Posted on | June 27, 2014 | 24 Comments
— compiled by Wombat-socho
I may be one of the few people in America who hasn’t seen Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but I feel fairly comfortable in asserting that at no point in that movie does Andie McDowell shoot Bill in the head. This happens a LOT in Edge of Tomorrow, where Tom Cruise’s character, Marine PR major William Cage, finds himself condemned to participate in the invasion of Europe as a buck private after turning down an assignment to serve as an embed in the invasion force. Unfortunately for Cage and his squadmates, the aliens occupying Europe know they’re coming, and the invasion is a spectaularly bloody debacle in which Cage and war heroine Sgt. Rita Vrataski (the “Full Metal Bitch”) both die – but not before she tells him “Look for me when you wake up!”. Cage does wake up, repeating the day over and over again in a hideous real-life rendition of first-person shooter videogames. The reason why this is happening, and how Cage and Vrataski use the loopback to sharpen Cage’s combat skills and eventually figure a way out of the no-win situation they’re in, make for a fascinating if frequently horrible movie. I am given to understand that the movie has a different ending from the original Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, which I guess isn’t too surprising; the manga version in turn differs from both on various plot points. It was a very good movie, and I may go see it again before it disappears from the theaters.
Aside from that, I’ve been working my way through Gene Wolfe’s Shadow & Claw and Sword & Citadel, which together contain the four novels that make up Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun. I’d passed this up when it first came out, being allergic to things that were popular, and I have to say I’m sorry I waited. The tale of Severian the torturer is an interesting one; while set in the far future, it often feels like a mythic tale set in the distant past, perhaps in some era of Classical Greece. This is partly due to Wolfe’s choice of language: he deliberately chooses archaic and obscure words to describe people and things, and by doing so manages to evoke a sense of wonder while paradoxically precisely describing the people and things he is writing about, in much the same way the late William F. Buckley Jr. would often use one fifty-dollar word in place of a dozen cheaper words. I am enjoying them tremendously, and if you haven’t read them, I suggest you pick them up.