It’s a World of (S)Laughter: Jurassic World in Review

Jurassic World: It’s a world of (s)laughter

When I was little, I was all about dinosaurs. I had a subscription to DINOSAURS! magazine (from which I still have the glow-in-the-dark T-Rex skeleton I had to put together using a few bones that came with each issue). I went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and was supremely glad to have experts to talk to about the minutia I was worrying about, such as whether Parasaurolophus had a skin sail which connected its head crest to its neck and/or back. It was vitally important for my drawings to be up to date with the scientific understanding of my favourite animals ever.

That was the first time I realized that science was an ongoing process, that we were constantly expanding and refining our understanding of how everything worked, especially the further back in time you go, and that they couldn’t yet tell me with certainty if the parasaurolophus had a skin sail connecting its magnificent head crest to its neck and/or back. I was perplexed; they were the experts, how could they not know. But then- if the experts didn’t know yet, holy smokes there must be so much to learn.

So I grew up and retained my love of all things dinosaur. I created and mod the Dinosaurs subreddit. It’s been great fun to see the community grow as we share our mutual love of all things dinosauria. Heck when that drunken reddit post about Lam(e)beosaurus hit the front page at the beginning of last year it was basically the best thing since sliced pizza.

Last night I went to Jurassic World. I fully intended to be disappointed but prepared to see things that would make me happy. My expectations were low. Things I wanted to see included: 1) dinosaurs, 2) Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle hunting in a pack with velociraptors, 3) the Indominus Rex, and 4) parasaurolophus because they are the best hadrosaur and obviously way better than lam(e)beosaur.

I got to see all of these things and more. Here are some of my likes and dislikes from the film.

How I turned against the familiar theme music
Right off the get go my excitement turned to annoyance at their cavalier use of the much beloved Jurassic Park theme music. They brought it in way too early and it served literally no emotional purpose other than to tug at the viewers’ heartstrings. To me, they were saying “hey remember how magical it was when you first heard this theme? Well here we go again. Oh you’re expecting to see something magical this time around again? Best we can do is an arial flyover of a crowd of people milling around this theme park. Oh maybe how about these characters going into their hotel room.” What a tragically wasted opportunity. To throw away such beloved music on nothing-scenes actually made me angry.

The viewer being inserted into the film as a character
They had a great character that represented the viewer and I wasn’t even annoyed at how obvious they were about it being us. He was the guy in the control room wearing the Jurassic Park t-shirt. Kind of cringy, right? But no, I liked him immediately, and his lines were all spot on. He was us, and they did a great job writing him so that he felt real and added a bit of humour here and there.

The sound design is stellar
When Indominus Rex escapes its paddock and is slowly searching for Chris Pratt, we hear the noise it makes for the first time and it sent a shiver down my spine. There was something strangely human about it, but then there were all sorts of terrifying nuances in the way its breathy growl seeped out through those teeth (so many teeth) that made it seem alien.

They also did a good job of holding off on showing us the entirety of Indominus for quite a while. We got some spikes here, a foot there, which really left me wanted to just see the damn thing already, but in a good way.

Raptors, raptors, raptors
They did a great job of treading a fine line between making the raptors terrifying but also relatable, able to follow commands but also clearly wild animals with hunting instinct. The raptor “Blue” had a nice splash of colour which hopefully we’ll see more of in the future when dinosaurs are portrayed on the big screen. Watching Chris Pratt work with them was pretty killer, and was basically the thing in the trailer that got me on board with this sequel. It delivered.

Reconning the (outdated) look of the dinosaurs
The had a little attempt at retconning the inaccuracies with the appearance of the dinosaurs. As you may know, we know understand that many dinosaurs, including plant eating dinosaurs had feathers. And they had colours! Heck dinosaur eggs just got a nice makeover when these ones were discovered to be blue and green! So why does Jurassic World have naked, boring brown dinosaurs? Wu says that if they had created dinosaurs as they had actually looked they would be very different “but that’s not what you wanted”… Sort of a nice nod to why they’re showing last centuries version of what dinosaurs look like, but also a little lazy. You’d think they’d be transitioning their theme park- you know, the theme park all about displaying animals meant to inspire awe with their appearance- to having more accurate looking animals that would be much more visually compelling. You know, with bright colours, camoflage, display patterns, and feathers? I’m a little disappointed they’re sticking with the outdated model of dinosaur appearance. When when WHEN will we get to see a big screen dino flick with right proper looking dinos? I hope it’s soon because it’d be nice if their images could get a massive update with the general public.

The skinny
All in all it was massively entertaining. There is a ton to knit-pick and many flaws, but over all I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just good fun. Dinosaurs: check. Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle hunting in a pack with velociraptors: check. The Indominus Rex: check check check. And finally parasaurolophus: check. Granted they had minor appearances but you could tell they were the best dinosaurs in the park.

