Was developing a portfolio site today, then got bored, then wasn’t developing a portfolio site anymore. Still like this photo, though. It’s almost like I’m a real author.
I managed to get access to someone’s Netflix account recently, and aside from being totally daunted by the sudden inflation in the films I have yet to watch from about 250 (owned) to thousands (online), I was excited to watch this.
I am fascinated by what makes people tick, especially the people who turn into media caricatures that couldn’t possibly reflect their actual personalities. Watching this, it’s not a radical reshaping of Mitt Romney’s persona in a positive light, but it humanises him in a way that his presidential campaign never did. He’s still the Mormon flip-flopper, but here he’s more than aware of that term, and you can see him getting openly frustrated as each of his campaigns sour. Even more interesting is the ever-shifting family dynamic; Josh Romney is easily the most candid, to the point where there’s a period in this film where he feels more like the subject.
There will be some people for whom the idea of Mitt Romney as a terrible person gets in the way of finding anything interesting in this film. They’re still background truths here, though - while he doesn’t mention his healthcare reversal, he does accuse John McCain of lying on the subject of gay marriage, stating that he never advocated for it (counter to McCain’s accusation of proposing it in Massachusetts). It’s a strange moment - you’re entranced by his fervour and frustration with the political machine, but at the same time are made fully aware that he’s a man with the wrong views.
This is really a film that’s more about the stresses that two election campaigns can put on a family, and a worthy reminder that even the worst people have their own private lives to deal with. When the car pulls up to the house in the last shot, shortly after Romney has lost the presidential election, it’s a strangely still moment. Divested of power, he and his family seem oddly pitiful.
Well, crap. There’s an issue with the print edition of Dystopolis (not an error - those who have already purchased it won’t notice the difference) which means that for the next 24 hours or so, it won’t be available for sale as it goes through another round of revisions. Sorry about that. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes, honestly.
Anonymous asked: Is there a way for us aussies to buy your book? I haven't really looking into our ability to use amazon us/uk.
Absolutely! You can buy the Kindle edition in Australia here, and the paperback should be up within the week. While we’re at it, I should add that users in other countries should be able to find it on all international Amazon sites at least in digital form, and paperbacks are either already available or coming soon.
Watched: The Wind Rises
I can’t help but suspect that aesthetically and thematically, this film is far superior to Frozen, which recently scooped the Best Animated Feature Oscar; presumably what held it back was a) racism and b) the political awkwardness of nominating a movie that never outright condemns the Japanese involvement in World War II. I think the people who make that case are sort of missing the point. Yes, the focus of this film is more on the aeronautical engineers than the things their aeroplanes go on to do, but that’s the whole point of this film: to assert that there is something intrinsically valuable in the act of creation, and that even when your intent is cast by the wayside in the interest of cynical goals, you shouldn’t lose that impulse.
I think that maybe there’s some controversy in that, though. Creating without a sense of responsibility can be damaging (see: Mein Kampf, any number of applications of scientific racism), but there’s a gulf of difference between wrestling with and ultimately valuing an impulse (as I believe this film does) and promoting it without external consideration.
Moving beyond that, the film itself is gorgeous, with some of the best environment design I’ve seen in any Hayao Miyazaki film, and moments of emotional beauty without the usual recourse to surrealism. To call this film historical would be bending the truth a little; Jiro Horikoshi existed, but the character is a blend of Horikoshi and his biographer, Tatsuo Hori. That said, the characters leap off the screen, from Horikoshi’s muted performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt to the more absurd fringe characters (particularly memorable is Martin Short as Kurokawa). The music, by Joe Hisaishi (a long-time collaborator and stellar composer in his own right), is enchanting, and considerably less eccentric than earlier films. Everything here is so well put-together, acting as a structural parallel to the creations of Jiro himself.
See this in cinemas if you still can - it merits a big screen and an audience to laugh and cry alongside.
Hi. Over the last three years, I’ve been writing a book. It’s about a post-apocalyptic city in the future, aggressively guided by the ideology that a meaningful life is always better than longevity, or happiness, or a crude moral framework. It has a sex robot in it, a vampiric journalist, and a love story about an exiled assassin, amongst other things.
If you’re sold already, you can buy the paperback here for $8.54 and the Kindle edition here for $4 (UK: print, ebook, CA: ebook, print arriving soon). If you buy the print edition, you can get the ebook for free, DRM-free. Which is neat.
If you need a little more persuading, here’s the blurb:
Two hundred years after a catastrophe that ruined the planet, humanity re-emerges with a whole new purpose and ideology.
In the newly-built city of Stopfordia, a traffic cop is embroiled in a murder mystery. A chef at a diner on the edge of town turns to androids to satisfy his basest desires. An assassin, facing exile, finds her whole life transformed. A farmer finds himself on trial in front of a jury of thousands for a crime of horrific proportions. A journalist, facing unemployment, turns to a life of crime to keep the stories bleeding in. And a sex worker peers behind the curtain, only to discover that life in Stopfordia is not as it seems.
