May 27th, 2013


Kitsnaps: Youghal Lighthouse

Youghal Lighthouse
Youghal Lighthouse
Youghal (pronounced y’all. no, really!) lighthouse in County Cork. We’d been living in Cobh (pronounced cove), which is one of the largest natural deep-water harbors in the world, and the waters there are very calm and quiet. Coming out to Youghal for a day and watching the Atlantic smash against the rocks was quite a shock after the so-quiet cove waters. The lighthouse there is no longer in commission, but it’s very, very attractive. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


Picoreview: The Great Gatsby

Picoreview: The Great Gatsby: It was all right.

I didn’t go in with expectations of it being fantastic because reviews suggested it wasn’t. I thought it was better, perhaps, than many of the reviews did; I thought the cast, with the glaring exception of Tobey Maguire, were quite terrific. DiCaprio’s moments of fear and vulnerability where he thinks he might get found out are very nice, and he charms well when he’s supposed to. There’s one scene where he’s messing about and being youthful and joyous and looks like he’s about fifteen, which image, since I just watched Romeo+Juliet, is fresh in my mind. So he was lovely in it.

Carey Mulligan, whom I like a lot, was appealing as Daisy, and Joel Edgerton, who was not previously on my radar, surprised me enormously as Daisy’s husband. So the leads were largely very good. I find Maguire to have roughly the emotional range of a fence post and to be marginally less interesting on screen than watching paint dry, and in this he did not disappoint.

The costuming is also beautiful, as one expects from Baz Lurhmann. Unfortunately, I think his choreographer is the same one, and there was a dance move very (very) early on that was also used in Moulin RogueRouge, and I found it hugely distracting. Like, I went, “Oh, come on,” and spent the rest of the movie looking for/expecting more of that kind of thing. This would not, I suspect, be a problem for 99.999% of viewers, but it’s not the first time that kind of thing has ripped me out of a film.

Also in Luhrmann tradition is the framing device/voiceover. I haven’t read the book in so long I don’t remember if Nick provides a framing device in it, so I don’t know if that’s Luhrmann or the book. Doesn’t matter; it by and large works, with one absolutely beautiful moment at the end of the film that kind of pays it all off even if it didn’t more or less work already.

Somehow it’s not as…outrageous a film…as either Moulin Rouge or Romeo+Juliet, and I think that’s why it falls down. The rich, sumptous, overblown worlds shown in the other two movies are–well, I mean, they’re supposed to be shown as a false front in Gatsby; they’re supposed to be shallow and uncaring. But I think it was too much glittery surface, and Maguire as Nick, who is supposed to be the story’s heart and conscience, could not bring enough depth to either Carraway or Gatsby to make an okay film into a great one.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


follow-up to industry sea changes post

Following up on Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s industry sea changes post from last week: it’s fairly clear from responses that from outside the publishing industry (and indeed, perhaps from within it), KKR’s post is all but written in a foreign language. So while I do think it’s worth reading, I’ve summarized what seem to me the most relevant points in the common tongue. :)

Baker & Taylor and Ingrams (who are the two major book distributors in the US; Diamond, who distributes comics and magazines, is a very important but much smaller footprint distributor) have both removed the self-publishing section of their websites/ordering system, so all books are released system-wide, whether self-published or traditionally published.

They are also now offering to select bookstores (good customers who pay bills on time & order a lot) a 45% return on self-published books, rather than the previous 5% or 0% return. Furthermore, a bookstore can now return only one book, rather than the 5 that were previously necessary for B&T/Ingrams to accept a return.

The upshot of this is that books released through Amazon’s extended CreateSpace program are beginning to appear system-wide through B&T/Ingrams as soon as they’re released, and they may even be turning up on bookstore shelves. I’m not personally familiar enough with how a bookstore finds and determines what books to order to be sure how to get, say, NO DOMINION on their radar, but it appears that it is now possible to get print-on-demand, independent titles into the bookstores.

Now it’s a question of figuring out how to inform bookstores they need to be looking for the new CE Murphy books, apparently.

Another interesting and probably important detail in that blog is that returns, which were steady at 50% or higher for a Very Long Time, dropped by 27% by the end of 2012, which appears to reflect bookstores buying fewer copies and being able to order new ones for swift delivery when the first ones sell. Next week (or soon) she’s going to talk about how this affects print runs and a bunch of other things. If it’s another incoherent-to-outsiders post, and if people are interested, I’ll try to interpret it too.

All of this is relevant to the upcoming guest blogs from Judith Tarr that I’ll be posting this week, full of fascinating commentary about where the publishing industry was when she started, and where it is now, and how writers can respond to it.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


genderswapping lotr


okay, i’m late to the party, it’s a post from 2010, but i just got pointed at it, and holy mother of mercy. seriously, i would WATCH THE HELL OUT OF THAT. there is no universe in which this should be not happening. this should happen in ALL the universes. especially this one. RIGHT NOW. or better yet like five years ago so i could be WATCHING IT RIGHT NOW.

ben barnes as arwen. *dies the ded of a happy ded thing that dies of happy dedness*

no, seriously, there is NOTHING about that casting that is not MADE. OF. AWESOME. and i swear, even though i knew going in that it was a genderswapped LotR my brain still did not in any way go “gosh, that’s a lot of women.” it went “oh look, pretty man!” a couple of times, and everything else was “HOLY SHIT THAT’S FREAKING PERFECT CASTING!” HELEN MIRREN AS SARUMAN OH YES PLEASE!!! *dies more*

Also–having been reminded by Tilda Swinton as Boromir, be still my beating heart, dear god, ahem, where was I. Oh yeah. I caught a clip of the Bowie/Swinton video a couple nights ago. Please, can’t they just get permission from their partners to make one child? I want to see what species it is. I’m betting elf.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)