Friday, May 31, 2013

The fluidity of e-books

This is cool.

One of the books on my Kindle is Battle Cry of Freedom, a wonderful history of the Civil War that Daniel recommended to me highly. I just got a notice from Amazon that that edition has been updated; the e-mail included instructions for getting the update on my Kindle.

No, the ending didn't change. The maps were updated. Those maps were the one thing that was poor about that e-book edition. I don't know if I'll ever reread the book, but if I do, or if I look into it for reference, I'll have the better maps.

Some people have said that this changeability is a drawback to e-books. To my mind, it’s one of their many strengths.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dr. WTF?

We finally got the chance to watch Saturday's episode of Dr. Who. We had missed it because we were out of town.

It started out promisingly, but that didn't last. Sadly, this was one of those episodes where Dr. Who turns into Dr. WTF? The people writing Dr. Who nowadays have come up with some wonderful episodes, but they've also produced some exceedingly bad ones, and I think the latter kind tend to happen when they forget that they're writing fun, silly adventure stories and try to create Art.

I think that as a general rule, writers should never try consciously to create Art. The result is almost always not only rubbish, but, even worse, the kind of rubbish that makes you wince.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The World According to End-of-the-World Movies

Yesterday, I was exercising to a couple of SyFy Channel end-of-the-world movies. Both involved stuff raining down on Earth and destroying cities -- meteors in one case, technobabble electrical phenomena in the other. In both movies, the hits were random, sudden, numerous, and unpredictable. In both movies, the main characters escaped death by running madly while zigging and zagging. Occasionally, one would yell, "Look out!" and pull the others in a different direction. This tactic did not work for all of the extras running around in the background.

From one of the movies, I learned that, despite walking for days on end in a semi-post-apocalyptic landscape, the pretty female had some secret way to keep her hair clean and her makeup fresh, and the rugged male lead was able to stay clean shaven. (Maybe he was a eunuch! No. That would have been a very different movie.) On the bright side, he wasn't wearing stupid facial stubble. His hair stayed clean, too. So did the clothes on both.

In the same movie, the female lead was wearing high heels when rescued by the male lead. After walking for days and then finding themselves in semi-abandoned Los Angeles, they didn't take the time to get her a pair of sensible running shoes for the remaining days of walking.