Doux News: May 31, 2015

This Week: Scalzi – In the Style of L&O – Sens8 – From the Shire to Sauron – The Shining Budapest Hotel – STEM Scholarships – The Science of Sluggishness – A Sartorial Stumper


Hearty congratulations go out to science-fiction author and opinionated liberal John Scalzi, who has inked a headline-making deal with publisher Tor: $3.4 million dollars, over the next ten years, for 13 books. It’s an incredibly impressive deal, but Scalzi also took the time to break down just how it would pan out—spread over 10 years, it’s not like he’s in the same realm as Bill Gates.

If you haven’t read any of Scalzi’s books, now is as good a time as any to check them out: they’re fast-paced, idea-dense, and witty. Character development is almost nil, but the world-building is usually pretty cool, especially in Lock-In, which even people who don’t like science fiction enjoy. Redshirts is the one I’d recommend to the Star Trek fans out there.

In the Style of L&O

Daredevil gets Law & Ordered:


Sens8, the new Netflix series from the Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski, premieres on June 5th. Netflix has released short character previews centered the eight “Sensates” who share minds. All eight previews are available here, but don’t worry about the lack of Naveen Andrews (Lost): he’s in the show, he’s just not one of the mind-share characters.

Typing that sentence felt really silly. Like everyone else, I loved the Matrix. I liked the second one. I didn’t finish the third one. And I thought Cloud Atlas was a disaster, no matter how much my little brother liked it. Sens8 is giving me real Heroes vibes, although I’m not sure I could tell you why.

Are you excited about the series?

From the Shire to Sauron

The internet—well, a guy whose real name probably isn’t mattsawizard—figured out how far Sam and Frodo walked (and boated) from Hobbiton to Mount Doom: 1350 miles. Mattsawizard is from the UK, so his website puts all the distances in UK terms (Cirith Ungol to Mount Doom is like Swindon to London!), but he recaps it in a convenient maps for those of us whose lives revolve around the I-10. I’ve always suspected Mount Doom was in Texas:

The Shining Budapest Hotel

Please enjoy this mashup of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Also, now’s as good a time as any for me to remind you that Stephen King’s new book, Finders Keepers, comes out on June 2nd.

STEM Scholarships

The cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory are putting their money where their jokes are: they’ve amassed four million dollars to endow scholarships for students at UCLA majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. 20 scholarships will be awarded for the 2015-16 academic year, and five more in future years. (Those data tell me, even with my non-STEM background, that these scholarships are probably four-year deals, which is a frakkin’ bonanza). The scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievement and financial need.

TBBT isn’t the only entertainment group getting in on the academics game. No, I’m not talking about Dr. Dre’s academic program at USC. I’m talking about Marvel: along with a few other companies, Marvel is running a contest (deadline June 1!) for young women to explore engineering at the Disneyland Evolution of Technology workshop. They’ll also win tickets to the premiere of Ant-Man.

The Science of Sluggishness

Why? Because I'm always incredibly lazy in June, and now I can blame my genetics:

A Sartorial Stumper

I ran across two very thought-provoking articles about fashion on TV this week. The first is an interview on Fashion for Giants (not really giants, just tall people) with The Good Wife costume designer Dan Lawson. The Good Wife, in addition to being a fabulous TV show, has an incredible mix of professional, mature workwear on screen each week. I’m most partial to Alicia’s power suits and Diane’s chain-necklaces, which I hope to wear someday once I’m grown-up enough:

The second article, from The Mary Sue, addresses the “Very Best Fictional Fashion: Things I Want to Wear for Real.” Author and cosplayer Sara Goodwin highlighted the best clothes on the big and small screens, from Inara’s dresses in Firefly to everyone’s favorite Peggy Carter number:

