Thursday, April 30, 2009
Rooster Teeth's The Recording Session
This morning Allison forwarded me the link to one of their recent offerings, "The Recording Session." Sadly not embeddable, you'll have to head over there to check it out. But trust me, it's worth it.
More Grown-up Calvin & Hobbes
Be sure to check out Corley's three-part Horrors of Literature series, which I think may been the stuff that lead me to his site in the first place. Or come to think of it, I may have stumbled on his site after he posted his "Penguin-esque" redesigns of the Lemony Snicket books. Either way, he's one talented dude.
Doc & Co.
Here's a recent commission piece Godlewski did featuring a few familiar faces...
There's lots more great stuff in the link.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Auto-Tune the News
But nevermind about that. Here's the day's news in the form of song...
(Stick around to the middle of this one, where it really starts to groove.)
Secret Saturdays "manga"?
I don't know if you've ever tried to look at one of these things, alternatively called "cine-manga" or "film-comic" or various other permutations, but they don't tend to read terribly well. They look like, well, low-res screenshots with the script overlaid on them in word balloons. That kind of thing made more sense before the days of Tivo and DVD, when kids were hungry for anything that could recreate the experience of watching their favorite movie or show. I had loads of "movie storybooks" and such as a kid, and even grabbed any coloring books or picture book versions I could find of my favorite shows.
But now? Why wouldn't the kids just pop in the disc or boot up the Tivo and watch the show again?
Oh, well. At least my daughter might enjoy it.
Moore on Farmer
Philip José Farmer was a seminal influence upon the League. I mean, I had read his Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, which had that whole “World Newton” family tree that connected up all the pulp adventure heroes. Although we’ve taken it a little bit further than that in the League, whether we would have ever thought of that without the primary example of Philip José Farmer, I don’t know.Moore also talks a bit about Iain Sinclair's "Prisoner of London," from Slow Chocolate Autopsy, who features in the latest LOEG series, Century.
I’ve still got a healthy collection of Phillip José Farmer’s work. He will be very much missed. He was a very important writer. He was one of the pioneers in writing intelligently about sex in science fiction. I can remember reading Strange Relations way back in the day, when I was still in school. It had a profound effect on me; it made me realize it was possible to write intelligently about sex without it being pornography or smutty jokes, and yes, science fiction was as good a place for it as anywhere else.
So many great works – “The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod,” a great mash-up of two writers named Burroughs. He would change his writing style for the job on hand. He wasn’t afraid to try anything new – I mean, his Riverworld books, the first couple were wonderful.I think he sometimes he came up with brilliant ideas that maybe didn’t go as far as I’d hoped, but that’s the only criticism I can think of. And if you’re criticizing someone for being too ambitious, that’s not really a criticism at all. If only a few of our modern writers were as brilliant as Philip José Farmer, then I think the world of culture would be a much better place.
Just check out the awesome:
Monday, April 27, 2009
- A post on Metafilter points to a fascinating discussion (a few years old) about the etymologies of some of Gary Gygax's neologisms in D&D.
- File this under Things I Wish I Had Time To Watch: The Gorillaz documentary Bananaz can be viewed online in its entirety.
- Also in the Things I Wish I Had Time To Watch file: Who knew there were loads of Aardman Animation's Creature Comforts videos online at the Animal Planet site?
Friday, April 24, 2009
My New Theory About Lost
But if you do watch the show (which is shaping up to be the finest long-form science fiction narrative on television to date), here's a little something I stumbled on last night, digging around on Lostpedia. This video clip was tied into last summer's Lost-related alternate reality game, sometimes called the "Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project," and I think it provides some interesting hints about where we'll be heading, either in the final episodes of this season or in the next (and, sadly, final) season.
Catch all that? It's clearly David Faraday behind the camera, as Chang talks about "Kerr Metric solutions to Einstein's Field Equations," and a "pinhole" that allows him to send a message thirty years into the future.
Anyway, that's not related to my new theory, but is just an interesting bit of awesome.
