Arriving on a sea of hype, The Passage has a lot to live up to. That it fails may be more to do with its own hyperbole, as well as being written by a ‘mainstream’ writer who fails to understand the necessities of genre writing.
Firstly; yes, comparisons with King’s The Stand are inevitable. They form the crux of, essentially, the same book. It’s unlikely that Cronin - even being a non-genre author - will be unaware of King’s apocalyptic masterpiece, so running the parallels quite so closely as this looks sloppy.
The other well know problem with The Passage is that awkward 100-year jump about a third of the way through. It’s about as clumsy and momentum-destroying a piece of writing as I’ve ever read. Cronin constructs a masterful beginning to his tale - full of excellent character observation and empathy - and then throws it away over the course of a few pages. The extended cast of the future section is overcrowded and flat - too many introduced for little or no reason - and the verisimilitude is wonky also - even a century into the future (with working lights and CD players), but we’re expected to swallow that characters find movies magical? Cronin picks and chooses what elements of the passed technological world he wants his survivors to have, leaving them with the equipment they need for the story, but not the equipment they would realistically have in such a situation. It’s an amateur error, and one typical of an author used to writing in the real world, but without the experience to realistically construct one in the fantasy genre. Cronin is also quite embarrassingly bad at inventing a future slang (for one thing, in a closed community, there’d be no need for it; but having so many words unexplained and given little context simply makes the narrative confusing). It’s galling to have the mainstream look down on horror and SF, when books like this show that their level of craft and invention puts every mainstream author to shame.
Also contentious is the ending. As the first book in a trilogy (although nothing on the cover blurb prepares the reader for this), the ending inevitably has unexplained elements. Yet Cronin feels the need to rush through explanations, set up new plot threads out of nowhere, and then commit the cardinal sin of bringing back characters the reader thought were dead (and whose deaths formed much of the emotional depth of the book).
Beyond these faults, Cronin manages to salvage something. Although his attempts at horror and science fiction world-building are amateur and out-of-date, his writing is usually excellent, and the characters that forms the actual backbone of The Passage are, eventually, sympathetic and well drawn. Whether I’ll remember them by the time the second volume is published, however, is debatable.
A humdrum and wholly predictable tale, enlivened by sterling performances from Rourke and Tomei (who deserve all the plaudits - but really, people, if you’ve seen enough movies, they’ve both been this good their entire careers, it’s just that filmgoers have short memories).
Most scenes seem at least semi-improvised, and the use of non-actors in background roles is hugely distracting. This is a disappointingly average film from Aronofsky, and even the usually impressive Mansell soundtrack is forgettable.
On 21 July we published an article claiming that the video games company Rockstar Games were planning to release a version of their popular Grand Theft Auto video games series titled “Grand Theft Auto Rothbury”.
We also published what we claimed would be the cover of this game, solicited comments from a family member impacted by the recent tragedy and criticised Rockstar Games for their alleged plans.
We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event.
It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member.
We unreservedly apologise to Rockstar Games and we have undertaken not to repeat the claims again. We have also agreed to pay them a substantial amount in damages which they are donating to charity.
“She is what you want to think of her. It was left deliberately nebulous and vague. And I think she was a representative of an entity that didn’t like to be called God, but everybody else talked about it in godlike terms. If you want to call her an angel, you could say that. She went through a resurrection story that was very Christlike. And you know, what are the implications of that? I felt, as I went into the finale, that the more I defined exactly what she was, the less interesting she became. And so I just made a choice to go out on a more ambiguous note, and to let people argue about it perpetually.”—Battlestar Galactica writer Ron Moore, when asked what happened to Starbuck at the end of the series. Loosely translates as, “Dude, I don’t have the first fucking clue either.”
The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.
"Science fiction is very well suited to asking philosophical questions; questions about the nature of reality, what it means to be human, how do we know the things that we think we know. When philosophers propose thought experiments as a way of analyzing certain questions, their thought experiments often sound a lot like science fiction."
Church of the SubGenius Hour of Slack #1266 - 13X-Day Special with Dr. Hal, Philo Drummond & Pisces live
Four live Hours of Slack were recorded at the stage during the 13X-Day Drill, along with three Ask Dr. Hal sessions, five bands and a dozen preachers. The bulk of this episode is the first of the outdoor Hours of Slack, recorded July 1 with Rev. Stang, Dr. Hal, Priestess Pisces and Dr. Philo Drummond. Interspersed with that are impromptu songs by 6-Fisted Tails of Connie (the X-Day Drill jam band) and collages by Lemur, Sweetness McGee and the returned maestro, Heart Ignition. We also hear some clips from the Shanghai Devival, first big SubGenius show in Asia. Praise Pater Nostril for making the 13X-Day recordings. (Jam-band musicians include Rev. Angry Larry (The Amino Acids), Dr. Sinister, Dr. Philo Drummond (The Swinging Love Corpses), Rev. Phil, Rev. Suds Pshaw (Munky Hyv), Priestess Pisces, Rev. Bunny Day, Senator Speck, DJ Shaver and others.)
Excellent feature/interview - but I can’t see it converting anyone if they only accompany it with Steranko’s cover illustrations; you really need to see his narrative comics to understand why he’s so revered.
A remarkable film full of warm and believable acting, orbiting the two standout performances of DeWitt and Hathaway as the two loving, rivalrous sisters on the older’s wedding day.
There’s little in Hathaway’s mainstream career to even indicate she can be this good, and Lumet’s knowing script gives her full reign. A film to watch for sharp writing, superb acting and to read between the lines at the full story.
A misconceived mishmash that really doesn’t work on any level, excepting perhaps another of Helena Bonham Carter’s signature broken oddball character studies.
As a comedy, it simply isn’t at all funny; as a film noir, it’s simply too lightly approached - neither side balances at all. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the ending is completely off the rails.