Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY HISTORY MONTH

My dear friends, I am calling on you to help me start a movement. This December, let us take another step in further promoting one of our great loves---Science Fiction and Fantasy. Let us declare December to be SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY HISTORY MONTH.

What? Why does it have to be promoted? you ask. Aren't we inundated with it? Isn't there more genre in film and on television than ever? Isn't the fiction market dominated by genre?

Perhaps, but as lovers of the genre, we owe it to ourselves to promote quality work and to invite the young into our fold ,giving them a perspective and understanding of the traditions and tropes of our literary world. Consider the political and cultural influence of science fiction and fantasy, and how it has helped us vent our angst, voice our identity, and celebrate our optimism.

I think this idea first hit me with a statement from a fan of the Twilight Series who railed against The Wolf Man because the creature depicted wasn't beautiful, like Jacob, and was able to be killed by a single silver bullet. I rolled my eyes, but it occurred to me that for many of the younger audience, this was their first and only exposure to such staples of fantasy as vampires and werewolves[and I include horror in the sci-fi and fantasy realm]. While many will argue fans of Twilight are actually fans of romance more than fantasy, the argument can be made that as people mature and cast about for different fare, they will find a wealth of rich fantastic literature and film, but only if we keep the memory of such work alive.

I worry who will read the work of Robert E. Howard, Joseph Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Donald A. Wollheim, Usula K. LeGuin, Anne Maccaffrey, Arthur C. Clark, Gene Wolf, and JRR Tolkein, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Leigh Brackett and their ilk some twenty years forward. The only way to influence the future of literature is to continue to promote the work of the past which we feels best represents that which made science fiction and fantasy such an important part of our culture and identity.

So spread the word, perhaps put a button on your blog..December is Science Fiction and Fantasy History Month.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Gift Season

What do two old men do when they missed the time slot of the movie they were supposed to see? Why go and hang out at the local electronics store, of course! Yes, we played with the large 3d screens, bowled with the XBOX Kinnect, and played with the computers. It was sheer heaven. However, this got me thinking...what do writers want for Christmas from their local electronic stores? Allow me to deliver the writer's wish list, the top five toys for the writer in your family.

1. Kindle (or an ebook reader equivalent). The joy of carrying around a library in your book bag. I know there are those who will shriek at the idea of hastening the demise of paper based printing, but you can't deny the devices are here to stay and they are practical.  Especially for students who get weary of dragging a heavy book bag around.

2. Apple IPAD (or a notebook equivalent, and there are many on the way). How can you argue with such a practical toy...er, make that tool. Access the net, read the newspaper, write, etc. Like the Kindle, it's a perfect reading tablet, but it's so much more versatile.

3 I-Pen Digital Writer  This is a cool little item. It's sort of a mouse, but not. Actually, it's a writing utensil which immediately translates actions to the computer. Sounds complicated. Check it out. For forty bucks, some people might consider this a stocking stuffer.

4. The Live Scribe for people who didn't think the I-Pen was cool enough. The Live Scribe records everything you hear and write so you can recall anything with a simple click.

5. A Gift Card  Yeah, it feels like a cop out, but who doesn't like a gift card to their favorite book store?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Is It Greed or Memorex?

There's The Exorcist, then there's The Exorcist, the 25th Anniversary Edition, then The Exorcist (Extended Director's Cut), and The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen). Now you can also buy The Exorcist (Extended Director's Cut and Original Theatrical Version) for Blu-Ray.

I am not against people making money, but as consumers do we need this many versions and cuts of a single film? At what point do we take a stand and say "no more."

This week, Avatar is being re-released theatrically, with additional footage. You know what that means? the release for the three disc "extended collector's edition" has already been scheduled.

What about books? Will we ever see a point where additional chapters are added to an existing manuscript to further whore an author? Hmmmm. Considering we've already seen the unwarranted release of The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet), the answer is "yes."