Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Snippets

Rich Kids of Instagram. It's funny there actually are rich people like this. With kids. Who are so unaware of the world it's funny.

Need a Debit Card? It's also funny that there are people THIS DUMB in the world.

New web series H+. OMG you have to check out this web series! You can watch the first six episodes at the link, but I believe they are going up on YouTube as well. About computer implants inside of your head (only a matter of time, let's be honest) and philosophical questions about what it means to be human. Very well done! They aren't as long as regular tv episodes, for instance the first ep is seven minutes long. new episodes are posted every Wednesday at http://www.youtube.com/user/HplusDigitalSeries?feature=watch.

Best "Wash Me" Message Ever.

Strange Chemistry. The YA imprint of Angry Robot Books is about to launch it's first books. I love AR, and I am equally excited for what SC is putting out. Amanda Rutter, the lead (?) editor also keeps a great blog at the imprint's website. They've posted excerpts from the first four books at the link, but here are the two books I'm most excited for:

 
 
I've been inputing all my notes into Scrivener on my laptop. I hesitated to do this for a while because I only have the 30 day trial, and I didn't want to get used to using Scrivener when I'm not sure when I'll break down and buy the program. I've been avoiding it for a while because I didn't want to spend the money, though as far as the price goes it's cheap for a program with as many features as it has. Pretty much all I use it the Corkboard feature, but I haven't been able to find something similar for cheaper, so Scrivener it is. The iPad version is due to release by the end of this year, and it's going to be ridiculously hard to keep myself from buying a freaking iPad, for even more convenience since it'll be much less to carry. I have a small laptop, but it's still a pain in the ass to carry around in my purse. And if I'm going to tie my writing to a program that cannot be hauled back and forth on a flash drive for use between computers, I'll need something as portable as possible to keep it with me. I'm really trying *not* to buy an iPad. I'm not a fan of the hoops Apples forces users to jump through. PC all the way!

HOOOLLLYY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME.
Ok, so it's entirely possibly that I am way more excited about this than you are going to get. I found this on Kristin Cashore's blog, in her love letter to the Bourne movies. (We just saw Bourne Legacy over the weekend. It was awesome. Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz together were awesome. But check out KC's blog, she says it better than me.) The Piano Guys are the same people who did the Dueling Cellos with Lightsabers video, and a bunch of other cool ones. How do they get the resources for these videos? I mean, they're awesome!! Ok, so I should explain that I really love music. And I'm not talking pop songs on the radio (although I can get behind those too, especially acoustic songs) I mean the orchestrated kind. Movie scores and the like. Not so much classical, solely because I can't stand the sound of a harpsichord. Listen to this and tell me you don't think that's awesome. I DARE YOU.

The Avenger's gag reel was removed from io9 at Disney's request. Instead, take some gags from Serenity and Firefly instead. =]

Days like this I really love the internet.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cloud Atlas

And so begins the horrendously long review/discussion of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I saw Laini Taylor raving about the movie trailer on her Twitter, and holy freaking god did it get me hooked. I went to the bookstore immediately after work because I couldn't even wait long enough to go home before starting the book. Before you go any further, dear reader, watch the trailer. Also check out this article, which has a neat little video from the three (3!) directors who are all way smarter than most of the people on the earth. The movie's out October 26! I've been making everyone I know watch the trailer. Here's an interview with the author (where I think he cleverly managed to NOT answer every one of the questions), and the BBC World Book Club interview, specifically about Cloud Atlas (no spoilers, I promise!).

A synopsis, from BN:
Cloud Atlas begins in 1850 with Adam Ewing, an American notary voyaging from the Chatham Isles to his home in California. Along the way, Ewing is befriended by a physician, Dr. Goose, who begins to treat him for a rare species of brain parasite. Abruptly, the action jumps to Belgium in 1931, where Robert Frobisher, a disinherited bisexual composer, inveigles his way into the household of an infirm maestro who has a beguiling wife and a nubile daughter. From there we jump to the West Coast in the 1970s and a troubled reporter named Luisa Rey, who stumbles upon a web of corporate greed and murder that threatens to claim her life. And onward, to an inglorious present-day England; to a Korean superstate of the near future where neocapitalism has run amok; and, finally, to a postapocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii in the last days of history.

       But the story doesn't even end there. The narrative then boomerangs back through centuries and space, returning by the same route, in reverse, to its starting point. Along the way, Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.

To be honest, I was much more into the potential of the book than I was into the book itself. I couldn't wait to get to the part where everything clicked together and became Holy Fucktastic Awesome (!) and it became my favorite book of all time because of it's dealings with reincarnation and souls drifting through time. But really it was just six novellas that only mildly coincided with each other, and on the trailing half of the book I was reading it just to finish the damn thing. (You can tell how excited I sounded in the first paragraph, which I wrote last week so I didn't forget any of the links I wanted to include.)

I held out hope until the very last page (there were an overwhelming amount of Amazon reviews that said they immediately flipped to the beginning after finishing the book), but then I got to the end and I just don't get it.

Okay. I get that the characters are the same souls, reincarnated and finding each other through time. I get that. But aside from a couple of obvious references to the other stories, I just don't get how the stories are supposed to "talk" to each other. I expected an epic turn-around point when the middle story ends and we start going back into the past. But there was nothing there with any kind of meaning other than "Ok, on to the next story."

I was originally going to talk about each novelette, because while I was reading I had so many questions and so many plans for a great discussion. But then the stories would finished, and none of my questions would be answered, or even hinted at, and it all amounted to just a disappointment. Seriously, am I missing something? Is there a vein running through the book that I completely overlooked? Maybe it was my expectations. I've heard so many good things about Cloud Atlas I expected to rethink my worldview. Or an amazing love story that stretched over the millenia. I don't want to talk about each story, because I wanted to talk about the book as a whole.

But listen. The book did wonderful things with language, and in a way is a study in how language evolves and cycles through time. If your into that kind of thing, reading a book for the way it plays with words, then you may still love this book. I'm thinking Clockwork Orange, The Confidence Man, and Tom Jones here. I didn't like any of those books. I wanted a story, not a thinly-veiled study in linguistics.

I guess I shouldn't be so beat-it-down harsh. I still enjoyed parts of it, especially Sonmi's story, and it still made me laugh out loud at times. But ultimately it suffered from short-story syndrome, where I just can't get into it and fall in love with the characters. Sonmi's story was my favorite, and Zachary and Robert's stories are pretty close for second place. Robert's had the best ending.

I'm still excited for the movie, and for the actors' and directors' interpretation of the book. I am more than happy to let them to all the existential pondering for me so I can just sit back and watch the translation on the screen. I can get so much more out of body language from an actor than I can from 19th century literature.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Snippets

LibriVox. Free audiobooks to download of books in the public domain, read by volunteers.

The Story Board - Episode 1. An hour of Urban Fantasy with Pat Rothfuss and cool guests. The amazingness is already leaking through your monitor, so no other description is necessary.

The Other Side of the Story. An awesome writing blog ridiculously full of great articles. I've been linked to this blog before for the odd essay, but have never really scrolled through it seriously. Shame on me. It's pretty much an MFA program of awesome but without the tuition and residency bills.

BBC World Book Club. Hour long interviews with authors of new and old releases. Definitely check it out, you're bound to find something that'll be worth listening to.

The Thought Project. A photographer stopped people on the street, took their picture, and asked them what they were thinking. Neat to see that my thoughts aren't the only ones that are random, broken, meaningless, or insightful at times.

I really like this idea.

In writing news, I am. Slowly but surely. And I'm not telling you about it.