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Messages - Wroclaw

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Promote Your Projects / Re: Eibonvale Anthology: "Where Are We Going?"
« on: March 04, 2011, 08:42:16 am »
Thanks, Ally, David will be tickled to hear you say that. You better speed up with the reading though :), because another two are coming out very soon: Bloody War by Terry Grimwood and Automatic Safe Dog by Jet McDonald...

Promote Your Projects / Eibonvale Anthology: "Where Are We Going?"
« on: March 03, 2011, 10:06:41 pm »
Up-and-coming publisher of Surreal/Horror/Sci Fi/Slipstream: Eibonvale Press, are looking for submissions for Allen Ashley's next anthology "Where Are We Going?" until 30th April 2011.
Here is the link to the full guidelines:
Allen has a strong track record for fascinating anthologies, having previously edited Elastic Press' Subtle Edens and PS Publishing's Catastrophia to name only two. This is also a good way to get your name and work read and known by Eibonvale, who are as unconventional and open-minded as publishers get, so get writing.

TV and Film / Re: Film: Gattaca (1997)
« on: January 03, 2011, 08:26:42 pm »
Yes, Tony, you're right. It's a cracker. Stylistically beautiful. Retro-styled cars actually occured in the real award only AFTER this film I think you'll find. Beautiful use of a Frank Lloyd Wright building too... and Gore Vidal.

And worth noting, I think, that it was one of Jude Law's first "big" films (as a secondary character) before he himself began to be called big.

An under appreciated film generally.

General Discussion / Re: Permissions....
« on: July 07, 2010, 10:50:14 pm »
Yes. I wouldn't want to piss off the Crowley estate.

Yes, nice one, Jim. Shall I write that short story or shall you? Crowley's bailiffs turn up with cloved hooves and spiky tails under their suits... :D

TV and Film / Re: Avatar
« on: June 13, 2010, 12:52:27 pm »
Watched Avatar last night, at last. I see now why the aliens had to look like punchable American teenagers: if the facial expressions were too alien the audience would have been unable to relate to them. Damn, I found that 15 foot blue girl quite attractive...  makes me feel kinky just admitting that.

Of course, at one literal level it was the most ridiculous hokum (floating sky islands defying gravity while water falls normally... Roger Dean would have been well advised to sue) with all the expected macho Hollywood clichés. Then again, at a metaphorical level it worked very well, and indeed is an utterly blatant anti-war-in-Iraq statement. Unobtainium (can't believe they used that term) = oil? Also, then the macho clichés could be read as part of the satire. Significant, with all the other options possible, that they chose to have helicopter-type human vehicles, to recall Vietnam and more recent debacles. If they'd released this film say three years earlier, I think it might have run into real trouble with right-wing critics.

Of course, visually it was utterly stunning, and the years of research gone into creating alien lifeforms and scenery and culture are a milestone: showing us what a moment in human imaginative development we have really arrived at now. So are we ready to meet real aliens? Ha ha, the film could be read as a public information film offering a very uncomfortable answer to that, then again, the fact that we are capable of such circumspection is in itself a kind of salvation, but not enough, I fear. That black safety curtain cordoning off our solar system shall remain in force for another century yet one suspects...

I have a theory that Hollywood's films can be read like the dreams of a vast mind, and that films like this are very revealing of the state of the western psyche. Never before have I seen a film that expresses such wistful national self-loathing on the part of America. It's a good sign, and if the latest “Insurgents” (Taliban) could swallow their pride and drag themselves to a good cinema, I reckon they'd be dancing in the aisles. Hell, it's just entertainment, I know that too. Nobody could watch this film and not be hugely entertained and that's the bottom line. Even occasionally, despite your best efforts to resist its sticky-sweet moments, moved, let's face it. It's our own very tragic human history they're busking with, even though they didn't ask our permission to do it, and you'd have to be a numbskull not be emotional about that.

Like all good sci-fi, Avatar is a warning rather than a statement of what will necessarily ever happen. The statement that Earth has been laid waste is cleverly held back until the end of the film, lest we have too much sympathy for the real "aliens": us. It is not too late for us to halt the deforestation and destruction of our own eco-system. To me, this film seems to foreshadow a complete schism in society between the vested interests of our current way of life, and those who are tired of it. The most alienating recent American experience has been the so-called War On Terror, and Avatar in a way is its mirror image. That something so alienating as to turn ourselves into the villains could also be so universally entertaining is a perverse miracle, and to be applauded.

