Yesterday, after some generalised angst and frustration, Spooky and I read through the first 61 pages (a little more than 12,000 words) of Daughter of Hounds. We did this right after Halloween, but that was a month ago, and I needed to hear it all again. She loves it. And I quite like it myself. It is the best prologue I have ever written, which is to say that it's the best beginning to a book I have ever written. The rest of it stretches out before me. Monday, I'm sending this much of the ms. to Merrilee (my book agent) and John (my editor) to see what they think. I'll probably send it to one other reader as well. I've described it to Merrilee as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Pulp Fiction, but yesterday the comparison didn't seem nearly so apt and clever as when I first made it. But it is a strange, new sort of novel for me.
For Kindernacht, we rented Species III and Frankenfish, and swapped Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal for Halo 2. The only really kind thing I can say about Species III is that it just barely managed to be better than Species II (and the only good thing I can say about Species II is that it somehow managed to be worse than Species). However, Frankenfish, a tale of genetically altered giant snakeheads loose in a Louisiana bayou, was a fairly charming and surprisingly gory film. Frankenfish plays, just a little, against horror-movie stereotypes. The protagonist is a black medical examiner played by a Denzel Washington wanna-be, backed up by a hot half-Asian lesbian with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. They're sort of like an alternate universe Mulder and Scully. Most of the characters are just there to be eaten, of course, and to be eaten horribly, but they are an unusually memorable lot. The Cajun characters aren't played as inbred retards, and even the inevitable Voodoo lady is handled better than usual. The monster effects are stunning (unlike the rubber suits in Species III). If you like big dumb monster movies, you should definitely seek out Frankenfish. As for Halo 2, not having played Halo and having a general disdain for first-person shooters, I found it quite engaging. The graphics are gorgeous, and it's very playable, but jeez louise, I could do without the idiotic, one-dimensional roughnecks who pass, sort of, for characters in this game. There's not an ounce of charm or charisma in the lot, and I can't even begin to pretend to care what happens to these macho assholes. It urks me that I'm not given the option of playing an alien or a woman. I suppose I can excuse the game's inherent xenophobia — I mean, if I'm willing to accept its premise that a federation of alien races are trying to destroy mankind (I don't know the backstory from the first game, so I'm not sure what's up). The black sergeant is lifted directly from Al Matthews' cigar-chewing performance in Aliens, and are we really supposed to believe that in the 26th Century people are still quoting frelling Emeril Lagasse? The only interesting character so far is the holographic computer chick, who may have a name, but I haven't heard it yet. There's been far too little of her. Anyway, trigger-happy cardboard characters aside, I'm kind of having fun with Halo 2. And I'm sure it fulfills the warrior fantasies of all those guys (and gals) who weren't lucky enough to be shipped off to Iraq by Dominar Bush to kill aliens...um, I mean Muslims. All in all, a most excellent Kid Night.
What else? There's a lot of second-hand news I'm trying not to think about, like Georgia creationists and the Department of Homeland Security Seizing Control of drivers licenses and birth certificates from the states and requiring DNA samples for ID of all US citizens. When is someone gonna tell Bush that the Hitler schtick is growing old. Oh, wait. Never.
Here in America, it's considered bad form to compare people to Hitler, even when they're acting like Nazis. Less we want to be called shrill and silly and alarmists, we have to stand by and wait patiently until they actually start opening the concentration camps and firin' up the ovens. Oh, wait again. Does Guantanamo Bay count?
(Caitlín? Do you not remember that promise you made to yourself about not discussing politics in the blog? You do, don't you?)
Er...well, I'm also sort of bummed that VNV Nation aren't going to be playing Atlanta. The closest they're coming to me will be Tampa, which would be doable, just, were I not presently so busy and short of cash. Poor, poor me. There are starving children in Nigeria who can't even afford VNV Nation cds for their black-market Discmen (Discmans?). I'm a pig. Oink.
Today, I have to get back to that thing for Marvel, because I have a meeting with one of the editors there on Tuesday, and I need to be a lot more prepared for it than I presently am. I want to just start Chapter One of Daughter of Hounds while the prologue is still fresh in my head. But, alas...