Thursday, December 27, 2007


About a week ago, I got around to watching Once. It's a musical but a musical in which the music is completely organic to the story. It's about an unnamed musician who works in his father's vacuum repair shop and also busks on the street; he's trying to futher his musical career. One day he meets an unnamed girl who turns out to be a piano player. The story is about their relationship, both real and musical. In fact, the music-making often says what they can't actually say to each other and neither is really in the position to give themselves to the other. It's all done in a subtle fact, it's a really low-key film. The performances by Glen Hansard (the lead singer of The Frames) and Marketa Irglova are very charming and real and the music stays in your head, especially "Falling Slowly" and "When Your Mind's Made Up." I'm not a fan of musicals but I would watch more stuff like this with no hesitation.

On Sunday I finished the last book I'm reading this year, The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes. It's another short novel in the Hengis Hapthorn series and the first couple chapters were published earlier this year in F&SF as "Sweet Trap." Hapthorn and Osk Rievor are still dealing with their shared cohabitation of the same body and Rievor is keen to investigate magic. This leads to the two being separated into two bodies and leaves Hapthorn stranded in the future where magic has fully taken over. He has to navigate this landscape and eventually to deal with a future version of a symbiote that has grown in knowledge and capabilities over the centuries. I think if you like Hughes' tales of Old Earth, you'd like this one too. It's readable and fun and a pleasant way to spend a couple days.

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