First of all, Outlaw Love is a top three e-book bestseller and a top ten book (i.e. print and e-book combined) bestseller in the western category at Amazon Germany. For more, read this post at the Pegasus Pulp blog.
Because I wasn’t sure whether my aphthous ulcer would still impede my speaking abilities, I preordered a DVD player and watched a movie with my students today. The kids have been well behaved the past few weeks and they’re not due to write a test anytime soon, so I don’t see why they shouldn’t get to watch a movie as a treat.
By popular demand, we watched Jurassic Park III, because parts one and two were too long to fit into the 90 minute, two lesson window.
I had seen all three Jurassic Park films at some point, but they all blur together somehow, because frankly they all have the same plot. But what struck me about watching this one again was how it hits absolutely every movie cliché in the book. Tea Leonie’s character, the only female character with any significant screentime in the whole film, is too stupid to live, annoying and screams all the time. I actually used her as an example to explain the concept of the “scream queen” in old B-movies to my students. And while I used to think that Aliens is one of the very few movies where “The black guy always dies first in action and SF movies” actually applies (plenty of black characters die in such films, but they’re rarely the first to go. Mostly, they die via noble sacrifice in the last third of the film), I was clearly wrong, because Jurassic Park III is a textbook example of a film where the lone black character is gobbled up ten minutes into the movie, so they can make a lame joke about a satellite phone ringing in the stomach of a dinosaur (and a pile of dinosaur shit later on).
The kids were completely enraptured (or maybe en-raptored) by the film, but I still found the race and gender politics grating. Indeed, halfway through the film I started cheering for the pterodactyls to eat the cast, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for Torchwood‘s Myfanwy. Indeed, I have the theory that every pterodactyl who has ever appeared in any movie is actually the same pterodactyl. Hence, Myfanwy has had a long and varied career in the film business including parts in the original King Kong, Citizen Kane (there are briefly glimpsed pterodactyls in the background due to reused footage from King Kong), the Jurassic Park series, Torchwood, Primeval (she was a busy pterodactyl that year) and dozens of other films and shows.
In other news, the 2011 Nebula Award nominations have been announced today.
It looks like a good spate of nominees to me. The gender mix is balanced with women nominated in every category except Best Dramatic Presentation. I see several writers of colour nominated as well.
In the Best Novel category, the only “Huh?” nomination is the Jack McDevitt novel. But then Jack McDevitt is an author I have never read and whose name I only notice on awards shortlists, so I can’t really comment. The other four have all gotten a lot of buzz and excellent reviews last year, even though one of them wasn’t to my taste at all. I guess my favourite in this category would be Among Others by Jo Walton.
I haven’t read many of the nominated short stories, novelettes and novellas, but it seems to be a nice mix of rather traditional hard science fiction and more lyrical slipstream or magical realist work.
Finally, I’m pleased to see some love for the wonderful but vastly underrated Attack the Block in the Best Dramatic Presentation category. Though it will probably be creamed by Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife (which was a great Doctor Who episode, even though I have officially given up on the show) and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. Though it will be interesting to see whether Scorsese can win against Neil Gaiman and the Doctor. I don’t think the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris has a whole lot of chances here, because the SFF community doesn’t seem to overlap with Woody Allen’s fandom (even though Allen has made some fine SFF films like Purple Rose of Cairo or Sleeper). On the other hand, Allen did rob Star Wars of its well deserved Oscar with Annie Hall, a silly film about neurotic people in Manhattan.