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This blog documents my staying at home and writing (and the subsequent whatevers to that writing). It also serves as an online journal for friends and family. It is more-or-less guaranteed to be sans intérêt to most anyone else.

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2006 Reading List

Being a list of books read during the current year.
· Peter S.Beagle: The Last Unicorn
· John Christopher: The Pool of Fire
· Ayerdhal, & J.C.Dunyach: Étoiles Mourantes
· Haruki Murakami: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, A Wild Sheep Chase, Kafka on the Shore, South of the Border, West of the Sun
· Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
· Jonathan Stroud: Ptomely’s Gate
· Ayerdhal: Consciences Virtuelles, Mytale, Balade Chroréïale, La Bohème & L’Ivraie, L’Histrion, Sexomorphoses
· Philip Pullman: The Broken Bridge
· Frèdèric Lenormand: Mort d’un Cuisinier Chinois, Madame Ti mène l’Enquête
· Jonathan Coe: The Accidental Woman
· Arthur C.Clarke: Rendez-vous with Rama, The Fountains of Paradise
· Arthur C.Clarke & Michael Kube-McDowell: The Trigger
· Arthur C.Clarke & Gentry Lee: Rama II, The Gardens of Rama, Rama Revealed
· Angie Sage: Septimus Heap Book 1 - Magyk
· Ian McEwan: Amsterdam
· Roddy Doyle: The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van, The Woman Who Walked into Doors
· Christopher Fowler: Disturbia
· James Morrow: Towing Jehovah, The Eternal Footman
· Laurent Genefort: Omale, Les Conquérants d’Omale, La Muraille Sainte d’Omale, La Mècanique du Talion, Une Porte sur l’Ether
· Melvyn Burgess: Redtide

· Nouvelles des Siècles Futurs, An Anthology compiled by Jaques Guimard & Denis Guiot
Reads from 2003 are here.
Reads from 2004 are here.
Reads from 2005 are here.
 

2006 Film and DVD List

Being a list of films viewed during the current year.
· Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney
· Pompoko [Heisei tanuki gassen pompoko], Isao Takahata
· The Pacifier [DVD], Adam Shankman
· Millions [DVD], Danny Boyle
· Truly Madly Deeply [DVD], Anthony Minghella
· La Double Vie de Vèronique [DVD], Krzysztof Kieslowski
· Layer Cake [DVD], Matthew Vaughn
· Ice Age: The Meltdown, Carlos Saldanha
· Natural City [DVD], Byung-chun Min
· Garden State [DVD], Zach Braff
2005 Film and DVDs are here.
 
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News of The Cat

The Cat invented a new game yesterday.

She drops a hair clip at my feet. I have to pick it up and throw it across the room for her. She pounces on it, then picks it up in her mouth, pads back across the room and drops it at my feet. If, by any chance, I don’t promptly pick it up and throw it again, she starts eating and scratching my papers.

Cats take the business of training humans very seriously.

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writing
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Juliet, alone in the world

At the end of the year, I sent Juliet off to a new reader, and I thank her very much for slogging her way through my words. And also for writing back, sending me encouragements not to stop there. I won’t embaress this person by naming her here, but knowing her as a person—however distantly—and as a professional in the publishing industry, means that I attach importance to her words. While she may qualifiy, or rather disqualify, her judgement, it was precisely the kick that I needed to stir me to action.

So yesterday I swatted up my list of agents, and sent out tentative enquiries as to submitting the ms. It is too early to know if any of this will come to anything, but even as I type, Juliet is on her way to other hands, eyes, and opinions.

Now that Juliet is out of my hands, and launched upon the world, for better or worse—she may find her way, but she may just as likely return home, exhausted to sleep for a while within the covers of the folders on my desk—I have been thinking about what is the subject and the matter of the book as I attempt to advance on the others.

It is clear to me that—anthropomorphic rabbits aside—this is a coming of age tale: how Juliet comes to terms with herself, with her new life, with herself, and her abilities, and qualities. This is the novel that I wanted to write. Yet, alongside those events, and the other characters’ actions, there is another presence in the novel.

