Madigan Mine: launched!

kirstyn mcdermott at the launch of her novel madigan mine

Madigan Mine has been officially launched! A most excellent crowd attended at Melbourne’s Carlton Library (three cheers for the brilliant staff) to see a metaphoric bottle of bubbles broken over the bow of Kirstyn McDermott’s debut novel. Lucy Sussex (who has her own launch coming up) did the honours, fitting the Melbourne-set thriller into the wider context of Australian Gothic and saying some very nice things about Kirstyn’s prose.

It was grand to see such support for a local writer, with publisher Pan Macmillan sending representatives, including the artist who designed the superb cover.

Kirstyn provides the author’s perspective of the event, and there are more pictures here.

Lucy Sussex launches Madigan Mine

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Paranormal Activity review

The short, alliterative review of Paranormal Activity: plotless and pointless.

The longer, non-alliterative review: The flick demonstrates how technology can allow even a low-budget movie look and sound good these days. There are even a few moments of suspense. But someone forgot to include a story in this tale of a young couple (well acted, too) plagued by a demon with poltergeist tendencies. As the pressure of the nocturnal visitations increases, the pair become increasingly stupid. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep.

The movie is filmed as a first-person shooter, the alleged ‘found reel’ concept that helped make Blair Witch such a hit, with the couple filming themselves in hope of proving the existence of the activity plaguing their two-bedroom abode. What this means is that, while initially an effective way of creating immediacy and intimacy and some measure of authenticity, much of the drama is lost as the action ramps up and disappears off-screen. It also means an increasingly unbelievable tendency for one of the pair to pick up the camera during the midst of the action, such as it is.

As for story, well, there isn’t much. The haunting is ascribed to being a completely random hit on the young woman who is powerless to fight back. No assistance is forthcoming, though the pair make feeble efforts to attain it, and seem to be unable to use their footage as leverage with either the authorities, the church or members of the demo-hunting fraternity. There are some other inane moments, one in which the demon apparently warns the pair about itself, but I won’t go on. I’d hate to spoil the surprise.

The only credits were a disclaimer shattering the movie’s illusion of this being a depiction of real events, so you can look up cast and crew at always dependable IMDB, and watch the trailer at the official site.

Ahem. Twilight. And on Being Human

While in New Orleans in October, I was asked by the Aussie ABC Online to offer some thoughts on the popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga and the state of the vampire mythos today. The article has appeared here, in a preview of the latest movie’s opening.

If ever there was a city in which to talk vampires, it’s New Orleans, or at least the French Quarter, with its uneven, gas-lit sidewalks and classic architecture, and the legacy of Anne Rice never too far away.

Meanwhile, my local cinema is filled with Twilight posters, standees and even a merchandise table that includes, I kid you not, an umbrella for $50. Can someone please make it stop now?

Fortunately, as some kind of counterbalance, however unbalanced that balance might be, there are shows such as Being Human: cleverly scripted, well acted, an engaging take on the supernatural trying to co-exist with the mundane. The premise sounds a little like a gag — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all live in this house and… — but it’s not a laughing matter. Think Ultraviolet in a sharehouse. Yummy. Maybe there’s hope after all… even if it doesn’t have a brolly.

Here’s a taste, about how the show approaches its bloodsuckers:

And a trailer for Ultraviolet, truly superb viewing if you can get your hands on the series.