Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Capt. Xerox 9:30 pm on April 8, 2012 Permalink
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    I was just perusing the list of Hugo nominations. I am going to go out on a limb and predict, without reading any of the nominated novels, that China Mieville will with for Embassytown.

    Okay, I confess that I have read some of Embassytown as I picked it up in anticipation of it being nominated. I think that there is enough being said and written about the book that it will be an easy winner.

    Seeing that the Hugos are more of a popularity contest these days, I think the closest competitor for Mieville will be George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, not because it’s a great book, which it very well may be, but because Martin’s Game of Thrones has been such a success in its HBO television adaptation. That name recognition factor will go a long way to helping it win votes.

    Don’t get me started about how something with dragons in the title is being nominated for a science fiction award. You don’t see stories about rockets and robots when the World Fantasy Awards are handed out.

    Probably the strangest nomination is for something called “The Drink Tank’s Hugo Acceptance Speech” by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon from Renovation. How meta is that? If it wins, could the acceptance speech for that award be nominated for a Hugo next year?

     
    • Jeffrey Allan Boman 4:23 am on April 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve known Chris for about 6 years now. He was one of my nominators for DUFF in 2010. He’s a very entertaining person, so his speech was likely gold.

      I’m glad his zine (which I’ve written for) won. In the past years podcasts and other unrelated things have instead. He deserved one just for being prolific.

    • Kevin 9:54 pm on April 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The Hugo Awards are not exclusively for science fiction. It says so right in their official definition in the WSFS Constitution, section 3.2.1: Unless otherwise specified, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.

      The World Fantasy Awards are presented by a small jury with strong administrative powers to arbitrarily define what they consider “fantasy” and “not-fantasy.” The Hugo Award administrators are strongly discouraged from applying any form of value judgements on the works, and to leave the decision as to whether a work is SF, Fantasy, or related to the field in some way up to the voters. Think of it as having a “jury” of over 1,100 members.

      • Capt. Xerox 10:46 pm on April 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the clarification. I never looked that closely at the definitions for the awards. In my mind, they’ve always been awards for science fiction, but clearly they are not. There certainly have been other fantasy books that have been nominated and won over the years and a few borderline cases that had me scratching my head over their inclusion.

  • Capt. Xerox 9:27 pm on March 18, 2012 Permalink
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    As a lifelong Edgar Rice Burroughs fan in good standing, I could not live with myself if I didn’t haul my butt out to the theatre to catch the movie based on his first story, A Princess of Mars. Non-ERB fans would know the movie by the uninspiring title John Carter.

    Despite the lacklustre showing at the box-office and its inevitable failure to make money for Disney, I think that the movie is a success for anyone who bothers to actually see it. It could be my standing in the ERB fan club which has coloured my opinions, but I don’t think so.

    Many critics have complained that the story is unnecessarily complicated and I’d have to agree with them. I think the scriptwriters worked hard to create a backstory to explain how a 19th-century American ends up on Mars, but they were perhaps a bit too clever. They could have stuck closer to the source material which may not be as sophisticated for today’s audience, but would certainly simplify the story.

    If you ignore some of the more convoluted plot points, the movie delivers on visuals and action that should have made this a slam dunk for the blockbuster-loving masses, but I guess the poor marketing couldn’t save it.

    For those of you not familiar with Burroughs’ Mars series, it is a sequence of adventures of a former Confederate soldier on Mars. The lower gravity on the Red Planet gives him near-super-human strength and he uses this advantage to great effect in various battles that pit him against monsterous foes.

    Along the way he befriends an 8-foot-tall, green-skinned, four-armed Martian and falls in love with a red-skinned Martian princess. In the movie, and in the book, he has encounters there is much swashbuckling as John Carter slahes and swordfights his way across the dying planet, wheter it be in the vast deserts that are now dried-out seas or high in the air in ornate flying machines that more closely resemble flying sailing ships.

    Some of the scenes are reminiscent of the most recent round of Star Wars movies, specifically an arena battle and some of the flying sequences which look like they could have been outtakes from the Phantom Menace pod race. I don’t take that as a negative and you have to take into account that Burroughs’ stories pr-edate Star Wars and, pretty much every other, science fiction story by several decades so the reality is that most of them were stealing story ideas from ERB and not the other way around.

    I’d readily recommend this movie to any science-fiction fan who wants to turn their brain off for a few hours and be entertained by a grand spectacle that will transport them magically to another planet.

     
    • lazaruslair 1:17 pm on March 19, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My (rotten) kid went ahead with one of his friends and saw this movie without me. Now I’m going to have to wait until the DVD/BR comes out. I was very much looking forward to it.

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