Away for a Few Days Linkdump

I’ll be away for a few days and since I’m not sure about Internet availability, it may be until the middle of next week until I can post again. However, there will be photos when I’m back.

But in the meantime, here is a linkdump: has a very interesting article by Chen Qiufan about Chinese science fiction. This is a subject I know very little about (I know some Chinese translators, but they don’t do SF), so I was happy to find this overview.

At The Guardian, Joanne Harris muses whether the existence of women’s fiction as a separate subcategory is a sign that that the literary world is still very sexist. It’s one of those articles that make you want to quote How to Suppress Women’s Writing again, which is really depressing considering it came out in 1983. Yet here we are, 31 years later, and very little has changed.

The New York Times offers an extensive profile of James Patterson and his bestseller writing factory. Now James Patterson is one of those writers whose success absolutely mystifies me and his approach to writing and storytelling, as outlined in the article, is pretty much the antithesis to how I approach these things. Still interesting, though, as a glimpse into the dark side.

Apex has an article by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who worked as a screenwriter on Lost, about why Lost succeeded, while so many more or less blatant Lost copies failed. Now I stopped watching Lost halfway through season 2, so it obviously didn’t work for me, but the theses of Javier Grillo-Marxuach are still interesting.

Screenrobot gets into the grimdark debate with this article, in which Taylor Burns laments how the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy suddenly turned every second summer blockbuster into a grey-tinged epos of grimdark misery. Now I am on record as never having been a fan of Christopher Nolan’s work, all the way back to Memento, which arrived in our cinemas with huge accolades from “in the know” US cinemagoers and just flat out sucked. Though in this house we still refer to Jorja Fox’s character on CSI as “Ms. Memento” more than ten years later. As for Nolan’s take on Batman, I kind of liked Batman Begins, flat out hated The Dark Knight and never bothered with the third one. As for the whole grimdark mode in modern entertainment, I have made my views on that clear on more than one occasion.

But luckily there is a solution. Since DC seems to be on a grimdark kick with its superhero movies of late, simply watch Marvel if you want some fun in your summer blockbuster superhero action, mixed with the occasional bit of surprising emotional depth for a superhero movie.

However, back when I still read superhero comics, the bits I always liked best were the quiet moments of the characters hanging out inbetween the big battles and worldshattering events. Very few superhero movies actually manage to capture these moments. The X-Men movies, particularly the second one, have the occasional bit along those lines. So do the Avengersverse movies.

But if you want more, here is an absolute delight: Steve Rogers’ American Captain is a fictional diary comic drawn by Steve Rogers – yes, that Steve Rogers – about adjusting to life in the 21st century, dealing with (or rather failing to deal with) his PTSD and hanging out with the other Avengers. Before he became Captain America, Steve Rogers was an art student (and we actually see him sketching in some of the movies), so it makes sense for him to have a comic diary. And for those of us who always liked the downtime bits best, there is plenty of interaction between Steve, his fellow Avengers and their respective partners. Some really neat bits of characterisation, too, such as Pepper Potts sort of adopting Steve (Tony is not amused) or the fact that everybody uses Bruce Banner as the inofficial team therapist.

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