Author Topic: ...reč-dve SF blogera...  (Read 46105 times)

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Boban

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #100 on: 09-03-2015, 11:53:13 »
sukobi između rasa nisu nastali zbog razlike u rasama već zbog potrebe čoveka da ima potlačene i manje vredne u vidokrugu da bi se osećao boljim i uspešnijim.
Ima jedan ilustrativan primer iz Rusije, u vreme Staljina, milioni ljudi je raseljeno, proterano u Sibir i na razne druge lokacije gde su radili kao jeftina ili besplatna radna snaga, dakle robovi. Vrlo malo tih grupacija su bili "drugi", Čečeni i tako neki bušmani, jer Staljin nije imao mnogo "drugih"... ali je njemu trebao određeni milion robova i on ih je izmislio. OK, bilo je tamo revolucionara i revolucionarnih krajeva, ali da nije bilo, da su svi bili besprekorni, onda bi lovili ljude po ulici: "Pljunuo si na trotoar, hajde u Sibir". On nije imao crtu ispod koje se išlo u Sibir, nego je njemu trebalo toliko i toliko miliona robova i on je zahvatio odozdo pa dokle je stigao.
Potpuno isto funkcioniše sa rasama, pa se ne treba iznenaditi da vremenom počne da se priča o Bosancima kao nižoj rasi i katolicima u odnosu na protestante, jer da smo kojim slučajem svi identične boje kože, kose i očiju, onda bi ljudi potrebu za izrugivanjem nad nekome izražavali na drugi način: "svi niži od 1,60" ili svi sa nosem većim od 3cm, otkud znam šta sve ne, jednostavno nije postojanje rasa uzrok rasizma, već ljudska potreba da se izbori za bolji status u okruženju, a posedovanje robova, jeftine radne snage, potlačenih ili kako god je najelegantniji i evolutivno najukorenjeniji način.
Put ćemo naći ili ćemo ga napraviti.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #101 on: 09-03-2015, 11:55:47 »


Sad vidim i tvoj drugi post: taj eugenički pristup koji pominješ svakako bi bio suptilna varijacija rasizma, sproveden u praksi, samo - eto - Irci protestanti i Irci katolici ne razlikuju se ni po čemu, genetski gledano, i nikakvih rasnih varijacija između njih nema. Samo verske razlike (sasvim dovoljne za klanje, jelte).

Pa da, nemaju rasnu osnovu u početku, ali caka je u tome što eugenički pristup može (u teoriji, naravno) eventualno da napravi merljivu genetsku osnovu različitosti, koja se nakon toga uzima kao baza za malko suptilnije podele. Mislim, ne govorim o ovim primerima koje pominješ, nego prosto teoretski - cilj eugenike i jeste bio da proizvede ‘mehanizam parenja’ ne sasvim različit od mehanizma kojim se danas nadgledaju pedigrei kod životinja. U Hajnlajnovoj ideji, genetička varijacija koja dozvoljava ljudima da žive dva ili tri puta duže od ostatka populacije jeste dovoljna da se tu pravi i rasna razlika, iako ni po kom rasnom osnovu.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #102 on: 09-03-2015, 12:01:06 »

Čak i ako tako shvatimo nema smisla, nisu u pitanju unutar-rasne varijacije nego verske razlike, majku mu :( 


 :lol: pa da, to i hoće da kaže, da proizvodimo silnu agresiju na bazi razlika čak i tamo gde ih zapravo i nema, pa je otud i haj-fentezi model ophođenja sa istinski drugačijom vrstom jednostavno... nedovoljno fantastičan:mrgreen:

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #103 on: 10-03-2015, 12:15:20 »
sukobi između rasa nisu nastali zbog razlike u rasama već zbog potrebe čoveka da ima potlačene i manje vredne u vidokrugu da bi se osećao boljim i uspešnijim.
Ima jedan ilustrativan primer iz Rusije, u vreme Staljina, milioni ljudi je raseljeno, proterano u Sibir i na razne druge lokacije gde su radili kao jeftina ili besplatna radna snaga, dakle robovi. Vrlo malo tih grupacija su bili "drugi", Čečeni i tako neki bušmani, jer Staljin nije imao mnogo "drugih"... ali je njemu trebao određeni milion robova i on ih je izmislio. OK, bilo je tamo revolucionara i revolucionarnih krajeva, ali da nije bilo, da su svi bili besprekorni, onda bi lovili ljude po ulici: "Pljunuo si na trotoar, hajde u Sibir". On nije imao crtu ispod koje se išlo u Sibir, nego je njemu trebalo toliko i toliko miliona robova i on je zahvatio odozdo pa dokle je stigao.
Potpuno isto funkcioniše sa rasama, pa se ne treba iznenaditi da vremenom počne da se priča o Bosancima kao nižoj rasi i katolicima u odnosu na protestante, jer da smo kojim slučajem svi identične boje kože, kose i očiju, onda bi ljudi potrebu za izrugivanjem nad nekome izražavali na drugi način: "svi niži od 1,60" ili svi sa nosem većim od 3cm, otkud znam šta sve ne, jednostavno nije postojanje rasa uzrok rasizma, već ljudska potreba da se izbori za bolji status u okruženju, a posedovanje robova, jeftine radne snage, potlačenih ili kako god je najelegantniji i evolutivno najukorenjeniji način.

Pa, to kad pričaš o diktaturama i ostalim nasiljima na državnom nivou… ali kad se govori o podelama na nivou pojedinaca u istom rasno/nacionalno/društveno a uglavnom čak i ekonomski jedinstvenom modelu, onda se govori o podelama koje nisu rezultat niakve prisile nego naprosto morala, dakle dobrovoljne su i kulturno afirmisane, i to je onda nešto drugo. Irac katolik mrzi Irca protestanta do tačke u kojoj se smatra drugačijim od njega, a to je onda obećanje koje se eventualno samo ispunjava, jer pravi sopstvene razlike. A što razlike postaju veće, to je i ljudima lakše da se smatraju drugačijima, pa tako ta podeljenost zapravo samu sebe hrani.

Nego, kad smo već kod veštački stvarane različitosti tamo gde je zapravo nema, nije li ovo zanimljivo:




1 in 200 men direct descendants of Genghis Khan


In 2003 a groundbreaking historical genetics paper reported results which indicated that a substantial proportion of men in the world are direct line descendants of Genghis Khan. By direct line, I mean that they carry Y chromosomes which seem to have come down from an individual who lived approximately 1,000 years ago. As Y chromosomes are only passed from father to son, that would mean that the Y is a record of one’s patrilineage. Genghis Khan died ~750 years ago, so assuming 25 years per generation, you get about 30 men between the present and that period. In more quantitative terms, ~10% of the men who reside within the borders of the Mongol Empire as it was at the death of Genghis Khan may carry his Y chromosome, and so ~0.5% of men in the world, about 16 million individuals alive today, do so. Since 2003 there have been other cases of “super-Y” lineages. For example the Manchu lineage and the Uí Néill lineage. The existence of these Y chromosomal lineages, which have burst upon the genetic landscape like explosive stars sweeping aside all other variation before them, indicates a periodic it “winner-take-all” dynamic in human genetics more reminiscent of hyper-polygynous mammals such as elephant seals. As we do not exhibit the sexual dimorphism which is the norm in such organisms, it goes to show the plasticity of outcome due to the flexibility of human cultural forms.

Jason Goldman of Thoughtful Animal reminded me of the 2003 paper a few days ago, so I thought it would be useful to review it again for new readers (as I know most of you have not been reading for 7 years!). To understand how one Y chromosomal lineage can have such a wide distribution across such a large proportion of the human race, here is a quote attributed to Genghis Khan:

The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.


You’re probably more familiar with the paraphrase in Conan the Barbarian.

The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols:

"We have identified a Y-chromosomal lineage with several unusual features. It was found in 16 populations throughout a large region of Asia, stretching from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea, and was present at high frequency: ∼8% of the men in this region carry it, and it thus makes up ∼0.5% of the world total. The pattern of variation within the lineage suggested that it originated in Mongolia ∼1,000 years ago. Such a rapid spread cannot have occurred by chance; it must have been a result of selection. The lineage is carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, and we therefore propose that it has spread by a novel form of social selection resulting from their behavior."

What is social selection? In this context it’s pretty obvious, the Mongol Empire was the personal property of the “Golden Family,” the family of Genghis Khan. More precisely this came to consist of the descendants of Genghis Khan’s four sons by his first and primary wife, Jochi, Chagatai, Ogedei, and Tolui. Like descent from the gods in the mythology of the Classical World, or the House of David in medieval Christian monarchies, a line back to Genghis Khan became a necessary precondition for fitness to be a ruler in the centuries after the rise of the Mongol Empire across much of Asia.

To me the power and fury of the Mongol expansion, the awe and magnetism which Genghis Khan’s bloodline held for Asiatic societies in the wake of their world conquest, is attested to by the fact that descent from Genghis Khan became a mark of prestige even within Islamic societies. Timur claimed a relationship to Chagatai. His descendants in India, the Timurids, retained pride in their Genghiside heritage. In Russia among the Muslim Tatars and in Central Asia among the Uzbeks descent from Genghis Khan was a major calling card for any would-be warlord. This is peculiar in light of the fact that Genghis Khan, and his near descendants, were non-Muslims! Not only were they non-Muslims, but the Mongol assault on West Asian Muslims societies was particularly deleterious; it is generally assumed that Iran and Mesopotamia’s relatively productive irrigation system were wrecked during the Mongol conquests to the point where it took centuries for them to rebound to their previous levels of productivity. More symbolically, it was the Mongols who finally extinguished the Abbasid Caliphate.

In Muslim societies pride of place is given to Sayyids, descendants of Muhammad through his grandsons Hasan and Husain. Naturally this is often fictive, but that matters little. In fact in the Golden Horde, the northwestern region of the Mongol Empire which eventually gave rise to the Tatars who imposed the yoke on the Russians, non-Genghiside warlords produced fictive genealogies claiming descent from Muhammad as a way to negate the lineage advantage of their Genghiside rivals. But it is still shocking that there was even a question as to whether descent from Genghis Khan was more prestigious than descent from the prophet of Islam!

And the power of descent from Genghis Khan, the monopoly of the commanding heights which his male line descendants still felt to be theirs by right of their blood, obtained at the heart of his Empire, Mongolia, down to a very late period. The last of the great steppe polities, the Zunghar Empire, was defeated by the Manchus in part because it was led by a subset of the Oirat Mongols, a tribe whose leadership were not descended in the male line from the Golden Family, and so could not convince the Genghiside nobility of eastern Mongolia to align with them. From the perspective of moderns, who tend to conceive of historical patterns and forces in economic, or at least ideological, terms, this fixation on blood descent seems ridiculous. I suspect that many pre-modern people, who were accustomed to small family groups and kin networks in a way we are not, would find our own surprise rather perplexing.


 :lol:  Ima još toga ovde: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/08/1-in-200-men-direct-descendants-of-genghis-khan/

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #104 on: 13-03-2015, 08:06:58 »
Remembering Terry Pratchett



Terry Pratchett is gone.

Like many readers, I will miss him dearly. There are few authors whose work I followed so exhaustively, and whose work has affected me in such fundamental ways.

His most abundant and popular works were his Discworld series, often satirical, often humorous books which numbered in the dozens, all taking place on a fantasy world called Discworld. As the name implies, Discworld is flat, and it rotates on the backs of four great elephants which stand on the back of the cosmic sea turtle Great A’Tuin who flies through space with his burden. Pretty much any Discworld book can be picked up and read with no prior knowledge of the series–there are recurring characters and in-jokes and developments in the world of technological, social, and other natures that will be appreciated more for readers who have read the earlier books in the series, but any book can be understood on its own. Some of the books, like Small Gods or Thief of Time are basically one-offs where the main character is the star of only this book. Other books are parts of sub-series which are probably best appreciated in order, a subseries of books following the witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, or a subseries of books following Sam Vimes who begins as a beat cop in cardboard shoes on the three-man Ankh-Morpork City Watch and moves his way up in the ranks.

 I was first exposed to the Discworld when I was about 14 (a very suitable age to get into the series) when by brother gave me a copy of Soul Music for my birthday. Soul Music follows the small town musician Imp y Celes who goes to Ankh-Morpork to seek his fortune. He makes some friends and they perform together, and are supposed to die in a violent bar brawl, but are possessed by the irresistable spirit of Musics With Rocks In, which has no objective value to those who aren’t directly posessed by it. There he meets Susan Sto Helit, Death’s granddaughter (a backstory covered in previous novels) who has been coerced by the universe to fill in for Death while Death grieves the passing of Susan’s parents in a carriage accident–she is there to help Imp cross over to the afterlife but is surprised to find him not dead. Susan has only recently become aware of her connection to Death, her parents having kept that as secret as possible while they sent her to boarding school, though she has happily taken advantage of the abilities her heritage gives her, like the ability to fade out of people’s attention at will.

Susan is one of best elements of the Discworld series. Competent, compassionate, but ever aware that she is not like the people around her. She struggled to understand her grandfather, Death, who is basically a metaphor taken shape and who struggles to understand human affectations and behaviors without the common ground needed to really do that. She is a creature between two worlds who has to learn to live with both halves of herself, trying to reconcile the nature of her humanity with the nature of what makes her different from everyone else. Like many SF/F readers, I struggled finding my social place in the world, and particularly at the age when I first read Soul Music. Just a couple years before I’d moved from a city to a very small town where the cliques were basically permanently formed since Kindergarten, and where there was even less room for social differences than in most places I’ve lived. The social aspect of life is a lot easier now, having found an engineering job where it’s easier to find people with like interests, and finding online communities of SF readers and SF writers where I don’t just manage to survive by pretending to be like other people, but where I can just be who I am without being forced out because of it. (I have a great love for SF Signal and other online gathering places for this.) But back then I had found no such place. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was struggling more with trying to find a place in the world than I ever had before and more than I ever have since then, and reading books with characters like Susan helped me in a profound way that I’m only coming to understand in retrospect. Susan is powerful, and amazing, but not without her struggles, to understand herself and to understand her grandfather. When I was older I read Hogfather, which again features Susan as a major character, but now as a grown woman who has found a niche in the world working as a nanny who is powerfully effective in large part because she acknowledges that the monsters of childhood are real and instead of trying to convince the children of their unreality she just beats the hell out of the beasties instead.

By far my favorite Discworld book is Small Gods. This story takes place a long time before most of the series, in the country of Omnia, which worships only one god, the Great God Om. Om has been away from the world for a while, off in other places romping and doing whatever gods do when they’re out of town. He decides to come back and visit his believers. On the Discworld, a god’s power is proportionate to the amount of belief that is invested in them. Every god starts small when some shepherd finds a lost sheep and stacks a small altar of rocks in thanks to shapeless forces, and the biggest of the gods grow and grow from there as more and more people join in. Om, therefore, expects to land and take some kind of grand manifestation like a great bull or an elegant swan, something suitably impressive for a god who holds the devout belief of an entire country. So Om is very surprised to find that instead he manifests as a two-pound tortoise that only one person seems to be able to hear. That one person is Brutha, a low-level ward of the church who spends most of his time doing menial chores in the Omnian temple.


And it came to pass that in time the Great God Om spake unto Brutha, the Chosen One: “Psst!”

Brutha is unusual in a variety of ways. First, the reason he can hear Om is that he is the most devout of believers. His grandmother taught him all of the lessons of Om and he can’t conceive of any of them being true, while most of the Omnian population actually believes in the Omnian church more than they believe in their deity. Most people think Brutha is simple, but he’s not really simple, he just thinks differently than other people, and other people have trouble understanding him as a result, and vice versa. Like Susan Sto-Helit, Brutha is different from the people around them, and those differences are what allows them to take on the roles that the world needs them to take.

Susan might be my favorite character in the series, though she might be neck-and-neck with Granny Weatherwax, who is in a coven of witches in the country of Lancre. Weatherwax at a glance seems like a bossy old hag whom no one could possibly like, seemingly the counterpoint to the ever-smiling companion Nanny Ogg, but as you read more about her it’s clear that this prickly exterior is in large part an affectation, a mask she wears that makes her role in the world more effective. She is no-nonsense, never willing to put up with BS from any source even when it’s dangerous to stand against it, but she is compassionate and a source for good as well.

I have already gone on. I could go on much longer, picking out individual characters and books to speak about at length. Maybe I’ll re-read some of the series and post more about them at a later time, but today I am mourning Terry Pratchett’s death and so it’s only appropriate that I celebrate Terry Pratchett’s Death (the character). Death himself, as an anthropomorphic personification, is a frequently recurring character in the Discworld series, probably the most oft-recurring character. There’s a subseries of books focusing on Death’s progression as a character, sometimes struggling against his own occupation, trying to reconcile his human form that’s been forced on him by a world full of metaphorically-thinking minds against his natural manifestation as an unfeeling and hard-to-define state of transition between something that is living and something that is not.

Death makes cameos in most of the books as some character or other dies. As a typically pithy quote from Sourcery says: “Death isn’t cruel, merely terribly, terribly good at his job.” Death is, at his core, a person with a job of work to do, a job that never ends as he ushers souls from their death to their afterlife. Often a character in the book doesn’t even know they have died until Death speaks to them in all-caps, and the person looks down to see their own body before Death escorts them to what comes next. In most cases, having already been freed from the mortal coil, this transition is no longer the terrifying prospect that we living mortals might anticipate of it. Death comes, Death speaks to you, you walk with Death and go to where you’re going. It is reassuring in its workaday feel–dying was a thing on your personal checklist, the only unavoidable thing shared by everyone’s checklists, and now that that’s out-of-the-way, it’s time to do something else. There is presumably more that comes after, but that “more” is always off-screen, because it has no place in our world.

(Some spoiler alert for Small Gods in this paragraph) One of the few cases where this is not the case is in Small Gods. A major villain in the book is Vorbis, who believes he is a new prophet of Om, but when Om looks at Vorbis’s mind all Om can see is a steel ball that reflects back on itself. Vorbis is in a position of power in the church, but truly he is a narcissist who doesn’t really believe that anyone outside of himself is real, and the voice he hears in his mind when he prays is not the voice of Om but his own voice bouncing back at him. When Vorbis dies, he speaks briefly with Death. YOU HAVE PERHAPS HEARD THE PHRASE THAT DEATH IS OTHER PEOPLE. “Yes, of course.” IN TIME, YOU WILL LEARN THAT THAT IS WRONG. Instead of crossing the desert to find out what comes next, Vorbis is paralyzed by his solitude and inability to really sense other people and simply huddles in terror in that space between worlds. But even to this villain, Pratchett shows compassion in death–when the protagonist Brutha dies some decades later, he finds Vorbis still huddled there in the space after death. Even though Vorbis did horrible things to Brutha and to the world in general when alive, Brutha shows compassion and takes Vorbis by the hand and leads him to the next place together, acting as the Death-analog.

Pratchett’s attitude toward the character Death has some direct relation to his real-world views on death. He has been struggling with Alzheimer’s for years , and has long been a proponent of allowing people to choose the manner of their own death, including assisted suicide. By what I’ve heard, I don’t think that his life ended this way, but I respect the idea in any case. Terry said “I endorse the work of Dignity in Dying because I believe passionately that any individual should have the right to choose, as far as it is possible, the time and the conditions of their death. Over the last hundred years we have learned to be extremely good at living. But sooner or later, and so often now it is later, everybody dies. I think it’s time we learned to be as good at dying as we are at living.” I think his public support of this concept fits in very well with his Death as a character–Death just has a job to do, and it’s going to happen sooner or later, so it should be within our choice to arrange the necessary meeting as best we can.


Posted on March 13, 2015 by David Steffen in Books // 0 Comments

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #105 on: 14-03-2015, 09:09:57 »
Galaxy’s Edge Magazine to Publish Super-Rare Robert A. Heinlein Story!











Good news for Robert A. Heinlein fans!
Phoenix Pick sends word that the May issue of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine will feature a very rarely seen Heinlein story titled “Field Defects: Memo From a Cyborg”.

