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Friday, September 07, 2018

Comic Cuts - 7 September 2018

I've had a mixed week. On the positive side, I've had some contact with someone who has been able to iron out a few wrinkles that I had over the career of Harry "Iron Mask" Bensley. Putting out the new edition of the book has already paid! I spent a couple of days trying to nail down evidence of new information and a lot more time than I should have trying to follow branches of Benley's family tree.

All of it was rather ephemeral to the main story, but it was fun nonetheless. I do enjoy researching these things... it's a puzzle where all the pieces are laying face down and you're not sure whether all the pieces are there or, thanks to mistakes and information being wrongly transcribed, whether they're not missing, just hidden. Getting any sort of picture out of it at the end of the day is hard work, but incredibly satisfying.

I received copies of the new trade paperback (6 x 9-inch) version of the Iron Mask book and I have to say that I thought it looked great. Createspace make a nice job of printing these things. It's a shame that the chance of this becoming a bestseller are so close to zero you couldn't push a hair into the gap – which, of course, means that I'll never achieve any "economies of scale" with the printing costs.

C'est la vie. That's probably the price I pay for enjoying writing the book so much I've written it twice!

I survived the trip to the dentist on Friday; it meant that I didn't need to go into town on Saturday when "Invasion Colchester 2018" was underway. The photographs I posted on Sunday were from Mel. I needed to get cracking with some gardening anyway, wielding the hedge-trimmer as if it were a light-sabre to try and make it feel like I was having fun. (It worked. I'm easily amused.) The gardening spilled over into Sunday, but the results of just a couple of hours work in the morning were remarkable. Mind you, I think we were both paying for it by Sunday evening, with aching backs and knees. This getting old sucks.

So, plonked down in front of the TV (which is what has caused the unfitness in the first place), I've managed to finish the third season of The Expanse and watch the whole of (Tom Clancy's) Jack Ryan. The first brought the original Expanse trilogy (Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate) to a conclusion. I've only read the first novel, but I'm told the TV series stuck fairly closely to the through-plot of the novels.

I've enjoyed the whole series but this third part was a bit static. It's one of the few science fiction shows that hark back to the old pulp days of SF, grand in scale and fast-moving. Once the various groups found themselves trapped together (I'm trying not to give away any spoilers!) the pace also slowed. Not to the point where the show dragged (a problem I'm finding with the second season of Quantico, which I'm part way through, but taking a pause), but I wouldn't have wanted to watch  it weekly, as it was designed to be show. Working from home I have the option of watching an episode daily, which is definitely the best way for this season. I'm glad the show will return, thanks to Amazon Prime. Now, if only they'd do the same for Hap and Leonard, I'd be a happy man.

Jack Ryan was fine. It didn't have anything in it that we've not seen before, although the plot had a couple of twists where I thought "If I were them, I'd do that" and, bless 'em, that's what they did... making them as twisted (in a good way) as I am. I don't think it had the tension of Homeland, which it probably most resembles, but was good enough. I'm not sure if the character Jack Ryan is developed in the books, having never read them, but he seemed a little all over the place in the TV series. I appreciate that character moments are usually the first to be dropped if a show is overrunning, but he seemed to turn from kindly and compassionate to being unpleasant and nasty at the whim of the plot rather than as a natural development of his personality.

Random scans are a bunch of science fiction novels that I've picked up over the last few months.


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