Derik Badman's Journal

2020-08-14 08:24

I get further and further behind as this writing becomes less of a regular habit. But I also got more of my stories written (even started a fifth one now), and it was code release week at work, so more early/long days too.

Started and gave up on a bunch of library books. I did read and enjoy Nocilla Dream by Agustín Fernández Mallo, the first of his Nocilla Trilogy. They are all (I'm onto the second one now) made of short fragmented chapters mixing narrative, quotation, history, science. At first it seems all disconnected, but as you read places, characters, objects, themes all begin to recur. It ends up being a kind of literary collage reminiscent of what David Bordwell in film calls a network narrative. Many of the characters connect less in person than via locations, especially in this case Carson City in Nevada and a tree outside the town that is festooned with shoes. Quotes and sources cover a fairly wide variety, and the characters and events are a mix of fiction and non. I didn't feel like anything was very dramatic, rather calming. The rhythm of the short chapters and the jumping around and returning was really pleasant. I'm already about 75 pages into the second book.

Been watching season 1 of Upload on Amazon in the mornings. Ostensible a sci-fi comedy (seem to be a lot of those lately) it works a lot better as near future satire and drama. I can't say I laugh out loud much at it, though there are a lot of clever aspects to the world building. Often the show goes for broader comedy and falls flat. It has a main storyline/plot which is much more of a drama, mystery/romance centered around the protagonist and how/why he died. The overall pacing has done a really good job in slowly revealing that there is a mystery (I feel that's not totally clear where the show is going in the first episode) and then spooling out bits of information to keep it from stagnating, but also rarely going too far in just focusing on that aspect of the show. Like most sci-fi it's very much of the time, where the near future world of the show reflects contemporary issues like corporatization of life and the increasing (already large) wealth gap. This was another case of a show (or series in other forms) where the first part was not too exciting to me, but I kept with it an extra episode or two and ended up realling enjoying it (it is from the Office/Parks & Rec guy, so that gives it some cache in my mind). Also really like the female lead Andy Allo.