July 17th, 2005



The story is finished. It hasn't got a title, and I'm not going to use the not-title anymore when referring to it. Hopefully, I'll find a new title for it today. I did 1,848 words yesterday (with a frelling hangover, I might add), not counting THE END. That would make it 1,850. No one ever gets to count THE END. It's a given. I'm pleased with how it's turned out, this story, and with the fact that I expected to need ten days to write it and managed to pull it off in only eight. The cost is merely exhaustion, and that fades. It's close to just right, but not quite. I think it needs a little tweaking. We'll do that today — read through it start to finish, make revisions, and then I'll send it away to its fate.

Last night, I watched the original 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It'd been a while. I much prefer the 1978 Philip Kaufman remake, but there's no denying that that the original is one of the more effective sf films of the Cold War Big-Bug Boom. I'd never realized how annoying Kevin McCarthy's voice-over is, and I didn't know that director Don Siegel had the prologue and hopeful epilogue forced on him by the studio. The differences in tone between the 1956 and 1978 versions are somewhat diminished when one watches them with this in mind.

Afterwards, I finished Destroy All Humans, a game which was excellent, by the by, all the way to the final cut scene. It was also the perfect way to follow Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I'm impressed by the wit and allusion of this game. I do fear that, unfortunately, a good deal of the humour will be missed by younger players, all the '50s politica and sf film in-jokes. I think what really amazes me is how Destroy All Humans has yet to draw the wrath of fundamentalists and conservatives, or the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, for that matter. It's a strange thing, in this day and age, to find oneself playing a game this subversive, in which Cold War hysteria and the sexual and moral hypocrisy of the "Golden Age" mourned by the neoconservatives is so completely lampooned. The Commie jokes, the jokes about idiotic military leaders and crooked politicians, the jokes about housewives and Valium, etc. It's nice to see a video game pull off satire and social commentary at the same time, when so few off them pull off anything at all. I suspect a lot of people can enjoy Destroy All Humans, even though they're at odds with its politics, simply because it involves an alien invasion and is set in the 1950s. They don't see that one of the things the game makes clear is how little things have changed. We've swapped Communists for terrorists, Valium for Prozac, Ike for W, but it's all pretty much the same silly, soul-sucking dren. And never mind that the game rewards you for raining fire and sonic destruction upon the Heartland, a California suburb, and the capital of the United States. I'm allowed to pretend to nuke the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the "Octagon," but people might go to jail for burning a flag? I suppose I should be grateful that it's still safe to burn simulated flags. At any rate, I count this as one of the best games of the last couple of years, and now I'm going to lay off video games and get back to reading for a while.

That's about it. By midnight last night I was exhausted. I have no recollection of my dreams, and that's most likely a very good thing.
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    Frou Frou, "Psychobabble"