In yesterday’s blog entry, I reminded everyone to tune into The People’s Choice Awards to find out whether Atlantis had won the award for Favorite Sci Fi Show. I wrote: “ If we win, I’ll celebrate by seeing how drunk I can get on champagne truffles.” The answer? Pretty damn drunk! At least I assume I was drunk – dizzy, queasy, deliriously happy one minute and then tearfully depressed the next. It was when I started arguing politics with the droopy gingko in my backyard that Fondy decided I’d had enough and finally brought me up to bed. So, in short – we won and thanks to everyone who made it possible. And an extra special thanks to all of you who are, without a doubt, the most passionate, loyal, bloodthirsty fans out there. Thanks!
The Princess Bride is one of my favorite films of all time. So, when I came across the book in my local bookstore last year, I assumed that it was a novelization of the movie. To my surprise, I discovered that the book actually preceded the movie by some 14 years (Yes, I know William Goldman is a successful novelist, but I’d never heard of The Princess Bride outside of the film version). Well, I was dying to find out how it measured up and purchased a copy. While I intended to read it regardless, I’m pleased it was chosen as a Book of the Month Club selection since I’m curious to hear all of your thoughts.
As for my thoughts? Loved it! And yet, as much as I loved it, I still prefer the movie – and this has less to do with any minor quibbles I have with the book than it does with Goldman’s skill in adapting The Princess Bride to the big screen. The movie remained incredibly true to the original in both story and spirit, a frustrating rarity in screen adaptation. As much as I enjoyed the little extras the book offers up (the backstories of the main players, the zoo of death, the more detailed accounts of Inigo and Fezzik’s respective journeys after being bested by the Dread Pirate Roberts), I didn’t really miss them.
I also enjoyed enjoyed the book’s metafictional elements, Goldman’s authorial interjections in which he comments on the abridgement process of Morgenstern‘s masterpiece. They were as hilariously entertaining as the straight narrative, particularly his bullet summaries of what he considered the original’s boring bits. However, the interjections in which Goldman discusses his faux personal life (his relationship with his fictitious son and the dissolution of his equally fictitious marriage) felt out of place and occasionally off-putting. The Princess Bride lampoons the writing process, the traditional fairy tale. It’s telling that while the fictitious Buttercup and Westley prove that love conquers all, Goldman the narrator (in this case, the fictitious persona he has created for himself to tell this particular story) is barely able to maintain a loving relation between his son or his psychiatrist wife. Yes, it is an ironic reinforcement of the thematic subversion (culminating in the atypically open-ended ending which is a far cry from Happily Everafter), but I questioned whether it was really necessary? Did it help or rather hinder? Did it detract from your overall enjoyment of the book?
And then there’s the first chapter of Buttercup’s Baby which is included in the 25th Anniversary Edition I purchased (don’t know if previous editions contained the excerpt). I found it a bit of out of place, a downbeat and odd addition to the whole. To be honest, I’m not really sure why it was included.
Still, all minor quibbles. Of the three books of the month, The Princess Bride was my favorite by far. Your thoughts?
Well, the results are in for next month’s Book of the Month Club. A nice change of pace for February as we’ll be reading some short story collections. In the SciFi category, it will be Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge, edited by Lou Anders (Let’s see if we can convince Lou to swing by and answer some questions about this particular collection). In the Fantasy category, it will be Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman. And, finally, in the Horror category, Simmons nudges past Martin, so we’ll be reading Children of the Night, by Dan Simmons. As was the case with the January selections, feel free to read one, two, or all three selections (if you’re one of those voracious readers). Let’s start the discussions in the third week of February.
By the way, thanks to everyone who has swung by to offer up their thoughts on The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Today’s blog is dedicated to Amy’s Great Grandma who passed away this morning.
Today’s pics: The dogs, wiped after a return to daycare.
Ongoing Time-Traveler’s Wife discussion:
Tenmongaku writes: “So I had a few comments about your comment about why the couple would choose to bring someone into the world with the “genetic disorder” (I know, weird construct, right?) of compelled time travel. I think that in reality, having a child is an intensely personal decision for anyone to make, and boiling considerations down to “they might get this genetic disorder” oversimplifies things a tad.”Answer: Point taken. However, given the fact that something like this is, as you’ve pointed out, an intensely personal and complex decision, I wished we could have been made privy to the thought processes and arguments (presumably there would have been more than a few) that would have led up to this decision. Aegfyu writes: “I do find some sense in the lottery tickets: Henry knew the numbers, but he didn’t know who won. He did not change anything he had knowledge of.”
