Monthly Archives: June 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel Nothing More Than a Hard Body

Superman, Henry Cavill, movies, General Zod, Clark Kent

Superman is really nothing but a hard body.

I had the misfortune of wasting time watching Man of Steel. I don’t know if the producers and director thought they were being edgy by having dark and tornadoey vignettes of Clark’s childhood but seriously, it made little difference. Of course, before we get to those little blips of what is a condensed first five seasons of Smallville, we see a woman in birth sounding more like she’s being tortured than popping out a baby (and yes, I have attended live births and unless they’re doing a C-section without any anesthetic, no one sounds like that). And there is concerned dad Russel Crowe watching over the first natural birth in centuries, little Kal El. And then along comes Zod.

Damn that Zod, he’s just a megalomaniac out to destroy. Except, yep, Krypton is already dying. But Russell, or should I say Jor El, dies first at Zod’s hand. Though considering the wooden dialogue, it was probably a mercy killing and I’m not sure why an actor of Crowe’s caliber got caught in the trap. We have to suffer Zod a while longer, of course. Sound familiar? I’m sure most people born in North America in the last 40 years or more have read the comics or seen one of umpteen Superman spinoffs,  such as the above mentioned Smallville, Clark and Lois, or one of the many  movies.

When we drop onto an ocean trawler, the “greenhorn” is getting in the way, until they see an oil rig going down and he saves the day. Tender short moments of Mom Kent and Pa, before he dies, are shown. In this case Kevin Costner has few lines and gives the adages of truth and justice but is afraid Earth ain’t ready for a mighty alien. Lois Lane comes along as well and a few of the other tried and trues.

Clark or Kal El spends half the movie finding himself…again. Good god, is there no original material out there? Sure,they updated Supes’ outfit but they did that in Smallville too.  Played by Henry Cavill, who definitely has the Superman body of steel to drool over, Clark is big on fighting naughty Zod. And that’s all this film is; massive fight scenes with Zod and his crew, who of course, coming from Krypton, have the same powers. I gotta say, I like their armor and the air filter masks they wear. Lois Lane is a damsel as usual, albeit she’s always been played with brains, and she helps solve how to get rid of those bad Kryptonians who want to terraform Earth. (It’s a good thing the nerdy scientist explains to us dumb viewers what terraform means…duh!) She also tracks Clark down like any good stalker or reporter, and convinces him to do good. Etc. When Zod asks for Kal El to give himself up, Clark does, to save Earth. But Zod also asks for Lois, for no apparent reason but to add some meat to a worn-out plot and have the damsel on hand for threats and rescues.

Superman, heroes, movies,, Man of Steel, Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill is pretty yummy under the new outfit. Too bad they didn’t lose the dorky cape. DC Comics

There is no great dialogue in this movie, and while Clark battles his own people there’s a touching scene of Perry rescuing a co-worker, just so you know that humans can be all helpful and caring as well. But having seen this just two nights ago I’m already forgetting most of it because it was indeed Smallville all over again (and actually not as good) but condensed into one movie with a massive budget for special effects and smashing up all, and I mean all, of Metropolis. It’s always interesting how these movies never mention all the people that get killed and while Clark saves Lois several times, there are countless others who no doubt die, but like any good military tactical double-speak, the collateral damage is never mentioned.

Considering how many Superman movies there have been and the fact that everyone knows the story and genesis of Clark’s powers, I wonder why director Zack Snyder even bothered to go there yet again, ad nauseum. The movie was so boring, and so much smash em up fighting just went on and on, to the point that I was falling asleep. Save yourself from being weakened by the green kryptonite and give this one a miss. The Man of Steel is as interesting as watching lead melt.

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Writing: Tesseracts 17 Unveiled

File:Tesseract.gif, tesseract, speculative fiction, SF,

This is a tesseract that’s hard to wrap your mind around. From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tesseract.gif

We are pleased to announce the official Table of Contents for Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast.

This anthology of speculative Canadian writing will be out this fall from Edge Publications. It was no easy task choosing from the over 450 submissions and we had to turn away many a good tale. In the end, we have a representation of Canada that spans all provinces and territories (with the exception, alas, of Nunavut). The tales themselves reach far into the past and much farther into the future.

Creative Commons: thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

Creative Commons: thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

Including Steve Vernon and myself, we had 16 men and 15 women in this anthology. The gender balance worked out without much issue. Of the 29 pieces we have 4 poems (can you spot them by the titles). There are two Daves, two Catherines and a wide range of other names, with people who were born in Canada and those who moved here. I will be giving a full demographic breakdown of all the submissions over the next few weeks. And while this anthology has more fantasy than SF, a good third fall comfortably into the science fiction model with only a few being horror or weird, as in bizarro fiction.