What makes this story so rare?


In 1975, Random House/Vintage published an anthology of stories about cyborgs called Human-Machines, edited by Thomas N. Scortia and George Zebrowski. The editors dedicated the book to Robert A. Heinlein, “who taught us both.” When Heinlein received a copy of the book, he wrote them both a letter, thanking them. However, that personal message to them was in a postscript. The actual text of the letter was a short fiction piece showing a truly whimsical and entertaining side of the Heinlein where he pretended to be a Cyborg – in keeping with the theme of the anthology – complaining about certain defects. The story has only been published once before: in the Virginia Edition, a set of volumes (limited to 2,000 sets and selling for $1,500 each) containing Heinlein’s complete fiction and non-fiction. For the vast majority of readers, this will be a “new” Heinlein story.


“Field Defects: Memo From a Cyborg” will appear in the May issue of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #106 on: 16-03-2015, 08:20:30 »
How Genre Fiction Became More Important Than Literary Fiction



The book war is over. The aliens, dragons, and detectives won.   :!:





The writers Kazuo Ishiguro and Ursula K. Le Guin are having a highly old-fashioned debate about the distinction between literary and genre fiction. Ishiguro started it, in an interview with The New York Times about his latest novel The Buried Giant, when he asked "Will readers follow me into this? Will they understand what I'm trying to do, or will they be prejudiced against the surface elements? Are they going to say this is fantasy?" Le Guin didn't like the tone of that last remark and fired back, "Well, yes, they probably will. Why not? It appears the author takes the word for an insult." Now Ishiguro has defended himself, rather meekly, by saying, "I am on the side of the pixies and the dragons." The whole spectacle is very odd. It sounds like a debate from another era. What writer today would feel any need whatsoever to separate him or herself from fantasy or indeed any other genre? If anything, the forms of genre—science fiction, fantasy, the hardboiled detective story, the murder mystery, horror, vampire, and werewolf stories—have become the natural homes for the most serious literary questions.



Only idiots or snobs ever really thought less of "genre books" of course. There are stupid books and there are smart books. There are well-written books and badly written books. There are fun books and boring books. All of these distinctions are vastly more important than the distinction between the literary and the non-literary. Time has a tendency to demolish old snobberies. Once upon a time, Conan Doyle was embarrassed by the Sherlock Holmes stories; he wanted to be remembered for his serious historical novels. Jim Thompson's books—considered straight pulp during his lifetime—are obviously as dense and layered and confounding as great literature. Correction: They are great literature. Who really thinks, today, that Stanislaw Lem isn't a genius, that he's "just a science fiction writer"?


More recently, writers of a more explicitly literary bent have explored genre with more and more regularity. Colson Whitehead's zombie novel Zone One was both a bestseller and a critical darling. Chang-rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea is literature and genre fiction, simultaneously, with no sense of contradiction. In a self-referential move, Emily Mandel's Station Eleven, a National Book Award finalist in 2014, predicts a post-apocalyptic future in which artists treat Star Trek and Shakespeare with absolute equality. This is the future, and also to a certain extent the present.




Resistance to genre, among literary writers, has given way to eagerness to exploit its riches. The boundaries between high and low are increasingly meaningless for audiences. But there are aesthetic reasons for embracing genre as well. For novelists—and I should probably acknowledge at this point that I have a novel with werewolves out right now, The Hunger of the Wolf—generic forms offer a freedom of scope that literary realism simply no longer does.

The landscape of realism has narrowed. If you think of the straight literary novels of the past decade—The Marriage Plot, The Interestings, The Art of Fielding, Freedom—they often deal with stories and characters from a very particular economic and social position. Realism, as a literary project, has taken as its principle subject the minute social struggles of people who have graduated mainly from Ivy League schools. The great gift of literary realism has always been its characteristic ability to capture the shifting weather of inner life, but the mechanisms of that inner life and whose inner lives are under discussion have become as generic as any vampire book: These are books about privileged people with relatively small problems.

Not that these small problems can't be fascinating. It is exactly the best realist novels of our moment which are the most miniature: In Teju Cole's Open City, a man and his thoughts wander over various cities. In Adelle Waldman's The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., the action consists of the tiny fluctuations of the inordinate vanity and self-loathing of the main character. Both novels are superb, and both are focused on the most minute of details. They draw larger significances from those details, certainly, but the constraints are ferocious. Any discussions of politics or any broader aspect of the human condition are funneled through the characters' fine judgments.

In the wide-open spaces left by the narrowing of realism, genre becomes the place where grand philosophical questions can be worked out on narrative terms. You will occasionally read about a mobile phone in a realist novel, but the technology's meaning, and consequence, are much more thoroughly handled in a book like Super Sad True Love Story. Freedom deals with the environmental crisis, it is true. But a book like Station Eleven deals with the fate of our species and the possibilities of art, ideas of a scope which the realist imagination, at least of our moment, can no longer stomach.

Properly speaking, there is no outside of genre anymore; one may choose to write vampire books or werewolf books or horror books or one may choose to write books in the genre known as "literary fiction." For most of the 20th century, literary art dreamed of an escape from genre, an escape from the restraints of type and stereotype and, above all, the market. In the 21st century, the traditional roles have now been reversed. I can only assume that Ishiguro misspoke in his Times interview, because in The Buried Giant and in Never Let Me Go, he used the forms of genre writing as beautifully and as profoundly as anyone. He knows the "literary bigots" today are the ghetto-dwellers. Realism is a closed shop. Genre fiction is open.


http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/a33599/genre-fiction-vs-literary-fiction/


PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #107 on: 16-03-2015, 09:15:58 »
How to Write About Characters Who Are Smarter Than You


Prevelik tekst za kopipejstovanje ali veoma zanimljiv:


https://medium.com/@MrGrahamMoore/how-to-write-about-characters-who-are-smarter-than-you-c7c956944847

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #108 on: 18-03-2015, 08:33:53 »
10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction 
 
Going beyond the obvious comparisons with "Ferngully" and "Dances with Wolves"


Article by Avi Abrams


Quote
By now many of you have seen James Cameron's epic "Avatar" and marveled at its breakthrough 3D immersion technology. Visually, the movie is beyond breathtaking. Perhaps it can even be compared to the advent of widescreen in movie history.

 Plot-wise, however, it is a simple, old-fashioned and perhaps overly familiar adventure, bringing to mind a range of stories from "Pocahontas" to Miyazaki's "Nausicaa" and "Princess Mononoke". Some see this as a drawback, others praise the straightforward approach to story-telling and dialogue - after all, it's one less thing to distract you from the awesome spectacle that unfolds on the screen.


"Yes, it is predictable in a way that roller coaster ride is predictable", says one reviewer. Likewise, it's even possible that the main character was intentionally made somewhat bland and toned down in personality, so that any viewer could identify with the main hero - seamlessly inhabiting his "avatar" to explore the glorious new world of Pandora.

 It is not our intention to argue how and if the plot of "Avatar" could've been made better or more original. After all, it is an old-fashioned fairytale; a personal dream of maestro James Cameron many decades in the making.

 Instead, we are going to list some possible influences from obscure and even forgotten classic science fiction sources that came to our mind while watching "Avatar" - there is no telling if James Cameron read any of them or was influenced by any particular tradition, but it was a good fun to find out and remember the jolly good reads that they are (see if you can remember any of the stories mentioned below, or if you can think of other ones):


1. Robert F. Young - "To Fell a Tree". First published in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1959, this obscure and rarely reprinted novella is perhaps the closest to the plot of "Avatar".

 A giant tree sacred to humanoid natives razed to the ground by the greedy, crazed human military outfit - the parallels are too many to recount here. Robert F. Young's prose is powerful and efficient, and the ending evokes similar emotional response to that of "Avatar". It is also a criminally under-rated piece of fiction - we can only rejoice that "Avatar" brings it to life to beautifully - but it's also sad to see top-notch science fiction stories by Robert F. Young remain out of print and uncredited for so many years.

 The idea of "projected consciousness" into the bodies of natives on hostile planets was also explored at length in classic science fiction. Here are a few examples:

 2. Poul Anderson - "Call Me Joe" First published in Astounding Science Fiction in April, 1957. Read more detailed analysis here.

 "Like Avatar, Call Me Joe centers on a paraplegic — Ed Anglesey — who telepathically connects with an artificially created life form in order to explore a harsh planet (in this case, Jupiter). Anglesey, like "Avatar"'s Jake Sully, revels in the freedom and strength of his artificially created body, battles predators on the surface of Jupiter, and gradually goes native as he spends more time connected to his artificial body."


 3. Ben Bova - "The Winds of Altair" First published as a novel in 1973. Six-legged beasties, remote-control "avatars", greedy terraforming humans.

 "The classic SciFi novel tells the story of humans trying to terraform the planet of Altair IV, where they cannot breath the air. The natives of this planet are a cat-like race and humans are able to transfer their minds into these cats in order to explore the planet safely. Throughout the course of the novel, the main character inhabits the body of one of these cats (just like in Avatar) and grows to side with the natives against the Military in the story." (source)

 4. Clifford Simak - "Desertion" First published in November 1944 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Same idea: human research team on the surface of a hostile planet needs to inhabit "avatar" bodies more suitable to environment. One small problem - those who were sent did not come back, but "deserted" and remained behind, choosing a more liberating alien culture.


Another work very similar in plot and feel is actually an award-winning piece by a well-known writer:

 5. Ursula K. Le Guin - "The Word for World is Forest" (more info). Published back in 1972, in Again, Dangerous Visions, it was even a winner of the 1973 Hugo Award for Best Novella.

 Similarities? Well, how about a forested planet with the deeply "connected" natives, a human military raid on a huge tree-city and a subsequent retaliation of natives... some scenes seem incredibly familiar, even though Le Guin plot is markedly deeper and more sophisticated. We highly recommend seeking out this book if you thought the plot of "Avatar" was one-dimensional - it should fill in all the details you would ever need.


Other visual and atmospheric clues (no similarities with the plot):

 6. Harry Harrison - "Deathworld" First published in Astounding Science Fiction, January-March 1960. A militaristic gung-ho colonization with disregard for complexities of native life. Top-notch depiction of tough space marines as only Harrison can do it. Extremely hostile life-forms populate that planet: Avatar's quote "everything that crawls, flies or squats out there... will want to kill you" seems right at home with "Deathworld". Highly recommended as a great adventure read.

 7. Some other wonderful examples from the Golden Age of Science Fiction also come to mind: "Exploration Team" by Murray Leinster; hilarious interactions between human military colonization force and natives in various stories by Eric Frank Russell ("...And Then There Were None", "Somewhere a Voice", etc.) Various jungle planet environments were nicely explored by Robert A. Heinlein in his juvenile-fiction novels, and also in Bob Shaw's "Who Goes There?".


8. Anne McCaffrey - "The Dragonriders of Pern" series. This is an obvious allusion to exhilarating sequences of taming and riding on dragons - very analogous to the thrilling winged-beast taming in "Avatar".


9. Na'vi - Dark Elves, anyone? Or if you'd like, "Elfquest" (more info). A cult comic series started in 1978. There are very broad visual similarities, but I can't stop thinking of dark elves when I look at na'vi ways and romance.

 10. The interior and exterior views of the spaceship which brings Jake Sully to Pandora reminds me of Alastair Reynolds "Revelation Space" light-hugger ships (significantly scaled down, of course). The opening sequence can easily serve as an opening for hypothetical "Chasm City" movie, for example. The flying mountains and islands are also a feature of Alastair Reynolds great story "Minla's Flowers".


So here is a brief list of possible influences on visual creation of "Avatar" and examples of classic science fiction that elaborate on the (very basic) "Avatar" plot. Let us know of other similarities you've noticed - after all, just like the case with "Star Wars" we are witnessing the birth of yet another mythology, and it is only proper that we should honor the original sources of this particular science fiction tradition.




BONUS: do you remember the wonderful tiny helicopter-like creature that lit up the night on Pandora? It turns out to be the design of Leonardo da Vinci, no less:





PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #109 on: 19-03-2015, 08:30:54 »
At Kirkus: Graphic Novels That Are Coming to TV and Film

Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Adaptation Watch (Graphic Novel Edition)




https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/read-them-now-watch-them-later-graphic-novel/



PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #110 on: 24-03-2015, 08:03:51 »

Good news from Orbit Books. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey is being adapted to film by Altitude Film Entertainment.

The film, which is being re-titled as She Who Brings Gifts, has already started assembling the cast and crew: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close are lined up to star in the film, which will be directed by Colm McCarthy. Carey wrote the script. Shooting is scheduled to start in May.



Here’s how the film is described:


SHE WHO BRINGS GIFTS is the story of Melanie, a girl who is full of questions about the world. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into a wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.






Compare and contrast that with the book description:


NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING.

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #111 on: 27-03-2015, 08:47:42 »

The Scully Effect: My Life in The X-Files


Posted by Anne on Thursday, March 26, 2015 in Film, Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction, Television  | Permalink


The-X-FilesThe X-Files, huh? That show people watched like twenty years ago? Who cares? I do, that's who. Now sit down and shut up while I explain important things to you.

Last week the internet exploded with joy when the long-circulating rumour that The X-Files would be getting a new season 13 years after it went off the air, was confirmed. Well, much of the internet exploded with joy. Some of the internet exploded with skepticism (‘It’ll just suck!’) and bits of it exploded with confusion (‘they’re making a television show about that stupid movie from a couple of years ago?’)

Well, gather round, folks, because I'm here to tell you why you should not just care that the X-Files are back, but should get really excited. I was there when it all began, loved the show from the beginning, and have a lot of opinions so I'm  more qualified than anyone else on the entire internet to tell you this stuff.
 

So, what was the X-Files? Short answer: a  television show about two deadpan FBI agents and the aliens who loved them. Longer answer: everyone remembers the 1990s as being all about bright colours and Saved by the Bell. And Friends, for some reason. The 90s was actually defined by conspiracy theories, drab colours, obsession with ‘the truth’ and endless meditations on the desperate fight to retain some vestige of individuality in a rapidly globalizing world. Also, Bill Clinton’s sex life, but that’s slightly less relevant. And here’s what the X-Files delivered: conspiracy theories, drab colours, endless meditations on individuality in the face of increasing globalization, and two hot leads with perfect mastery over the art of deadpan humour.

X-filesThat tells me nothing. Fine. Okay, In 1992ish, FOX – at the time still an upstart network with something to prove, rather than the conservative juggernaut we’ve come to think of it – greenlit a show about an alien-obsessed FBI agent and the medical doctor/FBI agent the Bureau sent in to keep an eye on him. The X-Files premiered in September 1993 in the so-called Friday Night Death Slot – basically, the place where networks dumped shows they didn’t think would find an audience. Fortunately, early fans of The X-Files (like yours truly) were young or nerdy or both and didn’t have Friday night plans to take them away from their televisions. The X-Files’ cool premise, sharp writing, excellent acting and overall vibe meshed perfectly with the interests – and schedules – of a legion of early internet users, who would watch episodes and then turn on their computers, dial up an internet server with their modem machines, and discuss the show in endless detail. FOX realized it had some sort of cult hit on its hands and kept airing the show. By 1997/8 it was a full-blown mainstream success. A movie, timed to be released during the summer hiatus between seasons 5 and 6, was a massive hit. The X-Files lasted nine seasons and (more or less) survived a location change, from Toronto to Los Angeles, and a cast departure, when David Duchovny (sort of) left the show. The X-Files also survived a fairly bad second film, which was released a baffling seven years after it went off the air and left very little impression on anyone anywhere.

Thanks for all the boring history. Now tell me why you liked it. The X-Files combined season- and series-long arcs about a massive government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extra terrestrials (the so-called ‘mytharc’) with single-episode stories (called ‘monster of the week’ episodes) that sent its comely leads to small towns all over the US to investigate whatever weird goings-on were going on. This is important because nerds, like yours truly, love to obsess over details, and a hundred-plus episodes of details gave us a lot to obsess over. Nerds like yours truly also like really esoteric stuff, and the monster-of-the-week eps mined a lot of really, truly esoteric sources to produce some really, truly great episodes. But that wasn’t all! Viewers were also drawn to the show’s trademark humour (deader than deadpan) and its good-looking leads with their frustrating will they/won’t they/hey, are they already?! chemistry.

Scully-Mulder-DressOo, chemistry? Yeah, so the show was anchored by the two agents, Mulder and Scully. Fox Mulder, the dude, was a brilliant criminal profiler who was obsessed with finding out whatever happened to his sister, who had vanished without a trace when they were children. He was convinced she’d been kidnapped by aliens, and created and then nearly destroyed his reputation and career by chasing after any evidence of aliens – and anything else weird and unexplained, aka any X-File – he could find. The Bureau assigned Dana Scully, a forensic pathologist, to ‘assist’ in Mulder’s investigations and secretly work to debunk him. Scully, a consumate skeptic, became invested in Mulder’s cause even as she remained uncertain that there was ever any explanation beyond the rational for their cases. The actors had an easy natural chemistry that lent itself to suggestions that the characters liked each other, you know, like that, even though the show kept the mystery of whether Mulder and Scully were actually doing it as misty and vague as its settings.

So,were they doing it? Congratulations! You have nine seasons and two movies to watch to find out.

Lame. Can you summarize the show for me? Yes. Yes, I can.

Mulder: We have an X-File! Let’s fly to [insert name of Rural Midwestern Town here] and investigate!
Scully: We don’t have to, Mulder. The answer is clearly Science.
Mulder: Wrong! The answer is clearly Aliens!
[They fly to Rural Midwestern Town]
Scully: [talks to locals] See, Mulder? The explanation is obviously Science.
Mulder: [goes haring off into a mist-shrouded forest] No, Scully, the answer is obviously Aliens!
Scully: [in episode-closing monologue] The answer was probably Science, but what do we know? There are mysteries everywhere, I guess.

Or, to put it even more concisely:

Mulder: Mystery!
Scully: Science!
Mulder: Aliens!
Scully: [rolls eyes]

You talk too much. What episodes should I watch if I can’t just binge-watch the entire nine seasons, because I have an actual life?

1. Pilot (1.1): sets everything up, introduces the characters, and becomes vitally important to the show’s mytharc later in the series.

2. Ice (1.'8) A monster-of-the-week episode that tackles John Carpenter’s The Thing in true X-Files style. There’s an isolated research base in a frozen tundra, a bunch of homicidal scientists, and a half-rational, half-lunatic explanation for everything.

3. The Erlenmeyer Flask (1.24) A major mytharc episode that advances the conspiracy…

4. The Host (2.2) Ask any X-Files fan about the most memorable episodes and they’ll inevitably bring up ‘the fluke-man episode.’ This is that episode.

5. Irresistible (2.13) The X-Files established itself as a master of creepiness early on, but this is one of the very creepiest episodes of the early seasons. There’s a preternaturally calm serial killer on the loose… and he likes redheads.

Bad-blood-36. Humbug (2.20) Another of the super famous episodes, this one about circus freaks. Scully appears to eat a grasshopper in the episode. Everyone thought she actually had and their responses are genuine. (She palmed it.)

7. Anasazi (2.25) Season 2’s final episode is another huge mytharc one, and ends with Mulder trapped in a burning boxcar buried in the New Mexico desert. It was a hell of a cliffhanger!

8. The Blessing Way and Paperclip (3.1, 3.2) Continue the story from Anasazi.

9. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (3.4) For my money one of the finest, most affecting episodes the show ever did.

10. War of the Coprophages (3.12) It’s an episode about cockroaches. It’s also hilarious.

11. Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (3.20) Possibly the most famous and most loved episode of the show, a Roshamon-style outing about an alien abduction and a science fiction author.

12. Home (4.2) Honestly, this is one of the most disturbing hours of television I’ve ever seen. And I’ve watched both seasons of Hannibal. Mulder and Scully investigate the weird death of a baby in a rural town and uncover some horrifying secrets…

13. Leonard Betts (4.12) Another creepy episode (they’re mostly pretty creepy) about a guy who eats cancer.

14. Never Again (4.13) As Mulder’s search for his sister intensifies, Scully begins to question her role in the X-Files. This Scully-centric episode is as much a watershed for her character as the episode Leonard Betts.

