Science fiction and fantasy                                            







   

Musings and rants

Pandemic Reading
As the Covid pandemic rages, it has affected the way we read in a number of ways.

Reading Resolutions For The New Decade
Here are seven reading resolutions suitable for the 2020s.

Mastodon For SFF Fans
Where to go in the Fediverse to find the best speculative fiction and literary discussions.

Nine Political Books That Change The Conversation
Following news that Simon and Schuster plan to publish an inflammatory commentator, here are nine political books that deserve more attention.

Penguin Random House Withdraws Union Recognition
Penguin Random House have decided not to recognise Unite and the NUJ as a result of staff negotiations, leaving the publisher with a stain on its reputation as an employer.

Authors Support Stop Funding Hate
Some authors have had enough of divisive and xenophobic elements in the British press, and are willing to make an ethical stand.

Women In SFF: Indie Edition
A list of indie and self-published women writing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction genres.

Amazon Finally Makes KU Appealing For Novelists
The new per-page payout for the Kindle Unlimited subscription service makes it a much better deal for authors of longer novels.

Thoughts On The Sieghart Report On Libraries
The Sieghart report on libraries missed its mark by miles. Yet the real cause of the decline of the UK library network is depressingly obvious.

A Shout-Out For The Good Guys
When nastiness dominates online conversations about books it is time to appreciate the well-behaved authors.

Critique Circle: Shaping Fabulous Stories
The appeal of a certain writing critique website. Or, why I have neglected this blog.

Where Shall I Point This Pitchfork?
Some thoughts on Jonathan Ross, Loncon, and the twitchfork mob.

Reading Is Not A Race
Why I will be abandoning annual reading challenges in 2014.

What Book Discovery Is Missing
The current state of book discovery is narrowing our reading choices and squeezing out midlist writers. How can it be fixed?

An Explosion Of Discovery Tools
New book discovery engines are popping up all over the web. But which ones will come out on top?

Blog Tours From Both Sides
Blog tours are the lastest marketing fad. But what are the pros and cons of this kind of publicity?

It's Not Your Story Any More
When a book is published, authors lose control over how the story should be read. They should let go the reins and enjoy the ride.

Same Old, Same Old
Are current methods of book discovery pushing us further away from original literature?

Female Protagonists In Genre Fiction
A list of recommended SFF books for adults which feature a female as the main character.

Is This The End Of Sweeping Vistas?
Do recent trends in fantasy art styles and the constraints of online book discovery mark the decline of landscape cover art?


La Revolution: A Series For Our Time

15th May 2021

   La Revolution    

Some of the best shows say more about the times they're written in than the time they're supposed to be about. La Revolution, with its corrupt and greedy aristocracy lording it over the peasants, captures the zeitgeist of our 1% dominated times.

The story of this television series is a reimagined history of the French Revolution, which follows Albert and Joseph Guillotin as they uncover a disease that is driving the aristocracy to acts of murder. The aristocrats in this story are vicious, many of them filled with blue blood that makes them hungry for human flesh, and only cutting off their head will deal with them.

Joseph Guillotin (Amir El Kacem) is a doctor, but his older brother Albert (Lionel Erdogan) has been away for a long time and they don't speak. Then there's Elise de Montargis (Marilou Aussilloux), who is very protective of Madeleine (Amélia Lacquemant), who she claims as a sister but who isn't really. They are some of the more sympathetic nobles because they have a shred of empathy for their subjects.

Elise and Madeleine couldn't be further morally from Charles de Montargis (Laurent Lucas), or his son Donatien (Julien Frison). Charles is keen to put down the rebels at every turn, whilst concealing the disappearances of peasants that keep happening in the woods. While his father is ruthless and sneaky, his son is flamboyant, arrogant, and cruel, and doesn't bother to try to hide how evil he is.

This series is fun and dramatic, even though it's not exactly subtle in its condemnation of the rich and vacuous aristocrats. At every turn they have it coming: clueless at first, when they learn of the horrible plans of those who lead them they're often all too eager to go along with committing atrocities and acting as attackers when asked. The minor aristocrats in the story don't have much agency.

Marianne (Gaia Weiss) is one of the characters who does resist, and it's this tale of resistance, and of characters who break out of their appointed station in life to go against what is expected of those of their class, that makes this series compelling. That, and some frankly gorgeous sets and convincing acting. The family links between the characters make for some intriguing threads as the characters navigate ethical dilemmas about what to do as the conflict between aristocrats and everybody else grows increasingly vicious and bloody.

Eating the poor

The appetites of the nobility are insatiable, and the worst of them are out to eat those who don't share their social status. The central metaphor in La Revolution of the rich as monsters, is pretty blunt and uncompromising. It's hard to miss.

History paints the French aristocrats of this period in an unflattering light, to put it mildly. But this story takes that image and magnifies it. It's hard not to draw parallels between what's going on and modern France, where the protests of the gilets jaunes brought the class struggle between ordinary French people and an oppressive regime into prominence, and where the clashes between the gilets jaunes and the authorities were sometimes violent.

Resistance leader Marianne wears a face mask covering one eye. Several gilets jaunes have lost an eye, including one prominent member of the movement, JĂ©rĂ´me Rodrigues. Perhaps it's a coincidence, perhaps not?