athelind: (benjy)
Last week, Your Obedient Serpent let slip the single nerdiest thing he has ever said, or, in all probability, ever will say. Those who have spared even a cursory glance at this journal will understand that this is a high bar indeed.

I compared the Cutie Mark Crusaders to the Forever People.

This, dear readers, is a transcendent moment of nerdity. For one brief, shining moment, I achieved Nerdvana.

Ah, but I can tell by your expressions that this bon mot was sufficiently inbred as to be incomprehensible to any but my fellow Nerdisattvas.

As I have noted in the past, there is a tendency for fans of Jack Kirby's Fourth World Saga to neglect the Forever People, a series about a band of youthful, colorfully-garbed "gods" of New Genesis who can only be described as "Space Hippies". While the Fourth World as a whole is a product of its time, it's the Forever People who are the most dated. They're earnest. They're optimistic. They're corny. "Serious" readers find them embarrassing, and prefer to ignore them or sweep them under the rug, preferring even Kirby's work on Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen to this gaudy gang of star-born striplings. Alas, some of those "serious" readers include comic professionals who attempted to continue the King's Magnum Opus.

This is unfortunate, because it is in the pages of the Forever People that Jack clearly spells out, over and over, the key concept of the epic, the Anti-Life Equation -- a MacGuffin that those "serious" readers insist that the King "never really explained". Those embarrassing space hippies are the ones who most often directly confront the Big Bad of the Fourth World, Darkseid, and encounter not one but two individuals who actually wield the Equation itself.

By the same token, there is a tendency amongst Bronies (the Periphery Demographic that helped to catapult My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from a thirty-minute toy commercial to a global phenomenon) to dismiss, ignore, or just roll their eyes at the episodes centering around a group of secondary characters dubbed "The Cutie Mark Crusaders". The Crusaders are younger than the main cast (a.k.a. the "Mane Six"), being portrayed as schoolchildren. Originally, they were planned as a spin-off aimed at an even younger audience, and, well ... they're earnest. They're optimistic. They're corny.1

It is also in the Crusader-centric episodes that writing staff clearly spells out the key concept of the "Cutie Mark", the mystic brand that adorns the hindquarters of each adult pony. A Cutie Mark appears when a pony finds her True Calling, the vocation or avocation that that will bring her the most fulfillment in life. The Crusaders, last in their age group to achieve this milestone, are determined to do everything they can to hurry the process along.

The puberty metaphors are not accidental, but are, ultimately, incidental. The Cutie Mark is more than just a metaphor; the magic of Equestria may not be rigorous enough to satisfy Sanderson's First Law2, but the Marks and Callings nevertheless play an important role in its operation -- particularly in Season 5, currently underway as of this writing.

More than one Brony rolled over a few Saturdays ago, went back to sleep when they remembered that a CMC episode was scheduled for the day -- and discovered upon awakening that they'd missed one of the Big Episodes of the Season. Given the themes of Season 5, I would not be surprised if Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Bell turn out to be major players in resolving the crisis in the forthcoming season finale.

Is there a point to all this? Probably not, other than an amusing confluence of easily-dismissed side characters in obscure pop culture.

On the Other Claw, perhaps there is. Perhaps it's worth taking a second glance at the overlooked and unappreciated side characters in the media we all so adore. Perhaps there are more works where the real themes and key concepts are explored by the side-characters, since, after all, the protagonists and antagonists are busy protagonizing and antagonizing. Perhaps, in many works, all that foreground action is just a carrier wave, and it's the Big Bears and the Apple Blooms, the Merrys and Pippins, the Neville Longbottoms and the Etta Candys who really embody the signal.


1 There is also an unfortunate tendency for the earlier CMC episodes to hinge heavily on Cringe Comedy, though this thankfully diminishes as the seasons progress.
2 Did I just invoke Sanderson on top of Kirby and MLP? Trifecta!!
athelind: (WARNING: TV Tropes)
The Everlasting Gobstopper* is Your Obedient Serpent's own rhyming slang for a "Neverending Doorstopper", the most egregious metastasis of Trilogy Creep.