I’m fascinated by—and stupidly jealous of—on-screen fashion. It’s not just the designer duds that fit perfectly, or the fancy dresses highlighted in the Mary Sue article. It’s the way that, on a well-fashion-designed show, characters are perfectly reflected in their clothes. Alicia Florrick wears power suits because she is powerful, but also because she is very conscious of how others perceive her. Diane Lockhart wears chain necklaces because she’s got a spine of steel. Felicity’s clothes, on Arrow, reflect her professional demeanor, intellectual acumen, and the sort of overstyled mother she grew up with:

But it’s also almost impossible to take too much fashion inspiration from on-screen characters. I may own a beautiful version of Peggy Carter’s leather coat (it was $30!), but most of her clothes are sadly too out-of-date for the 21st century. I loved Karen Page’s elegant, no-fuss office wear on Daredevil, but I simply don’t have Deborah Ann Woll’s body, and never will. I’m more of a Rose McIver, and her clothes on iZombie don’t flatter her figure at all:

The result is—aside from that Peggy Carter jacket, which is probably my biggest accomplishment for 2015—a sort of persistent, unfulfilled longing. As Dante says, likely not in reference to clothes, “without hope, we live in desire.” I desire a TV character with the perfect clothes for themselves that would also work on my body and in my budget. In the meantime, if I had to pick a character on TV whose clothes reflect the way I look on most days, I’d probably go with Cicso from The Flash:

What about you? Which TV character has clothes that provoke a Dantean longing in you? And which character do you really dress like most of the time?

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?) If you know of the perfect black skirt, please let her know. She's desperate.


Paul Kelly said...

I'm currently a third of the way through Mr Mercedes and can't make my mind up about it. I think I prefer King being King. When he crosses over into Crime or Fantasy (Talisman, Dark Tower, Eyes of the Dragon, etc.) territory I don't like him as much. Can you offer any encouragement for Finders Keepers? Does Mr Mercedes elevate itself to anything more than a standard Detective novel?

Billie Doux said...

What a great read, Josie.

I liked Scalzi's Old Man's War series, so good for him!

Looking forward to Sens8, and hoping it's not like Heroes.

Even though I love what Alicia and Diane wear, I don't think about it much. Fashion sort of flies right by me, unless it is Walter White wearing green in order to let us know that he's all about money this week. I probably dress mostly like Cisco, too. :)

TheShadowKnows said...

I actually thought Mr. Mercedes was worse than average for that type of book. Revival was better, but it's a horror novel.

Josie Kafka said...

Paul, it doesn't really get better. The ShadowKnows is correct: it's not very good. For me, the biggest appeal was the comfortable familiarity of King's writing.

Revival was interesting, but I didn't think it was as good as some of his other "big" books recently.

Finders Keepers exists in the same universe as Mr. Mercedes.

Juliette said...

I used to buy clothes specifically because they looked like Buffy clothes (and only a couple of months ago I finally fulfilled my ambition to have her piercings - three in one earlobe, two in the other). But these days I dress like Dean Winchester. Female version for work, literally men's shirts from a vintage store for working from home (they're so comfortable!). And my brother has promised to buy me a Samulet. I may be taking this too far...

Paul Kelly said...

Thanks Josie and TheShadowKnows. I have read 'Revival' and thought it was good, but 'Mr Mercedes' just isn't doing it for me. I had a similar problem with JK Rowling's 'The Cuckoo's Calling'. Nice, familiar writing, just not very detective-y. I'm not sure why everyone's gravitating towards writing detective fiction at the moment, but I wish they'd stop it. Leave it to the likes of Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin and Michael Dibdin, and get back to writing about haunted cars and wizards, if you please.

Patrick said...

I would say I'm intrigued by Sense8, I don't think I'd go so far as to say I'm excited by it. JMS is an excellent storyteller, but I've only really liked one movie the Wachowskis directed(the first Matrix). Their projects have a tendency to get an over-inflated sense of self-importance, is the only way I can describe it. Oddly enough, that's kinda how I felt about Heroes some of the time. Hopefully JMS' skill at long-term planning will keep the W's reined in a bit.

Sara Goodwin said...

Hi! I just saw that you referenced my article! :-) Thanks, and glad you liked it!