Pavilion Digest: April 2003

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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matthewdavis
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Death of the short story

Postby matthewdavis » Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:20 am

Name: Matthew Davis
Source: unca20030523.htm
In England at least we've been here once before but the circumstances for a similar revival just aren't going to hold true today.
The advent and rise of the short story had been largely dependent upon the ascendancy of the press, for premier short story writers like Poe and Kipling were also just as much journalists, in all their work catering to a curiosity about the world, their investigations and impressions of the marginalised and aberrant bringing them within the territory of a 19th century realism much occupied by the environment and manners of urban life and rare excursions into the colourful far reaches of Empire. Then by the 30s critics had largely written off the short story as used by the highbrow literateur as low pressure, washed out sketches in querulous atmosphere lacking either plot or surprise - ie, the modern New Yorker story. The contemporary short story was then given a new impetus and popularity by WWII as writers rediscovered the tradition of Robert Louis Stevenson and Kipling and found that within the short story's frame of brief space and time it could perfectly mirror the fractured, high intensity confusion and bewildering action of the new total warfare. WWII provided new scenarios, exciting subject matter and new casts of characters in previously unimaginable combinations as rationing and enlistment broke the whole of society into contingencies. You can see this in the sudden popularity of writers like Gerald Kersh and Julian Maclaren-Ross who became major popular writers - FAMOUS SHORT STORY writers. With the reduced attention span but the constant need for entertainment caused by the war the short story was revived and became one of the major forms of the time. And this had a lingering after-effect. Not least the war left an aftertaste for grotesquery, so that ghost, horror, and twist-in-the-tale endings had a new relevancy to the shock of the war. Writers like Roald Dahl and Nigel Kneale also started off as well-known short story writers, but the point is that that TV, radio and film then swallowed them. Mass taste for plot, narratives, interesting characters in colourful situations has switched to TV: long-running lawyer, cop, and hospital shows where familiar characters every week meet someone new, have some new problem or find themselves up against some intricately devised situation. And furthermore it's free - you don't have to have a subscription or try to find it on dusty magazine shelves. It's always there. I love short stories but I'm afraid that most people's appetite for what a short story might offer is already satiated by TV.

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BillGauthier
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Postby BillGauthier » Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:26 am

Name: Bill Gauthier
Source: unca20030523.htm
DON QuIXOTE is sad, but I've got one better. This circa 1998, Christmastime. I'm working at the Big & Nasty bookstore. Now, imagine, right before XMas, the crowds at the registers, booksellers moving about frantically bringing people to aisles where the books their looking for are, grabbing orders from a shelf behind the counter, answering the phone, managers making returns.

A young man who was hired for the season, who'd been quite proud that he would be going overseas to study for the next semester, comes up to the counter and asks, "Who wrote THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK?"

The hustle, the bustle, the jambalaya of sound STOPS. All eyes turn to the young, "bright," college student.

"Anne Frank," Debra said in a soft, soft voice.

"That's what I thought," he said, turns, and walks away.

Everyone looks at each other, not sure what to do, then business resumes.

I, at the time, was the college dropout. Ah, higher education at its finest.

Bill

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:19 am

Name: Frank Church
Source: unca20030523.htm
John Grisham is pretty awful, but the Left Behind authors take the cake when it comes to bad writers. Post cards written on the fly have better prose.

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Cindy, the bisquits with mustard are on me.

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Metropolis was the AI of its time.

I know, Chris, calm down. Lol.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:39 am

Name: Rob
Source: unca20030523.htm
What about ME Frank?

I despise AI. It was a great work diminished by the sentimentalism typically literalized by SS. You KNOW that was a ludicrous comment. MET has influence stretching 70+ years. AI has nothing.

Yeah, never MIND Chris. Ya got ME all up in knots now. My whole fucking day is in shambles now, man!

Chris L

Postby Chris L » Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:58 am

Name: Chris L
Source: unca20030523.htm
I don't really hate AI. I just got pissed when my fil studies teacher, who specializes in Spielberg, tried to lay the blame for the movie on "the Kubrick script." Uh, I don't think so! Ain't no Kubrick script there, my friend. Your boy Stephen takes all the blame for that debacle.