I never name the place where she lives, but for me it is the Sussex countryside where I played and roamed and explored when I was young. At that time, stumbling onto a sort of bucolic Narnia just through the next thicket, would not have surprised me. This was the possibility that was always there, waiting, suspended, just around the corner. I am not certain in this fenced and frightened time that children still have the liberty to wander as we did, but I am pretty sure that the desire to do so, to go out and invent the land, that that need is still there.

This possibility offered by the land—or the sense of ‘place’, for want of a better term—drawn from my own experience, is also present in one of my other working manuscripts. The opening scene of Tooth—for the moment, at any rate—takes place with the protangonists routing for flints in a freshly ploughed field. Exactly the sort of joyful and pointless thing that we got up to.

As I now have four books on the boiler (well, three, if I consider that Juliet is off the boil, and may be revised, but is, to all intents and purposes, finished as is) it is also interesting to look at the themes. While they are all in the magical fantasy canon, there are nonetheless two different undercurrents running in there.

Juliet and Died both have elements of terror in them. Terror, not horror. Horror for me is somewhat explicit. Terror is the feeling of unease lying behind the events and the characters. It is not explicite descriptions, but an atmosphere of disturbance and ill ease.

Pirates, and the latest sketches currently living under the name of Tooth, are on the other hand, adventures. It is perhaps caricatural—and revealing—that it never occurred to me that the principal character of Pirates was anything but male, even if his principal opponent is a very strong-willed girl (the good baddie). In fact, she is a much stronger character than Colin, and he does spend much of the plot being a wimp.

Tooth, came naturally with a female protagonist (probably as, like Juliet and Died it is being written with Kim in mind), but the plot is much more complicated, and I am currently battling on paper with lists of characters, groups, collections of people, waiting for the more forceful ones to push their way to the surface and impose their points of view. Lots of them will inevitably be male. I can’t help that. It’s the world that they live in. Although the absence of women, and the fact that my protagonist—not to say hero/heroine—is female, is part of the story/plot.

Why is it important to bring in strong female characters?

For a start, I’m pretty sure that children identify with strong characters. I don’t think it matters that much to them whether they are male or female. Just that if they are strong, they can feel for them in their struggle. Secondly, if girls can get a strong role—and not just as good baddies—it does provide a form of role model saying, Yes, you can do this. Girls can give as good as they get, and better even. As a father of three quite strong (and complex, and differing) girls, I am definately aware of this.

And finally, so many adventure stories are male-orientated. It is important that female characters impose themselves in the genre. I personally don’t have any qualms about my being an old white male trying to write this material: after all, Lyra—one of the most remarquable ‘heros’ of recent times—was also written by an old white male—makes us sound like gorillas, doesn’t it?—and she is absolutely marvellous. Would that I can become half as good a writer as Pullman is.

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films
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2005 Film and DVD List

