31 Aug 2011

Discussion - Genre blending

Way back when, I posted about how fantasy is unique as a genre, since it can assimilate any other genre that it comes in contact with e.g. if any kind of story has an element of the fantastic in it, that story becomes fantasy. A romance novel with elements of crime doesn't make it a crime novel, but a romance novel with elements of fantasy does make it a fantasy novel.

Recently, I came across a post by Brian Ruckley, author of The Edinburgh Dead, who believes that all genres are underpinned by the same structure, which allows writers to freely make the transition from, say, fantasy to crime thriller to horror and back again.

I haven't really considered this as an idea, but I think it makes sense. Since all fiction is speculative by its very nature (since it reflects that which is not real) I suppose all stories do share a similar core, no matter what branch of genre or sub genre they end up with.

The most prolific example of this that I can give is the adaptation of A Game of Thrones. There has been a debate amongst the fans of the show about whether or not the series can truly be classified as a fantasy.  With the exception of the very last scene of the first season, the show was for all intents and purposes a historical fiction in terms of setting, plot and character.

The same could also be said for fantasies that attempt to be 'realistic' in terms of showing the world as dark as they possibly can. These would bear a striking resemblance to crime thrillers were it not for the any overt fantastic elements within the story. If all stories are connected by similar themes and purposes, fantasy is the one genre that truly comes into its own, since it retains its identity no matter what you throw at it.

Do you agree with Ruckley's idea that all stories have the same roots? Can you think of any other examples where a story stands between multiple genres?

28 Aug 2011

Mini movie reviews - Captain America: The First Avenger & Rise of the Planet of the Apes

A combination of factors means that you're getting shorter reviews this week, but so that you're not disappointed, the reviews are doubled up. So that's not just one, but two movie reviews for you!

Captain America: The First Avenger

 The final 'origin' story prior to Joss Whedon's The Avengers movie next year, Captain America did a good job of bringing Cap to the big screen. I was surprised with Chris Evans' performance (especially after his role as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four) which, while not brilliant, was well done. As expected, Hugo Weaving's Red Skull was outstanding. The art direction was spectacular; from set design to the costumes, there was a real vintage, WWII feel to the movie.  Though one of the weaker Avengers movies, Captain America was an enjoyable movie, and sets us up nicely for next year's epic.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 

I'm a big fan of the original Planet of the Apes series, and after Tim Burton's disaster I went into this with trepidation. My fears were unfounded, however. A brilliant spin on the origins of the apes' rise to power, with enough subtle throwbacks to the original movies to keep fans like me happy. I'm 100% on the band wagon for Andy Serkis deserving an Oscar nomination for this portrayal of Caesar, and I've a new found respect for James Franco also. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a superb movie that works well into the existing Apes canon. Take note, Burton. This is how it should be made.

I'm having a little tinker around with the way the blog looks/works over the coming week, so there might be a couple of changes. Bear with me while I get everything smoothed out.

Do you think that actors in motion capture roles (i.e. Andy Serkis, seeing as he is the king of motion capture) should be eligible for Oscar nomination?

10 Aug 2011

Discussion: Finding time to blog

This is where my time goes - to Melty Land.
It seems to be a common thing now that I'm able to fully keep up with blogging (posting, commenting on other blogs, networking etc.) for a full week, and then the following week I've completely run out of steam and do nothing, which gives me twice as much work the week after that.

I'm not sure exactly what it is. Possibly just being tired through work (though that's no excuse). Laziness? Likely. Lack of organization? Possibly. I for one find it strange that I repeat this 2 week cycle, where in the first week I'm firing on all cylinders and am a blogging machine, then on the second week I can barely look at my RSS feed let along write a blog post.

Don't worry, this isn't one of those 'poor me' posts. I'm opening up the floor here for any advice on how I can dig myself out of this rut? Is it just a case of organizing my posts well in advance? Should I use this second 'dead week' to make a single 'weekly update' post so I ease myself back into a proper schedule? Plenty of possible solutions, but I'm unsure as to what's best.

How to you find/make your time to blog (making posts, trawling through news, commenting on other blogs daily)? Any tips or pearls of wisdom you could pass on?

In other news, I've been published for the first time! It's not a magnum opus by any means. It's not even fiction. It's not even in the public domain. It's a small article for my company's in house magazine. But my words are in print and my name is alongside it, so it damn well counts! 

Before you go, Sarah over at The Aspiring Sub Creator has a damn good post about muscular prose. Be sure to check it out.