Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

March 30, 2011

A blog mostly about writing. Oh joy.

Filed under: friends,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 1:28 pm

I still have a cold. My head aches, I’m kind of snotty, the dizziness is becoming a thing unto itself and I’ve just been carrying the baby Wombat about for an hour trying to settle her so my shoulder hurts like hell. Waah. Fair warning that I have absolutely no intention of editing this entry to either get what I shall laughingly refer to as  my facts straight, not will I make any attempt to impose cohesive structure on it. Instead I am going to exorcise a bunch of random botherations that have been intriguing and/or vexing me lately. Let the ramblage commence.

My writing

I’ve been doing some lately, primarily the Lost reviews but also some other bits and pieces on the side. The purpose has been mainly to rebuild the habit by investing time in just sitting down and hammering out something in which I have no serious investment. The good thing (for me) about the reviews is that I really can’t get blocked or frustrated with it. I know what’s coming next – duh, it’s the next episode – so all I have to do is commit the time to watch the episode and think about it for a little while, and then I can usually spray out a thousand words or so of commentary. The analytical side of things is coming along a little more slowly but that’s part of the purpose of the exercise as well. I presume that I will get better at it as I go.

What I don’t want to do is what I’ve done countless times in the past. Get all excited for a project that I think will be worth pursuing, either because it’s intellectually stimulating or conceivably saleable, only to have it fall apart because ill-discipline and circumstance put up roadblocks that I then don’t have the stamina to overcome. I’ve got I don’t know how many half-dead stories languishing in various parts of my electronic space [1] which began in bursts of creative energy only to sputter out when I lost my rythmn and couldn’t resummon whatever it was that compelled me to write it in the first place.I have a problem with finishing stuff. That’s the problem that I’m working on.

Andrew makes a good point that announcing one’s projects in public will eventually rob you of that creative energy, and I’m sure that in the main that’s true, but that’s not the problem I have. I tend to work better when I have the sense hanging over me that I may not be meeting someone else’s expectations. That I owe them something that I have yet to deliver. In truth I know that writing to please someone else is ultimately a doomed enterprise. Whatever their real expectations may be, they are not the same as yours. So what I do is assign a sense of obligation – “This is something that I think Clam would like to read” – and I sort of trick myself into feeling like I’ve made a promise to them. Sometimes I even discuss it with the person in question, but as often not the audience for a particular piece is either wholly ignorant of it or is actually just a fictitious construct, amalgamated from the half-imagined preferences of several friends or acquaintances. Whomever or whatever seems to suit the material will do. I motivate myself with a web of virtual obligations that have little to no bearing on reality. It occasionally occurs to me to wonder whether anyone else thinks this way, but I shy away from any hints that I might be a bit odd.

(I kind of strayed away from where I was going with that, but it’s a useful thing to have recognised about my writing style. That will be one of those probably-unhelpful tendencies that I need to find constructive strategies to deal with. Add that one to the list.)

The point I had intended to get to before ducking down that particular back country track was that as usual I have several ideas for writing projects that have been percolating away for a while to which I am unusually wedded. I don’t want to repeat my pattern of starting something cool and then dropping the ball when my puff runs out. Like a marathon runner, if I’m going to start the damn things then I would rather be the kind of person who will see them through to the finish. That means that I have to take a critical step back and look at myself in the mirror.

“Self,” I will say, “you’re a fucking disgrace. You’re lazy and unfit.” Yeah, I need the tough love. “You need to tighten up, get your breathing right, and be able to take more than ten steps in a row without getting a fucking cramp.”

Wow, I sure am mean, but I guess I’m also kind of right.

So that’s what the Lost reviews are all about. I’m starting slowly with some exercise to build myself back up to an acceptable level of fitness, to sort out my total lack of pace and rythmn and to toughen up my resistance to the fear of failure and disappointment. Only then will I start in on my projects, once I’m sure that I have the guts and the technique to push through the pain/frustration barriers and keep going until I cross the finish line. (At which point I will abandon the running metaphor with as little grace as I think I can get away with).

