Friday Musings

2010 is nearly over, and I still don’t have my jetpack.  Mutants are not lurking in the sewer.  The great robot uprising has not started.  Aliens aren’t here to harvest our organs.  The mole people are still lurking quietly, unseen, below the Earth’s crust.  There are no superpsychics threatening to replace us as dominate species.  No flying cars.  No moonbase.  No underwater cities.

Wouldn’t a WAR OF THE MONSTERS! be awesome?  Nothing says the future is here like a giant ape fighting a giant grasshopper atop the Chrysler Building.  If that ape should be a robot, so much the better.

A guy can dream…

 I really like giant monsters.  Have I mentioned that lately?  Skyline wasn’t a great movie.  But it did have giant alien monsters, which was almost enough for me.  I also enjoyed that it was directed with quiet competence.  There was none of that shakey camera nonsense that directors seem to love so.  I don’t know when we decided that being able to follow the action wasn’t “edgy” enough, but if you’re going to have a giant alien stepping on cars, I want tobe able to see it.  My biggest gripe with the live-action Transformers movies is that Michael Bay seems to believe that framing a shot with the subject in the center is beneath him.  Well, that was my biggest complaint about the first film.  Let’s not get into the many flaws of the second.

My biggest complaint about Skyline is that the entire film ends up being little more than a prologue.  This is annoying because if the movie is not a success then all you sold me was a really pricey movie pitch.  It’s also annoying because I ALWAYS skip prologues.

I never read them.  If it’s important to the story, then it’s labeled Chapter One.  I don’t mind prologues because they are clearly labeled as something I can skip, but it makes me wonder why they are there in the first place.  Tradition?  To beef up the page count?

One of my books almost had a prologue.  I considered writing one for The Automatic Detective because there’s a cool scene I wanted to write, but, while it’s an important moment in Mack Megaton’s life, it just seemed irrelevant.  People (and robots) have lots and lots of important moments in their lives.  If it’s not important to the current story, why bother?  That sort of reasoning is why I’ll probably never win a Puliltzer.


Hey, you never know.   Maybe the committee will decide they’ve read enough stories about people dying tragically.  Maybe they’ll decide that it’s time to give space squid “Doc Savage” types a chance to shine.  Maybe not.

One last thing:  I’ve just finished reading Why We Make Mistakes by Joseph T. Hallinan.  A great book about Terran fallibility.  The book deals honestly with our tendency to screw up and, even more importantly, our tendency to overlook or dismiss these screw ups.  We like to attribute our successes to our brilliance and our failures to dumb luck.  We focus on the inconsequential, ignore the important, and are oblivious to most everything going on around us.  It’s a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.

Of course, I’m also reading How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard, which is making a compelling argument that reading books is something of a waste of time.  Or at least not necessary to understand and enjoy them.

Except for mine.  Read mine.  You’ll be glad you did.

But if you just want to buy them and act like you’ve read them, that’d be okay with me too.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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One Comment

  1. Rippley
    Posted November 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Why not read the books you have not read, Mr. Martinez, Mr. Bayard? You might learn something more than your formidable interlocutor can tell you. You might be surprised of the details that spring to mind when conversing with a like minded individual upon subjects worthy of a book. Who knows? The conversation might bear fruit, and the next thing you know two people, having read Artificial Intelligence: A New Synthesis by Nils J. Nilsson, might create that futuristic ape robot and his nemesis giant grasshopper. Fool.

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