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Archive for June 18th, 2010

Glass Half Full

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A couple of Philip Glass-related events I would like to go to over the summer but unfortunately will miss.

Icarus At The Edge Of Time:

Icarus at the Edge of Time is a futuristic reimagining of the classic Greek myth set in outer space, based on a stunning book by the world-renowned physicist Brian Greene. Featuring a brand new score by Philip Glass, this European premiere is performed live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Marin Alsop with a cutting-edge film by Al and Al. Discover the boy who challenges the awesome power of a black hole and the unyielding forces of Einstein’s general relativity.

Dracula – the Music and Film:

London premiere of Philip Glass’s sweeping score, performed live by Kronos Quartet to the chilling American cinematic classic Dracula (1931), starring Hungary’s Bela Lugosi as the world’s most popular vampire.

One thing I won’t be missing is Godspeed You! Black Emperor at the Troxy in December. GSYE at the Scala in 2000 was the best gig I’ve ever been to and I am proper excited about this.

Written by Martin

18 June 2010 at 11:14

‘The Very Slow Time Machine’ by Ian Watson

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It is hard to make a time travel story which isn’t redundant but Watson has succeed here. The case the editors make for considering Watson as a hard SF writer is pretty iffy though:

He is a generational contemporary of Gregory Benford and holds a similar position in the U.K. to Benford’s in the American field, as a writer who brought new levels of literary technique and characterization to hard sf. But Watson has never committed himself as exclusively to hard sf as has Benford.

Even with their hedging this is pretty bonkers. Watson is nothing like Benford, he is much more like someone like James Morrow; the editors are right when they say he is as interested in metaphysics as physics and there is a warm pessimism and wit to this work.

Quality: ****
Hardness: ***

It is worth noting that the introduction opens with some extremely fulsome praise: “Ian Watson is the finest young hard science fiction writer and one of the most acute and perceptive sf critics to emerge in England during the last two decades.” That was written in 1994 but quite a lot has changed in the last 15 years. I don’t think any of Watson’s work is in print apart from his Games Workshop tie-in novels and Orgasmachine, his 1976 novel that has just been published in English for the first time by Newcon Press. Equally, Watson continues to review for Vector – I’m just waiting for the right book to send you, Ian – but his criticism doesn’t have much of a profile. What happened?

Written by Martin

18 June 2010 at 10:34