Just a quick update on a couple of things I’ve loved recently.
GONE WITH THE WIND: I finally finished reading Margaret Mitchell’s epic. I thought it was brilliant. It surprised me because whereas it’s often held up to be the ultimate romantic saga, in many senses it’s actually an inversion of the traditional romance. The unforgettable Scarlet O’Hara has a completely different idea of who she is destined to be with than the reader. But Mitchell is very good at writing moments where the writing lurches into high passion, and perhaps that’s what people remember. I also found it interesting that, despite being seen as THE Civil War novel, Scarlet herself is actually quite disinterested in the Southern Cause, and you could argue that it’s rather anti-war. Again I think people remember what they want to read rather than what they actually read. There’s a bit of a problem about the attitude towards the black population – I mean, I know that the rather patronising attitude the characters have towards their slaves is probably quite accurate for the time, but Mitchell never acknowledges that this is wrong. Still, like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. If you only write one book, you might as well make it a good one.
Also I’ve finally caught up on the last season of CONTINUUM, the time-travelling cop show that’s so much better than that sentence sounds. I watched it all from beginning to end, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself now it’s over. Its strengths were its layered characters (Rachel Nichols as the rather repressed star, Keira Cameron, was a particular delight), its willingness to tackle real-world issues (a lot of the plot was based around corporate power, and it had a fascinating dystopian future where the characters don’t seem to realise that they’re living in a dystopia because although their rights have been curtailed, their standard of living has not – which is probably a far more likely dystopia than the nuclear wasteland you more usual see), and also its insane plotting. After a relatively straight-forward first season, the number of plotlines and (more importantly) agendas in play suddenly escalates, and by the end of Season Three the show has become one of the densest genre shows on television. When I heard that it was being cancelled early (the showrunner said that he had material for seven to ten seasons), and that it was being given only six episodes to wrap everything up, I was apprehensive. How on earth were they going to do it justice? But I need not have worried. The ending of Continuum is very good indeed. It ties everything up in a satisfying way, manages to bring closure to its central themes, and then at the last moment delivers the perfect bittersweet moment that haunts you long after the credits have rolled. Thoroughly recommended.