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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Why fantasy?

Why Fantasy?

I have, from a very early age, found myself drawn to ‘genre’ fiction. Even within the ‘classics’ I prefer to find elements of fantasy or crime or at the very least, romance. For example, Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest are my favourites of Shakespeare’s plays.

I like the way that this kind of fiction enables us to explore the human condition without any heavy preaching or moralising and lets us approach otherwise taboo subjects without placing them in recognisable places or communities. Genre fiction at its best shines a spotlight on issues like race, sex, class, insanity, bullying, religion, political power and other issues whilst superficially telling an exciting tale about alien planets, fantasy creatures, the solving of crime, the sweetness (or tragedy) of romance or the fascination of history. It is well placed to alter perceptions and change attitudes. As an adult I am unlikely to be swayed by it and hope that I have already opened my eyes to many of the messages contained in fiction, but as a teenager I found myself able to question many things I had been taught because the books I read posed questions. I found, and still find this valuable.

When I read what is sometimes known as mainstream fiction or even litfic, I often find myself admiring the execution but bored by the content. In fiction, I want excitement, stories that have me reading till late at night to find out what happens, or tales that set fire to my imagination. I do not particularly want to read about ordinary people living ordinary lives, however well described. In short, I require fiction to provide a kind of escapism, not from anything but to unknown worlds in my head. This applies to films as well as books.

There is a school of thought that tells writers to write what they know. Taken literally that advice would effectively rid the world of all speculative fiction and a great deal of crime/thriller fiction. It would also do away with books told from the point of view of animals, such as Watership Down, and would mean authors could only write about their own gender in stories set in their own home towns. So it cannot be taken literally, though I have known a friend given this advice very firmly on a recent writing course. (She was writing a crime story with a male hero.) However, it does help to be familiar with any genre – or location – before embarking on writing in it, and that means reading a great deal, and analysing what is read.

This is where reading genre fiction diverges sharply, for me, from reading mainstream fiction. Instead of being bored by the content I am enthralled, but instead of admiring the execution (almost a ‘given’ with mainstream fiction) I find myself being extremely critical and judging what I read by a host of criteria. I am far more likely to find a book completely wonderful or totally dire and I could go on at length on what I find good and bad in different genres.

So when I came to wanting to write myself, I naturally wanted to write in one of my favourite genres.

Sci-fi is out. I tried a couple of short stories and failed miserably. My science education was simply not good enough and whilst research can substitute for poor early learning the research would be huge and not particularly interesting, for me, in itself. To have to understand physics in order to write convincingly about space travel would not appeal to me. I can allow myself to write fanfic in sci-fi fandoms, utilising other people’s research to underpin stories with no intent to publish, to entertain myself and my friends. But original sci-fi: no.

Crime is a possibility but again, a lot of research is needed. Police and other agencies need to be presented convincingly and the research needed would again be vast and uninteresting. I have to admit that cop shows are another fanfic favourite, for writing as well as reading, and again I let the originals provide adequate background for procedural aspects.

The same thing applies to historical fiction. Although good writers can sometimes keep me reading and loving their work, I can only admire their meticulous research and could never emulate them. I read non-fiction history as well as fiction but I skip from era to era and never get sufficiently invested in any particular period to know it in depth.

I am not sufficiently interested in ordinary romance, set in modern times, to write it although I love Jane Austen and other romantic ‘classics’. I tend to get bored at quite an early point in the relationship and could not see myself with the enthusiasm to write a whole novel. I mostly dislike horror and am not usually too keen on supernatural beings such as vampires who interact with humans.

Fantasy is a different matter. I am wholly engaged in the fantasy worlds I read about, and in the ones that then spring to my own mind. I continue to live in the worlds I have read about and I want to share my worlds with other people. It is perhaps strange to say that the research needed never seems like work. Make no mistake, fantasy needs research. Names, physical characteristics of people, animals and plants, weather systems, planets, architectural styles – they all have to be written in such a way that readers will suspend disbelief and that means a lot of underlying work. It is no good having daffodils in a tropical jungle or winged animals that are too heavy to fly. Those are obvious errors but they exemplify the way the writer needs to build a fantasy world adequately and with credible detail. This is where I do write what I know. I use settings I know well, repopulate them with my own creations, tweak the flowers and animals, and make subtle alterations to the road systems and the houses. In a sense, whenever I am out and about, or travelling, I am observing and doing ‘field’ research.