Other people’s writing

I hadn’t intended to blather about myself up there for quite as long as all that, but if blogs are not fed fat chunks of sopping bloody ego I am sure they whimper and starve. Anyway, I did have some other things I wanted to talk about.

My friend Andrea is a writer. A proper writer i.e. one that doesn’t actually stop writing for months or years at a time. A long time ago she emailed me a copy of her manuscript “The Silence of Medair” to comment on. I rather think that I let her down on that point and that whatever input I did offer was probably thin if it existed at all [2] but her ego is not as fragile as mine and she pressed on with it, submitting it as an unsolicited manuscript to an (unnamed) publisher. This links to her appalling account of the subsequent ten whole years that her novel sat in the publisher’s slush pile.

It’s almost unbelievable. The poverty of professionalism, the dysfunctional process control, the agonising span of time involved is incredible. Moreover, Andrea’s patience with the process – I presume grounded in a sensible unwillingness to alienate a potential publisher or to gain a poor reputation within the industry – must surely exceed the minimum standards for canonisation. Good on her for eventually drawing a line under the whole sordid tale and withdrawing the novel on the tenth anniversary of its submission. More power to her for deciding to publish it for herself [3]. I heartily endorse “The Silence of Medair”. Go and check out the sample chapter and see if it’s your thing. If it is, go and buy it like I’m just about to.

But the icing on the cake has to be the fact that after all its trials and all her waiting, Andrea’s novel has been recognised in this year’s Aurealis Awards in the category for best fantasy novel. It’s up against works published by large publishers (hmm, well I’m not 100% sure about Orbit, but my sense is that it’s a big player in the F&SF genres). I also note that it’s the only self-published work in any category. Stiff competition, in other words, and the achievement is all the more remarkable given the horror story of its publication. Good luck on the 21st of May, AKH!


Anyway this has taken up more time than I really ought to have been spending at the keyboard so I will leave the other stuff I was going to ramble about for another day. Who wants to talk about what they are writing at the moment?


[1] Which I really need to consolidate and back up, except that administrative busywork is one of the many methods of procrastination to which I am all too ready to resort.

[2] Providing useful feedback is another skill of which I feel a sore lack, so that’s something else I am working on.

[3] I’ve been thinking a lot about the self-publishing field lately, not particularly because I want to join it, but because I’m interested in how open a writer’s options have become. But I kind of feel like I’m lacking some basic grounding in the subject. Because I don’t have an e-reading device like an iPad or a Kindle and because I just can’t read an entire novel from a computer screen [4], I have yet to really participate in or fully come to grips with the changes in the market. But that probably won’t stop me from pontificating on the subject in a future Lexifab entry.

[4] This, by the way, is the reason that it took me so long to get back to Andrea about ‘The Silence of Medair” all those years ago, not to mention why I have several novels by friends of mine backed up in my reading list. I have terrible stamina when it comes to reading long blocks of text from a screen with a landscape layout. I don’t know why – it’s not a vision thing, because I’ve always had this problem and I had 20/20 vision last time I had it checked. I just cannot sustain the concentration when reading in this format. A problem that just doesn’t exist for me with the aforementioned readers.


March 28, 2011

Back to the Island 1.5 – ‘White Rabbit’

Filed under: back to the island,family,fitter/happier — lexifab @ 1:59 pm

I have a massive head cold. Feels like someone has stuffed a puppy inside my skull and is inflating it with a service station high pressure  air pump. No, really. I’m pretty sure I can hear it whining somewhere behind my ear.

I’m not working Mondays at the moment, so this has the same irrational sense of being cheated as getting sick on the weekend or during the holidays does, with the added bonus of having to help entertain the children as well. At least the Joey is not currently misbehaving with his usual desperate desire to find some way to get into trouble. Though those irregular grunts coming from the other room suggest that he has, perhaps, employed a different mechanism for being horrifying, namely hearty and generous defecation. (Too much information? Just be glad you’re not here, like I am “glad” for my throbbing-but-blocked sinuses).

