Short Break…

I know I just got back, but I need a break from the break, so to speak.

Right now, I’m totally immersed in two totally different projects–Dying Earth story and Predator novel (Horia, you don’t die)–while also reading Alexander Theroux’s new novel, totally different from everything else, for review, while also interviewing both Steven Erikson and Steve Erickson, while also doing a bevy of graphic novel reviews. It’s not that it’s too much. It’s that it’s all too different. I need to shut off all other, different things, like this blog, before I get the bends.

Unless something incredible occurs that I have to write about, I’m not back until after December 1st.

Jeff

PS Veniss Underground is now available on Zee Infernal Device.

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Idiocracy: Satire Not Science Fiction

We finally got to see Idiocracy, and were pleasantly surprised by the movie. As I’m sure has been noted, this isn’t SF so much as satire of our current times. Although the movie indulges in some of the same stupidity it’s trying to send up, the core of the film is sound. By simply increasing the present day’s stupidity level by a factor of 10, Idiocracy, sometimes painfully, points out not just how retarded we have allowed our consumer society to make us, but also how much we prize that slack-jawed, spittle-producing approach, mostly by downplaying and denigrating intelligence rather than rewarding it.

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Knocked Up…Oy

On the airplane back to the United States, Ann and I had the misfortune to see Knocked Up, a worthless piece of crap that I stopped watching about forty-five minutes in, although Ann watched the whole thing and told me I missed nothing. Here’s the movie in a nutshell: stupid slob sleeps with beautiful woman under drunken circumstances that are still not believable, woman gets pregnant, and eventually they learn to live with it, dumb-ass guy’s flaws becoming endearing while he also reforms somewhat (also unbelievably). The humor is flat, the acting broad, and the whole thing is shot like some kind of in-joke. “This here actor is funny, so this here scene should be funny even if it was written by someone who wears half of their brain on the outside due to a bizarre tuna cannery incident.” Enough said.

Jack Vance’s Dying Earth

I just read The Dying Earth by Jack Vance, in advance of writing the rough draft of my story “The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod,” destined (I hope) for the Vance DE antho being edited by Dozois and Martin. I have to admit that I didn’t know what to expect, because I’d only ever read Vance’s Dying Earth stories piecemeal back when I was a teenager. I remembered enjoying them very much back then, but would my reading tastes have changed so drastically that the stories didn’t hold up?

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Review of Zeroville by Steve Erickson, Wash Post

Here’s my review of Zeroville, in the Washington Post Book World.

My first encounter with Steve Erickson was Arc d’X, which I devoured in 1993 while fatigued and feverish and bedridden. In that context, it became one of the great reading experiences of my life, virtually phantasmagoric. But I don’t know if Arc d’X would have seemed any less hallucinogenic under normal conditions. Over his entire career Erickson has challenged readers with a fiercely intelligent and surprisingly sensual brand of American surrealism that can, at times, seem impenetrable.

Review: Sunshine (screened at Utopiales)

Beautifully filmed, often transcendent, Sunshine is the latest and most artistically successful of the Freddy Kruger Nightmare on Elm Street movies, although studio executives have made the smart decision not to advertise this fact. Wise indeed, since this installment is likely to appeal as much to tattered, love-lorn graduate students studying at liberal colleges as to drunken frat boys looking for a cheap thrill. (Note: Some spoilers follow.)

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Peter Bebergal Walks the Plank for His Faith

Peter Bebergal is half of the writing team responsible for the wonderful new nonfiction book from Bloomsbury USA called The Faith Between Us. It’s an energizing discussion about friendship and religion, and I’ve written more about it on the Amazon blog today. Check out the short review there, but stay here for the “walking the plank” interview I conducted with Peter via email (also check out The Faith Between Us website.)

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