Posts from 9th March 2009

Mar 09

SF Writers: Theodore Sturgeon

The Brown Wedge1 comment • 248 views

I happened to just now read one of his, The Cosmic Rape, which prompted me to write about him next. This short 1958 novel is about a hivemind entity making first contact with humanity. It has taken over two galaxies and is working its way through its third, and all of the intelligences it has encountered are collective. It concludes that humanity has split apart as a defensive measure at first contact with this alien mind, so its first task, before taking it over, is to put it back together.

There are two points to make about this. Firstly, unlike almost any other writer before the New wave, Sturgeon’s interest is in mind, in how we think, rather than in futuristic tech and aliens and so on – this is what made him a key figure to the New Wave, why we get a blurb on the back cover by Samuel Delany saying his work “is the single most important body of science fiction by an American to date”.


Who Surveils The Surveillancers?

Do You See2 comments • 203 views

Surveillance is the second proper film by Jennifer Lynch, who previous made the film Boxing Helena – which was not about Boxing. Appropriately one could think of plenty of films which could more appropriately be called Surveillance*. Whilst a few CCTV style cameras are employed in the making of the film, they really are not central to the plot. And whilst there is a theme within the film about the reliability of verbal reports over a visual representation, none of that really earns the films title.

Aha, you will say, that would be a typical Lynchian misdirection, where the Lynch in question would be David Jennifer’s father.As opposed to Jennifer’s own misdirection of Boxing Helena (for which read poor direction). But the film isn’t quite that clever, but luckily is better for it. Oddly the fact that Surveillance is a really rather simple serial filler movie with one big, obvious twist in it is fine. Because what you get to see is how Lynch directs this pretty ho-hum material.


TIGHT FIT – “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

FT + Popular66 comments • 8,345 views

#496, 6th March 1982

All you need to know about this record – and its relationship to the Tokens’ hit arrangement it’s based on – is on the sleeve. The Tokens’ single comes wrapped in a funny, almost suggestive picture of a girl and a stuffed lion, and its hints toward exotica are playful and gleeful. This lion sleeping tonight could be a sly metaphor, or just a bit of nonsense, the song a liberation tune or a nursery rhyme – and this nebula of possible meaning helps give the song an uncatchable, enchanting quality.