masqthephlsphr: (nt)
The season finale of Manhattan got me thinking about the end game of their project. I went looking for a film I remember from years ago--a dramatized version of the events of Hiroshima from the POV of both survivors and the Enola Gay crew--but found only a BBC historical documentary on same. I watched it, and it really hit deep, no pun intended. Truly, just horrifying. For some reason, after I got done watching that, I was still on a WWII history kick re: US vs Japan, and started watching Tora, Tora, Tora. Pretty even-handed, so far, for an American film made only twenty-nine years after the events (Japanese nationals may disagree; just my observation).

What's next? Maybe something on Manzanar, or one of those Japanese prisoner-of-war camp films? Eesh. Perhaps those will get me over this weird tangent. War is all fear, blame-shifting, and lashing out; death and tears.
masqthephlsphr: (muse)
Been meaning to do this meme for a while.






What I just got done reading: I've been searching for books to fill my "realistic solar system exploration" story kink, and there aren't a lot of them. I read James SA Corey's Expanse series, of course, and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series. Alas, searching book lists for novels featuring specifically what I'm looking for invariably returns noise: interstellar travel or aliens hovering over Earth. So I returned to the classics, and read all of Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey series.

The first and most well known, 2001 (1968), was written simultaneously in the mid-sixties with the movie script, but actually veers from the script in that the big climactic stuff takes place at Saturn, and its moon, Iapetus. Kubrick, who was collaborating with Clarke, presented a monolith orbiting Jupiter instead.

Interestingly, Clarke ret-conned himself in the sequel, 2010, by relating that the events of nine years earlier took place as they did in the movie. It was the early 80's by the time 2010 came out, and the Voyager probes had shown us how complex the Jovian moon system was, so Clarke wanted to stage the events around Jupiter's moon, Europa, which remains the best chance of life in the solar system beyond Earth even to this day. And also interestingly, the book differs from the film version of 2010 because, although it depicts a still-intact Soviet Union, there is no use of Cold War hostilities as a subplot to push the action forward as there is in the film.

2061 is a great third book in the trilogy, and Clarke ret-cons himself yet again just so he can refer to actual space exploration history he had to invent in earlier books. Only downside to this book is he sets up a necessity for a fourth book, 3001, he didn't need. Frankly, I found the events of 3001 hard to follow. Which might have something to do with the fact that I read it mostly right before bed each night. I think 3001 only existed so Clarke could start a new interstellar series featuring the monolith aliens.

Amusingly, though, more re-con: Soviet Russia gets written right out of Earth's 21st century, as if Clarke had never featured it in his earlier books. He is refreshingly honest about his ret-cons in his numerous late-1990's forwards.


What I'm reading now: Fluency, by Jennifer Foehner Wells. Not sure it's totally what I'm looking for, but it's good so far.


What I'll likely be reading next: K.S. Robinson's 2312 is still on the back burner, as I'm a bit burnt out on Robinson. And I have a gazillion short stories to read for my fiction writing class. So must get on that.






masqthephlsphr: (alias will)
January talking meme, Jan 21. From [personal profile] cornerofmadness: what draws you to the urban fantasy type of story lines?

I am drawn to urban fantasy stories because I like stories that show a secret supernatural world existing in what is ostensibly the mundane, scientifically skeptical world we all live in, and characters who lives are recognizable to the average reader, who are nevertheless part of that supernatural world.

Stories like BtVS, Harry Potter, or Dresden Files, make it easy to imagine that the supernatural exists around me in the world I see everyday. Stories like this allow me to think, "Underneath all this drab, dreary mundanity is a fantastic world full of excitement and magic." All I need is the right book/movie/TV show to reveal what's hidden all around me.

And that makes the mundane world I see outside my window seem just a little bit more magical.

Take Buffy, for example. As I understand it, the BtVS/Angel world is supposed to be our world. Not an alternate universe or anything like that. It's our world, but what most of us don't realize is that magic is real if you know how to tap into it. Demons exist, just hope you don't run into one.

Why do I have this need? I guess because I'm an agnostic, and an empiricist, but what I feel compelled to believe is not the same thing as what I wish were true. "Urban" fantasy lets me step away from that for an hour or two.

This is the reason I am not drawn much to High Fantasy (e.g., Lord of the Rings). High fantasy stories are set in completely imaginary places that aren't Earth, nor even historical Earth. They often contain humans, dogs, oak trees, and other earthlike things to make them more accessible, but the resemblance to our world is usually a pseudo-resemblance to some historical era I have little connection to. I don't mind fantasy or science fiction set in a historical period on Earth, as long as the historical period is genuinely drawn outside of its supernatural elements.

So the "on Earth" is important to me. As is the "secret." I want a story world where the supernatural is considered debunked and its delights and dangers lurk in the shadows, only known to a select few. For this reason, I also don't care much for urban fantasy where the supernatural elements of the story are out in the open (e.g., Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton). Partly because the supernatural being "secret" makes it easier to pretend all this really is going on all around me. But also, I have always had a kink for "the big secret" that only select characters know and the rest of the world is oblivious to.
masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
... but I know why.

First, a rec from the man behind Wesley Crusher:

http://wilwheaton.net/2013/07/nothing-to-prove/

I have only been aware of this misogyny-in-geekdom problem in the past year or so via LiveJournal links and posts on the topic. I've been a girl geek all my life )


So, in conclusion:

"Geeky is just shorthand for enthusiastic and enlightened" --[personal profile] scrollgirl
masqthephlsphr: (fs)
I was thinking about my complaint the other day about Hollywood's trend of remaking current foreign films and TV shows and doing remakes of (slightly) older American films and TV shows (especially annoying when you are any age of adult and can remember the original like it was yesterday because it was).

This seemed to contradict a stray thought I had later that day in which I was remembering mourning the passing of television shows and film series I had loved (esp. Deep Space Nine, Angel, and Harry Potter) and how I comforted myself with the knowledge that "something new will come along I will love, it always does."

"New", of course, is relative. It can be argued there are no truly "new" stories to tell, but I think it depends on what you mean by "new." If stories are stripped down to their archetypal bones, then no, there probably aren't any new stories out there, but there are plenty of new ways to tell the same archetypal story. Make your Odysseus a female character in the modern day instead of a male. Pile this culture/era/sub-culture's baggage atop the archetype instead of that culture/era/sub-culture's baggage--no one will recognize the story archetype without a lot of wincing, and it becomes fresh again.

Likewise, easily recognizable tropes or characters can be made fresh again with a fresh angle to them. Set the (yet another) vampire story in the American south, or have the vampire share a flat with a werewolf and a ghost. Give your formerly-Victorian characters cell phones and sophisticated 21st-century adversaries to test their skills against.

That said, there IS such a thing as trope-fatigue. And making your "adaptations" too thinly-disguised by your "variations" to be fresh enough.

Sometimes, what I really want is to curl up and revisit the same story told the same way I remember it. Sometimes, what I really want is a story trope/archetype/kink that's deep in my bones told in a way so different from what I've heard before I don't recognize it at first. Sometimes I want a film/show that was done forty years ago, and not too well, to be given a decent (and fresh) treatment.

But I rarely want to see the same story told in just a slightly tweaked way ten years or one year after I saw it before.




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Cool.

Jul. 26th, 2011 09:07 am
masqthephlsphr: (don't fuk)
OMG, I just discovered that all three books in Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy have been made into movies that are available on Netflix. It was on their recommendation I even rented the first movie ("You like foreign films with strong women characters: rent this!"). That got me reading the books in the first place.

::fan girls::

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