FoxMuldersWristWatch115. Gethsemene (4.24) Another mytharc episode, and one with yet another extraordinary cliff-hanger ending…

16. Unusual Suspects (5.3) Explains the origins of fan-favourite characters The Lone Gunmen, three conspiracy-obsessed guys who Mulder regularly turns to for help.

17. A Post-Modern Prometheus (5.5) This episode is about Frankenstein, and also Cher.

18. Bad Blood (5.13) Another classic episode, retelling a story from Mulder and then Scully’s perspectives. Probably the funniest episode the show ever produced.

19. The End (5.20) Paving the way for the film that would follow that summer, The End seems to spell the end of the X-Files forever.

20. The X-Files: Fight the Future (film), Bees, Antarctica, and an OMG JUST KISS ALREADY moment straight out of every shipper’s dreams, The X-Files film promised maximum awesome and delivered it. And for a brief, shining moment you could buy Scully and Mulder action figures in supermarkets across the nation. Man, 1998 was weird.

21. Triangle (6.3) I should put The Beginning (6.1) here but Triangle is so much fun – Mulder gets stuck on a ship trapped in the Bermuda Triangle… in 1943. Or maybe he just gets hit on the head and imagines it all.

22. Monday (6.14) Mulder relives the same day over and over again. There’s a recurring joke about a waterbed with a mirror above it that you’d have to watch Dreamland I and II (6.4 and 6.5) to get (essentially, it’s a body-swap two-parter, and very good), but it’s a fun episode even if you don't watch Dreamland before.

23. Arcadia (6.15) Scully and Mulder go undercover in a gated community. Come for the garbage-monster; stay for the sexual tension.

24. Biogenesis (6.22) Another season-ending episode with a cliff-hanger ending. Aliens! Conspiracies! Smokey back rooms and mysterious conversations!

25. The Goldberg Variation (7.6). The detective duo investigate the luckiest man alive, and also Johann Sebastian Bach.

26. X-Cops (7.12) An  episode of the X-Files shot as though it’s an episode of Cops. Written by Vince Gilligan (creator of Breaking Bad) and utterly weird.

27. All Things (7.17) Written and directed by Gillian Anderson, it’s a Scully-centric episode that explores the faith of a skeptic, and confronts the unanswerable and unknowable.

28. Requiem (7.22) Scully’s health fails and Mulder… vanishes.

To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of seasons 8 and 9, and so I’m not sure (especially in 8) which episodes are really ‘must see’. I’d say skip ‘em all (because all you really need to know is going to follow this paragraph in white text – highlight to read) and move straight to the last three episodes of 9:

Mulder vanishes, apparently abducted by aliens. Scully isn’t sick; she’s pregnant, despite her cancer from earlier seasons having rendered her infertile. In Mulder’s absence she becomes the alien conspiracy true believer. She's also joined by two new characters, the T-1000 and a really, seriously annoying lady who likes tarot cards and stuff. Scully gives birth and then gives up her baby. Because he might be part-alien, or something? I don’t remember. It was really weird.

Xfiles29. Sunshine Days (9.18) The last non-finale episode of the X-Files is about… the Brady Bunch? Yes, it is. It’s also a stirring meditation on the power of television to captivate, and how long-running shows – like the X-Files – become warm, safe spaces for the audiences who love them. It seemed weird at the time but in retrospect it's a charming send-off to one of the great television series of all time.

30. The Truth, I and II (9.19, 9.20) The two-part finale to the series answered a lot of questions and raised even more. I’m not sure how satisfying it would have been for anyone not familiar with the preceding five hundred thousand episodes, but it does explain what happened to Mulder, and some of that stuff from the white text block up there.

For completion’s sake, you should probably also watch the second film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. But the poster is cooler than the movie, which is more like a long, not very good monster-of-the-week episode. And there are no bees in this one, alas. Mulder does have a beard for part of it, though. (Euugh.)

That was way more information than I wanted. How about just ten episodes this time?

Wimp. Try Pilot, The Host, Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, Home, Bad Blood, Triangle, Requiem, Sunshine Days, The Truth I and II. Clearly I’m a monster-of-the-week person over a mytharc person, but the best mytharc episodes are encapsulated in Pilot, The X-Files: Fight the Future, Requiem, and The Truth I and II.

Wait, is that all? Okay, here are some of my personal favourite episodes that didn’t make the list above: Darkness Falls (1.20), about little green bugs (the first episode I ever saw); Roland (1.23), features the creepiest death ever; Detour (4.5) where our heroes get lost in a forest; The Unnatural (6.19), about baseball and aliens, Je Souhaite (7.21) about a genie in a bottle. I’m not even kidding with that last one. A genie. In a bottle.

Is there anything else I need to know? Let’s see: there was a song about David Duchovny that actually got a lot of radio-play one summer because the 90s were way less fun than you remember. Gillian Anderson went on to prove herself an incredibly talented actress. She’s also really short, and not a natural redhead. Indeed, she’s so short she had a special ‘apple box’ to stand on for most of their scenes together.

Also, there's a real phenomenon, the so-called 'Scully effect' - that we can trace to the show. In the years that the X-Files was on the air, there was an increase in the number of women pursuing STEM degrees that can be traced directly to the fact that a woman with a degree in physics and an MD was being portrayed as calm, competent, successful and awesome on a successful weekly television show. Because, as it turns out, representation matters. Who knew.

The hostAny last thoughts? I was 14 years old when the X-Files started airing and it felt like it had been made specifically for me, a bookish, career-oriented, nerdy girl with a healthy fascination with the macabre, the strange, and the cryptozoographic. The male lead was hot and smart; more importantly, the female lead was hot and smart and not a victim or an idiot. My friends and I would watch the X-Files at sleepovers; my first boyfriend and I connected over our shared affection for it, and - even when it got kind of sucky - it remained the first real example of what kind of stories could best be told on television, presaging the new golden age of television. The X-Files was, for years, the only television I watched. I can't say I'm a genre fiction editor because of the X-Files, but I can say that it and my love for it during a formative period absolutely contributed to my love of science fiction, fantasy and horror and was - and remains - a huge influence on me.

The X-Files was serious appointment television for years, one of the incredibly rare examples of a cult television show that gained critical praise and mainstream success. It traded off the dawn of the internet age, made world-wide stars of its unconventionally attractive leads, and spawned a generation of conspiracy-obsessed nerds (like me) who found some kind of uncomfortable validation in the show’s success. For an entire generation of nerds, geeks and weirdos it was our first major fandom. It may have stayed on the air one or two seasons too long, but it produced and continues to produce fanfic, fan art, fan loyalty and something we can continue to get really excited about, more than two decades after it premiered. Long may it last.


PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #112 on: 30-03-2015, 10:05:35 »
Discworld's 5 Best Supporting Characters  :D




1. Cheery Littlebottom

First on the list is easy. It’s CSI: Ankh-Morpork. Cheery is a dwarven forensic expert first seen in Feet of Clay, a character we quickly learn is a woman. Female dwarves have beards and adhere to masculine cultural rules. Sex is, well, confusing. Cheery’s exploration of her femininity, experimenting with heels, make-up and jewellery, could be played for quite offensive laughs.

Pratchett is much better than that. Why Feet of Clay is an amazing book, one of his best, is that it’s about acts of rebellion, from the golem who cannot cope with gaining its own agency and murders as a result, to Vimes, Captain of the City Watch, who refuses to let his butler shave him. Through Cheery looking to break the gender roles dictated to her and the emotional and societal difficulties she faces in doing so, Pratchett humanises the golem’s own struggle and makes the book that much more complex and better as a consequence.
 

2. Jason Ogg

One of Pratchett’s more understated themes is the love of craftmanship. It shows in his writing - his early publication schedule of two Discworld books per year is insane - and he fills his books with a union worth of modest tradesmen. Doing a good job is a brilliant thing for Pratchett, whether it’s the architect Ptaclusp in Pyramids or Jason Ogg.

I love Jason because he is in one of my favourite Discworld scenes. At the beginning of Lords and Ladies, he blindfolds himself and awaits the arrival of Death, because Jason is the best smith in the Discworld and only he can shoe Death’s horse Binky. Lords and Ladies has a really eerie feel, something that might have been due to him working with Neil Gaiman a few years previously for Good Omens.

Jason methodically lays out his tools and treats the work with importance and respect. He serves Death good biscuits. The Grim Reaper praises him ‘AS ONE CRAFTSMAN TO ANOTHER’. Pratchett at his best writes rollicking plots but every so often he slams on the brakes and lets a scene breathe. He does so here to brilliant effect.

Lords-and-ladies-23. Magrat Garlick

One of Pratchett’s many strengths is in writing excellent female characters. Not idealised wonder women, just people. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are among my favourite literary characters ever but I’d be terrified of actually meeting them. They can be cruel, crude and seem to take a little bit too much enjoyment in causing trouble. They’re brilliant but are nightmares.

Stitched into the early Witches novels is a wonderful character arc featuring Magrat, the wet witch who seems solely to exist to make tea and have Granny and Nanny be nasty to her. But she’s not a weak wallflower. Lords and Ladies, one of Pratchett’s best, belongs to her as she starts the book as a thoroughly bored queen. But it is down to her to save the kingdom of Lancre from the threat of the multi-dimensional elves. She dons the garb of the Thor-like Queen Ynci and tears a swathe through the castle to rescue her friends. But in a wonderful Pratchettian twist about the power of stories, we find Queen Ynci never existed. She was invented to give the kingdom a romantic history.

4. The Librarian

Above all, Pratchett’s Discworld series is a love letter to books, the power of reading and danger of living too much in stories. So who better to typify this than a magician turned orangutan who runs the library at the Unseen University?

Like Jason Ogg, the orangutan is another great craftsperson, taking pride in a job well done. He also has the one good scene in the largely terrible Sourcery.  A book that ends before it ever really gets started, it’s only Pratchett’s homage to Alien that stood out. When a team of evil magicians decide to loot the library, the Librarian becomes the Discworldian xenomorph, raining acidic hell upon these utter fools. Because there is no crime worse than ruining a library, is there?

Pyramids-15. Pteppic
Yep, so if you are a Discworld fan, you may be saying ‘Graeme, you filthy cheat’ right about now. But, in a series where Tiffany Aching, The Witches, The Watch, The Wizards and Death (among others) make regular appearances, Pteppic is a one book man. So I’m calling him as a supporting character. He’s in one book out of 40. Even Jason Ogg is in more.

Pyramids is the standout book among Pratchett’s early career. A wonderful look at religion and the dangers of fundamentalism, it’s a delightful testing of your preconceptions about faith. Pteppic is the reluctant king returning to the kingdom of Djelibeybi after his father dies. His frustrations about how he has had to abandon his career as an assassin and go back home resonate with us all (maybe not the assassin part).

The book ends with a neat sign of how Pratchett developed as a writer. Our shared sense of stories would suggest Pteppic would be installed as the ruler of Djelibeybi at the book’s end. But he’s not that person, he’s an assassin, and leaves the country in the safe hands of his half-sister Ptraci. And Pratchett only got better at messing with our expectations.


Who are your favourite bit characters of the Discworld universe?

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #113 on: 02-04-2015, 08:32:18 »
a-ha!

(dal' se radovati ili strepiti, pitanje je sad...  :mrgreen:)



Steven Spielberg to direct adaptation of virtual reality novel Ready Player One

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/mar/26/steven-spielberg-direct-adaptation-virtual-reality-novel-ready-player-one


Ernie Cline’s 2011 science fiction tale centres on a teenager, Wade Watts, from the ghettos of 2044 Oklahoma who spends his time enveloped in an online utopia known as OASIS. Watts’ main desire, like millions of others, is to uncover a mysterious “Easter Egg” which the game’s late founder has stipulated will deliver his entire fortune into the virtual mitts of the player who uncovers it.

 
Spielberg, who helped define the science fiction genre for the blockbuster era with 70s and 80s films such as Close Encounters and ET, is expected to shoot Ready Player One after his forthcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. The movie will be his first entry into futuristic territory since 2005’s War of the Worlds (not counting 2008’s poorly-received Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.) Zak Penn, who co-wrote critically-reviled 2006 superhero sequel X-Men: The Last Stand, will oversee the screenplay.

The new film also marks Spielberg’s first project at Warner Bros since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the science fiction tale he inherited from the late Stanley Kubrick.

“We are thrilled to welcome Steven back to Warner Bros,” said studio president Greg Silverman. “We had an historic series of collaborations in the 80s and 90s and have wanted to bring him back for years. As for Ready Player One, we have always felt that Steven was the dream director for this project.”

While the book was published in 2011, the studio bought the rights in 2010 after a heated auction.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #114 on: 07-04-2015, 08:22:30 »
netrpeljivost raste na sve strane... soc/kulturni climate change.  :(


What a time to be alive! Liberals write for Breitbart, a cartoon girl in green and purple is a symbol of terror for the authoritarian Left, and now an online campaign with a manatee for a spokesperson is exposing political cliques in the world of science fiction and fantasy publishing.





In February, we reported on the “Sad Puppies” campaign, a tongue-in-cheek bid by science fiction & fantasy (SF&F) authors to draw attention to an atmosphere of political intolerance, driven by so-called “social justice warriors,” that is holding the medium back. Spearheaded by authors Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen, the campaign sought to break the stranglehold of old cliques by encouraging a more politically diverse group of fans to take part in the annual Hugo Awards.

A week of rumours about the campaign’s success were confirmed this Saturday with the announcement of the final Hugo Awards ballot. Authors and works endorsed by the Sad Puppies nominations slate swept the field, a reflection of just how many new fans the rebel authors have brought into the Hugo process.

Recommendations from Vox Day’s allied Rabid Puppies slate also dominated. Indeed, in the categories of Best Novella, Best Short Story, and Best Novelette, the two slates swept the entire field, an astonishing achievement for a genre some considered to be wholly owned by the social justice tendency just a few short years ago.

It’s worth noting that the Sad Puppies were not the first group to propose a slate of suggested nominations. The trend was started by former president of the Science Fiction Writers Guild of America, John Scalzi, who hosted an annual “award pimpage” post on his blog. British writer Charles Stross followed his example. But there was little semblance of a backlash to either Stross or Scalzi, who were both deeply embedded in the existing clique.

And yet, following today’s news, the same people who fawned over Scalzi erupted in outrage, apparently because some of the Sad and Rabid Puppies organisers and authors are identified as libertarians — or even, shock horror, conservatives.

Earlier today, I tried to inform a Guardian contributor about Scalzi’s record of nomination slates. I noticed he was preparing a story on the Hugo Awards, and, as a fellow journalist, I thought I’d provide him with some relevant information. His response was to block me.

It really is hard to part a man from his double standards. But the fact is, the Sad Puppies are playing by rules established by Scalzi and his clique — and they’re winning.

CHORFs

The chief complaint from the Sad Puppies campaigners is the atmosphere of political intolerance and cliquishness that prevails in the sci-fi community. According to the libertarian sci-fi author Sarah A. Hoyt, whispering campaigns by insiders have been responsible for the de facto blacklisting of politically nonconformist writers across the sci-fi community. Authors who earn the ire of the dominant clique can expect to have a harder time getting published and be quietly passed over at award ceremonies.

As with GamerGate, the political biases of a small elite has led to the exclusion of those who think differently — even if they’re in the majority.

Brad R. Torgersen, who managed this year’s Sad Puppies campaign, spoke to Breitbart London about its success: “I am glad to be overturning the applecart. Numerous authors, editors, and markets have been routinely snubbed or ignored over the years because they were not popular inside WSFS or because their politics have made them radioactive.”

Torgersen cites a host of authors who have suffered de facto exclusion from the sci-fi community: David Drake, David Weber, L.E Modesitt Jr, Kevn J. Anderson, Eric Flint, and of course Orson Scott Card — the creator of the world-famous Ender’s Game, which was recently adapted into a successful movie. Despite his phenomenal success, Scott Card has been ostracized by sci-fi’s inner circle thanks to his opposition to gay marriage.

Torgersen and Correia have a name for that inner circle. They call them the CHORFs – Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics. It’s roughly equivalent to social justice warrior, the internet pejorative used to describe politically intolerant activists who use social shaming and abuse to dominate communities (while enthusiastically painting themselves as the victims of both).

The Humbling of Tor

The epicenter of the clique’s influence is Tor books and its domineering editors, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden. It also encompasses the ultra-progressive John Scalzi and his fans, who began the trend of nomination slates and bloc voting. The CHORFs’ position as the only organized clique in sci-fi allowed them to dominate awards nominations for years. That’s why the Sad Puppies are such a shock to the system.

Tor Books claimed the Locus Award for best publisher for 26 years in a row, and has won 38 of 156 Hugo nominations in the last 30 years. In 2014, when Tor.com was founded, it claimed 50 percent of short story nominations at the Hugos, 40 percent of novella nominations, and 20 percent of the novelette nominations. Its influence allowed widely-ridiculed, sub-Tumblr standard works of fiction such as If You Were a Dinosaur My Love and Chicks Dig Time Lords to make the ballot.

The Sad Puppies campaign (originally called “Sad Puppies Think of the Children” — a dig at activists who use faux empathy to win social acceptance) was conceived by bestselling author Larry Correia in 2013. Correia hoped to force the CHORF clique into the sunlight by threatening their status. Instead of welcoming the arrival of new, politically diverse fans to the community, Correia predicted that the CHORFs would engage in an angry backlash to protect their influence.

He was not disappointed. As news of the Sad Puppies’ success trickled into the CHORFs’ network of insiders this week, they began a very public meltdown. In a thousand-plus page discussion on Teresa Nielsen-Hayden’s site, the clique left readers with no illusion about the fact that new fans were not welcome.

With no basis whatsoever, both Patrick and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden suggested that the influx of new nominators were not “true” sci-fi fans, and threatened to unleash “fannish wrath” against the new arrivals:



Quote
“Those of us who love SF and love fandom know in our hearts that the Hugo is ours. One of the most upsetting things about the Sad Puppy campaigns is that they’re saying the Hugo shouldn’t belong to all of us, it should just belong to them.

“The Hugos don’t belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it. The set of all people who read SF can start their own award.”

Who knows what we should call the fans who don’t meet Nielsen-Hayden’s approval. Wrongfans, perhaps. Or “the vast majority of the reading public.”

Strip away the spin, and what Nielsen-Hayden is actually saying is that the Hugo Awards belong to Tor books and their associated in-group. The anger of the Nielsen-Haydens has less to do with principles, and more to do with the fact that only three Tor-published works made the final ballot this year. Compared to their performance in previous years, this is a humiliating defeat.
 
The backlash begins
 
 Naturally, many of the clique’s members are trying to claim foul play. Some argue that campaigning for nominations is inherently unfair — despite the fact that CHORF-approved authors like John Scalzi and Charles Stross have openly campaigned for Hugo votes and nominations in the past.

Others argue that the Sad Puppies campaign is a vehicle of self-promotion for its creator, Larry Correia. Allegations that he is using the slate to advance his own works have dogged him since 2013. This year, however, he put a stop to the allegations once and for all by turning down his own nomination. Correia always maintained that he has no interest in winning or being nominated for an award, and now he has proven it.

Perhaps the most bizarre allegation is the claim that supporters of the Sad Puppies constitute their own clique, and are trying to achieve dominance for conservative and libertarian authors. The presence of liberals and progressives like Anne Bellet, Kary English, and Rajnar Vajra on the nomination slate appears to have escaped critics. Correia, Hoyt, Torgerson and others have always maintained that their goal is to end political intolerance in sci-fi, not reinforce it.

It’s likely that the CHORFs are simply projecting their own behavior on to others. When you’ve been engaging in political intolerance for so many years, it must be hard to imagine that anyone thinks differently. As soon as news of the Hugo nominations began to spread, these closed-minded bigots — there is no other word — started angrily discussing options to deny the Sad Puppies a fair shot at prizes. Instead of actually reading and evaluating authors, they are now discussing voting for “No Award” — the Hugo equivalent of spoiling your ballot paper.