Once I have a ‘world’, I can use it to tell a story that appeals to me. I enjoy romance and crime, and to some extent I tend to put both those into my stories. I have an elf detective, a fae family with assorted love dramas, a prince solving a mystery surrounding unicorns, and shorter tales that involve murder, theft, and betrayal. A constantly recurring theme in my writing is culture clash – between countries, between classes, between species, between the adherents of beliefs. It’s something I have researched and dealt with on a professional basis in my career and I suppose it is close to my heart – at any rate, I seem to write about it, even when I am ostensibly writing about elves or unicorns.

Within all speculative fiction there is the possibility of asking ‘what if?’  What would happen if societies did or did not behave in certain ways? Not just individuals, but nations, religions, whole swathes of people. How would these people react if something different was dropped into their midst? That possibility is what sparks my imagination and then the characters come along to show me how the answers would play out in individual lives.

Fantasy enables me to ask and answer questions about social issues. It also enables me to build worlds that fascinate me and people them with characters who interest me. It satisfies deep needs and at the same time is fun. This is true both for what I read and for what I write.

How do you feel about fantasy? Do you enjoy it? Does it make a difference to your opinions about anything? And how about genre fiction in general? What are your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in writing

 

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The naming of casts (or characters).

How do you choose names for your characters and your locations?

If you’re going to set your story in contemporary London (or any other city) half the problem (the geographical bit) is solved and then you can pick names from a telephone directory, mixing and matching so that Agnes Black and Colin Drake become Agnes Drake and Colin Black. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere you need to note the spelling of names because there are some that have various options (Stephen/Steven) and some that appear to have various options but are actually gender specific (Leslie/Lesley) and you are almost bound to get them wrong occasionally in your text; that’s the law of the great god Typo. Plus, it’s no good using a location like e.g. Chertsey if you don’t know it’s south of London and on the Thames. But generally, contemporary fiction doesn’t give rise to too many problems although you might want to check that your subconscious doesn’t come up with a name that in fact belongs to someone famous in fact or fiction (been there, done that and had to do a quick find/replace…).

If you have more exotic locations in mind you need to check the spellings and geography even more carefully but there are all sorts of helpful sites from Google Earth to Wikipedia to help you and there are lists of appropriate names (plus English transcriptions) for boys and girls in almost any language you might imagine and a few you didn’t know existed. Most of them give you the meanings as well.

Then there’s fantasy.

You need to take care that you haven’t stolen names from other fantasy writers who have no doubt burnt a lot of midnight oil coming up with new and interesting names. You need to make copious notes about the names you choose, giving them some sort of history, noting the preferred spelling, considering the pronunciation… But all that is after you’ve chosen the names in the first place. Although some fantasy writers use a few names that sound as if they’re from ‘our’ world, most of do a lot of inventing.

It’s important that invented names should sound likely and not stupid. Rumpelstiltskin might succeed in a fairy tale but not in the average heroic quest tale. It depends, of course, on the type of fantasy. Modern urban fantasies or tales of vampires or shape shifters can use ordinary contemporary names. Vampires can indeed be called Edward or Hal. But what about aliens or supernaturals? They are not going to have been saddled with John or Mary, however convenient you think it might be. Nor can you chicken out and say you’ll call them that because their ‘real’ names are so difficult to pronounce or because you’ve decided to use the terrestrial equivalent. Your readers have already decided to suspend disbelief and imagine they are listening comfortably to an alien language so why should pronunciation be difficult? Nor is it helpful (to you) to use long phrases like ‘Born Under The Winter Moon’ because they take too long to type and you are going to be typing them regularly.

You really do have to work at it. It’s possible to create really strange names like G’narrr or  m’Lln but you’ll have typo trouble, I can assure you, and you still have to take care that they don’t sound too unlikely given the rest of your characters and location names. (This is a warning, not a prohibition.) If you’re writing about terrestrial supernaturals e.g. fae, you can use the names of less common flora and fauna. If your plot takes you to other planets you can still do that but make sure the names are seriously uncommon or add a few lines linking the name to a plant or whatever on the alien world.

