Cabin in the Woods

I’ve just been rereading the reviews that sent me to see this film. If this is what passes for “cerebral” we’re in trouble. The ending, supposedly so elusive, I knew about the time the first blood flowed. It should be obvious to anyone who sat through seasons of Lost for that permutation on the same horrible ending. The performers give it their all. The writers prove themselves their own best fans, and I’m sure their fans love it/them. There are lots of good bits. The zombie arm was a fave. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins were terrific. The metastory, however, is every bit as predictable as the story it gives the meta treatment to. Not that the ending isn’t impressive in its own way. You could stick it on the end of anything. That must be where I’ve seen it before.

New Poem

The Exploration of Space

Each planet is unique like fingerprints,
Like palms crossed with life lines, heart lines, fault lines.
We are cradled in these hands, shaped to fit.
Squirming pups. Sniffing the winds for others.
They beckon from the woods across the road.
Here boy, fetch the bone, dissolve your own,
Seeking hands, having gnawed the ones you’ve known.
Deaf, half-blind, old, shambling across blacktop,
The vast reaches of space where worlds collide
With horns and screeches and scarcely a sound
But a bang, a whimper—a good dog gone.

Summer Teaching

This summer I’ll be teaching two classes at Virginia Commonwealth University. The first one is an intense 3-week version of The 21st-Century Fantastic. We’ll read 4 short story collections by Kelly Link, Maureen McHugh, Karen Joy Fowler, and Jeffrey Ford, interwoven with the films Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men, Another Earth, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The class begins May 21st and meets Monday through Friday 9 am-noon, ending on June 8th. The class is listed as English 215-001 Textual Analysis.  There’s plenty of room.  Get a whole semester’s worth of fantastic in just 3 weeks.  Reality will never be the same.

The second class is a Beginning Fiction Writing class (English 305-903, Creative Writing: Fiction) which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 6 pm-8:40 pm June 12-August 2.  We’ll explore both process and craft to figure out what a story is and how to make yours more wonderful.  Students read some professional stories and write their own for workshop.  I’m accepting ideas for favorite exercises.  I suppose it goes without saying, but unlike some workshops, it’s okay to write sf in my workshops, though it’s still okay to write like Chekhov too.  These classes fill up fast, but there are still a few seats available.  If you miss this one, I’ll be teaching another in the fall.  Stay tuned.