A Good Omens weekend

If you somehow missed the news, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens was made into a mini-series, released on Amazon Prime.

I read the book eons ago (okay, like 2002), which was pre-brain injury, so my recall of the book is spotty (I remember random tidbits and overall plot but not the majority of specifics). In general I know I liked the book, although it was never one of my favorites. However, my friend is…a fan…so when it released, I signed up for my 30-day free Prime trial (yes, I’m one of twenty people who didn’t already subscribe) and got my Good Omens on.

For those not familiar, here’s a blurb:

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

Now for my review: it was good 🙂

Well worth the watch for the superb acting alone, but I will warn viewers that it requires (or at least is easier with) a certain acceptance of British humor, although not a lot. Also a willingness to go along with the ride, as reality and normalcy fly out the window. In many ways it’s goofy and silly, and I can see how that might not vibe with some people.

However, the acting was superb, bringing to life two characters who already had a bit of a cult following (Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley), and adding flavor to other characters who might not have been as engaging. The special effects were used to just the right level, the makeup was delightful, and for me the changes made between book and show were good/acceptable.

Honestly, I think the whole 6 hours is made worthwhile for this scene alone:

My Roommate Is a Cat – review

If you love cats, this will probably suit your viewing pleasure. The 12-episode anime is delightfully mellow, and yet surprisingly heart-wrenching at times. It follows 23-year-old introverted mystery writer Subaru and his accidental adoption of stray Haru, a tuxedo cat. As the two bond and learn to live with each other, both are forced to re-assess their lives and face new experiences, which leads to change and growth.

While I wouldn’t really consider this a show with spoilers, consider this your spoiler warning.

Since this anime follows the experiences (and hijinks) of an introvert and his cat, it’s about as action-packed as you’d expect. If that’s not your type of show, then this won’t be either. However, if you’re looking for something where you can chuckle, coo over things, and experience Subaru and Haru’s slice-of-life adventures, then this is worth checking out. (Available on Funimation’s and Crunchyroll’s sites.)

We spend roughly half to three-quarters of our time in Subaru’s perspective, as he’s forced to go out in public in order to provide for his cat (the show mostly ignores the internet being a thing and next-day delivery resolving a lot of Subaru’s problems). The rest of the time is from Haru’s perspective, in which we get to see why the cat does what she does, and how she’s experiencing what might seem harmless from the human perspective.

The show is full of super nice people being nice to each other, but it was never so saccharine sweet that it turned me off. Rather it just showed the best parts of humanity. It’s uplifting in that regard.

One of my favorite things is that the story doesn’t have any romantic plots. He has guy friends and girl friends and aside from one moment where a brother things he has foul intentions with his sister, it doesn’t even come up. Oh, there is lots of room to ship couples, but it’s not in the show itself.

My one concern going in was Subaru’s personality. He’s introverted, and they point out the very reasonable problems with this and what it takes for him to go out in public. They also present it as a natural part of his personality (he’s been like this since he was a kid), although it’s possibly his natural aversion to being around people (especially large groups) as led to a more extreme isolation. As I watched, I worried that they would “fix him” and make him no longer introverted. Of course, that would be a problem.

However, the show seems to toe the line without going too far. While Subaru in some ways does “get better,” much of it is in things that improve his life and that he does enjoy. He’s still rather shy and he’s definitely introverted, but through his cat, he’s been forced to face people – and he found it’s okay in small doses with those he likes, as long as he has his support system.

What I really love is how the show expresses his support system. His friends (and editor and neighbor) all recognize he’s an introverted isolationist, and while they might make a few teasing remarks about it, they are generally accepting. He’s introverted, and that’s okay. When he does venture out to the grocery store and becomes overwhelmed, his friend (who just happens to show up) helps him through it without begrudging him. His editor is not surprised when Subaru rejects a public signing, and doesn’t pressure him – just presents the idea and all the benefits. When Subaru later agrees, the editor is right there beside him, making sure he doesn’t overextend himself, and talking him through his panic.

