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Interstellar in IMAX reminds us what it means to be human

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A scene opening the second act of Interstellar finds the Matthew McConaughey-led team of deep space explorers awaken from cryo-sleep just outside of orbit of Saturn.

At this point of Nolan’s epic, it has been years since the humans have left earth. Their destination–a wormhole to another galaxy–waits for them somewhere in the forward abyss.

With a knock on the spacecraft’s hull, one of the expedition scientists Romilly (played by David Gyasi) laments to Cooper (McConaughey) of the thin coating of aluminium that separates them from infinite space.

It is a moment of abject vulnerability for Romilly, a realisation of how distance can undermine the significance of human endeavour.

This is the landscape of director Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster epic.

Taken as a filmic text, Interstellar has issues. The plot requires a number of leaps of faith (and perhaps logic) to stay the course. Nolan and brother and co-writer Jonathan, often seem in a hurry to get particular plot elements out of the way, perhaps aware of the scope of their own ambition and the limited time to realise it.

But seen at 70mm, on the world’s 3rd biggest screen in Melbourne, such concerns seem entirely insignificant.

On … Read more

An inspired list

My five most frequent stops for daily inspiration and perspective.

Next Draft

Simply put, it’s the days most fascinating news delivered to your inbox. Curated with wit and intelligence by Dave Pell. A consistent source for inspiration for stories, and just a great way to understand more about the world we don’t read about.

Cinephilia and Beyond

The source for Directors commentaries, behind the scenes photography and video essays. A must for any enthusiast of the dark arts. It keeps the ideas flowing and doubles as your daily filmschool attendance.

BOOOOOOOM!

You can find just about everything at BOOOOOOOM! — art, film, music, design, misc. Provides a peak into what’s trending online, before it’s trended.

The Verge

If you want to know anything about what’s happening in tech right now, and what’s coming round the corner, tune into The Verge. Together with their sister sites Vox and Polygon, these guys are reinventing the news model one category at a time.

Kill Screen Daily

Kill Screen isn’t your ordinary gamestop. Only occasionally will you spot a AAA title reviewed on site. Instead the focus is on what is pushing the industry forward, and what is dragging it down. The commentary is frequently intelligent, subversive, and will change the … Read more

Passages of note

A couple of years ago I switched from hard copy to an e-reader, and I have never looked back.

At home I have bookshelves filled with books I never enjoyed and regret buying. And every couple of years when I move house I’m reminded of my various failures in accurate selection when I pack each book into a box, lug it across town, and unpack them, one by one.

I read more and regret less with an e-reader.

With my short attention span I’m not what you call a voracious reader. I go through a few books a month and besides the delightful weight of the device, the ability to sample chapters, the recommendations and low price of admission, what I love most about e-reading is the ability to highlight and save passages.

Once I might have dog-eared pages, every so often underlined or scribbled notes in the margins, but more often than not, I left it up to a sketchy memory to preserve what I read.

Electronic highlighting improves the way I read and the quality of what I recall. Every so often I go back to check them out and see where I’ve been, what I’ve loved and learnt. So here, in no particular order, are a selection of highlights from the past six months:

Morad smiled,

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Self help fatigue

According to the internet of things, the key to getting motivated, productive, happy, creative, fulfilled and to succeed, is quite simple:

Wake up early everyday, exercise more, recall happy memories, day dream more, embrace boredom, get on with it, start a work routine, dress as if you were going to work (even if you're not), unclutter your workspace, mess up your workspace...

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New post apocalyptic papers

For those traumatised by some previous apocalyptic event, take solace in the fact that I have updated my post apocalyptic theory reading list with a bunch of new papers and texts that have passed my wagon over the last year or so.

I list these knowing that those who find the list useful will return the favour by lending me a can opener after the end (can openers will of course be currency by that time). I’m trying to do more of these kinds of updates, so give me a hoy if you have any additions of your own that you think would help others.

