jousting with Darragh Metzger

When Berni and I first saw the trailers for the movie A Knight’s Tale, we were not impressed. Heath Ledger was too baby-faced for a convincing jouster who consistently unhorsed his opponents. The wisecracks were too anomalistic, too modern. More so was the music blaring in the background: rock and roll from the ‘70s. Too bloody stupid! Nope, we were not going to be seeing this movie. Our friend Mike brought the DVD over for after-dinner viewing so we were obligated to sit through it. And we enjoyed it! Heath remains too unstressed looking but the humor and the rock… Continue Reading jousting with Darragh Metzger

on poul anderson’s brain wave

I FOUND MY AGING COPY OF BRAIN WAVE when I discovered Joachim Boaz’s site Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations. I read Joachim’s take on Poul Anderson’s novel—he considered it “vaguely good”—and the comments submitted by his readers and I disagreed with certain observations of theirs. So, I want to address a few of those issues here on my site. 1 But first, an anecdote: my copy of Brain Wave is buried in a box somewhere and I wasn’t sure that I would find it. Then, last Saturday, having coffee with Jon and Ami Pilon, I mentioned the book and the… Continue Reading on poul anderson’s brain wave

yet more on science fiction and fantasy (is this modern science fiction part 6?)

I JUST HAD A ‘WHAT A COINCIDENCE’ MOMENT! They are not all that dissimilar from deja vu moments, except the sometimes slightly scary feeling that accompanies the latter is rarely part of the former. When coincidence occurs to me, I am usually delighted, rarely frightened into believing some form of pre-determinism, as deja vu can do. But, first we deal with coincidence . . . According to Merriam-Webster Online, a coincidence as “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.” That’s a very definite statement: the events “happen . . . by accident,”… Continue Reading yet more on science fiction and fantasy (is this modern science fiction part 6?)

modern science fiction and the gimme part 5 – on modern fantasy and the gimme

If I said that all ‘modern’ fantasy can be traced to one author and one story, J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord Of The Rings, few would argue. While aficionados and historians can make arguments for the influence of Lord Dunsany, James Branch Cabell, and others, almost all the well-known fantasy titles of the past four decades can be traced to the tales of the Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and the One Ring. Of course, defining “modern fantasy” may be a wee bit more slippery than one might assume, and I am not going to attempt to. But a working… Continue Reading modern science fiction and the gimme part 5 – on modern fantasy and the gimme

modern science fiction and the gimme part 4 – on various genres and the gimme

This is the fourth of five essays (all titled “modern science fiction and the gimme part 4” or 3 or 1) addressing aspects of the acknowledged “laws” of plotting and story-telling in modern science fiction. It is not necessary to have read the first two parts to understand this part. Here are a few very brief, easy-to-understand definitions that delineate the primary differences between several types of fantastical literature and how the use of the gimme varies. Fantasy or heroic fantasy All forms of science fiction can be considered as sub-categories of fantasy fiction, but that is not what most… Continue Reading modern science fiction and the gimme part 4 – on various genres and the gimme

modern science fiction and the gimme part 3

I HAVE STATED THAT I CAME OF AGE as a reader of science fiction in the late 1960s and early ’70s. My exposure to what was happening in science fiction was limited, as I was never involved in any organized fandom. For me, the early ’70s was spent turning on tuning in dropping out, protesting the war, expanding my consciousness, and discovering the difference between girls and women. Those years were the height of the popularity and influence of science fiction’s New Wave movement. It seemed that many young—and more than a few not so young—writers with something new (and different… Continue Reading modern science fiction and the gimme part 3