As a footnote: I was interested by the ridiculous but endearing notion in the film of every creature on Pandora having a kind of USB lead dangling from its hair, waiting to be connected up to fellow creatures. The stuff of weird dreams indeed. A great example of how, as predicted, Mankind will redefine itself in terms of the machine. There is a deep terror as well as appeal about such a notion, and there are disabled people as we speak cruising the net via neural implants. Like I said, try reading these films like dreams of the disturbed, and you’ll discover a whole new level. Funnily enough, there’s more mileage for this kind of psychoanalysis in these big blockbusters than in better arthouse films, possibly because of the huge teams of people that work on them. But that comes back to my theory of latent group-consciousness, and that will have to wait for another day... :-*

Promote Your Projects / Re: Nemonymous (Megazanthus Press)
« on: April 23, 2010, 10:41:17 pm »
Yup. I think we're both on to him now :o. Unmask that scoundrel !

Promote Your Projects / Re: Nemonymous (Megazanthus Press)
« on: April 23, 2010, 10:14:31 pm »
If I guess who you are, Fred, do I get a prize for that? I think I recognise that poetic style of yours.... ;)

Promote Your Projects / Re: Metrophilias
« on: April 23, 2010, 09:45:02 pm »
Looks great, Brendan. I've gone and ordered a copy, how keen is that. Don't you have another book coming out soon from Eibonvale? ;D

Books / Re: Your top-ten favourite novelists?
« on: April 06, 2010, 10:19:04 pm »

Is this the point where someone chimes in with "I'm not a number, I'm a free man!" ;)

Or free woman ?  :'( (retires into the corner beneath a hail of violently-thrown macho zombie paperbacks)...

Books / Re: Your top-ten favourite novelists?
« on: April 02, 2010, 09:57:06 am »
Although I didn't start this thread, I might be said to be responsible for introducing the gender issue into it. I think almost everyone is making interesting points. M P Ericson's research is enlightening, and Stephen's quote from Virginina Woolf and his last point there about how this "genre" we're in here may contain a certain bias that's not so marked in the wider field. I'm afraid I side with M P Ericson, and indeed I would add racism into the pot: we're each a seething mass of unconscious prejudices picked up from our parents and centuries of oppression of the weak and dispossessed. This won't change overnight, and the only wise thing to do is to look into yourself and acknowledge it and try to counteract it with your conscious mind. I might also add that I often write about gender issues, and use pseudonyms of the opposite sex to try to guard against the prejudice I anticipate in the editors. I have sometimes fooled people as to my sex, which I'm tempted to take as a compliment as to my imaginative and empathetic abilities. I think this is the challenge for us all, as writers and as people: the sexes are interestingly different in many ways (not just physical before you snigger!), and we ought to examine and learn from this in order to grow as individuals and as a species. A writer dares to talk about Humanity, and humanity (statement of the obvious, I know), is what you get only with men and women together. And with gay people, the masculine and feminine principle is internalised, before anyone shoots me down for hetero-prop'...

Books / Re: Your top-ten favourite novelists?
« on: March 30, 2010, 08:50:26 pm »

The further we can get away from the idea that white-male-ablebodied-Westernhemisphere-middleclass-straight is the norm for humanity in general, the better pleased I'll be. But that's beyond the scope of this particular discussion.

I wholeheartedly agree, and I think it's a good thing to discuss, here and everywhere.

Books / Re: Your top-ten favourite novelists?
« on: March 30, 2010, 06:32:36 pm »

Choosing around 50% female authors got commented on as choosing "markedly [...] more female authors", but choosing only male authors didn't get commented on at all. Statistically, the first would be expected from random distribution whereas the second can only be achieved by systematic bias.

Yes, this is probably what I was getting at (I had a 50% option of saying "men read markedly less female authors".. would you have preferred that? Language lays traps for us), along with something particular about this "genre" perhaps. My favourite writer of all time is Eudora Welty, closely followed by Ursula Le Guin, both women, as indeed might I be for all you know.... Provided it is good writing, I generally prefer to read a female perspective on the world, given the choice.

Books / Re: Your top-ten favourite novelists?
« on: March 26, 2010, 08:20:10 am »
By way of sheer insanity :o, here are my top ten authors beginning with "B"

J G Ballard
John Banville
John Burnside
Wolfgang Borchert
Harold Brodkey
Charles Bukowski
Mikhail Bulgakov
Andre Breton
Samuel Beckett
Greg Bear

There must be something about that letter, because that was spookily easy to do...

British Fantasy Awards / Re: British Fantasy Awards 2010: Longlist
« on: March 24, 2010, 10:37:12 pm »
You put your cross next to Theaker's Quarterly, of course.  ;)

This is dangerous advice on a public forum, Stephen, with a UK General Election due any day... they do say people get confused... you could end up running the country's first Horror Fantasy government (or was that Thatcher?). Hung parliament? Hang the lot of 'em...  ;D

Books / Re: Your top-ten favourite novelists?
« on: March 24, 2010, 07:48:58 pm »
On that kick I would have added Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O Connor, Anna Kavan, and Ilse Aichinger...

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