Sunday, July 22, 2007

SF Signal Finds

All taken from SF Signal:

The Myth of the Fantasy Genre - Mostly derived from Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Card hints that the genre designation does have something to do with what people actually believe about the world. For example, are The Iliad and The Odyssey fantasies? No, says Card, because they were written at a time when most people believed in such stuff. What about the Bible or Paradise Lost? Card prudently remarks that even today many people "would be outraged to hear of either being classified as fantasy" (p. 18).

Futurism vs Futurisn't - One of the writers for Transformers, John Rogers talks about the difficulties of writing an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
Shekhar was a very fine person to work with. Obsessively introspective, dedicated to exploring the inner lives of his characters in a way that frankly befuddled most Western film humans we encountered. Foundation is a big, deep bastard, and while Asimov's work has the patina of the 50's on it (atomic priests! space houswives!) at its core it's about free will. If someone could predict the future with mathematical certainty, is that a blessing or a curse? Is belief in a mathematically predetermined future effectively faith? I was fascinated by that concept, and wound up creating a fairly complex thematic web between:

-- the Foundation, representing order, but decaying
-- the Mule. Pure chaos, the virtue of free will but nominally evil
-- and Bayta. No longer the space housewife, but torn between these two competing ideologies.
7 Additional Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit (And Become a Misantrophic Kook in the Process) - Edward Champion's satiric approach on Lifetime Particle's 14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit.
Surround yourself with more books than you can possibly read. But this is too easy a suggestion and it should be taken to the next logical level. If you wall yourself in with interesting books, then you will be forced to remove the books that surround you on all sides. Of course, in removing one book from these many walls, you will then become so interested in it and start reading it. Be careful not to die of starvation and dehydration should you choose this option. Create holes in the book walls so that straws can pass through. (And be sure to hire a valet to slip you the appropriate viands and nutritional supplements. If you don’t have an expendable income, you can always dig a tunnel.)
The Sin of High School English Class (or Why I Hate Classic Literature) - A man after my own heart (and both of our first novels read was Jurassic Park!).

(Paraphrasing a bit)

Student #1: Can I do it on Lord of the Rings? [1]

Teacher: That’s not any of the topics, sorry. Your term paper has to be on a book we’ve read in class.

Student #2: Hey, can we cover Lord of the Rings in class?

(Many others in the class signal their approval of this idea, offering comments like “Yeah can we?” and “That’d be cool”)

Teacher: No, I don’t think so.

Student #2: Why not?

Teacher: It’s not part of the canon. (He may have said “AP Curriculum” rather than canon, unfortunately this was 8 years ago and my memory is fuzzy.)

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