IT FEELS GOOD to write again. It has been just over six years since I last added to this blog (which once boasted a...
According to the Official Couch Potato Handbook, each official Couch Potato Viewing Lodge must have its own name. Ours is the “Starbase 33 Minyan,” mostly due to a love of science fiction in general (and Star Trek in particular). The photo at left illustrates our motto, an SFnal riff on the Lubavitcher Hasid motto “Bring Moshiach (the Messiah) Now!” (Could I have ‘shopped a combadge, I’d'a done.) Sometimes, a blog is just a good place to download your brain.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU CHANGE something before it no longer resembles the original — yet still call it by the same name?
THERE ARE BOOKS, AND THERE are books. This one contains “The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America,” and is standard issue to all geeks and geekettes who want to know the first thing about things SFnal. (It’s subtitled “Volume One, 1929-1964;” Volume Two (which I haven’t read) is itself two 1973 volumes devoted to novellas written and published between 1895 and 1961.)
I first read this (these? it’s an anthology, after all) when I was eight years old, as part of the first package I ever got from the Science Fiction Book Club. Without it for years, I now have a spiffy new trade paperback which seems almost a facsimile of the original contents in terms of fonts, layout, etc. And the memories! Stuck in Fredric Brown’s alien showdown (which became a Star Trek episode)! Trapped with Lewis Padgett’s mad teaching machines! Exploring Tibetan mythology with Arthur C. Clarke!
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1. ERASERHEAD. THE SECOND TIME I saw David Lynch’s mewling, puking masterpiece, I began to scream as soon as the opening credits rolled. It’s a dark, dark vision into the little world and lonely life of Henry, a printer whose misbegotten mutant child keeps him up at night with its mewling and you get it. But the lady in the radiator sings to him of Heaven, where “everything is fine.” So that’s something.
2. Tideland. Her little-girl-gone-weird’s broken home is peopled by doll heads, visions, and her father’s slowly wasting corpse. But somehow, she survives and even flourishes. The only Terry Gilliam film of which I’ve never seen the ending, and he’s one of my favorite directors, because it was bleak as only Gilliam can be. The man is just too brilliant. Read more »
WOULDN’T YOU RATHER SEE A good game than a great hit?
(Derived from a conversation on a public lament for baseball players on steroids.) (Yes, I said for.)
To our game group, a couple of dozen people in Northern California’s Diablo Valley playing hundreds of five-or-six-player sessions between 1978 and 1983, “Dungeons and Dragons” was not yet an accepted rite of geek passage, a million-dollar industry, or a major cultural influence. In those days it was barely known outside SFnal convention circles or college campii; I learned of it through a fan friend who was heavily involved with legendary game-guru David Hargrave‘s Arduin campaign — “campaign” being the term for an ongoing adventure milieu, a created world like (and often modeled on) Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Lewis’ Narnia, or Leiber’s Lankhmar.
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HAVING JUST RECEIVED ORDERS FROM Fearless Leader to define my principles in 106 characters or less and then disperse them yea seedlike to the multitudes, I replied as follows:
Clearer thinking. Don’t litter. Say “please” and “thank you” and mean it. And stop killing the children.
At the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, I inhabited a world peopled (in part) by a cast-off group of fannish folk who sometimes chant together after consuming a quasi-alchemic formula during their quasi-religious rituals. “Trolle Sweate!” they chant, in inebriated consequence of quant suff. “Trolle Sweate!”
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STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT now and read this article by Patton Oswalt about how instant access to everything has brought about the Death of the Fannish Underground. Oswalt speaks to and for those whose fannish identity was built up layer by carefully wrought layer, recalling when one person could consume an entire year’s...
Shiny robots. Gleaming atom-powered spaceships. Martian canal races. Alien arcologies in the jungles of Venus. Male pronouns. All the glory of a big exploitable universe sans angst or post-apocalypse modernism. AND NO %$#@!ING VAMPIRES.
Remember, you heard it here first. “Retropunk: Yesterday’s Future, Today!”
Illo thanx: public-domain.zorger.com
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