Science Fiction still Alien to Some Authors

I mentioned on Tuesday that my office is geeky enough to spontaneously start talking about constructed languages.

As an inveterate geek who can pass as a “muggle,” I’m well acquainted with the concept of downplaying any connections to nerd/geek culture. My reluctance to unfurl my own weird flag has waned greatly over the past 15 years or so, but I understand that reticence.

Sarah Ditum, writing in the Guardian, details how authors have historically, and even today are averse to their work being labeled “science fiction” even as “nerd culture” has never been more dominant.

Who Doesn’t Like Conlangs?

This past week at work, talk drifted to Tolkien and constructed languages, or conlangs, because that’s how we roll.

Now, I’m not about to present any paper to the Language Creation Society. It takes a lot of time to create a full, working language. For Rogue Tyger, I have actual world languages stand in for the various human and alien languages, otherwise I’d be up to half a dozen conlangs by now.

Nevertheless, I find the whole process fascinating — and apparently, Hollywood has found the whole process invaluable to their worldbuilding as Oriana Schwindt details in an article for Vox.

All Ready to Feel the Power of the Dark Crystal

Modern fandom is a tricky thing. Geek culture is ascendant in so many ways, often in service of mining intellectual property (IP) to find that latest multi-billion dollar franchise. And corporations appear so risk averse towards the potential market downside of new ideas that they will bet on IP, any IP, over people. At least, based on what I read in trade news about how studios are hungry for any known quantity, my premise is a studio executive will green light the next Battleship a dozen times before they say yes to developing the next Inception.

Thankfully, the studios also appear to be giving the keys of their IP kingdoms to people who love the originals more often than not. No longer will we have David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury. (Well, probably not, until late 90s nostalgia kicks in).

So when I heard word that there was going to be a prequel series to The Dark Crystal, a calculated move to hit us Gen Xers right in the feels, I was both excited and wary at the same time. And then they dropped this:

Now, for those of you who want to go deeper, there’s also a nine-minute “behind-the-scenes” promo that has a lot of the actors and producers involved. It’s here clearly to get one excited about the upcoming series

Do what you will this Labor Day weekend. I know some of my time will be spent returning to another place, another time… in the age of wonder!

Worldcons and World Conquest (by way of Pop Culture)

I’ve never been to a Worldcon, but I’m thinking I ought to for when it’s in my backyard.

George R. R. Martin, however, has been to just about every Worldcon he could for several decades running.

This year’s WorldCon is in Dublin, so the Irish Times caught up with him and he mused on WorldCons and fandom and all sorts of things.

If you want more of Martin musing on his career and art, you can also catch an interview of him on Maltin on Movies.

Master of Suspense Masterclass

Well, technically, it’s a 96-minute press conference moderated by film historian, author, and critic Richard Schickel. However, it really is a bit of a masterclass as Alfred Hitchcock, quite confident in what he does and doesn’t do, gives pronouncements about how he goes about things.

Note that you may want to watch Family Plot, his last film, before watching this as that’s the reason for the press conference. You may also find that he’s rather old school and private in his answers, compared to what you might expect from a modern talk show. That should in no way distract some great nuggets of wisdom as to how he approaches filmmaking as a craft. I especially appreciated his observation on keeping the audience engaged and, above all, not confused.

Also, a pro-tip from the comments. If you play the video at 1.5 times speed (under the settings menu in YouTube), you’ll finish faster and Hitchcock will, frankly, not sound like the spokesman for the Slow Talkers of America (which he clearly isn’t, what with being British and all).

More About Work as Religion

Continuing this week’s series of video posts, I came across this video from The Atlantic that touches back to an earlier article I linked to about work becoming people’s faith.

I’ve long been interested in work-life balance and finding joy or at least satisfaction in work, perhaps because, as mentioned in the video below, conventional wisdom is no longer satisfied with jobs or, to a certain extent, no longer even satisfied with careers. No, it has to be a calling.

And when you read things about “ikigai” of just finding flow, it seems like a calling is not that far-fetched a goal. But it so clearly is, because we’re just not set up for a surplus of those types of jobs. In fact, perhaps we’re asking too much of our jobs. Take a look at the video and consider.

Stephen King’s Brief Writing Tips

After Monday’s post, I didn’t want to take up too much time. The weight of the week is probably dragging on you in any case. Here’s Stephen King with some brief writing tips.

A Writer Autobiography, Carl Reiner Edition

I’ll probably share some other videos done by the Writer’s Guild as I watch them in the future, but here’s a treat for those of you who are fans of Your Show of Shows or The Dick Van Dyke Show and so on.

Carl Reiner talks almost for almost an uninterrupted hour and it flies by as he gives you not only his history and development as a writer, but all sorts of wonderful tidbits about writing… and human nature, naturally.

Video Game Design is Strong with the Dark Side

While not all, it seems an inordinate number of games these days — including games targeting kids — are designed to be addictive in ways that may not be in line with Federation ideals, so to speak.

Do I mix franchises? yes I mix franchises. My fandom is vast. It contains multitudes.

DC Comics Encounters Corporate Kryptonite

Back in March, I had a longer post discussing the notion of comics as “idea incubators.” This isn’t my brilliant idea, it’s coming from comic veterans.

Now as a storyteller is general and a fan of comics in particular, I’m perhaps predisposed to like this argument. However, I think it’s important to remind the bean-counting set that humans like stories. Audiences flocked to Avengers: Endgame because they had invested in the story and characters, not because the visual effects content in their blood was getting low. And before you outlay $356 million dollars to make that film (itself the last film of a long series), you might want to do the equivalent of prototyping some story ideas. And where can you do it in comparably inexpensive ways? Comics.

Alas, corporate titan AT&T may not see it that was as Rob Salkowitz details in his article about the questionable future of DC Comics.