Monday, October 29, 2012

New and Noteworthy (Gravity Falls, Weekend B.O., Charles Yu)

In today's edition:

* At Strange Horizons, a review of the Disney Channel animated series Gravity Falls, which Lila Garrott praises as "the most tightly written speculative fiction TV show presently running" - a reasonable assessment to my mind.

* Filmdrunk on an unusual weekend at the American box office. Cloud Atlas opened with a mere $9.4 million take - this rather unlikely big-budget science-fiction epic flopping stateside. The Wachowski name, the galaxy of stars attached, dazzling visuals and reasonably (though not glowingly) favorable reviews were simply not enough to compensate for the challenges posed by its three-hour length, complexity, experimentalism, limited built-in audience (given that the readership of David Mitchell's novel does not compare in size with those of Rowling, Meyer or Collins), and the problems all this posed for pitching it to general audiences in a thirty second ad.

While expectations were not all that high to begin with (BoxOfficeGuru predicted a $13 million take on Thursday), this is still a disappointment, and the surprise result has been that the Ben Affleck-helmed Argo, in its third week of release, was the #1 film in North America. While clearly finding an audience, however, it is another spy film that set the global box office afire this weekend, Skyfall pulling in an impressive $77 million globally.

* From the New York Times, a review of Charles Yu's second collection, Sorry Please Thank You. (Incidentally it opens with "Standard Loneliness Package," a story in which the affluent can outsource their pain to Third World service workers, which I reviewed for Tangent last year.)

Skyfall's Opening Weekend
Of Science Fiction and Futurology
New and Noteworthy (Japanese Science Fiction, the Publishing Business)
The Debate Continues . . . (As Paul Kincaid Answers)
New and Noteworthy (Self-Publishing, Stross on the Presidential Election, The Hydrogen Sonata)
Anticipating Skyfall
New and Noteworthy (Unfilmable SF Movies, Spy Movies, Futurism)
Strange Horizons Fund Drive
More Reactions to Paul Kincaid
New and Noteworthy (Star Trek)

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