Jumpdrives & Cantrips

Interesting Stuff, Plus Subgenre Musings
February 22, 2008, 2258
Filed under: news, Rants | Tags: , , , , , ,

A few things of interest:

  • So cool to read about astronaut Steve MacLean’s experiences of reading in zero G… It makes me feel all wistful…
  • And while not really science fiction-related, this CBC article about the Google-sponsored race to the moon is interesting to see where each of the teams orginate.
  • Ridley Scott potentially involved with a Monopoly movie? (Yes, based on the boardgame.) This piece of news from Sc Fi Wire disturbed me a little–the man who directed Blade Runner getting stuck with an extended commercial seems wrong. Hasbro and Universal are in patnership on this one, and will also develop movies about other games, including Magic: The Gathering and Clue (I could swear we already had to put up with a Clue movie).

And I have to say that I’m always amazed by the tendency of people to categorise things beyond what anyone needs categories for. It’s almost like literary criticism becomes an extended version of Pokemon, because once you have cyberpunk, for example, it can level up to become pre-cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk (rarely neo-cyberpunk if you follow a different evolution path), biopunk, or steampunk. The element association is dystopian, just so we’re clear. And the funny part is that I’m not actually making up these terms. Most of them are out there if you look at people writing about this subgenre, and even more than what I’ve listed. Reading about it is a little like reading Pierre Bourdieu: somewhere in there is a point of some sort, if only the language didn’t strangle its own syntax.

To be honest, I participate in it as well as both a reader and a reviewer. There’s a need for common phrasing when you get right down to it, but how specific do you need to be without limiting perceptions? I mean, look at urban fantasy. There was a time back in the day when urban fantasy was a contemporary setting placed in a city of some sort and usually involved elves and elements of magical realism. Now it has narrowed focus to usually having vampires, werewolves, the Fae (“We can’t call them elves, that would be unoriginal!”) , and added a world-weary, sarcastic tone to the work itself in places.

Laurell K. Hamilton, who some people would consider the epitome of urban fantasy, is a far cry from Charles de Lint. The thing is, “urban” is more about the setting at this point, but the meaning of what urban fantasy is has changed over time in reader perceptions. The nomenclature end of things is something I find fascinating, and I think it really shows how people think about a particular body of literature at a certain point in time.

In any case, these thoughts will have to wait for continuation some day, as tonight I aim to read some Elizabeth A. Lynn, possibly some Dean Koontz. And tomorrow I get to see my husband for the first time in a week. But one last thing!

Tia from Fantasy Debut was kind enough to include Jumpdrives and Cantrips in a blogrolling post. I urge everyone here to check our her blog as well, especially if you like to see a more in depth reading experience. Thanks again, Tia!

Snippets and Science Fiction Movies
February 16, 2008, 1945
Filed under: news | Tags: , , , , , ,

This weekend is looking pretty good for staying in and not doing all that much. Today we had so much freezing rain that our windows looked like privacy glass… So here’s a few snippets of interesting things, while I curl up to read some lovely, lovely books.

  • Neil Gaiman discusses British vs. American language usage in his writing, plus updates on the eBook voting. (if you haven’t voted, you still can!)
  • The beautiful new cover for Holly Lisle’s new young adult fantasy, The Ruby Key (release date May 2008), now appears on her main website.
  • Nalo Hopkinson will be working with Red Deer Press to start a “reprint imprint” of fantasy books, mainly featuring Canadian authors. This sounds great–I’m excited to see where this goes! (SFScope article)

Beyond that, Sci Fi Wire looks at the top science fiction movies (via AFI’s top 50 list) and wants to know what readers would consider their top 10. Speaking of top science fiction movies, there are quite a few that I love that didn’t even make their list. So, here are some of my favourite science fiction movies that did not hit the top 50:

  • The Fifth Element: One of the best movies of all time.
  • Serenity
  • GalaxyQuest: Hilarious take on SF and fandom.
  • Twelve Monkeys
  • The Core: Because people die when they should, and I love schlock movies.
  • Treasure Planet
  • Sunshine: Ok, not a fan of the slasher part, but still good despite it.
  • Stargate
  • Flight of the Navigator
  • Cube
  • Groundhog Day: *BUZZ* “Then put your little hand in mine…”
  • The Cat from Outer Space: More for nostalgia than anything else.
  • Howard the Duck: The effects were horrible, but an amusing movie.

I know that I’ve probably even left out other great movies… Which movies do you love?