Being a list of films viewed during 2005

· Howl’s Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki
· Finding Neverland, Marc Forster
· Possession [DVD], Neil LaBute
· The Edukators, Hans Weingartner
· The Nightmare Before Christmas [DVD], Henry Selick
· Constantine, Francis Lawrence
· Star Wars IV: A New Hope [DVD], George Lucas
· Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back [DVD], Irvin Kershner
· Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi [DVD], George Lucas
· Final Destination [DVD], James Wong
· Donnie Darko [DVD], Richard Kelly
· Men In Black II [DVD], Barry Sonnenfeld
· The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson
· The Gathering [DVD], Brian Gilbert
· Insomnia [DVD], Christopher Nolan
· The Bourne Supremacy [DVD], Paul Greengrass
· Scooby Doo 2 [DVD], Raja Gosnell
· Horus [Taiyo no oji: Horusu no daiboken] [DVD], Isao Takahata
· 3-Iron [Bin-jip], Ki-duk Kim
· Steamboy [DVD], Katsuhiro Ôtomo
· Spiderman 2 [DVD], Sam Raimi
· High Fidelity [DVD], Stephen Frears
· Ghost World [DVD], Terry Zwigoff
· Bandits [DVD], Barry Levinson
· Collateral [DVD], Michael Mann
· Stars Wars III – Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas
· A Simple Plan [DVD], Sam Raimi
· Sin City, Robert Rodriguez, et al.
· No Blood No Tears [Pido nunmuldo eobshi] [DVD], Seung-wan Ryoo
· The Mummy Returns [DVD], Stephen Sommers
· Time And Tide [Seunlau ngaklau] [DVD], Hark Tsui
· Wonderful Days [DVD], Moon-saeng Kim,
Park Sunmin
· Oldboy [DVD], Chan-wook Park
· Chronicles of Riddick [DVD], David Twohy
· A Series Of Unfortunate Events [DVD], Brad Silberling
· Kung Fu Hustle [Gong Fu], Stephen Chow
· Matilda, Danny DeVito
· Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton
· War Of The Worlds, Steven Spielberg
· Identity [DVD], James Mangold
· Hostage [DivX], Florent Emilio Siri
· Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets [DVD], Chris Columbus
· Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Doug Liman
· The Island, Michael Bay
· Die xue shuang xiong [The Killer] [DVD], John Woo
· The Jacket, John Maybury
· Danny The Dog [DVD], Louis Leterrier
· The Transporter [DivX], Louis Leterrier
· The Brothers Grimm, Terry Gilliam
· Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Steve Box, Nick Park
· Equilibrium [DVD], Kurt Wimmer
· The Corpse Bride, Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
· Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow [DVD], Kerry Conran
· Free Zone, Amos Gitai
· The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Tommy Lee Jones
· Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Mike Newell
· The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Andrew Adamson

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reading
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2005 Reading List

Being a list of books read during the current year.

Bruce Sterling: Heavy Weather, Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling
Terry Pratchett: The Fifth Elephant, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, The Truth, Thief of Time
Lemony Snicket: The Austere Academy, The Hostile Hospital, The Vile Village, The Carniverous Carnival
Walter Jon Williams: Metropolitan, City on Fire,
Iain (M.)Banks: Excession, Use Of Weapons, The Player Of Games, Look To Windward, The State of The Art, The Business, The Wasp Factory
Eoin Colfer: The Supernaturalist
Douglas Adams, Terry Jones: Starship Titanic
Douglas Coupland: All Families Are Psychotic, Microserfs
Carolyn Parkhurst: The Dogs of Babel,
Robert Charles Wilson: Gypsies, The Harvest
Jan Mark: Useful Idiots
Leon Garfield: Mr Corbett’s Ghost

Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code
Mike Brotherton: Star Dragon
Poppy Z.Brite: Swamp Foetus
John Irving: The World According to Garp, Widow for a Year
Nick Hornby: High Fidelity
Brian Eno: A Year With Swollen Appendices
Jonathan Coe: The Closed Circle
Donna Tartt: The Secret History,
Hanif Kureishi: The Buddha of Suburbia
Philip Pullman: Lyra’s Oxford, The Tin Princess
Philip K.Dick: Complete Short Stories, Vol.1, 1947-1953, Complete Short Stories, Vol.2, 1954-1981
Ian Rankin: The Falls, Hide And Seek, Knots and Crosses, The Hanging Garden, Black and Blue, Witch Hunt, Dead Souls
Haruki Murakami: Sputnik Sweetheart, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel, The Elephant Vanishes [Short Stories]
Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere,
Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake, The Handmaiden’s Tale
Daniel Wallace: Big Fish
Vincent Ravalec: La Vie Moderne [Short Stories]
Stephen Davis: Bob Marley
Jerome Charyn: Call Me Malaussène [Short Story]
Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Diana Wynne Jones: Castle In The Sky
Cory Doctorow: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
Don DeLillo: White Noise, The Body Artist
Jay McInerney: Model Behavior, How It Ended, Ransom
Paul Auster: The Book of Illusions
Martin Amis: Yellow Dog
Greg Bear: Slant, Queen of Angels, Moving Mars, Legacy, Vitals
J.K.Rowlings: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Louis Sacher: There’s A Boy In The Girl’s Bathroom
Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Lost World
Salman Rushdie: Midnight’s Children
Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash
Kim Stanley Robinson: Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, The Martians, Icehenge, The Wild Coast, The Gold Coast
Dan Simmons: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion
Orson Scott Card: Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon
Jasper Fford: The Eyre Affair
John le Carré: Single & Single
David Sedaris: Naked
Ursula Le Guin: The Other Wind
Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships, Voyage, Titan
Joe Haldeman: The Forever War, Forever Free
Christopher Fowler: Psychoville
Robert J.Sawyer: Factoring Humanity
Jeffrey Ford: The Physiognomy
Fabrice Colin: Dreamericana, Le Fils des Tenebres
Greg Egan: Terenesia, Quarantine, Distress
Ray Bradbury: The Illustrated Man [Short Stories]
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rant
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Small Thoughts about ‘The Half-Blood Prince’