To qualify as an Everlasting Gobstopper, a work must have most or all of the following traits:

  • Each volume in the series will run around a thousand pages, putting each individual installment firmly into Doorstopper territory.

  • There is no clear end to the progression of installments: while the saga appears to be telling a story, there is rarely a hint of actual resolution. It is, in short, Neverending.

  • The characters rarely manage to accomplish anything of significance. They are tossed around from event to event, becoming increasingly mired in events outside their control.

    • Corollary 1: The more sympathetic they are, the less they manage to accomplish.

    • Corollary 2: Any minor "victories" will happen early on in the series. As it progresses, the characters become increasingly less effective, as the author finds it easier to play on readers' sympathies tormenting characters rather than advancing the story.

  • Readers often develop Stockholm Syndrome. After investing so much time and energy into a work, they are not going to walk away and leave it unfinished, no matter how much of a slog it has become or how little they care about the characters anymore.

  • As the work continues to expand, it becomes increasingly likely that the author will walk away and leave it unfinished.


While these symptoms are most commonly found in Fantasy Literature, the contagion has spread to other genres and media as well. HBO's Game of Thrones, of course, is the most obvious example, being a direct adaptation of one of the quintessential Everlasting Gobstoppers.

An example native to television might be Supernatural: after the resolution of its original story arc and the departure of the creators, the series has continued without actually progressing, to the point where one can tune into any random episode from Seasons 6-10 without being able to determine if it is, in fact, a rerun.

In the world of comics, Hickman's multi-year run on the Avengers titles spiraled into a Gobstopper. Hicman managed the rather impressive feat of making the defeat of a vast alien armada seem ultimately meaningless. Geoff Johns' tenure on Green Lantern and its spin-offs deserves a mention, as well: it even outlasted the original author (though Mr. Johns is, thankfully, still with us); after his departure from the books, those who followed him kept spinning out the plot threads he set in motion, stretching them ever-finer and more tenuous.

Note that an author can crank out novel after novel about the same characters for decades, but if the characters resolve the issue at hand in each installment, it's not a Everlasting Gobstopper. The continuing adventures of Philip Marlowe, of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, or even those of Harry Dresden do not qualify as Gobstoppers. Yes, Harry's saga has an ultimate over-arching story arc, but each volume is largely self-contained; he and his friends resolve the most immediate of threats and dangers, and even multi-volume plot threads are resolved every few books. Butcher lets his characters win now and then, and that big looming metaplot actually progresses as we learn more about it.

I am ... not a fan of Everlasting Gobstoppers, and I try to avoid them. I get sucked in on occasion, of course; the Agent Pendergast series seemed like a tidy batch of fairly self-contained superhantural thrillers until it swallowed its own tail diving into the protagonist's dysfunctional family background; ultimately, I walked away from that one and haven't looked back. More recently, after thoroughly enjoying the tidy trilogies and done-in-one works of the preposterously prolific Brandon Sanderson, I picked up The Way of Kings ... and discovered, as I was immersed in the second volume, that Sanderson intends to run that series for at least ten full doorstoppers.

Coyote help me, I am looking forward to them all.


*The phrase, of course, is borrowed from Roald Dahl's masterpiece, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
athelind: (Magnum Opus)
Okay, I'll bite. What's the Rune Star Tapestries?

It's the blanket title for the Sword & Sorcery Magnum Opus* I've been tinkering with on and off since the early 1980s. It stars several of the characters I played in [livejournal.com profile] godhi's Corongond Campaign, the first big, ongoing tabletop RPG campaign I was ever involved in.

