Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Trickiness of Endings

Last week I at long last read a Stephen King story that I'd wanted to read for years; The Mist. I saw the film for the first time in 2008 and despite loving it I didn't seek out the King original story it was based on at the time. Now, with the wonder that is the Kindle, I got the collected short story volume The Skeleton Crew and settled down to read it through. But having watched the interview between director Frank Darabont and Mr. King I knew the ending was different to the film. And not necessarily for the better. This got me thinking about my own troubles with endings and why there's hope for us mere mortals if even the writing gods like Stephen King can get it wrong sometimes.

*Here Be Festooned With Spoilers - Fairly Warned, You Be*

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Weird Tales, Racism and Yet More Stupidity

In a week full of depressing exhibitions of ignorance and stupidity, I have plenty I could rant about. Instead I'm going to lament the passing of a previously great speculative fiction magazine: Weird Tales. No, they're not closing down, and no doubt the next issue will come out on time. But it isn't the same Weird Tales that in 2010 earned a place on the Hugo ballot. That was made abundantly clear with the farce that is currently taking place on their website, after their editor Marvin Kaye decided to defend a "thoroughly non-racist book", that is totally racist - screen capture here (as Weird Tales have removed the original article from their site. Tut tut.) He also planned to publish the first chapter in the next issue of Weird Tales. Even though it's available for free from Amazon and a number of other places...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Nostalgia Time - The Demise of The Dandy

I love a good bit of nostalgic whimsy. Casting your mind back, a smile dancing on your lips as you recall the smell of your street growing up, the cartoons you used to watch, the sweets you used to eat. It is with this feeling that I recall The Beano; a British comic that featured Dennis the Menace, his pet dog Gnasher and a whole host of other characters. So I was sad to hear that it looks like its sister comic, The Dandy, may be facing an end to its 75-year long run. Though nothing is definite, and I have no doubt the publisher DC Thomson will try to save it, with such a low circulation it's hard to see how it can continue as is for much longer.

"Where's me Beano?"
(Photo by Peter Barr, c.c. licence,via Wikimedia Commons)


Children just don't read The Dandy anymore. Or the Beano for that matter. The usual suspects of TV, video games and the Internet have been brought up as reasons for it, though considering the Moshi Monsters comic apparently saw a 43% rise in its circulation within a year of its release, something else may be at play here. Personally I suspect cost plays a part in all this; when I was wee the Beano was under a pound, about 60p - 70p I think. Nowadays it costs over a pound... even with a free toy, that seems a bit steep. Then there's also the possibility that the Dandy (and possibly the Beano too) are just past their sell by date. The characters were fun and interesting to me as a child in the 80s and 90s but I don't know if that's as true for children of the 21st Century. That's the problem with nostalgia; sometimes it can make you think something is better than it actually was and to want to protect something that probably shouldn't be saved. The Dandy characters will no doubt live on, in other comics and online, but how relevant is the comic itself anymore to children's lives? Especially when they have so many more options than previous generations?

What do you think? Should beloved products be saved for nostalgia's sake, or is their relevance/quality more important?

Friday, 3 August 2012

Life Olympics

Another looong gap in postings... I really need to stick to a schedule. Hell, I probably really need to make a schedule, but I don't ever seem to find the time. Making a point of doing a quick post today as I'm about to set off for a hotel stay this weekend, to be a bridesmaid tomorrow for one of my closest friends. She's the first of the gang to get hitched so it's been a pretty big deal to all of us. Feeling old or feeling grown-up - not sure which - but it's very exciting either way. The couple are lovely together and I couldn't be happier for them. Or for the dress that I get to keep. I may walk around my flat in it from time to time, just to get some wear out of it (and because it's really purty!)