Are You Lena? – Self and individuality in Annihilation

April 4, 2018 § 1 Comment

This isn’t a review of Alex Garland’s Annihilation, based on the 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, mainly because, to a large degree, I didn’t think it was particularly good as a film. The characters felt inconsequential and poorly portrayed, particularly Jennifer Jason Leigh’s unhinged leader Dr Ventress, as opposed to the specifically blank canvases in the original book. It also delved overly-long into needless flashbacks, long after any normal viewer had got the full point of those sojourns into the past, when the book made them part of a fluid and bewildering timeline.

I’m also, despite those two cross-media comparisons, not particularly interested in delineating the differences between book and film, something I think is often required in movie adaptations.

What I do what to talk about, however, are some of the concepts the film itself whispers about behind the scenes of the apparent narrative. Who we are and who we were. How we think of ourselves and others. What happens when those distinctions begin to break down.

Annihilation 1

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“How Do We Kill It?” – Thoughts on Alien: Covenant

May 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

I preface the following thoughts about Alien: Covenant by saying that I actually quite enjoyed watching it as a piece of entertainment; there’s a lot in it that’s well done, tense and exceptionally gruesome. However, while it could be said to be an average sci-fi film it’s a poor Alien film that plays more as fanfic than a studio blockbuster.

Even the soundtrack, good as it is, is essentially an homage to a better one.

There will be spoilers after the jump.

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Aether & Ichor

May 14, 2017 § Leave a comment

A previously unavailable story, A Guest In The House Of Ruin (a much-extended version of this fragment), has been published by Aether & Ichor.

Fitful dreams flickered through the mists of sleep, jumbled up across space and time. Memories floated to the surface of my unconsciousness until they coalesced into one image; Annabella. How she’d laughed with glee at a puppet show in Yellow Park, the jerking dances and squeaking voices making her clap her hands in delight. Her tears, hot and inconsolable, when the news was announced of De Pontellino’s death; days spent locked in her room, playing the master’s cascading etudes on her piano instead of eating; listening over and over to the little music box I had bought her. I saw the day she came to me in my rooms as I was reading my mail. The words she said, having undoubtedly been made to say them by her wretch of a brother. Her face as she turned to leave; her blue eyes, red-rimmed, refusing to meet mine. Her hair tumbling from its amber combs as she fell.

No, she said. Please don’t.

Immense personal thanks to the team at Aether & Ichor for their support and editorial rigour. This wouldn’t exist, certainly not in as complete a form, without them.

Obsidian shapes float slowly in the faded, misty void

August 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

Obsidian shapes float slowly in the faded, misty void. Jagged vastnesses of volcanic sheen, smoothed in places by time and unknowable forces, lingering on the edge of sight. Their orbit, aeon-slow, brings them together, apart, together in the chaotic pendulum-dance of emergence. Yet, despite the seeming infinity this procession endures, it slows and winds down. Erratic movements, missteps, interrupt the dance as the long years introduce decay and tidal forces.

Image

The shapes crack and deform under stress, bending and twisting arthritically. Compression brings pressure, brings heat, brings the sputtering transmogrification of the alembic and the crucible. The simple becomes the complex and the complex combines into more upon more, fuelled by ever decreasing circles of light, until here we are looking out on a form more beautiful for its subtle transience.

And then out, like a bedside candle, it sputters and falls into silence unbroken.

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