Wednesday, July 13, 2005

R Is For Rocket, Mr. Lorenz

I see Ben Kingsley with a soft white cone of this-is-the-future hair. I see Tyrannosaurus rex! I see a floating steel path, a monster made of insects, a vampire bat (eyes as big as nickels!), I see a gathering storm. What do I see?

I see a film shot like it's 1969. And Ray Bradbury finds me out all over again.

Certain people say that Bradbury offers little but childish passions, adolescent imagination distilled in hyperbole (distilled?). Some of them think that's a viable reason not to read, not to love, not to out-right ape the man! Their loss, their loss. R Is For Rocket was always one of my favourite Bradbury collections. I loved the cover art of my cheap, childhood editions, grey in Dickensian formals, or distantly Treasure Island alien. The title of this collection is pure and honest, and hungrily points to the Golden Age of Science Fiction. It's a shame the stories don't stand up to the setting. Bradbury, admittedly, is uneven. His masterpieces are indisputable, easy to identify. The rest of his output is not so pretty. Which is not to say it is not worth reading. Bradbury's worst (and how low it can go!) is still worth the tree it was printed on. So this is a good collection, but let's be reasonable. If it wasn't Bradbury, and if he hadn't written these stories on that golden-voiced typewriter of his, there are stories in here which would never again have seen the light of the reader's imagination. "A Sound Of Thunder" is one of those stories. Original concept (le butterfly), brilliant pictures (le t-rex, etc.), and a solidly American Gothic conclusion (oui, Poe would have been proud). But the holes in the plot are bigger monsters than the beast in the story. Will the film version of this text fix these holes? What am I thinking, of course it will! That's what a film always does! Makes it better, makes it new. Whatever. Bradbury is golden wherever you find him.

Reading: There are too many good books. Everybody knows. Because there's no end to the great reads being published out there. And what about all the great reads from the past? For most of them, sadly, I only have sighs. But this one, I'm reading it. It's well worth putting off other good books to read The Egoist + George Meredith

Listening: Not two days after I listened to a random mp3 from Said The Gramaphone and discovered for myself an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SINGER I LOVE HIS STUFF AT LEAST HIS NEWEST CD I found out that he was coming to town—and I couldn't go! This is life, my friends. These are the little details. But there's still the music, right? Listen to this song, then, because it is good. And by "good" I mean EXCELLENT! Wait for the drum to kick in. And there's a beautiful chiming chorallemme throughout. Should there be more? Wolf Parade has been beaten in the march, Okkervil River has lost the current, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! can't clap louder, speak better, than this song. They're all beautiful, those boys, but more so is "Goodbye/ nickel + dime/ waste of time" + Jon-Rae And The River

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