Monthly Archives: January 2008
Yesterday I went to the movies to see “I am Legend”. I love Mathesons novel, so I knew I would be disappointed. But I had at least hoped for some kind of mindless action flick, a dumbed-down version of the original story with cool special effects. The movie was mindless, alright, but in a annoying rather than a fun way.
It was probably not the fault of the leading man. I had seen Will Smith first in Men in Black and had cast him down as a decent Eddy-Murphy stand-in, but had really come to like him after his performance in Ali. Smith makes an excellent Robert Neville; here he is very much a character actor, and at the end of the movie he looks exhausted and even old, an Robinson Crusoe without hope for rescue on his desert island of Manhattan. So, no objections here.
Nor was it the scenery, the desert Manhattan through which the Protagonist stumbles. Of course the movie is in large parts a Quiet Earth-ripoff, with much better production values and a lot less atmosphere. But plagiarism is a form of flattery, plus IaL had some potentially cool monsters thrown in so that was okay also.
(massive spoilers below the fold)
“Intelligent Design” is a fundamentalist religious movement that, despite it’s claims that physics, chemistry, biology, history, archeology etc are all wrong and the world has been created relativly recently by some superbeing (okay, let’s not play games here, they mean the christian god) tries to disguise itself as a science. At the moment most supporters of that idea live in the USA – I sometimes wonder if they have some kind of contest over there like, you know, “who manages to do the most damage to the countries reputation” (at the moment they have a tie between warmongers and religious nutjobs). (more…)
Ursula LeGuin is one of my favourite writers, despite the fact that I hardly ever read poetry and fantasy and thus confine myself to the science fiction portions of her work. Even there the quality is a bit uneven (for example “Eye of the Heron” reads like a second rate LeGuin-ripoff despite being an original work). On the other hand when she scores, she scores big – even after nearly forty years “The Left Hand of Darkness” and “The Dispossessed” are landmarks of the genre and as an incessant writer she has published a number of immensly readable novels and short storys ever since (my favourite piece is “The Shobies’ Story” from the collection “A Fisherman of the Inland Sea”).
78 year old LeGuin also maintains an expansive presence on the World Wide Web , a small part of which is dedicated to the spoken word. I will never have opportunity to see her at a live event – Ursula LeGuin doesn’t travel anymore and even if she did it would be unlikely that she would come to Germany – so I really appreciate that she published a piece as “read by the Autor” – alas it’s not SciFi but fantasy, but I still think it’s great to hear the voice of a favorite author (and she has a good reading voice, too).