Here's what I'm thinking now. A couple of weeks ago we got the WTF moment of learning that bounty-hunter Ilana and passenger Bram, both of whom were on Ajira Airways Flight 316, knew something about the island that we don't know. The phrase "What lies in the shadow of the statue?", which Bram used on Sayid last week in the flashback, is clearly some Masonic-like passcode, used to identify other members of some organization. I originally wondered if this wasn't a third faction or group, in addition to the Others/Hostiles and the Dharam Initiative, out for control of the island, possibly connected with the island's original inhabitants. But Allison quickly convinced me otherwise, sure that they wouldn't introduce a whole new interest group this late in the game--her theory is that the "shadow of the statue" gang are the inheritors of the Dharma Initiative in some way, which makes sense to me.
But that got me thinking. We've seen now on two separate occasions the transition between one "Leader" of the Others/Hostiles and the next, first when Ben is put aside so Locke can take the lead, and then in flashbacks we see Widmore getting the boot when Ben takes charge. But in both cases, the predecessor is kicked off the island and then comes back to try to regain control.
We've seen Widmore as a young man among the Others/Hostiles back in the 50s (along with Faraday's mother, of course), but it seems clear that he was just part of the rank-and-file at that point. Alpert appeared to be in charge, but that's misleading, I think, because it's been established that his character is a kind of liaison between the "island" (Jacob?) and whoever is leading the group at any given point. So the question I had was, who was the leader of the Others/Hostiles before Widmore?
I think it was Alvar Hanso, the mysterious figure behind the Dharma Initiative.
Here, check out the orientation video from the Swan:
About all we learn on Lost itself about Hanso is that he was a "munitions magnate" who funded Gerald and Karen DeGroot's utopian project. But there have been loads of details about him released in the various alternate reality games and such. Check out the Alvar Hanso entry on Lostpedia and see what I mean.
So he's been around since the days of WWII, originally providing munitions to resistance groups in Europe. But it wasn't until the 1960s that he established the Hanso Foundation, and turned from weapons to more benevolent applications of technology. Then, in 1970, he funds the Dharma Initiative, who set up shop on the island. The Dharma folks have a fairly antagonistic relationship with the "Hostiles," and only the sonic security fence (intended to keep out the black smoke monster, surely) and the tenuous "truce" keeps them from open conflict.
We know that Widmore was kicked off the island for sneaking away covertly for years to the mainland, starting a family (cf. Penny Widmore) and quite likely a business (the Widmore Corporation). Ben self-righteously ousts Widmore and sends him packing. But by 2004, we learn, Ben has been doing much the same thing, with a secret compartment in his house filled with fake passports and contacts established throughout the mainland.
So here's what I think happens. Alvar Hanso was the leader of the Others/Hostiles in the mid-20th Century, possibly having been born on the island, the descendant of the Black Rock's captain Magnus Hanso. Throughout the 40s and 50s Hanso sneaks away to the mainland, without the others on the island knowing anything about it, supplying weapons to groups in Europe. In the late 50s or early 60s he's found out, gets kicked off the island, and Widmore takes over. Then another thirty years Ben kicks out Widmore for the same reasons, and then further on Locke takes over after Ben is ousted as well.
(There are hints in the "expanded Lost universe" stuff of tenuous connections between the Hanso Foundation and the Widmore Corporation in the modern day, which makes sense if Hanso and Widmore recognize in Ben a common enemy, and become allies for as long as their interests are parallel.)
All of the various groups that are vying for control of the island--Hanso and the Dharma Initiative, the Others, Widmore and the freighter, the "shadow of the statue" gang, etc--are not different groups, but different factions of the same group. This is a generational struggle for control of the island.
The writers of Lost simply love to mirror the themes of one character's struggle with another, or to use elements of a character's backstory as emblematic of larger issues. Think about how many characters have issues with their fathers, either antagonistic relationships or strained relationships that they struggle to mend. Locke. Jack. Kate (who killed her stepfather, after all). Hurley, certainly. Miles. Ben. Sawyer (whose father killed his mother, and who dedicated himself to hunting down and killing the man whose name he adopted). Sayid (who was driven to be a killer by his father, at least symbolically, and who acted out his father issues with Ben). By this point, basically all of the surviving characters have significant father issues at the core of their character arcs.
So Lost is really one big father-son struggle, at least thematically, with the various generations of the same group, an extended "family" composed of people who have come to the island through various means, vying for control.