LORD OF THE WINGS: I do not consider Lord of the Rings the ne plus ultra of 20th century literature. I don't think any individual who hasn't read the books is an illiterate heathen. However, we analyzed Fellowship of the Ring in a class of 25 students yesterday. The teacher asked how many had read the books. I was the only one.

Only 1 out of 25 read Lord of the Rings? These students are bright people but mostly young. Have people just stopped reading altogether now?

Everyone I knew while I was growing up read Lord of the Rings. It was just something you did as a teenager or pre-adolescent. I'd be hard pressed to name one of my high school friends who DIDN'T read the books. Now that may mark me as the nerd I was but I just find it shocking. Only 1 of 25.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have been shocked to find that nobody else had read Moby Dick and I'd want people to read that three times before they read one page of Tolkein so I guess it's not the sort of thing that elicits predictions of the downfall of Western civilization but ... well, gosh, doesn't everyone read those darned books?



sjarrett
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Postby sjarrett » Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:36 pm

Name: Steve Jarrett
Source: unca20030523.htm
The Ellison volume that I initially press into people's hands is still "Deathbird Stories." It probably shouldn't be, because I'm asking them to take the path I took to becoming an Ellison reader, which path is now some thirty years mossed over. But I can't help it. That amazing volume contains some of my all time favorite pieces of Ellisonia. Like "Basilisk," probably my favorite among the Ellison stories that no one ever mentions. (The epigram from Lucan seems eerily appropriate to current events in Iraq, by the way.) Like "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes," the last line of which can still give me shivers in its crystalline perfection. Like "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin," with its remarkable imagery. Like "The Deathbird," which turned my young head around several times, but kept me coming back until it started to make some kind of sense. In other words, it helped me to grow a bit, which is why I love it.

One more jaw-dropping bookstore story. I can't top the "Anne Frank" story, but this one stopped me in my tracks just the same. A couple of years ago, I overheard a bookstore clerk answering the phone thusly: "May I help you?...Uh huh...Idylls of the King...Hold on, I'll check...Do you have an author's name on that?"

And so it goes...

Steve J.

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Barney Dannelke
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Day 123

Postby Barney Dannelke » Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:48 pm

Name: Barney Dannelke
Source: unca20030523.htm
*** Harlan ***

McSweeney's offers subscriptions on their website which would start with the forthcoming issue. No single issue or back issue purchases. Mostly because they're all gone. The aftermarket on these things is insane write now. If you do have a complete set of the lmtd's that's about $700 - $1000 for the 10 issues depending on condition and supplemental autographs. I should've gotten on board with this 2 years ago.

Posting the package THIS weekend. I've been busy gearing up for the estate auction of a member of my family this coming Monday. I'll be including the new issue of Chile Pepper [June] which has a great column by Lenora on spicey pork recipes as it's the "All Barbecue" issue.

*** Rick *** regarding "Irrelevant", "non-combatant" and some others - more everyday - I'd really like clarification on this point. I suspect your being very "big tent" about this whole annonymous thing right now. I just want lights for the tent so I can see where any tiger pits might be.

*** anonymous *** I just wanted to say thanks for the e-mail today. "Barnacle" - that's one I haven't heard as an attempt at abuse since 9th grade [Nixon administration]. Believe it or not it's also the very first anonymous [not that these things really are anonymous] attempt at abusive e-mail I have ever received. Wow. I guess one out of 32,000 ain't bad.

*** in addition to annonymous *** And to whoever else it may concern - "thanks" or double-plus un-thanks [trying to be positive] for the extra helpings of attempted klez viruses, links to x-rated porn sites and trebling up of those offers to have my penis extended [although the later may be Tim and Rick working in concert] . Like my daughter has never seen a doctored .jpeg of a woman having intercourse with a dog before.
Many Happy returns.

Regards - Barney Dannelke [Day 123]

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lonegungirl
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Postby lonegungirl » Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:02 pm

Name: lonegungirl
Source: unca20030523.htm
Michael Zuzel:

Thank you for the link to the HE interview--good to know that even germ warfare can't dim the eternal flame of his indignation. What a nice picture of HE, too--he has such good bone structure!

