18 July 2004
I had a good time. Do not mistake me. But I do think it would be good for the Strib to indicate in some way that a production is a youth theatre production.
The principals were almost all college students and could handle the vocal demands of their parts, which was a relief after we realized what we'd walked into. And as Mark said, Gilbert and Sullivan is a good thing for inexperienced actors to start with, because if they ham it up and chew the scenery a little, it's not a bad thing. There were a few pretty obvious differences -- the choreography was a much bigger step down from professional companies' than the singing -- but on the whole it was a good show.
We may have been the only people in the audience who were not connected to any member of the cast or crew in any way. But that was all right; it was a good thing to see and a good thing to support. I particularly thought they handled two handicapped seamen very well: the choreography was done unobtrusively around the kid with the least mobility, so he was moving three or four steps where some of the rest of the cast was going ten or twelve. But it wasn't patronizing, it was just accommodated. That impressed me.
I didn't finish "Docile Bodies" yesterday; I came close, but I also started on another short story, as yet untitled, about Ilmarinen's rejected metal bride. I'm not sure where it's going, but I'm enjoying the ride so far.
That is to say, I will be enjoying the ride again tomorrow morning when I get back on it. I'm experimenting with this novel concept. I don't think anyone's done it before. Let me know what you think: one day a week, I'm not working at my chosen profession. I'm thinking of calling it a "day off," or perhaps a "Sabbath," I'm not sure...but it's very clever of me to come up with, and I imagine other people might want to try it sometime. Maybe even one of you!
I finished reading Blind Lake yesterday, and it was fine, I guess. It was Just Another Robert Charles Wilson Book, with big mysterious gadgets and borderline mysticism. I wonder if he feels like he's learning how to do anything better from one book to the next. From my vantage point, it certainly doesn't look like it, but sometimes writer knowledge is strange and personal.
I'm now reading Robert J. Sawyer's Hominids, which is not up for the Hugo, but it's the first volume in its series, and the second volume is up for a Hugo. So. I had low expectations for this series and wasn't particularly interested in it, but so far it's not too bad. There are a few things that are annoying me. One is the Foreign People Talk Funny Syndrome, wherein a Quebecoise postdoc only uses high school French like "merde" and "je ne sais pas." I hate that. I really, really hate that. Also, if one more chapter gets ended with ellipses, I'm gonna....
Seriously, it's obnoxious. The reader knows there's more to come: the book is barely half over. But he goes with, "'Actually, there is one thing....'" instead of "'Actually, there is one thing.'" Bleh. Other than issues like that, though, I'm having as good a time with it as I've had with traditional hard SF for awhile. If you're a hard SF person, I'd recommend it, because if you're a hard SF person, things like the above-mentioned FPTFS will be familiar diseases to you, and in fact Sawyer has them much less severely than many hard SF writers. (coughBENFORDcough).
I waffle on whether I'm a hard SF person or not. If I'm not, I certainly have read a lot of it, have written a fair chunk, and plan to continue on both points. I think I wouldn't describe myself that way, though, because that sub-genre doesn't interest me any more than the rest of speculative fiction. I guess in some ways I'm a spec fic generalist. The big exception is probably horror. I'll read hard SF and soft SF, near future and far future and historical SF, high fantasy and low fantasy and urban fantasy and alternate world fantasy and whatever other kind of fantasy you want to think of. Children's, YA, adult, whatever. It's my stuff.
By an odd coincidence, the books I was most excited about reading from the library this time were both non-speculative mysteries. Not at all statistically likely, though.
The other thing I'm reading today is the latest issue of Scientific American, in case Mark wants to take it to California with him in the morning. Early, early in the morning. His flight leaves at 6:30. Even morning people like me will admit that having to leave for the airport at 5:15 is early. Blech. But better than having him go tonight instead. Tonight we're going up to Rachel and Ben's for dinner. And that's the plan.
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