Narrative

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In Defence of Secretary (again)

[This was written as a comment on a blog post by Greta Christina, but it seemed worth posting here, not least because I’ve written something like it three or four times before, and if I have it here I can just point.] I’d like to say something in defence of Secretary, because I think it’s ...

Never Let Me Go On and On

[Many spoilers ahead, so caveat lector.] Among many other factors — financial, emotional, psychological — the theoretical factor that drove my work towards a PhD (in automatic story generation) off that Thelma and Louise cliff was the growing realisation not just that meta-level processing by readers/viewers of a story is, ...

Making a Scene

Someone asked me a while ago — paraphrasing, but not much — how someone bottoming could get into my head as a top. The question threw me, and I struggled to answer — and I think the reasons why that was the case are instructive. There are (at least) two different ways to interpret the ...

The Wrong Tree

[An augmented version of a comment posted on Boing Boing concerning the public release of Chris Crawford’s ‘Storytron’ interactive storytelling engine. I should write something longer and more thoughtful about this endeavour, because I’ve never believed that there was anything to be gained from the ...

Rape and Raspberries

A trip to Westwood Village to see Eastern Promises sparked a conversation — over Pinkberry frozen yogurt (with strawberries and raspberries) — during which I tried to describe to A. the viscerally unpleasant reaction I have to films which portray the unrelentingly grim realities of life. The connection is a little unfair to ...

Spanking and the Excluded Middle

Some post-Shadow Lane thoughts, in no particular order or coherence. At this September’s party I felt more comfortable than I have before; more of a sense of being inside looking out than outside looking in. I’m sure that’s mostly just an effect of familiarity with the grammar of these events, and also ...

Resolving without ending

Some thoughts about Children of Men (and some spoilers, so caveat lector), which I eventually saw today – though the lateness of things didn’t seem to hurt: the cinema was virtually empty and the print was more than fine. I came out – after listening to Jarvis Cocker singing about cunts still running the ...

“That lot over there in Santa Monica”

Of which, I suppose, I’m now one, but Peter Preston’s funny and perceptive piece in the Guardian about the transatlantic miscommunication inherent in Match Point gets my vote, at least for the first half of the film — which is really the whole of his thesis. Up to somewhere around its mid-point, Match Point is ...

Building a world without holes

The accepted wisdom with Rowling is that her world-building skills trump her thin characterisation and flat prose and make them irrelevant, but I think that’s a myth. She’s actually not all that good at world-building. What she’s good at is ideas, but in practice they don’t really fit together to ...