Friday, August 28, 2009

Double Feature

The ad campaign for Body of Lies made it look like a technothriller, but it’s not. The failure of technology to deliver on its promises in the War on Terror is one of the movie’s themes: “They’ve figured out they’re fighting an enemy from the future,” as a character nicely puts it. The interrogation methods of the CIA are treated glancingly as well --just enough to leave a chill --and the interagency rivalries, and then the story quickly gets down to the real business of espionage: the care and feeding of cat’s paws. This is a good one.

Blindness is a zombie story without the zombies. If you’ve ever doubted the need for zombies, for the distance they allow, watch this film. It is slightly easier to take than Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dragons On The Cover

I haven’t read Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, but I’ve read a lot about it, most written by people who’ve never before stooped to write a word about a private eye novel.

Once stooped, they figure, why not add some heavy lifting to the enterprise, and cut loose on the meanings of genre fiction?

This is all fine and well. I enjoy highbrow mucking-about in popular culture as much as any middlebrow does -- maybe more.

However, at the risk of sounding like a teenaged hard-SF fan whose aunt buys him books with dragons on the cover…I say, friends, please: I wouldn’t come to your party and throw around “allusion” and “metaphor” as if they were one and the same.

You’ve guessed it. I’m on about this again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Relationship in Three Lines: Motherly-Love Edition

"Ruby still cared very much about Richard. But she cared for Richard the way she would have cared for a mangled toe. She had no high expectations for what it could do, but it still hurt like crazy, so there was no question that it belonged to her."

--from Runner by Thomas Perry