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Shaw
"I thought there'd be stars."

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Well, by slow degrees, Kathryn and I are recovering. All in all, it could have been much worse. I only lost four and a half days (and I sort of worked yesterday and Tuesday). Oh, and a Manhattan trip to which I was really looking forward. Still, I can pull out of this. Well, if I can get a good night's sleep. I got only five hours Monday and Tuesday nights, and less than four last night, and Kathryn's doing just about as badly. But we persevere.

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This ayem, because I could not stand being cooped up in this house another day, we dragged our not-quite-well asses to the 12:05 p.m. showing of Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods. I've had numerous people ask for my opinion on this film (which I've been eagerly anticipating seeing). Now, I can offer my verdict. Cabin in the Woods is fucking brilliant. I say that without qualification, and I say that unabashedly. It hits every note spot on (or perhaps I ought say dead on). In a few days, I'm going to say a few more things, stuff I'll put behind a cut, because I don't want to spoil this for anyone. I will say, if you don't enjoy this film, or if it leaves you scratching your head, stay away from Lovecraft and most other weird fiction. Because it's not for you. This is smart cosmic horror, with a healthy dash of comedy. Of course, I'd have paid matinée prices to see Amy Acker in a lab coat. The cast is good throughout, and who the hell ever thought Fran Kranz could act after that horrid fucking Topher role? Spectacular creature design. This is Whedon's triumph, though there are echoes of earlier works, here finally fully realized. And I think that Goddard directed toned down and negated Whedon's usual weaknesses (jokes that fall hard as bricks, for example, which are not to be found in this film). It's just brilliant. I promise. See it in theaters if you can. There's actually some very profound (and fairly obvious shit) here, which I'll discuss later (behind a cut).

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If you donated to either the "Tale of the Ravens" or The Drowning Girl: A Memoir Kickstarter projects, your rewards are mostly in the mail (or you have them already). The post office hates us, but we've been sending out packages like crazy (even through the sick). At this point, I think the main things that are left to be done is I have to write the text for the "Tale of the Ravens" folio, and the top-tier rewards for the photo/trailer Drowning Girl project have to go out (very soon), but that it, and then these two endeavors will be done. And we thank you for you donations and your patience. All of this would have been done sooner, if not for the unforeseen, insane, gigantic amount of work necessitated by Alabaster: Wolves (very much of which Kathryn did).

Also, tomorrow I'll be announcing plans for another – I think – very exciting Kickstarter project I'll be undertaking this autumn or early in the winter. I think you'll like it. I hope you like it. This is a project I have not previously discussed, neither here nor elsewhere. Aha! Suspense!

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My thanks to Steven Lubold oldfossil59 for his most recent care package, the eponymously titled Fleet Foxes CD and Chiappe and Witmer's Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs. Back in January, I saw this in the gift shop at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and coveted it, but never thought I'd own it. I swear, at this point, I've worked at museums and in geology departments whose libraries were not as bow tie as my pale/geo library (and a chunk of this I owe to you, Steven).

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If you voiced interested in joining us for RP in Rift, you should have received at least one message via an email list I've set up. I need responses as soon as is convenience. It looks like we have about eleven players (and we're still taking more), but I need to get everyone on the same page, figure out all our respective schedules, and get the RP rolling. If you're no longer interested, please let me know. Thanks. I may try to set up a webpage for the guild, The Hidden Variable (our Guardian-side guild). By the way, 1.8, which went live last night, fucking rocks. stsisyphus, where are you, man?

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Anyway, here's then last of April, and I need to write weird-western tale, "A Mountain Walked," and read through Blood Oranges so my editor can send notes, and write a story for the Sirenia Digest #77. And work continues on Alabaster: Wolves. Steve's still drawing #3, and I have yet to edit #5 (and I'm thinking of rewriting the ending). And May will be worse. Short-story month, including, I think "The Best Little Whorehouse in Innsmouth" (for S. T. Joshi's Black Wings III). By the way, there should be news regarding the future of Dancy comics tomorrow.

And now...I need to try to work, kittens. Comment!

