Monday, March 10, 2008

Context

I was dreaming about cannons a couple of weeks ago. It was a surefire sign that I have read far too many dense fictions and non-fictions about the Napoleonic Wars and that I needed a change of reading matter. I am very much an intellectual chameleon-cum-method actor. When I am writing fanfiction I will read loads of comics, when I am running a fantasy RPG campaign I will watch loads of fantasy films and when I am writing a Napoleonic rpg I will read and watch loads of ... well musket and cannon stuff. It gets me in the correct headspace but it also messes with your mind if you do it too much.

So I changed my book to something else and finally picked up 'Storm Front' by Jim Butcher, the first of The Dresden Files. My relationship with this book is a strange one. I wasn't aware of it until I heard that the guys who made Spirit of the Century were making a roleplaying game based on it. Thats kind of cool as it is 'urban fantasy' - my absolute favourite genre of trashy fiction, especially the 'strong and resourceful female protaganist' style of Kim Harrison and Laurel. K. Hamilton. Oh I know, its dreadful, but sue me! However, before I found time to read the book the TV series came out and well, it was just ... nothing. Dull. Uninspired. Flat. Lifeless. Missable. And that was a great disappointment to me. It didn't make me want to read the book!

So anyway, with nothing else pending in the reading pile that didn't involve killing the French, I delved in and it was a surprisingly good read. Not inspiring and not troubling the Booker Prize judges but a pretty good read with some excellent characterisation. I quite like Harry Dresden.

So, yesterday, I downloaded an episode on SKY Anytime for free and watched it. And it was something. Good. Inspiring. Vibrant. Full of life and very watchable. It struck me that it was all about context - because I had read the book, I 'knew' the characters a little better than when I watched the series first time around. I understood some of the relationships and that made them easier to understand in the TV series. I have a sneaking feeling that the Dresden Files may have suffered from a Firefly scheduling problem and the originally intended #1 episode may be hidden in the middle of the series.

So I have a new series to read and watch - which is groovy, especially as it gets me into the headspace for the forthcoming 'Ben's As Yet Unnamed Horror Campaign: The Moderning'. Oh dear, this is where we came in, isn't it?

Neil

3 comments:

redben said...

I have to actively stop myself reading and watching things of another genre if I'm looking to do something creative within a different genre. I even have to stop myself listening to certain types of music.

Case in point, over the weekend I was naming some tracks I had on itunes that were copied across with no song titles. Among them was a Fields of the Nephilim album I hadn't listened to in a while. After the first couple of songs I had to stop listening to them because it was taking the Bayuhc: The Moderning campaign in a totally different direction than I wanted to go.

You can also see my recent Raymond Chandler reading filtering into the upcoming Bayuhc Classic session.

Mark said...

I picked the Dresden books up after watching the series on Sky and quite enjoying it.

I have to say they are a decent read, as you mention, they'll not win the booker prize, but are a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Evil Hat Productions said...

The original pilot for the series aired in the last 4 episodes that aired, period. Scheduling and budget and so forth really screwed the show before it got off the ground.