Last updated: 2013/05/06.
I'm surprised by the number of would-be writers I meet who never read outside their comfort zones. If they write SF, they tend to read a lot of it — which isn't bad by itself, just self-limiting. It's never a bad thing to know the parameters of the very field you want to write for, but to be habitually locked inside of it is a formula for self-starvation.
In no way should this list be considered canonical or otherwise absolute. It's simply a series of suggestions from a tour guide, someone who has been over this territory and come away with a few words about the sights. It's a way to know what else is out there, and to have it suggested to you in a way that ought to be appealing. Expect additions to the list over time as well.Read more
Surprise, surprise — I come not to bury Avatar, but to reprise it, to look at it with what I hope to be new eyes. It's been praised and damned in about equal measure, with most of the damnation being one variety or another of the line, "They ripped off [insert name of film/book here]." Under that heading I would place my vote not with Dances with Wolves, but rather Ursula K. LeGuin's "The World for World is Forest". (If she had something to say about Avatar, it hasn't crossed my desk yet — although I imagine if she had, it would have been mighty hard to miss.)
My greatest annoyances with Avatar fall into two categories: plot and sociology. The latter is major and lamentable; I thought the whole Crusading White Guy trope (and the Noble Savage) had been exposed for the fraud it was a long time ago. But perhaps there's a way to address that and the first category in one swoop.Read more
Over at Fan to Pro, where I blog regularly, I recently wrote a piece about the X Meets Y formula for stories. Somewhere in the piece I made indirect mention of "Wild West plus aliens", which as any sentient being would know is an indirect dig at Cowboys & Aliens.
That was no random choice. I'd seen the film earlier, and was so disheartened by it at the time that I couldn't summon the energy to lambast it. But now it seems appropriate, and I might as well inaugurate my long-ruminated Science Fiction Repair Shop this way.
Warning: spoilers.Read more