What do you think?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Mixel Pixel's "Monster Manual"
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Like it? Then go buy the book already. There's more where that came from.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The State on DVD! Aw, yeah...
Heliotrope's Moorcock Tribute
Monday, April 20, 2009
Jack 'n' Apes
JACK OF FABLES #36Yes, that is Brian Bolland drawing a monkey-themed cover for a story I wrote. How d'ya like them apples?
Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Tony Akins
Cover by Brian Bolland
Featuring an untold tale of Jack’s past drawn by guest artist Tony Akins and written by guest-scripter and novelist Chris Roberson (HOUSE OF MYSTERY #13)! “Jack ‘n’ Apes” is the exciting true story of the time our hero found himself in equatorial Africa in nothing but his underpants, was taken prisoner by a bunch of talking apes, and in no time had set himself up as their king. That’s right, monkey fans, Jack was the real king of the jungle, so accept no substitutes. Kreegah!
On sale July 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS
- Bryan Fuller discusses the end of Pushing Daisies as a TV series, and its rebirth as a comic book series.
- Paul Pope draws butt-kicking, panther-fighting young Spock. Honestly, what else do you need to know?
- Why is there such a thing as a not-for-kids animated G.I. Joe? Your guess is as good as mine.
- A preview of DC's July 2009 lists the full lineup for Wednesday Comics, and it's a sight to behold. Paul Pope on Adam Strange. Hawkman by Kyle Baker. Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook on Kamandi. Adam Kubert and Joe Kubert (!) on Sgt. Rock. Kurt Busiek and Joe Quiñones on Green Lantern. The aforementioned Wonder Woman by Ben Caldwell and Metamorpho by Gaiman and Allred. And more! That's not a bad lineup, folks.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
A Full Dozen
April 18 - Liberty Lunch - Austin, TXI wish there was a live recording, bootleg or legit, of that show. I was there, having just moved back to Austin the week before from San Francisco. I had a few grand in the bank, a crappy apartment under a highway overpass (literally), no job and no car, but I was back in Austin and already sure that I'd made the right decision to return. I didn't know many people in town, after a few years away, but having seen Ben Folds Five in Seattle a year or two before, I wasn't about to miss another show. I headed down to the warehouse district that night (back when there still were warehouses down there), paid the cover, and stood around on my own drinking bottles of Shiner and smoking Camel Lights. (Remember when you could smoke inside? Wasn't that great?) I ran into some guys I knew from when I was their R.A. at the UT dorms, and chatted with them a bit before the show started, and then ran into the younger brother of one of my friends from high school, who had an attractive young lady at his side. I figured that Dave was doing pretty well for himself to be out on her arm, but a few minutes later I turned around to see she was standing next to me, talking about comics. (She tricked me, of course, having pumped Dave for everything he knew about me, and then just casually started mentioning everything she knew about comics as though it was her standard conversational fare. Her plan was to trick me into thinking I was picking her up, and it worked.)
Missing / Battle / Philosophy / Selfless / Polka / Kate / Alice / Brick / Steven / Snoop Doggy Dogg& Black Sabbath Medley / Pyser / Jackson / Dwarf / Ultimate / Freebird / Best / Fair / Dumped / Underground / Smoke / Jelly /Julianne
We exchanged numbers, and I waited a whole day and a half to call. We met at Trudy's for drinks on Sunday night, and then talked every night on the phone for the next five days. After our first "proper" date on the following Friday, Allison stayed the night at my place and never went home.
Twelve years, three houses (one rented, two owned), a few career changes, a wedding, a publishing company, and a daughter later, I'm still really damned glad I decided to go to that Ben Folds Five show by myself...
Friday, April 17, 2009
The Hunt for Voldorius
(The new Black Library project is not the crazy good news I got this week, btw. The Hunt for Voldorius gig is merely slightly insane good news I got a month or so ago. This weeks news was truly insane...)
Allred and Gaiman's Metamorpho
Can Allred draw, or what?