The #GamerGate of sci-fi

Despite the outrage, the Sad Puppies campaign has been a resounding success. A new class of sci-fi fans has been introduced to the process, and the CHORF clique has suffered a major, and perhaps fatal, blow to its authority. The dominance of TOR books and its associated clique has been broken, and publishing houses that respect political diversity, such as Baen Books and Castalia House, now have a seat at the table.

Vox Day, Lead Editor of Castalia House, commented on the nominations:


Quote
I’m very pleased that science fiction readers so strongly supported the Sad Puppies recommendations. It’s fantastic to see John C. Wright, one of the true grandmasters of science fiction, finally receiving some long-overdue recognition. It’s a real privilege to publish him and we’re delighted to learn that his six Hugo nominations this year set a new record.
A professional game designer and early supporter of #GamerGate, Day credited the gamers’ rebellion with giving hope to sci-fi fans.



The connection between Sad Puppies and #GamerGate is that both groups are striking back against the left-wing control freaks who have subjected science fiction to ideological control for two decades and are now attempting to do the same thing in the game industry. #GamerGate has shown people in science fiction, in fantasy, in comics, and even in journalism that you don’t have to hide what you truly think anymore because SJWs are going to attack you and try to drive you out of a job. You can read, write, develop, and play what you want without fear of their disapproval.

Vox Day is well known in the sci-fi community as a right-winger. But people of all political persuasions have rallied to his call for intellectual, political and creative freedom. That, ultimately, is what the Sad Puppies hope to achieve — a community where creativity and artistic merit count for everything, and where social and political conformity count for nothing.

Sci-fi fans, gamers and comic-book readers. Students and academics. Liberals, libertarians and conservatives. It seems that fandoms and online communities everywhere are waking up to the new menace of political intolerance, authoritarianism, ostracism and so-called “social justice.”

This is particularly apparent online, where the tactics of shaming and social exclusion take place in full public view rather than in backroom whispering campaigns — and where the oppressed have access to precisely the same tools the oppressors do.

The Sad Puppies have struck a blow for creative and intellectual freedom. But their campaign is just one part of a wider movement against the forces of the authoritarian left, whose allies are decreasing by the day. Whether they are called CHORFs, SJWs or Stepford Students, authoritarians, finger-waggers, bullies and panic-mongers are facing a backlash across dozens of fronts as the defiant spirit of GamerGate floods into other fandoms.

Ordinary people are utterly fed up with the dominance of cliquish culture warriors whose bizarre opinions do not reflect those of the majority. They are fed up with being told what to do, what to believe, and whom to exclude. Wherever and whoever they may be, crusaders for political and social conformity are in the midst of a storm. And that storm is only just beginning.

by Allum Bokhari4 Apr 2015
http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/04/04/hugo-awards-nominations-swept-by-anti-sjw-anti-authoritarian-authors/

angel011

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #115 on: 07-04-2015, 10:39:37 »
Biće toga još. Na tone.
We're all mad here.

Mme Chauchat

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #116 on: 07-04-2015, 10:54:12 »
Nemam dovoljno prevrtanja očima za ovu rečenicu (tipičnu za ceo tekst): "As with GamerGate, the political biases of a small elite has led to the exclusion of those who think differently — even if they’re in the majority."

mac

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #117 on: 07-04-2015, 11:15:28 »
Sajt sa koga je tekst, www.breitbart.com , ima više veze sa republikancima nego sa bilo kakvom fantastikom, pa iz tog ugla treba i tekst posmatrati. Cilj onih koji rade na sajtu nije diverzitet nego promocija njihove strane.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #118 on: 07-04-2015, 11:25:23 »
jeste, ali ipak ima veze i sa fantastikom, zato sto ovakav diskurs lako doseze do nje.  :(
ove godine postaje sve vise vidljivo da cilj nije vise u dobijanju argumenta, nego je sad cilj naprosto unakaraditi okolis do te mere da ce se mnogi na kraju odmaci u znak predaje, prosto zato sto su ovakva prepucavanja stvarno iscrpljujuca, pogotovo za one kojima se ovakvim blogovima ime uporno razvlaci po netu.
znaci, prosle godine su se donekle i natezali, u pokusaju da isteraju svoje, ali sad vec izgleda da se ide uglavnom na Pirovu pobedu.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #119 on: 08-04-2015, 08:48:42 »
iiii... još malko kerozina na vatricu:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016194.html

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016177.html

Krajnje je fascinantan osećaj kad čovek shvati koliko to neki naizgled zdravorazumski komentari zapravo imaju veze i za razumom i sa zdravljem...  :shock:

Mme Chauchat

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #120 on: 08-04-2015, 13:58:07 »
A ono jes :( Nisu se proslavili ni jedni ni drugi. Blogovi su bukvalno zatrpani objašnjenjima kako glasanje funkcioniše i kako će ko glasati eda bi naškodio suprotnoj strani.
Sve ovo počinje da podseća na Racefail histeriju kad su neki realno postojeći sistemski problemi... hm... zahvatili slučajne prolaznike.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #121 on: 08-04-2015, 14:32:03 »
Baš tako, može se lepo videti da su svi ti ‘netgejtovi’ sazdani od istih segmenata. Cela ova afera, dakle ne samo od prošle godine nego i pre toga, je zapravo model geneze: Vox Day je prisutan kao pisac već 15 godina, i lako je dokazivo da je on stvarno osrednji pisac, svrni samo pogled na njegovu prozu i sve će ti biti jasno. Ali dok je to tinjalo na tom nekom uredničkom nivou, bilo je vrlo malo tu iakkvog 'gejt' materijala, i tek kad se ta konfrontacija prenela jedan nivo niže, kad su se uključili neki poznatiji pisci/urednici (vandermeer, recimo, i skalzi, mada je ovaj potonji bio umereniji), onda je prepirka tu uključila i neke aspekte koji nemaju veze sa prozom, nego sa Vox Dayovim svetonazorom, a to je ne  samo prelilo čašu, nego je i razbilo.

Jer da se razumemo, ja smatram da Vox Day ima ista ustavna prava na svetonazor koliko i svi ostali, a to što je odabrao konzervativni, pa, to je njegovo pravo. Konzervativni svetonazor možda jeste danas nepoželjan, ali svakako nije ilegalan.

A Vox Day je sasvim lepo iskoristio upravo te i takve napade, jer ono što mu manjka na književnom talentu on silno nadoknađuje na lukavosti, pa se on tek onda silno razbacao sa ultra-provokativnim i ekstremno kontroverznim stavovima, tipa da čovek mora da ima pištolj, makar da se brani od crnaca u komšiluku. Na šta su naravno svi udarili u dreku da je on zapravo neonaci WASP bigot, što je on lako osporio faktom da je zapravo rasni mešanac irca, indijanca i meksikanca.

I sve tako redom, lepo se videlo koliko su brzoplete optužbe zapravo kontraproduktivne, plus su metodično eskalirale ‘sukob’ na treći i najniži nivo najšire interent zajednice, nivo koji nema veze niti sa prozom niti sa svetonazorom, nego uglavnom sa samopromivisanjem i pljuvanjem kao razonodom.

I sad je to to, tu sad više nema popravke. Bar ne na ovaj način, konfrontacija i napljuvavanje.

angel011

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We're all mad here.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #123 on: 10-04-2015, 08:13:52 »
E sad, znam da su svi rekli šta su imali povodom tužne & besne kučadi, ali ovaj GRRMov osvrt me se baš dojmio, donekle zato što je jako blizak mom pogledu na aferu a donekle i zato što je dobro stavlja u kontekst pa tumači iz tog ugla, otud i jeste vidljivije zašto i kako su sukobi svetonazora upravo korisni na uredničkom nivou (taman onoliko koliko su štetni i jadni na svakom ostalom). 

 
Quote

Me and the Hugos

Apr. 8th, 2015 at 7:13 PM



Let me begin with the basics:

Who owns the Hugo Awards?

You know, looking back, I am probably partly to blame for some of the misconceptions that seem to exist on this point. For years now I have been urging people to nominate for the Hugo Awards, and saying things like "this is your award" and "this award belongs to the fans, the readers." I felt, and still feel, that wider participation would be a good thing. Thousands of fans vote for the Hugos most years, but until recently only hundreds ever bothered to nominate.

Still my "it is your award" urgings were not entirely accurate.

Truth is, the Hugo Awards belong to worldcon. The World Science Fiction Convention.

The first worldcon was held in 1939, when 200 fans got together in New York City. The first Hugo Awards were given in 1953, at a worldcon in Philadelphia. No awards were given in 1954, but in 1955 they returned, and have been an annual tradition ever since. Me, I was five years old in 1953, so it was some years later when I became aware of the Hugos. Can't recall exactly when. I did become aware, though... and I soon learned that "Hugo Award Winner" on the cover of a book meant I had a damned good read in my hands.

I attended my first worldcon in 1971. Noreascon I, in Boston. By then I was already a "filthy pro," with two -- count 'em, two -- short story sales to my credit, and another half-dozen stories in my backpack that I thought I could show to editors at the con. (Hoo hah. Doesn't work that way. The last thing an editor wants is someone thrusting a manuscript at him during a party, when he's trying to drink and flirt and dicuss the state of the field. What can I say? I was green. It was my second con, my first worldcon). In those days, the Hugo Awards were presented at a banquet. I did not have the money to buy a banquet ticket (I was sleeping on the floor of a fan friend, since I did not have the money for a hotel room either), but they let the non-ticket-holders into the balcony afterwards, and I got to watch Robert Silverberg present the Hugos. Silverbob was elegant, witty, urbane, the winners were thrilled, everyone was well-dressed, and by the end of the evening I knew (1) I wanted to be a part of this world, and (2) one day, I wanted to win a Hugo. Rocket lust. I had it bad.

((Never believe anyone who states loudly and repeatedly that they don't care about awards, especially if they don't care about one award in particular. Aesop saw through that okey-doke centuries ago. Boy, them grapes are sour. If you don't care about something, you don't think about it, or talk about it, or try to change the rules so you get one. The people who keep shouting that they don't care if they ever win a Hugo are the ones who want one the most, take that to the bank)).

Two years later, the worldcon was in Toronto... and I still did not have enough money for the banquet, even though I was an awards nominee. Not for a Hugo, though. That was the first year they gave the John W. Campbell "new writer" award, and I was one of the nominees. Toastmaster Lester del Rey, for reasons known only to him, presented the awards in reverse order, starting with Best Novel and ending with this new award, so by the time he got to the Campbell, the hall was largely empty except for the nominees. I lost. (But went on to sell an anthology of stories by the Campbell nominees, so in that way the award did a huge amount for me). But hey, it was an honor just to be nominated. (It really was. It really is).

The next year, in Washington DC, I lost my first Hugo. "With Morning Comes Mistfall," nominated in Short Story. The same story lost the Nebula earlier that year. (By a single vote, the sitting SFWA president told me afterwards... which impressed on me right then that Every Vote Matters). At Discon I finally had enough money to buy a banquet ticket. I sat at a table with several other nominees. They all lost as well. Meanwhile, one table over, the rockets were piling up. We all made jokes about being at the wrong table.

Then came 1975. Worldcon was in Australia. I could not afford to go, even though I was once again a Hugo nominee, this time in novella. "A Song for Lya" became my first Hugo winner, in an upset over the Robert Silverberg novella that had earlier won the Nebula. Ben Bova (editor of ANALOG) accepted on my behalf. I was sleeping when they rang me up to tell me. Thought I was dreaming. But no, it was real. The rocket arrived a few months later (Ben Bova gave it to Gordy Dickson who gave it to Joe Haldeman who presented it to me at Windycon).

I have won a few more Hugos since, most notably at Noreascon II, where I won two. That was especially satisfying. The same city, the same hotel, and the same toastmaster as in 1971, when I'd stood in the balcony lusting after rockets. Dreams can come true, I told the crowd when Silverbob gave me the first Hugo. When he gave me the second, he chided me for being greedy. The crowd laughed, and so did I.

I will always treasure those memories. One of the greatest nights of my life.

I returned to losing the next year, at Denvention. Have won a few and lost a few more in the years and decades since. But I never fail to attend the ceremonies, and I never ever fail to nominate and vote (well, okay, I think I missed a year in there when I lost track of the date).

That's the short version of Me & the Hugos, or What the Rocket Means to Me.

You will all have noted, no doubt, a common thread here: worldcon.

The Hugos belong to worldcon.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, worldcon was the center of fandom. It was the oldest convention, the largest convention, the annual "gathering of the tribes" where fans of all sorts got together. Regionals were few and far between until the 70s, and even when they became more numerous, none of them ever came near Labor Day, worldcon's traditional dates. Comics fans came to worldcon, "media fans" came to worldcon (though the term "media fan" did not exist), costumers and filk-singers came to worldcon, game-players came to worldcon (though there was not much gaming, and the term "gamer" did not exist either). In time, though, as each of these sub-fandoms grew larger, they began to split off and form their own conventions. Suddenly you had comic cons, and Star Trek cons, and costume cons, and so on. Worldcon still offered panels and tracks for these areas, but fans whose main interest was in Trek or comic books or costuming began to drift away. The World Fantasy Con was born, for those whose interest was more in fantasy and horror than in SF. "Book cons" were born, like Readercon, for the prose lovers.

Worldcon continued... but the steady growth that had characterized worldcon through the 60s and 70s stopped. That 1984 worldcon in LA remained the largest one in history until last year at London. Meanwhile San Diego Comicon and Gencon and Dragoncon grew bigger than worldcon... twice the size, ten times the size, twenty times the size... Dragoncon even went so far as to break with a half-century old fannish tradition by moving to Labor Day, worldcon's traditional date, a date that had up to then been inviolate. And why not? Dragoncon's attendees were fans, sure, they were comics fans and Star Wars fans and cosplay fans, and some were even book fans... but they were not "trufans," as that term was commonly used, and they didn't care when worldcon was.

(The term "trufans" is an unfortunate one in this argument, since some of the Sad Puppies and their supporters take it amiss, and understandly, when told they don't qualify. The term is a very old one, however, probably dates back to THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, a parody of PILGRIM'S PROGRESS about the search for "true fandom." Like "SMOF," it is at least partially a joke. And if any of this paragraph makes any sense to you, you are undoubtedly a trufan... but don't worry, you don't need to know what a mimeograph machine is to be a real fan, I swear).

You can still make a case for worldcon being the center of fandom as recently as 1984... but after that, well, "fandom" began to assume new meanings. There was no longer just one fandom, there were several. Comics fandom, media fandom, etc.

That's all great. I have attended many comicons over the years (I attended the very first one, even before my first SF con). I have written for TV and film, and been a guest at media cons. I love comics, I love TV, and I love film... but most of all, I love books, which is why I go to worldcon every year. There are many fandoms now, but worldcon fandom is MY fandom.

And worldcon fandom owns the Hugos.

Worldcon fans invented them, tended them, wrote the rules, designed the rockets. Worldcon fans tradmarked the name, and defended the mark when other (non fannish, none SF) groups tried to give their own Hugo awards. And it is because of all this history, all this passion, all this care, that the Hugo has remained the most prestigious and best known award in our field.

(In my Not So Humble Opinion, anyway).

Other conventions have other awards. Wiscon has the Tiptrees. The World Fantasy Con presents the World Fantasy Awards, or Howards. The Bram Stokers are given by the HWA, the Nebulas by SFWA. Libertarians have the Prometheus Awards, though I don't know where they give them out. I just came back from Norwescon, where they handed out the Philip K. Dick Award. We used to have Balrogs and the Gandalfs, but they went away. The Japanese have the Seiun awards, the Spanish have the Gigameshs, the Czechs the Newts. Australians have Ditmars, Canadians Auroras. Gamers have Origins Awards, comic fans have Inkpots and Eisners.

I don't denigrate any of these awards. I've won an Inkpot, I've handed out an Eisner. I won a Balrog too, but it was smashed before it reached me. I have a Newt and a bunch of Gigameshs and even a Seiun. Awards are cool. Awards are fun. Or should be. I don't expect I will ever win a Tiptree or a Prometheus or a Dick, but that's fine, I applaud them all the same. Writing is a hard gig, man. Any recognition is a plus. Big or small, any award is a pat on the back, a way of saying, "hey, you did good," and we all need that from time to time.

If the Sad Puppies wanted to start their own award... for Best Conservative SF, or Best Space Opera, or Best Military SF, or Best Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be... whatever it is they are actually looking for... hey, I don't think anyone would have any objections to that. I certainly wouldn't. More power to them.

But that's not what they are doing here, it seems to me. Instead they seem to want to take the Hugos and turn them into their own awards. Hey, anyone is welcome to join worldcon, to become part of worldcon fandom... but judging by the comments on the Torgesen and Correia sites, a lot of the Puppies seem to actively hate worldcon and the people who attend it, and want nothing to do with us. They want to determine who gets the Ditmars, but they don't want to be Australians.

The prestige of the Hugo does not derive from the number of people voting on it. If numbers were all that counted, worldcon should hand the awards over to Dragoncon and be done with it. (Though I am not sure that Dragoncon would care. Years ago, the LOCUS awards used to be presented at Dragoncon. I attended one of those ceremonies, the last time I went to Dragoncon. Charles Brown handed out the awards in a cavernous hotel ballroom that was ninety per cent empty. The same ballroom was filled up standing room only for the following event, a Betty Page Look-Alike Contest. Which tells you what Dragoncon attendees were interested in. Which tells you what Dragoncon attendees were interested in... and hey, I like Betty Page too. A few years later, LOCUS moved its awards to Westercon, where they always draw a big crowd.

The prestige of the Hugo derives from its history. The worth of any award is determined in large part by the people who have won it. Would I love to win the Hugo for Best Novel some day? You're damned right I would. But not because I need another rocket to gather dust on my mantle, as handsome as the Hugo trophies are. I want one because Robert A. Heinlein won four, because Roger Zelazny and Alfred Bester and Ursula K. Le Guin and Fritz Leiber and Walter M. Miller Jr and Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl and so many other giants have won the same award. That's a club that any science fiction and fantasy writer should be thrilled to join.

Only... here's the caveat... I wouldn't want to join the club because I was part of someone's slate, or because my readers were better organized or more vocal than the fans of other authors. It is not easy to win a Hugo, and it is especially hard to win the Big One -- Hugo voters a tough crowd, one might say -- but if that honor ever does come to one of my books, I hope it is because the voters did actually, honestly believe I wrote the best novel of the year, a work worthy to stand on the shelf beside LORD OF LIGHT and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and STAND ON ZANZIBAR and THE FOREVER WAR and GATEWAY and SPIN and...

Elsewise, hell, what's the point? I can go down to the trophy shop and buy myself all the bowling trophies I want, if the point is just the hardware.

Which brings me to the subject of campaigning, but I will address that another day, in another post. I have a couple of other things I want to discuss first.

[[Once again, comments and dissent are welcome, but I expect courtesy from all parties. And yes, that means those of you who are on "my side" as well. Let's not throw around insults, or charges of misogyny and racism, please. And Puppies, sad or happy, if any of you feel inclined to reply, please avoid the term "Social Justice Warriors" or SJWs. I am happy to call you Sad Puppies since you named yourself that, but I know of no one, be they writer or fan, who calls themselves a social justice warrior. Offending or insulting posts will be deleted. We can disagree here, but let's try for respectful disagreement.]]

http://grrm.livejournal.com/417521.html

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #124 on: 13-04-2015, 08:11:12 »
... a evo kako je to izgledalo nekad davno, kad su disovi imali stila:mrgreen::


Flannery O’Connor Dissing Ayn Rand in 1960


Flannery O’Connor was both one of America’s greatest short story writers and one of our greatest snarky critics. Case in point, the following comments on objectivist “philosopher” and Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand:


I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.

Burn.

Hat tip to Bibliokept for finding that in a 1960 letter between O’Connor and Maryat Lee. The full letter is collected in The Habit of Being.

