I came across XKCD via Shamus and am hooked. I mean, this is just genius.
(click to enlarge. original here)
no, it’s not news. It’s not happening. I wish, you wish, but no way. The closest we are gonna come to it is my post title above. Even if they make it, it will suck. I swear, it’s better that they don’t make it. I mean, if they try, it will end up like Aliens 3 or Hitchhiker’s Guide.
“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherf%^&er in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”
oh, man. A Snow Crash movie would be the baddest motherf$%^ing movie in the history of film.
Warner Brothers is apparently interested in bringing Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara series to film. I remember being less than impressed by this series, it just blends into my memory with the various other Epic Fantasy series like the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant or the Wheel of Time. This description of Shannars doesn’t sound familiar to me, though:
The Shannara series, which blends technology and magic, is set in a world decimated by apocalyptic battles, with mankind splitting into races of trolls, gnomes, dwarves and men, with elves coming out of hiding. Politics and war are waged using magic with a backdrop of the skeletal remains of skyscrapers and subways.
Huh. Was Shannara really a Shadowrun-esque setting? I thought I’d have remembered that. We’ll see if they can actually make this work, but I am skeptical. Then again, I actually enjoyed Eragon, and I hadn’t even read those books. So who knows…
UPDATE: Astro remembers Shannara a lot better than I do.
via AICN, a teaser poster for this summer’s release of Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix (click to enlarge) –
disclosure: I became a HarryPothead this winter, when a friend lent me all the books. I am glad I read them after the movies thus far, and am also glad that I have now read the books prior to seeing the remaining films. I basically avoided the plot-complexity inflection point, so it worked out perfectly in terms of not being spoiled/not having expectations dashed. I’m one of the few people I know who think the films are great and the books are great and neither one blasphemes the other.
It seems worth mentioning that today is believed to be the birthday of William Shakespeare. From this morning’s Writer’s Almanac:
His early popularity made him a lot of enemies. The very first person ever to write about Shakespeare was the poet Robert Greene, who accused Shakespeare of plagiarism, calling him, “An upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers.” And in fact most of Shakespeare’s plays were not original, but based on historical events or old stories. What made them great was his extraordinary ability with language. He used one of the largest vocabularies of any English writer, almost 30,000 words.
Happy birthday, you old ghost.
Rest in peace. I can’t think of a better tribute to Vonnegut than this writeup at AICN. Though the news comes too late for tomorrow’s Writer’s Almanac, I expect Garrison Keillor to rise to the occasion on Friday’s broadcast as well.
Vonnegut is of course rightly lauded for Slaughterhouse-5 (1969), which took him 25 years to write, as a means of excising the demons he bore by witnessing the aftermath of the firebombing of Dresden. That book, along with Catch-22, probably did more to influence my politics and view of war than any other piece of literature or political treatise. But the piece I remember most was actually his 1961 short story, Harrison Bergeron, which remains the most razor-sharp indictment of the false cult of equality that anyone has ever wielded. I praise it as a political liberal, mind you. As a witness to the madness of war and culture, he had no equal in speaking truth to self-deception.
So long, Pilgrim. Knock ’em dead on Trafalmadore. So it goes… so it goes.
I read this short story by Terry Bisson when it was first published in Omni. It’s possibly the greatest scifi short story ever written. A teaser:
“They’re made out of meat.”
“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”
“There’s no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”
“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?”
“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”
“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”
“They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”
“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”
It gets better. Much better. The phrase “singing meat” is used. Bisson has made the full text of the story available on his website and if you haven’t read it before, now’s the time. Seriously. NOW is the time. Go on. Go.
What, still not convinced it’s worth your click? One more excerpt, then: Continue reading “They’re made out of meat”
While you’re waiting for your fix of DMotR this week, check out Girl Genius. I discovered this when a friend sent me the first graphic novel, but the entire series is online. In a nutshell, it’s a steampunk-victorian world where certain people are called “sparks” – blessed with an innate gift of genius for creating mechanical marvels. Just imagine: a world literally dominated by mad scientists. Some of the visuals are almost Miyazaki-esque in their imaginativeness. And some less so; the heroine tends to work in her underwear, though she really is a wholesome type, it’s just accidental. On her part anyway.
You can get up to speed with the “GG 101” class andthen when finished, start reading the “Advanced Class“. The 101 Cast List is also very useful as a side reference. New comics come out M-W-F so it’s very satisfying. It’s well worth your time.
more torrent fodder! Neil Stephenson’s The Diamond Age is coming to SciFi Channel as a mini-series:
Diamond Age, based on Neal Stephenson’s best-selling novel The Diamond Age: Or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, is a six-hour miniseries from Clooney and fellow executive producer Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Productions.
When a prominent member of society concludes that the futuristic civilization in which he lives is stifling creativity, he commissions an interactive book for his daughter that serves as a guide through a surreal alternate world. Stephenson will adapt his novel for the miniseries, the first time the Hugo and Nebula award winner has written for TV.
Could be magnificent, like Dune (so I’ve heard… must torrent!) or teh suck, like Earthsea (which was adapted to miniseries before Goro took his own ill-fated swipe). I’m not sure whether George Clooney as director is a good omen or bad.
To be honest, I vastly preferred Snow Crash (the best cyberpunk novel I’ve ever read) and Cryptonomicon than of Diamond Age. I’d be really excited if SnowCrash was being made into a live series, but let’s see whether SciFi gets DA right before I trust them to do it right. Actually, let the small screen have DA and let’s have SC in the theater where it really belongs.