood I once lived in for a few years. It was pre-gentrified. The rents were still low and I could see the lowlifes who had been swept out in the neighborhood’s redevelopment. They didn’t frighten me. In fact, I was without fear altogether. That I was suddenly homeless and apparently penniless didn’t bother me at all. It was the freedom of it all that excited me. I could get money, I could get an apartment — and beyond all that, I could get rich. I knew the tech stocks to invest in. I knew that Microsoft was still a private company. There was no DOS yet. No IBM PC. Reagan wasn’t yet in office (and when he came in, I’d know there’d never be a nuclear war with the Soviets — something many people actually feared during that time!). Do you understand? Can you imagine it for yourself? How absolutely exciting! To this day — over four years later! — all I have to do is recall that dream and I can recapture some of the emotion of it.

Journeyman lacked that. Instead of seeing his life having a new, fresh start, instead of feeling the emotions that would accompany that — we get nothing. A search for shoes in his old (not-his-yet) house. And even then it almost takes a baseball bat to the head for him to realize what has happened. Even if he thought it was a vivid dream, there are things he could have done other than what the writer chose.

journeymandvd-03.jpg

This is bad writing. Very, very bad writing. Characterization was pushed aside in favor of plot. A possibly fatal mistake. With the rare opportunity to grab the audience and make them experience such a trip, to really feel it, the writer flubbed it.

In this respect, I think many people who’ve read The Time Traveler’s Wife and watch the show for the first time tonight will feel right at home. It’s as arid and as shallow as that book. It even has an element from that book: the character time-traveling while driving, causing an accident! Strange coincidence, huh?

I’m not sure if I’ll tune in for the second episode.

If you watch it and like it, visit The Journeyman Blog.

Previously in this blog:
NBC: Settle With Apple
Is Google Better Than Spy Agencies?
A Third Post-iTunes Fable For NBC: Steve Jobs Is Journeyman
A Second Post-iTunes Fable For NBC: You Got Chucked!
Should Apple Turn iTunes Into A Platform?
NBC: Stop Being Blonde!
NBC To Give Away Show Pilots
Journeyman: Still Unleaked!
Fall Network TV Doom Watch List
Journeyman: All Available Vids
Journeyman: No Leak, But Two YouTube Vids
NBC: Leak Journeyman NOW! Early Reports NOT Good!
YouTube: NBC Fall Preview
ABC Kicks NBC’s Ass For Fall TV Buzz
Hey, NBC! Leak Journeyman NOW!
Now NBC Has Pissed Me Off!
Journeyman: Interesting Bits
Hey You Three. Email NBC!
Journeyman Still Not Leaked
September 2005: NBC Promotes A New Earl Show
I Give NBC A Kick To The Nuts. It’s Called An Incentive.
Now Sinfest Persecutes Me!
Hey, NBC! Leak Journeyman, Dammit!!
Bourne Ultimatum? Yes. Journeyman? No.
Hollywood: Settle!
Brightcove: Journeyman Preview
DailyMotion: Ha. Ha. Ha.
Are The Suits Using P2P To Hype Their Shows?


Hey, You Timid Wimps Who Wail About My Language!

September 23, 2007

Yeah, go read your god, Scott Adams, daddy of Dilbert, and see the words he’s using.

Now. Fuck. Off. Pussies.


Go Get Yer Stephen Fry, Unillustrated

September 22, 2007

A poster over at Gear Diary has cloned the electrons of Stephen Fry’s now globally-famous cri de coeur about smartphones and other like pocketable devices.

Go read it here.

Thanks to Jim Moat for the email tip.

Yeah, you still can’t get it from Fry:

We’ve enjoyed extensive web traffic over the past few days. As a result, the Forum and Blog will be shutting down from Saturday 6.00AM-12.00PM (British Summer Time) whilst we upgrade the server.

Please return for the latest on Stephen’s blog and events in the Forum.

And for those of you (which probably includes Fry himself) who doubted I’ve read his novels, here’s one of the many bits I scanned and carry around with me in my PDA (currently a wretched Palm LifeDrive):

Jane’s house found itself somewhere near Onslow Gardens. There was money in her purse, no question, courtesy of her Uncle Michael no doubt, and, like every rich, ignorant girl these days, she passed herself off as an interior decorator.

“People saw what I’d done with the flat,” she said, as the taxi drew up outside a standard South Kensington white-pillared portico, “and asked if I could help them out too.”

The interior lived up to my ripest expectations. Hideous flouncing swags for curtains, raw silk instead of wallpaper, you can picture the whole sham shambles for yourself, I’m sure. Barbarically hideous and as loudly wailing a testament to a wholly futile and empty life as can be imagined. Just how fucking idle, just how rotting bored, do you have to be, I wondered, to sit down and dream up this kind of opulent garbage? She was standing in the middle of the room, eyebrows raised, ready for my gargles of admiration. I took a deep breath.

