Monday, March 3, 2014

Today is Charlie Brooker's Birthday.

I really cannot stress how huge an influence Charlie Brooker is for me. Yes, a lot of his fiction is a little reminiscent of years gone by (Steve Allen and Harlan Ellison, to name only two), but that's why I love him. 

I realized the other night that overall, I'm really not impressed with contemporary science fiction.  Far too much of it is in the space soap opera/space cowboy vein (eff you very much, Roddenberry).  I dislike those in their purest forms (exceptions include anything involving Steve McQueen or Alan Ladd), why the heck would I want to watch it on a spaceship?

My favourite form or era of science fiction was creepy, harrowing, even (It's a cookbook! We're headed to that planet third from the sun!  Be sure to give the little ones pebbles they can throw, too! The key to the future is removing words from the language, not adding more, silly! And so on,
until my stomach hurts).  Even in it's simplest forms, it's asking difficult questions, turning a mirror on society in ways other art and writing fails to do, despite best efforts.

When I see the faces of everyone gathered in the pub to watch the prime minister star alongside a pig, or we see the little girl taking a cupcake up to the boyfriend-bot in the attic, I really feel like there's classic, harrowing science-fiction at work.  And the episode titled White Bear, well, that's just phenomenal.

I first encountered him on 10 O'Clock Live, which I'd started watching because of David Mitchell (and Jimmy Carr, who is always fun).  I was floored; I liked Mitchell's political rants and really thought someone couldn't get much more acerbic than that.   Unfortunately, the show was a little uneven, and awkward at times (the fact that it was aired live may have contributed).  IMDB indicates the show is still going, but nothing new has aired in 2014.

As with a number of people I admire, I think what I like most about him is his tireless work ethic.   I swear the man's never been out of work.  I just hope other writers find him as inspiring.   I hope we get lots more out of him.

(I couldn't work it in, but while reading a little more about him this evening, I learned him and his wife have had their second child just a couple of days ago, so that's lovely.)

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