Here are a few other killer O’Connor quotes:

“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”

“I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear.”

“Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.”

“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”

“I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.”


http://electricliterature.com/flannery-oconnor-throwing-shade-at-ayn-rand-in-1960/

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #125 on: 13-04-2015, 08:25:56 »

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #126 on: 15-04-2015, 08:22:53 »


Gollancz Announces New Publishing Project for Ursula K. Le Guin



Gollancz reveals extensive new publishing plans for Ursula K. Le Guin.

Gollancz, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, is thrilled to announce a far-reaching new publishing project for Ursula K. Le Guin. Gollancz has acquired UK and Commonwealth Rights to five significant novels, two short story collections, a volume of selected non-fiction, as well as eBook rights to twelve widely-acclaimed novels including A Wizard of Earthsea and The Dispossessed amongst others.

Gollancz’s announcement coincides with the initial broadcast of a BBC Radio 4 Ursula K. Le Guin documentary (today, 11.30am, BBC Radio 4) where Naomi Alderman talks to Ursula K. Le Guin about her life and work and hears from literary fans such as David Mitchell. The documentary will be followed by two BBC Radio 4 dramatizations of Left Hand of Darkness (starts 12 April, BBC Radio 4) and Earthsea (starts 27 April, BBC Radio 4 Extra)

Deputy CEO of the Orion Publishing Group, Malcolm Edwards, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Susan Smith of MBA acting for Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown in New York.

Gillian Redfearn, Publishing Director of Gollancz, said: ‘Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the world’s finest writers, in or out of genre, and we’re delighted to have concluded this deal to add more of her novels to our SF Masterworks list and to publish eBooks of so many of her great SF and Fantasy works. It’s particularly pleasing to welcome the Earthsea books back to Gollancz, where we first published them in hardback over four decades ago.’

The deal includes rights to publish Hugo Award-winner The Word for World is Forest and the ground-breaking Always Coming Home in paperback and eBook.

Gollancz will also publish a paperback omnibus edition of the early “Hainish” novels – Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions – and an omnibus volume of selected non-fiction to be compiled by the author and drawn from previous ground-breaking works including The Language of the Night, The Wave in the Mind and Dancing at the End of the World.

Two important short story collections, The Wind’s Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose, will also be published in a paperback omnibus.

The “Hainish” novels, non-fiction titles and short story collections mentioned above will also be published individually as eBooks.

Most excitingly, Gollancz will also publish eBooks of the widely acclaimed Earthsea series, comprising A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales From Earthsea and The Other Wind. Other titles to be published as eBooks include A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, The Eye of the Heron and Unlocking the Air, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (please see overleaf for a full list of titles). The eBooks will be published as part of an on-going programme over the coming years.

The books will be published as part of Gollancz’s popular SF Masterworks and Fantasy Masterworks list that aims to showcase landmark works of science fiction and fantasy from the 20th century. Current SF Masterworks By Ursula K. Le Guin – The Dispossessed and The Lathe of Heaven – will also receive eBook editions for the first time in the UK.

Ursula K. Le Guin was the winner of the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards. Her books have won many awards including the National Book Award, the Hugo and Nebula Awards and a Newbery Honour. Her recent series, the Annals of the Western Shore, has won her the PEN Center USA Children’s literature award and the Nebula Award for best novel. She has been recognised for almost fifty years as one of the most important writers in the SF field – and is likewise feted beyond the confines of the genre. Her books have attracted millions of devoted readers and won many awards. Among her novels, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed and the six books of Earthsea have attained undisputed classic status. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

About Gollancz: Gollancz is the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1961, the imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF and Fantasy Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz has one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world.

PAPERBACK & EBOOK EDITIONS
1.The Word for World is Forest * 12 March 2015 * Mass Market Paperback £8.99/eBook £4.99
2.Always Coming Home * 8 October 2015 * Mass Market Paperback * £9.99/eBook £5.99

PAPERBACK ONLY EDITIONS
1.The Wind’s Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose * 9 July 2015 * Mass Market Paperback £9.99
2.Worlds of Exile and Illusion * 17 September 2015 * Mass Market Paperback £9.99

SELECTED NON-FICTION * 16 June 2016 * Trade Paperback £18.99

EBOOK ONLY EDITIONS (publication dates and prices TBC)
1.A Wizard of Earthsea
2.The Toms of Atuan
3.The Farthest Shore
4.Tehanu
5.Tales From Earthsea
6.The Other Wind
7.The Dispossessed
8.The Lathe of Heaven
9.The Language of the Night
10.The Wave of the Mind
11.Dancing at the End of the World
12.The Wind’s Twelve Quarters
13.The Compass Rose
14.Rocannon’s World
15.Planet of Exile
16.City of Illusions
17.A Very Long Way From Anywhere Else
18.The Eye of the Heron
19.The Beginning Place
20.Searoad
21.Buffalo Gals
22.Unlocking the Air

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #127 on: 20-04-2015, 09:08:40 »
 
   

Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Adaptation Watch (April 2015 Edition)


The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester


Alfred Bester's classic science-fiction novel, The Stars My Destination, is one of my favorites. I was thrilled to learn that Paramount Pictures is in talks to acquire feature film rights for the book. Obviously, it's still way too early in the development stages to talk about casting, but that doesn't make the news any less exciting for fans of the book, like myself.

The Stars My Destinationis a science-fiction story that first appeared in serialized form within the pages of Galaxy Magazine in late 1956. The original title was "Tiger! Tiger!"—a reference to both the tigerlike tattoo worn by its main protagonist and the William Blake poem "The Tyger," the first stanza of which prefaces the book. The story follows common man Gulliver "Gully" Foyle on his quest for revenge against the people who left him stranded and alone on a derelict spaceship. In that regard, the story can be easily seen as a futuristic retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, although Bester said the premise was inspired by a National Geographic article he read about a shipwrecked man ignored by passing ships for fear of it being a trap. In his story, Bester depicts an intriguing futuristic society where personal teleportation via mental control (called "jaunting") is possible.



Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken Monsters is a harrowing tale about an inner-city Detroit detective named Gabriella Versado. She investigates a series of bizarre supernatural murders committed by a demented criminal mastermind who is, among other things, experimenting with human taxidermy. Gabriella is also a single mother whose teenage daughter decides to flirt with a possible online predator.

It's been reported that the production company Additional Dialogue, after a four-way bidding war, has acquired the rights to develop Lauren Beukes’ supernatural suspense novel. The plan is to adapt the novel for television as a dramatic series. This one is also in early development stages; right now they are trying to put together the creative team to lead the project. Meanwhile, another Lauren Beukes novel, Zoo City, was optioned back in 2012.




The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


What hope does humanity have when aliens attack Earth in the near future? That's the question addressed in Rick Yancey's popular novel The 5th Wave. The attack of the aliens comes in waves and the four previous attacks left relatively few human survivors. Young Cassie is one of them. Along with her father and brother, Cassie is sequestered to a holding facility, but protection may not be so easily obtained. Soon, Cassie is on the run from the human-looking invaders and trying to save her brother.

Filming for the movie adaptation of The 5th Wave is already complete; Sony Pictures Entertainment has this one in post-production. The action-adventure film has a screenplay by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and is being directed by J. Blakeson. Stars include Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, and Liev Schreiber. Expect this one to hit theaters early next year. That should give you plenty of time to read the book first.



Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

The Brilliance Saga by Marcus Sakey is a series set in a world where 1 percent of children born sine 1980 possess superhuman abilities. Brilliance, the first book in the series, follows Nick Cooper, one of these so-called "brilliants." Nick is a federal agent whose special powers assist him in hunting terrorists. In fact, they make him one of the best. His latest target is another brilliant bent on initiating a civil war between those who possess special abilities and those who don't...though the story tends to focus on the social aspect of that premise.

If there weren't already enough superhero films hitting theaters in the coming years (not that I'm complaining), you can add Brilliance to that list. Legendary Pictures actually acquired the film rights to Brilliance before the book was even released in 2013. The screenplay is being written by David Koepp, screenwriter of the blockbusters Jurassic Park and Spider-Man. I'm glad to see he has some superhero credentials on his resume as they might come in handy.Station Eleven - SF Signal



Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven is something of a sensation, and rightfully so. It's a fascinating character study set against a post-apocalyptic landscape 20 years after a devastating virus has killed off 99% of the world’s population. The characters in question are related in some way to a band of musicians and actors that travel the Great Lakes region entertaining survivors. It's my pick for the most accessible book from this month’s adaptations, since it's less about the apocalypse and more about the lives we lead and the relationships we form. The non-linear narrative only makes it more interesting because pieces of the overall picture fall into place in interesting ways.

Now, it's been reported that the New York Times best-seller has been optioned for both TV and film rights by Producer Scott Steindorff in a six-figure deal. Casting has not yet started, but I imagine that won't last long as Station Eleven has received much media attention and more so than most novels that can be classified as science fiction.


PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #128 on: 21-04-2015, 08:34:01 »

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #129 on: 21-04-2015, 08:38:42 »

A new trailer for the Fantastic Four reboot is out. Here’s the synopsis from 20th Century Fox:


“Fantastic Four,” a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.




http://youtu.be/_rRoD28-WgU

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #130 on: 23-04-2015, 08:20:52 »
 

Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Retellings

By John DeNardo on April 22, 2015

Somewhere on the spectrum of story ideas, between original story and full-fledged adaptation to another medium, sits a group of stories that can be classified as retellings. A retelling is essentially telling the same or similar story in a different way, often from new perspectives and with new elements that offer something new for the reader of the original. Retellings can be thinly disguised, or they can be redressed entirely to other settings and genres, but no matter how they are told, retellings can be fun and imaginative in their own unique way.

Science fiction, fantasy and horror are no strangers to retellings. Here are several recent retellings that wear sf/f/h clothing.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr


If you're going to base a retelling on a classic story, you could do much worse than The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, the story of a London lawyer who investigates the odd occurrences surrounding his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde, who turns out to be Jekyll's alter ego. Viola Carr's The Diabolical Miss Hyde not only leverages Stevenson's classic, but also puts a steampunk spin on it. The lead character is Dr. Eliza Jekyll, the daughter of Dr. Henry Jekyll and a crime scene investigator. In the book, Eliza pursues a dangerous murderer known as "The Slicer" who preys on young women in an alternate Victorian London. Eliza uses her wits and newfangled technological gadgets to catch criminals. But she has another secret weapon, too: by drinking her father's forbidden magical elixir, her second hidden self emerges. This is a dark ability that has not gone unnoticed by the mysterious Royal Society, who send their enforcer to expose Eliza while she tries to catch the criminal.



Poison and Charm by Sarah Pinborough

Sometimes retellings appeal to new audiences by modernizing the classics. Take, for example, the popular German folklore tale of Snow White. Walt Disney may have made it popular to moviegoing audiences (while changing up the story somewhat in the process, too), but it was the Brothers Grimm who put it in the hands of readers more than a century beforehand. Now, Sarah Pinborough tells her version of Snow White in her novel Poison. To create the story, she enumerated all the themes of the story—the jealousies, the attempted Retoldmurder and the passion—and imagined them occurring in today's world as actions taken by real people. Her modern story images the jealous queen who harbors her own secrets and sorrows. She imagines Snow White as a girl who just likes to have a good time. She put them in a warring kingdom and out emerged a captivating and realistic fairy tale for adults. And when you're finished with that and craving more, Pinborough's Charm gives Cinderella the same treatment.


Alias Hook
by Lisa Jensen


Sometimes retellings examine the same events as the original story, sometimes they look at what comes after. Alias Hook looks at what happens after the events that unfolded in J.M. Barrie's classic novel Peter Pan. The book puts the nefarious Captain Hook in the role as narrator, thus making him a much more sympathetic character, and not just some mad, revenge-seeking pirate who goes after a boy who never grows up. In Alias Hook, Lisa Jensen portrays Hook as the victim of a gang of mischievous youAlias Hook-2ng boys who, despite evidence to the contrary, did not meet his end in the jaws of a crocodile. The stage is thus set for an adult woman named Stella Parrish to dream her way into Neverland where she learns for herself that Hook, a far more complex man than legends would have you believe, is just a normal person looking for redemption.



The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

In case you were wondering whether retellings have to be based on fictional stories, the answer is no. Benjamin Percy's new thriller is a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States. Percy's story depicts the U.S. as a wasteland resulting from a super flu and nuclear fallout. Small, scattered communities fight for survival. The community of Sanctuary, all that remains of the city of St. Louis, is one of them. Life is not perfect there by any definition, but a new visitor could change what little amount of stability they have. She brings news of thriving communities west of the Cascades mountain range. But there is danger there, too, in the form of an amassing army that attacks other communities to expand their domain. Although the leaders of Sanctuary don't approve of them doing so, a small group of explorers—led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark—embark on a secret expedition to reunite the United States.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #131 on: 28-04-2015, 08:42:45 »
elem, sad kad su se SF,H&F tako temeljito politizirali, ovo nekako i jeste na pravom mestu, bar sto se topika tice...  :?:



Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice


Social justice, as a concept, has existed for millennia — at least as long as society has had inequity and inequality and there were individuals enlightened enough to question this. When we study history, we see, as the American Transcendentalist Theodore Parker famously wrote, “the arc [of the moral universe]…bends towards justice.” And this seems relatively evident when one looks at history as a single plot line. Things improve. And, if history is read as a book, the supporters of social justice are typically deemed the heroes, the opponents of it the villains.

And perhaps it’s my liberal heart speaking, the fact that I grew up in a liberal town, learned US history from a capital-S Socialist, and/or went to one of the most liberal universities in the country, but I view this is a good thing. The idea that societal ills should be remedied such that one group is not given an unfair advantage over another is not, to me, a radical idea.

But millennials are grown up now — and they’re angry. As children, they were told that they could be anything, do anything, and that they were special. As adults, they have formed a unique brand of Identity Politics wherein the groups with which one identifies is paramount. With such a strong narrative that focuses on which group one belongs to, there has been an increasing balkanization of identities. In an attempt to be open-minded toward other groups and to address social justice issues through a lens of intersectionality, clear and distinct lines have been drawn between people. One’s words and actions are inextricable from one’s identities. For example: this is not an article, but an article written by a straight, white, middle-class (etc.) male (and for this reason will be discounted by many on account of how my privilege blinds me — more on this later).

ima dalje ovde:

https://medium.com/@aristoNYC/social-justice-bullies-the-authoritarianism-of-millennial-social-justice-6bdb5ad3c9d3


a uber-hajlajt je: And herein lies the problem — in attempting to solve pressing and important social issues, millennial social justice advocates are violently sabotaging genuine opportunities for progress by infecting a liberal political narrative with, ironically, hate.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #132 on: 30-04-2015, 08:34:18 »
 

   

A Reader's Guide to Summer Blockbuster Films



By John DeNardo on April 29, 2015



This summer, theatergoers will be inundated with a steady stream of crowd-pleasing films, or so Hollywood hopes. Regardless of whether you like what you see on screen, you might be discerning enough to spy the seeds of good story ideas in even the worst megahit. The problem is, how do you know where to go for further exploration of those cool ideas? For starters, use the following handy guide to direct you towards books that include the themes of some summer films.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Summer film season starts with a bang this week as Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters. Expected to be the biggest box office draw of the season, the sequel to 2012's The Avengers pits Marvel's well-known heroes (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye) against Ultron, and artificial intelligence that decides genocide is the best way to meet its directive of protecting the world.

If you're looking for more Avenger adventures (translation: if you are now the ultimate Avengers fanboy or fangirl), there are plenty of books from Marvel that will feed your need. They've been publishing the definitive collections of the comic book run for years. The latest is Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 15, but because of the new film, newcomers can easily find a reprint edition of Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 1 to get started. Avengers: Everybody Wants to Rule the World is a prose novel by Dan Abnett in which each of the Avengers fights against a worthy foe when a series of coordinated attacks are conducted around the globe. For the more artistically inclined, there's Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie, a 336-page visual journey of the film, as seen on screens via image stills and behind-the scenes through concept art and set photographs.

For readers who see the value in the underlying subgenre of superheroes, and not just Avengers-related ones, consider checking out The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, a story that mixes superheroes and spies to reinvent the superhero genre. There's also Less Than Hero by S.G. Browne, a pharmaceutical social satire featuring amateur superheroes.

Tomorrowland Less_Than_hero

Do you like retro-futures...that is, futures that were envisioned decades ago? If so, then you will love the world depicted in Tomorrowland. In the film, Tomorrowland is a futuristic utopia imagined by turn-of-the-century luminaries like Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, and Nikolas Tesla. This fascinating world can only be entered by those who know how to get there. A teenager named Casey (Britt Robertson) catches a small glimpse of it through a magic pin, is captivated, and thus seeks the help of a reclusive inventor (played by George Clooney) to help her return.

While the big box office draw will be Clooney, for my money, the beautiful scenery of the retro city will be enough to pull me in. Moviegoers who want to see more of this type of worldbuilding have a few options. For starters, there's Before Tomorrowland, a distant prequel to the film, co-written by the film's creators, that sets the stage for the inception of this charming retro-future. Old Venus, edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, is a collection of stories written in the vein of the science-fiction pulp of yesteryear.  For meta-reading, there's a new book called Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen by Brian Taves that looks at the real-world impact of one of the fathers of science fiction.

Jurassic World

In this third sequel to Steven Spielberg's 1993 Jurassic Park, the dream of the park's founder finally comes to pass. Jurassic World is a thriving amusement park filed with genetically grown, previously extinct dinosaurs. But it wouldn't be a Hollywood summer film if things didn't go horribly wrong, and they do here. This time around ex-military vet Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and the park operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are on hand to (hopefully) save the day.

If you like the idea of the science behind the beast, check out Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan, in which dragons are the real-life "dinosaurs" of the world. In the book, and all the books in this series, a scientist embarks on an expedition to study the creatures and finds all kinds of adventure.

Terminator Genisys

Over three decades ago, movie-going audiences fell in love with The Terminator, the story of a time-traveling robot who went back into the past to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of John Connor, theMechanical_Tregellis human hero of that bleak future's post-robot-apocalypse. There have been a few other sequels in the intervening years, but the Terminator franchise finds new life this summer. Terminator Genisys introduces an alternate timeline for the story, where Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent back in time to protect John Connor (Jason Clarke) and his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from evil robots from the future. And yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back as an aging terminator. (How else would you get him in the film?) 

None of the Terminator films have ever laid claim to being highbrow—they're pure action vehicles. However, as is so soften the case, similar and more intellectually stimulating themes can often be found in books. The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis, for example, puts the robots in the role as good guys, enslaved by the human race for menial tasks. That is, until they decided otherwise. If you like the time travel theme, check out Time Patrol by Bob Mayer (an offshoot sequence of his Area 51 series), which follows the adventurous missions of the Time Patrol, a clandestine agency devoted to protecting the world’s timeline against the malevolent forces who wish to change it for their own gain.

Happy reading, movie-goers!



PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #133 on: 06-05-2015, 10:19:57 »
Veli Raven, jedan od mojih obiljenih blogera :):



The medium is the message: why I’m sick of Twitter
http://www.velcro-city.co.uk/
April 8, 2015    1 Comment
 

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about McLuhan’s famous aphorism lately, and I’ve decided it explains why I am, in a very literal sense, sick of Twitter.

The point of McLuhan’s riff as I understand it isn’t that the content delivered by any given medium is irrelevant, but that the way in which any given chunk of content impacts on your sensorium is inevitably shaped by the form in which it is constrained. The form of Twitter is hypercompressed, caught up in a 140 character limit that even the SMS message from which it was inherited has largely transcended at this point; it is also, by default, a one-to-many broadcast format, a bullhorn in the town square. To be clear, that compression is a huge part of Twitter’s appeal and effectiveness, as is the bullhorn thing. The problem is the way in which the individual elements of massive ecosystems are obliged to evolve behaviours optimised to survival in said ecosystem. In the context of Twitter, or at least Twitter’s default public one-to-many mode, the optimal behaviour is the grabbing of attention, but that’s arguably true of any peer-to-peer medium; it was certainly just as true of the blogging era I pine for, and of newspapers, broadsides, and the popular ballad.

