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 Rewatching TOS a couple of months ago, I'd noticed that cannon!Kirk is almost completely different than the popular image of the character, but Erin Horakova in Strange Horizons goes into more detail (and semiotics theory, so, y'know, brace yourselves for that).

Especially good points --
1. Everyone knows Nimoy was Jewish, not so many people know Shatner is, and it's something to take into account as part of the subtext in stories like "The Conscience of the King."
2. A lot of Kirk's "conquests" in TOS are more like "Kirk plays along with the situation/distracts the guard."
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 Andrew recently acquired a copy of <i>Just Imagine</i> (1930), a movie he last saw in 1980, the years it is set. I can see why he's always going on about it - This movie feels like the perfect early-'Thirties movie: Singing! Dancing! Rockets! Art Deco sets! Comedy Swedish accents! Women in extremely pre-Code costumes! Props and FX scenes that would be re-used in every SF movie or serial for at least a decade afterwards! Cocktails in pill form! 
 
As the first sound SF film, it's..... kind of a cross between <i>Metropolis</i> and a Marx Brothers comedy, with maybe a bit of <i><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bedbug">The Bedbug</a></i>. Single-O/Ole Petersen (El Brendel) is a man revived from a state of suspended animation that was somehow induced by a lightning strike in 1930. El Brendel's Swedish-immigrant schtick ought to be annoying, but somehow, maybe through sheer goofy good humour, it works. Unfazed by his situation, he is befriended  by J-21(John Garrick) and RT-42 (Frank Albertson), who want to appeal the Marriage Tribunal's refusal to let J-21 marry LN-18 (Maureen O'Sullivan). Somehow this leads to the three of them going to Mars, where the natives are friendly but all have evil twins. No, I don't get it either. There is a drinking song on a dirigible. This movie may have been filmed especially for <lj user="sovay" />.
 
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 At the Fantastic Pulps Show on the weekend I bought a paperback of The Planet Buyer which I guessed to be Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia under a different release title. Unfortunately I was only half right -- it's the first of a two-book edition of Norstrilia, and ends just as Rod, C'mell et al arrive on Old Old Earth. Now I need to track down the rest so I can find out what happens next. Smith's world-building is extravagant, deeply weird, beautiful, funny, horrific and seemingly effortless -- he doesn't want you to ask how much work went into his distant-future universe so he keeps you off-balance with invisible replicas of the Temple of Diana of the Ephesians, monkeys who are also trained surgeons, and a computer who dabbles in economic warfare. The last detail was when it occurred to me that even though his stories are nothing like what one usually associates with the genre, Cordwainer Smith might just qualify as military SF. For asymmetrical conflicts and passive resistance.
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Andrew is rewatching all of Ray Bradbury Theatre in preparation for an upcoming panel. I know Bradbury didn't much like communications technology, and I personally find phones nightmarish, but I find I sympathize with everyone else in 'The Murderer' who has to deal with the guy randomly smashing their radios, faxes and cel phones; and especially with his wife and kids who have to deal with him suddenly whipping out a gun in the house and shooting the tv set and all the appliances.
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Begun on Saturday morning when i woke up.

"First, God came for the Fundies, and I did nothing, because they'd been praying for him to do
that for decades."

Read more... )
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Home from SFContario (green_trilobite was too exhausted to stick around for the dead-dog.) A good time was had: I woke up Saturday morning with a possible story idea, I got pressed-ganged into the Masquerade for wearing my jetpack, and today wound up moderating a panel on the portrayal of disability and prosthetics in SF, due to the absence of half the projected panel members. Given the circumstances, I decided to *begin* with questions and comments from the audience, and it became a somewhat wide-ranging conversation but there was a neuroscientist in the front row and someone brought up C. L. Moore's 'Of No Woman Born' before I did and thanked me afterwards for a "lively discussion" so I think it went well.

The-guy-from-the-Readercon-incident was there, because he's not banned from cons other than Readercon. I mention this because I don't know him by sight, so late Friday night I was chatting with several people, while sensing that something was making green_trilobite uncomfortable, but didn't find out until afterwards that it was the company. But that was the only really awkward incident. Last night I looked around the Con Suite at a bunch of people of various ages talking about interesting and arcane topics while no loud music played in the background and wondered, for a moment, how this party would look to non-fans -- would they be horrified or envious? But I suppose it doesn't matter, and anyway, to assume non-fans are all of the same mind is even more of a logical fallacy than to assume it of fans.
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..But seen from this angle, the Predator looks rather like a Mari Lwyd.

ETA - after watching several Youtube vids, I discovered to my surprise that this is one Welsh name actually pronounced like the spelling. In related news, I'm now awaiting an opportunity to write about Wales pwning someone or something.
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Another cat-themed vintage SF story. I think Captain Wow has the best name in the story.

After reading a little about Cordwainer Smith, I tried to find an online copy of 'Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons.' I haven't, but by googling that phrase I have warned Nostrilla's defenders of my interest in their planet.

ETA - but I did find The Dead Lady of Clown Town. Woah.

ETA2 - which I should note does contain a very dub-con relationship; I'm willing to accept that the Hunter is totally sincere in his belief that sex between himself and Elaine is both pre-ordained and necessary to the cause - what makes things problematic is that he's a telepath, so Elaine can't *help but* share his belief as soon as they meet.

