Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

I am feeling very smug as a result of what I picked up from various reactions to Episode 2.1 of 'Veronica Mars'.

In my VM essay in 'Teen Dreams' I say 'Veronica is haunted throughout by memories of a happier time and by what appears to be Lily's ghost. By the end of the series, we have received some confirmation of the ghost's status - Duncan also and independently is seen to experience her, and when Veronica has solved and avenged the murder, Lily appears to her one last time to say goodbye.' And I gather that Lily is now explicitly a ghost rather than just a memory.

Meanwhile, another review for those who like to see these things.

STRANGE ANGEL by George Pendle ( Weidenfeld and Nicolson 350 pp. £18.99)

reviewed by Roz Kaveney

Sometimes when you look at a mystery clearly, you realize that there is no mystery at all. George Pendle's study of the life and death of occultist rocket scientist Jack Parsons demonstrates that the only surprise is that Parsons' foolhardy experiments with explosives took so long to kill him. Much as one would like there to be a murderer, and for it to be one of the many famous people in Parsons' life, actually there was not.

L. Ron Hubbard may have walked off with Parsons' mistress, and defrauded him of the seed money with which he started Scientology, but he was well away at the time of Parsons' death. Aleister Crowley may have endlessly intrigued against Parsons' leadership of Californian occultism, but was dead. Werner von Braun may have resented his success with rocket fuels, but by 1952, the ex-Nazi von Braun was installed at the heart of American research and the Communist fellow-traveller Parsons was out of the work for good, without a security clearance.
Parsons' life was one in which disparate worlds came into momentary contact. He was a man of genuine achievement in rocketryl, in spite of his lack of formal qualifications and the wild enthusiasm which eventually killed him. He was a Californian in search of solutions and eclectic in the places he looked for them; he was a man who threw great parties at which scientists, left- wingers, sex magick practitioners and science fiction writers mixed on equal terms. That key 60s text Robert Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' is a novel about Jack Parsons, a man who died before his time.

Pendle manages to convey most of this effectively enough, in spite of a narrative which judders from infodump to infodump. He leaves a lot of questions unanswered by telling us about largely irrelevant things that were going on at the same time - we don't need to know what Howard Hughes was doing in the 1930s when he only employed Parsons in the 1940s. Some stories, though, are too fascinating to ruin with pedestrian journalism.

Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons were quite good and affecting as Elizabeth and Leicester - some of Elizabeth's big speeches would have been far better, though, without intrusive underscoring. Great words do not always need music: I was listening to an interview with Gabriel Yared the other week where he made precisely this point and complained that Hollywood always want him to stick music in in inappropriate places. His reluctance to do this is apparently part of the reason why he was sacked from 'Troy'.
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