I really want to like the new The Twilight Zone. But I think the problem with an anthology series is that you’re always starting from square one. Every episode requires an all-new round of exposition, and exposition is hard to do well.
I really don’t like the “as you know, Sally” style of expository dialogue, where characters say things to each other that they both already know, for the benefit of the audience. It sticks out like the cliché sore thumb for me.
And there’s a lot of it in this first season of The Twilight Zone.
Maybe it’ll get better, but so far I’m on the sixth episode, and it’s not been living up to my hopes.
(On the plus side, the acting has been top-notch, across all the episodes. Even the child actors have mostly impressed me.)
Well, episode 6 — “Six Degrees of Freedom” — was definitely a brighter spot, at least for me. It had some issues, sure — technical quibbles on the level of CBC’s SF attempt Ascension, q.v., but at least they tried harder. (For instance, they gave a reason, however ludicrous, that the Mars ship would have artificial gravity.) The story, though, manage to capture me and hold me till its end, even with a bit of clunky “as you know, Katherine” bits of infodump.
Seems I can forgive a bit of clunky writing if the overall story is good enough.
When I was a kid, I read a lot. I worked my way through the Hardy Boys mysteries, and even read a Nancy Drew book or two before I decided those were more in line with my sister’s sensibilities.
One day I discovered Encyclopedia Brown in the local public library, in a book of ten short mysteries whose endings were hidden at the back of the book, like a puzzle book. I was hooked. I read all the EB books the library had, and—if I recall correctly—I also discovered that interlibrary loan would bring me new tales.
As I aged, I discovered that names like “Franklin W. Dixon” and “Carolyn Keene”, authors of the Hardy Boys and the Nancy Drew mysteries, respectively, were “house names”, false identities adopted by writers who would write one or two or ten novels in the series, then move on. I long assumed that Donald J. Sobol, the name on the spine of the Encyclopedia Brown collections, was also a house name.
I was wrong. Donald J. Sobol was a real person, a single, singular author, and this is his story.
The science fiction and fantasy community has lost a beloved icon. We are extremely sad to report that author and SFWA Grand Master Gene Wolfe passed away on April 14th at age 87.
I came to Mr. Wolfe’s writing late in life. My dad had a copy of Urth of the New Sun but, as a teenager, I could never get into it (not realizing, then, that it was essentially book 5 of a 4-volume series). I decided he was too highbrow, too highfalutin for my tastes.
Over the years, though, writers I very much enjoyed, writers whose opinions I respected, continued to tout the virtues of Wolfe. Neil Gaiman wrote on how to read Wolfe. Michael Swanwick was effusive with his praise. Wolfe, they insisted, is the writer’s writer.
So I checked the Wizard Knight duology out of my local library, and I found myself hooked. I chanced upon a copy of The Fifth Head of Cerberus at a local used bookstore, and was entranced. Later, I read The Book of the New Sun and its coda, Urth of the New Sun. This past summer I read, and loved, Pirate Freedom.
Gene Wolfe’s prose deserves to be read, and more, it begs to be re-read. Time, I think, for a re-read.
It is always a temptation to say that such feelings are indescribable, though they seldom are.