The rainstorm that lasted for most of yesterday night and this morning caused floodings all over Bremen. When I got up this morning, the air had a strangely brownish yellowish tinge. Almost like a sandstorm or after a nuclear explosion, though it was just the very intense rain. And when I went to the monthly translators’ meet-up this evening, I saw a THW pump team still hard at work pumping waters from cellars on the local party and disco mile (no, I didn’t go there. I just had to drive past the party and disco mile to get to the restaurant). A street tunnel was also still closed due to flooding this evening.
The translators’ meet-up was fun. We met at Leo’s restaurant as usual. Unfortunately, parking is almost impossible near the Leo’s, even when half the city is not flooded, so my Dad was kind enough to give me a lift and pick me up again. On the way home we stopped for a glass of wine at the Glashaus, a local bar/music venue. The Glashaus used to be really hip approximately fifteen years ago – really hip meaning that it was frequented by football players of Werder Bremen. My Dad and I didn’t start going there until several owner changes later, but we both really like the place.
And now for some links:
At the Atlantic, E.D. Kain wonders why fantasy has gone mainstream of late and whether there is a “fantasy bubble” or not.
The article itself is not very well argued, because it mixes several disparate trends such as the boom in fantastic YA sparked by Harry Potter and later Twilight, the fact that advances in special effects technology made film and TV adaptions of seminal fantasy works possible and the popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire that was boosted by the current TV series. Never mind that the twenty percent growth of fantasy sales between 2005 and 2010 referenced in the article is far more due to the popularity of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, subgenres which the author does not acknowledge at all, than to George R.R. Martin and epic fantasy. And indeed the Telegraph article linked in the Atlantic article names Twilight as the cause for the growth of the fantasy genre rather than A Song of Ice and Fire. But then, ignoring the existence of urban fantasy and paranormal romance is fairly normal for a certain segment of the speculative fiction community.
Sarah Rees Brennan has an awesome post about the fact that female characters often cannot be confident without becoming unlikable to someone and how problematic the term Mary Sue is. Great stuff.
Tamora Pierce is not at all pleased about the early 1960s set Playboy bunny and Pam Am stewardess TV shows that were inspired by the success of Mad Men and are set to premier this fall. I already blogged my thoughts about those shows and they pretty much match Tamora Pierce’s.
Though in addition to the fact that a lot of American TV shows are incredibly sexist (so what else is new?) what struck me most in the line-up of new TV shows Tamora Pierce linked to was that some American network apparently saw it fit to remake Identity. Identity? Really?
Now the British show Identity was a huge disappointment for me. I expected to really like it, because the idea was interesting, it starred Keeley Hawes and Shaun Parkes, two actors I like a lot, and besides British crime dramas are almost always worth watching and usually superior to their US counterparts.
Alas, in the end I only watched two episodes of Identity before giving up. First of all, because it turned out that the star of the show was not Keeley Hawes but Aiden Gillen who irritates me to no end*. But the main reason was that even though Identity was supposedly a British show with a British cast and a British setting, it didn’t feel like a British show. It felt like an American show complete with the police officers making condescending remarks about the supposedly immoral behaviour of the victims (Well, he/she was gay/sleeping with a married person/cheating on his wife. It’s not as if they didn’t have it coming). Really, if I want that sort of “Well, they had it coming” condescension, I can watch any Law and Order or CSI franchise. Because one of the things I really like about British television drama (and film, for that matter) is shows are rarely judgemental about the sexual choices of their characters, even if those choices are something other than gay or straight monogamy.
In the end, British viewers no more liked Identity than I did, because the show was canceled after only six episodes. Which leads me to wonder why an American network would choose to remake that particular show when it was not particularly successful and so Americanized that they could just show the original and no one would know the difference. Though much as I hate the practice of American networks remaking successful films and TV shows from other countries, I still prefer it to taking over the original and Americanizing it, which is what happened to Torchwood.
One show that I hope will never ever be Americanized (because you know they would only destroy it) is my current favourite Misfits. Though the US has apparently taken notice, because the Los Angeles Times has an interview with Robert Sheehan who plays Nathan in Misfits.
What is notable about this interview – aside from the fact that interested US-viewers can apparently watch Misfits via Hulu, though I wonder whether the episodes are edited for sex and bad language (several instances of the C-word, mostly uttered by Nathan, as well as any other bad word you can think of) – is that Robert Sheehan very clearly states that Misfits is more drama than comedy. Indeed, most appraisals of the show seem to focus on the fact that it is often side-splittingly funny, largely due to the utterly unbelievable things Nathan says and does. But even though Misfits can be incredibly funny, it is not a comedy and indeed the show made me cry almost as often as it made me laugh. Instead, the humour is the teaspoon of sugar that sweetens a very harsh criticism of how the British justice system in particular and British society in general treats young people.
I should really check out the LA Times more often, because they also have some clips from an abandoned 1964 TV pilot starring a toga-clad William Shatner as Alexander the Great and Adam West, the late 1960s Batman, as Alexander’s good pal Cleander. This is slashy as hell.
Tor-com has a lovely tribute to L.A. Banks.
The Atlantic believes that the end of the fax machine is finally upon us due to Adobe buying and promoting an e-signature system.
This article really misses the point, because it is not just the need for signed documents that keeps fax machines around. I have a fax machine with its own dedicated phone number even and while I use it less than I once did, I still couldn’t go without. And signed documents make up only a small part of the faxes I send and receive.
For a translator, a fax machine is still a vital part of office equipment, because there are – depending on your specialty – still a lot of clients that prefer to fax their documents for translation. I have clients that are computer and internet-resistant. They fax the document, I fax back the translation. I even have one client who regularly faxes handwritten texts to translate. He doesn’t have a computer and doesn’t do computers, though he sometimes asks me to e-mail the translation somewhere. I charge slightly more for faxes, hardcopy documents, non-copyable PDFs, etc…, because these documents are more work for me. But if a client is willing to pay for having his handwritten faxes translated, should I send him away just because I don’t want to deal with fax machines? It’s not just translation customers either. My accountant is more comfortable with faxes than e-mails. The energy company wants the yield of the solar cells on our roof reported by either fax or snail mail. So electronic signature or not (and Adobe is not the first to try something like this), fax machines will hang around for a while yet.
*In an ironic twist, Keeley Hawes’ character Zoe gets Aiden Gillen, also playing an undercover cop, accidentally killed in an episode of Spooks.