Thursday, June 28, 2007

Quick stopgap

Will post about the filming soon, got most of it typed up, just trying to second guess it all and make sure I don't give anything away to you eagle-eyed rascals. Short version: all going incredibly well, everyone is lovely, I got touched by Actors again.

So this is a quick post to say hello, I'm still alive, just exhausted. Slept most of the day on Sunday, got completely run down and trashed. Been having meetings, writing, travelling around, writing, writing, and more writing. Trouble with loving what you do is, it doesn't feel like work, so you don't feel the need for breaks or rest, until you fall apart. I know, I know, poor old me, what a tragedy, please help if you can, just two pounds a month, James is a quiet writer, he knows that nobody comes whether he cries or not, etc etc.

New issue of Doctor Who Magazine (issue 384, with either Derek Jacobi or John Simm on the front, depending on your preference) mentions my name again, in the Torchwood update on page 4. I think I was on page 5 last month, hopefully one day I will be promoted to either the front, or a bigger feature further in. No more of this page 4 or 5 nonsense for me, oh no, I have PLANS, baby.

I have read this Guardian article twice now, and still can't get my head round it. It's clearly supposed to be saying "ooh, isn't science fiction on telly brilliant", but both times left me feeling annoyed. The whole thing just has that familiar, snobby, faintly amused tone that makes me want to insert forks into people's eyes. Once again, they try to figure out why there's been a resurgence of TV sci-fi, mentioning post 9/11 this, political that, when the answer is simple: Lost was good and became a hit, the new series of Doctor Who was also good and became a hit, and every TV channel in the world caught the whiff of money and immediately decided to try and tap into the market. Fairly easy to understand, I thought. The most annoying part, however, was this: "For a long time, science fiction and fantasy have been seen as something for teenage boys, genres you grow out of." It's only ever patronising, idiotic article writers who ever think this. Something to grow out of? Hold on a sec, there's a phone call for you - it's Harlan Ellison, Arthur C. Clarke, and the zombie corpses of Jules Verne, Douglas Adams and Philip K. Dick. Yeah, something about wanting to kick your fucking head in. By the way, Warren Ellis is actually outside your door, and you do NOT want to know what 3 items he is holding. One of them is lube.

This was supposed to be a quick, short post. Let's all just pretend that it was, and we'll say no more about it.

18 comments:

Lucy said...

No.

If it was supposed to be a short post, it's not.

So now you die. Only fair really considering you lied...

What's your preference? Forks in your eyes?

Amanda said...

I love it when you're ranty. You remind me of me. Except, y'know, you have boys bits and I don't. We should clear that up because people suspect I *do* have them, given my viewing preferences.

I've not read the article, but maybe I should... was that heavily implied too? Only boys like it? Was it sexist as well as patronising? Ye gods, keep me away from the link or there'll be a follow up rant in the comments section.

Jason Arnopp said...

Yes, I hate that faintly-amused thing. As you'll know only too well, it's also ever-present when film-snobs discuss horror. Which is one of the reasons why I even dislike Empire magazine - they 'tolerate' the genre but would hardly ever give a horror flick five stars. Too busy creaming over Spielberg, Lucas and the Coens. Pah. And indeed, bah.

kaiki said...

i would marry the zombie corpse of douglas adams...then i'd let him kick some arse.

Peter Pan said...

I'll hold them down if you supply the forks.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great when you are touched by an actor? Hmmm, that could be a tv show, no?
-Rae

Neal Romanek said...

But I can hear the fellow saying: "But then of course "2001" and "Metropolis" are superior films ..." (and not saying: "... or so they told me at university.")

And it's always fun to remind the snobs that "The Tempest" is a sci-fi story.

Annie Rhiannon said...

And Iain M Banks

Good Dog said...

Gareth McLean’s talking about television rather than literature, so those authors aren’t going to be mentioned. Looking back at the TV shows "For a long time, science fiction and fantasy have been seen as something for teenage boys, genres you grow out of." is pretty much spot on in regard to the audience and the naff little programmes that catered to their needs.

Adams, bless him did television science fiction no favours. A friend who is a die-hard DW fan admits that his run as story editor produced the worse shows. It’s only now that the writers and producers are concentrating on drama first and genre second that we’re getting somewhere. Still doesn’t explain Painkiller Jane though, but you can’t have everything.

Oh, and if you’re categorise Harlan as a “science fiction and fantasy” writer he’ll probably be turning up at your door. And it won’t be pretty either.

James Moran said...

The authors have either written for, or been adapted for TV (and yes, Harlan Ellison is his own genre entirely, but has brushed past most other genres too).

But TV sci-fi and fantasy hasn't always been a desolate wasteland. Star Trek and Doctor Who started in the 60s, and were pretty groundbreaking. And don't forget Survivors, Sapphire and Steel, Kolchak, The Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap, V, The Prisoner, Quatermass - there's always been good stuff on, and there's always been shite stuff on. There are quite a few shite ones on now, or coming up soon, it's not all good.

Sci-fi/fantasy hasn't suddenly come back, and it hasn't always been aimed at teenage boys. And of the five shows the guy lists at the end, two started in the 90s and ended several years ago, and one's been on since 1963, slightly undermining his point. It's a lazy, patronising article, and there seems to be a new one every year. Occasionally the subject will change - "kapow, comics aren't just for kids anymore", for example - but they're all essentially the same thing, they all have the same bemused tone, and I'm tired of them.

Jodie said...

The writers mentioned have all either written for TV or their works have been adapted for it. That's the kind of ignorance that was so irritating in the guardian article.

Mentioning Harlan Ellison when talking about TV scifi or fantasy doesn't categorise him as anything. Just because you've written for TV doesn't make you a TV writer, nor does writing scifi make you exclusively a scifi writer. It does show, however, that great writers are great writers regardless of genre or medium.

There's always been plenty of crap scifi on TV. There's always been plenty of crap dramas on TV and comedies and thrillers and game shows. There's no shortage of rubbish in any genre. Even the very best TV shows always have their dud episodes. Scifi is no different and no less respectable because of it. McLean's bewildered attitude to the fact that scifi is popular and credible is predictable, poorly informed and sad.

Bill Reed said...

That penultimate paragraph makes me thing I'm *really* going to dig your upcoming work.

Anonymous said...

The guardian is the master at such articles. It can never quite make up its mind, no matter who is reviewing. They always seem to almost sit on the post. It irritates the hell out of me too! If something's good, people won't mind if just for once you come out and say "You know what, that is bl**dy fantastic!!!"

Jools not James said...

I know I texted you with this little nugget last night, but it's too good not to share!
On Big Brother's Little Brother last night, Davina jumped onto Dermot's back and shouted "I'm gonna ride you like Seabiscuit!!"
Cor, fame at last!

Allie said...

Linked here from Television Without Pity's Doctor Who forums. Cracked up reading this post, now totally looking forward to your ep of Torchwood.

Sarah Dobbs said...

The Guardian seems to send me into a rage on a daily basis now. Today's blog about Dexter being torture porn didn't help.

Amanda said...

Ooooh, I used to hang at TWoP! Welcome, Allie (not that it's my blog to, uh, welcome you to...) you'll find healthy doses of sarcasm floating around here too :D

Meanwhile, Moran, my life has virtually ground to a standstill waiting for the next update. Give a girl something to read, eh?

James Moran said...

Cheers Bill, and welcome, Allie, to Amanda's blog. I mean, my blog, it's mine, mine, MINE

Ooh, what have they said about me on TWoP? Hopefully there has been *some* pity, I like a bit of pity now and then, the good kind though.