mjj (flemmings) wrote,

90% of everything

Harry Dresden is teaching me to speed read. You only have to read the first sentence of a paragraph, then run an eye through the rest in case any important words jump out, then the next first sentence, and so on. I can't say the exercise is worth it. This is very Campbell soup fantasy-- all the usual ingredients tasting much the same no matter what the label says. Not sure why he's such a big hit; the Night Side is at least enjoyable fluff.

I was going to say But at least there are no vampires, only of course there are vampires. What there isn't is vampires as written by women writers. I picked up something by Nalini Singh, figuring that an Indo-New Zealander would have a different take on things. Nope. The same as Kittredge and McLeod: double whammy female something (in this case a vampire hunter turned angel-with-wings) with 'too many hawt boyfriends' problems and err 'default urban fantasy vocabulary' problems. "She sucked in a breath as she felt the temptation of Dmitri's scent wrap around her in a glide of fur and sex and wanton indulgence." Dmitri is a vampire, of course.

There's a problem when you begin with the best, as I did in the genre which I have to call 21st Century Urban Fantasy, to distinguish it from the folksy likes of Huff and de Lint. Aaronovitch and Griffin are about the urbs, not the genre tropes; but why is no one else?

Saw Miyazaki fils et pere's Poppy Hill yesterday. It was pleasant and cheering, that now nostalgic pre-Tokyo Olympics world; the war still casting shadows on the present but the future looking so much better than the past. (A lot like the early Rainy Willow stories, where the shadow of the Bakumatsu disturbed the precarious peace people had made for themselves in Meiji. Only there the sun of Taishou was a long way off, and we're stuck in the overcast, slightly oppressive, willow-shaded world of Yanaka (for no reason except that's how Yanesen looked to me on my first visits.)

But I doubt if I'd see it again. It's a fantasy Yokohama, which maybe was that small and unbusy back in '63; forty years later it was unnavigable if you arrived by train. Certainly it's not the Tokyo that makes me want to see Whisper of the Heart again. Pleasant though was the occasional interpolation of Ue o muite arukou", that was playing in NAmerica at the same time.
Tags: anime, film, hatsu_akiko, history, japan, music, place, sentochihiro
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