Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Writing Week: Issue 40, Year 4

Hi from Grumpy Graham,

I felt so tired last week, moody too. I also worried about pains? strains? in the lower back. But I still managed to write a little every day.

I have nearly finished the second draft of a short story that has grown from the nice size of 5,000 words to an awkward 6,600 words. Perhaps I am enjoying the voice I have created for its main character, a curious dog, too much.      

I also got into critiquing a novel. I have previously critiqued a now published novel from the same author.

Terra Nova

I am one of the few people in the world who wasn’t a producer or writer of the new science fiction series Terra Nova. It premiered on Australian TV last night. I think there must have been at least ten producers as well as four writers for the first episode.

The series is set near the end of this century in a grimy and overpopulated world. A porthole is discovered that can take people back 85 million years. It is a different timeline, so they can’t stuff up the future. A settlement is established and humans get to flee the bleak future to live with the dinosaurs.

The plot for the first double episode had holes wide enough for a herd of dinosaurs to stampede through. The one that really irked me was the fact that the main family consists of a cop and a doctor who for some reason had a major compassion and brain fade when deciding to have a third child. They could only legally have two children. This meant that they would have to hide the third child from the authorities forever: what a great life for the kid. So I have the parents pegged as arseholes at the moment.

The characters all seem to have been transported from the 1990’s, not the 2090’s. Apart from the dialogue being full of 1990’s clich├ęs, the kids behaved in the same spoilt manner as today’s kids, not that of kids who have had to live in very austere times where an orange is a rare and special treat and where authorities seem to ruthlessly tackle law breakers.

Other plot elements include a group of settlers who have broken away from the settlement and a mad missing son of the settlement’s commander. The son runs around writing predictive equations on rocks.

I thought the dinosaurs being near bullet proof was ridiculous. You reckon if they were going to send people back to a world full of dinosaurs they would at least take decent weapons, like machine guns with uranium depleted shells that the US army currently uses to shoot up tanks or even a few rocket launchers.

Unlike Primeval, this series seems to be trying to take itself seriously, and if the first episodes are anything to go by, I think it will struggle.

And I really appreciated Channel Ten putting up graphics telling me an ad break was coming up soon. It gave me ten or so seconds to decide what to do during the break: perhaps ring up Channel Ten and tell them to piss off the graphics.  

Bookshops Closing in the UK.

I have read a number of articles in the past few months about the diminishing number of bookshops in the UK, but none as foreboding as the figures contained in Sept 10’s Bookmarks column in the Age. It said that in the past six years 2,000 high street bookshops have closed in Britain, leaving 2,178. English authors have 2,000 less places to sell their books and 2,000 less places to promote their books. Online shopping and ebooks were blamed for the decline.


Helen V. said...

I agree with you about the plot holes, Graham, but there is so little SF on at the moment that I'm cutting them a little - and it is only a little - slack. If Channel Ten follows their usual pattern of over-running the time slot before it so the viewer has to sit around twiddling their thumbs while some 'reality' show finishes that bit of slack will be reeled in very quickly especially as the ABC usually has something worth watching - and they have no ads.

Graham Clements said...

You're right, there is not much on commercial television, even with the new channels. They murdered the a couple of shows by moving them all over the place like V and Caprica.

On Austar there has at least been Torchwood and Survivors. There has also been the not that good, with similar problems to Terra Nova, Falling Skies.

Oh for something of the standard of Battlestar Galactica. A new series of Fringe would be nice too.

I am worried I might have outgrown Doctor Who, because all of last season, and much of this season, it has felt like a chore to watch. The three episodes prior to the finale were better, a bit more suspense and I laughed a bit, but the continuing story of the Doctor dying looked very tacked on to most episodes. The writers should have found a better way to embed it into the plots. In the end I didn't care if the Doctor lived or died - of course I knew he would live.

I will be watching Terra Nova tonight in the hope that the characters develop into something more than my next door neighbours.