Overall, I’d recommend people checking this out, especially if want to watch something to settle your nerves or that doesn’t require too much thought and won’t be emotionally taxing. Warning: his parents have just died in the first episode, and some of the show and much of the ending revolves around realizations and coming to terms with their deaths and his feelings about that.

You’ll probably like this anime if you enjoyed: Tanaka-kun Is Always Restless, Mushi-shi, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.

Writing, Writing, Movies

I have a writing question for the general audience…

I read a series of books and was kinda really into it. So I took the atmosphere of the books and pseudo location and pseudo characters and wrote long story. None of the characters/events/plots/locations are the same, but I think if someone read the same series I did and then read my work, they’d see the similarities. Does that make this story fanfiction and thus unpublishable (assuming I’d want to go that route)? My only concern is because the original series is kind of unique (I haven’t read anything like it before), that my story will appear as a huge copycat. I suppose one answer to my question is that because I’m questioning it at all shows that I shouldn’t try to publish at all. But I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Update on CL: The end of February was supposed to be finished editing so March could be trolling for publishers. Well, 1/3 of beta readers got back to me and the one who did said she didn’t buy the second half of the story and thus stopped halfway (she was also involved in moving, but would have stopped anyway). This was a concern of mine before, and she just confirmed it…but I also wonder if it could pass as a genre thing. I’m not sure how much experience she has in the genre, plus it could just be a personal preference.

The long and short of it is that I think the story has to go back into major rewrites…and I’m not sure how I feel about the ending anymore either. I’d still love for my other betas to get back to me, but I’m not holding my breath (February is a short month and I know they’ve both been busy with family plans and a new job). Though I’d love to hear if my writing was bearable to read or not.

So my original deadline is going to have to be scrapped. I don’t count this as missing deadline because I didn’t miss it due to procrastination, but due to the realization that I need major revisions. I’m going to take some time to consider where I want to head with it and then create a new plan. If I don’t see any solutions that make me happy, I may just send it off as is and see what publishers have to say.

ETA: I heard back from another reviewer who needs a few extra days. I’ll be looking at his commentary before moving forward to see how it fits in with what this other person said.

I created a tumblr account for creative inspiration. Every day I post a picture, a quote, a first line, or a concept on which to write a story. Plus there is a “random” option, so you can use it whenever! Feel free to check it out.

For those who follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that I finally caved and got a Netflix account. I’m currently on the 1-month-free trial, and I’m enjoying it. I’m actually considering cancelling my Comcast, since I don’t really watch TV except for Big Bang Theory. But then I consider all the hassle that is and maybe I should just keep both. But that feels wasteful. Anyways, the point is I get to watch more movies! So on Between the Covers I’ll add some bunches of movie reviews. (And yes, they’ll probably have a queer focus.)

When that which you don’t have is gone

I’m exhausted.
I went to sleep around 11, because lately I haven’t been really tired at night, even though I get sleepy for large chunks of the day, including yesterday.

I woke up around 2:30 with unbelievable pains. I don’t know when I finally fell asleep, but I lost at least an hour. And it was so painful (before the drugs kicked in) that it drained energy from me, so what little sleep I did get was lost.

Of course now is the time when I made a promise to cut back on chocolate (1 pc a day…not including cookies, because that’s not fair to the holiday spirit). So now I feel like crap. Even more crap than I did when I went to bed.

In other news, I saw the end of Hogsfather which was good. I didn’t realize it was a Terry Pratchett book made into a movie (I missed the opening sequence when I started watching it the first time). It wasn’t OMG awesome, but it was amusing, and I enjoy the actor who played Jonathan Teatime. Wiki had this to say “In the Hogfather, Mr Teatime is played by Marc Warren. Warren plays Teatime with an American, and more specifically, a New England accent, partly based on Johnny Depp‘s version of Willy Wonka.” As soon as I saw it I thought “that’s very Willy Wonka-esque.” Good to know I’m not the only one, and that it has some purpose. Plus, the behavior works very well for an assassin..

I’m really not looking forward to this week, since I’m already tired and I just feel uninspired (and rather empty inside). And when I read things to make me happy it just makes me sad and lonely. So, to say the least, not looking forward to this week.

I both love and hate the holidays.