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Lost: Locke Lies?

Lo, and the skies opened up and the rain came down and the gods looked down on the latest episode of Lost

And it was good.

Pretty damn good, in fact.

I have to admit that this episode was really solid. And it even ameliorated some of the concerns I had about last week’s episode. For example, I was enormously frustrated by the lack of communication between Locke and Sayid regarding the explosives in the basement of the Flame Station, but apparently that wasn’t an oversight — it was intentional, as we learn that Locke is up to something. (And from the previews of next week, it looks like he’s got a serious agenda that no one else knows about.)

The characters actually talked. They actually shared information, including Desmond telling Claire about his psychic powers and Charlie’s impending doom. (In previous episodes, that would have been glossed over with some hand-waving, much to the annoyance of the audience.) Locke, et al pressed Mikhail for answers and got a few (including a tantalizing hint that the Others know quite a bit about the Losties pre-crash). And while I was peeved that Locke killed Mikhail before he could offer more answers, it did make sense from the point of view thatsomeone had to test the security system…and Locke does have that hidden agenda.

Also good to see: an actual attempt to get off the island! People exchanging information!  An admission that some people have just given up on ever leaving the island. Continuity (Sawyer’s nickname ban continues).

What was bad in the episode? Not a lot. It does, however, stretch credulity to the breaking point to think that Claire could meet her long-lost dad and never get his name. (Even if she didn’t ask, you’d think he would say, “My name is Christian Shepherd.” Or even just leave his name and number in case she changed her mind in the future.) And it’s a little bothersome that Sayid and Kate let Locke’s behavior slide, but they did give him some guff about it and I noticed that he was put on tree-chopping duty while everyone else sat around and chilled out. Also, Claire’s relationship to Jack was telegraphed way back in Season 2’s second Ana-Lucia flashback, so that revelation went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

Fortunately, there was plenty of other good stuff to distract me.

Oh, and that ending? With Jack playing football with Tom? Pretty damn cool. It does, however, indicate that another Jack-centric episode is in our near future…and I think we’ve had enough of them to last a looooooong time.

MadTV Goes Mac-Mad

OK, so the jokes are a bit obvious, but still: This clip from MadTV accomplishes what it sets out to with style and wit. It’s no less funny for its predictability.

Royalties

Well, I feel like a real writer now — I’ve received my first royalty statement! (And no, I won’t be reprinting it here. Sheesh!)

It’s sort of a strange feeling. For months now, friends, aquaintances, and even random strangers have been asking me, “So, how many copies have they sold?” To which I have shrugged and said, “Beats me.” Because that’s the truth. It’s not like I get phone calls from my publisher every day, shouting out, “Five copies just sold in a Barnes & Noble in Skokie! And a thirteen-year-old girl just bought a copy in Modesto!”

It’s a strange truism of this writing life, I’ve noticed, that the author is the last person to know anything. I was the last person to find out I had a two-book deal. I’m the last person to know how many copies my book has sold so far. When the time comes, I’ll be the last person to know that a movie deal has been hammered out.

I’m actually fine with all of that. It means I can focus on writing, which is the way I want it to be.

But what’s really weird is that even though I have this statement, I still don’t really know how many copies of my book have been sold!

Because first of all, this statement is up through September 30, 2006. My book’s official publication date was October 2, 2006. Which means that this statement takes into account those copies sold to stores before the book was available — there’s no way for me to know what sold after that point.

Second of all, this shows books sold to stores, not books sold by stores. So it’s possible that every copy on this statement is still sitting on a bookshelf in a store somewhere. (Probably not, but play along, OK?) Just as it’s possible that every copy on this statement sold to an eager reader. (Again, probably not, but again, play along.)

Third of all, stores can return books. For all I know, there are huge boxes of my book being shipped back to Houghton Mifflin as I type this.

So as cool as it is to have some numbers, I still can’t really answer the question, “How many copies have they sold?” At best, I can say, “Well, as of September 30 of last year, bookstores ordered X number of copies, some percentage of which have been sold to readers, another percentage of which may or may not be returned. And more copies may or may not have been reordered since and may or may not continue to be reordered in the future.”

Which, I admit, is still better than “Beats me.”

Cynthia Leitich Smith Interview

Fellow YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith does a great service to the writing community: Not only does she pen some terrific reads, but she also takes the time to interview young adult authors on her blog and help promote their books! How generous is that? Hell, I’m a slacker — you don’t see me promoting other people’s books on my site, do you?

So, reward Cynthia: Buy her books!

Oh, and she interviewed me about Fanboy and Goth GirlCheck it out.

Heroes defies TV “gravity” and stays strong

Let’s be honest — it would be pretty damn near impossible for Heroes to get better than it was last week. “Company Man” combined action, tear-jerking emotion, and plot twists galore to make what may have been the most perfect hour of television since the first season finale to Twin Peaks. Or, at the very least, since Lost‘s season 1 episode “Walkabout.”

So, the fact that Heroes managed to keep the story moving without losing momentum or feeling like a letdown from last week’s ungodly good episode (so described because clearly the production team sold their souls to the devil to produce that epi…and it was worth it) makes Heroes damn near…uh, heroic. They’ve kept the tension ramped, the emotions running high, and the interest piqued.

Good job, folks.

But, uh, April 23? Really? I really have to wait that long?

Sigh. OK. But only because I’m addicted. Otherwise, I could take this needle right out of my arm, I could…