Tuesday, 19 February 2013

L-Space 2- Back in the Habit

Worst cover ever?
Hello everybody (all three of you), and apologies for going on an unintended sabbatical from my book reviewing blog. I haven't lost interest in the project, it's just that I've had a much busier month than I expected. As well as working full-time across six days February was also the month of birthdays and valentines; with my girlfriend's birthday being the day before Valentine's Day. Oh yeah, and we got engaged. So I've been distracted....

I don't think I can scramble my thoughts coherently enough right now, on my lunch hour from work (-edit- not any more), to write one of the three proper reviews I've got lined up, so I'm just going to ramble on about some thoughts for a bit until I get bored. Let's start with this; I'm currently reading a 'cool' textbook sort of thing called Introducing Postmodernism (by Richard Appignanesi & Chris Garratt, from Icon Books ltd.), which is all about deconstructing the messy 'genre' of postmodern art, literature and language. I'm not going to do a full review of that because it's just not that interesting to write about, but I will say here that the authors and artists involved do a decent job of trying to simplify and explain the slippery subject for a fairly new audience. I'm kind of okay with postmodernism thanks to some past academic study and quite a few books, but I learned a lot here. Recommended if it's something you're researching, although I haven't finished yet.

Another thing I've just finished reading that I find way more interesting and I'm still not going to review is the Absolute Sandman Volume 3, which is an over-sized, deluxe, extra-filled hard slipcase collection of Neil Gaiman's 90's Gothic comic book masterpiece. I made the decision not to review comic books when I started this blog simply to make it easier to keep up (although it is very tempting), but if this was going to be a full review then it'd be full of superlatives. I absolutely love The Sandman, and these self-indulgent editions are the perfect way to enjoy them. DC Comics Absolute editions are always very, very nice, but also rather expensive and so I would only recommend buying one if you're already sure you love the comic. I've got three others, Absolute Sandman Volumes 1 & 2, and Absolute V for Vendetta. In the meantime, I'm currently collecting two other series as well, Garth Ennis' brutal comedy The Boys, and The Complete Judge Dredd Files. The latter is ongoing, and I'm ready to start volume 10 of more satirical bad-ass sci-fi. I'll probably write more about comics in the future in some form.

For the Discworld fans out there, not only have I got reviews of whatever the next one in ther series is (I should probably already know which one that is... hang on... it's Small Gods, which, spoiler alert, is my favourite one), I also just read Terry Pratchett's A Blink of the Screen- Collected Short Fiction, so that's on the reviewing list. Finally, not long ago I re-watched each of the Sky1 Discworld adaptations (Hogfather, The Colour of Magic, & Going Postal). If you haven't seen them, then they're three hours long but split into two parts each, and they're all very faithful adaptations. The Hogfather was released first about five years ago as a Christmas treat, and it's a pretty good piece of work, but not great. It's hampered by some poor performances and a kind of stylistic uncertainty.

The Colour of Magic is a slight misnomer, as it's actually an adaptation of both that and The Light Fantastic. Starring UK TV favourite David Jason (who also played the much smaller part of Alberto Malich in Hogfather) as Rincewind, this was a big improvement on Hogfather, mostly because the performances are so much better. The budget still looks a little small (probably a lot smaller than it actually was) in comparison with Hollywood movies, and that's not helped by the sheer scope of the story. When you've got a script with translucent battling dragons, indescribable demon creatures from another dimension, and a 100-foot tall angry mountain troll you know you're in trouble.

Going Postal is amazing, from beginning to end. Telling a much calmer, smaller-scale story centered almost entirely in Ankh-Morpork clearly allowed the creators far more freedom and license to really stylize the look of the city; it looks fantastic, a kind of Victorian steampunk London crossed with every other random influence Terry Pratchett ever felt and included in his books. The performances are all excellent, and the story is funny and interesting, although it didn't need three hours to tell.

That's about it. My pile of books to read still grows faster than I can tackle it. I haven't bought a book in about a week though, so I think I'm doing pretty well. Until next time...