Wonders will never cease. I just read on William Gibson's online blog that he'd intended to write a 'species of space opera' after he had completed Neuromancer. Who knows what might have been.

Just saw LOTR: The Two Towers. I used to say I hated it when people said they enjoyed a movie because the special effects were good with blithe disregard for either the acting or the plot. Or the writing, for that matter. So allow me to eat my hat and say the spectacle was a major draw for me. I've never read LOTR, probably never will, beyond the few pages I've scanned. Clunky, leaden prose is not my cup of tea. And I normally hate fantasy - I'm quite at a loss to understand the appeal of orcs, elves, goblins, and the whole dragon thing. Why? He cries, why? At least SF is rooted in the real world - or the good stuff (usually) is.

However, the movie is a tribute to Peter Jackson's genius above all else that he makes these things acceptable to someone like me who thinks that the goblins, with their industrial facilities and a desire to modernise their almost certainly disease-ridden world of interminably short life-spans, just might have a point. The chap who plays Gollum really does deserve an Oscar. Astonishing performance. And I even watched the bits with talking trees without hiding my head behind my hands and grimacing. Now that's Hollywood.

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