April 12th, 2010


An Honorable Mention for Such a Dishonorable Rake

Back when Ellen Datlow co-edited The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series, there would be a list of stories at the back of the book under the heading Honorable Mentions. These were stories that didn't quite make the cut for reprinting in a year's-best anthology but that she wanted to draw attention to nonetheless, and the list was routinely as long as your arm. Now that Year's Best is kaput (suck it, St. Martin's!), Datlow is singlehandedly editing its successor, The Best Horror of the Year series, for Night Shade Books.

The list of Honorable Mentions in the back of this year's The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 2 is only a page and a half long, but Datlow has decided to make public her extended list via her LiveJournal.

And I'm happy as clam to see that my story "Mysteries of the Cure," which first appeared in Cemetery Dance's Shivers V anthology, is on the extended Honorable Mention list!

Many thanks to Ellen Datlow to for honor, and to Shivers V editor Richard Chizmar for taking a chance on a slightly experimental vampire-ish story.

TRON: A Re-Appreciation-Ish

Inspired by the recent episode of South Park, my girlfriend and I decided to rent Tron. She'd never seen it before, and I hadn't watched it since it first came out in 1982. (I actually saw it numerous times back in '82; every birthday party that year meant going to see Tron.) When I was 13 I thought Tron was the coolest thing ever. Now? Not so much.

It's not just the outdated CGI special effects, which were considered cutting edge at the time. The light cycles are still thrilling, after all, and those flying Recognizers are still impressive. Much more of a problem is watching Jeff Bridges, as computer programmer/hacker/arcade owner/free spirit Flynn, trying to act all Bill Murray wacky. It's a painful experience.

Also painful was being reminded that everything that happens in the movie is essentially a battle over video game rights. Video games are cool and all, and a multibillion-dollar industry to boot, but as stakes go, they hardly feel high. After all, Flynn is hardly destitute after having his video games stolen by David Warner. He seems to be fine running his immensely popular arcade, which is always shown as crowded with people ready to drop their money into the machines. He even has a kickin' penthouse apartment that overlooks the arcade floor!

And then there's Bit, the floating binary particle, or whatever it is, that comes out of nowhere and does absolutely nothing. I can only assume Bit's inclusion was the result of a Disney memo that said every movie has to have a cute, funny non-human sidekick, presumably to sell toys. Though it's hard to get anyone to buy a toy of what is basically a floating CGI geometric shape.

Not that the rest of the movie is a bastion of sense-making. As we watched it, my girlfriend turned to me numerous times with a cry of, "Wait, what?" To which I could only explain, "Don't try to understand Tron, just go with it." Luckily the movie ends before it tries to make sense of the preceding events, or it would have been twice as long.

Did I mention the giant spinning CGI head that's the bad guy? Yeah. Sometimes Thomas Wolfe is dead on. You really can't go home again.

The Trivia King is Trounced

Tonight, Team Totally Tits came in Eighth Place. Out of fourteen teams that's not so bad, but when you're seven-time winners it's pitiful. Argh!

We were down two team members, Dave and Emily, but we had a replacement Dave. And it turns out replacement Dave not only runs his own bar trivia in Park Slope, but is also in the running to be a contestant on Jeopardy! All of which means we should have done much, much better. But the rounds were really, really tough this time, including a nightmare audio round that involved identifying the titles and artists of songs either by or about someone named Mary. Of course, "Mary Mary" by Run DMC and "Cross-Eyed Mary" by Jethro Tull, the two songs I was most expecting, weren't even a part of it, though luckily "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix was.

The only round we truly aced was the visual round, which involved identifying all the letter keys on the standard U.S. keyboard, as well as the symbols above the number keys, and the only reason we aced that is because I memorized them long ago.

Blargh. Well, we'll be back Monday, May 10 to try to make ourselves eight-time winners.