Yes, characters. It was the Dawn of the Nerd Age, before Dallas Egbert was lost in the steam tunnels, in the days of the Great Dice Famine. In those days, playing more than one character at a time and having characters who jumped from campaign to campaign was still fairly common. Game mechanics have matured and evolved a great deal over the last four decades, but in that cusp between the Seventies and the Eighties, between Carter and Reagan, between Eldritch Wizardry and the Player's Handbook, gaming culture was equally embryonic, and many of the customs and conventions now taken for granted had yet to emerge. Many off-the-cuff, ad-hoc decisions made in a convention hall's game room about how a fantasy world might function went on to shape not only game settings but fantasy literature as a whole.

(Had we known we were setting precedent as binding as the Common Law, we might have made different decisions.)

I have dithered around with these ideas and these characters for almost four decades, developing and discarding settings that just didn't work, haring off after misguided attempts to write a "proper" Quest Fantasy Trilogy despite a set of decidedly improper protagonists. After the untimely demise of my friend, Jim, who was an important part of that antediluvian tabletop chronicle, and who never stopped encouraging me to bring my characters to a wider audience than the gaming table, I realized that it was well past time to get serious about this saga.

For the last few months, in fits and starts, jotting down notes at work and in the evenings, I have striven to do just that ... and I'm ready to start sharing.

That's ... informative. But what IS the Rune Star Tapestries?

Well, let me tell you what it *won't* be:

It won't be a Trilogy Quest, where the protagonists have basically One Big Adventure to overthrow One Big Bad, and that's it, they're done. That's the end of their story.

It certainly won't be an Everlasting Gobstopper: those Neverending Series of Thousand-Page Doorstoppers, which drag characters through tragedy after indignity without ever really *accomplishing* anything. [Cue Portentious Violins over Clockwork Maps.]

It won't be a Grand Epic about Destined, Prophesied Chosen Ones.

I plan a throwback to the classic days of Sword and Sorcery: an episodic, picaresque collection of short stories and novellas about a trio of well-meaning troublemakers, three misfits seeking their fortune in a world of magic and high adventure. I feel no obligation to write them in chronological order, any more than Howard or Lieber did. It will be character-driven and setting-driven: the core theme will be exploration and discovery, as Our Heroes seek out interesting and exotic locales and interact with them.

And those ad-hoc decisions I mentioned, up above, that turned "Dungeon Fantasy" into its own subgenre? It just might be a chance to play with some of the eccentric, off-the-wall wildness that didn't wind up as Common-Law Precedent for the ISO Standard Fantasy Setting.

The most quintessential fantasy cliche is the tale of a Heroic Knight-Errant who rescues a Fair Princess from the clutches of a Wicked Dragon.

The Tapestries begin when a Plain Servant Girl rescues a Noble Dragon from the clutches of Errant Knights and would-be Heroes.

They take refuge with a band of Goblins, and that's where their adventures *begin*...


*Yes, that icon is Opus with a Magnum. Thank you, Derrick Fish.
athelind: (coyote durp durp durp)
While discussing Renaissance history and culture for our upcoming Ironclaw campaign, [livejournal.com profile] kohai_tiger asked a question that surprised me -- in no small part because I realized I had never really thought to ask it before.

The question:

Europe traded with China, and got silk, tea, spices and all sorts of things.

What did China get from Europe?


Of course, my Eurocentric US-ian education didn't have an answer for that ... and, to my annoyance, my Google Fu hasn't proven equal to the task of getting an answer.

I turn to you, O Loyal Readers. Can anyone provide links and references to tell us just what it was the successors to Marco Polo were delivering to the Middle Kingdom in return for all those well-known luxury goods?


athelind: (Magnum Opus)
The Shortest Distance Between Two Towers, by Steve Tompkins.

I'm only half-through this, and want to read it when there's a more favorable gray-matter-to-phlegm ratio in my cranium.

The author takes issue with the idea that Tolkien is not Sword and Sorcery, and in fact has far more in common with Robert E. Howard than most genre observers would grant.

Since I've loudly advocated the "plaid and paisley" position myself, this interests me.

