It’s getting towards winter down here in the southern hemisphere of the world.
Last week the weather took a welcome dip from the thirties into the low twenties, and we all started layering extra blankets onto our beds and pulling out scarves, beanies, brollies and boots. For me, this time of year is marked by the transition from pyjama shorts to pyjama pants, and the resumption of a continuous intake of hot tea. It’s quite blissful.
Important events of this week included:
1. Neil Gaiman’s wonderfully well-timed and encouraging post on, amongst other things, writing: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2013/03/princess-and-some-thoughts-on-writing.html
2. The return of Doctor Who; more specifically Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 6: “The Bells of St. John.”
A modern-London adventure, penned by Moffat, with lively new companion Clara ‘Oswin’ Oswald, that also oddly comes across as a warning against being too connected to wifi/social media, just in case malicious aliens want to eat your mind through the interwebs. Chemistry between Smith and Coleman felt less forced. Plot was well-paced and easy to follow with neat twists. Great half-season kick-off that continues the mystery of the girl with multiple lives.
3. Season 3 of Game of Thrones. You know it’s getting big when you see a GoT ad at the local bus stop. To be watched.
4. Finishing David Eddings The Elenium Book 2 (The Ruby Knight). Recommended by the beloved BF, who read it in the early days of his youth, the Elenium is a grand swords-and-sorcery style fantasy epic largely revolving around politics. There is a severe deficiency of cool female characters in this story, as Sparhawk and the other heroes are mostly big buff knights with even bigger swords/axes who deliver awesome one-liners before and after they behead their foes. The only key females are Sephrenia, an ageless sorceress, and Flute, a mysterious little girl with powers–interesting, but not entirely unique. Most of the book involves riding back and forth across the countries of Eosia chasing the Bhelliom (a precious gem). Eddings’ writing is unpretentious, lively and straightforward. An easy series to read, though long, and it keeps you turning the pages.
5. Watching Cloud Atlas.
Cloud Atlas is an insane compendium of story fragments–6 different narratives, each taking place at a different point in time–piled on top of one another. Some of the narratives are fascinating (I liked the futuristic Neo-Seoul story best) and others are boring (Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in the post-apocalyptic distant future. It was impossible to engage with their characters given almost no context and zero background about their motivations and situation). Jim Broadbent’s imprisonment and dramatic escape from an English nursing home is also a gem, as is Jim Wishaw’s portrayal of composer/musician Robert Frobisher.
I was hoping that there would be more of a sense of interconnection between the 6 timezones, but apart from using the same actors and a few pieces of prose floating from period to period (journals, documents), it lacked for substance. The narratives were largely entertaining, but at the end of the Wachowski’s masterpiece I wasn’t sure what message I was supposed to get from it all.
The structure of the book, however, sounds intriguing: a sort of concertina of stories, travelling from 1849AD, through to 2321AD, and back again. Elegant. Perhaps I’ll get my grubby hands on it one day.
Off to work.