Spooky and I have been enjoying the e-mail reports from her father (by way of her mother), who's currently mucking about on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska (Wales, Teller, and other places), investigating Native American fishing practices. It makes me long for my days as a field paleontologist, freezing my butt off in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, etc. hunting mosasaurs and other ancient beasties. Now I live in this chair, at this desk, and bitch whenever my feet get cold. I have become soft and too accustomed to the seducing ways of Civilization. The photos and stories her father's sending back are marvelous.
I have a regrettable announcement concerning To Charles Fort, With Love, my next collection of short fiction. Citing the success of The Dry Salvages, Subterranean Press wants to keep the cost down enough that the book will have a $20 price tag. To this end, it has been necessary to cancel plans to have it illustrated by Richard Kirk, who did such fantastic work for me on Tales of Pain and Wonder, From Weird and Distant Shores, and Wrong Things. I'm half sick about this, as I feel Rick's brought so much to my anthologies in the past. But we have promised one another that we will work together again in the future. He's just finished up work on an edition of China Miéville's King Rat, which you should check out. We'll still have a cover by Ryan Obermeyer, as planned, and the book should be out late this spring (though subpress is not yet accepting preorders).
I've been trying to stay away from the television, the DVD player, the X-Box and Playstation, trying to spend more time reading, but the events of the last week have led to some significant backsliding as I sought comfort with my eyes. Thursday night we watched Troy, which was well beyond disappointing. Here's a movie that wanted to be Gladiator so hard it hurt, but failed at almost every turn. Even Brad Pitt and Peter O'Toole seemed lost in this silly mess. Orlando Bloom can do better; here he pouted, played a wimpy, half-assed version of Legolas, and...well...pouted. And gods, that song at the end by Josh Groban — the film deserves to be forgotten for that alone. Anyway, we did better on Friday night. We rented The Chronicles of Riddick and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Back on June 12th, right after I saw the new Riddick film, I wrote in this journal that I found it "feeling just a little rushed at times. With a measly one hour and fifty-nine minutes running time, and the fact that this was originally given an R and recut for the coveted PG-13, is enough to tell me this rushed feeling almost certainly resulted from the deletion of important moments here and there. A shame we can no longer make adult movies for adults. But at least we can expect (as with Pitch Black) an unrated Director's cut on DVD." That's one I got frelling right, kiddos. The director's cut is fifteen minutes longer and does away with that rushed feeling entirely. The whole thing about the Furians makes a lot more sense, we get a character who was entirely excised from the theatrical release, as well as a little appreciated necromonger sex, and a bit more Jack/Kira. If you saw it in the theatre and weren't pleased, you might give it another try. The remake of The Manchurian Candidate was quite effective, though I'm not sure I can say it's more effective than the original. Too bad they couldn't have called it The Halliburton Candidate and gotten right to the point. Finally, I finished Devil May Cry II last night. It's the first time I've ever accidentally finished a game. It was over that quick, and there are only two good things I can say about it — it isn't quite the worst game I've ever played, and it had some nice visuals, here and there. But the gameplay was absolutely awful, the script had us laughing through the whole thing, the invisible walls and non-interactive enviroments are maddening, it's unreasonably simple, the music was dren, and this is the first time I've ever actually felt it necessary to call a game sexist (which is not to say it's the first time I've ever noticed sexism in a game). The whole second disc, with Lucia's quest, was so totally dumbed-down and simplified, as though we really shouldn't expect as much from a female character as from a male character. It's sort of the Dumb Girl Version of the game. Anyway, a lousy two-year old game. Enough said. And enough television and gaming for a while, I think.
Is that all for now? Oh, one more thing. Please check out our eBay auctions, the proceeds of which will go to pay for Spooky's recently shattered molar. Thank you. Okay, that's all for now.