Being Critical

The CriticFor the first time in I don’t know how long, we are actually ahead of the average monthly rainfall. The last few days have seen considerable rainfall in the area. Water was sluicing out of the drains that remove water from the roof of my office building yesterday afternoon. It was like watching a geyser go off, the way it would jet out in periodic rushes. We’re still in a rainfall deficit for the year, but things won’t be so dry for a while after these recent storms.

I’m rereading a novella I’m reviewing for Dead Reckonings 5 and I’m afraid I’m going to be giving it quite a drubbing. The author is very good, and the novella is beautifully written but patently absurd in premise. It’s putative science fiction by someone who has no appreciation for science, and there’s a lot of arbitrary hand waving to explain away inconvenient truths. To be fair, the author doesn’t claim this is science fiction, but at least one of the characters living on a harsh, distant planet is familiar with our world and its rules, so it presents itself as science fiction. Maybe I’m being too harsh—this is an author whose works I’ve grown to like over the past few years, but in this case I couldn’t get past some of the scientific clunkers and fundamental logic problems about the construct of this fictional universe.

Then again, I watched Samantha Who? last night, so there’s no accounting for taste.

I sometimes stick with TV series even when parts of them have gone terribly awry. Grey’s Anatomy is one such show. There are things about that series that make me roll my eyes, but then there are character developments that make it all seem worthwhile. Like the way Alex Karev has emerged from the background to become an interesting who was under-appreciated and under-utilized in the past. He’s the Sweat Hog from the back of the class who’s actually smart and, when he applies himself, has great potential. And funny, almost ludicrous situations, like the perpetually dying aunt, have touching payoff scenes. Manipulative, sure, but effective nonetheless.

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