Some bits 'n pieces from around the way.
- Criterion has a new box set from their Eclipse line, the Hiroshi Shimizu set. All date from the pre-WWII era and sound like the kind of thing that would make a nice counter-complement to my Tokyo Inferno reading — they're gentle, lyrical tales, although they do feature some of the same sorts of characters that I'd like to include in the book itself.
- Longstanding indie/foreign film distributer New Yorker Films is set to shutter its doors after 40+ years. Their movie library is likely to be auctioned off; if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say Janus/Criterion, Milestone and Fox/Lorber/Wellspring would probably divide the spoils.
- William Stout owns a bookstore in NYC devoted to architecture and design. I worry that specialist bookstores like this are slowly on the way out, no thanks to skyrocketing rents and the exodus of bookstore inventories to online venues.
- Otaku unite! The Taipei Times has a piece about a strip of stores in the Taipei City Mall devoted to manga/anime/J-culture lovers. Maybe I can find an excuse to go to Taipei once our travel budgets are restored...
- Most New Yorkers have probably heard by now of the plan to make Times Square a car-free zone. It sounds to my ears like a fallback from the more ambitious plan to charge people $6 to come into Upper Manhattan during weekdays — the more reasons you give folks to walk around in the city, the more they're likely to do it (and use mass transit in the bargain).
Finally, we've all heard about Philip José Farmer passing on at the venerable age of 91. A shame, because I suspect only now I'll be getting caught up with him good and proper — apart from the Riverworld books, that is, which actually quite underwhelmed me.
Part of the problem there was how I couldn't help but contrast them to my favorite work of this that I've read so far, his novella "Riders of the Purple Wage", published in Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions anthology. "Wage" was, to borrow Harlan's own words about PJF's earlier story "The Lovers", "an explosion in a fresh-air factory". It was, by Harlan's own estimation, the finest story in that whole collection, and while its Freudijungian pretenses have not dated well, it's still such fun to read that it makes the Riverworld series look terribly warmed-over in comparison.
If people have suggestions for Farmer reading apart from Riverworld, post 'em here; I'd love to hear your takes.