Week Two in Reading

My reading of Good Night, Mr. Holmes was interrupted by returning my library books. I intended to only check out Moby Duck and a Western. I came back with those as well as a book on Allan Pinkerton, Janet Leigh’s reminiscence on Psycho, and book #1.

Book #1 – From Alien to the Matrix: Reading Science Fiction Film by Roz Kaveney

Despite the rather cheesy title (Kaveney herself would have rather the work be called Walking into Dream), I checked out this book after flipping through and seeing an essay on Strange Days. As with Chicks Dig Time Lords, I was hoping for a scholarly work on “reading” science fiction films. Kaveney does present some interesting points about how our experience of science fiction films has changed with the innovation of the DVD. We can now experience SF movies and TV shows as “deep texts” when we take commentaries and alternate versions into account. With that in mind, many of the other articles take on franchises, especially the Terminator, Matrix, and Alien franchises. Unfortunately, much of this comes across more as musings on the subject without any real thesis on the subject.

There is also the problem of “reading” and “reading into.” As an author, I know that I have a certain glossary of details that I end up defaulting to. For example, I have on a couple of occasions used the detail of vines and leaves carved into wood. I have no particular reason for this; I didn’t even realize I had done it until later. Therefore, I’m not sure I can read much into both the Terminator in the first movie and Sarah Connor in the second movie wearing mirrored sunglasses. But Kaveney’s reading are full of this kind of thing. I suppose that is the purview of the “reader.”

A couple other things that bugged me: The commentary occasionally takes on a petty/snarky quality, which broke any illusion of academia (granted, it isn’t). The writing was occasionally a bit awkward, and there seemed to be a lack of understanding of actual movie making (CGI really isn’t a generic term for visual effects). I guess I was disappointed with this book because as a published, edited text, I expect it to be better than movie/literary criticism I find on the internet. Or maybe I’m spoiled because something like Press Play is just that good.

Other Reading Last Week:

A couple chapters of A Clash of Kings, a couple poems, a couple short stories including:

“The Dybbuk in Love” by Sonya Taaffe  It’s available at Tor’s site. It is lovely and suits my current mood so well. Reading it, I kept thinking, “Why don’t I write like this?” But then I am sort of happy I don’t. I write the way I write and, happily, Sonya Taaffe writes like she writes.

1 thought on “Week Two in Reading

  1. Pingback: 2012 Challenge Wrap-Up | The Writerly Reader

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