I need a cuppa.


March 25, 2011

Back to the Island 1.4 – ‘Walkabout’

Filed under: back to the island — lexifab @ 10:15 pm

There’s a big long post in me somewhere about how things seem all of a sudden to be very bad for a lot of people near me, but to be honest I’m too tired and worn down by it all to get at it. Instead, let’s do another Lost thing. This one’s about my favourite episode of Season 1 (or at least my favourite of the ones I can immediately bring to mind).

Bring on John Locke.


March 22, 2011

Back to the Island 1.3 – Tabula Rasa

Filed under: back to the island — lexifab @ 12:21 am

I did mean to post up something other than a Lost review over the weekend, but time kind of got away from me and I didn’t finish it. Maybe later. This is the review of the first regular episode, and it’s still one of the early ones I wrote. I tinkered with the format, so this one is a lot shorter, but I’m not overly happy with the length. Still looking for the right balance.

Oh, before anyone asks, I know how Sayyid’s name is supposed to be spelled, but I like it better with two Y’s.


March 18, 2011

Back to the Island – 1.2 – ‘Pilot Part 2’

Filed under: back to the island,reviewage — lexifab @ 12:14 am

It’s after midnight, I suddenly notice, so here’s the next Lost review. Or ‘review’, if you prefer 🙂 I’ll put it after the tl:dr cut because it is too long and in all likelhood you will find you have better things to have done than read it…

I am very interested in feedback of any kind, by the way. Too long? Not enough wild speculation? Insufficient jokes at the expense of Ian Somerhalder’s eyes? Let me know. I’m going to start experimenting with different formats as I go, so feel free to chime in with ideas.


March 16, 2011

I don’t just review shows you don’t watch, oh no

Filed under: reviewage — lexifab @ 10:44 pm

I’m quite digging having a writing project with some parameters. The Lost reviews require me to build up a backlog so that I won’t miss a release, according to my agreed-on-the-inside schedule [1]. I have been burning the midnight oil this week, watching and rewatching episodes and hammering out the reviews to stay ahead of the game.

In between those cracks I’ve also been doing a track by track review of the new Duran Duran album for my buddy Ev. We occasionally trade album reviews and, well, it’s my turn. He hasn’t had a chance to listen to ‘All You Need Is Now’ yet, so I figured I would do him a solid and get him a copy. And then I figured I would ruin it all by telling him what I thought of it.

And now I’m going to completely ruin Lexifab by expounding, at incredibly unnecessary length, on the subject of an album which I am confident nobody else of my acquaintance will care about or ever listen to. Should you happen to be a living contradiction to that guess, by all means speak up. I’d be interested in hearing a contrary viewpoint – it’s not as if I have the most sophisticated listening tastes or cultured musical vocabulary. But I have heard the album about twenty times, so I have definite views, of which you may learn more after the cut below. (A small caution – I occasionally reference Ev’s band The People People, with whose work you may care to familiarise yourself).

My brother Gazza is blogging about stuff, the latest entry being about a book that he’s read and I haven’t, so I’m treading carefully to avoid spoilers (it’s China Mieville’s The City and The City, which is certainly on my tragically-long reading list). Go say hello to him at Rambling on the Big River.

[1] At the moment, that’s Mondays and Fridays, but if I get far enough ahead I’ll go to three times a week because otherwise it’s going to take more than a year to do the entire series and it’s *just possible* that I might have started to lose interest by that point. If not about forty episodes earlier, when Nikki and Paolo show up.


March 14, 2011

Back to the Island – 1.1 ‘Pilot Part 1’

Filed under: back to the island — lexifab @ 12:30 am

“They’re looking for us in the wrong place” – The pilot

This review covers the first hour of the movie-length pilot episode. I’m cheating a bit just reviewing the first half-episode, but whatever. That’s how it’s packaged on the DVD.