Electric Velocipede Sale
More Interviews with (and articles about) Interesting People
- Timothy Callahan, he of Geniusboy Firemelon and Grant Morrison: The Early Years fame, continues his ongoing column of awesomeness over on Comic Book Resources, this time focusing on one my three favorite comic-creators when I was in high school and college, the criminally under-recognized Bernie Mireault. It took me ages in the late 80s to hunt down all the individual issues of Mackenzie Queen, and of course as soon as I had a complete set I found the trade collection the next month. The Jam is sorely missed around my household, too. Go check out Callahan's overview, and then hie you to the back-issue bins to hunt down Mireault's brilliance.
- Comic Book Resources also posts the second part of Adi Tantimedh's two part interview with Alan Moore (the first part of which I mentioned the other day, and which I still haven't found the time to read...).
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Hastily-Made Cleveland Tourism Video
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Michael Chabon on John Carter of Mars!
Michael Chabon Writing John Carter of Mars! (Well, rewriting, actually, but still.)
Almost a week ago, and without any fanfare, Nikki Finke listed John Carter of Mars as one of Michael Chabon’s screenwriting credits; this was then followed up by a Chabon fansite, The Amazing Website of Kavalier and Clay, and they got the author himself confirm:Yes, please!I’ve been hired to do some revisions to an already strong script by Andrew Stanton and Mark Andrews. I wrote my original screenplay The Martian Agent back in 1995 because I wished I could do Burroughs’s Barsoom. So this is pretty much a dream come true for me.
Agony Column on End of the Century
Riemann's zeta function and the building blocks of reality?
Last night Allison and I watched the episode of BBC's Horizon that aired the other day, "Alan and Marcus Go Forth and Multiply". An extremely well done introduction for the layman to some of the most interesting and mindbending aspects of higher mathematics. But right in the middle there is a discussion of Bernhard Riemann's zeta function, which in my (albeit layman's understanding) is concerned with predicting the distribution of prime numbers. And then it gets, for a moment, really interesting.
Mathematician and Oxford professor Marcus Du Sautoy takes co-presenter Alan Davies to a lab somewhere, where a quartz sphere has been hooked up to an apparatus which converts vibrations in the quartz into electrical impulses. When Davies is instructed to strike the quartz with a ball-bearing, the resulting electrical impulses show up on a meter. And Du Sautoy explains that the distribution of wavelengths on the meter are uncannily similar to the distribution of primes in Riemann's zeta function.
He then calmly explains that the same correspondence has been found between the zeta function graph and the energy states of the electrons inside a uranium atom. Oh, and it shows up in various statistical models as well, like the distribution of buses in London and so on.
By this point, I'm up out of my chair. I'm an avid reader of math and science popularizations, despite the fact that I can't really do complicated math to save my life, and I've never even heard about this before.
A search online last night showed that I wasn't the only one, either. There was even some suggestion that the quartz-zeta function business was a hoax. But then I started turning up stories from years past that mentioned the connection with uranium, which had apparently been first noted by American mathematician Hugh Montgomery and physicist Freeman Dyson back in the 70s.
I'm going to be doing some more digging into this, and hunting down a copy of Du Sautoy's The Music of The Primes, but in the meantime I had to ask all of you nice people. Am I the only one who hasn't heard of this before? (Allison had a vague memory of running into the idea before.) And if I'm not, and this isn't widely known, why isn't it widely know?
137 Uncomfortable Plot Summaries
Here are a few choice examples Canavan has highlighted. More in the link above.
ALIENS: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.
BATMAN: Wealthy man assaults the mentally ill.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Teenage serial killer destroys town in fit of semi-religious fervor.
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF: Amoral narcissist makes world dance for his amusement.
SERENITY: Men fight for possession of scantily clad mentally ill teenage girl.
GROUNDHOG DAY: Misanthropic creep exploits space/time anomaly to stalk coworker.
HARRY POTTER: Celebrity Jock thinks rules don’t apply to him, is right.
JFK: Family man wastes life for nothing in crusade against homosexuals.
JUNO: Teen fails to get abortion, ruins lives.
JURASSIC PARK: Theme park’s grand opening pushed back.
KILL BILL: Irresponsible mother wants custody of her child.
LORD OF THE RINGS: Midget destroys stolen property.
RAMBO III: The United States provides arms, equipment and training to the terrorists behind 9/11.
