I am really incredibly bad at reading this year. Perhaps I’ll be slightly better at moving? I’ve been pretty good at burning, and I’ve maintained my general high qualities of working and drinking, so at least I can point at where the time went? (Except the drinking, which usually includes reading, so I don’t know how to reconcile that part.)
The reason you care about all this is that I’ve been annoyed to be so close to caught up with the Ultimate Marvel series only to have it slip through my grasp again. But one is better than none, which brings me to Ultimate Wolverine: Legacies. I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t Wolverine die? So, no, it’s cool, they haven’t started bringing people back to life. It’s more like, y’know, legacies. Which is to say, Logan’s son Jimmy Hudson (who I’ve possibly mentioned once or twice before while I’ve read recent mutant events) is on a quest to learn more about his biological father, instigated by an unexpected underlying signal in the holographic message Logan left for him.
Then, you know, *bam*, plot. Including more from Quicksilver, who we have not seen in too long considering what he was up to the last time we saw him. So it’s nice to know things are still happening with that guy. Unlike Jean Grey, who no longer makes any sense to me whatsoever. (She wasn’t in the book, I’m just complaining.)
And then I finally saw a new movie, for the first time in I really don’t want to look up how many months. Gravity pits George Clooney (charm amped up to 12) and Sandra Bullock (charm amped down to 5 or so) against space in a nailbiter of an escape movie. See, there’s an exploded satellite that, post-explosion, has become a debris field, but not to worry, that won’t stop either Bullock’s specialist repairs on the Hubble nor Clooney’s “you didn’t have to be there because I’m so good at painting the picture” stories that everyone in Houston has heard dozens of times before. ….until it does. Debris fields can be a real bitch that way.
What follows is 60 minutes of sheer adrenaline broken up by 20 minutes of philosophical musings, gorgeous tracking shots of the earth and space and the tiny objects floating above the former from within the latter, and occasional bursts of tension-relieving humor. Do you want to see it? Probably, as long as you like solid acting and are not allergic to being tense for long periods of time. Do you want to see it on an IMAX screen in 3D? Yes, unless you have that motion-sickness problem some people get, and even then, still probably yes unless you can find it in IMAX 2D, because you’ll be a pretty sad panda if you see it on some middling five-story screen. I mean, it’s space. Space is supposed to be big! Y’know?
But seriously? It was good. And absurd once or twice in the best kind of way, where you are saying to yourself, “Come on! That’s not fair!”, but you are not thinking “Come on! That could never happen!” Also, in the interests of full disclosure, I grew up in the ’80s when the shuttle program was in full swing, and was raised by a man who built parts for it for basically his entire career. So I may be more than usually locked into the idea that space missions matter, among the non-scientist set. But that said, I’m pretty sure this was a really good movie on its own merits, and not just because space is cool. But that said, it was definitely as cool as it was only because space is as cool as it is.
 “Cool” and “good” are not the same thing, obviously. But it’s always better when they intersect.
“Whatever happened to that kid from The Shining?” Well, it turns out that quite a bit. Danny Torrance kept his shine, picked up a genetic drinking problem, and kicked around through life doing a generally terrible job of things until he got mixed firmly into the plot of another book. Which I guess I mean a couple of ways. One is almost literally as written above, that he probably would have faded into miserable obscurity if a new story hadn’t happened. And one is that, well, you could have easily told the core of this particular tale without him. He’s not precisely grafted onto it, and moreso because the Constant Author assures me it started with him, but it would only take a little unraveling to make it a brand new book with brand new characters.
Anyway, because the collective of foes Doctor Sleep presents us with are so very cool and creepy, I’m not going to say any more about the plot than I have, but I owe a rundown of the book’s structural flaws, mainly because they are pretty big flaws. They did not interrupt the mood of the book one bit, and make no mistake, this is a book that, much like The Shining before it, is primarily concerned with mood. But from a plot perspective, they are really quite troubling. And…. being from a plot perspective, they are chock full of the spoilers I just promised not to provide, so continue at your peril! (The footnotes remain spoiler-free.)