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This week’s issue of The Escapist includes my article “Adjacent Data” about science-fiction’s hold on our imaginations and culture.
Science fiction strikes me as inescapable sometimes, surrounding us in videogames, books, movies and comics. Even a videogame about a 12th century assassin, of all things, wound up being sci-fi last fall. The blockbuster Transformers and the perpetually re-released Blade Runner hit screens last year, and the easily missed Sunshine will likely find a sizable audience on DVD. It made me wonder why we love science fiction this much, a genre that can be so derivative and clichÃ©.
“Nothing acquires quite as rapid or peculiar a patina of age as an imaginary future.”
– William Gibson, Burning Chrome.
“Patina” is an interesting word to choose. It can refer to a desirable, well worn and aged look, and also the ugly greenish corrosion on coins. And so, too, a patina’s aesthetic effect on sci-fi is one entirely of context. Science fiction’s slick veneer of prescience breaks down almost immediately, corroded by the passing of time and our better informed perspective. If this happens so quickly and consistently, why does sci-fi maintain its appeal, especially old sci-fi, which ends up inaccurate and outdated?
Writer Joss Whedon posted on UnitedHollywood an impassioned and powerful comment about the WGA’s back-door dealings with studio heads. He insists that this is not an “endgame” and that suggesting that a resolution is imminent is unacceptable, as the damage that’s been done to the writers and the medium itself is permanent.
“We need, now as much as ever, to act as if the strike is NEVER going to end. We need the rage that sends us out onto the picket lines, the passion that makes us look for alternate methods of financing and developing content, and the unity that reminds us how much the studios have taken from the community already by forcing this strike.”
[The word “endgame” has since been removed from the post Whedon comments on, due to very connotation that Whedon contests]
It’s a great post, and a perfect example of the emotion writers and fans should be exhibiting if ever a respectable resolution is to be found. One where writers don’t get screwed, which is an uphill battle: the writers-get-screwed precedent has been set and upheld for decades.
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
We’ve reached the end of my “Vidcasts you should be watching” series. And I’m ending on one that’s by no means obscure, and that you’re probably quite familiar with. But it’s one that I insist you watch if you’ve haven’t given it a shot yet.
The last recommendation of this series is the weekly Totally Rad Show. At the end of the day, when I’m looking for something to entertain me, something to inform me, I look to TRS.
The show’s fantastic. I subscribe to a lot of vidcasts, as you’ve seen over the past week, and they’re varied in content and style. And TRS is my favorite. Read the rest of this entry »