I've also become keenly aware that Howard's work is another critical gap in my reading history. When I first dove into Sword & Sorcery after getting initiated into D&D in 1978, I read Moorcock and Lieber ... but not Howard. My exposure to Conan, to that point, was through the Marvel comics I mostly ignored. Milius's 1982 film and its star did nothing to temper my inaccurate impression of Howard's best-known creation as "Big Dumb Guy With Sword".

I know that's not the case, after reading about Howard's work for decades—and yet, I've never cracked the covers of a Howard tome.

That needs to change—particularly since my own magnum opus is assertively on the Sword & Sorcery side of the fantasy divide.

If there really is such a divide.

Addendum: Also adding a "read when brain works" link to Spacesuit, Blaster and Science(!): Confronting the Uneasy Relationship between Science Fiction and Heroic Fantasy, by Michal Wojcik, which addresses another set of genre-trope prejudices I hold even though I know they don't bear sustained scrutiny.


athelind: (grognard)


I confess that I was a little disappointed when the new edition of Gamma World decided to use a collectible card model to implement random mutations. Gimmicky mechanics like that tend to keep a niche game limited to a niche market.

I was also a little dismayed when the game description included adjectives like "wacky" and "rollicking". On the day of its release, one of my store's regular customers, looked at the blurb on the box, and summed up exactly what I'd been thinking: "Aw, jeez. We always played it straight."

On the other claw ... one problem with the White Wolf version of the game was that they took it too seriously, downplaying the frankly comic-book super-power mutations of "classic" ΓW, trying to treat it as semi-hard SF.

And ... certainly, Back In The Day, we "played it straight" -- but only as "straight" as we played D&D. In those ancient days of yore, there was always a level of whimsy at the tabletop. A D&D adventure could include a Burma Shave sign or an encounter at Monty Python's Bridge of Doom, and it didn't derail the game or detract from the atmosphere. A game like Gamma World wasn't played so much "straight" as "deadpan", and surely, Gabe and Tycho's tale of a Funeral for a Deceased Laser fits perfectly with that style.

The new game uses D&D4 "as a foundation". I hope it's a solid foundation that leaves it essentially D&D-compatible; a huge chunk of the critters in any given Monster Manual fit a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy setting far better than they fit the Tolkien Bar Sinister motifs that the "traditional" D&D settings try to ape.

And, yes ... I'd love to be able to effortlessly treat one game as a supplement for the other, and run a setting with the mix of "sorcery and super-science" of Thundaar the Barbarian.


I have half-a-dozen entries with the "Gamma World" tag, but somehow, I've never managed to link any of them to Bigfella Machine's Mutant Bastards gallery. WotC really should have hired the Bigfella to create the look and feel for the new book.
athelind: (hoard potato)
Arnold Schwarzenegger sings "Crom!", from Conan: the Musical.

Slight spoiler warning, for safety:

[livejournal.com profile] athelind spit-takes when it gets to the line where the guy is stepping on Conan's hand: [SPOILER DELETED]
[livejournal.com profile] gatewalker: yes
[livejournal.com profile] gatewalker: I'm so glad I didn't have a drink in my mouth when that line came
[livejournal.com profile] athelind: HOT COFFEE MAN
[livejournal.com profile] gatewalker: hahahahahaha





athelind: (Eye: RCA Magic Eye)
I seem to be the last person to know this, but Bob Basset, the Russian leatherworker who does those magnificent dragon bags and masks and those equally-impressive cyberpunk/steampunk/forcepunk gasmask-helmet-things, has a LiveJournal feed, so you can see the cool stuff he's cranking out a couple of times a week.

Be advised: Basset also does the occasional BDSM-related gear—he's a leatherworker, after all*—so you might want to filter the feed if you read LJ at work.

For those not familiar with his work:

This is a messenger bag.



*Egregious Stereotype.
athelind: (hoard potato)
Last Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I saw the new version of Clash of the Titans. We both enjoyed it: it was fun and exciting, and we both appreciated the nods to Harryhausen's original.