Summary: Jack, a doctor, wakes up in a bamboo forest. He along with 70 or so other people and a sinister-cute labrador pup are the survivors of a plane crash on a tropical island. Jack squares his jaw and sets out how he means to go on, rallying survivors, rescuing a pregnant Australian from panic labour and saving an unconscious woman from a dumbarse who doesn’t know CPR. Then he enlists a pretty brunette with suspiciously bloody wrists to sew up the bamboo-hole in his back. That night the survivors all cower on the beach waiting for the rescue choppers to arrive, when something large and unseen violently molests the trees. Have they crashed on Dinosaur Island?

The next morning Jack and Kate, the brunette, along with Charlie, a Mancunian rock’n’roller with suspiciously dark bags under his eyes, search for the front section of the plane, where they think they might find a transponder. While Charlie occupies the first class loo – presumably on the assumption that it’s the only facility on the island and he wants to use it before everyone else clogs it up – Jack and Kate discover the transponder doesn’t work but the pilot is still alive. The flight was off course, they’re searching in the wrong place, he tells them, just before the Tree Molesting Thing grabs him out of the cockpit. Everyone else runs like mad until they find the pilot’s mangled corpse deposited on some tree branches ten metres up.

Highlights: From the opening closeup on Jack’s eye to the crane shot of him lying in the bamboo, to the swirling smoky chaos of the plane crash on the idyllic beach, the opening eight minutes are magnificent. Characters whom we’ll later come to know well swirl in and out of view, not so much introduced as briefly glimpsed as Jack charges around giving orders and effecting breathless rescues. This episode has some great hooks. There’s the monster in the trees, of course, making eerie mecha-dinosaur noises and prompting the whole cast to line up and stare in nervous perplexion into the distance for what will not be the last time. Then there’s the shocking and funny moment when some random guy gets sucked into a dying jet – which then explodes. There’s Jack’s gruesome angel-hair pasta surgery story. There’s the you-can-see-it-coming-a-mile-off brutal slaughter of the pilot in mid-exposition. There’s the dumbfounded and shifty expression on Charlie’s face as the burning fuselage crashes onto the beach behind him (not an act, according to the commentary – apparently the fuselage fell from the crane while they were setting up the shot, and Dominic Monaghan has a genuine WTF moment).

But the big highlight of ‘Pilot’ for sheer eerie weirdness was the scene when Kate, grimly removing the hiking boots from a corpse because she can’t go on a jungle hike in pumps, looks across at the bald, scarred Locke sitting on the sand and watching her. All she sees when he attempts an encouraging smile is the skin of the orange he’s eating. She’s pretty fucking unsettled by this. As you would be. It’s a great little scene that juxtaposes tragedy and absurd humour that manages to get the tone just right.

Themes: Not too many of the show’s big narrative themes play a part in this episode, though an awful lot of standard motifs are established here: the episode opening with an eye in closeup; Jack leading an expedition into the jungle; dramatically charged scenes launched with or punctuated by instants of humour and/or character stupidity (like Boone’s inept lifesaving skills and Charlie’s mysterious toilet break). And of course the flashbacks – the storytelling gimmick on which Lost is founded – begin here. In this case, it’s Jack, back on the plane, flirting with a stewardess and being nobly reassuring to a scared Rose just before Oceanic 815 falls out of the sky.

Questions: ‘Pilot Pt 1’ doesn’t pose many questions – just two of the series’ biggest. Where are they? And what the hell is that thing in the trees?

Verdict: The riveting opening sequence is eye-catching and compelling. It gets the blood pumping (and also, if the commentaries are to be believed, got the series green-lit in the first place). Beautifully shot, terrific sound, haunting and gorgeous soundtrack. Of the characters we only really get introduced to a few in any detail – Jack who’s the square-jawed hero-doctor, Kate who is sad but determined, Charlie who is hiding something, Claire who is pregnant, Hurley who is fat and funny, and Boone (Helpful. Idiot). I’ll hold off rating “Pilot” until I do the second part.