New additions include:

The Road at the End of the World – Sentimentality and Nihilism in the Journey through the Post-Apocalyptic World of Cormac McCarthy’s Novel The Road by Linus Strand
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics by Katherine Hayles
Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds by Paul Williams
Post-Apocalyptic Culture: Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Twentieth-Century Novel by Teresa Heffernan which I actually used in my own thesis, but completely forgot to include it.
Prometheus Hits The Road: Revising the Myth by Daniel … Read more

A Funeral for Eddie Moon

Those lucky enough to subscribe to Meanjin, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected literary journals, now have one more reason to turn to page 135 of the spring edition; a new story from me called A Funeral for Eddie Moon.

I have long admired Meanjin from afar, so I am totally thrilled to grace their beautiful pages. The spring edition features a bunch of incredible writers, some I’ve read before, some delightfully new. My favourite story from this edition is Marion Halligan’s Eating Oysters, which is written with such deft grace that it reads as smoothly as the title suggests.

A Funeral for Eddie Moon is a bit of a departure in style for me. It almost turned me insane writing it, as I attempted to entwine the stories of 14 characters into 4000 words.

The first few drafts were far less ambitious. Originally, the story was planned as 3-4 stories told separately. But as much as I would have liked to keep things simple, the story really didn’t come alive for me until I bought all the characters together into a chaotic, Virginia Wolf-inspired melodrama.

It’s always interesting to me how each story demands its … Read more

Blogging for MWF

For the next few months you can catch me over at the Melbourne Writers Festival website as one of this years festival bloggers.

I’ll be joining returning contributors Angela Meyer and Stephanie Convery covering the ins and outs of the 2012 lineup.

My life has been a hailstorm of distraction over the last year, and my reading habit has reduced to a trickle. So the festival presents a chance for me to dive into a new pile of books, meet new authors and gain some healthy perspective.

The main blogging gig kicks off with the official festival launch later this week. Until then, feel free to pop over to the festival blog and say hello.… Read more

NYC

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I’m in NYC this week on a belated honeymoon with Mrs W. My ‘in progress’ impressions of New York are, in no particular order: noisy; delicious; overwhelming; fattening; loose; engrossing; uncensored; unfair; loud and disorientating.

Having grown up with a steady diet of US television, there is something intensely familiar about NYC. Though populated with people doing the same kind of ordinary things that people do in every other city – walking dogs, buying groceries, trudging to and from work – there is the feeling that some grand American story is taking place behind the scenes.

It’s as if America has become so good at telling stories that the edge between reality and fiction is often hard to make out and is even perhaps largely irrelevant (this is particularly evident when you watch the ‘news’).

The New York I came to find is really just another carefully orchestrated fiction, and when I leave, I’ll become just another truncated plotline in this massive mini-series.

But in the meantime, this is a chapter well worth reading.… Read more

The pleasures of distraction

It’s been a little quiet on the blog over the last month as various planets of distraction move into alignment.

To start with I’ve been lucky enough to score a gig over at milkbarmag.com writing the monthly literature events round-up. The mag is still in its infancy, and it’s great to be on board to help it bloom.

Second, I’ve hooked up with a talented and enthusiastic bunch of collaborators on a new video project. Watch this space for more news later in the year.

More recently Skyrim entered my life and promptly knocked me senseless with a dwarven staff of obsession. For the last two weeks I’ve been hiking icy mountain paths in search of equal parts night thistle, skeever tail and troll fat – no stone left unturned.

I’m fairly sure that the thin line between fantasy and reality will soon unspool, but until that happens, Skyrim and I are kindling a fine, and unexpected, romance.

I recently read Alan Jacobs’ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, which I’d recommend to anyone reaching a kind of impasse in their reading habits (as I was).

Jacobs prescribes a kind of antidote to the many ‘must … Read more

Spineless Wonders interview

A few words from me over at Spineless Wonders – a new independent publishing imprint dedicated to the short form.… Read more

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