For those interested in science fiction and fantasy literature but otherwise not “in the know”, Locus is a sort of industry magazine. It is full of book reviews, author interviews, news, and more about the written speculative fiction field. Every year, they put out a recommended reading list, and also hold voting for the Locus Awards. Anyone can vote; subscriber votes count for double.
The reason I bring this up is that fantasy site Ranting Dragon issued a reading challenge this year, which I participated in. I also won a free book in their giveaway: The Sorcerer’s House by Gene Wolfe, which was quite good and on which I shall elaborate when I have a chance. The whole point was to encourage people to read more good stuff, and participate in the voting. (To that end, they now have a voting guide available.)
If you’ve read a science fiction or fantasy book (or story) first released in 2010, and you liked it, you should definitely vote in the Locus Awards. And if you haven’t, well, the recommended reading list might be a good place to start.
One of the most recent releases in this unexpected spring bonanza of science fictional movies is Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal (who I was not fond of in the Prince of Persia movie) and directed by Duncan Jones (whose directing I enjoyed in Moon). I am happy to report that Jones has maintained his streak of good movies, and Gyllenhaal has earned forgiveness for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Source Code is a good movie. It’s a hard one to talk about in a spoiler-free way, but I’ll try—any spoileriffic comments will go at the end behind a cut. I can comfortably say that that I liked it more than The Adjustment Bureau or Limitless, and I liked both of those movies.
Source Code is tightly plotted and very well-paced. I never got bored, I never wanted things to hurry up, and I wasn’t able to predict what was going to happen. In a few cases, I was able to realize some things before the characters did—but not by much. Frankly, it just made me feel smugly clever. I think the casting was solid, too—everyone played well together (and apart, for that matter), and I found them all believable.
While the “science” part of this science fiction movie is more than a little hand-wavy, it still came across as plausible in that it worked in the context of the movie, and that’s all that I can really ask. It even made some nods toward exploring some of the depths inherent in the idea, though that is not the focus of the movie, and yet it still managed to raise interesting questions. So all in all, this is one of those rare films where I really found nothing worth complaining or criticizing.
Consequently, I would highly recommend Source Code.
Now, on to some spoilery stuff! Do not read any further if you don’t want spoilers.
Continue reading Thoughts on Source Code