Err on the side of confusion

A bit of advice to writers of TV, movies and books alike: I’d rather be confused than treated like an idiot.

People generally aren’t as slow as you seem to think, dear writers of the stuff I read and watch. You don’t have to make that hint so painfully obvious, or explain this concept or piece of technology in such eye-rolling detail to me. It makes you and your character seem uncomfortably stupid.

I know you’re not that dumb, so don’t assume I am.

Thanks in advance,

A reader.

Finish it, you hand-wringing sloth

Whenever I need a boost in confidence I go to the bargain section in the supermarket and pick up one of those thrillers where the cover is the silhouette of a guy running down a dark alley.

Yeah, I can write better than that. You know why that guy has a novel sitting on bookshelves in stores and I don’t? Cause he finished the god damn thing instead of fretting about how good or bad it was.

Time to do that.

Fossils, not waves

People often think of their words and actions as waves, rolling across the surface, visible but impermanent, ephemeral, inconsequential. But each word you say, each smile you give, each helping hand you extend can fossilize in the memory of someone, to stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Think back to a fond memory you have. It could be a kind comment from a friend, an unexpected word from a stranger, a wisdom received from someone respected. Now ask yourself if anyone else who was there remembers it themselves? Despite the perceived unimportance of these things to those who give them, you remember them, they stick with you, they are a part of your mythology of self.

You are not a soon-vanished ripple, you are not a gentle wind. Pieces of you will remain lodged inside the minds of those you pass by, long after you yourself have forgotten them.

The girl who girled a girl

What is with all these books? I mean, I haven’t read any of them, though I did watch the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series (the original Swedish ones, not the confusing American remakes released like, the very next year [what the hell is the point of remaking the exact movie a year later with a new cast?? Well that’s another subject..]).

Are these titles supposed to be hinting at a specific genre of thrillers? What is it? Or are they just latching onto coat tails of popular books with similar titles? It’s worth noting that the referenced ‘girl’ is rarely a girl at all. Are there no ‘the woman who’ books? Are there any ‘the boy who’ book, and are they all about grown men?

It’s time

For daily blogging!

I have at least one thought a day, don’t I? We all must, or what would life be but a series of autonomous responses to our environment?

I am going to write down thoughts! What a concept. And what better place than here for the world to see! Or more likely ignore, and possibly unsubscribe after daily thought-spam.

Oh well. My fingers need the exercise. Let’s see how many days in a row I can make it, and why wait till the new year for this resolution? Every day is the beginning of a new year, so lets go!

First thoughts:

Why does everyone write the same first-person pov character? They are all snarky ‘quirky’ arrogant pricks. Is it just a vehicle for the author’s ego? What is it?? Whatever it is, it’s annoying. Stop it. Just write a normal person. Or better yet write in third person so I don’t have to hang around in the head of an asshole and can just observe them being their quirky, unique, witty selves from a distance.

Till tomorrow!

Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks: A hell of a story

This is the 8th Culture novel, and the third that I’ve read, and so far I think it’s the most memorable.

The story focuses on virtual reality, and mainly the virtual realities different civilizations create for their afterlives. Some of them being hells.

With the ability to record, copy and / or upload consciousness, comes the possibility of completely immersive  virtual reality, without even the need for a body. And in certain civilizations, after you die you may be subjected to a continued existence in hell–a virtual world created for the sole purpose of torturing those within it.

Many people (the Culture included) feel that hells are barbaric and uncivilized and should not be allowed, and war breaks out over the debate, the other side insisting they need the threat of the hells to keep their people in line.

This book really made me wonder about reality, and how we can even know it is real. There have been articles here and there, quoting scientists and other popular figures stating that they believe there is a good chance we are living in a virtual reality. But what would make it ‘virtual’? If it’s all we know, then it is all there is as far as we are concerned–isn’t that the definition of ‘real’?

It is a scary thought, though, to consider that we might be nothing but lines of code, able to be manipulated at a whim by whoever is in control of whatever program we are living in. And if whoever is controlling our world in this hypothetical is anything like us humans, then that could be a very terrifying situation indeed…

Fantastic beasts without story are a fantastic bore

I saw the new Harry Potter universe movie over the weekend, and although I’m not a big Harry Potter fan, my wife is, and she was literally asleep next to me in the theater.

The problem with this movie is a lack of consequence. The characters, though likable, are not in any danger for over half the movie. We have crazy creatures running wild in the city, and we gotta catch ’em all, but there is no reason for the viewer to care if the characters succeed or not when the only consequence for failure is us getting to see the creatures smash things and cause havoc.

And that isn’t even a real consequence, because with the wave of a wand all the damage is reversed, leaving us with pointless chase scenes that might as well never have existed after they are over.

What this movie fails to realize is that showing us cute, weird or scary creatures with no purpose, is boring. This is evidenced by an excruciatingly long scene in which we tour the protagonists personal zoo of rare beasts he’s trying to protect. One after the other after the other we are shown creative (though obviously, and almost cartoon-like CG) animals that serve no purpose in the story and have no effect on anything. This entire probably 20 minute scene could have been cut with no loss of continuity and no impact on the story at all.

Later, the characters are unfairly threatened with death and have to escape, and the movie is interesting for a while, but it takes way too long to get to that point, and by then I was just waiting for it to be over.

And when it is over, much like most of the action scenes in the movie, it is all fixed with the wave of a wand and no consequences of anything that happened in the movie remain, leaving me to wonder what the point of making this movie was in the first place.

Flashes of light and color, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Not recommended, except for the biggest Potter fans.