That said, Quel still liked the original more.

Heretic that I am, I prefer the remake.

I've heard a few people ask why they felt a need to remake the original. It's a question that comes up whenever a remake of anything hits the screen, but one questioner asked a much more cogent version: why, of all of Harryhausen's films, would they remake that one?

Answer: Because it's the one that needed it the most.

Please understand: when Clash came out in 1981, I was a 17-year-old Dungeons & Dragons player who'd grown up on Bulfinch's Mythology and Harryhausen's classics. I was the target market for that movie.

I liked it. I enjoyed it a great deal.

But it didn't quite click.

The original Clash of the Titans didn't quite know what it wanted to be. It was Harryhausen's last film, and the only film he made in the post-Star Wars era. Hollywood still hadn't quite figured out the transformation of High Adventure SF/Fantasy from B Movie to Blockbuster. Clash demonstrated that, even when you throw a Star Wars-sized budget, big names like Lawrence Olivier, and a blatant R2-D2 clone at a B movie, it remains a B movie in its heart and soul.*

As I said, Your Teenaged Serpent enjoyed and appreciated the art of the "B" in those bygone days. Broadcast TV was full of them, and I didn't watch Movie Macabre just because of Cassandra Peterson's wardrobe

When I went to see Clash, though, I confess I was hoping for something more—and last weekend, I finally got it.

The remake is the movie I wanted to see when I was 17.




*It wasn't the first movie to demonstrate this, and it was far from the last.
athelind: (hoard potato)

Multiple Choice Dragon Game


(Found by [livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty)

This was too much fun -- as in, "I'll check this out, but I really can't spend much time on it this morning. Well, maybe a few more pages. Oh, hell, I'm done!"

But all told, it only took about 20-30 minutes, and some of that was getting up for coffee. Some mornings, torching a few knights and conquering a kingdom or two are just what you need to wake up and face the day.

It's a Multiple-Choice Text Game, in the tradition of those venerable Choose Your Own Adventure books. Clever addition: your actions and choices directly influence your attributes, and those, apparently, have further impact on your successes in your later endeavours.

The core Attributes are arranged in opposed pairs: as one of a pair goes up, the other goes down. They're delightfully Draconic:

Brutality vs. Finesse
Cunning vs. Honor
Disdain vs. Vigilance


As the game progresses, you also accumulate Infamy, Wealth, and Wounds -- well, some of you might accumulate the last; Your Obedient Serpent went unscathed until the grand finale, and still took only a single Wound as he dispatched his adversary.

This was a pleasant diversion, perfectly suited to the grauphy mood I found myself in upon awakening -- and quite probably the only time you'll ever see a computer game review in this blog.

athelind: (Default)

Multiple Choice Dragon Game


(Found by [livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty)

This was too much fun -- as in, "I'll check this out, but I really can't spend much time on it this morning. Well, maybe a few more pages. Oh, hell, I'm done!"

But all told, it only took about 20-30 minutes, and some of that was getting up for coffee. Some mornings, torching a few knights and conquering a kingdom or two are just what you need to wake up and face the day.

It's a Multiple-Choice Text Game, in the tradition of those venerable Choose Your Own Adventure books. Clever addition: your actions and choices directly influence your attributes, and those, apparently, have further impact on your successes in your later endeavours.

The core Attributes are arranged in opposed pairs: as one of a pair goes up, the other goes down. They're delightfully Draconic:

Brutality vs. Finesse
Cunning vs. Honor
Disdain vs. Vigilance


As the game progresses, you also accumulate Infamy, Wealth, and Wounds -- well, some of you might accumulate the last; Your Obedient Serpent went unscathed until the grand finale, and still took only a single Wound as he dispatched his adversary.

