Training and Trains

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

September 7, 2010 -- 5:41 p.m.

No writing prompt this week, because of the holiday. And my laziness.

I went to see How to Train Your Dragon in the $1.50 theater (because it's cheap, and a starving artist needs to cut costs) and was pleased to see them do a father-son relationship well--and no father killing. It defeated my expectations, because I half-expected some touching reconciliation scene over their deathbed. I'm glad they didn't do that.

Of course, by giving so much time to father-son issues, the requisite female was pushed aside to a basic cypher, but I can live with that. It was a good movie, if predictable plot-wise. Some worldbuilding holes were big enough to drive a snowplow through, but I enjoyed it anyway. I want to read the book now, because I heard it's completely different from the movie and I want to see the differences from off screen to on screen adaptation.

I had my friend Jack from Oregon here for a night. He's going on a motorcycle trip to Colorado. Quite the ride, but he seemed to be having fun. He especially liked seeing the salt flats, which are ghostly. I haven't seen a good salt flats setting in modern fantasy. I may have to use that.

The Writing Excuses podcast did an episode on third person limited viewpoints, and had a writing prompt similar to mine as last week. Great minds think alike, eh?

Tor's got the book trailer up for the next Wheel of Time book. I'm not a big fan of the actress they got to play Moiraine--she looks way too young and the horse doesn't look delicate enough--but it's getting me really excited for the release. Although the Thom-Moiraine lovey-dove thing weirds me out still. It struck me out of nowhere the first time I read it, but then, looking back, I saw the inevitable. But it still strikes me as weird. The latest ebook cover features Egwene battling Seanchan, which is cool, although it looks much too traditional wizard-on-dragon action for me.

I also watched a documentary following the actor who plays Hercule Poirot taking a trip on the Orient Express to get into character for PBS' Masterpiece Mystery adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie. He got to drive the train! How cool is that! I didn't realize that they ripped off a car from the Express to serve as a setting when the Germans capitulated in WWI. The Parisians displayed the car proudly...until Hitler invaded and, as turnabout, used the same car as the stage to dictate terms when France surrendered to Germany.

I also didn't realize the personal costs back then. To reduce the Orient Express' journey into Italy by half a day, they blasted a new route through the mountains, costing 60 lives. I never realized it was so dangerous, and I wonder if a measily half-day was worth all the deaths.

I also like the spy stories from the Orient Express, which was an easy way for intelligence agents to cross borders. One English man, posing as a butterfly enthusiast, made butterfly sketches that were actually a secret code detailing Balkan fortifications and helped the Brits out during WWI.

This is why I love history. So many fascinating stories. One day, I will incorporate the sketch artist as spy into a story somewhere.