Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 14:52 on 31-05-2012, Furare
For some reason, the clumsiness of the prose in that blurb bothers me far more than the subject material.
at 11:34 on 31-05-2012, Axiomatic

Ahahahaaaaa~ I don't even know why that's so funny, but the main character being named Jeff makes me helpless with giggles.
at 21:50 on 30-05-2012, Michal
While I could in fact obtain it without any money going to the author...I really don't want to.

I'm not like Kyra. I can't force myself to read books I don't like for the good of the team. Or spend money on them.
at 21:09 on 30-05-2012, Arthur B
Oh yay, there's a Kindle version!

Oh, boo, it's £1.92 (which is £1.92 more than I want to give to the author).
at 21:01 on 30-05-2012, Michal
So, a while back I mentioned seeing a self-published novel about evil environmentalists. Well, I checked back at the used bookstore--the novel is The Light of Day by James Byrd. Here's the description:

Those who hate humanity have taken over the environmental movement. The environmental movement has taken over the world’s governments. Those governments have joined together to form The World Consortium on Government, Labor, and the Environment, and have moved everyone underground to isolate people from the environment and save the world. However, not everyone wants to live underground. Not old man O’Hara. That’s why he joined the Resistance, but that was years ago. Now he is living underground with a son who despises him and with whom he has nothing in common; eating synthetic food, breathing synthetic air, and only seeing synthetic light, except when the guards see fit to open the topside. It would be a dismal existence if not for his grandson Jeff. Jeff is everything he imagined his son would be: smart, independent, inquisitive, defiant, everything except free, but that’s about to change.

A series of events that begins with Jeff’s inquisitiveness and ends with his defiance and the death of his grandfather, thrusts him into an unknown world. It’s a world where the sun shines, and the wind blows, where people generate their own electricity and thieves are hanged by the side of the road. Jeff finds love, friendship, the truth about his grandfather and the hero he truly was. He finds that killing and dying for what you believe in is sometimes both necessary and painful.

I think that speaks for itself, really.
at 13:06 on 30-05-2012, Cammalot
Oh, I wasn't rooting for anybody. (In fact, I was expecting the ending to be much darker than it was, and when all is said and done it was pretty dark.)

I'm beginning to seriously worry about my taste. Because I think that under a layer of execrable dialogue, there might have been a big kernel of genius there. (As it was, the dialogue keeps it from being a really biting satire. Not from trying to be, though.)

What it did is make me wonder if this is going to be the future of media, which also makes me... agitated. If the studio system continues to crumble (or so they say), will we begin to get things that are maybe less derivative, but more severely unpolished? Will something step in to replace the current "polishing" process, nudge things toward their full potential? (Caveat -- I am thinking of the U.S. studio system, and I'm aware that this film is a Norway/Finland/Australia production, but its nature -- Internet-funded fannish project, if I'm not mistaken -- is a thing I'm seeing spreading pretty rapidly, and really taking off now that Kickstarter is getting big.)

Michal, I don't think it was respectful of anything, really. But it does set itself firmly in the "future," barely even mentioning the Shoah or anything from the past, or about the causes of the World Wars. It's light. I think the creators are going on the assumption that its target audience will already know -- e.g., there's a scene where
a Nazi exits a showing of "The Great Dictator" all enlightened and demoralized and "they lied to us!", but they're never quite specific about what it is she learned.
It's a very cursory treatment of racism and fascism. I didn't find myself offended, though, or at least no more than usual -- they got wrong a couple of things that I knew they were going to get wrong, but if I spent too much time on that sort of thing I'd be too exhausted to get out of bed each morning. (I could have done without the spontaneous wardrobe malfunction, but there was only one of those.)

It is a bad film, but also sort of... not. Sorting that out in my brain.
at 04:29 on 30-05-2012, Michal
When I saw the trailer for Iron Sky the first time, I thought:

a. This could be awesome (SPACE NAZIS pulpy goodness); and
b. This could be needlessly offensive and awful.

Considering my general sensitivity to everything involving the Second World War and the fact that I usually find anything making light of the Holocaust disgusting, I'm waiting for a review that actually delves into these matters. I have yet to find one.

Of course, the sheer terror of seeing Sarah Palin as president of the United States might also reduce some to tears.
at 01:38 on 30-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
All I will say about my beliefs is that I should be kept as far away from political power as possible. Giving me the right to vote is treading on thin ice as it is.

Guys...I saw Iron Sky. I... I don't know how I feel about the world or myself anymore...