This was a pleasant diversion, perfectly suited to the grauphy mood I found myself in upon awakening -- and quite probably the only time you'll ever see a computer game review in this blog.

athelind: (AAAAAA)
I'm not in the mood to watch TV, not in the mood to mess around on the computer, and it's too danged early to go to bed.

The box of "Feed Your Head" books hold no appeal, nor do the Lankhmar books that I put in the same box. Of course, the rest of my fiction is all tucked away in [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, awaiting the purchase of satisfactory bookshelves.

I finished the last of China Miéville's "Bas Lag" trilogy last week, and dropped it off at the Santa Clara library. I think I need to cruise back by there and pick up a Stack of Random, just to have something to occupy my brain in these late hours.


athelind: (Default)
I'm not in the mood to watch TV, not in the mood to mess around on the computer, and it's too danged early to go to bed.

The box of "Feed Your Head" books hold no appeal, nor do the Lankhmar books that I put in the same box. Of course, the rest of my fiction is all tucked away in [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, awaiting the purchase of satisfactory bookshelves.

I finished the last of China Miéville's "Bas Lag" trilogy last week, and dropped it off at the Santa Clara library. I think I need to cruise back by there and pick up a Stack of Random, just to have something to occupy my brain in these late hours.


athelind: (grognard)
[livejournal.com profile] paka posted some thoughts on LotR Elves vs. D&D Elves, in which he noted that Unca Gary wasn't that much of a Tolkien fan, since the Professor's work "wasn't pulpy enough for his tastes".

I responded:
I have long felt that the reason Dungeon Fantasy mutated into its own peculiar, inbred subgenre that, frankly, doesn't really WORK that well was because players tried to graft the tropes of Heroic Quest Fantasy onto a system whose initial assumptions were rooted in the very different tropes of picaresque Sword & Sorcery.


I may be the only person who thinks so anymore, but to me, D&D's haphazard combination of High Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery isn't so much a matter of "you got peanut butter in my chocolate" as "you're wearing plaid and paisley together."


athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] paka posted some thoughts on LotR Elves vs. D&D Elves, in which he noted that Unca Gary wasn't that much of a Tolkien fan, since the Professor's work "wasn't pulpy enough for his tastes".

I responded:
I have long felt that the reason Dungeon Fantasy mutated into its own peculiar, inbred subgenre that, frankly, doesn't really WORK that well was because players tried to graft the tropes of Heroic Quest Fantasy onto a system whose initial assumptions were rooted in the very different tropes of picaresque Sword & Sorcery.


I may be the only person who thinks so anymore, but to me, D&D's haphazard combination of High Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery isn't so much a matter of "you got peanut butter in my chocolate" as "you're wearing plaid and paisley together."


athelind: (big ideas)
Based on empirical evidence, it seems that 355 ml of Guinness Extra Stout is a better cough suppressant than the combination of 10 mg Dextromethophan Hydrobromide and 200 mg Benzonatate (generic for "Tessalon").

Further research is required.


On a related note, has anyone else ever noticed that many pharmaceutical names sound like characters from fantasy or science fiction? Didn't the 6th Doctor fight the "Lovaza" on the planet "Tessalon"? Wasn't "Fioranol" the cousin of Legolas?
athelind: (Default)
Based on empirical evidence, it seems that 355 ml of Guinness Extra Stout is a better cough suppressant than the combination of 10 mg Dextromethophan Hydrobromide and 200 mg Benzonatate (generic for "Tessalon").

Further research is required.


On a related note, has anyone else ever noticed that many pharmaceutical names sound like characters from fantasy or science fiction? Didn't the 6th Doctor fight the "Lovaza" on the planet "Tessalon"? Wasn't "Fioranol" the cousin of Legolas?
athelind: (cute)
Amongst various other loot which I will quite enjoy, I received the entire seven-book Dark Horse release of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series -- a seminal sword-and-sorcery saga that contributed much more to the heart and soul of Dungeons & Dragons than Tolkien's more superficial influence.