Another possibility is to take ordinary names and alter them slightly. Annie becomes Anee, Mark becomes Maark or Tarc, and Virginia turns into Lergynia. Keep notes! Be careful that your subtle alterations don’t catapult the name into a realm with other meanings. Annie cannot become Anneal or Aneal; Mark shouldn’t turn into Bark or Lark;  Virginia would sound dreadful as Laryngia.

If you choose to alter names that are regional here, make sure all your characters have names with similar origins so that you don’t end up with too much of a mixture, unless you intend to go into great detail as to how your world has come to have a melting pot of people from different cultures.  I read one fantasy series where people who sounded vaguely Scottish lived just across the border from (and spoke the same language as) those with names that conjured visions of the Middle East; there was no explanation and it all jarred.

The same thing applies to other-worldly places or just wildly fictional ones. If you’re setting things on Earth you need to take care with local languages and usage. I have cringed at stories set in places like e.g.‘Altonhambury’ or ‘Byburghthorpe’, combinations that sound (and are) unreal. I’m pretty sure non-native writers make similar errors in stories set in e.g. India or China. If in doubt, use the slight alteration method for places, too. Make certain you haven’t inadvertently included geographical markers in your place names. For example, a tor is a hill in Brit English so a town on a plain with a name containing ‘tor’ might be fine for your invented world but will throw your terrestrial readers. You can, of course, steal a name you like and place it in entirely foreign geographical surroundings but be careful – check its history and meaning first.

Check that you’ve used a variety of initials. If all your characters have names beginning with G the reader will get confused and annoyed. It’s such an easy error to fall into and yet if you keep notes it’s easy to avoid.

It goes without saying that your minor characters need names that are as well thought out as the major ones; that slaves should have quite different names from a master-race; that your characters should have surnames or clan names from the start, even if you end up never using them.

The more research you do the more real your characters will appear in the final text.

I use a variety of methods. My fae characters have a mixture of names, mostly drawn from natural objects like plants or animals, but sometimes borrowed from humans in a somewhat random fashion. My fantasy people have names that are reminiscent of Earth ones but are altered slightly. Even then, I came up with Brianna (or Briana) only to find the name exists here. It’s pretty, and it’s uncommon, so I left it, but someone is bound to complain. For stories set in solidly terrestrial cultures (even fairy tale ones) I’ve done research.

It’s no good sticking pins in an alphabet or letting the computer invent things. Naming needs thought. I’m reminded of Eliot’s poem (and the musical lyric): The naming of cats is a difficult matter; it isn’t just one of your holiday games. As for cats, so for characters…

How do you do it?

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in writing

 

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“Helpful advice”…

…that doesn’t work for me.

I’ll begin with the sites/challenges that are suppose to kick-start you into writing and then keep you going until the novel or whatever is finished. NaNoWriMo is the most famous but someone urged me to try April Fools when I found it hard to get going again after a hospital experience.

I have to say that April Fools did the trick and having ‘publicly’ committed myself to a goal, I couldn’t face not attempting it. You set your own wordcount for this one and I set 15000 words for April, the minimum needed for a fanfic challenge I’d signed up to. I made the 15000 in eight days, though the story told me it wanted over 20000 words to tell itself properly, thank you. So in a very real way, I’m grateful, both to April Fools and to the friend who sent me there.

However, I think that once actually started, I would have reached my goal faster if I hadn’t got sidetracked into talking to other writers and navigating an almost impenetrable site. I spend quite enough time chatting online as it is and this was a downside of April Fools. Some of the chat was interesting but probably displacement activity. Some of it was inane to say the least and made me wonder whether the people concerned really were writers; I suspect they were teenagers trying to spread their wings for the first time. I imagine NaNoWriMo is similar – I have watched online friends talking about it and have not been tempted to join in. I definitely need the kick-start element but could do without the rest of the package.

I have been hearing about a site called Write or Die, which apparently starts deleting your words if you don’t work hard enough. Another gives you kittens (fluffy pics) if you reach your goals.

These are not what I need. Does anyone know anything different?

Then there are friends who have been raving about various programs designed specifically for writers, sometimes by writers. Scrivener is highly praised. So is yWriter. But when I looked at them I couldn’t think how to use them. After learning all about their multiple components the writer is encouraged to amass vast quantities of notes, and create storyboards, etc. and write all sorts of snippets that can eventually be sewn together into a patchwork quilt/whole work. It sounds to me as if the amount of time spent would be better spent writing.