This is the world of Dystopolis: where the pursuit of a perfect life can take you to places you’d never expect to end up.
And here are a couple of things that good people have said about it:
"With Dystopolis, Fraser has imagined something that walks in with a scifi badge on, then sneaks up on you with a pitcher-full of vulnerable, tragic, real life."
Josh Gaines, author of Clara’s Quilt and Michigan, Ten Cents
"Dystopolis is like what Rod Serling would’ve written at the peak of his career – incisive, insightful, optimistic, and gleefully terrifying all the same."
Casey Morell, author of Halcyon
If this all sounds interesting to you but you don’t have any money, consider sharing this with people you know by clicking that little reblog button. You’d be surprised by how much it helps. Oh, and if you do have money, conside reblogging this anyway.
In advance, and maybe a little hopefully: I hope you enjoy it.
Watched: Utopia, Season 1
This took brutality to a context I haven’t seen before. There’s a scene late in the season, after the death toll has considerably racked up and dozens of schoolchildren have been murdered, where one of the principal characters remarks that wholesale slaughter is nothing to the people at the center of this show’s grand conspiracy. That idea lies at the heart of this. There’s a very interesting moral dilemma that lies at the heart of this show, and a cause so powerful that it not only drives people to do terrible things, but makes something like the significance of torture pale in comparison.
Focusing on the violence isn’t fair, though. There are so many gleefully tangled threads in this show, so tightly wound that every line is a delight to hear. The acting is solid (and there are more than a few familiar faces - in particular, Jamie from The Thick of It appears here as a terrified civil servant), and the music is eerie and brilliant. It’s written by Dennis Kelly, who wrote the book for Matilda: The Musical and upcoming film Black Sea, and his wit shines through in every episode. There are a couple of episodes that deserve a trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault, but it’s justified by the context - there’s a lot of violence, but none of it is gratuitous; it’s all coldly calculated with horrifyingly complex intent.
With that in mind, if content warnings of that nature don’t deter you, watch this. It’s six episodes long, and you should see it before the David Fincher remake appears on HBO later this year.
Beth and I have spent the last few weeks creating an alternate-universe Teen Wolf, where the characters spend their days managing destination wineries in northern California. We’re releasing 11 collated fanfics in a handsome PDF over at Acuary Lit, as part of our Limiteds editions. Because I’m editing this post in an outdated version of Internet Explorer, I can’t insert a link without physically cutting and pasting the web address, so here:
Click on the wolf!
Inside Wolf Valley Wine Country, vol. 1, you’ll find:
- Sheriff Stilinski and Melissa McCall hiding out in a grotty motel to enjoy a competitor’s ice wine
- Victoria Argent using her husband to seduce Isaac Lahey, international master sommelier
- Stiles’s third grade Valentine to Lydia
- Allison and Scott dancing together at a wedding reception
- Derek Hale awkwardly trying to fit in at a bonfire
- And so much more
This isn’t mentioned in any of our extensive press, or in the little chapbook itself, but Beth and I have very little in the way of studying viticulture. I’ve spent the last seven years buying red wine below eight bucks—well, mostly below six—or, five—so writing about the Napa region in California presented us with many opportunities to consult Wikipedia (which passed on by). I made up sundry lore; Beth, who has grown up closer to Michigan wineries, has a much surer hand regards terminology (steel reserves vs. oak?—I had no idea). She also kept her posts PG to PG-13, whereas I wanted everyone to strip.
Interestingly, our fanfic does not contain elements of the supernatural. We were more engaged with elevating everyone out of Recession-slammed Beacon Hills, transforming the McCalls and Stilinskis into barons, basically.
Oh my word.
I met Chris years ago, through this website. He saw me post my wrist tattoo in the Grim Fandango tag, and something that simple led us to start talking. We’ve been friends ever since. We stayed up talking for hours and hours, and after our first extended talk I remember crawling into bed at 2 AM (7 AM his time!) and thinking that he was someone very, very important. I mean, I wasn’t thinking future husband-level important, but who could have guessed, right?
It has been hard - distance is a frustrating and terrible thing, and we’ve spent more hours than we’d have liked to crying over the seemingly endless stream of paperwork just to have him come live with me. But yesterday, we made it - we got married! His family was there, and my family and friends, and everything was beautiful and perfect and oh my god, you guys, he’s my husband now. I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love a human being! I love the Chris that writes lengthy, well-thought words about movies he watches and I love the Chris that loudly sings Backstreet Boys songs with me as he helps me dye my hair. I am a better person because of him - he’s helped me find an inner strength I didn’t know I had.
Yesterday was the happiest day of my life, and the happy times are gonna keep coming forever. I love you, Chris! Let’s build a wonderful life together!