Answer: I consider that a cheat. Simply because he doesn’t know who won the lottery doesn’t mean there’s a very strong likelihood that he and Clare won it. In fact, I would argue that the chances of him winning the lottery without knowing the numbers ahead of time would have been extremely remote.
queenrens writes: “I am here to comment on The crooked Letter…”
Answer: Hey, slow down, you anxious thing you. Discussion of The Crooked Letter officially kicks off on Monday.
silan writes: “Henry does disappear in front of other people. Not often, but it happens.”
Answer: Then that’s even worse! He conveniently disappears in front of people and suffers absolutely no repercussions. His witnessed disappearances – in front of his friends and Dr. Kendrick – also work out to his benefit.
Silan also writes: “So, while the winning lottery tickets are pre-determined, I don’t think that the winner necessarily is.”
Answer: See above. But, really – the winner of the lottery is as pre-determined as those numbers.
iamza writes: “Henry didn’t change the lottery numbers that were picked, he merely capitalized on his knowledge of them.”
Answer: Right – but he still used his knowledge of the future to win a lottery he wouldn’t have won had he not played the (future) winning numbers. Hey, I’m not saying he shouldn’t have done it. I’m just saying it demonstrates an inconsistency in his approach to the whole fate vs. determinism argument.
WannaBe writes: “the big difference? This freaking book had no plot!!!”
Answer: In all fairness, there was a plot – but a very untraditional one. On the other hand, someone pointed out that if you got rid of the hook/time-travel angle and simply focused on Henry and Clare’s relationship, the book would prove a very difficult read because, as you pointed out, the characters had no goals and there was little conflict (outside of the complications created by the time travel angle).
Etc.shiningwit writes: “What the hell am I doing up at 4.56am?”Answer: Uh, reading my blog. What else?Arctic Goddess: “Btw, I was the one that sent you the inspirational book.”
Answer: Thought so. Thanks.
SellyOakBlade writes: “1) In the first attck on the Replicator ship by both the Apollo and Daedelus, was it really necessary to send 3 full bird colonels and a Lt col into harms way?
2) Was the possibility of the collapsing and compressing “blob” actually acheiving fusion as a start/black hole ever considered (I know McKay and Carter mention neutron Star density). It could have made for an interesting next episode as the Apollo/Daedelus can`t get away etc etc.”
Answers: 1) We needed as many ships as possible and Ellis and Caldwell commanded the respective ships so, yes, their presence was required. And, since Carter was overseeing the operation, it made sense for her to be there as well. 2) I actually pitched this idea but we ended up going with a variation because some in the room objected to the science behind the idea. Lousy logic-monkeys!
SMB_Books writes: “Joe – in recent days/weeks you’ve mentioned off and on some snippets about developments for Season 5, potential character announcements, negotiations, etc. How close are we to knowing the cast line-up for Season 5? (Regular, recurring, etc.).
Which answer best fits? (Hey it’s like those multiple choice questions in school!)
A) This week
B) Next week
C) Next month
D) Not until Season 4 is done airing.”
Answer: E) Whenever SciFi puts out the official press release.
AnneTeldy writes: “Which do you favor: ballpoint, rollerball, or fountain pen?”
Answer: Very pointy gel pens that can also be used as hand weapons.
Killdeer writes: “Several of us had been expecting a nice Rodney/Teyla scene in BAMSR. Did that get cut, or is it later down the road?”
Answer: Sorry. When I answered the question about a Rodney-Teyla scene, I was thinking Ronon/Teyla. For a sweet Rodney/Teyla scene, you’ll have to wait for Kindred I.
Klemen writes: “There’s a heated debate going on at gateworl about tehnobabble and deus ex machinas.Some are complaining that you use to much tehnobabble to solve problems.And that you (the writers) invent a machine out of the blue to overcome that problem. ”
Answer: Hmmm. The last time I saw fans complaining about Stargate’s use of a deus ex machina to solve a problem (a couple of years ago), it was pretty clear that the fans in question didn’t have a clue what a deux ex machina actually was. Could you provide some examples of what was referred to?