But the medium shapes the message: the innate terseness of Twitter inevitably requires the stripping away of nuance, the boiling-down and concentration of a single sharp point; meanwhile, the ephemerality of Twitter means not only does one have to grab attention, but one has to grab it RIGHTFUCKINGNOW, before someone else comes along with something equally grabby. As such, I think the polarisation of Twitter — which is not necessarily a monolithic Left/Right thing that covers the entire userbase, so much as a polarisation specific to each and every topic or event — is an inevitable consequence of the medium’s form, per McLuhan.

That said, I think this has been exacerbated by slower mediums deciding to plug themselves into Twitter in order to garner more eyeballs for their “proper” content. In the majority of cases, most major media brands have an established political polarity already, and had become very adept at grabby compression long before Twitter; this is the art of the headline, of the sound-bite. What Twitter brought to that party was the ephemerality mentioned above; it’s not just about grabbing attention, it’s about grabbing attention RIGHTFUCKINGNOW. Having money and metrics to throw at the problem, this behaviour has been optimised very quickly indeed — and individual users have absorbed many of the techniques involved by osmosis, much as one learns a local vernacular in order to remain part of the discourse. Level up, or get drowned out.

(Ironically, the corporate brand has never found Twitter as congenial a medium as the personal brand which — or so I’d suggest — is exactly why corporate brands are trying so hard, and often so laughably or grotesquely, to act more like personal brands, even as personal brands ape the corporate. The medium is the message; a crowded niche supports a limited range of physiological and behavioural adaptations. Evolve or die.)

This probably sounds more than a little bit “things ain’t what they used to be”, but y’know what? Things *aren’t* what they used to be. That’s how temporality works — and if noticing that difference and expressing a preference for the previous state of affairs is nostalgia, then fuck you, I’m nostalgic. However, I recognise that time’s arrow only points one way, and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Twitter used to be a rhizome of watercooler conversations, and it still is — but the big numbers and fierce competition for attention, exacerbated by the monetisation of said attention, means that Metcalf’s Law has kicked in. Winner takes all; either you go big, or you go home.

There are backwaters and oxbow lakes, of course: Black Twitter, for instance, clearly provides a vital space for mobilisation for a demographic which desperately needs more such spaces, and the way in which messages from there can leak out into the global town square is clearly beneficial. But there is no avoiding the fact that those speech-acts are also polarised by definition, and hence attract speech-acts of the opposite polarity with all the inevitability of anions attracting cations. Compressed communications are highly reactive or volatile, to continue the chemistry metaphor, just as boiling down a solution will tend to polarise its pH toward acid or base. One of the great joys of Twitter — because make no mistake, it is a space that has brought me a lot of joy and good friends and interesting information over the years — is the way in which it gives everyone a voice. But as anyone with a marginal opinion will tell you, that is also its great horror; for every SJW, a G*merG*tor.

(And as repulsive as you might find either one of those two tribes, know that for sure that the tribe that revolts you feels an almost identical revulsion to your tribe. The medium is the message; you don’t have the bandwidth to be anything more than the affiliation ((or lack thereof)) in your biog-blurb, and they don’t have the bandwidth to look any further than it. Black hats versus White hats is the only game in town. You are Other, and that’s that.)

There are also attempts to ameliorate the problem: private and/or alt accounts, curated lists, so on and so forth. But this reminds me a lot of what it was like to live in a compound in a foreign city, as I did for a few years as a child; the compound is quite literally an oasis of comfort and familiarity, but that only serves to enhance the fear of what’s outside. This seems a particularly cruel irony in the case of Twitter, where in order to flee the echo-chamber of the town square, we simply try to build a smaller echo-chamber with a more exclusive guestlist… and the hypothetical end-game of that paradigm, if you think about it, is a return to a non-town square form. In order to “fix” Twitter, we’re trying to make it into not-Twitter. But even as the compound doesn’t feel like the city outside, the compound is still constrained by its being a polder; it is inherently defined by what it is trying to exclude. The compound is a contradiction, and living in a contradiction is exhausting; the walls of the dyke must always be maintained and strengthened, even as that which it holds back is studiously ignored.

But like I say, maybe it’s just me, or just people with whom I share some significant psychological overlap. Lots of folk I know seem to be able to manage that contradiction, or find the town square vibe thrilling and congenial, and I wish them luck — hell, I think I maybe even envy them, in a way. But I’m prone to anxiety and depression; large crowds have always made me nervous, and mob phenomena are terrifying — although it is a function of my white male Anglo privilege that I’m much more likely to be part of a mob rather than its victim, and I fully acknowledge that I have less to lose by giving up on any given medium than those who lack the luck of birth and circumstance I have.

Nonetheless, I’ve had enough. The literature on CNS stimulants such as amphetamines or MDMA talks about the “law of diminishing returns”, whereby as one becomes habituated to a stimulant, one needs ever larger doses to recapture the incredible high of the first few hits; at the same time, the lows of the comedown become ever deeper, and arrive more swiftly. I am sick of Twitter like an addict eventually becomes sick of speed or pills, and I do not have the psychological fortitude to carry on regardless of the increasingly obvious cost to my mental health.

I’m not saying “Twitter = bad” — though that’s exactly how this post will be tweeted if anyone decides to pick it up out there in the Twittersphere. Twitter’s just another extension of the human sensorium, another cybernetic part of us — and like us, it contains both good and bad, contains the potential to enact both good and bad. But I do not believe it to be determinist to suggest that the form of Twitter, per McLuhan, means that it is inevitably a polarised black-and-white space… and I crave the detail and nuance that only comes when there’s at least some bandwidth for a greyscale, if not even full colour.

Nor am I claiming that some mass renunciation of Twitter and a return to the slower, longer conversations of blogging would return us to some idyllic cultural golden age. The lid on Pandora’s box can never be closed; we can never go back, only forward. Perhaps Twitter will evolve into a slower, less brutally competitive ecosystem; perhaps a new ecosystemic niche will emerge; perhaps (and most likely, IMHO) social media will turn out to be yet another of the periodic new-medium fads our civilisation has been prone to, like the letter, the telephone, and so on. Only time will tell.

But I’ll be waiting the time out somewhere else, I think. As Michael Franti once reminded us, hypocrisy is the greatest luxury, and I’ll be keeping my Twitter account for announcing blog posts like this one — in the wider ecosystem of which Twitter is merely a subsystem, I literally cannot afford to disappear entirely, just as many do not have the luxury of even the partial renunciation which this essay announces. But privilege is at its worst when it is wasted, and the Skinner box that is Twitter is a demonstrable waste of whatever it is that I am.

So I’m done with it. Thanks for the memories, and I’ll be here if you need me.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #134 on: 06-05-2015, 10:50:35 »
In February, Neil Clarke, the creator of Clarkesworld announced the launch of his new magazine, Forever Magazine, and the 4th issue is out!

Just like Clarkesworld, Forever Magazine is available through subscriptions (via Amazon, Weightless, and Direct) and also as standalone issues (from Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo).

Here’s the table of contents:

◾Editorial by Neil Clarke
◾“The Man With the Golden Balloon” by Robert Reed (Novella)
◾A Few Words with Robert Reed (Interview)
◾“Cold Word” by Juliette Wade (Novelette)
◾“The Hand is Quicker” by Elizabeth Bear (Novelette)

Ron Guyatt is the featured artist for at least the first six issues.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #135 on: 08-05-2015, 08:10:44 »

Čika Liptak priča o Marsu  :):


In recent years, Mars has been back in the news. The wildly successful and dramatic landing of the MINI Cooper-sized rover Curiosity in 2012 has brought a renewed interest in the red planet. In his 2015 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama reaffirmed NASA’s goal to put an astronaut on Mars at some point in the future and organizations such as the Mars One Foundation and SpaceX have set their sights firmly on Martian mission programs.

Mars has always been a likely destination for humanity, and in particular, it has captivated science fiction audiences as a new home, port of call, or simply just a new place to explore. Science fiction’s own history of the place has largely evolved alongside that of our own understanding of the planet. As much as we’ve learned from pictures, probes, and rovers on Mars, the world still has a particular fascination for science fiction authors who have told stories about it up to the present day.

From early in Mars’ history, a dichotomy has existed between the urge to study and observe the planet, but also to create and tell stories about it. The Romans named the blood-red point in the sky after their god of war. At the same time, numerous ancient astronomers located in Egypt, Babylon, Greece and others, observed the motion of Mars, and recognized early on that it was different from the other points in the sky: it was a planet, not a star.

Fast forward to the industrial revolution. New scientific principles defined the movements of objects in the solar system, which helped scientists to focus extensively on study of the planets with the aid of new telescopes. Accordingly, authors who had begun to write scientific tales also begun to turn their attention to our nearest neighbors in the solar system. Brave New Worlds: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction identifies the first use of the word Martian in 1874, in an American magazine called The Galaxy: “The Martians would therefore be in a better position to understand our attempts at opening up a communication than the Venerians.”

First Contact

In 1877, Giovanni Schiaparelli created the first detailed map of Mars using a telescope. From his observations, he detailed channels, continents, and seas, terminology rooted in Earth’s own geology. In particular, his description of canali (channels) was widely mistranslated as canals in English, sparking a wide-spread belief that Mars was home to someone who built them. The description planted the seeds to an idea: Mars was another world like ours, one that could potentially harbor intelligent life.

Percival Lowell followed Schiaparelli’s lead in 1894 by constructing an observatory in Arizona, and later publishing a book titled Mars in 1895. The book covered his observations of the planet, all the while he speculated on the nature of how beings might live on the planet, drawing from the belief that canals were indeed present on the planet’s surface.

In 1897, H.G. Wells published what is possibly the best-known work of science fiction involving Mars: The War of the Worlds. From the very beginning of his book, Wells mixes the scientific knowledge of the day into his story: “The planet Mars, I scarcely need remind the reader, revolves about the sun at a mean distance of one hundred forty million miles, and the light and heat it receives from the sun is barely half of that received by this world,” all the while constructing a relevant, political story of the day.

The following year, a pair of Edisonade novels: The Fighters from Mars (a re-written version of The War of the Worlds), and Garrett P. Serviss’, Edison’s Conquest of Mars, was a direct sequel which followed a counterattack on Mars led by Thomas Edison. By basing his aliens on Mars, Wells’ The War of the Worlds and the various inspired books helped to instill a renewed sense of the historical association of the planet with that of war and destruction.

Romantic Mars

This only continued into the new century, most notably with Edgar Rice Burroughs and some of his best-known works: the Barsoom series featuring Civil War veteran John Carter. Beginning in 1912 with A Princess of Mars, Burroughs transports Carter to an inhabited and wild Mars, populating the planet with a rich and complicated civilization for his pulp adventures. His stories inspired numerous others in a burgeoning planetary romance genre: authors ranging from C.S. Lewis with his Space Trilogy, C.L. Moore’s Northwest Smith adventures, and Stanley G. Weinbaum with “A Martian Odyssey.”

In pulp magazines throughout the early twentieth century, science fiction emerged as its own world and authors began to look beyond Earth for inspiration. Certainly, the idea of a red world would have appealed to the likes of Burroughs, who had spent some time as a cavalry scout in the United States Army before turning to writing. Astronomers had already discerned features from Mars’ surface and several authors latched on to the image of the wild west when looking to our nearer planetary neighbors. In “Shambleau,” C.L. Moore transported the reader to a dusty and lawless locale that served her stories and characters well.

As late as the 1930s, scientists and astronomers had speculated about the possibility of vegetation on the planet: “The [American Interplanetary Society] Bulletin carried an article in January 1932 suggesting the possibility of ‘luxuriant vegetation’ on Mars along what may or may not have been Lowell’s canals.”

By the end of the 1940s, Ray Bradbury had taken up the mantle of the planetary romances, with what would later become his own collective work, The Martian Chronicles (1950), heavily influenced by the works of Burroughs and other pulp authors. Bradbury’s work stood as the last vanguard of a romantic Mars: Bradbury’s vividly imagined Mars has helped place it as one of the best works of his generation.

The romantic Mars was a place where we knew people could walk, if not live. While the moon was closer (and certainly had its own share of science fiction stories), Mars held possibility, shrouded in mysteries. Did it have an atmosphere? Was there life? It was a place that sparked our collective imaginations and called to us as a place to go.

And, go we did. In November of 1964, the United States launched a pair of rockets towards Mars. They were the culmination in a larger battle for the planets between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Following the end of the Second World War, each began to develop greater long-ranged weapons to deploy their respective nuclear arsenals. The resulting Space Race followed, which began massive manned spaceflight programs in each country. The United States and Soviet Union looked first to our Moon as a destination, but many in the space program believed that once we reached the lunar surface, Mars would be our next destination.

Less visible was the race for scientific supremacy, and accordingly, each looked to our two closest neighbors in space: Venus and Mars. Venus, the closer of the two, became the first such battleground, and was closely followed by Mars. Between October 1960 and November 1962, the Soviet Union launched five satellites to Mars: none were successful due to a variety of system or launch failures. The United States didn’t fare any better at first either: their first mission, Mariner 3, failed to shed a protective cover, and lost power. Mariner 4, however, successfully reached Mars on July 14th, and would become humanity’s first glimpse to the world that we had dreamt so much about.

This first introduction, according to William Burrows in This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age, “ . . . was terrible. Mars was no longer an elusive orange blur with whitish poles and alluring dark blotches. It had been transformed from a place that had recognizable features with which earthlings could identify. Gone were the canals or anything else that could have been purposely dug or built. Gone were the oases holding precious supplies of water. Gone were creatures of any form. Gone, too, were ocean basins, vegetation, or any landscape that even remotely looked like Earth.” (Burrows, 464)

The romantic and exotic images of Mars that had been written about from Wells to Burroughs to Moore to Bradbury had been completely shattered. The grainy images transmitted back to Earth showed an alien world—alien even to science fiction authors. Mars was cold, uninhabitable, and dead. While many might have doubted that Mars would have been home to alien life, it was a stark reminder that our science fiction stories sometimes fall short of reality.

Cold Mars

While science fiction’s collective vision for what Mars didn’t match the real nature of Mars, it did learn and begin to change.

New unmanned missions to Mars followed in the next launch window in 1969. The United States launched Mariner 6 and 7 in February and March, while the USSR missions 2M No.521 in March and 2M No.522 in April failed. 1971 brought new missions: Mariner 8 and Kosmos 419 both failed, but Mariner 9, which launched on May 30th, successfully became the first spacecraft to orbit Mars, where it would spend the next five hundred sixteen days, taking pictures of the planet below. As this happened, humans landed on the Moon for the first time. We were slowly beginning to step into the solar system.

As Mariner 9 approached Mars, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory held a conference with several notable figures: Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Carl Sagan, and others. There, the science fiction authors paid tribute to Stanley G. Weinbaum, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.G. Wells for their works in bringing Mars to the imaginations of millions of readers. However, what had become clear was that Mars was not the world so richly imagined; it was a cold, dead world that was difficult to reach. There, Clarke made a bold prediction: “Whether or not there is life on Mars now, there will be by the end of the century.” It was a bold claim for a country that would soon be shuttering its manned lunar program, and he would eventually step his estimate ahead several decades. His remarks are important, however, because they positioned how we would tell stories about Mars: no longer a world of exotic life and mystery, it would become the home for a colony, a way point on the way to other planets, a distant outpost.

1976 brought us our next best look at Mars. At the next available window, NASA launched Viking 1 and Viking 2 on August 20th and September 9th, a pair of complicated missions that would, for the first time, land equipment on the surface of Mars. The pair of landers arrived on the surface of the planet on June 19th and August 7th, respectively, and served as humanity’s first ambassadors. Their scientific missions included biological and chemical experiments, yielding new insights into the red planet.

The results of the Viking missions provided planetary scientists with a wealth of information, and caught the interest of new science fiction authors. Kim Stanley Robinson noted that he had been particularly inspired by the images sent back by the Viking probes, and felt a yearning to hike and explore the planet’s mountain ranges. Over the next decade, he thought about how to terraform the planet, and in 1990, he published the first installment of his Mars trilogy: Red Mars, and followed with Green Mars and Blue Mars, examining a wide range of topics from the planetary science that was being uncovered to the ethical considerations of terraforming a world like Mars. Over the course of the 1990s, other hard science novels about exploring the surface of Mars came out, such as Ben Bova’s Mars and its sequels.

The planetary romance of the early twentieth century had gone, but in its place were new opportunities for science fiction authors. The research conducted on the surface of Mars opened up the possibilities of new stories of exploration and the scientists and adventurers who boldly went further into the solar system, armed with a new level of realism.

New Missions, New Stories

Our understanding of Mars has only continued to improve. In 1996, the Pathfinder mission with its Sojourner rover became the first such probe on the surface of the planet, exploring its immediate surroundings. Others followed: the Mars Odyssey and Mars Explorer continue to operate on the surface, while another pair of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed in 2003, where each outperformed their designated mission. Spirit shut down in 2010, but Opportunity continues to function, as of the time of this writing. Each mission uncovered, and continues to contribute to our knowledge of Mars. Most recently, millions around the world watched Curiosity touch down in a daring landing in August 2012 that might have come from a science fiction author. Appropriately, Curiosity’s landing site was formally named Bradbury Landing. It continues to send back new images every day, and the data it has collected will continue to entrance scientists and science fiction authors for years to come.

The latest string of novels that have taken place on Mars incorporate the latest research from the planet. Andy Weir’s breakthrough novel The Martian is one such example. Following an astronaut stranded on the planet, Weir drew from books such as Robinson Crusoe and scientific work to figure out the central storyline: how would such an astronaut survive?

“All you have to do is start examining any aspect of his survival and you’ll quickly find the problems he runs into. He’s going to need food, but you can’t just create food that easily; you need to actually grow it. Doing some math on how long his supplies would last told me, well, it’s just implausible for his supplies to last long enough. So that’s a simple case where science creates plot. Then he needs to have this much water to grow food. He can get plenty of dirt from outside, but he needs the dirt to have a certain amount of water. I did all the math to figure out how much water he’d need, and it was just implausible that a manned mission would carry that much water.”

Weir, through Watney, does more than just detail the science of Martian exploration. His book explicitly uses prior, real world missions, such as Pathfinder, to further its plot and play a key role in the story. The Martian, in many ways, is about as far as one could go from the earliest conceptions of Mars, and borrows extensively from real-world knowledge: Mars is a dry, uninhabitable location in the solar system, far from a destination to settle on or to meet strange Martians. Other recent Mars books, such as Greg Bear’s War Dogs, which sets an interstellar war on the surface, highlights the real focus on life support and survival on an inhospitable surface.

When asked about what attracts us to Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson highlighted our growing and changing understanding of the planet:

“Throughout human history it’s been interesting because it’s red, it gets brighter then dimmer, and it has a hitch in its motion, going retrograde against the stars for a while. Then when we learned it was a planet, the next one out from us, we very quickly saw the polar ice caps, and the changing color, which looked seasonal. It seemed like it could be like Earth. Then Percival Lowell set everyone’s imagination on fire with his idea that he was seeing a system of canals, which meant a civilization and possibly aliens like us. Through the decades since there have been repeated alterations in the scientific explanation of the planet’s physical situation, which gave science fiction writers new scenarios for stories. Then the Mariner and Viking orbiters and the Viking landers gave us the real landscape, and it was extremely interesting, and to an extent, Earthlike. The idea of terraforming Mars quickly followed.”

Mars, for as long as it will hang in the skies above, will continue to inspire authors and astronomers alike, long after we visit, settle and give the planet a new name: Home.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #136 on: 11-05-2015, 09:43:18 »
a onda i o meni (iz mladosti) jako dragom piscu...


