April 29th, 2006


Silent Hill

Late this afternoon, Spooky, Byron and I took in a matinee of Silent Hill. I must admit that I had lowish expectations, figuring it would be good eye candy, good enough that I wouldn't mind the general pointlessness which afflicts most videogame-to-film adaptations or having paid the matinee ticket price. So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this is actually a very enjoyable film. I've seen a lot of the responses from critics, which seem, in the main, to be pretty negative and dismissive. Poor Ebert seemed utterly lost in the plot. All I can say is that the three of us had no trouble whatsoever following the story, and I don't think it was because we'd played the games. The art direction and cinematography are often breathtaking. The film wisely devotes a great deal of energy to establishing and maintaining mood and atmosphere. This isn't a "jump and scream" sort of horror film. At least, it didn't strike us that way. Rather, tension builds slowly and inevitably. And then it leaves you hanging, waiting for release that always seems just a few moments away. And yet it is an unrelentingly brutal film, and hardly ever shies away from explicit blood and gore. Radha Mitchell, who I loved in Pitch Black but haven't seen in anything else, generally handles her role here well, and Alice Krige is exquisite. Same for Deborah Kara Unger. Something I've not seen mentioned in any of the reviews I've read is that this is an unexpectedly matrifocal film. All the power, whether good and evil and pretty much anything in between, rests with female characters. Men are few and ultimately impotent in the face of the forces at work in the town of Silent Hill. And it's not that female characters were simply plugged into action film roles traditionally reserved for men. Anyway, yes, I liked it. I liked it a lot. There are some clunky moments of dialogue, and I thought the "blinding light" infodump towards the end, wherein the dark secret of Silent Hill is explained to Rose Da Silva, might have been handled with a little more subtlety. But, ultimately, these are minor complaints, and they don't detract from the film in any significant way. And speaking of pleasant surprises, the bleak ending, which entirely defeated my expectations for something more upbeat, more Hollywood, more test-audience sanctioned, was greatly appreciated and suited the story from which it followed. Great soundtrack, too.

It's not a great film, mind you. But it is a good horror film, decent dark fantasy, and as videogame films go, it's a frelling masterpiece.
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Coffee in my MYSTERY! cup.

The silver lining to editing the Daughter of Hounds manuscript is that it doesn't have to be done at my frelling desk. I can edit anywhere. On the sofa, on the chaise, in bed, in the bathtub, at San Francisco Coffee, in the frelling park. Of course, so far I've only actually edited on the sofa, but it's nice knowing all those other options exist. In theory, if not in practice. Anyway, yesterday we did Chapter One, as planned, which changes the Zokutou page meter as follows:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
114 / 691

Bit by bit, we advance. Also, I did some editing on "Highway 97," though there's still a tiny bit left to be done before I send the ms. for that chapbook away to Subterranean Press.

If you missed my comments re: Silent Hill (the film, not the game) and are in any way interested in reading them, just click here. After the movie, Byron and Spooky and I stopped at Fellini's in Candler Park for slices, then headed back to our place to see the new ep of Dr. Who. And Byron met Chiana Marshmallow Pipsqueak for the first time.

stardustgirl kind of scooped me on this, but I'm not gonna let a little thing like that deter me. Click here for an amusing and somewhat prescient vintage Alka-Seltzer commercial. "You know, we wouldn't have invented a disease unless we had something to take for it." Indeed. Here we have spoken the unspoken maxim of the present-day American pharmeceutical and medical establishments, especially those branches dealing with psychology and psychiatry. Here we have a very reasonable explanation for the recent proliferation of acronym-annointed disorders: Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Seasonal Affective Disorder (also SAD), Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD), Acute Stress Reaction (ASR), Adjustment Disorder (AD), Separation Anxiety Disorder (also also SAD), Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), etc. & etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Me, I seem to be labouring under the ill-effects of an especially acute case of Mankind Aversion Disorder (MAD), but I suspect no soothing, candy-coloured pill will be forthcoming for that particular malady. Oh, well. Spoot. Anyway, I suspect my therapist would tell me I'm not MAD, I'm merely SAD...

I followed a link from someone's LJ (honestly, I've forgotten whose it was) and took the "What's Your Political Philosphy Quiz." The results were in no way surprising:

You scored as Green. The Green Party believes in an America where decisions are made by the people and not by a few giant corporations. Their environmental goal is a sustainable world where nature and human society co-exist in harmony.




Old School Democrat


New Democrat




Pro Business Republican


Foreign Policy Hawk


Socially Conservative Republican


What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with QuizFarm.

Addendum One: A Poll Re: The Dry Salvages

Er...let's try this again. The first time I posted it, I accidentally set it so that only mutual friends could vote. Dumb nixar that I am. Sorry.

So, Bill Shafer at Subterranean Press has been encouraging me to make my sf novella, The Dry Salvages, available as a free downloadable PDF via the subpress website. At first, I thought sure, cool, why not, let's give it a try. Then Spooky, who minds the eBay inventory, pointed out that we presently have 13 copies of the trade edition and 19 copies of the limited edition in stock and offering the book as a free PDF could lose us a minimum of $1,085 dollars in potential eBay sales. I mentioned this to Bill, and he believes that people would still buy the book, even though it was available for free, and he points to similar successful examples by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross as evidence. But I remain skeptical. I do very much like the idea of making the book available as a free PDF. It seems like a great way to get a lot of people to read my sf who never have. But I really can't afford to eat over a thousand dollars in lost eBay revenue. So, I'm dithering as to whether I should offer the book a a PDF now or wait a few more months, allowing additional time to sell our remaining copies of the book.

Hence, this poll. Please do not lie. I can tell when you lie, even over the internet, and flying monkeys with rusty corkscrews will be dispatched to make you sorry. And if you've already bought the book, don't bother answering. Thanks.

Poll #719478 Addendum One: A Poll Re: The Dry Salvages

If a free PDF of The Dry Salvages were available, I'd:

download it and also buy a copy of the book.
download only.
down it and buy a copy only if I liked the book a great deal.