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the grey area
The Grey Area - letters to The ZONE                                                           email:
Pigasus Press, 13 Hazely Combe, Arreton, Isle of Wight, PO30 3AJ, England
selected correspondence and comments received...

November 2004
re: Moonbase... I'll second whatever your reviewer says, but for me the really stupid thing is when they need a character's stereo amp to boost a communication signal. What the hell good would an audio amplifier be for boosting a microwave signal? Wouldn't the shuttlecraft have its own transceiver? Don't space installations have back-ups for back-ups, especially vital communications equipment? Aren't space personnel supposed to be resourceful: couldn't they improvise something out of radar, video circuits, computer clock circuits, etc?
   With plenty of opportunity for explosive decompression, they don't even make up for the stupidity with some good gore scenes. Genre film abounds with examples of directors who have risen above the limitations, but this is not one of them.
   Furthermore, with killers on the loose in a moonbase, why didn't the good guys just put spacesuits on, depressurise the whole moonbase, and kill off all the bad guys?
- Ron Demkiw

August 2004
I thought the article on British 'zombie' films was excellent. It didn't get too hung up on the shambling brain-eater idea, and was very comprehensive. Best of all it was wittily written, covered many films I haven't seen (but will now look out for!) and a genuinely enjoyable read.
- Patrick Hudson

June 2004
Good thoughts on The Silmarillion as a film; in fact there is a screenplay of the book being written right now. Though of course it will be strangled through the scrutiny of Hollywood, as it is now it is a trilogy (like Lord Of The Rings) and of quite long length. Instead of staying true to the book the screenplay concentrates on the book's strengths, like the grand romance of Beren and Luthien and the trials of Turin Turambar. True Tolkien fans will hate it, rest assured, but the average moviegoer will doubtlessly herald it as the greatest epic of all time - and from the looks of it, it may even surpass the grandeur of The Lord Of The Rings films achievements. Don't expect it in theaters any time soon, though; like Jackson's trilogy, The Silmarillion will take years of production before it sees the big screen.
- Cody Oliver

March 2004
Regarding the Debbie Moon review of the series Firefly.
   Power corrupts?
   When did you get so powerful, because you must have lost your credibility by the time you decided to review Firefly.
   No wonder television sucks, because it appears that it is populated by people with unimaginative minds like yours.
   Firefly was almost the only reason to turn on television during its one season... And frankly, I have had quite enough of vampires, thank you. And presently, in spite of a great cast, the series Enterprise, I feel personally, sucks. It too, started out bravely, but quickly threw its credibility down the drain to become another 'action' vehicle. Is it just me, or is tv running scared these days?
   I am impressed that Whedon was brave enough to take some risks, and in fact, I too, was shocked by many of the premises of Firefly. Shocked, and quickly mesmerised. And eventually pleased to see that my mind had not gone to sleep, that I could be seduced and amazed by this audacious but nevertheless seamless bit of beauty.
   I can tell you that the most amazing works of art I have usually hated and found irritating on sight... uncovering a blind spot I never knew that I had. Better late than never I would say.
   Whedon had found that blind spot and managed to present a form of science fiction that has never made it from print to the visual medium. Those that managed to catch the series before the plug was pulled, hopefully had enough time to realise what they would be missing when Firefly was canceled. For me, I feel lucky that the series was released as a DVD. It was so poorly publicised that I only found it a few weeks before it was cancelled.
   The only other programme I had liked in that season was Hack... It's back, but it's clear that CBS was afraid it was not slick enough, not fast enough, not pretty enough... not stupid enough? It has subtly been rigged to resemble any number of antique programmes that limped through several seasons. Yep, I've probably watched them myself. But I was blown away by the first season of Hack. So unlike C.S.I. Is it necessary for every programme to seek the lowest common denominator to survive?
   But reviews like yours encourage that point of view. It is the sort of review that keeps Hollywood busy pumping out predictable pulp, and people less open and more programmed to accept it.
   I suppose reviewers are only human... but still, I can't believe how badly you missed the mark, and I feel that as horribly clichéd as you felt Firefly was, that you present yourself as a horribly clichéd excuse for a science fiction reviewer, and a blind one at that.
- Dan Gonzalez, Kansas City

I enjoyed the interview with Jeff Noon, and the accompanying review. I read Vurt and Pollen a few years back, but kind of lost interest in Noon somewhere along the way. The interview, in particular, made me want to go back and have another look, maybe at FOOC, as the interviewer so vividly abrreviated it.
- Patrick Hudson

January 2004
Thank you for your glowing review of Wrong Turn. I wrote the movie and came upon your review by accident. I'm glad you enjoyed it and took away exactly what I'd intended - a throwback to what horror is meant to be - unrelenting - posing the question 'what would I do if it were me?' Thank you again.
- Alan McElroy

Previous letters pages - 2003  2002  2001  The ZONE #9

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