TESSERACTS 17: SPECULATING CANADA FROM COAST TO COAST TO COAST

  • Introduction: What is a Tesseract? Colleen Anderson
  • Vermilion Wine: Claude Lalumière
  • Night Journey: West Coast: Eileen Kernaghan
  • The Wall: Rhea Rose
  • 2020 Vision: Lisa Smedman
  • Why Pete?: Timothy Reynolds
  • Bird Bones: Megan Fennell
  • Bedtime Story: Rhonda Parrish
  • Graveyard Shift: Holly Schofield
  • Path of Souls: Edward Willett
  • Sin A Squay: David Jón Fuller
  • Hereinafter Referred to as the Ghost: Mark Leslie
  • Anywhere: Alyxandra Harvey
  • Secret Recipes: Costi Gurgu
  • Star Severer: Ben Godby
  • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife: Dave Beynon
  • Graffiti Borealis: Lisa Poh
  • My Child Has Winter in His Bones: Dominik Parisien
  • Team Leader 2040: Catherine Austen
  • Sand Hill: Elise Moser
  • The Ripping: Vincent Grant Perkins
  • Unwilling to Turn Around: J.J. Steinfeld
  • Pique Assiette: Catherine MacLeod
  • Leaving Cape Roseway: John Bell
  • Everybody Wins: Rachel Cooper
  • In the Bubble: William Meikle
  • Hermione and Me: Dwain Campbell
  • Blizzard Warning: Jason Barrett
  • M.E.L.: Dianne Homan
  • The Calligrapher’s Daughter: Patricia Robertson
  • Afterword: Editing Anthologies Made Easy: Steve Vernon

    Steve Vernon, Tesseracts 17, Canadian fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, SF

    Nova Scotian Steve Vernon co-edited Tesseracts 17, a collection of Canadian speculative fiction.

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Filed under entertainment, fantasy, horror, news, people, poetry, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

The Devil Reads Prada

Prada, fashion, writing contest, Prada fiction contest, taking moral rights, devil, satan

This is a tarot card, but maybe the devil is saying, if you don’t wear Prada, you wear nothing.

You know the movie, the one where sweet Anne Hathaway is sucked into the world of high snobbery and is Meryl Streep’s minion at a fashion magazine. The world where it’s backstabbing and anorexia but somewhere in amongst the fashionistas true wuv takes root? Yeah that one.

Well, besides making clothing and creating a fashion magazine, it seems Prada really does want to lash out with that forked tail and snare artists of all flavors. They don’t just do magazines and sunglasses and backpacks and clothing and fragrances and boat races. No, they want to capture the creative essence of other artists. “Prada, in keeping with the brand’s innovative spirit, launches a literary contest in cooperation with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore.” They have something called the journal project which includes a writing contest. The crucial statement when considering what to write is: “What are the realities that our eyes give back to us? And how are these realities filtered through lenses?” Obviously they would like to tie it into to their sunglasses line.www.prada.com/journal

As I read the rather long and convoluted contest rules (the English translation is a bit off), I thought €5,000! Well, yes, I will definitely enter that. Oh but wait, should you win the contest then you give up all moral rights, which means your name will stay with the piece but they own it in all forms and media, can print it on clothing or put in books or chop up the sentences and stick them wherever, in perpetuity. You lose all rights to read your story, put it in a collection of your writing or do anything else with it.

writing, Canadian anthology, Steve Vernon, Colleen Anderson, Tesseracts 17, Edge Publications

Get writing but don’t sell your soul.

That’s not the true deal with the devil though it gets close. As I read on it turns out that while there would only be one monetary winner Prada reserves the right to create other categories and choose winners on the spot. But those winners receive no prize and lose all rights to their stories as well. This pretty much amounts to theft even if they have you acknowledge you’re selling your soul to the devil but don’t get anything out of it except perhaps some bit of elusive fame. Or perhaps we should just call this exploitation. It’s not like Prada is hurting for money.

To make sure it just wasn’t some misinterpretation that happened in the translation, I wrote to Prada.

Dear Madam,

The winners of the Contest, if any, will receive the amount of Euro 5.000, while the winner of the thematic prizes, if established by Prada and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (it is not sure that such thematic prizes will be established), will not receive this amount. But in both such events the authorship of the short stories will remain with the winners in accordance with the applicable law in the copyright field.

In fact, PRADA and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli shall have the right to use the short stories as per the provisions of the “T&C” of the Contest and on the basis of the rights granted by the winners to Prada and Feltrinelli  as specified in such “T&C “: “(the Winner) he/she grants exclusively to PRADA and Feltrinelli any and all right to use, reproduce, publish, edit, distribute and divulge the selected Short Story(ies), on its(their) own, in full or in part, or in a collection book, at PRADA and Feltrinelli’s discretion in perpetuity and at a worldwide level for any uses either commercial or promotional, in any language or version, and in any print and/or digital and/or multimedia materials and media, including Internet, now known or hereafter invented. Moreover, You acknowledge and agree that PRADA and Feltrinelli will be entitled to edit and to adapt the Short Story(ies) at its(their) sole discretion and to reproduce the very same in its(their) edited and/or adapted version in any print and/or digital material and/or multimedia materials and media, including Internet, and for whatsoever purposes to the extend permitted by law”.

Should you have any further query, please do not hesitate to contact us.

My advice would be to save your soul, and your writing and not enter the contest on the off chance you’ll get the grand prize. The devil, you know, is in the details.

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Filed under art, Culture, fashion, Publishing, Writing