Kicking Against the Microbes,
Aunt Beast

Comments

( 47 comments — Have your say! )
r_darkstorm
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
Glad you two have mostly beat the crud.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)

As are we.
numisma
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
I am excited for tomorrow. The news regarding Dancy comics has me tingling a little with anticipation. In the meantime a couple anthologies that you contributed to recently have arrived in the mail today, so I can occupy myself with Tidal Forces and On the Reef. And the other stories in there, obviously, but priorities.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)

occupy myself with Tidal Forces and On the Reef.

I hope you enjoy both, as I'm still very fond of them.
numisma
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
I hope I do too.

And of course good to hear that you're recovering.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)

Thank you.
fornikate
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
cabin in the woods was amazing. i loved it.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)

There's nothing not to love.
fornikate
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
i cannot wait for the dvd. i hope there's lots of creature extras.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)

Same here.
ashlyme
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
I know virtually nothing about this film! I wanted to go and see it just based on the poster image (the Rubik's cabin - dunno if the posters in the States are different) which might sound odd... "Smart cosmic horror" sounds like my thing.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)

(the Rubik's cabin - dunno if the posters in the States are different)

Yep, same poster.
xjenavivex
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
I am glad you both are feeling better.

greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)

Thank you.
xarx
Apr. 19th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
Going to see Cabin in the Woods on Saturday, sounds like it will not disappoint.

The title, "The best little whorehouse in Innsmouth", just made me shudder.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)

The title, "The best little whorehouse in Innsmouth", just made me shudder.

Bow tie!
aarongp
Apr. 19th, 2012 09:53 pm (UTC)
Glad to see you've both (mostly) beaten away the crud.

Cabin in the Woods is fucking brilliant.
Ah... good. Been anticipating this myself, but not holding out high hopes. I will endeavour to see it as early as circumstances allow.

"The Best Little Whorehouse in Innsmouth" (for S. T. Joshi's Black Wings III).
Ha! That's a brilliant fucking title. I cannot wait to read that. I"ve got the first Black WIngs volume on order.

On a slightly different note, I recently read "As Red as Red" which hooked me right from start to finish. I was struck by how it read as a kind of lead in piece to "The Red Tree", while simultaneously carrying so many overtones of "The Drowning Girl : A Memoir".


greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)

Ha! That's a brilliant fucking title. I cannot wait to read that.

Thank you. I'm glad people are liking it.


On a slightly different note, I recently read "As Red as Red" which hooked me right from start to finish. I was struck by how it read as a kind of lead in piece to "The Red Tree", while simultaneously carrying so many overtones of "The Drowning Girl : A Memoir".


I don't know if I ever talked about it anywhere, but "As Red As Red" truly was me trying to get the "last" of The Red Tree out of my system.
girfan
Apr. 19th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of Cabin in the Woods and LOVED it. I look forward to getting the DVD when it comes out so I can re-watch all the bits that went too fast. As a fan of horror, I "got" so many references, especially the Lovecraft ones.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)

I look forward to getting the DVD when it comes out so I can re-watch all the bits that went too fast. As a fan of horror, I "got" so many references, especially the Lovecraft ones.

Yes, Lovecraft, but also a sense (especially at the end) of Blackwood and Dunsany.
girfan
Apr. 20th, 2012 06:27 am (UTC)
Yes, Lovecraft, but also a sense (especially at the end) of Blackwood and Dunsany.


Ah, yes. I've just read both "The Willows" (one of my fave horror stories) and "The Wendigo" and should have realised that.


I am a bit puzzled by the ballerina-no idea what film/book she is from.

greygirlbeast
Apr. 21st, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)

I am a bit puzzled by the ballerina-no idea what film/book she is from.

I don't think they were all meant as one-to-one correspondences. But...
chris_walsh
Apr. 21st, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Drew Goddard talks about her (and some other details) in this short-ish interview.
alumiere
Apr. 19th, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're feeling somewhat better. I loved Alabaster #1, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the story as it comes out.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 19th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)

I loved Alabaster #1, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the story as it comes out.

I hope that people stay in love with the book.
ex_kaz_maho
Apr. 20th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
I get a tingle of anticipation every time you mention Blood Oranges.