March 11, 2011

Back to the Island – The Lexifab Lost Retrospective

Filed under: back to the island — lexifab @ 11:45 pm

Last year I tried to write an review – no, that’s not the right word… an interpretation of the Lost finale, presumably out of some misplaced sense of dismay at the criticism levelled at it. I don’t know if you happened to be paying attention [1] but some of the things said were not only mean (“It sucked!” and “Total cop-out”) but they were also kind of wrong (“It didn’t make any sense!”)

Anyway, on the third attempt I finally bailed out of writing the review because I found myself having to illustrate too many of my points through tortuous references back through the story, to the point where the background material was longer than the explanation itself. It also came off as sort of smug – I understood it fine, so what the hell is wrong with all those dimbulbs who didn’t get it? Admittedly that’s kind of my default vocal stance, but it didn’t really serve the material so in the end I just ditched the whole thing and moved on.

I know, I know. Quitter, right?

I’ve been thinking about that review a bit lately and I still want to do it, but I’ve concluded that the way I was going about it didn’t make sense. Lost doesn’t make much sense if you just look at the ending, so wittering about what was so interesting about it doesn’t really work unless you’re prepared to explore it in the context of the rest of the series.

So that’s what I am going to do: an episode by episode retrospective of the whole series, from the beginning to “The End”. I’ll do a quick recap, then dissect how I feel about the episode, what I thought was cool or – more often than you may expect from this glowing introduction – appalling about it, and how it slots into the mythology of the series. At least at the beginning I plan not to spoil future episodes (except in a vague, hand-wavey way if it seems necessary, like “This won’t pay off until halfway through Season 5” or something like that) though as the series goes on I can’t promise I won’t need to allude forward, so to speak. I’ll warn you before I do it though.

At the start I intend to post these up a couple of times a week. Any more than that and I know I’ll burn myself out for sure (I mean, this is me that we’re talking about, so the possibility of fading interest cannot be discounted). But on top of needing to build on my recently improved writing discipline, I also need to work on my analysis and editing skills, not to mention teach myself the humble art of reviewing. This seems like a pretty solid project to help with that .

Aside from all that, Lost is a show I admire immensely. Not for the story alone – in the end, it’s modern fantasy with no more than a handful of original elements – but more for the way it was told. This show pulled every tricksy narrative lever in the book – flashbacks, foreshadowing, dramatic irony, unreliable narrators (Ben, chiefly), and a whole bunch of other things that TV Tropes would cover in minute detail if I were insane enough to link to it – and somehow made them all work together.

So I’m going to talk about it and keep talking about it while I try to pick apart for myself exactly what about it I think was so successful (as a story, I mean. I don’t give a shit about its undoubted commercial success, except inasmuch as I hear Josh Holloway was able to buy a nice house in Malibu and I’m very pleased for him because that sounds nice).

First up will be…dramatic and hideous atonal sting here… “Pilot”. Part 1, of course. Coming on Monday or so.

[1] Okay, I know that you weren’t, because you aren’t unhinged enough to give a crap about what the screeching pod-monkeys on the interwebz say about a show you probably stopped watching more than four years ago. BUT I CARE! Or at least I sort of did at the time.

On gratitude towards Fridays

Filed under: fitter/happier,friends,news of the day,workin for the man — lexifab @ 12:33 pm

Ah Friday-before-the-long-weekend, thank you for existing. I need a bit of a rest.

Just got out of a meeting for which I’ve been preparing for two weeks. Considering my microscopic meeting-management skills and a woeful lack of confidence in my own subject matter expertise, it went pretty well. I only forgot one person’s name, which is pretty good for me. Ahem.