Curiously this was the book that I read the most in 2005, and I can’t really understand why…

I started reading the Harry Potter books when The Goblet of Fire was released in French, and I decided that I should perhaps read that one before Kim. I quickly read through the first ones, and then GOF, which, I’ll admit, shook me more than a little at the time, what with the sudden death of Cedric Diggory at the end. Even the intrusion of the Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup was rather scary, containing elements of the rise of fascism in Europe. In fact, the whole “pure blood”, “Death Eaters” and Voldemort business does seem to have very clear fascist overtones, and can be considered heavy matter for children’s reading. Not that I think children’s reading should be sanitised, just that it is a good idea, as a parent, to know what one’s children are reading, and to be ready to accompany them, and to answer questions.

As a reader, I still have problems with J.K.Rowling’s books. It is clear that she has built a solid and convincing world, a sort of mirror image of a certain type of children’s fiction—I’m sure that C.S.Lewis, for example, would feel perfectly at home in the Houses, and boarding school environment, that is Hogwarts. However her writing is leaden most of the time, her pacing is generally pretty off: both in Order of the Phoenix, and HBP, one has the feeling that she has to get some much of the backstory out of the way first that the climax is suddenly rushed. And the whole hunting-the-Horcrux-in-the-green-cave episode in HBP is a complete non-sequitur that reminds me of John le Carré’s The Honourable Schoolboy, when Jerry Westerby disappears off on a wild goose chase into the wilds of Indochina in a fascinating diversion that brings nothing positive to the story except echoes of Joseph Conrad, even if it is beautifully done.

Probably the thing that I retain most from JKR’s writing is that a strong plot, a coherent world, and credible (and complex) characters are more important than a developed or elegant style. Sure, that would be a bonus, but it is surely better to get the books out and read, than to get them perfect. I also get a very strong Dickensien feel from the books, particularly the descriptions of food, of gatherings, and the naming of characters.

I approached HBP with trepidation. I had heard, as a lot of others had, that an ‘important’ character would die. I did not believe that this would be Dumbledore, and, each time I have read the book, invariably, I found myself crying at his burial scene.

I have no qualms about revealing now that Dumbledore dies for two reasons: one, most of those who intend to read the book, have already done so, and secondly, to say that revealing he dies will ruin the book is, frankly, rubbish. This is not a whodunit. A book is not the ‘answer’ at the end. A book is the shared journey through the pages. In fact, were I working on the screen adaptation of the novel, I’d start with the funeral, and us the ceremony to recap the contents of the book, just to get the false suspense out of the way. Why he does [if he does..] is more interesting that the blunt statement: Dumbledore dies.

However, I am assuming that if you are reading me, you have either read the book, or you have no intention of doing so, so consider this a spoiler warning.

I read HBP a fourth time because JKR stated in an interview that Books 6 and 7 could be taken as two halves of the same book, and that there were a lot of clues as to the last tome inside this one. So I went hunting. This is what I find…

Harry and Ron are probably the most developed characters. This is normal. Harry is the hero, and Ron and the rest of the Weasley’s are his substitute family. But we have quite a bit of backstory on a few other characters, and that is interesting.

We know a lot about Snape, surprisingly enough. While it is logical that Book 6 provided Voldemort’s backstory, Book 5 provided Snape’s, with HBP filling in a few blanks. I will be quite clear: Snape is my most favourite character in the films, and I believe that Alan Rickman’s interpretation is masterful. Where the Snape in the books is sallow, dirty, and ambiguous, Rickman’s performance has majesty, menace personified (it is lucky he can fit so much into so little as his lines seem to get shorter and shorter in each film), and a voice that would make a statue tremble as he calls out its name. But, the major question is, Is Snape guilty?

