She see’s Pyramus’s sword. It is still hot and wet with his blood. She throws herself upon it, plunging it deep into her belly with a cry of triumph and ectasy in one of the most Freudian suicides ever.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty much the tone of the entire book. Fry takes us on a rivetting exploration of ancient Greek mythology from the beginning of creation, through every act of betrayal, castration, rape, kidnap, incest, hubris and torture right up until … well, I’m not really sure up until when: the tales are neatly packaged as standalone short stories, with a thread that ties them together; however, the timeline can seem a little bit jumbled at times, though that really didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.
Straight off the bat, it’s a fascinating read, even if Greek Mythology isn’t really you’re schtick. Clever use of dialogue and Fry’s legendary wordsmithing keep things light and the reader laughing, no matter who’s being kidnapped or castrated. I do know a bit about Greek Mythology, but I hadn’t realised how much of the words and phrases we use in every day language can be traced back to the stories told by the ancient Greeks. Tantalus, for example, the king cursed to spend eternity in a pool of water he couldn’t drink, below a branch of grapes he couldn’t reach to eat, gives us the word tantalise. As equally fascinating is the depth and richness these stories possess when you consider they’re simply being used to explain an every day phenomena, such as the changing of the seasons. Fry points out the connections to modern life and Shakespearean literature throughout the book, directly in the prose in most cases, though he does overdoes the use of footnotes in my opinion. After a few hours, I just gave up on the notes as they tended to distract from the flow of the story. The inclusion of sizeable index at the back reinforces the notion that this is much less a story than a very readable text book. I guess this what they call Creative Non-Fiction – or is it? Not sure. Nevertheless, still well worth a read.
An unsurprising nine out of ten.
Okay, now I say ‘neat’ because I was pretty chuffed when I got it to work!
Scrivener is the best way to write a book, in my less than humble opinion, but it does have a pretty steep learning curve for some of the really deep stuff it can do. For that reason, make sure you have a good working knowledge of the Scrivener styles setup before you go any further.
Okay, so here’s the scenario:
I’ve just joined a local writing group, (lovely people), and one of the things we do is critique each other’s ongoing work. I like to pull out the occasional chapter that I need help with (which is usually all of them) and drop them in for a quick look-see. Easy enough in Scrivener: you can set the compile page to include just the chapters you want and export them to a PDF.
There we go: first chapter of the new book, ready for export and review. The only problem is, I don’t have a header. Now, the writers group is pretty specific: every submission has to have a header on the first page which showing:
- the author
- the title of the piece
- the word count (our group has a limit of 1500 words for a review, though you can submit two pieces if we’re short of pieces – which we never are)
- genre (I usually have no idea what genre I’m writing until someone tells me)
- type of feedback required (the best answer seen so far: ‘gentle’)
- anything the reader needs to know (you can add warnings for graphic sex scenes, violence or mentioning Brexit)
Continue reading “A neat trick with Scrivener meta-data”
If you think the whole zombie apocalypse thing has had its day, then track down Cargo (currently running on Netflix UK) and think again.
In the aftermath of the aforementioned zombie apocalypse, Andy is traveling alone through the Australian Outback with his daughter, Rosie. He’s recently lost his wife to the virus and has been bitten himself. Within 48 hours, the virus will transform him into a mindless, flesh-eating, pus-leaking zombie. So he has just 48 hours to find someone to take care of Rosie …
What makes this film a rare treat is that it focuses less on the actual apocalypse and more on the surviving humans. In that regard I suppose it’s closer to the Walking Dead than World War Z, but the thing that sets Cargo apart is that there are only a handful of zombies in it. In fact, there’s not much of anything.
Continue reading “Film review: Cargo”