I don’t work that way. I know writers who do and these programs would no doubt be wonderful for them. I write in a sequence that will eventually, with amendments, be the finished work. I think and write from A to Z and whilst scenes from the middle of a work might swirl in my brain I never commit them to keyboard, even in note form, before their proper time. I have a page of notes to which I add when research dictates, and to which I can refer. I use RoughDraft because I can have all my notes, chapters, etc. open as tabs for swift reference, there is a notepad for temporary needs down the  right hand side of each page, and the spell checker doesn’t try to be nannyish about grammar. I can’t see any reason to change but…

There is a drawback to RoughDraft. It produces documents in .rtf format and my betas seem to prefer Word. So I convert everything and then their comments and typo-finds come back in Word and I convert again. By the time we’ve finished there are glitches galore, caused by the constant re-formatting. Highlighting causes a particular problem but so to some extent does spacing.

Any suggestions?

I hate Word. I hate the way it tries to force writing into its own modes, shoves bullet points and suchlike down my throat, attempts to Americanise dates, and gets in a state about margins etc. I hate the way it’s snarky about grammar when it obviously hasn’t a clue that writers learn the rules and then know when they can ignore them. I’m perfectly aware when I use ‘fractions’ of sentences. I do it for effect. And the Word grammar checker is sometimes really, really wrong. However, Word does spot one of my biggest failings, extra spaces between words. But if they’re at the ends of lines, by the time all the conversions have happened, the spaces creep back.

I tried OpenOffice and prefer it to Word but very few people seem to have it or like it. My main use for it is to download things I want from the internet, such as fanfiction, then converting them to .pdf ready for conversion via Calibre, for my Kindle.

I’m clearly not the kind of writer envisaged by the wordcount challenges or the writing programs. I just don’t function the way they expect.
And yet I still need a helping hand from time to time… or a kick!

My fanfic challenge is now finished – or at least ready for beta – at 28,696 words written over 14 days. Now I need to get on with either some original fic rewrites or some more research into self publishing.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in writing

 

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Two poems

I thought I’d celebrate Easter by posting two poems which are based on my own family experiences, the death of my father and a more lighthearted look at an incident in the life of my grandfather. The poems were originally written a couple of years ago, though they refer to events much longer ago than that. Anel Viz did some wonderful beta work on them for me but I have since changed them slightly again. The first was simply something I ‘needed’ to write. The second was in response to a prompt  (‘shoes’) in a writing magazine which instantly transported me to my childhood.

 
Death of a beekeper.

In the morning he collected the bees.
He waved  goodbye to her and drove some miles,
Listened to advice he didn’t need (he had two hives
Already) and set out for home.

But in the car, somehow they got out,
Crawled everywhere: pedals, seats, gear lever, steering wheel,
Buzzing softly in counterpoint to the engine.
They didn’t sting…knew their new protector, perhaps.
Still, it was hot
And the windows had to stay tight wound.

In the evening, he had a class to take.
He waved goodbye to his wife and drove a mile or two,
Talked to the confirmation group,
Readied them for the laying on of hands.
Then he prepared the church for Sunday,
Straightened the cross and candlesticks,
Checked the flower water.

His heart stopped then;
Suddenly
(They said), so he wouldn’t have felt the pain.
But when instead of his car
She heard police wheels buzzing on the gravel,
Her pain was enough for both of them.

Next day a friend,
Fellow vicar and fellow bee keeper, came,
Driving a few miles to commiserate.
He visited the hives to tell the bees about the death.
Bees need to know such things.
And once they understood, although they’d only known him for a day,
They buzzed their sorrow to the warm autumn sun.

Shoes.

Every night we would lay them
Lined up for inspection beside the scullery door.
If anyone forgot there would be a shocked whisper:
Don’t you need them clean for tomorow?

Grandpa would assault them with oxblood polish
And a soft brush until they shone with love.
It was no use buying beige, tan or even chestnut;
In the end all reached a state of rich mahogany.

One day a tramp came knocking.
A bite to eat, Missus? Or a shilling for the road?
He was all tatters and flaps;
His feet scuffed on the ground through worn spaces.

Grandpa brought him a pair no-one wore.
They fitted well enough.
He ate his bowl of soup, admiring them with a sly glance.
Sit down, Man! I’ll polish them before you go!

