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The Exorcist (1973)

In light of my recent dissatisfaction with the box office smash hit horror movie "The Conjuring" I decided to go back to the source. The granddaddy of all exorcism movies: "The Exorcist".

Recently a number of films have tried to revisit this genre including: The Rite (seemingly promoting a rise in Catholic exorcisms under Pope Benedict), The Possession (involving a Jewish exorcist) and the tv series "Apparitions" (involving a quite liberal priest in a larger-than-life story written by an atheist who's done their research).

I considered including The Exorcist in a list of films involving a fear of children. However, I'm not sure this film fits on the list. The child is always posed very much as a victim. The religious view being that the child is subject to a demon possession. The sceptical position being that time kind of issue with the brain or psychological issue is causing her to act in a bizarre and hostile way.

Click here to read the rest of my review of "The Exorcist"...Collapse )
"Almost Home" is a really sweet and funny short film also acting as a trailer for the upcoming animated movie "Home".

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I think it's good that this is a role that seems to suit Steve Martin's over-the-top delivery. While I know some people are inclined to suggest that Steve Martin is past it, I have to say that the performances I've liked best from him have generally been later in his career - my favourite being "Bowfinger".

This short film is funny, pretty and emotionally touching, so if the full movie manages to keep that up it could be quite wonderful.

Good Vibrations (2012)

I was a little worried when this seemed to be trying to be quirky at the beginning. There's a strange little sequence to indicate that our protagonist lost an eye when he was younger and an insistance that he will see the world differently as a result. (Actually missing an eye means that, through that eye at least, you won't be seeing anything. But let's move on.)

This is a film based on real life and our protagonist is Terri Hooley who ended up being a really important figure in the music scene in Ireland at the height of 'the troubles'.

The situation in Ireland seems to be very easy to misrepresent on film, so it was good here to see people with a real handle on how things actually worked. (As much as I love the series "Burn Notice" the episode where Fiona meets back up with one of her old IRA pals was pretty cringeworthy. The writers seemed to have absolutely no conception of how horrible the situation in Ireland really was and wanted to make it a matter of 'good guys' and 'bad guys' rather than a horrifying mess.)

Terri (played by Richard Dormer) finds that his friends get pulled into either side of the conflict in Northern Ireland and he generally finds that he's too left-wing for either of them, making things pretty dangerous. Early in the film he falls in love with Ruth (played by Jodie Whittaker from "Attack The Block" and "Venus"), but Terri decides that they are not going to leave Belfast. They are not going to let the violence stop them.

Click here for the rest of my review of "Good Vibrations"...Collapse )

Here's some examples of the punk rock music from the movie. There's some pretty great stuff here:

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Where can you find Seanan this weekend?

I'm Guest of Honor at NORWESCON, in beautiful Seattle, Washington! It's time for fun with crows, evergreens, and rain! If you're planning to be in the area, here's where you can find me throughout the weekend:


5:00pm, Guest of Honor Banquet. I am not on the menu! But I believe banquet tickets are still available, and you can put food in your face. Yum!

7:00pm, Opening Ceremonies. We are gonna open the shit out of this convention.


1:00pm, Reading. I have copies of Sparrow Hill Road, and I'm not afraid to open them...

3:00pm, Feminism in Fandom. Let's play Bingo!

5:00pm, Lifetime Members' Banquet. Food. Again.

8:30pm, Vixy & Tony concert. Come see the ever-amazing Vixy & Tony in concert with Betsy Tinney and Sunnie Larsen, as well as musical aid from yours truly.

10:00pm (roughly), my concert. I'll be honest here: it's basically the same set-up. There's not going to be a hard line between us so much as "first set list is finished, we pause to pee, second set list begins." I highly recommend attending both. I'll have CDs, T-shirts, and posters for sale.


1:00pm, autograph session. I'll sign shit!

5:00pm, Q&A. Come with your Qs, I'll show you my As.


4:00pm, Closing Ceremonies. Find out who next year's guests will be! Watch this year's guests try not to pass out on the table! Good times.