“This is one of the most revolting rooms I’ve ever stood in all my life. It is exactly as hideous as I expected, and exactly as hideous as ten thousand rooms within pissing distance of here. It’s an insult to the eye and fully as degrading a cocktail of overpriced cliché as can be found outside Beverly Hills. I would no more park my arse on that sofa with its artfully clashing and vibrantly assorted cushions than I would eat a dog-turd. Congratulations on wasting an expensive education, a bankload of money and your whole sad life. Goodbye.”

That’s what I would have said with just two more fingers of whisky inside me. Instead, I managed a broken, “My God, Jane . . .”

“You like?”

“Like isn’t the word . . . it’s, it’s . . .”

“They tell me I have an eye,” she conceded. “Homes and Interiors were here last week, photographing.”

“I’m sure they were,” I said.

“You should have seen the place when I moved in!”

“Such a sense of light and space,” I sighed. Always utterly safe.

“Men don’t usually appreciate such things,” she said with approval, moving to the drinks table.

“Fuck you, you mad, sad bitch,” I said inside, while “Even a man couldn’t fail to be knocked out by this skilful, tasteful blend of the ethnic and the domestic,” said my cowardly outspread arms.

— The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry; pgs. 21-22

Right then. Hurry off and go buy his books. They are hugely funny, witty, and intelligent.

Previously in this blog:
Someone Bop Stephen Fry On His Noggin, Dammit


Fight Club By Chuck Palahniuk

September 15, 2007

fightclubcover.jpg

Blame Richard Perez, author of the excellent novel The Losers’ Club, for upsetting my Endless Book Queue. He sent out a MySpace Bulletin asking if he was the last person to find out that Palahniuk was gay and then wrote a bit about Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

Intrigued, I got the book. I’d never seen the movie (I am further behind on movies than books…).

This is a hypnotic, amazing novel, unlike any other I’ve ever read.

I don’t know how to go about describing it without ruining any of it. It’s almost like one of those You Had To Be There things.

The unnamed narrator and a guy named Tyler Durden become entwined in a bizarre friendship between one another and a flipped-out young woman named Marla. The narrator’s insomnia and Durden’s daring ultimately lead to the establishment of Fight Clubs, where men can step into a ring hidden in the basements of bars to beat the living shit out of one another. The Fight Clubs in turn lead to the deification of Durden who then goes on to establish a series of Committees: Arson, Assault, Mischief, and Misinformation. It all turns into a cult manned with shaved-head ‘space monkeys” who have wound up, by dint of their low-level positions of employment, infiltrating almost every part of society. Think of a cult as powerful as Scientology but without the outer space bullshit.

The narrator, without ever admitting it, seems to be a closeted gay man whose self-loathing ultimately rears its head (no pun intended) to avenge itself on a society that will not accept him. There’s some stuff about anti-materialism thrown in, but I think that’s a red herring for the real point: self-determination, self-respect, self-acceptance, and Fuck All to a society that wants, above all, homogeneity (again, no pun intended).

Palahniuk’s writing is a revelation. It twists upon itself, plays with time and space, and has a rhythm that just entrances the reader and pulls him into the story.

From the first page I should have understood what was really happening. I didn’t for two reasons: 1) I don’t read books to figure them out while I’m reading them; I read to enter a different world and point of view, and 2) Palahniuk is like an expert magician, using words to pull off a sleight-of-hand.

I’ve never seen the movie. I don’t know if I want to. Movies from books are usually disappointing at best or utter shit (there are exceptions, but they are very rare). If you’ve seen the movie, forget it. Just go and get the book to read. It’s bound to be better. And it’s a reading experience you’ll never, ever forget.


If I Could Be You

September 14, 2007

Previously: Movies You Must See And I Guarantee You Haven’t!

horsesmouth001.jpg

horsesmouth002.jpg
A brilliant book, part of a trio

horsesmouth003.jpg
A stunning screenplay — not one wasted or dull word

horsesmouth004.jpg

horsesmouth005.jpg

horsesmouth006.jpg

horsesmouth007.jpg

horsesmouth008.jpg

horsesmouth009.jpg

horsesmouth010.jpg

horsesmouth011.jpg

horsesmouth012.jpg

Gulley Jimson, artist.

Disheveled, unshaven, chronically short of cash, oppressed by Authority and Suits.

I’d have his life any day over yours.


Colligan And Engadget Will Pay For This!

September 12, 2007

danab.jpg

No! No!! Nooooo!!! It’s just So Wrong!!