Yesterday, I wrote 1,045 words on Cherry Bomb. I just want this book to be finished. I need to move on. I need to write something I want to write. Which means writing The Dinosaurs of Mars and Beneath the Wide Carnivorous Sky (and assembling the second "best of" volume for subpress on the HPL volume for Centipede Press).
For the first time in seventeen years, I have a new television. Spooky's parents got a new one, and her mom kindly brought us their old one. Back in 1996, not long after my writing started selling and I started making decent money, sometime after I got the DC/Vertigo job, I went to the Circuit City in Athens, Georgia and bought a 27" Sony TV. And I've had it ever since. And, for that matter, it still works just fine, as long as you don't want cable (which I don't). But now it's sitting in the hallway, on the second-floor landing. We're asking around to see if anyone wants it. Anyway, the new TV, it's one of those high-def, wide-screen, digital, sci-fi Jetson's Toshiba model whatever. And the picture is fucking amazing. Last night we watched Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012), which I'd sworn I wasn't going to allow myself to see again until we had a better television. Someone had sent me the film on Blu-Ray, but we waited, regardless. And fuck, it's beautiful. Possibly, the film's more beautiful on that television than it was in the theater.
So, yeah. New television. Which feels very weird.
As for Prometheus, my opinion of it remains unchanged. It's a brilliant thing. There are scenes I could stare at for hours. Michael Fassbender is a joy to behold, and David is the most perfectly realized android of the entire Alien cycle. Also, we watched a series of deleted, extended, and alternate scenes. It was a case where the inclusion of most of them would have made the film better. In this instance, there would have been more depth of character and the pacing would had been slowed a bit. Both would have improved the film. But they also would have added about twenty minutes to the film, which likely would have cost exhibitors one showing a day. And it might sound like a shitty reason for changing the shape of a film, but that's the sort of problem that rules the shape of art for mass consumption – including my own novels and short-story collections. With a film like Prometheus, a film with a budget estimated at between 120 and 130 million dollars, the studio's going to put the needs of the theater chains over the desires of the director pretty much every time. Hell, the studios will do it with a film that costs one third that much. I would have liked, perhaps, to have seen an alternate cut, but Scott may have felt that he was happy enough with the final version that there was no need for a "director's cut." After the absurd number of alternate versions of Blade Runner (1982), that would be entirely understandable. Especially when the film as it stands is such a stunning achievement.
As for the naysayers and the too-cool-for-schoolers, it's their loss. I will say that I think at least a portion of the public's negative reaction to the film arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of what Prometheus is and isn't. It is cosmic horrid, but unlike the brand we were given in Alien (1978), where unsuspecting space travelers encounter a horrific creature, this is a film that deals with a far more terrible cosmic horror. And here I mean horror in its truest sense, as distinct from terror. Prometheus is not, I think a "scary movie." It is, instead, a film that tells us the "gods" who created us believe they've fucked up, and now they're out to erase us. Shaw and Halloway find their engineers, complete their quest for the divine (even if the divine is, turns out, non-supernatural), and all they get in return is disillusionment, death, and a desperate battle to stop the end of life on Earth. The film is replete with layers upon layers of symbolism and subtext, James George Frazer, Jung and Joseph Campbell, even Charles Fort. Unlike Alien, it takes work to fully comprehend. And if all you want is a scary movie. or a ripping good space yarn, you will be disappointed.
We also watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead, and it actually managed to best the horrors of "Beside the Dying Fire" (Season Two, Episode Thirteen). The series remains one of the very best things, by far, out there in TV Land.
And I ought to go. In theory, I'm writing today. And I have page proofs...
Arms Folded Tight,