Hope to see you there!

Captain America and Easter Snow Oh My

It is April 16th and there’s like 2 inches of new snow out there and I am NOT OVER IT OK.

However, I am still alive, contrary to the outrageous claims made by the date on my last blog post. I’m even nominated for a Nebula for Six-Gun Snow White and going to be Guest of Honor at Minicon in Minneapolis this weekend. Which means no Easter Egg dying for me this year, but panels for everyone!

Also I saw Captain America 2 last night and am mildly obsessed with reading the VERY FEW negative reviews because if it’s Marvel critics are now required to like it or face a personal visit from a hungover Iron Man, so that I can dissect how entirely I felt it went wrong when I loved the first one–really the only superhero movie of the current coolkids vibe that I liked on its own merits. I’m endlessly fascinated by stories that seem to almost work but blow the dismount in some way.

All the set pieces were there, albeit run through the guts of the same desaturation engine that video games seem to be churning merrily through at the moment. (Seriously, 4 color panels are starting to look downright lurid in comparison) But they were just set pieces, and not even superhero set pieces so much as Jason Bourne set pieces glitter-glued onto a We Stand With Snowden plot, which actually doesn’t play that well with a superhero universe where all solutions must be phraseable as personal mottos and tie into a movie that won’t be out til next year and also magic. Plus, don’t ever ever mention where all the money to build these evil systems comes from or any kind of class issues while trying to say something about contemporary politics, because the whole genre sort of winces at 1% issues and goes “Oooh! Look over there! Tony Stark is so cool!”, or show anyone but the 20 people allowed to live in a single-hero film/province of MarvelWorld so that there can be a PG 13 rating and we can ignore the massive civilian casualties which are actually inevitable during the pitched machine gun broad daylight super secret “spy” battles. Instead, Twitter stands in for the rest of planet Earth. Which leaves one with a feeling that you can always spot evil because it’s blowing things up, when the truth is the worst things happen without a sound, behind closed doors, with a handshake and a smile. And the Greatest Generation that Captain America provides such a nice clean altar for us to worship, far from being a bastion of wholesome morals, shook a lot of those hands before most of us were born.

The first film actually wanted to dissect some (SOME) of this stuff. The strange obsession with superheroes and simultaneous terror of dictators when it really just takes one bad day to flip one to the other, propaganda, the military using up bright and beautiful young men until they turn into monsters. But somehow Winter Soldier just really wants to be a mainstream spy thriller, and seems wholly uncomfortable with its speculative trimmings, and has in fact trimmed them down to little more than your average James Bond jaunt. Captain America is in the actual military doing straightforward pirate boarding missions. There was a sinister story to be told there about how militaristic and frightening superheroes actually are, but they didn’t want to tell it, along with about five other more interesting stories hiding between the lines. What they did want, as many interviews have attested, was to make “an old school 70s spy thriller.” Oooook.

I feel like there’s something going on there, that filmmakers want the geek money that comes with any superhero franchise at the moment, the longing to see these characters onscreen, but is still deeply ambivalent about the subject matter. Either because there is a desire among those for whom these films are passion projects to make what was once mocked as being childish Extra Serious and Adult, or because those for whom they are not want the money without having to dip their fingers into anything so unsavory and suspect as, like, color, or fun, or magic/tech/mutation that doesn’t stand in for the civil rights movement. Either way, every “geeky” intellectual property seems to be getting the artistic equivalent of Captain America’s transformation: something weaker and smaller and weirder with a good heart being pumped up with industrial chemicals until it looks like some higher-up’s idea of a real man.

And, you know, be sure to never let Black Widow have a story of her own outside of bending over center screen, booting up a Mac, and worrying about the real hero’s relationship status because, well, girl, am I right?

In other news, April 16. Snow. What.

Mirrored from Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

Current projects, April 2014.

