Friday, March 27, 2009

Volume 4 and Some Musings on Sci-Fi

A Zombie-Movie Fog, approx. 7:00am

I Finally Got a Picture of Erin (sort of), approx. 12:30pm

"Feminine" and "Polysyllabic" (Even Professors Misspell Words Sometimes), approx. 2:30pm

Spring Has Sprung, approx. 5:15pm

The Hill Dorms, approx. 5:45pm

Walking to Rita's at Dusk, approx. 6:30pm

I've had about a week now to muse on the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, and my initial thoughts on it haven't changed much. The episode, "Daybreak," was 2 hours and 11 minutes of crazy/awesome/action/insanity/hilarity/heartbreak/what-the-frak-just-happened! and I pretty much loved it. I've always been a sucker for happily-ever-afters and epilogues, and while I wouldn't necessarily call this ending "happy" (would it even be possible for such a dark show to end with genuine happiness? I doubt it), I would say that it's exactly what I was hoping for.

Of course, not everything about the finale was perfect. The running theme of the show–"all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again"–was kind of forced down our throats a bit at the end, there (though unlike Blane, I was rather thrilled with the epilogue, even if it was the exact opposite of subtle...there's something nice about the idea of Head Six and Head Gaius wandering around Manhattan, unseen...and the Ron D. Moore cameo was a nice nod to the pure brilliance he poured into these past six years, much like Aaron Sorkin's cameo in the West Wing finale, less-so Stephenie Meyer's in Twilight), and, like pretty much everyone, I found Starbuck's exit...unfulfilling. It smacked too strongly of Cordy's farewell on Angel (a final problem to solve/day to save, a fond goodbye to the great love, and then a vanishing act as soon as his back is turned), but not done as gracefully as with Cordy.

The thing about "You're Welcome" is, when you go back and rewatch it, it becomes clear from the beginning of the episode that Cordy's only got so much time left, and she knows it. She may be the corporeal, bubbly, shopaholic Cordelia of old (finally, after the literal monster that replaced her in season four), but there's also the Cordy in the hospital bed–"miss one-foot-in-the- grave"–and what we can later see as her farewell conversation with Wesley...we had none of that with Kara. Only frustration and angst.

This past week I reread Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, which I first read a couple years ago. Back then I had never read anything by either author, and I had no clue what to expect from the apocalypse-centered novel. I don't think I was expecting quite the level of hilarity it contained.

Of course, since then I've read several of Gaiman's books (Stardust, Neverwhere, Smoke & Mirrors and the first hundred or so pages of American Gods), as well as a smattering of Pratchett's Discworld novels. They are both hilarious, inventive and brilliant storytellers, with very distinct styles, and it was interesting to go back to Good Omens and see both of those voices in the novel. Gaiman's darkness tempers Pratchett's silliness, I think, except where such tempering is entirely unnecessary (primarily in the interactions between the Them), and while nearly every page offers up genuine laughter, the book is never trivial. This is a book that is rooted in both the now, with its highways, telemarketers and technology, and the then. This apocalypse hasn't forgotten the Bible.

It questions good and evil and the very dense gray in between.

And, as I've said about five times, it's hilarious:

"To the right collector, the Witchfinder Army's library would have been worth millions. The right collector would have to have been very rich, and not haveminded gravy stains, cigarette burns, marginal notations, or the late Witchfinder Lance Corporal Wotling's passion for drawing mustaches and spectacles on all woodcut illustrations of witches and demons."

Neil Gaiman is coming to C-town a month from today, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival (though why they would have an event in Chestertown is beyond me). (He actually tweeted about the event the other day, and then mentioned it in his blog today, which was pretty thrilling. It's nice to see our tiny college recognized by the rest of the world for once.) I can't wait for the chance to hear him speak–about writing, about reading, about the process. (Nevermind that I get about a bajillion updates from him every day, via Twitter.) There is something so uniquely special about being in a room with a writer. Writers create something from nothing, and no matter how many of them I meet (and it's a lot–I have been surrounded by writers, famous and obscure, published and unpublished, of all different mediums and genres, since infancy), I'm always fascinated.

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