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New Reviews / Not So Continuous

Posted in Continuous Coast, Published, Reviews, and The SF Site

The SFSite has published their first February update, and with it, two of my reviews. First up, my review of the UFO ‘documentary’, The Billy Meier Story: UFO’s and Prophecies from Outer Space:

“watching this film is like diving headlong into a disorienting, paranoid world of outer space visitors, grainy super-8 footage of floating trash-bins, and gun-toting bearded cultists from Switzerland”

This film is great fun if you are a lover of the occult, the Fortean or the weird like me. I recommend watching it with a few of your friends and perhaps a chemical relaxant of choice. The rest of my review is here.

My review of FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer is also available. I couldn’t help but compare the book to the TV series, which I watched a bunch of before giving up in frustration:

What I found incredibly frustrating about FlashForward, the television series, was the way it took this fantastic concept and buried it in a slightly futuristic procedural police drama about the brave FBI agents who investigate the crisis. … The deeper metaphysical issues of what it means to see the future were rarely played out to their full potential. Perhaps it’s to be expected, but the two versions of the story have almost diametrically opposed strengths.

It’s interesting to see the contrast between my review and this older SFSite review of the same book. Reviewer Donna McMahon pretty much panned the book back in 2002; she even criticizes some of the things I specifically cite as enjoying. While personal taste obviously plays a big role in any review, I can’t help but wonder if I went a little easy on this book simply because it was so much better than the TV show, and I spent so much time ranting about the TV show’s lost potential while I was watching it.

This may be the first time I’ve actually been reviewed rather than being the reviewer: Paul Graham Raven reviews the 2008 Arse Elektronika anthology, Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep, which features the paper I co-wrote with Reesa Brown, “What is the 21st-Century Novel?” Raven has quite a lot of praise both for my paper and the anthology. Even though I don’t see a penny if you buy it, I really recommend that you check out the anthology for yourselves.  You can also hear a mp3 of my presentation and follow along with a slideshow.

Sadly, the Continuous Coast project, which we discussed extensively in our paper, is quite moribund. Personal issues sank the project in the end, and I doubt it will ever be revived. I hope that people find the ideas we laid out in both the project and the paper useful, and I am curious to see where the 21st-century takes storytelling; I hope to be some small part of that tapestry too. I still mourn the ideas and nifty potential of the project though, and hope that at least some of our notes for it can still be released into the Creative Commons as we always intended them to be, eventually.

I’m feeling slightly discouraged at the moment. A rejection letter combined with a fairly hefty personal setback arrived within a couple days of each other. I’m sitting on the story for another day or two then reevaluating whether to send it out as is. I gotta keep writing anyway. If nothing else, I hope the first meeting of the Houston Art Nerds, which we’ll be scheduling soon, will perk me up again.

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