And so he sat and Grandpa knelt,
Worked with the oxblood and brush
Until even the tongues gleamed,
And the difficult seams where the uppers meet the soles.

When he had done, the tramp thanked him,
Abruptly, quietly, and rose.
On the way he murmured,
‘But he didn’t polish the eyelet holes.’

Seriously slighted? Or making slanted fun
Of all the fuss over a new-old pair of shoes?
No-one would ever know, but Grandpa’s laughter
Followed him down the country road.

And I remember Grandpa telling the tale of the eyelet holes
To anyone who’d listen, for weeks and weeks,
And then he’d shake his head and ask
If we’d all remembered to bring him our shoes.

Comments welcome, as usual!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2012 in poetry

 

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Reading and watching March 2012

I shall start giving stars to the books I’ve read and the films I’ve seen.

***** a wholehearted recommendation, within any given genre

**** a recommendation with slight reservations

*** OK but unmemorable

** poor but with some redeeming features

* dire

March Reading

4Mar E A Discovery of Witches ***** – Deborah Harkness. A vampire romance. Not my usual choice of light reading but I really loved it. If I’d read any of the reviews on Amazon first – good or bad – I wouldn’t have bought it and can’t quite believe how different people, even some who liked it, have misread the book. It’s a vampire romance, yes, but it’s also a book about academics, about research and, as the author says, about books. It’s set initially in Oxford University. It is apparently the first in a trilogy and I shall be buying the others.

8Mar E Rent Boy Murders * – John Simpson and Robert Cummings. I gave up at p51. The writing was flat and boring. There were plot holes. We already knew who the murderer was and I wasn’t going to spend another 200 pages finding out how the very dull cops caught him. There was gratuitous sex – the cops were both gay and had both recently married but surely we didn’t need blow-by-blow accounts of their sex lives? This book was a waste of time.

10Mar E Clouds and Rain**** – Zahra Owens. This was an m/m romance set on a ranch. The plot (ranch owner falls in love with stable hand) could have been trite but the writer made me really care about the characters and their problems. It wasn’t the best writing in the world but the story left me satisfied. There was a lot of explicit sex but every sex scene was essential to the narrative. A worthwhile read. It’s a companion volume to Earth and Sky, by the same author, telling the story of two of the minor characters. That’s a worthwhile read, too.

12Mar E Let’s Get Digital***** – David Gaughran. An excellent handbook on the whys and hows of self publishing. Has lots of resources and links, too. I read it on my Kindle, in hospital, but have it on my laptop to refer to – probably again and again. He’s on WordPress – go and look for him! http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/author/davidgaughran/

13Mar E Nanny Dearest* – Shawn Bailey. Trash. An m/m romance that simple didn’t work. I didn’t believe in the characters or the plot or even the baby around whom the plot revolved. Poor style, poor writing, poor editing, a waste of space. And this was professionally published so if anything it’s a further push towards self-publishing.

14Mar E Chicken Little*** – Cory Doctorow. A sci-fi novella with some excellent ideas but I found the ending disappointing. I wanted something more – an epilogue? Good writing but the plotting was just slightly too experimental for me. This is the book I bought when my writing was compared to Doctorow’s on the ‘I write like’ site.

16Mar E Last of the Lesser Kings**** – T.L.K.Arkenberg. Fantasy, with an underlying thread of m/m romance and a hefty dose of philosophy about the uses of power. Intriguing but rather erratic – periods of excitement (magic, war, sex) followed by stretches of boredom and too much thought. However, I couldn’t stop reading!

19Mar E Shot of Tequila** – J.A.Konrath. I hated this. Dark, brutal and full of impossible fights and deaths wrapped up in a skimpy plot. I read it, or rather, mostly skimmed it because it was listed on Konrath’s website as the first (chronologically) in the Jack Daniels stories and I’d liked Whiskey Sour. Now I’m not sure whether to try any more.

19Mar E Microsoft Research DRM Talk**** – Cory Doctorow. A short e-book version of an interesting talk by the author explaining the destructive aspects of DRM to Microsoft staff. I’ve been helping prepare some papers arguing for DMCA exemptions, which of course centre round DRM, so the information in this talk was timely and fascinating. The only thing I’ve done is proofreading but it still helps to know a lot of the background. (For anyone who isn’t sure, DRM is Digital Rights Management, the technology that ‘locks’ DVDs, CDs and e-books.)