Every month I make a post to tell folks what I'm working on, a) because it seems polite, b) because it keeps me accountable, if only to myself, and c) so you will understand why I do not have a social life. This is the April 2014 post. We are now officially in the second quarter of the year. Whee!

To quote myself, being too harried to say something new: "These posts are labeled with the month and year, in case somebody eventually gets the bizarre urge to timeline my work cycles (it'll probably be me). Behold the proof that I don't actually sleep; I just whimper and keep writing."

Please note that all books currently in print are off the list, as are those that have been turned in but not yet printed (Sparrow Hill Road, The Winter Long, Symbiont and Pocket Apocalypse). A Red-Rose Chain is off the list because it's finished and in revisions with the Machete Squad. The cut-tag is here to stay, because no matter what I do, it seems like this list just keeps on getting longer. But that's okay, because at least it means I'm never actively bored. I have horror movies and terrible things from the swamp to keep me company.

Not everything on this list has been sold. I will not discuss the sale status of anything which has not been publicly announced. If you can't remember whether I've announced something, check the relevant tag, or go to my website, at Please do not ask why project X is no longer on the list. I will not answer you.

What's Seanan working on now? Click to find out!Collapse )

aš, aš / words unfinished, unfound

My poem "Her Sun-patterned Eye" is in Strange Horizons!

It belongs to a wider series of poems I'm writing about ancient/prehistoric archaeological finds, which includes "Bowl" and "Thousands of Years Ago, I Made This String Skirt" in Stone Telling and "Sister" in Through the Gate. I'm fascinated by people very distant in time, by people whose stories are rarely told and by how the past is written about: the metaphor of a palimpsest is useful here, the past visible between the lines of the future, and I'd like what's visible to be a truer look at the past than what we get in most popular discourse.

When I read about the bones of a c.2900 BCE woman found at Shahr-e Sukhteh, 6 feet tall with a prosthetic eye covered in gold, carved with a sun-pattern, I wanted to write about her. What an eye! What a story she must have had! One artist on tumblr drew her, which I love. Here she is, as we know her:

Shahr-e Sūkhté

Bones. Is writing for a find of bones and grave goods truly history, or historiography? I started writing a narrative for her, a world she saw through her gilt eye. I stopped. The problem of filling in the gaps, of fictionalising, is one that historians (especially of the ancient world) face, and though I can embrace writing story in fiction or poetry, I apparently can't do it for long without stopping to question it. "Her Sun-patterned Eye" is me questioning it: the opening up of possibility, the narrowing down again to truth, to bones. Remarkable bones, a surely remarkable woman. I hope this poem means more people are aware of her.

The Nanny (1965)

A later Bette Davis performance. A child comes home from a special school intended to sort out his poor behaviour. In the house the boy's mother seems highly reliant on the nanny and she's seen more like part of the family than as a paid assistant, but the boy himself is rude to her and refuses to have anything to do with her.

The central child actor is brilliant and the interplay between him and the excellent Bette Davis is wonderful. The film very cleverly teases out all the details of their odd rivalry and there are actually some quite twisted moments.

Read more...Collapse )

THE WINTER LONG cover release!

Psst. C'mere.

So it's no secret that I love the covers DAW gives me, and that showing them off is one of my true pure joys in life. Chris McGrath has been designing Toby covers for eight books now, and he's amazing. Like, seriously amazing. Want proof?

Go ahead. Take a peek.

Cut-tagged for the protection of your friends' list, which really doesn't need something this huge suddenly showing up without warning. But trust me, you should totally click.Collapse )

Poem sale, and a future kickstarter

My poem “Baba Yaga Tries to Donate Money” has been accepted for publication at Apex. I am very happy about this! This is a humorous (of sorts) poem about the perils of fundraising.

Speaking of fundraising, this June I am planning to kickstart for an anthology of short, weird, surrealist pieces of up to 1200 words long. The anthology is going to be called An Alphabet of Embers, it will have a cover illustrated by the amazing Galen Dara, and it will be published through Stone Bird Press. Watch this space for more updates!

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


Christopher McCandless; Into the Wild

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