Also, I would like the Dancy comics news now. Please? (Okay, I'll wait. I know I have to.) Alabaster: Wolves #1 was just incredible. I would venture to say that it was as close to a perfect piece of storytelling as I've ever seen you produce. I loved it.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 06:06 am (UTC)

I get a tingle of anticipation every time you mention Blood Oranges.

Interesting.
chris_walsh
Apr. 20th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
Amy Acker was a reassuring sight, because a) she's lovely and b) if anyone in my theater had asked "Am I in the right screening room?," she'd make me confident enough to say "Yes!" I love that that's not entirely obvious until the title flashes onscreen. And yes, I had a blast at The Cabin in the Woods, even though I'm not that much of a horror-hound. Looking forward to your further thoughts once you feel like sharing them, and I hope to see the film again. (It's doing decently, too, which improves its chances of word-of-mouth success.)

Signed,
Someone who once wrote a blog entry titled "Held in Thrall by the Legs of Amy Acker"
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 06:06 am (UTC)

Love the blog title.
chris_walsh
Apr. 20th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
Glad! (By the way, I'm amused that I know someone who's gotten to work with Acker -- an actor I know named Ryan McCluskey played her husband on her episode of Grimm.)

I'll add another Cabin thought: it was refreshing for the film to be full-on R. Whedon hasn't done that (unless there was a rewrite gig I'm blanking on) since Alien: Resurrection 15 years ago; of course broadcast TV has to be PG-13 equivalent at most; and Goddard's Cloverfield was PG-13, too. A PG-13 Cabin in the Woods would be an especially meta (and likely cringe-inducing) joke.
robyn_ma
Apr. 20th, 2012 11:27 am (UTC)
There's a Cabin in the Woods 'visual companion' book out now that fans are poring over. It includes the script, which for one thing explains what 'Kevin' is. (Dunno if you noticed that on the monster board.)

Anyway, happened to see it just when I was getting into the 'intentionalism' chapter in John Sutherland's How Literature Works, the take-away from that section being 'What a work means is not always what its author means it to mean.' In part, the movie seemed to be an illustration of that -- there are always levels, and imagination/creation are so complex, as is every reader's response to it, that at some point the elevators are going to open and the creatures are going to get away from their creators. That's not all the movie does, of course, but it was an amusing little link I felt happening for myself.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)

1) Damn. I didn't see Kevin. And I was trying to see everything.

20 Gods, not reader-response theory/intentionalism. I hate that stuff. I mean, I really, really hate that stuff. I never know which bugs me the most about it, that it insults artists, or that it thinks itself so clever for perceiving the obvious as the cryptic and profound. Wow! There's stuff here the writer placed unconsciously! And how can anyone know what an artist did or did not "intend"? How can we ever say "X didn't intend X?" We can't. Stay away from that junk.

Edited at 2012-04-20 04:47 pm (UTC)
robyn_ma
Apr. 20th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
Wellll, I majored in English writing/literature, so the time to have told me to stay away from literary theory was twenty years ago now. I dipped into the Sutherland book (which is a nicely written overview of what the hell snobby critics are talking about half the time) because I'm on a John Sutherland kick currently, not because I need to know how to read literature, something that was drilled into me unto tedium lo those many years ago. Anyway, intentionalism always struck me as one of many amusing parlor-game ways to respond to literature. I don't really have a dog in that hunt. I don't have any work out there that's being interpreted as something other than what I intended it to be, so it's not something I come down on pro or con. If I did, I might feel differently.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)

Wellll, I majored in English writing/literature, so the time to have told me to stay away from literary theory was twenty years ago now.

It's not so much lit crit as a whole that I have a beef with (though I do question its practical relevance). It's this pernicious, idiotic, insulting branch of lit crit.
robyn_ma
Apr. 20th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Fair enough, although criticism's 'practical relevance' is about the same as art's 'practical relevance' -- the best of it sparks connections and extends the conversation, the worst of it just sits there being bad writing. Pauline Kael said that criticism is all we have that counteracts marketing. That's possibly a practical use, though I don't like thinking of creative endeavors (and criticism can be creative, in its way) in terms of their utility.

