Monday, August 01, 2011

Shadows from Books

I was imagining this morning doing a horror/comedy feature length live action remake of "Trombone Trouble". I can see a psychological terror in it--some guy decides to learn the trombone and of course he's horrible at first. Maybe he's even a little self-conscious. Then a man shows up with godlike powers to punish him--it's almost like old horror movies where teenagers are punished for having sex, it's that frightening arbitrary morality. Yet we all sympathise with Donald.

As if "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "Blink" hadn't already convinced me Steven Moffat is by far the best writer on the new Doctor Who, last night I was completely amazed by "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead". The episodes preceding it pale so much in comparison--"The Doctor's Daughter" was nice. The idea of human conflict so purely distilled was good Science Fiction. "The Unicorn and the Wasp" was mildly entertaining--it's hard for the historical celebrity episodes to overcome the annoying nature of the very premise. But the Steven Moffat two parter isn't just well written, it's constructed around five ideas any one of which most writers would consider good enough for a whole story in its own right. In this way, the library story reminded me of classic Who--to take an example off the top of my head, "Planet of the Spiders", which starts out seemingly like it's about a fraternity cult on modern day Earth, ends up having a boat chase, an adventure on an alien planet, and of course, spiders.

And Moffat's scripts use the sheer quantity of good ideas in the same way--instead of characters lamely treading water on just one, each one is introduced or reintroduced as the impact of the last has just settled in. In this way the story maintains a vibrancy even if the plot doesn't rationally add up--you don't notice, or if you do, you don't care because the ideas are exciting enough for sustenance. The library the size of a planet, piranha-like creatures who live in shadows, dead human faces on librarian robots, human skeletons animated by the shadow creatures, comm systems with a glitch that captures human neural activity after death . . . All these ideas are not only interesting on their own, they feed off each other in a delightful way and have a unifying aesthetic. It's a feast, is what it is.

Twitter Sonnet #288

Olive oil fills time travel panties.
Wisdom's attained with silly thin armour.
Wet grain drizzles over sleepy mounties.
Rice and wheat are parts of staple glamour.
Sake eyes drift in an indigo well.
Blurred black pinfeathers prick tin can eyebrows.
Barbarian harps slaughtered the cow bell.
Toasts remember, good toasters keep their vows.
The cheesecake runs from a cheesy mullet.
Unabashed pussy pushes a passed pawn.
Mental seas wash up a soggy bullet.
Vulgar flamingos do it on the lawn.
Twenty five cent slime soothes a watchful fish.
Jupiter's too big for satellite dish.

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