Combine this with my recent ruminations re: Gamma World, and Your Obedient Serpent may be hankerin' to run a good, old-skool, High Adventure campaign in the near future....


athelind: (Default)
Amongst various other loot which I will quite enjoy, I received the entire seven-book Dark Horse release of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series -- a seminal sword-and-sorcery saga that contributed much more to the heart and soul of Dungeons & Dragons than Tolkien's more superficial influence.

Combine this with my recent ruminations re: Gamma World, and Your Obedient Serpent may be hankerin' to run a good, old-skool, High Adventure campaign in the near future....


athelind: (furries for obama)
This made me happy.

(...I also really want to play in that game setting.)

athelind: (Default)
This made me happy.

(...I also really want to play in that game setting.)

athelind: (hoard potato)
You hear a lot of discussion these days about the sudden surge of fantasy and SF epics. Some people can't fathom it. Some try to explain it by socioeconomic circumstances, claiming that hard times give a boost to "escapist" media -- and ignoring fact that the steady increase in such fantastic fare was unaffected by the boom times of the '90s. Some are actively offended by it: anything with an element of the extraordinary has been thrust into a literary ghetto for the last century and a half, and, by golly, that's where it belongs.

At least one writer has looked at the clamor to adapt SF and fantasy works a half-century old or older, and used that as evidence that the Speculative Fiction genre is so tapped out that Hollywood can't find anything new to adapt.

To me, it's straightforward. Why are all these movies coming out now? Why has it taken more than half a century for some of thse works to reach the screen?

Simple. It wasn't possible before now.

The convergence of animation and special effects has finally reached a point where entirely new realities -- or surrealities -- can be portrayed convincingly on the big screen, without recourse to full cel animation. Works that were simply unfilmable before now offer new opportunities to exercise this technology, to entice an audience eager for larger-than-life spectacle.

The question isn't why Hollywood is dredging up old works to adapt. The question is, why aren't they adapting more of them, the really good stuff?

In other words... the stuff I like?

Well, Your Obedient Serpent had a list of "Books That Oughta Be Movies" simmering on the back burner for a long while, and I'm in the mood to start posting about'em.

Farmer Giles of Ham )

The Stars My Destination )

Elric of Melniboné )
Argue about my casting choices or directorial dictates in the comments.


Hey, kids! You know you have a list of your own, so why not treat it as a meme? )
athelind: (Default)
You hear a lot of discussion these days about the sudden surge of fantasy and SF epics. Some people can't fathom it. Some try to explain it by socioeconomic circumstances, claiming that hard times give a boost to "escapist" media -- and ignoring fact that the steady increase in such fantastic fare was unaffected by the boom times of the '90s. Some are actively offended by it: anything with an element of the extraordinary has been thrust into a literary ghetto for the last century and a half, and, by golly, that's where it belongs.

At least one writer has looked at the clamor to adapt SF and fantasy works a half-century old or older, and used that as evidence that the Speculative Fiction genre is so tapped out that Hollywood can't find anything new to adapt.

To me, it's straightforward. Why are all these movies coming out now? Why has it taken more than half a century for some of thse works to reach the screen?

Simple. It wasn't possible before now.

The convergence of animation and special effects has finally reached a point where entirely new realities -- or surrealities -- can be portrayed convincingly on the big screen, without recourse to full cel animation. Works that were simply unfilmable before now offer new opportunities to exercise this technology, to entice an audience eager for larger-than-life spectacle.

The question isn't why Hollywood is dredging up old works to adapt. The question is, why aren't they adapting more of them, the really good stuff?

In other words... the stuff I like?

Well, Your Obedient Serpent had a list of "Books That Oughta Be Movies" simmering on the back burner for a long while, and I'm in the mood to start posting about'em.

Farmer Giles of Ham )

The Stars My Destination )

Elric of Melniboné )
Argue about my casting choices or directorial dictates in the comments.


Hey, kids! You know you have a list of your own, so why not treat it as a meme? )

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