RED DAWN: Despite shock-and-awe tactics, a superior occupying force is no match for a tenacious sect of terrorist insurgents.
STAR TREK: Over-sexed officer routinely places crew in danger.
STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE - Religious extremist terrorists destroy government installation, killing thousands.
SUPERMAN RETURNS: Illegal immigrant is deadbeat dad.
TERMINATOR: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.
Interviews with Interesting People
- Comic Book Resources posts the first part of a multipart interview with Alan Moore.
- Jessica Strider at Sci-Fan Letter interviews Matthew Sturges, who provides some really thoughtful responses about craft and such.
- The incomporable Cheryl Morgan has posted video of Paul Cornell's Guest of Honor interview from the recent P-Con VI.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Talent is Hard Work
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sturges on House of Mystery #13
I did an interview about my contribution, too, which is excerpted in a brief bit at the end of this piece. Not sure if the rest of it will be appearing in a separate post on Newsarama or not, but if it doesn't I may post my responses here at some point.
A Wonder Woman To Believe In
Along with Nina Jaffe, Caldwell was responsible for the best interpretation of Wonder Woman to date, the sadly underpromoted and unnoticed line of young reader and chapter books published by HarperChildrens in 2004.
I don't know how many of you have sampled the new Wonder Woman direct-to-DVD animated movie, but if you haven't, I have suffered for you. It's pretty unwatchable for adults, filled with some brain-hurty plot-holes and odd characterization, but worse still it's absolutely packed to the gills with gore and violence, with some pretty unnecessarily adult sexual suggestions throughout. Characters are decapitated and killed in the first few minutes, and before Diana has even left Paradise Island the body count has climbed pretty high, and we've been treated to a few choice moments of Steve Trevor, Sexist Asshat. Suffice it to say, it's not for kids (which, of course, begs the question, Who is it for?), and there's no way that I'm putting Georgia in front of it.
The character of Wonder Woman is pretty broken, I think, and some have suggested (I'm looking at you, Mr. Nevins) that she isn't fixable, if for no other reason than because the character was devised to advance the notions of Dr. William Moulton Marston--some of which were laudable, some of which... not so much--and shorn of that subtext the rest of the character becomes problematic. There have been some good reinterpretations of the character in the years since, notably George Perez's post-Crisis relaunch and Gail Simone's recent run, but they've had to dance pretty hard to keep it all hanging together. Perhaps most annoying, though, since the days of Super Friends and the Linda Carter series (with a brief hiatus during the days of Justice League Unlimited), there hasn't been a kid-friendly--and more importantly little girl-friendly--version of the character in a long, long while.
But in the early reader titles I Am Wonder Woman, The Contest, The Arrival , The Rain Forest, and the chapter books Wonder Woman: The Journey Begins and Wonder Woman: Amazon Princess, author Nina Jaffe and illustrator Ben Caldwell managed to synthesize the best of the original Marston version with the parts that worked from Perez and elsewhere, and came up with a Wonder Woman that worked, and more importantly was aimed right at the readers who really need the character most--four to seven year old girls. And the books are good.
The books were released in 2004, all in the span of a month or two... and quickly disappeared from view. I stumbled upon them in a bookstore, my eye caught by Caldwell's art, which I'd been admiring for a while (in Dare Detectives and elsewhere), but after leafing through just a few pages it was the story that really sold me. I snatched up all the titles on the shelf, which wasn't much (and as I recall they had only one copy of each), and had to hunt the rest of them online. I talked the books up to some booksellers I know, but by that time it was already too late. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, whether the licensing deal between DC and Harper fell apart before the books came out, or if there was an editorial sea-change that took place between the commissioning and the publication, or one of a hundred different explanations. What I do know is that the comics world was all but completely unaware that these books existed, and that dumped as they were on the market without much in the way of promotion or support, the book-buying world didn't notice them, either. I don't know if there were plans originally for more, but as it stood that initial wave of titles was all that we'd see of the Jaffe-Caldwell Wonder Woman. Which is a damned shame.
In a better world somewhere out there in the Multiverse, in another worldline of the Myriad, there are shelves full of new Jaffe & Caldwell Wonder Woman books and comics for my daughter to read. In this one, though, there are just the scant few titles I bought for her when she was an infant. And I'm hanging onto them.
