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.
Also, I was introduced to iTunes over the holidays, and I found this: a musical accompaniment to Ligotti's "In A Foreign Town, In A Foreign Land" stories by the postindustrial/experimental Brit group Current 93. Looking at their discography they appear to be fans of Mr. Ligotti.
- I thought it would have been a much better film if it had avoided the "creepy masked killers" angle entirely (because we already have The Strangers) and instead just concentrated on the early conflict between the dad and the daughter's boyfriend. Have dad and boyfriend go into a room privately to thrash out their differences, then have gunshots blare out and the two men burst out of the room in different directions, both claiming that the other drew first. Boom bang, you suddenly have a family civil war playing out within the confines of a suburban house.
- On which note, the mass killing of the poor the film plays out would of course be a near-inevitable consequence of the Purge, but I think they missed the point that the day after the Purge you'd find an awful lot of security systems being opened up by concerned police to reveal a total massacre of the occupants with no signs of break-in.
- As pointed out by my brother when we were discussing it, if all crime is legal during the Purge, why is it good for the economy? "All" crime includes white collar embezzlement, so shouldn't every company of every significance go bust overnight as its management plunders its accounts for all they're worth?
In short, the filmmakers pitch The Purge as this big "what if" exercise but then they don't offer anything but the most shallow possible speculation as to what the consequences of the Purge would be.
Also, if the late TNG era don't float your boat, they're working on a second mod set in the pre-TOS days that should be out by the end of the year.
The real trouble began the day you arrived at court. Every last nobleman hides a viper in his smile. How you long for the purity of life in your village, which is currently on fire or something.
But I think my favorite's all these "x in western art history" posts! "Women Rejecting Marriage Proposals In Western Art History". "Families Who Hate Each Other In Western Art History". "Women Having A Terrible Time At Parties In Western Art History". I love it.
How To Tell If You Are In A Soft Science Fiction Novel
How To Tell If You Are In A High Fantasy Novel
On The Conspiracy, that sort of anti-natalist pessimism is supposed to be kind of depressive, I think, but for some reason, I find it sort of endearing. It's sort of like realizing the four truths of Buddhism and then just dwelling on it, instead of trying to accept it.
Ibmiller: I love Zahn's stuff as well - Icarus Hunt and the Quadrail series in particular.
I was wondering when you'd show up for the conversation.
Okay, some of those are really funny, but many feel like they're kind of reaching to make the connection between image and quote - or maybe they require a more in-depth knowledge of of Lovecraft's works to get the full effect. Still an amusing diversion, though, thanks for sharing.
And remember: when you see the preorder button, you will know it is time.
My second favorite of his non-Star Wars stuff that I've read (and there's plenty I haven't gotten to yet), is the five-book Quadrail series, starting with Night Train to Rigel, a sort of noir train thriller ... in space.
Zahn's characters, though hardly Shakespearian, are usually fun, and I love how they often use cleverness and ingenuity to solve the problems they face in unexpected but plausible and exciting ways. Also, the man can pull out some amazing plot twists every so often.
Fair warning: Zahn seems to be pretty oblivious to issues of gender, race, etc.. He's not actively hateful, but every once in a while he'll come up with something which makes me look at the material askance. Or, in the case of Spinneret, on a semi-regular basis, but so far it's the only one, and even it has improved substantially since my last update. But just so you know.
Speaking of paranoia-prone reactionary politics, my journalist friend whose stuff I've linked once or twice before has apparently already gotten quite a bit of flak for basically saying let's not blame Muslims as a whole for the Charlie Hebdo attack or try to explain it in terms of "clash of civilizations" bullshit, mmkay?. (Oh, and also that expressing our compassion for Charlie Hebdo and outrage at the killings need not and ought not be conflated with minimizing or denying their faults.)
I'm disturbed by the apparent suggestion of mental illness as a valid alternative interpretation for the killers' motivation in the third to last paragraph, but otherwise, I think it's a solid and clear-headed article.
It feels waaaaaaaay to early in the year for Hugo talk, and yet all my feeds are brimming with it.
So... it's Jurassic Park, only in China, with a dragon?
Did anyone else hear a low, echoey voice just now?
It sounded sort of like "Neeeext Baaaactaaaa"..? And then there was some ominous chuckling.
Also I had some kind of flashback involving dozens of people called Thomas, who all turned out to be Charles Dickens in disguise.