My answer is no.

I base this on an overheard conversation that Hagrid reports to Harry.

From the Bloomsbury UK children’s edition, page 380:
“I dunno, harry, I shouldn’ta heard it all! I—well, I was comin’ outta the Forest the other evenin’ an’ I overheard ‘em talkin’—well, arguin’. Didn’t like te draw attention to meself, so I sorta sulked an’ tried not ter listen, but it was a – well, a heated discussion, an’ it wasn’ easy ter block it out.”
“Well?” Harry urged him, as Hagrid shuffled his enormous feet uneasily.
“Well—I jus’ heard Snape sayin’ Dumbledore took too much fer granted an’ maybe he—Snape—didn’ wan’ ter do it anymore—”

The conversation peters out with Harry and Hagrid trying to determine what ‘it’ was. So why put this in? It is obvious that JKR wants us to understand something. At the time we are lead to believe that this is probably searching Slytherin for evidence of Malfoy’s misdeeds, but why? To set us on a false trail.

Dumbledore knows he is being overheard. He is, after all, a most powerful wizard and he could easily (and silently) cloak the conversation. He knows Hagrid is there, in the same way that he knew Harry was under the Invisibility cloak in The Prisoner of Azkaban, and he knows that the conversation will be reported to Harry. He also knows that, when the time comes, it is necessary for Harry to know this. For if Snape ‘kills’ Dumbledore, it is on Dumbledore’s specific orders.

Go reread the chapter of the killing and you will see, quite clearly, that Dumbledore is reminding Snape of his duty and his engagement, not pleading for his life. But why?

[note I have just found a site that supports my theories, go see dumbledoreisnotdead.com ]

Dumbledore knows that only this ultimate sacrifice can allow a number of things to come to pass… What are these things?

One, and probably the most important, is to protect Malfoy. Dumbledore is, before being one of the most powerful wizards of his time, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, and as such, he has a duty to protect his charges. At this point Malfoy has not committed the irreparable; in fact, he has serious doubts, and Dumbledore uses his last breath to encourage the boy, and show him that there is hope, that all is not inevitable, he can resist, and the Order will assist him. We saw from what Moaning Myrtle told us, that behind the façade, Malfoy is not at all at ease with what he has got himself into. Dumbledore offers him hope and forgiveness. In my opinion, Malfoy’s dilemma should be central to Book 7, as Harry will need allies in Voldemort’s camp.

The second point is precisely that: Who, after he has ‘killed’ Dumbledore, can ever doubt that Snape is the most faithful of Voldemort’s followers. Snape will be confirmed as the closest helper of the Dark Lord. Ready to help Harry, although Harry will probably not realise this until it is too late, blinded as he is by his hate for Snape. I expect Dumbledore’s portrait—sleeping peacefully at the end of HBP—to provide some explanations here, even if Harry doesn’t want to believe it.

Finally, Dumbledore, through his love for the school and for Harry, had to protect Harry. Why did he freeze Harry? Snape noticed that there were two broomsticks on the tower. He knew, or guessed that Harry was there under the Invisibility cape, but did nothing. He didn’t kill him either as Harry chased him through the school grounds. Dumbledore, making the sacrifice, like Harry’s mother before him, shows that Good Magic will always be more powerful that the Dark Arts.

And we should remember that Dumbledore’s familiar is, after all, a Phoenix. Expect surprises here… No, he won’t rise from the dead, but he will be back in Book 7.

But can Harry really beat Voldemort?

Voldemort is supposed to be the most powerful practitioner of the Dark Arts. He has mastered spells that Harry can’t even imagine. He has returned from the dead, and is quite prepared to do that again, and again… yet Harry was unable to attack Snape, or even perform a summoning spell, while frozen under the cape. And this boy thinks he can defeat the Dark Lord?