John Wyndham and the Global Expansion of Science Fiction



William Gibson said that the future isn’t distributed equally: the same can be said for the literature of the future, science fiction. Genre literature appears all over the world, but it seems to be primarily the product of industrialized cultures like the United States and United Kingdom, while other, smaller pockets appeared around the world throughout the 20th century. That’s a broad generalization, of course, but it bears looking into: how did science fiction spread across the world and how did it change as it did so? One author to look at as an example is John Wyndham, author of such books as The Kraken Wakes and The Day of the Triffids.

Born John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris on July 10, 1903, in Warwickshire, England, to a middle-class family, his parents divorced when he was 8 years old. He read widely as a child, particularly H.G. Wells, and wrote his own fantastic tales while he was away at boarding school. Following school, Harris first attempted to find work in a variety of fields, such as farming, law and advertising, but an allowance from his parents allowed him to write his own stories.

According to Sam Moskowitz in his genre history Seekers of Tomorrow: Masters of Modern Science Fiction, "The turning point in his writing career came in 1929, when he happened to pick up a copy of the American magazine, Amazing Stories, which had been left in a London hotel lounge. He was fascinated by the believability of the stories and searched out others." The American science-fiction market grew exceptionally well during the 1930s, with magazines such as Weird Tales and Amazing Stories publishing a wide range of fiction and attracting tens of thousands of readers. Many of these American magazines were exported to the U.K. and other parts of the world, where a new generation of readers fell in love with their stories, including Harris.

As he began to write his own science-fiction stories, the discovered that the only outlets generally open to writers were American, and so he dutifully mailed his stories overseas. His first published story was “Worlds to Barter” under the name John Beynon Harris in Hugo Gernsback's magazine Wonder Stories in May 1931. After that initial publication, he continued to publish in similar pulp magazines throughout the remainder of the 1930s, including Wonder Stories, Amazing Stories and others. He also wrote a pair of novels under the name John Beynon: The Secret People in 1935 and Planet Plane in 1936 (later republished as Stowaway to Mars as John Wyndham). As the science-fiction genre took off in the United States, new markets appeared in the United Kingdom as well, and Harris began to appear there, placing stories in Tales of Wonder and Fantasy. John Clute, writing in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, notes that the first phase of Harris' career can be described as "Space Operas leavened with the occasional witty aside or passage," but that "None of this work stood out in particular." Harris was part of the pulp market, writing adventures set in space or elsewhere along with many numerous colleagues.

Harris' writing career was largely put on hold as Europe erupted into warfare. As Britain entered World War II, Harris became involved in his country’s war effort, first working for the Ministry of Information as a censor before joining the British Army. There, he worked in the Royal Corps of Signals as a Corporal cipher operator, participating in the D-Day operations at Normandy beach in the immediate aftermath of the invasion in June 1944. The war had a particular effect on Harris, who noted that "I had the constant feeling I was there by mistake, possibly that was because I had spent much of my schooldays expecting in due course to be in the Kaiser's war, though it ended when I was still too young. Nevertheless, I could not get rid of the feeling that that had been my war, and now I had somehow got into the wrong one. It produced odd moods of spectatorship, shot with flashes of déjà vu."

When Harris was discharged from the Army in 1946, the science-fiction genre had changed in England and around the world. The war exacted a toll on the country, and paper rationing had crippled numerous publishing operations. After some attempts to publish as a fantasy author, Harris gave up and returned to science fiction. According to critic John Scarborough, "One might have expected him to return to his tried-and-true formulas in science fiction after the war, but in The Day of The Triffids, published under the name John Wyndham, he revealed a new style and some subtle shifts in his outlook."

Published in 1951, The Day of the Triffids marked the start of the second phase of Harris's career and was heavily inspired by H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. He showed the novel to his agent, Frederic Pohl, who was able to immediately sell the book to Doubleday, only to turn around and ask them to delay the novel's publication: "Doubleday snapped it up, but I had to ask them to hold off publication because Collier's also loved it, and Collier's love expressed itself in the biggest check I had ever seen, five figures worth of fondness," writes Pohl in his memoir The Way the Future Was.Tiffids

Colliers serialized a condensed version of the novel beginning in the January 6, 1951 issue under the title Revolt of the Triffids. The remaining installments appeared weekly, on January 13, 20, 27, and February 3, 1951. This was a post-apocalyptic story, following Bill Masden, a biologist who studies Triffids, a carnivorous and intelligent plant with some valuable properties. He awakes in a hospital only to find that everyone in London has been blinded by a strange meteor shower. Joining forces with survivors, he attempts to leave the city, which is made all the more difficult by the dangerous Triffids.

The book was incredibly popular upon publication, and was widely characterized by reviewers as a catastrophe novel. According to critic Brian Aldiss, the novel was "totally devoid of ideas, but read smoothly, and thus reached a maximum audience, which enjoyed cosy disasters," while Christopher Priest described Wyndham as "the master of the middle-class catastrophe." Mike Ashley, in his book Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950-1970, notes that the advantage to Harris having a long name allowed him to adopt numerous identities throughout his career. “As Wyndham he created a new persona which virtually blanked out the past and allowed him to develop in the mainstream without the ‘stigma’ of the sf magazines.” With his mainstream success as Wyndham, Harris continued to publish in genre magazines, but largely focused on the English marketplace, placing stories in Argosy and Suspense: “he wrote the occasional short story more out of recreation than need and did not aim them at the sf readership.”

This characterization is an interesting one, and it marks a major departure from Harris' earlier works. Specifically, the limited access to science-fiction genre magazines drove a number of British authors to focus on mainstream markets. “Until 1950, British writers had to rely on American markets to become established. This was especially true of Arthur C. Clarke, Eric Frank Russell, John Beynon Harris and John Christopher...with the exception of Russell, these writers succeeded in establishing themselves in the mainstream and this lured them away from the genre magazines,” Ashley writes. While the genre market place in the United States was about to undergo its own transition from monthly magazines to novels, the U.K. was seeing different sorts of stories created. Harris' Triffids appearing in 1951 perfectly captured the anxieties of a population worried that they might face annihilation in a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

In his introduction to the 2003 edition of the novel, historian Edmund Morris notes that "Before this appeared, novelists seeking to agitate readers with a sense of alien threat had used the hoary device of extraterrestrials invading the planet....Wyndham's stroke of genius was to invent the triffid, a killer plant that is inscrutable in its malevolence, yet so ordinary, even uninteresting on first acquaintance." The threat of nuclear destruction came not from external factors, but from us, and from a source that both threatened our destruction through bombs, or technological salvation by the harnessing of the atom.Wyndham

While critic Brian Aldiss was dismissive of Harris' commercial nature, it's clear that his stories captured the public's imagination in a way that genre fiction couldn't, or reached readers genre fiction typically didn't. Harris' first career phase was firmly set in genre circles, while his second saw his own escape, writing stories about monsters and the end of the world. The Day of the Triffids is far different from its American Golden Age counterparts: it was less technological and scientific, and more interested in a larger allegory and its characters. In his intro, Edmund Morris describes the book as having a reputation "of being the one science fiction book you must read, even if you don't read science fiction."

In many ways, mainstream readers (that is, everyone else outside of genre circles), were already becoming well-exposed to the concepts of science fiction. Stories about technology and apocalyptic events had long been the stuff of science fiction, but audiences seemed as though they were ready to accept some of the tropes which had largely been confined to genre circles. The massive industrialization which sustained the Allied efforts during World War II certainly played a role in this, introducing the U.S. and the U.K. to atomic power, new technologies and a higher standard of living. The art and literature worlds would catch up with these changes quickly, and throughout the latter half of the 20th century, science-fiction communities grappled with the idea of definitions, and defining just what is and isn’t science fiction. Harris and his later readers don’t seem to have cared about the definitions: he was writing stories which were broadly appealing.

The Day of the Triffids has remained exceptionally popular throughout the world, where Triffid is an identifiable phrase, even among nongenre readers. In 1962, the novel was adapted into a film by the same name, and it underwent a handful of radio and television adaptations as well. Harris died on March 11th, 1969, after adding a number of other highly regarded novels to Wyndam's name: The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, the Midwich Cuckoos, The Trouble with Lichen, and Chocky. Two posthumous novels, Web and Plan for Chaos, have also since appeared. Harris/Wyndham's works continue to exert their influence on modern writers, especially as genre tropes make their way to mainstream novels and audiences.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/john-wyndham-and-global-expansion-science-fiction/
Andrew Liptak is a freelance writer and historian from Vermont. He can be found online at his site and on Twitter @andrewliptak.


PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #138 on: 12-05-2015, 10:13:05 »
How To Read Gene Wolfe
by Neil Gaiman




LOOK AT Gene: a genial smile (the one they named for him), pixie-twinkle in his eyes, a reassuring mustache. Listen to that chuckle. Do not be lulled. He holds all the cards: he has five aces in his hand, and several more up his sleeve.

I once read him an account of a baffling murder, committed ninety years ago. "Oh," he said, "well, that's obvious," and proceeded off-handedly to offer a simple and likely explanation for both the murder and the clues the police were at a loss to explain. He has an engineer's mind that takes things apart to see how they work and then puts them back together.

I have known Gene for almost twenty-five years. (I was, I just realized, with a certain amount of alarm, only twenty-two when I first met Gene and Rosemary in Birmingham, England; I am forty-six now.) Knowing Gene Wolfe has made the last twenty-five years better and richer and more interesting than they would have been otherwise.

Before I knew him, I thought of Gene Wolfe as a ferocious intellect, vast and cool and serious, who created books and stories that were of genre but never limited by it. An explorer, who set out for uncharted territory and brought back maps, and if he said "Here There Be Dragons," by God, you knew that was where the dragons were.

And that is all true, of course. It may be more true than the embodied Wolfe I met twenty-five years ago, and have come to know with enormous pleasure ever since: a man of politeness and kindness and knowledge; a lover of fine conversation, erudite and informative, blessed with a puckish sense of humor and an infectious chuckle.

I cannot tell you how to meet Gene Wolfe. I can, however, suggest a few ways to read his work. These are useful tips, like suggesting you take a blanket, a flashlight, and some candy when planning to drive a long way in the cold, and should not be taken lightly. I hope they are of some use to you. There are nine of them. Nine is a good number.

How to read Gene Wolfe:
1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.
2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It's tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.
3) Reread. It's better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.
4) There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against grizzlies.
5) Reading Gene Wolfe is dangerous work. It's a knife-throwing act, and like all good knife-throwing acts, you may lose fingers, toes, earlobes or eyes in the process. Gene doesn't mind. Gene is throwing the knives.
6) Make yourself comfortable. Pour a pot of tea. Hang up a DO NOT DISTURB Sign. Start at Page One.
7) There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.
8) He was there. He saw it happen. He knows whose reflection they saw in the mirror that night.
9) Be willing to learn.

https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2007/gwng0704.htm

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #139 on: 14-05-2015, 08:17:19 »
Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Adaptation Watch (May 2015 Edition)



The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey


The Girl With All the Gifts is about a girl named Melanie who is confined to a cell. She is deemed dangerous by the adults that surround her, particularly the military personnel, who strap her to a wheelchair so they can take her to class every day. Melanie is unlike the other of her kind. Melanie is an intelligent zombie.

Rarely does a film adaptation get announced when it already has so much of the cast and crew identified. This is one of those films. It also gets a name change. The film will go by the name She Who Brings Gifts and it will star Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close. Colm McCarthy will direct. Perhaps the most promising part of the adaptation is that author Mike Carey will write the screenplay. Shooting has already begun.


 
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Anyone who considers themselves a geek would do well to check out Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. It's a novel that taps into geek culture in a big way. It takes place in the year 2044, where anyone can jack into a virtual utopia, like its main protagonist, Wade Watts. Within the virtual world is a series of puzzles by its creator that lead to millions of dollars to the one who can solve them. The book is riddled with pop culture references to the "nostalgic" days of the 20th century, especially references to film and video games.

No cast has been chosen yet, but who better to lead a film about late-20th-century videogames than the mahorrorstor-2ster of the era's blockbuster, Steven Spielberg? Spielberg (Jaws, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind) will helm the film which will be based on a script written by Zak Penn (X-Men 2, X-Men: Last Stand, and the upcoming Pacific Rim 2).



Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör is a unique supernatural mystery novel written by Grady Hendrix. Unlike conventional horror stories, it takes place in a furniture store. Orsk furniture is the Ikea-like furniture store in Cleveland, Ohio, where employees arrive every morning to find the store in utter disarray. The store cameras reveal nothing about who is trashing the store, so a small group of fearless employees agree to work the night shift. When they do, they encounter unspeakable horrors.

If you like lighthearted horror...or furniture stores...you're in luck! Horrorstör is being adapted as a television series. Rights were acquired for development by The Jackal Group, a co-venture between Fox Networks Group and Gail Berman, who spearheaded the development of the successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, another property that mixes humor and horror.



The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Originally aimed at young adult readers, The School for Good and Evil is the story of two best fiends who are plucked out of their village to attend a special school whose graduates can be part of fairy tales—as either good characters or evil ones. The kind-hearted Sophie seems to be destined for the School of Good (where Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White graduated), while the black-frocked Agatha seems more suited for the School of Evil. However, the girls find themselves in what appears to be the worst school for them—and perhaps intentionally by someone with ulterior motives.

Author Soman Chainani has been tapped to co-write the scschoolgoodevilreenplay of Universal's film adaptation of his book The School for Good and Evil along with Malia Scotch Marmo, screenwriter of other speculative kind–friendly films Hook and Madeline. Chainani has stated that the film will be a little bit of a departure from the book in that the new storytelling medium provides new and interesting ways to present the story to the viewer. If all turns out well, this could mean good things for a possible adaptation of the book's sequels.



The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

The Three-Body Problem was widely hailed upon its release last year, not just because it was the first time English-speaking readers could experience the work of Chinese writing sensation Liu Cixin, but also because it's plain good. It's about the attempts of a secret military project to contact an alien intelligence by sending signals into space. The good news is that contact is made. The bad news is that the desperate alien race that picked up the signal is dying and sees Earth as a viable target for conquest. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, it shows how humanity becomes divided on whether news of alien contact spells progress or doom.

Not much is known about the adaptation at this point. It was, in fact, reported more as a side note that China Film Group picked up three stories by Liu Cixin so they can turn them into blockbuster films. Those other stories are The Wandering Earth, The Era of the Supernova, and Micro Era.


PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #140 on: 14-05-2015, 08:20:07 »



Happy 50th Anniversary, Dune! To celebrate (?), we've put together a special edition of Films of High Adventure. Why's it so special? Well, we have Jason Heller, Hugo-award winning editor, author of Taft 2012, and writer for the A.V. Club and NPR here with us! As Jason is a consummate Dune (the novel) fan-cum-expert, we thought it would be fun (for us, at least) to ask him to watch Dune with us, and see if it stands the Films of High Adventure test of time. Heh.

There are roughly 9000000 versions of Dune out there, and we actually tried to watch the 3 hour version of Dune for this... but from what we saw it was mostly a camera panning over watercolors of planets. So we ditched it and went for the director's cut (I think?), which is the pretty dang long, but not the longest version. It's the one we all watched/remembered, so it was more authentic that way.

The Film: Dune (1984)

Responsibility Roundup: While it may seem unfair to hold Frank Herbert accountable for the film, credit where due—he did write the novel. Given all the liberties taken with the text, it seems most accurate to view Herbert as the Great Maker, and writer-director David Lynch and executive producer Dino De Laurentiis as two rival barons fighting to the death over the intoxicating essence produced by their sandworm cash cow. It’s not surprising that the film came to be defined by their conflict, since Lynch is of course best known for his heady, esoteric creations like Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks, whereas De Laurentiis is synonymous with meaty, straight-forward fare like Barbarella, Conan the Destroyer, and dozens of other Films of High Adventure candidates. Photography by Hammer and Amicus alum Freddie Francis (Torture Garden), production design by Anthony Masters (2001: A Space Odyssey), costume design by Bob Ringwood (Burton’s Batman), and soundtrack by Toto and Brian Eno.
 

So, on paper Dune looks like it has a dream team behind the scenes, and the cast is no less impressive: Kyle MacLachlan, Sean Young, Sting, Dean Stockwell, José Ferrer, Brad Dourif, Max von Sydow, Jürgen Prochnow, Patrick Stewart, Virginia Madsen, Krull besties Francesca Annis and Freddie Jones, Twin Peaks besties Jack Nance and Everett McGill, and and and… you get the picture. With a line-up like this on both sides of the camera, how could Dune be anything less than the greatest science fiction epic of the 20th century? How, indeed…

Quote: “My name is a killing word.”

Alternate quote: “It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.”

Alternate alternate quote: “The sleeper must awaken.”

First viewing by Jesse: As a teenager.

First viewing by Molly: Tweenager? Teenager? I was in Florida, so I was at least twelve.

First viewing by Jason: Maybe sixteen?

Most recent viewing by everyone: A couple of weeks ago.

Impact on Jesse’s childhood development: Though I’ve never been a huge SF reader, Dune made a deep imprint when I discovered it as an eleven year old Yank living in the Netherlands. I couldn’t get into the sequels, and haven’t gone back to the book since, but at the time it was a monumental experience, the sort of text that rewires your brain a little. Would that I had spent as much time learning my Dutch as I did poring over the glossary in the back of the novel, I might have done better in school…

Unlike the novel, the film came along later in my life and left far less of an impact. Part of the problem probably lies in the fact that the first time I watched it was as a sleep-deprived and drug-addled teen. It was the favorite film of a friend of mine—who’s since gone on to be one hell of a successful artist but who would probably prefer he remain anonymous here—and in the waning hours of an all-night mushroom bender we settled in to behold the majesty. If that sounds like the ideal time to watch Dune, you may be right but I can’t really say, as I remember very little from the experience. Lesson learned: psychedelic fungi are no substitute for the spice melange, and the sleeper, at this point, had not yet awoken.

Impact on Molly’s childhood development: Monumental. I saw Dune before I read Dune; my dad thought the film was bad ass, and showed it to me. I remember watching it with him, both of us in a pleasure coma of weirdness as my mom slooooowly backed away. (She’s a good sport for most SF/F novels and films, but the Dune film… not so much.) Anyways, I remember being totally blown away by it… I had never seen anything like it. I had yet to see Conan as a wee Tanz, as loyal FoHA readers will know, so I had no knowledge that such a serious, sprawling epic existed—or was even was possible—within speculative filmmaking; I had no understanding of the plot, since the film sure wasn’t going to reveal it to me, so I just let it wash over me like the tides of Caladan; reveled in it like a Harkonnen messily pulling a heart-plug out of a serving-boy.

I went on to read Dune, and loved the novel, too. Perhaps because my first experience was with the film, I don’t hate it like many others. It’s an imperfect film, but it’s an ambitious one, and it’s definitely my favorite David Lynch project. Yes, before you haters ask, I’ve seen others—clutch thy pearls, Lynch fans. I’ll take a pustule-ridden fat man cackling as he swoops around in hover-suspenders any day over… whatever happens in Lost Highway.

Impact on Jason’s childhood development: I grew up in a more or less secular household with only half-assed lip service (if I may so indelicately mix metaphors) paid to religion—which is probably why I took so easily to atheism as a young adult, but also why Dune held an almost spiritual fascination for me when I was a kid. I am talking here about the book. I first read it when I was about eleven, at a time when I was devouring science fiction and fantasy novels to the exclusion of everything else a healthy eleven-year-old might do. The fact that there actually is a bible in Dune—namely the Orange Catholic Bible—as well as far-future mutations of our current theological DNA, I was fascinated. I couldn’t have put it into words at the time, but Dune struck a distinction between religion as faith and religion as myth (if I may boil it down so reductively), and that aligned with how my brain worked at the time—and really, with how I viewed, and still view, the canon of science fiction and fantasy.

