The 12 million body problem

Chinese authorities: “this is normal”

I’m aghast at this.

Five Republican US senators have asked Netflix to reconsider its plans to adapt the bestselling Chinese author Liu Cixin’s book The Three-Body Problem, citing Liu’s comments in support of the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.

In a letter to Netflix, the senators said they had “significant concerns with Netflix’s decision to do business with an individual who is parroting dangerous CCP propaganda”. The letter cites Liu’s interview with the New Yorker last year, in which the Chinese novelist was asked about the mass internment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

“Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty,” Liu said, adding: “If you were to loosen up the country a bit, the consequences would be terrifying.”

The Guardian, “Netflix faces call to rethink Liu Cixin adaptation after his Uighur comments”

The question of separating the art from the artist doesn’t have an easy answer. Usually, I can – for example, Orson Scott Card’s political views are at odds with mine, but I am still able to enjoy Ender’s Game. However, Dan Simmons went completely overboard back in April 2006 to an unforgivable degree and rendering Hyperion completely unreadable to me. The above, from Liu, is equivalent in my view and arguably worse as he is glibly parroting CCP propaganda and justifying religious and cultural genocide.

I just finished saying that I try to avoid politics on this blog, but the simple fact is that science fiction is about the human condition. When writers of other genres offend me, it doesn’t sting. And at least with Card I can see where he’s coming from (I disagree profoundly, but I get it). Liu and Simmons made it personal.

I don’t begrudge him his Hugo but I sincerely hope that Netflix doesn’t reward Chinese propaganda with a TV deal. If they do, then I will not be watching.

Concept Art from Star Wars: Duel of the Fates

This is official concept art created for the earlier version that would have been directed by Colin Trevorrow. Images have leaked online via https://twitter.com/DRMovieNews1/, which provides the following descriptions:

  • Force Ghost Luke blocking Kylo Ren’s saber with his hand
  • C3PO comforting a damaged R2
  • Rey being trained by Luke
  • Kylo Ren fighting Vader
  • Rey (with double bladed saber) fighting Kylo Ren
  • Rey taking out Stormtroopers
  • Hux commits suicide with a lightsaber after Coruscant falls to the Resistance
  • Leia delivering a message to BB-8 (callback to A New Hope)
  • C3PO & R2 exploring the Coruscant ruins
  • The Falcon lands on a new planet
  • The First Order resuming control over Coruscant (pre-defeat)
  • Finn yelling “REY!” during a battle scene
  • The Final Battle on Coruscant

The script itself was leaked and discussed by Robert Meyer Burnett in the following video:

Trevorrow was fired by Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, who also was behind the director change for the Solo movie for similar reasons of “different vision.”

another Galactica reboot???

NBC Universal’s new streaming service will be called Peacock. It seems they have decided to go the mix of old content/new content route like everyone else, which is understandable. Less so is this:

The streaming service will offer a slate of original series from showrunners who have worked with NBCUniversal on a series of other shows, including Mike Schur (The Good Place, Parks and Recreation) and Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot). Schur will oversee the reboot of comedy Punky Brewster for the service, while Esmail will handle a reboot of beloved sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica.

All this has happened before, and will happen again.

Duet Battle: Community vs Stranger Things

Finished Season 3, and it was exactly the nostalgia/dopamine rush that I wanted. Like everyone else, the most delightful part for me was Dusty-bun and Susie-poo’s duet: (visual spoilers)

It gave me the exact same wistful childhood feeling as another homage duet – from Community season 1, “Environmental Science”:

H2G2 on Hulu

it’s not even thursday yet, and i have to deal with this?

Hulu is developing a TV series adaptation of the novels from prolific showrunner Carlton Cuse (Lost, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Locke & Key) and feature writer Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman, Ice Age: Continental Drift).

