The Age of Clone

Please, oh please, dear lord, make Abrams stop.
I sat through six seasons of ‘Lost’, expecting a massive pay-off in the final episodes but was left thinking – really? I mean really?
This was followed by one of the biggest hypes in recent movie history – Cloverfield, and again I was left wondering what had happened in those two hours I will never get back. (Now there is going to be a sequel – but why?)
Clearly too stupid to learn from my mistakes I then went on to watch the rebooted Star Trek franchise, which did not upset me too much. Except they were the same storylines only with a Bizzaro world twist. Everything was mirror reversed. Spock shouting ‘Khan’, instead of Kirk and the like.
Ok, I can deal with that, especially after Scott Bakula destroyed the TV Star Trek franchise – one Quantum Leap too far?
But now that I have seen Star Wars VII I know – to some extent – how audiences felt in 1977, at least as far as the story goes. Because it was the SAME movie!!! Only with a bigger death star and better special effects – really? I mean – really?
There was nothing else in all the worlds of imagination that they could put to paper and then onto the silver screen but the same story? I guess Disney is to blame as well  – Avatar was just Pocahontas in space with cool special effects – same formula.
I predict that this our age will become known as the age of the reboot and clone flicks, with Disney the grand temple of profit and Abrams its supreme priest.
Please, oh please, give me a few more original pictures like ‘They live’, ‘The man from Earth’, ‘The game’ (with Michael Douglas – how about that ending?), ‘Casablanca’ (there is no cooler final scene) or even ‘Spirited away’. You notice something here? No sequels. No franchise. Just great self-contained stories that will leave an impression.
I know the gods of profit reign supreme, but one can hope.

Musings

All of us have favourite books we re-read time and again. These books are places where one can hide, rest and imagine different lives, different times. They have a familiar feel to them, they smell  just right and as soon as the words scroll by one is displaced and captivated.

They allow us to return to times in our lives long thought lost by recapturing vivid memories and associations we had at the time of reading them for the first, the second, the tenth time.

I, myself, have five such books. I will re-read them from time to time. I am drawn to the stories they reveal, the emotions they conjure deep within me. I am happy when I read them, content. I am transported, changed, as each reading will reveal a new detail or a forgotten connection, triggering dormant sections of my mind.

These books are, in no particular order, Healer by F. Paul Wilson, Tuf Voyaging by George R R Martin (written well before his GoT fame), What Mad Universe by Frederic Brown, Hurra, wir leben noch and Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein, both by Johannes Mario Simmel, and, I fear, not translated into English.

The books by Simmel have the added advantage of purportedly being true stories. Simmel chronicled the events of both books, taking the point of view of the respective protagonists, Jakob Formann (not his real name), a self-made industrialist in post-war Europe, and Thomas Lieven (not his real name), whose story is too unbelievable not to be true.

The other three works are all Science Fiction, but Science Fiction with a decidedly human bend. A man displaced into an alternate reality, similar but maddeningly different from his. It is all he can do to stay alive. Another man unwittingly sharing his body with a second, invading mind, whose consciousness reaches down to the cellular level, leading to inevitable immortality and all its trappings. The final man, not so much a man, but a stylised symbol of a man, stilted, exceedingly well-spoken, philanthropic, fragile and omnipotent – an itinerant merchant without a sense for business in the possession of one of the most powerful weapons ever dreamed up by Science Fiction.

I am not entirely sure what these books say about me, but they are my favourites such as they are. I would take them on a one-way-trip to Mars, pack them in my steamer trunk as I set out to the Paleolithic and strap them to my chest as I tumble down the Einstein-Rosen bridge.

I have learned (and still am), upon reflection, much and more from those books. Mostly how to deal with the unexpected, the shocking, the new and frightening. All the protagonists are anti-heroes, they are all flawed, they are all, in the end, completely dependent upon their own wits and ingenuity to survive and carry on another day.

Maybe you can look at your favourite books anew and ask yourself what they say about you.

Cocktails at the Raffles hotel in Singapore – life could be worse – but I do miss their coctail range from 4 years ago – dry ice added a nice bit of theater to a relaxing afternoon of indulgence.

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These pics were taken on a recent family/friends trip to Singapore. Love that city and love the Raffles hotel.The cocktail list from 4 years ago was better though. If you have the time visit the Long Bar, where, according to legend the last tiger in Singapore was shot and the Writer’s Bar, where they have a sublime selection of scotches.

Lunch in Singapore at Ku De Ta on top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel on a recent trip with friends and family.

The images immediately below this text are of the most expensive beef – kobe – you can buy. I will not tell you how much it was – only that it was worth it. Texture, marbling and flavour were exquisite.

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Auspicious beginnings…

Slick with moonsweat I stumbled into the abode of the Unspoken. Layers of hopping webs obscured my view, only being able to guess at shapes and tumbles in twill light. None of any foes showed through, leaving me besweated and shaking. The sounds and aromas of the Walpurg night floated richly in the air. Not all was lost, time was still an ally.