21Mar E Finding Lisa*** – Carolyn LeVine Topol. A well written but fairly bland book about a woman going through a divorce who finds herself again as a lesbian. Pleasant, and a nice antidote to too much horror and technical stuff. Totally unmemorable but just what I needed at the time I read it.

24Mar E Dawn in the Orchard*** – Cooper West. I’ve been following West’s blog because of her interest in fanfic so decided to try one of her novels. It was a pleasant enough m/m romance, tecnically well written but badly edited. The plot got a bit repetitive and then the ending was rushed. I seem to be getting very critical…

29 Mar P Wonderful Life***** – Stephen Jay Gould. Subtitle: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. Totally absorbing book about paleontology, the revision of early assumptions about the Burgess Shale, and the implications for our history as a species. Gould is a fantastic science writer, making things crystal clear to the interested layman but never compromising the integrity of his thesis. To summarise, the fossils found in the Burgess Shale in Canada suggest contingency rather than any purpose in evolution and add interesting philosophical ideas to Darwin’s central theory. If you like science and history, read this book! But be warned – it took me about a month to get through it!

30 Mar E Bullied**** – Jeff Erno. An interesting, distressing, inspiring book about the bullying of gay teens in America. It takes the form of a number of short stories, each dealing with different teen experiences. Most of the stories, even one that ended in suicide, gave some kind of foundation for hope. I did have a slight problem with it: I found the stories and the characters quite hard to relate to – American teen culture looks remarkably like a very foreign and almost impenetrable country from here and I even had to spend a lot of time getting to grips with the basics of the school system. This was a very worthy book, but also a rather insular one; I think its value would be greater to Americans than to anyone else, and particularly to American teens of any orientation. Read purely as a sociological document in ficional format it gives telling insights into American culture in general in respect of a variety of issues that are quite differently handled elsewhere. Whilst I am not for one moment suggesting that bullying does not take place in UK (I’m an ex-teacher, after all), it would be enlightening to read a UK book on the same subject.

March Viewing

2Mar Cowboys and Aliens.*** Westerns in general meet ‘Alien’ (plus ‘Indiana Jones’) with help from Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. It started well – good concept – but degenerated into trash. Well acted.

5 Mar. Whitechapel.***** (Season 3.)Modern police drama in which the crimes echo Victorian murders. Some preposterous plotting but excellent photography/direction; Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis are a joy to watch. I enjoyed the first two seasons as well and will now look forward to the next.

15Mar The Social Network.**** The story of Facebook, told through flashbacks during the lawsuits that followed its beginnings. The lawsuits were absolutely fascinating. I always knew I didn’t like Facebook… Informative and well done.

19Mar Dirk Gently**** – Season 1. A kind of dark comedy detective series that grows on you. It’s based on characters by the writer Douglas Adams.

20Mar Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.**** I preferred the Alex Guiness version (which I’ve seen twice), and I think I preferred the book (which I’ve read twice) to either. However, I did think Gary Oldman made a better Smiley. This was a mesmerisingly beautiful film but the astounding camera and direction techniques overwhelmed the plot and characterisation. It was full of mega-actors who were given no opportunity to develop the roles they were given. Explanations were missing, truncated or couched in elliptical dialogue. If I hadn’t already known the basic story I think I would have been completely confused. As it is, I still think I only grasped 75% of it and had to discuss the older versions to sort my head out. Worth watching for the visual aspect alone.

25Mar Being Human*****– Season 4. A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf set up house together and try being human… By the end of this season only one of the original cast remained. The plots have got wilder but the acting and direction remain superb. I adore this series.

30Mar Spiral***** – Season 2. We watched season 3 and were so impressed I asked for the boxed set for my birthday. So we have now seen the first two seasons and are still impressed (and might have to watch season 3 again). French cop show (with subtitles) set in Paris where everyone is somehow crooked or incompetent or both – villains, cops, lawyers, etc – and every action is somehow connected with everything else. Superb. Quite violent and dramatic, with wonderful filming and great acting.

I do seem to have a leaning, in both reading and viewing, towards cops and quirky horror. Who knew? If anyone has read or seen any of these, I’d love to have your views!

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in reviews

 

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