I had that reaction after seeing Lord of War, but I suspect it wasn't for the same reasons.

Is the idea of rooting for the Nazis bothering you? Because I did that when I saw Dead Snow and it didn't bother me. (In fairness, though, they were a unit of revenant Nazis who'd spent several decades under a glacier, and they were only killing the stupid white Norwegian teens who stole their stolen treasure. They were also rather crafty for the walking dead, for what it's worth.)
at 01:08 on 30-05-2012, Cammalot
Guys...I saw Iron Sky. I... I don't know how I feel about the world or myself anymore...
at 23:21 on 29-05-2012, Guy
Personally, I am a Monarcho-syndicalist. It's like anarcho-syndicalism except that instead of solving the problem of collective action through trade unions, it's done with thousands of separate hereditary rulers each acting as a fount of honour.
at 22:28 on 29-05-2012, Shim

I... suppose I just assumed we were all working towards absolute global government by hyperintelligent robots. I mean, without Asimototalitarianism, how will people like Hilary Mantell be prevented from publishing books and directed into less harmful pursuits, like adding a third strand of fungal genes to our DNA or sculpting ninety-foot marble statues of Brian Blessed?

You are at least Orthodox Wodehousians, right?? I mean I really can't see how else to read Arthur's articles, but now you've got me second-guessing everything. Is this some kind of joke..?
at 22:11 on 29-05-2012, James D
That's in front of his head.
at 22:10 on 29-05-2012, Arthur B
Has he shaved off his walrus-'stache?
at 22:08 on 29-05-2012, James D
It's just that anyone touches a hair on his walrus-like head is a dead man A DEAD MAN YOU HEAR ME

Luckily, there actually aren't any hairs left on his head at this point.
at 21:24 on 29-05-2012, Michal
Anyway, it should've been clear from my postings here that I'm actually a Zen Anarcho-Catholic Marxist Libertarian. This is the first I've heard that anyone else on Ferretbrain didn't follow my political leanings!
at 19:44 on 29-05-2012, Arthur B
It's not about full service, good god no.

It's just that anyone touches a hair on his walrus-like head is a dead man A DEAD MAN YOU HEAR ME
at 19:41 on 29-05-2012, Michal
I don't know if you have the honour of full service to Lord Wolfe. Have you received the accolade? Have you a manor and proper horse, armour and sword with which to defend him? or, barring that, a pool noodle of some sort?

(I'm reading The Wizard-Knight at the moment, if you can't tell.)
at 19:22 on 29-05-2012, Arthur B
Wouldn't we all though? Raising a hand to Wolfe would be sacrilege.
at 19:12 on 29-05-2012, Michal
The former. He has fully hunting rights on my estate and I will take up arms in his defence if need be.
at 18:58 on 29-05-2012, Arthur B
a Gene Wolfian feudalist

Do you mean a Gene Wolfian feudalist as in you have personally sworn fealty to Gene Wolfe, or do you mean a Gene Wolfian feudalist as in you think Gene Wolfe's ideas about feudalism would be cool beans if we actually implemented them?
at 18:38 on 29-05-2012, Michal
Ferretbrain may not have much of a collective manifesto, but don't forget about the wishy-washy Liberal doctrine about which we are famously fundamentalist.

Well, as a Gene Wolfian feudalist I must object to this unfair characterization of Ferretbrain's members!
at 22:47 on 28-05-2012, Sunnyskywalker
So there is going to be a stage version of Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven which Le Guin herself approves of. The theater company has already performed Cat's Cradle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Alas, I live nowhere near there, but it sounds intriguing.
at 17:31 on 27-05-2012, Adrienne
Hal Duncan totally rocks my socks off. This story is not only a fantastic response to Twilight and its ilk, it's a really sweet and sympathetic exploration of queerness and otherness AND an example of really fascinating worldbuilding.
at 17:07 on 27-05-2012, Sister Magpie
I always assumed McNulty was supposed to be from Baltimore but that West wasn't specifically trying to push a Baltimore accent. I seem to remember him talking about a couple of words he couldn't get right in that way where he'd repeat what the person was saying and think it sounded exactly the same but they didn't agree. I believe the word "Baltimore" was impossible for him to mimic in an actual Baltimore accent--which is really common, I think, that the name of the place you're from has the most recognizable local pronunciation. Like nobody can say Australia like an Australian etc.

I think McNulty does an exaggerated Baltimore accent when he's pretending to be the serial killer on the phone. Not sure how accurate it is.