Cuse and Fuchs, both fans of the iconic title, will write, executive produce and showrun the proposed series, a modern updating of the classic story now in development at Hulu via ABC Signature and Cuse’ Genre Arts. Fuchs is writing the pilot script.

considering that the last reboot seemed to have been conceived by Ark B types, my expectations are as low as a Poghril’s morale. But fine, whatever. I always have the radio scripts – of which the latest radio sequel was superb (and the audiobook of Colfer’s sequal was even better).

The recent BBC adaption of Dirk Gently was actually pretty good, though it had a Game of Thrones/LOTR like relationship with the source material. If anything I’d rather see more development there than yet another swing for the Heart of Gold. But hey, these guys are fans of the material, who knows. No one can take the radio scripts away from me, at least.

An Elegant Weapon: Review of Savi at Galaxy’s Edge

This is a guest post by HuzThatWriter.

On June 5th I had the chance to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. First on my list was a stop at Savi’s Workshop.

Who is Savi, you ask? Savi is a friend of Lor San Tekka and is a fellow member of the Church of the Force. I think. What do you mean who’s Lor San Tekka? That old guy Kylo Ren killed at the beginning of The Force Awakens? The Three-Eyed Raven? Yeah, that guy. It doesn’t matter. You don’t see him anyways. You do, however, interact with his followers, the mysterious Gatherers who will guide you in the ancient ritual of lightsaber building.

Jedi statue outside Dok Ondar's Den of Antiquities. Photo: Huzaifa Mogri
Jedi statue outside Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Photo: Huzaifa Mogri

I walked swiftly asking directions towards “scrap metal”. Don’t say “lightsaber,” for the First Order is in town and such talk is frowned upon. The Gatherers take this very seriously. Everyone in the land is in character. And so you wait in line in an amazingly decorated scrapyard to pay for your scrap metal.

While in line to pay, some of the gatherers will show you cards with examples of four basic styles of lightsaber.

Peace and Justice: Visually these are the most like the sabers carried by many of the stereotypical Jedi during the era of the Republic in the prequel Trilogy. Obi-Wan and Anakin have similarly styled weapons.

Power and Control: This style evokes the blades carried by the bad guys. The aggressive styling and the red accents are reminiscent of Darth Vader and Darth Sidious.

Elemental Nature: Made from natural materials like aged leather, intricately carved bone, wood paneling, and even a rancor tooth. The materials symbolize the Force’s connection with nature.

Protection and defense: My personal favorite and the style I elected to construct. These are ancient unearthed pieces from the time of the Old Republic. The components are almost ceremonial in nature, some of the segments even containing writing from the Sacred Jedi Texts.

After you pay your $199.99 plus tax you must choose one of the four styles of lightsabers. You are given a card, a cloisonné pin, and a return time. You are instructed to wear your pin in a visible location (the design is different based on what style you chose) and to act dumb if the First Order asks you about it.

Group identification card. Photo: Huzaifa Mogri
Group identification card. Photo: Huzaifa Mogri

Cloisonné pin.   Photo: Huzaifa Mogri
Cloisonné pin. Photo: Huzaifa Mogri

As I was close to the front of the line for my particular reservation period, I had about 20 minutes to wander the land. When I returned at the appointed time, I was led to a waiting area.

Photo: Vinnie Shahzad
Photo: Vinnie Shahzad

All the while you are warned that the First Order could show up at any time. And they do. It wasn’t long before Kylo Ren and some First Order Troopers swung by on “routine patrol” for some casual interrogation.

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After assuring them that we were simple scrap traders they moved on to other victims. Following the short interrogation by troopers we were ushered into the actual workshop. This is where the experience went from fun roleplay to absolutely magical.

Spoiler warning for those who would like to go into this without any prior knowledge. Continue reading “An Elegant Weapon: Review of Savi at Galaxy’s Edge”

Unification, part N

Austin Habershaw does the unthinkable: posits that Star Trek and Star Wars are part of the same universe. Along with Warhammer 40K. Lest you fail to click, reader, I will only cite one line, the worst line, the best line:

Humanity did it – it conquered the stars – only to discover that the stars are a terrible, cold place where war in unending and death assured.

Read it, then weep for the terrible truth of it.