Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Day The Earth Stood Still (Re-Make)

I missed the first eleven minutes of this remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still", because I was watching an absolutely gripping bit of political theatre.... and perhaps if I had seen the very beginning, I might have enjoyed the movie more.

How is a debate a "debate", if people vote from remote locations without any solemn or otherwise obligation to listen to, and weigh, the arguments for and against the motion? I hope the Jury Trial system never goes the way of the Senate!

My husband tells me that I am in for a real treat when I see the original movie.  He rates the original a 10, and this version a 3.

Reviewers are kinder here

I give kudos to John Cleese for his endearing and totally charming performance as a true world leader, a Nobel prizewinner who keeps a blackboard and chalk in his living room.

The other fine supporting performance was by Jaden Smith as the bigoted little boy who probably did more than his stepmother to convince the unsmiling alien that mankind was worth saving.

The blubber premise grossed me out, frankly. I won't say more even though I don't consider it a major spoiler... unlike the idea of carrying a bit of ones own blubber/placenta around with one in a little jar in case of accidents, and even smearing some of it inside an inconvenient policeman's mouth.

Major spoiler:

That the explosion-proof, diamond-bit drill-busting robot turned into bifurcating cockroaches and ants bothered me. That they flew around in a cloud reminiscent of starling flock formations (currently on display in the Artology exhibition at the Cranbrook Institute of Science) was cool. I could have wished that they'd focused on eating something more to the point than one big truck and a few roadsigns.

If mankind is going to radically modify its alleged, environmentally destructive behaviour, a few missing truckers and roadsigns won't impress an out-of-touch President in his bunker. Those metal munching cockroaches ought to have eaten all the airports, and all the ships, and all the world's nuclear reactors. And the tree cutters and earth movers and shakers, such as Caterpillar, John Deere, Hewlett Packard, Google, and Goodyear... (You can't run a mine without rubber, apparently).

How the world has changed since this movie was made, by the way.

However the physics of mass confused and upset me the most. It always does. It's my pet peeve with science fiction. In fact, the cockroach size issue was my biggest hurdle... my wall-banger moment. It surely could, and should have been photographed with more care and sensitivity.

Oh, and there was another issue of mass. Keanu Reeves asked an apparently smaller man what size that man's clothes were. He then asked the man to undress. Unfortunately, we were not permitted to see this feat. Moments later, the tall Keanu left the room in a perfectly tailored, exquisitely well fitted suit.

Continuity is ok. But, what was Keanu going to wear if he did not take the man's clothes, no matter what size they were? Ask a silly question!

Bottom line, though. I'd have given The Day The Earth Stood Still (Remake) an extra two points at least if they'd shown that particular logistical detail. My philosophy when telling a fantastic story is to show everything that is --or could be-- plausible.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Immigration Reform (from a speculative romance writer's perspective)


1. It is not my intention to offend anyone.

2. My thoughts are colored by what I went through in order to immigrate legally (including health checks to prove that I was free of disease and of certain pre-existing conditions, and also that I am a well behaved citizen). And also by all the studying of the Constitution and American History necessary to pass my exams.

So, this morning I was watching CNN... not terribly attentively, I admit. The views that appear to be attributed to farmers, hoteliers, clothing manufacturers etc struck me as probably being very similar to the arguments that I imagine slave owners would have presented prior to the Civil War.

It seems logical to me that illegal immigrants work cheaply and hard because they have no other choice.

Do the farmers and the clothing manufacturers and the hotel owners believe that legal immigrants will continue to work for the same low wages as they did when they were undocumented aliens once they are legal and have other choices?

Why? Does history support this thinking?

I suspect that, once legal, the populace will organize, form unions, demand higher wages and health care plans. And the government, quite rightly, will support the rights of lawful citizens.

But, what do I know...? as the Gorilla says.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

What if readers were offered more multi-author samplers?

It was my idea to put together sample chapters by Linnea Sinclair, Susan Kearney, Rowena Cherry, Susan Grant, Deborah Macgillivray, Jade Lee, Catherine Spangler, Charlee Compo, Nina Bangs, Joy Nash, C.L. Wilson, Robin T Popp, Dawn Thompson, Laurel Bradley, Cindy Spencer Pape and many more.

One reason readers seem to love the file sharing sites is that they can use them (free, of course) to discover whether or not they like the way an unknown author writes. You cannot always tell from a review.

So here are two samplers to do the same function without giving away the entire plot, and with the consent of the authors involved.

It's free, it's convenient, no more point-to-points around the internet "researching" what to try next.,-Fantasy,-and-ParaNormal-Authors-#1

For best results:
Click on the link.
Wait for the yellow loading bar to fill.
Scroll to the far right to "Read Now"
A double page will open (like a book) with the cover on the right.
Use the toolbar on your desktop to Zoom,
Zoom In or Zoom Text only.

Use the start triangle on the webpage to begin reading.,-Fantasy,-and-ParaNormal-Authors-#2

Please feel free to forward, to share, to upload the links, to use the Share This function on the Book Buzzr site as long as you share each sampler in their entirity.