I’ve been kind of burning the candle at both ends all week – working all day then hitting the keyboard as soon as the kids are asleep to ramp up the word counts. Bedtime is post-midnight every night, which would not be so bad if the Joey didn’t wake up at 6:30 am with metronomic precision every morning. I’m hoping he can cut me some slack and let me sleep in on Saturday, but my breath will not be held.

Baking appears to be off this weekend, after the oven exploded yesterday. I didn’t see it, but I heard the loud whump as something vital blew up. Apparent there was a not-insignificant ball of plasma involved. How Jimbo managed to avoid getting burned when he was standing right in front of it is a bit of a mystery. Maybe he is out of phase with this universe.

We aren’t having all that good a run at the moment with our heavy household appliances. We replaced the heater a couple of weeks ago. That was three grand. And now this. Ouch. Lucky I’m not superstitious or I’ d be worried that these sorts of things come in threes. Or, wait – am I just not superstitious enough?

My goals for the weekend are to play with the kids, visit friends, catch up on two months of household accountancy, play some D&D, write a few thousand words on various topics and edit a few thousand others, and hopefully, help some other friends move house. And get some rest…ah, yeah, maybe that one will have to slip.

March 8, 2011

My Happiness

Filed under: family,friends,geekery,joey,news of the day,wombat,workin for the man — lexifab @ 2:53 pm

I didn’t mean for this resumption of posting to become a weekly affair, but oh well. I don’t mean a lot of things that end up happening anyway.

I promised that I would be relentlessly positive with this next entry, and so I shall be – within reasonable limits of tolerance for the terms ‘relentlessly’ and ‘positive’, that is. This is all stuff that is on my mind at the moment that is making me feel good about life

Family – I have a wonderful wife and two adorable children. How cool is that? I have to start with the family, because the last thing I would want is to take them for granted. How can I not appreciate the frankly astonishing fact that I have a loving, supportive and stable marriage with a wonderful woman whose only apparent flaw is her dubious taste in husbands? On top of that are two healthy, adorable little people who love me unconditionally and suffuse me with joy every day. Sometimes even when they are voiding their bowels in some nefarious and inconvenient way.

Work – Work is going well. I have a meaty project to get on with that has a vertiginous learning curve, fearsome deadlines and a broad menagerie of overworked colleagues who have too many other things on their plate. I’m loving it. Every morning I get to work and look at the mountain of stuff that needs doing and I can’t wait to get stuck into it. It has been a while since that’s happened. I suppose it’s possible (inevitable?) that sooner or later the goalposts will shift and some new direction from upper management will force me off into some other project – although I kind of hope not, since my work is one of those critical business processes that functional organisations do well and that everyone points at and laughs when an enterprise goes belly- and/or tits-up – but while it’s still flavour of the month I intend to make as much of it as possible. Possibly up to and including a trip to Sydney for a seminar!

Gaming – After the Wombat was born I took a break from gaming to do my share of baby-wrangling and to keep the house from falling apart or smelling too bad. But since she has started sleeping a little more reliably in recent weeks, I’ve started easing back into previous schedule. Seeing as there are four separate games involved (one weekly, the rest fortnightly) I am not sure whether I will be able to sustain all of them without either running myself ragged or (more likely) jeopardising harmonious relations with my long-suffering wife. I suspect that I’m at least one commitment overbooked, but I will see how it goes. I do know that as long as it lasts, I am enjoying getting together with friends and rolling dice and telling cool stories in bad accents.

Minecraft – It’s more or less my default state that my attention will have been seized by one or two computer games at any given time, and that I will spend as much time as I can spare shooting this or climbing that in some colour-saturated virtual environment. For the past few weeks I have been utterly arrested by Minecraft, a game which has astonishly clunky graphics, no plot or characters, repetitive plinky-plonky music, no instructions and no specific point. It’s one of the most fun things I’ve come across in years. It’s essentially a mining survival game. Your blocky little avatar appears in the middle of a large randomly generated environment and must immediately begin the work of securing (some of) the essentials of life, in particular shelter, before night falls and the monsters come out.

