(Week 15: April 7 – 13)
Not the best writing week this week, following a few nights of bad sleep. I’ve spent a couple of mornings on my new short story, but it’s not quite coming together yet. There’s nothing terrible about it, but there’s nothing about it that’s particularly exciting me yet. Disappointing for a story that’s been gestating for so long (perhaps too long?)
In other writing news, I submitted my short story to the Corona short story anthology. If they like it, they like it; if they don’t, they don’t. I’m pretty pleased with the story, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the right thing for their publication.
I’ve also been doing some work on a potential new podcast project. A few you may have listened to the pilot episode of The Fifth Quadrant, a podcast project I developed with some friends last year (and still hope to continue). This new one is a sort of companion piece to that, but I’ll say no more about it today … except to offer that it was inspired by the John Wick films. Make of that what you will.
This weekend, the Elderbeast had to work on a presentation about the Battle of Thermopylae. So, of course, we had to watch 300. It’s not a bad film at all, but on this rewatch (some ten years, probably, after the first time I saw it) I’m struck by how it’s the perfect Zack Snyder/Frank Miller movie. It presents macho heroism in a completely unproblematic, uncritical manner—almost celebratory, in fact. There are (I think) only two notable female characters: one of whom is entirely subjugated by men (and shown all but naked); and a second whose part in the story is partly defined by her sexual humiliation at the hands of another male character.
We already know that Frank Miller is reactionary and problematic, and that Zack Snyder is … much the same. They’ve both given us their interpretation of superheroes, which largely revolve around them being tools to beat down anarchy and dissent, and fuck whoever gets killed along the way. 300 gives them both the ideal vehicle: a clutch of near super-human warriors who get to kill a whole bunch of opponents clearly depicted as ‘other’.
Friday’s relatively disappointing horror viewing was The Silence, a new Netflix title. It’s not that it was especially bad; just that everything in it has been done better, and relatively recently too. To be specific, if you’ve watched Bird Box and A Quiet Place, then you’ll find nothing new in The Silence.
Saturday’s treat was Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a strong candidate for my favourite Marvel film. I love this one particularly for its deliberate take on the 1970s conspiracy thriller genre—solidified both by the casting of seventies icon Robert Redford, and the relatively quiet, character-building opening with the White House placed very prominently in the background. This time around, I was also able to note how many of the plot developments are picked up and taken further in Captain America: Civil War—which has gone some way to finally convincing me that Civil War is a legitimate Captain America movie, rather than Avengers 2.5.
Nothing exciting in reading world this week. The Subtle Knife is plodding along, though we are finally getting towards a discrete plot for this one, rather than dealing with loose ends from the end of The Golden Compass.