Part of that intentionalist link I made, too, was remembering a quote I'd read recently by none other than Whedon: 'All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet -- it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.' So I sort of merged that with the image of the monsters getting away from their masters and how Whedon might view this as a good thing, or at least as a thing that doesn't bother him.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)

Trois réactions:

1) Oh, c'mon.

2) The central fallacy of "intentionalism" stands: a reader/critic cannot know the intentions of an author, not even when the author admits an intent (lies are always a possibility; I've done it). Subjectivity subverts and destroys intentionalism.

3) The proposition that that which is being perceived is no more important than the perceiver's impressions and conclusions is exactly the sort of nonsense that I find so vile about reader/response theory.

Edited at 2012-04-21 03:35 am (UTC)
robyn_ma
Apr. 21st, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
1) Heh, which part is this in reference to?

2) and 3) Yeah. Like I said: not a theory I'm attached to one way or the other. Not a hill I would choose to die on. Just pointing out the synchronicity of hitting that particular chapter on it (dude doesn't exactly rush to its defense either, he just explains it to the layman), going to see the movie, and remembering that particular Whedon quote. S'all. Whedon believes in it. You don't. Y'all probably shouldn't be seated together at a dinner party.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 21st, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)

Whedon believes in it.

Whedon believes creators may insert material they're not conscious they're inserting. As do I. But to deny that the unconscious is also possessed of intent...
chris_walsh
Apr. 21st, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
I like to remember Harlan Ellison's story (I hope I remember this correctly) of someone telling him the deeper meaning of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream," a meaning nothing at all what Harlan meant, and when the guy said that artists don't know all the deeper meanings of their work, Harlan said "OK, if you read it so closely, which character was black?" The guy didn't know.

I try to be really aware of reading something vs. reading what I want to be in that something.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 21st, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)

I like to remember Harlan Ellison's story (I hope I remember this correctly) of someone telling him the deeper meaning of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream," a meaning nothing at all what Harlan meant, and when the guy said that artists don't know all the deeper meanings of their work, Harlan said "OK, if you read it so closely, which character was black?" The guy didn't know.

Sublime.
jenjen4280
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
I loved Alabastar: Wolves #1. It's wonderful to see your work translated into pictures. -- I know it's written to become pictures and that you've worked in comics before (I faithfully read the Dreaming until it was cancelled), but seeing Dancy illustrated after the Subpress collection and after reading her appearances in your novels, it's just really amazing -- fun, creepy, just fantastic. I sincerely hope there is an ongoing comic book with Dancy at some point in the future. In the meantime, I'll greedily devour the mini-series.

Edited at 2012-04-20 05:08 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:11 pm (UTC)

(I faithfully read the Dreaming until it was cancelled),

An enduring myth is that the book was cancelled. It wasn't. I know you meant no offense. This just always amuses me.

In the meantime, I'll greedily devour the mini-series.

Thank you!

jenjen4280
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, I apologize. I did not know and should not have made the assumption that because a comic book ends, doesn't mean it was cancelled: sometimes it is just finished. I hope that I did not offend.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 20th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)

No offense taken.

Though, it wasn't finished, either. This really is a very complicated affair.

Edited at 2012-04-20 05:30 pm (UTC)
sovay
Apr. 21st, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
But we persevere.

I am glad to hear that.

Short-story month, including, I think "The Best Little Whorehouse in Innsmouth" (for S. T. Joshi's Black Wings III).

And I quite like the sound of that.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 21st, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)

Ah, wait until you hear the next title.
lilith_333
Apr. 21st, 2012 05:47 am (UTC)
Okay, I'm convinced. You are about the 20th person to recommend "Cabin in the Woods" - I'm going to see it Sunday.

I just have to say that "The Best Little Whorehouse in Innsmouth" is simultaneously the BEST and the SCARIEST title for a story that I've heard in a long time ("The fish people who live down there").

I was hoping to buy "The Drowned Girl" this past Wednesday from you (and I'm still REALLY sorry you were sick!) so I'll have to get it online. I can't WAIT to read it!


Edited at 2012-04-21 05:48 am (UTC)
( 47 comments — Have your say! )