Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Writing Week: Issue 42, Year 4

Hi all,

If I Had Written Terra Nova…

I am still watching the American made in Australia science-fiction dinosaur series Terra Nova. The last couple of episodes have shown promise, but have only just passed being mediocre.

In the last episode a virus caused memory lose and the scientists trying to stop it forget what they were doing. This is not exactly an original plot for science-fiction. I quickly worked out that the main character’s cold virus would kill the amnesia virus, but unfortunately it took the supposedly brilliant doctor a lot longer.

I still don’t like the main characters. They are too selfish. The main family has no hesitation putting their comforts ahead of the survival of the settlement; they are a bit like apprentice Doctor Smiths from Lost in Space.

Terra Nova’s real problem is it is trying to be a family drama set in a world of dinosaurs, rather than a science-fiction series.

If I had written Terra Nova, I would have started with the main character’s living their lives in 2140. I would have shown them at work and school and interacting with society. This would have given the characters a chance to start behaving like people from the future and not from the noughties. While they lived their lives, I would have shown the porthole being discovered and then explored, and then how they figured out it was on a different time-line. Then I would have shown the first settlers establishing Terra Nova.

I think a much more original series would have resulted, with more believable characters who I actually care about.

Christmas Book Wish List.

A few relatives have been asking what I want for Christmas, so I gave them a list of books to choose from:

The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood, HarperCollins
The Waterboys, Peter Docker, Freemantle Press
Machine Man, Max Barry, Scribe
Black Glass, Meg Mundell, Scribe
Things we Didn’t See Coming, Steve Amsterdam, Sleepers Publishing
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu, Corvus
Ark, Stephen Baxter, Gollancz
Freedom, Jonathan Franzen, Fourth Estate.

Just about all these choices come after reading good reviews for them in the Age.

John Carpenter’s The Thing.

In preparation for seeing the new prequel to The Thing, I once again watched John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing. For those who don’t know the film: an alien space craft is discovered buried in the Artic ice. Its occupant, once thawed, invades human bodies and mimics their owners. Paranoia quickly takes hold at the Artic base as one by one they die. It is truly a great science-fiction film.

I am a great fan of Carpenter’s horror and science fiction films, like Escape From New York, The Fog, Halloween, Starman, Big Trouble in Little China, The Prince of Darkness and They Live, even his remake of the Village of the Damned which Wikipedia calls a misfire. Carpenter also turned me into a great fan of Kirk Russell.

Reviews suggest the new prequel of The Thing is nowhere near as good as Carpenter’s version, but how could it be?


Every now and then I have cause to look over previous posts on this blog and I quickly become ashamed and frustrated with the number of typos I find. My punctuation and grammar really isn’t as bad as some might think when reading my blog. Obviously just editing on screen (up to three times a post) is not working. So I did some research on how to improve my proofreading.

I could identify with Mark Twain who said:

“You think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes & vacancies but you don't know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along.”

So this week I have decided that after an initial edit on the screen, I will print a draft post and check it on paper (so much for saving paper). I will read the text aloud. I will even read the text backwards, sentence by sentence as suggested in proofreading articles. In the future I also plan to leave a draft post for a day before proofreading it. But some typos are sure to still slip through.

And those who read this using Notes on Facebook, the random removal of spaces between words is caused by Notes, not by my lack of proofreading. I have notified Facebook of this problem. For a cleaner version click on the note title until you get to my blog.

My Writing

Last week I did a lot of research for my next Divine article on diets for people with disabilities. I also typed a few words closer to finishing rewriting a short story. 


Anthony J. Langford said...

Yes, I have to agree with you. Not sold on Terra Nova. I've stopped watching it. I would have also wanted to see more from the future aspects.
I don't really like any of them either.

Kim Westwood. I've heard of her. Did you read her first book?

The Thing looks like a remake of the remake, even though they have the gall to call it a prequel. Almost every shot in the trailer was in the 82 version.
I've heard bad things, and as I'm a big fan of Carpenter's version, I will probably wait for the dvd.
Did we really expect any more?

I write my posts on Word first, then copy and paste.

Best of luck with the story.

Graham Clements said...

Hi Anthony,

I write my posts on word and copy and paste too, I thought that might be what was causing the problems with notes. Do you link your blog to the notes feature on facebook?

I haven't read any novels by Kim Westwood, but I am sure I have read some of her short stories. Very good review of her book in the Age, and it is set in Melbourne, from memory, I am always keen to read spec fiction set in Australia.