May 2008 Archive

La Vie en Rose

I note that my posts have been getting longer and longer lately, therefore just a quicky. I saw La Vie en Rose the other day, French film about the life of singer Edith Piaf. My wife was going to watch it, I was going to work. I saw the first five minutes, hanging around at the back of the living room, ended up staying for the whole thing. Brilliant film.

The central performance from (rightly oscar winning, quite an achievement for a non-English film) Marion Cotillard is magnificent. In biopics the central actor will typically be convincing at a certain age, then look like a young bloke with naff prosthetics as the old person, or a middle aged actor very, very strongly lit as the young one. In this she is equally completely convincing as teenaged street-singer, as the performer at the height of her powers, and as the dying, illness racked old woman (though not actually that old). Gerard Depardieu is amazing as always, even in a minor role. That guy can do more with one look than most actors manage in a career.

The film is also a real triumph of editing. It darts back and forward from moments late in her life, to her childhood, to the middle and back, moving ever more quickly as it works up to the climax. This sort of technique can sometimes seem pretentious, pointless, adding nothing beyond what might have been there were the film told in chronological order. Here they use it brilliantly to make connections between the different parts of her life, and rather than repeating glimpses from earlier scenes as she remembers her past life – which would have been the obvious thing to do – they always show something new, adding deeper layers of meaning and understanding. Characters drift in and out without the plodding explanation you might expect in a Hollywood treatment of the subject matter. It isn’t always clear exactly who they are, but it doesn’t really matter. It makes the film amazingly compact for the ground it covers.

I’ve been raving about a lot of things lately. It’s not like me. Usually I hate everything and I don’t care who knows it. But there just doesn’t seem much point writing posts in order to draw people’s attention to the average, the mediocre, and indeed the downright bad. Unless it’s my own work, of course. A-ha-ha-HAH.

Rating? A magisterial 9.

Read more | 3 comments | Posted in film and tv

Grand Theft Auto IV

From the dim and distant past of computer gaming to the incandescent, high definition now, and a game that is surely one of the biggest releases of all time. It’s interesting, looking at the two together, how far the games industry has come. From a time when games were coded in a couple of months […]

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A History of Gaming 1 – Childhood

My name is Joe, and I’m a video games addict. Been playing them all my life. A lot. Quite a bit less over the last couple of years, what with the writing and the child and all the rest of it, so there hasn’t really seemed an apt moment to begin to discuss them. But, […]

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Joe Mallozzi’s Book Club Part 2

So I have responded to the questions of Joe’s readers over here at immense and self-indulgent length. Check it out, it is a scream. And exciting. But also makes you think deeply. Kind of like The First Law trilogy, in fact. So if you’ve somehow missed me talking about my general approach to fantasy here […]

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Joe Mallozzi’s Book Club

No, not an offbeat episode of the Sopranos, but an exciting initiative from writer, critic, bon vivant, and Stargate Atlantis joint-supremo Joe Mallozzi. We go back a long way me and Joe. We first met at one of Baron Destructo’s interminable drinks events, it’s a long story, and since then we’ve never looked back. You’d […]

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God of Publication Dates Part 3

Ah, forgot to mention one interesting detail (well, interesting to me anyway). Looks as if the UK trade edition of Best Served Cold will be hardback only, rather than the previous setup of a small hardback run and a general trade paperback release. However it’ll be priced about the same as the trade paperbacks have […]

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God of Publication Dates Part 2

Well, here are two publication dates that I’m pretty sure won’t move back. Why? Because the book’s already written, that’s why! Last Argument of Kings will be out in the US in September, from Pyr books. You can order it now on Before they are Hanged actually shipped a month early, so you never […]

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The God of Publication Dates

Gather round, my friends, for I have some (slightly) bad news. Publication Date for Best Served Cold has moved from April 2009 back to June 2009. Only a couple of months, which is probably small fry for some of you folks who are used to waiting for books, but I thought that you should be […]

Read more | 15 comments | Posted in announcements, news, process

Assorted Stuff

The guys at have done a little survey to establish the top ten favourite sf&f; authors for their readership, and guess who came in 9th place? That’s right, new kid on the block, Joe Abercrombie. Oh, yes indeed. Finally OBJECTIVE AND INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF of what I have long suspected, that I am a writer […]

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Hi-Brow Heaven – The Histories

What the hell is WRONG with me? I hate EVERYTHING, and here I am being embarrassingly enthusiastic about four things in a row? What have I enjoyed lately, you ask? Why, only the RSC’s production of Shakespeare’s History Cycle at the Roundhouse in London, in chronological order (so Richard II, Henry IV parts 1&2, Henry […]

Read more | 13 comments | Posted in film and tv