Thursday, April 30, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
So we’ve got nature vs nurture in the larger quandary about free will and predestination; we’ve got a Communist’s wet dream of a society because the one thing that can’t be changed in our world, can here, because the minds can be made to fit the ideology; we’ve got an inversion of the kind of arguments with which Richard Dawkins and the Intelligent Design crowd would feel at home, all set in a world populated by robots engaged in the familiar human pastime of murdering each other for power, but excusing it with dogma. Plenty of twisted metal here, usually in the smouldering ruins of of the next city state the Artemesians have torn apart. So what more could you want? The next book please Mr Ballantyne.
There’s so much implicit in the title of this book, which hints at the philosophical layers underlying but not undermining rip-snorting robot total war. A thumping good read.
Wonderful special effects here, and excellent translation (as far as I can remember) of the book to the screen. The centaurs, minataurs and all the other creatures of Narnia were done superbly, nothing wrong with the acting too, though the children made me feel rather uncomfortable and I was thoroughly aware that this was definitely a children’s book. So what pissed me off? Well Mr Lewis was very definitely a believer, as his many Christian books will attest, and his religion came up through the story telling to smack me in the forehead like a mallet made from the true cross.
I guess the film producers really went with this because Aslan couldn’t have been more Christlike if he’d worn a crown of thorns and been bleeding from the paws. He came in at the end and sorted it all out – a deus ex machina Greek god lowered on his platform to sort out all the squabbles, an ending almost completely severed from the story that went before, moral message delivered: all you had to do was believe in me. Very disappointing, but then one should not try to revisit childhood. And, I guess, the original book was a piece of religious propaganda, and attempt at indoctrinating children, that just didn’t work with me.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In the Friday 1st of May issue of SFX the book is five star rated and ‘SFX Recommends’. Saxon Bullock, the reviewer says of it: Asking difficult questions while delivering plenty of full-tilt adventure and widescreen action, this is top-notch stuff from an author well and truly at the top of his game.
Now you’d think that all this praise would make me big-headed … and you’d probably be right!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Dear Mr. Asher
Since I read about your artwork competition, I've been thinking about things to draw.
My first impulse was drawing The Skinner, but I decided against it. In retrospect, it was a wise decision because the recent new front for The Skinner was exactly what I had in mind (Though it is far better looking than what I had started drawing)
I hope that you like the attached drawing. I imagine that a meeting with a seagoing leech on Spatterjay would look something like this.
Having entered our house here to be greated with mud on the floors, water stains down a couple of walls, a strange furry object in the washing machine that might have been a flannel or a sock in a previous life, and a proliferation of mould elsewhere, things were pretty depressing at first. But, with a bit of clearing up, the Cretan sunshine kicking in, the garden dug, planted and already showing sprouts of rocket, things are gradually improving. In the intervening time I’ve taken the latest book up past 130,000 words and am on the home straight. I just need to research some stuff on the Internet, like Mars, like the effects of CO2 poisoning…
Since the only television here is obviously Greek, with maybe on English film or episode of some series each night interspersed with adverts that go on for long enough for you to not only make tea but make a sandwich, clean the windows and polish the cutlery, whilst forgetting what it was you were watching, I’ve also gone through a few books. These include three of which were each a firm index finger at political correctness and New Labour, being Littlejohn’s Britain and two by Jeremy Clarkeson: I know You got Soul and Born to be Riled.
The first of these wasn’t that great – far too many made-up songs or scripts that weren’t that funny and, frankly, enough about the insane way Britain is being run to just leave you angry. The first Clarkeson was enjoyable, what with him going on about his favourite machines, but didn’t have quite so much of his laugh-out-loud moments as The World According to Clarkeson. The second had those moments but since these were Top Gear articles in the main, they went on to stuff about 0 to 60, bhp and the like, and I started to lose the will to live. Some science fiction next, I think.