(Images ganked from here.)
- The episode of the 40K Radio podcast recorded at Adepticon the week before last has been posted, including my own (somewhat drunken) ramblings. The interview with me starts at the 0:34:05 mark, if you're interested.
- Win Scott Eckert highlights the details of the trade and limited editions of the forthcoming The Evil in Pemberley House, his collaboration with the late Philip Jose Farmer (now available for preorder).
- Zombies are the new vampires. Time Magazine says they are, so it must be true.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Hang This Up in your Time Machine
As with all things awesome on the internet, there is a t-shirt available. I'm pretty tempted, I'll admit.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Nick Fury Was Right
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Texas, Our Texas
(And honestly, yesterday I figured it would be this that would be the most cringeworthy thing to come out of the state this week.)
Think you can out-embarrass us, Florida and Alabama? Heck, no! Texas is here to stay!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
I had a terrific time, getting a chance to hang out with Vince Rospond of Black Library and fellow BL author Gav Thorpe (and fellow Solaris author Tim Akers), meeting Ross and the rest of the gang from Fantasy Flight games, and talking with loads of Warhammer and 40K gamers and BL enthusiasts. I even did a brief interview with Spencer and Scott of 40K Radio, which I'll link to when it goes online. Hank Edley and the rest of the Adepticon staff ran an incredibly tight ship, and the Lombard Westin was a splendid venue for the event. In short, Allison and I had a great time, and appreciate the warm welcome we got. Wargamers who haven't made the trek to Adepticon before should definitely put it on their calendar for next year.
Secret Saturdays are back!
As Stephens points out on his blog, the wait is finally over.
The Secret Saturdays return to Cartoon Network with new episodes beginning this Friday, April 10th at 8:00 PM. Because of where CN decided to break the season up, we come back with two irregular episodes, neither of which feature a cryptid of further the Kur Stone plotline. They are both pretty cool stand-alone stories, though! Because what would've been the next episode, "Eterno", is so particularly unusual, we decided to air it the following week, so this Friday will premiere "Black Monday" instead. They will revert back to the original sequence for future rebroadcasts and DVD collections.And if that weren't enough, this week also sees the release of Cartoon Network Action Pack #36, which we'll be heading into town to get on Saturday (after a tasty meal of burgers and icecream at Phil's Ice House, of course).
That means that this Saturday morning we can look forward to new Secret Saturdays on the Tivo and in comic form, and burgers and icecream! Honestly, what more could you want?
Written by John Rozum, Tom Warburton and Jim Alexander; Art by Will Sweeney, Jay Stephens, Maurice Fontenot and Ethen Beavers; Cover by Jay StephensIn a new Secret Saturdays story, Komodo is captured by Argost! Plus, Cryptipedia entries from the world of the Secret Saturdays, Samurai Jack shops for a way home, and the Kids Next Door face the masters of disguise!
- Cartoon Network
- $2.50 US
On Sale April 8, 2009
The Cult of Done Manifesto
I have to say I like this a lot. It aligns with my personal philosphy on creation in many ways.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Red Rook Review on Set the Seas on Fire
Name that Droid
Well, have my new masters at Angry Robot Books got a deal for you...
Angry Robot is running a promotional contest, inviting readers to name their miffed little robot mascot (seen above). Head on over to the publisher's site anytime between now and May 6th, share your suggestion, and if your entry is picked you'll get copies of all 7 initial Angry Robot titles "plus a mystery prize". What do you have to lose?
Monday, April 06, 2009
Table of Contents
Michael Moorcock: Behold the Man by Lou Anders
Moorcock: Mastery and Mad Dance by Hal Duncan
One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock by Neil Gaiman (Fiction)
The Rhondda Rendezvous by Rhys Hughes (Fiction)
Confessions of an Elric Fanboy by Paul S. Kemp
Moorcock the author, Mike the man by Chris Roberson
The Moorcock Effect by Bryan Talbot
Epic Movie by Catherynne M. Valente
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
BSG: What I Would Have Done
This is absolutely true. I have every intention of answering the question directly after a bit of blithering on where I thought the series as a whole went wrong, but by the time I got to that point I'd already rambled on for over two thousand words and figured it was time to call time.