If you get a chance to check it out I hope you enjoy it! The discussion in my beautiful subreddit is here if you want to take part.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.

I Have An Agent

I am extremely pleased to announce that I have signed on with Beth Campbell over at BookEnds.  She will be representing my novel Sleep Over.

It has finally happened.  I have an agent.

I have been waiting to say those words for a long, long time.

Beth has just switched over to helming the representation of scifi and fantasy over at BookEnds.  She wants an author who isn’t just a flash in the pan.  She loves my manuscript, and my head is still swilling from all the gorgeous things she is saying about my writing.

And the writer’s head grew three sizes that day hahaha.

I won’t be able to share too much about the process of finding a publisher as it’s happening (super secret stuff), but you can bet your butt you’ll hear it loud and clear when I have signed with a publisher for Sleep Over.  My only hope is that it takes a bit of time, as that’s a good sign that more than one really, really wants it.

Meanwhile, I will keep on posting for you, my dear, dear readers.  I am so glad you could be here with me when I was finally able to give this good news!  Your support has meant so much to me over the years as I continue on this wonderful journey to authordom.

I will continue to share a great many and varied things with you. Including, if you’re interested in the details, How I Got a Literary Agent.

In addition to my fantastic announcement, here are some more things just! for! yooou!!!

Episode 7 AND episode 8 of my Oddcast, Forgotten, are up! Episode 8 took the longest of all of them and had so many outtakes.  I’m really pushing the form to the limit, and “the voices” really had a tough time of getting this one to work.  It’s getting better as it goes along, and I’m really happy with where it’s heading!

We’ve also got more videos from my husband’s Wild Gears Creations channel.  Are you ready to see something wild? This one is crazy!

And are you ready for parallel lines?

 

Something else fun: the tale of my Message in a Bottle which was answered by The X-Files (4 images in album- clicky).

Also, here’s a little comic I made about how I make coffee.

That’s all for now, dear readers.

I think we’ve entered into a new and exciting phase of my career here. I am one step closer to having a major work published, and hopefully soon I can share that with you too.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

The Nicholl Fellowship, Google Glass

I was really pleased to see sci-fi becoming a reality, as it tends to do.  In my latest novel and screenplay, I take Google Glass to limits, exploring such a devices purposes and practical uses.  Today they showed off the preliminary interface.  I’ll be interested to see, as the years tick on, if I got it right in my work.

Also, one of my test readers got back to me (with some very good feedback, useful edits, and much welcomed praise) about my screenplay.  He suggested I submit it to the Academy Awards Nicholl Fellowship.  Apparently they actually *pay* five writers for a year to write a screenplay!  This would be a dream.  Getting paid to write, and exposure for my work?  Maybe it would get “Luka and Iso” picked up for production.

If you’re interested, you can check out the Nicholl Fellowship here.

I am ensconced in the Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer.  As ever, he strings me along at a good clip, with wonderful characters and a great hook.  Sentient dinosaurs advancing their culture from the bronze age onwards?  What’s not to love!  I can hardly put it down.

Also recently, my friend Brie and I have teamed up; she asked me to write something for a comic she was making, and I did.  I’m excited to see the inks next week.  Hopefully we can have further collaborations in the future; her art is mega, mega cool, and being on a writer-artist team with her would just kick so much butt.

That’s all for now, folks!  I’ll keep on tightening up my script, and let you know how the process goes with applying for the Nicholl Fellowship.

…And if you know of anyone looking for a sci-fi screenplay/novel combo about the first genetically engineered dragon, would you point me in their direction?

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Novel R&D: Fun fun fun.


I’m really getting into the research and development of my latest novel.  Currently I’m trying to get myself up to speed with genetic engineering, at least to the level of understanding where I can write about it and not be all hand-wavy and pseudo-sciencey.

On the docket are the following TED Talks:

Paul Root Wolpe: It’s time to question bio-engineering

Jack Horner: Building a Dinosaur from a Chicken

And Gregory Stock: to Upgrade is Human

Also on the docket are any movies about genetic engineering and the societal consequences of designing life.  And general sci-fi set in the not-too-distant future.

  • Gattaca
  • Blade Runner (my ‘nemesis’ film: watched it four times, but never finished it!)

I’ve seen Splice, In Time, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes recently, and they’re good fodder for this project.  I know Jurassic Park off by heart, so that’s always in the background (Dr. Malcolm’s monologue chastising John Hammond’s reckless and yet awe inspiring stab at creating new life is cemented in my mind for all time).

It’s a difficult thing to try and conceive of how the world will look in the future; I’m gaining a greater appreciation for some of my favourite sci-fi authors who seem to effortlessly transplant me into their vision of the future.  For now I realize that, while it feels effortless to the reader, to the author, it is anything but.

Anything you’d care to recommend, I’d love to have more movies to watch that will get my gears turning!