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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. Yeah, definitely happy about it. He's one of the best screenwriters the UK has. I've no idea if I'll love or even like his next run, but I'm sure that I might enjoy disliking something by him more than the flat indifference and boredom I felt during Chris Chibnall's era.
  2. I watched Isle of Dogs last night after remembering that I like Wes Anderson and realising that I could rent it cheaply on Amazon. I did enjoy it, though it felt like an inferior version of Fantastic Mr Fox. I spent a lot of the time wondering what the response to it was like in Japan, and to what extent it was orientalising, to what extent it was ironically orientalising, and to what extent it was unironically anime-fanboying.
  3. Blasphemy! Fantastic Mr Fox is a brilliant film, note-perfect from beginning to end. I was never into Dahl's books as a child, and haven't read Fantastic Mr Fox - the ones I've read as an adult make me suspect Anderson improved on the source material. You probably don't like Grand Budapest Hotel either. (Says dog-days, crying two geometrically precise tears while slouching in a aubergine tailcoat against a Belle Époque façade.)
  4. The Wikipedia article on this topic is quite good (well, it mainly seems to be a historical list of how it was used by various people, but sometimes that's good to know.)
  5. I for one would like to read the alternative history Mary, Queen of Scotch.
  6. I think I may have to read them now! Or at least the first one.
  7. I've been thinking of reading the Poppy War books. Is the protagonist intended to be awful, or does the author not realise how unpleasant she is?
  8. Can't believe they're not showing it in the UK till November
  9. Agree totally. Jackson's Denethor is particularly awful for wasting the talents of John Noble, who could have been great in another adaptation. Peter Vaughan in the BBC Radio play gave a version much closer to the book, and the narrator is there to conclude the character with the memorable line:
  10. I'm finding the run of remakes of RPGs I've loved encouraging, even if I'm not that interested in buying most of them. Just hoping that the wave of nostalgia for BG/Mass Effect/KotOR results in more new games being produced in the same vein. Perhaps I might even live long enough to see a Neverwinter Nights 3!
  11. Blast : ( He was brilliant. Huge charisma and presence.
  12. I've tried to avoid mentioning spoilers in my comments, but I'm using spoiler tags because this would otherwise be a very long post. The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman Red Sister (Book 1 of the Book of the Ancestor trilogy) – Mark Lawrence The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss The Privilege of the Sword – Ellen Kushner Newt’s Emerald – Garth Nix Sorceror to the Crown – Zen Cho Guns of the Dawn – Adrian Tchaikovsky Spiderlight – Adrian Tchaikovsky Alex Verus series – Benedict Jacka Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor The Witness for the Dead – Katherine Addison Ottoman Odyssey: Travels through a Large Empire - Alev Scott A Tale of Love and Darkness – Amos Oz, translated by Nicholas de Lange
  13. Good luck getting your UF taken on by a publisher. The world needs a Glasgow UF series! Will give your Victorian series a go.
  14. Crazy. I'm still looking for a good UF series set in the UK but outside London, since things seem to work the opposite way round here. (You have to set your fantasy series in London).
  15. That sounds like a truly awful way to decide where to set a UF series.
  16. Just given up on the first Harry Dresden book. I was prepared for it being a bit lame, having been warned that it was written for an assignment as a joke, but I couldn't find anything to like about it, and the way the female characters were described gave me the creeps. Ugh. I'm glad it wasn't my introduction to urban fantasy. (Thank you, Ben Aaronovitch).
  17. Waiting sounds like a good idea, but realistically I know I'm not going to. Enjoyed the first one too much. I need my fix.
  18. The original Greek, according to Wikipedia, is: ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτὶ, hōs kleptēs en nykti Latin Vulgate: "sicut fur in nocte" Wycliffe (late fourteenth century) goes with "as a theef in the niyt". Tyndale (early sixteenth century) translates the Greek to "as a thefe in the nyght". KJB has "as a thief in the night." I don't know Greek, but I think the translation has got to be pretty straightforward - I mean, I'm sure there's a thousand page scholarly dispute about precisely how to translate "kleptes" floating around somewhere because religious scholars have to pass the time somehow, but the early translators all seem to have been happy keeping it simple. Bonus translation from William Morgan's Welsh Bible (published in 1588, twenty-three years before the King James Version): fel lleidr yn y nos. None of the above really answers your question about when the phrase entered vernacular English: when a phrase is first written down is one thing, when it's recognised and used by people from outside monastic/literate circles is another. Monks and priests would have been reading the Bible in Latin for a thousand years prior to the KJV. Presumably some of that found its way into their native language, and possibly out into the broader community, even if there isn't textual proof of it relating to that particular phrase.