RE: The issue of the functionally illiterate

No, I don't believe the general public reads anymore. I wouldn't think anyone reads anymore, but someone is getting to those library book sales ahead of me, to snap up the better-conditioned tomes. I have had some years of schooling, and one of my good friends, who has had even more years of schooling, has uttered the phrase "I would be insulted if someone gave me a book." I think we have reached the Farenheit 451 phase of society, where reading is not only not performed, but heavily stigmatized.

RE: McSweeney's

Anyone ever played "Bureacracy"--the old Infocom game by Douglas Adams? And gave the stamp to the insane stamp collector who then runs off, unblocking your path, shrieking "the Ai-Ai! The Ai-Ai?" Well that was me at the Costco today, as I finally found one that carried the McSweeney Treasury. I was so pleased that in a fit of consumerism, I also purchased a new replayTV system, which will fit exactly nowhere by our over-crowded TV area.

Family is unlikely to buy the excuse that the other units were lonely...

Naiki
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kersh

Postby Naiki » Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:37 pm

Name: Naiki
Source: unca20030523.htm
Please excuse me, would someone answer a query?

I've found two Gerald Kersh books in my college library, and read them, called The Brazen Bull and They Die With Their Boots Clean, but the content isn't what I was expecting from HE's favourite author. This author's life spans 1911-1968, have I found the wrong Gerald Kersh? I know there was a link to his biblo somewhere on this site, but I couldn't find it.

Thank you
Naiki
p.s. how come no one talks about Night and the Enemy? I read it when I was eleven years old and I haven't seen it since, and I still remember the stories. I still remember the prose. I still remember the kyben with the rubbery faces and the yellow blood who're not quite and very much like us. I remember the planet and its inhabitants who died in pride and mistrust. It's perfect if you want to hook kids onto HE's work.

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Hathor
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High School Seniors Short Stories

Postby Hathor » Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:48 pm

Name: Hathor
Source: unca20030523.htm
"Skin" by Roald Dahl

Because tattoos are COOL! heh heh heheh(THSHUT UP BEAVITH!)

My favorite HE when I was that age was "Delusions of a Dragonslayer" from Deathbird Stories.

It fit in with the view of the world I had at the time. It was caustic, iconolastic, and encouraged me to read more. (Thank You, Mr. Ellison.)

I must admit I am surprised there is a curriculum that allows for Mr. Ellison's work in a public school.

As nasty as it sounds, play the cultural diversity card if you get any flak.

There has to be AT LEAST ONE author who puts together a well-structured story, with a point, that isn't overrated until the story's message becomes AT BEST ironic and counterproductive.

(They still require "1984" and "Waiting for Godot" in city public schools? Classic!)





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Faisal A. Qureshi
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AI - The script and the film

Postby Faisal A. Qureshi » Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:42 am

Name: Faisal A. Qureshi
Source: unca20030523.htm
Chris,

The original treatment for A.I (which went to over 90 pages) was written by a mate of mine, Ian Watson, a prolific SF writer. Ian was very surprised to even get a screen story credit given that he heard nada from anyone on the production until I emailed him the first cinema poster.

I haven't read all the treatment, but from what I do remember the final film followed it quite closely. Ian developed the treatment closely with Kubrick (Nearly all of Kubricks later projects were developed as prose rather then screenplay format, something he picked up whilst shooting A Clockwork Orange and developed further during Barry Lyndon), which was later given to Sara Maitland to add, as Kubrick put it, "vaginal jelly". I presume that it was Ian's work that was given to Spielberg to base the script on. The WGA made their decision who contributed the most to the material and came to their decision accordingly.

The most often critical comment concerning the film is about the ending. Let me assure folks that this was in the original treatment and stayed there for the final film (Sara Maitland wrote an article in which she pointed out that it was the ending that caused the break up between her and Kubrick). I like it but I know beforehand that the creatures who ressurect David are Robot descendents, not Aliens. An issue that maybe could have been made more clearly. When I was at Venice for the European premiere, Bonnie Curtis - producer for Amblin, was asked this question at the press conference and agreed that this was causing confusion for audiences.