Anyway, as you might imagine, that kind of set me for a teeny-tiny letdown when it came to seeing the movie. By the time I watched Dune, I’d read the novel at least four times, and the sprawling mythos of the thing—not to mention its expansion in Children of Dune, Dune Messiah, and God Emperor of Dune, which is as far in Herbert’s series as I’d read by then—had built up far too many expectations in my mind, as had my love of Lynch’s work. I’d seen Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, and Blue Velvet before I saw Dune (I was sixteen in the late ’80s), and Lynch had blown my mind, as he is wont to do. One of my favorite books adapted by one of my favorite directors? In my algebraically deterministic sixteen-year-old brain, that means Dune had to be THE GREATEST THING SINCE EYEBALLS WERE INVENTED. And when it wasn’t, I had a hard time dealing with that violent disconnect. I’ve since gotten a little better about all that rigid thinking, but the scar still aches. Oh, how it aches.

Not having revisited the novel since I was a kid, I’m way better equipped to pick up on what was ported over from the book than what was left out or misinterpreted, but with that in mind, Dune actually seems a better adaptation than I remembered... in spite of itself, at times, but that’s how art goes. I love literally all of the actors Lynch cast in this, but to prove my point let’s take a closer look at the portrayal of Paul in particular—MacLachlan’s waaaaaay too old for the role, sure, but then eleven-year-old Jesse was really, really hoping that by the time he was fifteen he would look like a twenty-five year old Kyle MacLachlan, so I totally buy it as Gary Stu wish fulfillment casting. And all the intrigue biz involving House Atreides and House Harkonnen and the crooked space emperor and the Eraserhead Baby Guild and the Bene Gesserit witches’ prophecy and the Fremen’s kinda sorta different prophecy and Sting’s glistening bod is pretty much how I remember it from the book, too, though I don’t recall a pug fitting so prominently into the narrative:

http://youtu.be/bj3-Ay6VCX8
( :D)


No matter—the pug, as with so much of Dune, is a weird flourish that adds nothing to the plot but nevertheless thrills with its decadent bravado. ( :lol: :lol: :!: :lol: :D) The same is true of many and costumes and effects, which range from the beautifully baroque to the charmingly clunky but always stand out as inspired (even if said inspiration is questionable), and which often fade into the background rather than being the focal point of whatever scene they appear in. Lynch has always favored naturalistic and unobtrusive world-building, treating the viewer not as a stranger who needs to be led by the hand but as an old friend who knows the way around as well as he does, letting us glimpse fabulous details on the periphery of the scenes only to have the focus quickly narrow on something relatively mundane... and then along comes Dune, which does its best to employ this strategy when it can get away with it, but for the most part attacks us with endless voice-overs and info-dump monologues. It’s cinematic head-hopping the likes of which I’ve never seen before or since, and the sheer audacity of it is impressive if not wholly commendable.

The main downside of Dune is that partway through the film it remembers it has an epic messianic science fiction plot to make good on, and jerks into motion like a vaguely familiar character actor lurching out of a warped plastic lawn chair in order to perform an inscrutable interpretive dance with a potted cactus. All the earlier, easy charm of the movie is dislodged as we get the Cliff Notes version of Paul and Lady Jessica meeting the Fremen, learning their ways as if they are their own, getting’ hitched, makin’ a creepy baby, leading a revolution, etc. etc. [Molly says: Jesse... Paul doesn't marry his mom (or anyone). Nor does he have a baby with her! Leto Atreides put that baby in Lady Jessica, pre-usurping, and Paul takes Chani as his concubine, but does not impregnate her in this movie. What the heck!]

The first half of Dune works because Lynch’s unhurried pace allows us to be drawn into the lush and campy world, but as the story shifts into high gear the film begins to feel less deliberate and more somnambulant. The lack of tension in these extended action set pieces makes for pretty brutal viewing right up until the emperor arrives in his tricked out Ancient Aliens pyramid spaceship at the end of the movie, but then things get back on track when Sting throws down on Paul (“I WILL KILL YOU!”).

By then, though, the damn thing is over, and even as the credits roll you feel your memories of the film slipping away, like spice in the wind. [Molly says: APPARENTLY] The sleeper, who briefly perked up during the early scenes of Dune, has drifted back under, to dream of all the Dunes that never were, the Dunes that might have been, and yes, even this discredited and disenfranchised attempt. How much really happened, and how much was a vision brought on by the Little Maker’s secretions? Was there ever even a pug at all?

Molly’s thoughts post-viewing: Okay. I understand why people don’t like Dune. I really do. I mean, it’s a mess. The flailing is obvious even in the intro, where Princess Irulan tries to exposit in one paragraph the world, the spice, the Spacing Guild, and even Dune/Arrakis itself, as she inexplicably fades in and out of the frame. What? Okay! The spice extends consciousness. We're good to go!

And yet… the madness is so mad, the wrong turns so wrong, that there is an internal sanity and rightness to Dune that I can’t help but love. The pacing is majestic; the visuals, suitably strange, futuristic, grotesque, and in the case of the sandworms, delightfully organic. The dialogue (spoken, and the internal narration via voiceovers) is stilted in a way that works for me as part of the savior narrative that’s happening at the heart of the film. And I love the performances, even the miscast Kyle MacLachlan. Sure, Paul Atreides AKA the Notorious Muad’dib is supposed to start out a 16 year old pipsqeak and end up a mature superhuman demigod, and MacLachlan looks his age (around 25) throughout the film, but he’s so enthusiastic that the oddness of a twentysomething man pouting over having to practice knife-fighting is somewhat elided. Somewhat. Anyways, Brad Dourif is amazingly weird as Piter the Mad Mentat, I love me the some Dean Stockwell as Dr. Yueh, Max von Sydow is a perfect Dr. Kynes, and Sian Philips is magnificent as Reverend Mother Mohaim. And of course, SirPatStew is always fun.

For me, though, Dune is all about the Harkonnens. God damn. I will of course concede that Baron Harkonnen is an incredibly problematic character, possibly irredeemably problematic, but what gets me about the Harkonnen scenes is the pure joy shown by the filmmakers in the representation of hideous decadence. The oily, grimy, hospital scrub green world of Giedi Prime isn’t as much of a warning as it is in the novel, where all food must be imported due to environmental collapse from military and industrial production; instead, it’s a simple exercise in the jubilant visual grotesque. The thrust of the plot on Giedi Prime—the Harkonnen scheme to murder the Duke, obtain his signet ring, and then take back Arrakis—is actually the best-explained and most understandable thread in Dune, but while all that is happening we have a host of wonderful visuals. Like what? Oh… well… there’s The Beast Raban enjoying a juice box of some squealing something-or-other’s essences! Then he throws it in the water, because fuck it! If that’s not enough, there’s the captured mentat Thufir Hawat being given a rat taped to a cat taped to maybe a giant computer circuit board covered in tubes, that he must “milk” to obtain an antidote to a poison they’re feeding him! Huh? And then of course you have the scene where Pete from Twin Peaks plays horrible music with a black future-accordion while Baron Harkonnen flies around cackling. What? I dunno! It’s just a symphony of hideousness, made yet more hideous by the presence of the handsome Sting as Feyd, hanging out in his underwear, steam-bathing or whatever [Jesse says: I skipped covering the Harkonnens because I figured Molly would be discussing them at glorious length, and she has not disappointed—Lynch’s Dune without Lynch’s take on the Harkonnens would be a limp Dune indeed].

I know I’ve been dancing around the abject Baron Harkonnen himself, because, well, it’s super-uncomfortable. See, the tween beholding Dune for the first time still lives somewhere within the adult, more aware me. That tween steps forward when someone lets me watch Dune, and that tween is not aware that Dune came out during the AIDS crisis, or that Baron Harkonnen is but another brick in the ugly wall of Hollywood’s representation of homosexuality. Instead, that tween marvels at the spectacle of a fat man in an anti-gravity suit, riddled with acne even worse than mine was at the time, scheming and giggling and licking his lips and being weird and nasty and brilliant. It’s a sad fact that in SF/F cinema, villains rarely deliver… but Baron Harkonnen is one of the exceptions, along with Thulsa Doom, Loki, Azula, and maybe The Humungus of last month’s entry [Jesse says: I agree with this in the main, though I’d probably swap out Loki for Tim Curry in Legend, Sandhal Bergman in Red Sonja , or mebbe Rip Torn’s turn in Beastmaster] [Molly says: Jesse is a total killjoy about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and frankly, I don’t even remember Rip Torn in Beastmaster, so anyways! I love me some Loki, he’s a great punkass villain and I will never apologize for enjoying him!]. I delight in a spectacle, what can I say?

Dune isn’t a great movie—maybe it’s not even a good movie—but it’s a fucking spectacle, and I’ll never not love it.

Jason’s thoughts post-viewing: No good. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, and I can’t make Dune work for me. Then again, it’s not even trying to meet me a tenth of the way. Jesse, you call the pace “unhurried,” and Molly, you call it “majestic.” With all due respect to you both, I have to honkingly disagree. It’s frenzied and lazy, bombastic and meager, all at the same time. The distortion and compression of the plot is overwhelming, and I have to assume it would remain so even if I could wipe the novel out of my mind. In particular, Paul’s time with the Fremen—such a powerful sequence of quiet moments, spiritual growth, humor, pathos, epiphanies, and world-building—are all squished into a handful of rushed scenes with no connective tissue. Granted, this is my favorite part of the book, so this is personal for me. At it’s heart, Dune is a classic Bildungsroman. And the movie scoops out most of those coming-of-age guts and plops them on the floor in a lifeless heap.

Jesse, you also just mentioned the head-hopping and the infodumps and the excessive monologues, all of which are problematic in and of themselves. But the systemic failure of Dune is more than just the sum of those faulty parts. All of these ill-used devices are tossed around seemingly at random, sometimes all in the same scene—between multiple characters, no less, who are switching back and forth from spoken dialogue with another character to dreary internal monologue voiceover that might be private thoughts to omniscient narration from some distant future to what might even be psychic communication (although it probably isn’t, despite the fact that psychic powers are very much a part of Dune the novel, even if Dune the movie has no idea how to grapple with that admittedly tricky element; instead it just glosses over it). Lynch doesn’t display even the feeblest grasp of the basic technique of cinematic narrative. It’s easy to say, “Oh, this is Lynch! He’s just being weird for weird’s sake.” But that’s never really been his methodology. Even as far back as Eraserhead, he’s been a careful, deliberate, painstaking formalist. His work is practically hermetic, and has no need to be judged against some external metric of weirdness.

But with Dune, my attention is incessantly being called to the weirdness—in a bad way—of the narrative apparatus itself. It isn’t the amount of weirdness in Dune that bugs me. It’s how haphazardly and inconsistently that weirdness is deployed, a flaw that completely undermines the delicate, delicious tension of Lynch at his best: That is, someone who’s in lucid, masterful control of every nuance and texture of his story, even if they’re grotesque to the point of mundanity. Or mundane to the point of grotesquery. Dune gives me neither of these options. It doesn’t fail spectacularly. It doesn’t succeed perversely. It’s just a muddy blur. No guacamole for old Heller.

The pug, however, is the best. A bravura performance. So much so that I want a retelling of Dune from the pug’s point of view, à la Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October. Just so long as Brian Herbert doesn’t write it.

High Points: (In Stockwellian whisper) The pug… the puuuuug; the soundtrack; the knife fight? Maybe Alia screaming “for he IS the Kwisatz Haderach!!” and Mohaim clutching her head? Def. the Harkonnens.

Low points: The movie grinding to a slog in the latter half; the gay panic biz; the pug not getting a bigger part?

Final Verdict: Looks like we don’t have one... so here’s a link to the Pug from Dune’s Twitter?

Next Time: Uh… maybe Buckaroo Banzai?

http://www.pornokitsch.com/2015/05/films-of-high-adventure-dune.html#more

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #141 on: 15-05-2015, 08:27:30 »
The Origins of Cyberpunk Culture with Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, Roger Trilling, Mark Pauline and Henry Jenkins



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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #142 on: 18-05-2015, 09:29:16 »
Here’s the first trailer for SyFy’s 3-part series Childhood’s End coming in December, based on the classic novel by Arthur C. Clarke. The series stars Mike Vogel (Under the Dome), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Daisy Betts (Last Resort) and Colm Meaney (Star Trek).

Here’s the SyFy description:


Written by Arthur C. Clarke and hailed as a revolutionary work of science fiction since its publishing in 1953, Childhood’s End follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious “Overlords,” whose arrival begins decades of apparent utopia under indirect alien rule, at the cost of human identity and culture.


http://youtu.be/i3e7aMCIxjY
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) will play Karellen, the ambassador for the Overlords. Mike Vogel (Under the Dome) will play Ricky Stormgren, a midwestern farmer whose life is turned upside down when he is named the sole human ambassador for the Overlords. Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck) will play Rupert Boyce, an enigmatic American entrepeneur.

Akiva Goldsman (Lone Survivor, A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend) and Mike De Luca (Captain Philips, Moneyball, The Social Network) are attached as executive producers. Childhood’s End will be adapted by Matthew Graham (creator of BBC’s Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes).



PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #143 on: 19-05-2015, 08:58:48 »
 On their latest album (do they still call them that?) Public Service Broadcasting uses sound samples to augment they’re music. Here’s the song “Gagarin” from their album The Race For Space.


http://youtu.be/wY-kAnvOY80

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #144 on: 20-05-2015, 08:01:58 »
dakle, sad mi je definitivno prekasno da overim serijal pre ekranizacije...



The First Trailer for the TV Adaptation of Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS is Here

http://youtu.be/QS_20JPaEnA

PTY

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mac

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #146 on: 20-05-2015, 09:01:18 »
Kad tako stave film koji je još u bioskopima (Ex Machina), onda nemam izbora do da pomislim kako je u pitanju reklama. Napraviti listu u kojoj je većina filmova s kojom će se većina složiti, i dodati u gornju sredinu ono što želimo da promovišemo.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #147 on: 20-05-2015, 09:13:16 »
Slažem se, i meni je ova lista podosta proizvoljna, ali eto, to je samo blogerski pogled na stvari, pa otud i trpim subjektivnost.

Recimo, meni smeta da je na listi Gravity (WTF?? gde je tu ikakav sf?) a nije Europa Report.

PTY

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #148 on: 21-05-2015, 10:53:05 »


The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival Returns January 2016




An Interview with Philip K. Dick Film Festival Director Daniel Abella

What inspired you to start this festival?

Daniel Abella: I always had been a big fan of an Argentinian writer, Jorge Borges, who wrote about magical realism. On one occasion I happened to read the back of his book, by Ursula Le Guin, where she mentioned that we have our own homegrown Borges and his name is Philip K. Dick. So I was intrigued by that and I went ahead and started reading a lot of his works and I found that he’s extremely addictive in nature. I also watched a lot of the films that came out of Hollywood that were supposedly Philip K. Dick adaptations but I found them to be lacking in the introspective aspects and more action-based. So I decided there might be a niche for a group of films that would truly represent the spirit of this writer. I think that the first year we did a small screening in one theater in 2011 and the reception was very positive so we decided to go ahead and start [The Philip K. Dick Film Festival] officially in 2012.

How is the Philip K. Dick Film Festival different from other science fiction festivals?

D. A.: We aren’t only showing films that are science fiction. We are also showing documentaries that reflect the interaction between science and science fiction and how the two often intertwine. Our festival essentially is focused more on a paranoid-style science fiction—one that is aware of the impact of technology, not necessarily in the most positive way, and about how our humanity is slowly being affected by that. I think Philip K. Dick has more than other science fiction writers in the way of that. We try to focus on science fiction that’s a little bit more of an intercourse on social awareness and how science and technology is impacting us.

What qualities or themes do you look for while selecting films and speakers for the festival?

D. A.: We’ve had panels in the past that would be regarded as traditional panels between science and science fiction. For instance, back in 2012 we had Ronald Mallet who had started working on a time machine. This is a well-respected, tenured professor at the University of Connecticut whose life was changed after he read H.G. Wells. So we had him on board and we had a great conversation about how science fiction impacted real life. We’ve had panels with well-established UFO researchers. This year we’re having a respected astrophysicist coming in for one of the documentaries called Painting the Way to the Moon. He found a solution to a very complicated physics problem in his paintings. I think this is an interesting thing that is often neglected—there’s this idea that art and science are two separate things when in fact there are currents that connect the two. We try to bring that out in our festival and make it more accessible to the public in a way that’s inspirational and gives people a sense of purpose.

As the festival director, you review countless feature films and shorts as part of the selection process. In your opinion, what are the biggest hurdles independent filmmakers have to overcome when telling stories in the science fiction genre?

D. A.: I think there’s an unfortunate tendency for a lot of filmmakers to fall into certain science fiction traps. Many of our submissions deal with the science of time travel, androids…I would say that it’s important to tell a story. Science fiction is the background and it’s a way of telling a story but it’s important to focus on characters more than just special effects or fancy light work. There’s also a lot of potential science fiction that could be deemed magical realism. That’s a narrative that you see coming out of South America and Eastern Europe, which is easily adapted into a science fiction setting. I would recommend that [independent filmmakers] break out of the normal science fiction themes of space travel, time travel or androids. There’s a lot there that is really intriguing and awe-inspiring. That’s from a narrative point. Now, the filmmakers of today have to deal with a world that is much more fragmented in terms of the distribution method. It’s very important for them to build their audience from the beginning as they are making the film rather than just make the film then expect someone else to promote it. That’s the challenge I would say an independent filmmaker has now, to create his own audience, because it might come at the expense of writing a good story. They have to be a good businessman and a good artist at the same time and it’s very hard to find the right mixture.

Is there anything different about the festival this year as compared to previous years?


D. A.: This is one of the few real science fiction festivals in New York City. I mean, New York City has a horror film festival, but unlike other cities, New York hasn’t had an official one in a long time…I think it’s time New York had its own science fiction film festival. A lot of New Yorkers are big fans of science fiction. The difference between this year and last year is that we’re getting a lot more features and these features are a lot more developed—the production value is truly outstanding. We’re also getting more films from other parts of the world, such as Europe and Asia, so there’s a lot more integration going on in terms of the type of product we’re getting. We were getting a lot of shorts but now we’re getting enough features so that it’s about 50-50.

Why should sci-fi fans come out to the festival?

D. A.: If you’re in New York, you should definitely support it because New York needs this kind of independent film. New York is being challenged by rising real estate prices—a lot of the venues are closing down because they simply cannot pay. Millenium closed down IndieScreen where we used to show our films (it was actually bought by Vice Media). If sci-fi fans in New York really want to have a real independent scene, they should go out and support it. They really need to because it’s a battle out there. The real estate market is brutal and we really need to make sure these venues are kept alive. I think the kind of science fiction you’ll be seeing at the Philip K. Dick Film Festival is more future-oriented, more socially aware and more impactful. It takes into consideration the technology of now and the future, versus the kind of science fiction that is so way out there that people really cannot connect to it. I always like to say that science fiction is really the science of tomorrow. The kind of science fiction you’re going to see in our festival is the kind of technology that will probably be developing in the next thirty or forty years, so this is like a peek into the future.

What is your personal favorite film adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story?

D. A.: That’s an interesting question. Let’s see…The Adjustment Bureau, I really liked that. The Linklater one, A Scanner Darkly, I could have done without the rotoscoping. I did think that was a little distracting—the story is great and well acted. I think as far as my favorites that would be number two. And of course, Radio Free Albemuth, which I supported. I think it’s probably the most faithful adaptation of his work.  If you’ve read the book, you need to watch the film because it’s a true reflection of that.

Do you have a favorite Philip K. Dick novel or short story?

D. A.: My favorite is probably still VALIS…because it explores science fiction themes but also metaphysical themes…I’m hoping someday somebody will make a really good adaptation of that.

Are there any other science fiction writings that you would love to see adapted for the screen?

D. A.: Well I think Asimov—I believe one of the Nolan brothers is going to be making an adaptation of the Foundation series, which is something I read back in high school. That should be very interesting. I guess I’d like to see more Arthur C. Clarke work done and there are a couple more of these cutting edge writers, like Charles Stross. I think his stuff is absolutely fascinating.

дејан

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Re: ...reč-dve SF blogera...
« Reply #149 on: 21-05-2015, 12:57:39 »


The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The Century So Far


нешто сам глупљи данас но иначе, ђе му дође наставак листе, видим филмове само до 21. места
...barcode never lies
FLA