AnimeKon Expo 2011

Tobias Buckell came to Barbados to attend AnimeKon Expo as guest of honour. I had a great time playing tourist for a day with him and his wife. There was so little time for sightseeing, though. They’re going to have to come back for a longer stay!

AnimeKon was fantastic. Our panel on fantasy writing and worldbuilding with Robert Edison Sandiford went really well, and we had great conversations with readers and budding writers. Tobias’s books were hugely popular – they sold out! But don’t take my word for it. Tobias has a detailed post here, with photos and video, that really captures the experience.

Make plans for AnimeKon Expo 2012!

The Coode Street Podcast

It is with a mixture of joy and fear that I direct you to the most recent episode of the Coode Street Podcast, hosted by Jonathan Strahan of Perth, Australia and Gary K. Wolfe of Chicago, USA. Joy because I had such a great time it makes me smile to remember it, but fear because Skpye laboured to connect Perth, Chicago and Barbados. The clipping, the drop-outs, the slowed then speeded speech – I really had to listen hard and fill in gaps most of the time, and even then I’m sure I was only firing on half my comprehension cylinders.

But we had a great discussion! Go check it out.

Reviews and news

I’ve had some computer issues (not yet resolved, but the situation is workable for now), so I haven’t been posting for the last two weeks or so.  In all the computer drama I almost lost the audio file of an interview I did with Thomas Armstrong, but now I can settle down to work on it and produce some posts on the great conversation we had on his novel in particular, Caribbean literature in general, and more!

It’s been nice to see more positive mentions of Redemption in Indigo on the internet.  This review by Laura Miller at Salon was a particularly good Christmas present!

We’re into the second print run, and there’s an audiobook from Recorded Books on the horizon.  Many online bookstores seem to be temporarily out of stock, but don’t worry because Small Beer Press has stock from the second print run as well as some signed copies of the first edition.  The only other place you can get signed first edition copies is at Days Bookstore in Barbados, so if you happen to be in the area, go to Speedbird House in Bridgetown next to the new General Public Library and pick up a copy.

I had a great Christmas, mostly involving food, family and friends, which is precisely how I like it.  I hope yours was as excellent, and may 2011 be marvellous beyond all expectation!

Top five movie scenes to watch over and over

The Thomas Crown Affair: Sinnerman (Spoilers!)

Why I like this scene:  The music and the motion!  I’ve never seen a soundtrack so well utilised.  Nina Simone’s voice is perfect for this.

Why watch the whole movie:  In my opinion, it’s better than the original, and that’s rare.  Rene Russo is amazing – tough and independent, and with a blazing sensuality that does justice to the original character (played by Faye Dunaway, who has a brilliant more-than-cameo in the remake, by the way), but she still makes the role completely her own.  Pierce Brosnan is a far more complex, thoughtful and clever Thomas Crown than Steve McQueen.  The core of the plot is nothing like the original.  It’s trickster thievery rather than thuggish thievery.

Hero: Nameless and Sky (Spoilers!)

Why I love this scene: That is some of the BEST fight choreography I have ever seen.  That is what happens when you take two actors who are top tier martial artists and put them with one of the best fight choreographers in the business.  It is more than fighting.  It’s a revelation of the characters of the two men.  There’s a story in there, a philosophy, a deep symbolism.  Again, there’s a very happy marriage of music and movement (include the falling rain in the music).  Then there’s the arrangement of everything … symmetry, colour, the shift to black and white when they fight in imagination only, the signalling of the climactic moment, the magic of the raindrops and the slowed motion.

Why watch the whole movie:  Just do it.  I don’t have enough space to write out all the reasons why this movie is a classic, but here are just a few: stunning cinematography, gorgeous costuming and visuals, brilliant fighting, excellent acting, complex plot, poignant yet satisfying ending.

Stormy Weather: The Nicholas Brothers

Why I love this scene:  Have you EVER seen dancing like that?  I am in awe of what they can do!

Why watch the whole movie: I have no idea.  I’ve never seen the whole movie.  I just keep coming back for this clip!

Singing in the Rain: Moses Supposes

Why I love this scene:  In contrast to the Nicholas Brothers, Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly are almost opposites.  Look at the relaxed, almost casual style of the former, and the more controlled, precise manner of the latter.  It’s more of a duel than a duet, and they both look like they’re having so much fun.

Why watch the whole movie:  Another classic, truly.  A glamorous star who’s a brilliant comedienne, the ordinary girl who gets the screen heartthrob, the buddy dynamic between the two main male characters, and a mini lesson in film history combined with the wry self-indulgence of Hollywood poking fun at itself.

Wing Chun: Tofu Kung fu

Why I like this scene:  It’s pure fun!  It’s the classic ‘non-violent master bests hot-headed troublemaker’ scenario, with added tofu!  And when she caught that tray of tofu like that I became a fan for life.

Why watch the whole movie: It’s pure fun!  It’s comedy, impossible fight choreography, and complete lightheartedness.  Donnie Yen and Michelle Yeoh are the cutest, most G-rated couple ever.