I like the film but feel that, as in most of Spielberg's recent works, he seems to have neglected the editing and lets certain scenes run on for far too long. This isn't dissing Michael Kahn's work on the film but frankly, theres a lot that can be trimmed (and a lot that could and should have been put back)that would have improved the movie.

But for me, better to have a film of A.I then no film at all. I recently discovered that an animation house in Manchester has all of the model work and paintings for Ray Harryhausen's follow up to Clash of the Titans. Now this I have to follow up.

Best.

FAQ


John K

Postby John K » Fri Apr 25, 2003 4:01 am

Name: John K
Source: unca20030523.htm
Not sure how this turned into the AI board, but it's an interesting discussion, so I shouldn't bitch.

You "despise" the film, Rob? I try to save such extreme reactions for truly galling films. Like that last Star Trek thing.

I'm with FAQ--I'd rather have this movie than no version of AI at all. Although I'm surprised so many people took the robots at the end for aliens. Seemed obvious enough to me.

But I guess PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE'S lukewarm reception shows how well subtlety fares these days.



BrianSiano
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Postby BrianSiano » Fri Apr 25, 2003 4:38 am

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20030523.htm
Thanks to Faisal for the info on AI.

As we all know, a lot of the discussion about AI centers on whether Spielberg screwed up Kubrick's project, or whether Kubrick's project wasn't what people wanted it to be.

The first point's been talked to death, so I won't address it here. But I do know people who went into AI expecting some melding of _2001_ and Philip K. Dick, with a story that rigorously examined the relationship of man and machine.

But every piece of evidence I've seen indicates that Kubrick had always intended AI to be a fable, a children's story for the future (or for kiddie robots), and that all of the sentimentality blamed on Spielberg was in Kubrick's treatment. (In some drafts, the Mom was to become an alcoholic, and the kid was an expert at making Bloody Marys, not coffee. Dunno if the change was Kubrick's or Spielberg's.

On another front: Remember that whole debate about the Historic District in my neighborhood? I don't vent about it often, but here's some more. I've had a falling-out with the last person working with me on the project. Frankly, the whole effort to fight the HD was led by two extremely insecure, domineering people, both of whose problems prevented them from evaulating their presentation and tactics realistically.

I'm not sure what I'll do next. Asshole Number Two has his own agenda, which he claims is playing out down at City Hall; if he succeeds, I'll be happy, but I can't work with his methods anymore. But, if I try to organize others, I know-- based on experience-- that they'll want to work with Asshole Number One, whose work has severely hurt our efforts in the past. (He's an obnoxious Libertarian who likes to hear himself shout, and he gets petty when people question his judgement.)

Jesus, my neighborhood is FULL of crazy people.




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admin
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Postby admin » Fri Apr 25, 2003 5:28 am

Name: Rick Wyatt
Source: unca20030523.htm
BARNEY: I am taking a hands-off approach to this board for now unless someone deliberately violates the spirit of it. Once I turn the old board back on or have a new place for the Webderland Pals, there will be no anonymous posting here and no behavior in violation of the stated guidelines given at the top of the page.

Eric Martin
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Postby Eric Martin » Fri Apr 25, 2003 5:32 am

Name: Eric Martin
Source: unca20030523.htm
>Jesus, my neighborhood is FULL of crazy people.<

Maybe you should re-evaluation your opposition to the historic district appellation, Brian. Such a designation tends to drive property values up, and usually the crazies don't hold down the kind of jobs that can afford historic district rents.

God, not Kubrick again. Haven't we covered this musty ground enough? We've all film-schooled the 50s vibe of Paths of Glory, gee-gawed over the cute insanities of Dr. Strangelove, sang our stoner hosannas to 2001, suffered the presence of Ryan O'Neal through Barry Lyndon, ignored the come-lately irrelevance of Full Metal Jacket, argued over the quality of Nicholson-heavy The Shining, and jerked off to Kidman's fabulous bod in Eyes Wide Shut.

Indiana, let it go. Sager words were never spoken, and from a Spielberg flick, no less.


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