You achieve this in any number of ways, including chopping down trees, digging up dirt, sand or stone to build a shelter, or burrowing into the side of a mountain and fashioning a safety cave for yourself. The first time you play you will probably fail in some way and be quickly killed. But you soon realise (especially if you avail yourself of online help like the Minecraft wiki) that within these and a few other constraints, you are free to do absolutely anything in this game. You can hunt monsters (though the tools to do so are primitive), you can explore, or you can mine up various materials from which to craft great works of art and architecture.

I’m taking great pleasure in carving out a vast underground network of tunnels, dredging various materials back to the surface and shaping them into sprawling fortresses and civic infrastructure that nobody else will ever use. Even better, in the past week or so some friends have started a multiplayer server so that we can collaborate on mighty civil engineering masterpieces like the towering replica of Perdido Street Station currently underway.

It’s probably not immediately obvious what the appeal could be – graphically and audially the game looks like a refugee from the earliest days of the Commodore 64, it’s not actually finished yet and if you didn’t know any better it would doubtless look upon first inspection as though all it offers is the opportunity to punch blocks of colour schemes vaguely suggestive of trees, pigs or chickens, while not falling off a cliff or drowning in a lake. Here’s what the lightbulb moment was for me – when I realised that Minecraft is just a very, very big Lego set. If like me you have ever played with Legos and thought even for a second about what kinds of cool stuff you could make if only you had an unlimited supply of blocks, then Minecraft is a perfect answer.

Lost – At any given time, while I’m not chewing up all my leisure time with gaming of some sort or another, there will usually be at least one TV show that I am following with minute, slavish attention. Lost was the most recent example for me, and since it sadly finished last year nothing has stepped forward to fill that void. [1] I loved Lost – it had sharp writing, a fascinating story and compelling characters, but the really ingenious thing about it was its structure. How the story was told was its most impressive feature for me.

But as much as I admired it and would defend it against criticisms that the producers were making the whole thing up as they went along and that it descended into utter gibberish around Season Two, Three, Four, Five or absolutely definitely Six, it is fair to say that it was on occasions a bit confusing. Which is why I was so happy to come across the Lost Answers blog, in which a self-declared Scientist has taken it upon himself to answer his readers’ questions about any aspect of the show. [2]  It’s right up my alley, deeply nerdy analysis coupled with self-deprecating humour and not-unwarranted sarcasm.

What’s fascinating about his analysis, which is independent of the show’s producers and based entirely off his own observations of the show, is that his completely-plausible answers make it pretty obvious that, far from being a loose agglomeration of sweaty jungle shootouts and random mysticism, in fact Lost was an amazingly tight construction with few unintentional loose ends. Go and check out his explanation of why babies couldn’t be born on the Island, a fact that was introduced in the third season, was critically important to several characters (Juliet, Sun, Claire and Kate, mainly) and was seemingly forgotten in the final year. Warning: obviously, the whole Lost Answers site contains spoilers for the ending, so don’t go looking if you are still working your way through it.

If nothing else this (and my started-twice-and-never-quite-finished essay on the final episode) it has inspired me to start a Lost writing project. [3] I’ll talk about it soonish.

World Affairs – I wanted to say something about how the collapse of Middle Eastern dictatorships and the hilarious disintegration of the mind and career of one of the world’s most overpaid serial abusers of women are keeping me entertained these days, but this is running a little on the long side. Maybe later.

1  – Doctor Who doesn’t count, because it goes without saying that my devotion to Who sets it apart and above all other forms of televised entertainment. Also – woo! New DW coming in a month or so!

2 – Except Walt, the kid who seemed mysterious and important for the first couple of seasons, until a very rapid growth spurt completely out of sync with the show’s compressed time frame forced the producers to drop whatever plans they had for the character.

3 – No, it isn’t John Locke fan fic, you will be relieved to hear.

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