well, it's a boring Sunday afternoon. the day started interestingly enough, but fell flat within moments, and so i strolled up into the local video store and rented the first volume of Cowboy Bebop. turns out that it flows really well on dvd, with the five episodes containing a narrative to link them together. fun stuff, with a subtle, cool, jazz fused edge to it that's a bit addictive.
of course, i like my anime, so i might be the wrong person to give an impartial review. i will note this, however, the anime market about four years ago in australia fell flat. there was a big influx of stuff, and then a whole lot of substandard stuff. it's interesting to note that Cowboy Bebop holds a 1998 copyright on it, suggesting that it's at least five years old now, and one can perhaps suggest that the australian market is a bit behind. however, since i am not the kind of person who keeps up on this sort of stuff, i might be wrong.
while watching Cowboy Bebop, it struck me again just how stuffy science fiction novels are getting. hollywood sci fi films are getting a bit like that, but mostly i find them boring and a bit too influenced from other things. all i see when i watch the Matrix for example, is some rather bad genre ideas and a film style that reminds me of john woo. i don't even want to get into the characters, who are mostly two dimensional, or easily picked for their plot point. one's a traitor, one will die, one is love, all that sort of thing. but anyhow, i was talking about science fiction books, and especially short stories because i read a lot of them, and most of them are really just stuffy. they feel as if they're being written by fifty year old scientists, which isn't a problem if they are, just if they feel like that. hard science fiction, for example, gives me the total shits. it's rare that i'll enjoy any of them because hard science fiction is about the idea, the science. (and thus, it is rare that i read them.) this comes first, and the story often follows a structure that allows the idea to be explored, with characters and prose a second and third behind.
but science fiction, without the hard bit in its title, is often without style. sometimes this lack of style is taste, and it's simply not mine (well, i suppose you could say everything is taste) but while i was watching Cowboy Bebop, i thought to myself, why is it that you can't find any science fiction stories that feel like jazz, or adhere to that principle of being wild and unruly and breaking all the rules. why is it that they rarely have the snap of a raymond chandler's marlowe, unless it's a poor man's rip of that very thing? there's this essence of cool, crazed, wildness to those two examples, and when i sit down with science fiction stories these days, i often feel that this is missing. could it be that i'm not reading the right things?
part of me, even, thinks perhaps that the feeling that most novels and short stories (and perhaps, to a lesser degree scripts and plays and so forth) are becoming somewhat stuffy is not isolated to the science fiction genre. i mean, don't get me wrong. i love books and, outside that little hole, i love prose. they're my thing, if you follow me. i'm not doing a doctorate in creative writing, and writing short stories and novels and whatever the hell else that i want because i'm bored and think this would be a nice diversion. i love it.
but at times, i feel like it could do with a healthy injection of something. something that snaps.
of course, one week from now, i'm likely to change my opinion. just for those who think i've gone insane and want to beat me, the general rule is that i move around a lot on issues like this.
but today, it feels stuffy, feels like it could do with a smiling devil. or whatever.