  19. I haven't seen much by Straczynski, but hanging round this forum has meant absorbing a lot of stuff about Babylon 5 through osmosis. He sounds like as good a choice of showrunner as the BBC could hope to get. He's got sci-fi experience - more than anyone else in the running - but isn't tied to either NewWho or OldWho, so could bring something different to the show. Sally Wainwright's an interesting idea. I saw To Walk Invisible, her film about the Brontë family, when it was first broadcast, and it made a deep impression on me, especially Branwell's disintegration. She can certainly write, and creates brilliant character sketches and relationship dynamics. But I don't think she's ever written sci-fi, or written for children. (Though she is currently working on a show for Disney Plus that sounds as if it might be family-oriented.) I don't think she's the right person for the showrunner role right now, but I'd love to see a Doctor Who episode from her. She'd have been a great person to bring in as a script editor/consultant in the Chibnall era. She might have fixed some of the blandness. Just wishful thinking now, of course.
  20. Agreed. Zaheer was a great villain - the best in either Korra or Avatar. The third season of Korra was strong across the board.
  21. Don't think so. They had light brown skin and blue eyes. I hope this series turns out to be good - the cast looks promising, especially Aang (Gordon Cormier). But I'm more interested in the new animated project from Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, though it'll be ages before it arrives, I expect. Fingers crossed that they'll announce the era/central character soon.
  22. Like you, it's been a long time since I read the book. What you say is true - he's one of those characters that just digs a hole for himself and keeps digging (I admit that I have a weakness for that character type). However, consider in Michael's defence that 1) after the wife-selling incident, he does reform and through luck, discipline and tenacity becomes Mayor of Casterbridge 2) some of his problems are external to him: Michael is a traditional boss with traditional ways of doing things, he's getting older and part of the story is just about an older generation being overwritten by a new - Donald Farfrae (sp?) is the next generation and more of an embryo-technocrat. Plus, malicious provincial town gossip has a role in his downfall - gossip about stuff that we wouldn't blink an eye about today, and that more free-thinking late Victorians weren't bothered about either. 3) he has good qualities: he's brave, he can be generous, at his best and free of his passions/alcohol, he does try to do the right thing 4) while we can say of any villainous character that they didn't ask to be born with their villainous qualities, Michael's lack of self-awareness, at least to me, makes him seem especially vulnerable. We're all products of our time, but he seems nailed into his. Aristotle wouldn't think he was a tragic hero, but: near the start he has a position of respect/status and loses it through hamartia - here, jealously, insecurity. And the book ends in a measure of catharsis through the compassion of Elizabeth Jane. So, yes - I think he's one of Hardy's tragic heroes, and maybe the one that adheres closest to the classical form. (Jude and Tess both have miserable lives from one end to the other; they rarely have much to lose.)
  23. Good call on Steerpike. I like Michael Henchard from Mayor of Casterbridge - he's one of my favourite characters. Always thought of him as more of a tragic hero/anti-hero rather than a villain.
  24. He's not the protagonist, but Hugo Lamb in The Bone Clocks gets some point-of-view chapters, plus appearances elsewhere in the narrative, plus a guest appearance in another of Mitchell's books, and he's fairly villainous. It's tricky with fantasy because the traditions of the genre are built around having sympathetic hero(es). Authors do play with that, but they don't tend to get rid of the sympathetic hero - they just change who it is. e.g. Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones; Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I think computer games may be trailblazers in this respect in the fantasy genre. A lot of the Bioware/Obsidian output give you the chance to play a complete arsehole. Sometimes a raving psychopath. Sorry I can't be more help with recommendations. Interesting question.
  25. I think I might have felt she was a great Doctor if she'd had a different showrunner. But I find Chibnall's writing so bland that I can't really get that enthusiastic about her.
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