The last year, right up to this month, has been a journey through hell. Along with the major hit to my health and the ongoing consequences, plus other highly stressful external stuff, I haven’t been able to write. Blog posts have been difficult enough. Working on long projects has been impossible. The ideas are there, and the damned things keep coming. But the mere thought of trying to make my way through the thousands of words it takes to create a novel? There’s nothing there. No ambition, no motivation, no nothing. It’s hard to even care. Any concern over the situation is faraway and abstract.
I’ve wandered from one WIP to another, hoping that one of them would be the spark to fire up my mind. No such luck. Until a couple of days ago. One of the external stressors resolved itself more or less happily. It could easily have gone the other way, and nothing I could have done about it but watch helplessly as it played itself out. However, I’ve also been slowly reducing one of my meds which is only one of those I’m taking that can cause depression. So who knows? I’m feeling a tiny bit of ambition again, but whether it’s going to continue and maybe increase is still a question without an answer.
I don’t understand all the hoopla about the movie version of Annihilation. Of course, I didn’t understand the hoopla about the book, either. I read the book. I haven’t seen the movie and won’t. To put it bluntly, I disliked the book intensely. I’d bought the whole trilogy at the thrift store for less than a dollar, and considered I was getting a good deal. Books that I’d take a stab at reading, just out of curiosity, if the price was right, but not otherwise. Result? I recycled them back to the thrift store, the second and third volumes unread.
The worst thing about Annihilation is that it isn’t science fiction, even though that’s how it’s categorized and described. It’s horror, and not even very well done horror. I don’t read horror because I’m not easily horrified, especially by books and movies that are designed to be horrifying. You want horror? Take a look at the real world, particularly those parts of the world that American news sources make sure you don’t run across very often. Our delicate sensibilities must be protected. But imaginary monsters are perfectly okay.
All right, that’s a rant. To continue.
There are dozens — maybe hundreds — of blog reviews of the movie. When I bother to skim a few, it becomes apparent that the writers haven’t read the book. They may remark on the fact that the movie is very different from the book — another of those “based on” attempts to translate words into a financial success. If a book is “unfilmable,” all you have to do is tear it apart, restructure it, invent new characters, plotlines, etc. Apparently, Jeff VanderMeer is perfectly comfortable with having his book chopped into little pieces and then reassembled. Given that the book comes across like exactly that — ideas smashed together in a sufficiently vague way that forbids you getting a grip on it, I’m not surprised. The book has no real substance, so it’s appropriate that the movie, from what I gather, has no real substance either. It can be interpreted any way you want, even allowing some deluded reviewers to rhapsodize over its intellectual content — a movie of ideas!