He will need help from Ron and Hermione, probably from Ginny as well as we know she has a strong character and a good way with hexes, and I doubt that she’ll let Harry let her go. And her parents will be horrified. Even more so as most of the Weasley children will probably come down on Harry’s side: don’t forget that while Fred and George love their work and a good jape as much as the next person, more than just monetarily, they feel they have a debt to Harry. After all, it was he they chose to give the Marauder’s Map to, not to Ron… (I fear Luna and Neville will also help, as they’re like that… Good loyal friends. I also fear for them, as it is likely that they could be the first victims.) Snape and Malfoy will have their parts to play, and without this combined assistance Harry will not be able to vanquish Voldemort.

But will Harry die?

JKR has stated quite clearly that there would be seven books and that’s all. The easiest way to make sure of this is to do a Conan-Doyle and to kill off your hero. (Well, at least he tried.)

I don’t think Harry will die. He will lose his scar, I’m pretty sure of that. But he won’t die, and neither will Voldemort necessarily. I see Voldemort as being banished into a non-life, trapped forever inside one of his part lives, one of his Horcruxes. This would be a far greater ‘punishment’ for his actions than just dying. Perhaps Sirius Black and the curtain in the department of mysteries plays a part in this banishment…

If Harry does live, I’d rather like to see one more book. A sort of “Twenty Years After”. When, rather than danger, Harry, Ron, Hermione and the others have to face the fact that they’ve grown up, that they have children of their own and jobs and responsibilities to the wizarding community, and all that that brings with it. It would be a fitting ending for this saga that having year by year watched the heroes and villains grow from children to adults, it also accompanies them onto to the next generation.

Well, I can wish.

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Well, I’m Back

Oops. That was fifteen days being cut off from the net, just when I wanted to put up all my end of the year information. No thanks to my ISP for thoroughly ruining things there. The time to disentangle myself and get a new provider… Here I am again.

Even so, I haven’t posted for some time.

Let me reassure my reader. I am here. I am still, more or less, alive. And I have news.

I’ll probably post some small pieces in the coming days, just to fill in and catch up. But here’s the new year material.

First of all, best wishes to all for the coming year. As it’s already upon us, you already have an idea of the flavour, I just hope that it will be full of good warm things if you like that sort of thing (and cold slimy stuff, if you prefer that).

For myself, the end of the year means reviewing the goals I set myself for 2005, as well as archiving my reading and movies lists.

Goals

Probably the most important was getting something published. This I didn’t get done. I did have hopes that the (non-fiction) idea that I floated would come to fruit. It didn’t. After being hummed and hah-ed for about two months, I was told that the project didn’t fit in with the publisher’s planning schedule. Fine. I’ve put it aside, and might come abck to it later. For the moment I am too occupied with ZeBigProject to work on it. ZeBigProject will become public in about two weeks, so I’ll say no more for the moment.

Reads

I see that I managed to read about 120 books this year. These varied in size from Philip Pullman’s Lyra’s Oxford, to Philip K.Dick’s complete short stories in 2 volumes. I didn’t count books that I started and abandoned—there were a couple. Nor books that I read more than once. For example, I read the last Harry Potter four times [looking for clues—coming soon], as well as a couple of Ian Rankin books. I also read online, magazines, and what not. As well as some of Kim’s books. All in all, it means I managed at least 2 books a week. This is a good thing, and I plan to keep to the rhythm of two a week. I’ll archive 2005 soon, and set up the 2006 list.

Films

This year’s offering was dominated by Fantasy and Asian movies I think. Fantasy I think reflects the renewal of this genre as special effects have made more things possible. Asian movies seems to reflect that that is currently where the good new cinema is happening. Quite frankly, this year no French film has stirred me to say, Hey I’d like to see that! But a lot of Asian cinema has. And I haven’t been disappointed. There’s also a good mix between blockbusters and art films—thanks to our local cinema’s very reasonable prices, 3,90 a seat, sometimes cheaper for children’s films.

This Year

Well, we have ZeBigProject launching in a couple of weeks, and that means lots of preparation and work. But I would also like to finish another novel this year. It’s only in writing them that I’ll get better… Died keeps floating back, Pirates is half written, and I have another— Dragon’s Teeth—sitting as notes on my bedside table. Perhaps if I decided to get up a hour earlier each day, and just write for an hour each day, and see how it goes.

[to be continued]

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