I find myself more interested, though, in trying to figure out *why* it's necessary - Smith not being a writer who specializes in straightforward explanation. My thoughts so far: Smith was working off the template of Joan of Arc, so D'Joan has to be a virgin martyr; however, he didn't want said virginity to imply that sexuality is bad, so her transformation to full personhood requires her to receive a telepathic imprint off two blissfully post-coital humans; either so she can understand the apex of human experience (1), or because she's undergoing a rebirth and someone must take the role of parents and re-conceive her.

(1) I originally typed that as "the ape of human experience," which kind of fits with the theme.
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With the search terms "Steena colorblind cat space," I was able to turn up Andre Norton's All Cats Are Gray, the plot (but not the title or authorship) of which has been stuck in my head for nearly thirty years.
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Occasionally I watch the CGI Clone Wars show on Teletoon with green_trilobite. I'm not wild about the animation style, though I don't hate it either. I find I like the writing, though: it's one of the few things I've seen since B5 that shows characters actually engaging in politics - i.e., trying to form or break up alliances.

It's also the only thing I think I've seen that writes clones as individuals who just happen to all share the same genes; a literal band of brothers.

Visually, the clones look as though they use tattooing and varying hairstyles to individualize their standard-issue bodies as they use paint and decals to mod their armour; and the episode playing now is about them debating among themselves what to do about a CO who they realize is deliberately trying to get them killed. I'm not sure if they have different voice actors or one actor doing slightly different voices for each.
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green_trilobite is re-watching the tv mini-series of The Martian Chronicles. We've just reached the part I always have trouble buying: when news arrives that Earth is on the verge of a global nuclear war, the response of all the Martian colonists, except for a handful of individuals scattered across the planet, is to drop everything and go back there.

I can see a few people hoping against hope to retrieve loved ones, or at least die with them, but the plot of the latter half of the book is dependent on *everybody*, including families with children, leaving a habitable colony for a dangerous situation. It's like trying to believe a story in which the entire Lower East Side, midway through the 1930s, decides to pack up and go to Europe.

Movies

Apr. 20th, 2012 09:05 am
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Over the last couple of weeks, green_trilobite's been playing his collection of 1950s and '60s SF movie classics - yesterday we watched Them!, which like George Pal's War of the Worlds has a script that takes into account that monsters are scarier when their victims don't fall through stupidity.

Anyway, I did a little sketch of one of the scientist characters (who dons a more practical outfit a few scenes later, but I sort of like the image of her in her 1950s suit and hat, and protective goggles). I've submitted a larger one as a possible cover for Sol Rising (the Friends of the Merril's newsletter.)

Right now we're watching The Time Machine, which has some good scenes, but I can't help but wonder: who cuts and styles the Eloi's hair? I can't see the Morlocks allowing them to have scissors, except maybe those little blunt kindergarten ones. OK, Weena's just asked how the women of the Wells' time wore their hair, so I guess she's interested. He has no idea, just a vague sense that women wore their hair "up." One person's frivolity is another one's technical skill.
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Fan-made trailer for John Carter which is ten times better than the official one:




It annoys me that Disney basically scuttled this movie.

Them!

Feb. 9th, 2012 09:03 pm
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Decided to pull out Glass & Brick, my not-quite-steampunk story, and see if I can knock it into shape before the deadline for the Merril Collection story contest. I've slipped back into it easily enough, which I'm hoping is a good sign, but...it's a weird thing; all over the place, and even more so now - as of this afternoon, the story also includes giant (i.e. dog-sized) ants, which can be trained for various purposes, except that since they're ants, you have to use scent to command them. Well, and probably some gestures.
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Visited handful-ofdust and her family yesterday. she showed us The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra - sorry, crankydon, I hadn't yet watched the copy you gave me, but I wish I had: Aliens! Mutants! Science! Cranky Telepathic Skeletons! Tortured and Redundant Syntax! A Woman Transmuted from Four Different Kinds of Forest Animals!

All of which is to say, it's nice to see a parody done by people who really know what they're doing.
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I’d sort of like to see an SF story in which all our machines act up, but it turns out they’re *not* rebelling against humans, because they don’t see us as masters – they see us as the landscape through which they move. Instead they’re fighting a civil war among themselves over some issue that we organics can’t comprehend.

WTF FTW

Feb. 17th, 2011 01:24 pm
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Am tempted to make get-well cards for Peter Watts, although I don’t know him well - as a recent comment on his site points out, there are no “Sorry to hear about your necrotizing fasciitis” cards; and there probably should be. The first two designs to surface in my head were 1. A picture of Job shaking his fist at the sky, or 2. A photo of Watts’ face, a “greater than” sign, and a photo of Hugh Laurie as Dr. House.
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Had another period-sf dream – This one was an Edwardian lost-civilization adventure. It wasn’t really steampunk, since most of the devices in it were human-powered (one involved a dance floor that functioned as a sort of giant treadmill); which might seem to be going backwards, but thematically the story (in the dream I was simultaneously reading, watching and critiquing) seemed to be about human potential – the hero looked like a jock, but was a Doc Savage type who was all about pairing mental and physical development. Unfortunately he was just as annoying as I’ve made him sound; it didn’t help that the only female character made Weena from The time Machine look like Marie Curie.
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Found out last weekend that Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones from Torchwood, which green_trilobite was re-watching) also fronts a blues/metal band, as seen in this clip. Hearing him switch between the screams and growls he uses during the number and his cute speaking voice is fun. Watching his Sweet Dance Moves (tm) is also fun.

ETA - omg, they also covered Just Dropped In.

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