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24 July 2006
MR OVER THE WEEKEND + COMMENTARY: Will 'Lost' be Lost in 2006?
Topic: July 2006

[07.21.06]—Margin contributor Zelda Leah Gatuskin (aka Zelda Gordon) became co-owner and Managing Editor for Amador Publishers LLC of Albuquerque, NM in July. An artist, writer and editor, Zelda has assisted in one capacity or another with numerous Amador projects. Her first book The Time Dancer, A Novel of Gypsy Magic was published by Amador in 1991, to be followed by the mixed genre collection, Ancestral Notes (as featured in Margin) and two other titles.

The reorganization coincides with Amador’s twentieth anniversary year. Amador Publishers describes itself as, “a humanist press dedicated to peace, equality, respect for all cultures and preservation of the Biosphere, specializing in fiction and biography of unique worth and appeal, outside the purview of mainstream publishing.” Amador books are available in Albuquerque at the Art Is OK Gallery, The Collector’s Item, Page One, and Borders Books on the west side as well as local libraries. They may also be ordered directly from the publisher (505-877-4395), from the publisher’s web site and from other on-line book vendors. Retailers can order Amador books through Books West in Boulder.


[07.22.06]—Magical realist authors Ursula Hegi [The Vision of Emma Blau], Randall Kenan [Let The Dead Bury Their Dead] and Helena Maria Viramontes [The Moths and Other Stories] will be among the faculty slated for Bread Loaf 2006, which runs from August 16th to the 27th in Middlebury, VT.


[07.22.06]—Here's an interesting take on all the M. Night Shyamalan bashing that's gone on over the last week or so in conjunction with the release of Lady in the Water. Editor's note: I haven't seen the film, so I won't be join this fray just yet.


Whether you think of the popular television series, Lost, as a kind of magical realism is irrelevant here. It started out that way, exploring improbability through the use of miracles (survivors of a plane crash), solitary settings (a remote island in the South Pacific) and the mundane lives of people taking on magical qualities (Hurley's trouble with numbers, as one example).

The writing in 2005-2006 seems to have moved the show off the MR radar, however. It may or may not matter to the millions of television's viewers, but it matters here. Why? Part of the success of rock-solid MR (if there is such a thing) lies in its ability to maintain the magic in a believable fashion. Part of that maintenance includes avoiding loose threads.

I'm not suggesting explanations for things like the creepy animal-thing in the jungle. MR is not about explanations but about offering alternatives to the Western mode of realism. So what has happened to the creepy animal-thing? It hardly shows up anymore. Maybe it was a bad element and they replaced it with something more believable, such as the whispering Others? And what about these Others, anyway? We know they aren't so mysterious after all. Have they lost their spookiness with the series' late-spring revelations?

So many open questions lurk that the upcoming season really must address them if the show is going to keep from jumping the shark for so many peripheral viewers who wouldn't ordinarly choose sci fi or fantasy or supernatural programming. (For purists, it JedTS in the first season and continues to splay its skis).

What I want to know is how they plan to develop futures for two of the key characters, Mr. Eko and Locke? Both are strong, magical realist archetypes, their lives having been shaped by a mixture of the magic and the real. Are we likely to lose their stories as the plot thickens from its X-Files-styled finale, in which a connection is drawn between a turncoat member of the Others, his mysterious lover (who is the daughter of a major power player on the level of James Bond intrigue) and the scientists at a subzero station who located the odd magnetic "beacon" on the island in the last episode?

All this to say, the show is fast losing focus.

I've heard through the grapevine that Lost's season will run in two sections next fall, with a 6-week opening in October followed by a 13-week absence before it reappears with unbroken episodes in February. One bright spot? The elimination of repeat after repeat (and thank God for that). Will the time away allow the show's writers to change this chameleon into colors the audience will still recognize? With its creator, JJ Abrams, possibly jumping ship (but not the shark) in spring 2007, it's hard not to predict the fall of the show. Keep your fingers crossed they'll stop with all the loose ends and keep it believable in its originally magical way. Thumbs up for mystery; thumbs down for new plotlines that explain without resolving anything.

Let me know what you think.

Posted by at 9:21 AM PDT
Updated: 24 July 2006 9:36 AM PDT
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