So what would I have done differently?
Actually, I think that the whole series could have been salvaged in the last ten episodes. There was a way to address all of the mysteries that had been set up to that point, to explain what the Cylon's "plan" was, and just what was going on with the Six who was haunting Baltar (and the Baltar that was haunting Caprica Six). By the time the second episode of "Season 4.5" aired, it was clear that they wouldn't be doing anything like what I had in mind, so I just filed it away, figuring I might use it in a story myself someday.
But since you asked...
I won't go into all the details, but here's a few highlights of my "Alternate Season 4.5":
- There's only one Earth (which we see after some sort of apocalypse) and everyone that lived on it was human
- The "Final Five" uncover hidden memories that they were humans who lived on the last days of Earth, who were involved in a project to perfect consciousness uploading. When the Earth was destroyed, their disembodied consciousnesses leave the doomed planet behind in a sublight robotic spacecraft.
- The Centurion-grade Cylons who left the Colonies discover (revealed in flashbacks to a point some time before Season 1) this "message in a bottle" containing these uploaded consciousness, which have been living in a virtual world inside the spacecraft's computer systems all this time.
- The Centurion Cylons exchange information with these Five disembodies humans--the Cylons construct artificial bodies for them indistinguishable from human bodies, and in exchange the Five give the Cylons the technology necessary to transfer consciousness from one humanoid form to another--in other words, Resurrection.
- The Five, who for millennia have been living in virtual worlds, jump at the chance to live among "real" humans again, and the Cylons agree to transport them in secret to the Colonies, but only if they agree to have their memories edited to remove any knowledge of what the Cylons are up to.
- The Cylons then get busy developing their own lines of artificial bodies, using the copies they've retained of the Five's consciousnesses as blueprints for creating new artificial personalities.
- The Cylons discover there is a limit to the number of novel personalities they can generate from the base copies they have--essentially its a limited "gene pool" and inbreeding can set in quickly. They are able to mix and match enough to create a few viable lines of "human" models, and a gestalt consciousness incorporating the copied minds of all Five. They call this group mind "God."
- "God" devises a plan to winnow humanity down to the individuals most fit to survive and thrive, which will then be uploaded and incorporated into the Cylon society. With a large enough sample of consciousnesses, the Cylons will be able to continue to generate new "offspring" indefinitely.
- The Plan begins to go wrong when the Six assigned to lead the effort to destroy the Colonies and begin the process of winnowing dies in the blast that decimates Caprica City. Her consciousness is broadcast back to the Resurrection Ship as planned, but her proximity to Baltar, along with the interference of the electromagnetic pulse, leaves an imprint of Six's consciousness in Baltar's unconscious mind. Worse yet, elements of Baltar's consciousness have "infected" Caprica Six's mind.
- The introduction of aspects of Baltar's mind into the Six line is a wrench in "God's" plan, and things begin to go off the rails. Meanwhile, the copy of Six that inhabits Baltar's subconscious is subtly steering the Colonists to behave in ways God hadn't anticipated, further upsetting the Plan.
- Things begin to go seriously wrong when the Five, by now living among the surviving Colonists, begin to recover their buried memories, first of their lives on Earth, and then of their time spent among the Cylons.
So, what would you nice people have done differently?
EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to mention that Starbuck is the first Colonist to benefit from the consciousness uploading of Resurrection, and while she was originally human is now inhabiting an artificial Cylon body with all of her original memories intact. She was saved from certain death by God, who has decided that the unforeseen factors of recent years have necessitated a change in Plan...
Additional to the BSG finale
Thoughts on the BSG Finale
I was among the respondents. Curious to know where I stand on the BSG finale? (Hint, the second sentence of my response includes the phrase "steaming pile of dogshit"...)
Other respondents include my pals Paul Cornell, Lou Anders, Joel Shepherd, Chris Dolley, and Jayme Lynne Blaschke, among other worthies. I agree with a lot of what they say... except for you, Paul, but it's alright, I forgive you.
And as a bonus from the Onion, Obama Depressed, Distant Since 'Battlestar Galactica' Series Finale.