Category Archives: Misc. Sci-fi

[Flashback] Star Wars, the Matrix, and a FB rant good enough to save

This guy is dead wrong… ran into this article a year ago, and posted the following comments on FB:
How ‘Star Wars’ ruined sci-fi

The six “Star Wars” films have been enormous successes: they have grossed over $2 billion domestically at the box office, spawned scores of books, comic books and merchandise (how many kids have their own light saber?) and made household names of characters like Darth Vader, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.

They’ve also been the worst thing ever for the science fiction genre.
[…]
Instead, I’ll queue up “The Matrix,” and enjoy the most original sci-fi movie of the past 25 years. I recommend “Star Wars” fans do the same. They need to be reminded what real creativity is all about.

Star Wars is, like a great many other SF films before it, a pretty generic adventure story with an SF setting.

Not too different from Forbidden Planet (though cribbed from Kurosawa rather than Shakespeare) just as the Day the Earth Stood Still was a mild thriller with SF elements (and arguably cribbed from Christianity) as well as myriad less well remembered options. Star Wars’ only fault is its enduring success.

Meanwhile, he loses all credibility when he calls The Matrix the most original SF film of the past 25 years… it’s a VISUALLY stunning film, one of the high points of the late 1990s but it makes little sense and has a setting/premise that is a pastiche of William Gibson and the Terminator series. Meanwhile, he ignores a whole lot of really well done recent SF films; given his otherwise apparent highbrow bias, I’d think this guy would have LOVED Gattaca, and more recently while flawed Looper, Source Code, and In Time all had more depth and originality to their plots than the Matrix (let alone the tepid and nonsensical sequels) although none can match the visual spectacle of The Matrix ( or Star Wars. )


Found this via the FB memories feature, which is pretty cool.

Fanfic I’d like to see

OK, there are a few fanfic stories I’d really like to read. Perhaps I’ll get to writing one someday; more likely not.

Two alternate versions of Harry Turtledove’s Lizards/Worldwar books:
1) “Fleetlord Atvar and the Cuban Missile Crisis”
2) Lizards arrive in 2021, as described/implied in John Birmingham’s Axis of Time Trilogy

Harry Potter:
1) Book 7 ends with Harry and Voldemort, the way Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards ended
2) An alternate universe where Harry joined Slytherin house

There are some others I’m forgetting now, perhaps I’ll update this later

Rolling over in her grave…?

Well, not quite — Ursula Le Guin is very much alive, and has thoroughly (and IMO deservedly) panned the film Earthsea which is loosely based on her novels Wizard of Earthsea, Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore

I stress loosely… I saw the first episode last night, and it’s entertaining enough, although I’m glad it’s been ages since I read the novels. The differences were obvious pretty immediately… they switched the hero’s “true name” and his social name from the books, added plotlines. I’m watching the second episode as we speak, and the changes only get more obvious and to some degree, more silly.

Ah well.

The Lord of the Rings films weren’t perfect, but they were at least relatively true to the spirit of the novels… I think Tolkien isn’t rolling over in his grave, and might even be pleasantly surprised at how well they translated. But this is one of those Hollywood rewrites, and the kindest thing I can say about their choices is that it’s nowhere near the perversion that Starship Troopers was.

There’s a good thread on this on rec.arts.sf.fandom which also supplied the link to Ms. Le Guin’s site.

Update, a few minutes later: Replaced the link with a better one to the same short essay on her site. Here’s a link to the film on the Sci-Fi channel’s web site though heck, they really don’t need the free advertising.