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Showing posts from April, 2008

The Inspiration Vulture Targets: Max Headroom

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Overview: To this day, I find it amazing that Max Headroom ever existed, particularly on prime-time network television. It’s commonly referred to as ground-breaking and yes, it certainly was, but after the ground was broken, it didn’t exactly spawn a horde of imitators. In the twenty years since it went off the air, have there been other unambiguously cyberpunk shows on network television? I can’t come up with any, and there sure isn’t anything like it on the air nowadays. Maybe only in the eighties, in the mystic realm of Mad Max and Miami Vice and post-apocalyptic Duran Duran videos, could this show have found a home.

Max Headroom was an ABC series that premiered in 1987 and ran for a season and a half. The first incarnation was a British made-for-television movie, which was intended to introduce audiences to the character of Max, the computer-generated host of a UK variety show. The UK movie was re-shot, with the script largely intact, and used as the pilot for the ABC series…

The Inspiration Vulture Targets: Akira

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Overview: Akira, for the tragically uninitiated, is Katsuhiro Otomo’s groundbreaking 1989 anime feature film, which is based upon his long-running manga series. Akira is giddy and glorious, a huge, elaborate, expensive, overstuffed, adrenaline-laden, hyper-violent spectacle of sheer awesomeness. The film is set in 2019 in Neo Tokyo, a megacity built upon the ruins of Tokyo, which was devastated two decades earlier by a mysterious atomic blast. Neo Tokyo is dazzling and gorgeous, sleek and shimmering in neon pinks and golds, though it’s in the process of falling apart at the seams. It’s hurtling towards another mega-catastrophe, and all the various factions -- motorcycle gangs, terrorists, religious fanatics, corrupt politicians, military, scientists and creepy shriveled-up psychic children -- work at violent cross-purposes to either ward off disaster or speed it along.

Akira has a sprawling, labyrinthine plot that’s impossible to follow the first time around and still remains mud…

The Inspiration Vulture

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When I posted a month ago about the Great Agent Search of 2008, I mentioned I had sent out a fresh batch of five query letters to literary agents in the ongoing quest for representation for my book, Charlotte Dent. From that batch of letters, I’ve thus far received one form rejection, one personal rejection from an agent who liked my sample pages but thought the book would work better rewritten in first person, and one request to read the full manuscript. That agent ultimately passed: while she thought Charlotte was professional and publishable, she didn’t feel strongly enough about it to offer representation. There’s been nary a word from either of the other agents I queried; perhaps they’re backlogged with query letters, or perhaps they’ve already steamed the stamps off my self-addressed reply envelopes to use on their tax forms.

Next step? Query on, query ever. I’ll send out a new wave of letters this week.

Battlestar Galactica Gave Me the Flu

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I spent the past week watching Season Three of Battlestar Galactica on DVD, and now I have a chest rattle, a sore throat, body pains, and a pervasive feeling of encompassing despair. Coincidence?

Well, yes. Of course it is. I don’t really think Battlestar Galactica made me ill. Obviously. Still, some paranoid little part of my brain can’t help suspecting the show of giving my immune system a beatdown. I wouldn’t put it past it.

Battlestar Galactica is a show I admire, but it’s not a show I love (look, Season Three ended a year ago, and I just got around to watching it this week). Don’t get me wrong: It’s a really great show. Really, really great. Everyone knows it’s a great show. On every website I’ve visited in the past few weeks leading up to SciFi Channel’s gala kickoff to Season Four, I’ve encountered big banner ads reminding me what a great show it is, so I’m not likely to forget. In terms of consistent quality, it’s about eighty times better than Heroes. And yet, for…