Quick Review: Doctor Sleep

I had planned to try and view this prior to recording our most recent Shallow & Pedantic podcast, but didn’t get around to it. Nevertheless, with the absorption of all things Shining, it was bound to happen. So we grabbed it at the library and gave it a watch.

Sequels are a delicate business. In order to have any hope of being worthy of the original, it must have more story to tell (Empire Strikes Back), or at any rate build upon the universe without breaking the spirit of it (Back to the Future, Part 2). Unnecessary sequels transform a movie into a slog of repetition, slowly bleeding the point away (The Hangover).

As a sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep largely succeeds in this. It helps that, as with Trainspotting 2, a sequel novel existed to draw from. Exploring how grown-up Dan Torrance deals with the legacy of his traumatic childhood isn’t boring (and as with Trainspotting 2, Ewan McGregor is good in the lead role. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen him do recently). The world of Doctor Sleep builds on that of the first story without repeating it.

Until it does repeat it. Because the Kubrick film of The Shining veered so hard away from the King novel (do check out our aforementioned podcast for a discussion of how hard), a movie attempting as it must to be a sequel to both has to take us back to the Overlook Hotel. We have to have Tub Lady and Grady and “Come Play With Us Danny”. We have to have the Hedge Maze. We have to see Danny sitting at the bar, just like Jack did.

And because of that, we’re forced into an ending that was borrowed from the first novel, which frankly misses the point. I won’t spoil it for you, but it commits the Prime Sequel Sin of Undercutting the First Story. In movie logic, the ending makes sense. But I would have preferred something different, even if that violated what has become convention.

It’s a shame, because there’s a good movie in here, that had it stuck the landing, could have deservedly gone on to cult status. As it stands, though, all work and no play makes Dan a cliche.

Shallow & Pedantic 4: We All Shine On

This went up on the Patreon last week for subscribers, and went up on iTunes and Spotify not long after. It a podcast in theme of earlier episodes: exploring the gulf between a novel and its film adapation (in this case, The Shining) and what it is that Horror does. There’s some loud mike action in the early part of the episode: we were recording through masks and Mike brought his a little too close. But that evens out after the first stinger.

We All Shine On Shallow & Pedantic

A discussion of the bifurcation of The Shining into the King novel and the Kubrick film, both of which work despite the intentional differences between them. Ongoing discussion of the needs of literature vs. the needs of film.We also chat a bit about new things for Unnamed Journal and Shallow & Pedantic in general.
  1. We All Shine On
  2. Mike Gets the Good Mike
  3. The Philosophy of Horror
  4. Graphic Novels Should Not Be Movies

Now would be a good time to repost that Patreon link. There’s a new issue of Unnamed Journal out this month, and the way to get it is to be a subscriber ($1 a month) or buy it direct from our Gumroad. More on this in the coming days.

Managing the Flow

Currently, I’m trying to launch a brand. I dislike that phrase but there it is. I’ve set up the following things:

  • A Patreon
  • A Podcast
  • A YouTube Channel
  • A Twitter
  • A Gumroad (soon)

Additionally, I’m producing content for the next issue of UJ (out next month), and I’m trying to grease the creative wheels on a novel I’ve started. This is a lot for one man to do, when he has a household to manage.

On top of this, I’m doing it with minimal support. We have our fans, and even Patrons, but we don’t have a publishing house or an agency or even a website. We are a fart in a hurricane attempting, at this point, to be a louder fart.

This cannot but cause frustration. That feeling of shouting into a void. So the other thing I must manage is the black dog, which comes sniffing around the barn at odd hours and making a pest of himself. The struggle to be heard in the internet age is a real struggle.

There’s a book I’m reading related to this, called Deep Work, which I’ve started but put down so I could finish The Shining (more on that in another blog). It’s only tangentially about the internet and more about the way one needs to manage one’s time and inputs in order to do truly ground-breaking work. It has given me insight. While I’ve enjoyed reading the stuff that’s been created for the UJ Singles Collection (coming soon!), I can’t help but feel the wish to get to the next level. As my post about critics argued, art must come from artists, so the art can only reflect the artist. If the artist is distracted, what happens?

Unnamed Journal Singles Collection

I’ve started doing the layout work.

One of the things we’ve used UJ for is world-building. I’ve created some shorts in a fantasy world, Cevalon, that I conceived long ago. I’ve sketched out a space opera universe as well, under the tentative title “Gods of the Sky”. And there’s the Drunk Vampire Hunter stories, and Catakuri, and various serial novels, such as the recently finished Ulysses and the Fugitive.

Each of these are going to get their own books on Gumroad going forward. The Singles Collection is the omnibus for everything else: all the tragedies, dystopias, monsters, metaphysics, and screeds we’ve published in the last few years.

Details on this space, further details (such as upcoming podcast episodes) on the Patreon for subscribers. You know you want to.

Shallow & Pedantic Podcast.

We’re three episodes in on this endavour now. Below is the most recent episode, recorded in March. We planned to do it monthly, but circumstances have gotten in our way.

Recently via Skype we planned out our next set of episodes, so we should be able to turn them out at a regular clip once Normality 2.0 is fully downloaded. YouTube channel link here, that you may mash that subscribe button. It’s also available on iTunes.

Of course, the best way to keep up with all our Shallow & Pedantic doings is to subscribe to our Patreon.

Shallow & Pedantic Publishing Goes Live, and Authorial Update.

Here’s the news:

The aforementioned Unnamed Journal shift has launched. We have issued our last free Issue on Joomag, and have gone over to a paying basis. You can get UJ in two ways:

  1.  Become a subscriber to our Patreon. For $1 a month you get accesss to new issues of UJ as they become live, and also old issues of UJ, which we occasionally post.
  2. Purchase them direct from Gumroad. Our first paid issue will come out in July. We’re also going to have Collection from past issues available, including themed collections like Catakuri and Drunk Vampire Hunter. More on this later.

I’m going to make adjustments to the Unnamed Journal page on this website accordingly.

In other news, I’m dithering between projects. I’ve been doing that for a while now. Granted, betwen my professional and family obligations, and producing enough content for UJ, I haven’t had a whole lot of the right mental space, but I’m kind of in a Buridian’s Ass scenario between various things:

  • A Western Novella, which is about 3/4 finished, but has taken a grimdark turn and I’m kind of feeling dry about it. Working Title: Death Riding
  • A pulpy fantasy novel I’m outlining but haven’t fully committed to drafting. Working Title: The King’s Ransom
  • A noirish semi-fantasy (urban fantasy) that I’ve written a couple of chapters to, and have a sort-of outline for. Working Title: Chemical Angel

Ideally, I’d want to pick something that ties in with UJ.  I just need to pick something and do it. And contact more agents for The Sword.

Become a Patron!