Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Free Form Comments

Say whatever you want to in the comments to this post -- random, off topic thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions, recommendations, criticisms (which can be anonymous), surveys, introductions if you have never commented before, personal news, self-promotion, requests to be added to the blog roll and so on. If I forget, remind me. Remember these comments can be directed at all the readers, not just me.

ALSO. You can use this space to re-ask me questions you asked me before that I failed to answer because I was too busy.

AND you can use this space to comment on posts that are old enough that no one is reading the comments threads anymore.

You do not have to have a blogger account or gmail account to post a comment -- you can write a comment, write your name at the bottom of your comment like an e mail, and then post using the "anonymous" option.

WRITING FOR THIS BLOG. If I see a big free form comment that deserves more attention, I will pull it and make it its own post, with a label on the post and on the sidebar that will always link to all the posts you write for this blog. I am always looking for reviews of games, tv, movies, music, books and iPhone apps.

8 comments:

Jason said...

If you're watching The Great Escape, I hope this means that the long-awaited "Chicken Run" blog is on its way ...

Alec Berry said...

Here's a review I wrote on The Chill by Ross Macdonald. Originally posted on my blog.

http://teenagewastelandpodcast.blogspot.com/

To bring it back to crime fiction, I recently took a heart-pounding stroll into the world of paperback novels. And as the title suggests, I read a Ross Macdonald work - The Chill, which was originally published in 1964.


The Chill starts out offering Detective Lew Archer, Macdonald’s MVP, the simple case of tracking down a runaway wife for a determined and very caring husband, but quickly the book reveals its true notions when the simple case explodes into Archer solving three murders….at once! The past always comes back to haunt, right? Now, in today’s form of crime fiction, a complex, twisting plot is nothing new – it is pretty much expected. But, in 1964 and even earlier in Macdonald’s career, probably not so much the case as I would dare to guess. Yeah, you probably had a few choice stories, but overall it was not a common thing – especially in crime fiction paperbacks.


Reading the book in its context, the structure and style are truly remarkable. Even in today’s standards, the book is still as riveting as ever. It is a plot that constantly grows and invites the reader to piece together along side Archer. How? Well, Macdonald does an awesome job providing so many suspects. And, leaning on Macdonald’s knack for penning three-dimensional characters, the book’s cast is one that holds weight. I absolutely loved the way he introduced each character to the reader. Macdonald lays out their connection to the case, but he also subtlety hints at the character’s flaw – that flaw is what tunes the reader in to question the characters presence and raises suspicion.


And, you cannot forget Macdonald’s dialog. Like any master of the form, the man’s dialog provides such a slick texture to the story that just allows the reader to continue for hours. Yeah, some of the dialog sounds like what a reader would expect from dry wit detective, but it is the way Macdonald structures the banter between characters that gives the book its flow.


From what I could gather of Macdonald’s writing in this one book, it appears to me that his style has had some significant influence of the contemporary stuff. His characters have depth, and the way he writes leans more towards the psychological aspects of people and how specific situations affect them. That idea makes it so that I need to read all of the man’s work. Overall, I just really enjoyed The Chill. The book has re-ignited my excitement to read more novels, and it has opened up the door for me to explore another writer of the crime fiction genre.

neilshyminsky said...

This will probably not be the last time that i mention this, but i hated Avatar (even as i loved *looking* at it) with a fiery passion. I made a numbered list of my responses to it and everything, if anyone's interested in checking it out on my blog. (I'd appreciate some comments that AREN'T iphone or viagra spam.)

Christian said...

Avatar was a two hour long video game cinematic made from a mediocre game. Pretty though.

Alec Berry said...

Disagree. Avatar, for lack of a original story, was a true cinematic experience because of its visuals. The attention to detail and the way the visuals take you away is something to appreciate.

Plus, you need to look at it in its context. Cameron created tech to make this movie; tech that will more than likely influence future movies from future film makers. Not the first time he has done that.

Yeah, as a story, it is not all that mind bending, but the world created through the visual aspect is amazing. And, again, think about how many movie makers this movie will influence. It is cool for that aspect, and that is why I respect it.

neilshyminsky said...

"Yeah, as a story, it is not all that mind bending, but the world created through the visual aspect is amazing."

I don't want to diminish how beautiful the film was (though I think one can argue that its aesthetics are not separable from its politics, especially insofar the hyperrealism contributes to the exotic appeal of the Na'vi) I would suspect that a beautiful film with a good story would have been more influential or useful. So let's at least hold Cameron to account for failing to do something more with the magnificent tools that he was given.

Alec Berry said...

"So let's at least hold Cameron to account for failing to do something more with the magnificent tools that he was given."

But, do we actually know the extent of what this new tech. can do? For all we know, Cameron pushed his inventions to the max - Avatar was the best that it could be with what was given. Now, like I said before, it is up to someone to take these building blocks and construct something truly awesome.

Jason said...

"But, do we actually know the extent of what this new tech. can do? For all we know, Cameron pushed his inventions to the max - Avatar was the best that it could be with what was given."

Considering that the only technology required to write a script without cliches is a pencil, I'm guessing the limits of science are not so much to blame.