Monday, December 31, 2012

Science-Fiction versus Fantasy

Genres. What I have discovered on my trek to getting published is that the "industry" likes to categorize things. Makes sense. We all categorize. But what leaves me somewhat confused is the blurred edge between many of the literary genres. For instance, Fantasy and Science-Fiction.

On the surface the distinction seems simple. You've got wizards, dragons, fairies? You're Fantasy.

Got robots, spaceships, Jedi? You're Science-Fiction.

I once heard the distinction stated as "science-fiction is what is probable and fantasy is improbable."

Wait. What? One is real and one is not? Not all science-fiction that I've read (or seen) is in any way probable. Are you telling me the Force is probable? No. That's why some consider Star Wars a Fantasy. But it has robots! And spaceships! So what, exactly, is the true definition? Is all Science-Fiction hard Science-Fiction? Relying on scientific fact and/or scientific probability? Or is there some deeper reasoning?

I ask because my YA novel is currently being categorized as Science-Fiction. But there's not really any science. Sure, it's in space. But it's a fun adventure in space and I didn't spend 5 years researching the physics of space travel. And I'm positive it's not in any way probable. So what is it...Fantasy? Since there's no vampires, witches, magic or swordplay then I bet the "industry" would balk at that title. Space Opera? Not widely accepted, I think. And so far, to stand out you need to fit in a box.

But what if we started having robots in the Middle Ages alongside wizards, and dragons in the future on spaceships? Would heads explode?

(Sigh). I shall have to do more research. Let the genre wars begin.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

George Lucas and Walt Disney Tie the Knot

My two absolute favorite visionaries of all time are now one! Well, not really. But figuratively. I know, I'm a bit behind the boat on voicing my two cents here. (Hey - I was neck-deep in book revisions when the news exploded). But I have to comment - I just have to. STAR WARS is my childhood, my teen-hood, my adulthood. It has shaped everything I do creatively. So why not chime in? (Besides, I'm sure my 6 followers really want to know ;)

First - I am actually thrilled Lucas chose to hand over the reins to Disney. I LOVE DISNEY. No Mouse House hater here. I don't care what you say about their commercial sell-outness or their behind-the-scenes Death Star-style working conditions. The company has made classic fairy tales a permanent part of my psychosis. So who better to take on the movies we WISH Lucas had made instead of the prequels. Right?

Speaking of the dreaded New Trilogy...Now that most fans are angry at Lucas, I think it is wise that he is publicly stating he is keeping a very distant role in the new films. According to him, “[If the filmmakers ask],‘Who’s this guy?’ I can tell them. I mean, they have a hundred encyclopedias and things, but I actually know a lot. I can say, ‘This is this and this is that.’ Basically I’m not — I don’t really have much to do.”

Yeah, we'll see if that holds. Hiring Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) was a big positive sign. In fact, I will now be stalking him on Twitter to see if he lets slip any 140-character clues about the script (which I doubt). So fingers crossed that my favorite, favorite story of all time (well, a close tie with Pride & Prejudice) will get the star treatment it deserves. And maybe, just maybe, I can be a part of it. Here's wishing!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The QUEEN is back! 

Yes! I see evil resurfacing in Regina's future, and I couldn't be more happy. Don't judge, but evil characters make me all giddy inside. Maybe because they get to live selfishly and I haven't been able to live that way since the little stick revealed a plus sign. Regardless, Regina is at her best when she does her worst, and although I can appreciate a character who wants to change and love like the other goodies, we need our baddie!

But apparently, last night's ONCE was a "winter finale" as in, they didn't want to shoot any more shows to take us to the holidays. So now I've got to wait a month to see the Mother/Daughter reunion we've all been waiting for.

Last thought - what's up with Captain Hook? I've been somewhat ambivalent about him this season. Is he good? Is he bad? Is he enjoyable to watch? This guy doesn't have...swagger. Captain Hook, at least the one Disney introduced us to, is as flamboyant as he is dastardly. He's got flair. This guy, so far, is lacking some flair. I won't make a judgment yet, but so far I'm not feeling the love for the Hook.

Guess I'll have to find some other topics to chat about now that my show is on a winter break. Hmm...Time to hit Red Box for some inspiration.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Bar For Geeks

Paris is calling my name. Not just because it's the most romantic city in the world. Or because I live for cheese and fresh croissants. But because now, there's a fun little bar where it looks like I might feel right at home. It's called Le Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde (aka - The Last Bar Before The End Of The World). In case the claim is not to be believed, there's a giant clock just inside the entrance that counts down to the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21, 2012. Guess that means I need to book my trip to Paris asap.

Now, supposedly this bar is a "no violence allowed" type of establishment. All light sabers, powerful one-rings and magic wands must be deposited before hitting the bar for a drink. But once you enter the bar, it looks like Geek Heaven. Every genre seems to be represented, from the wall-mounted Millenium Falcon, to the stacks of comic books and novels begging to be read. There are also scores of games available to play - so you can bring a group along and spend the better part of the night. I want to go now!

The bar has clever naming of areas, THE SINGULARITY leads to a second bar and TARDIS denotes the lowest level that can be reserved for private parties or game-play. But just looking at the decor alone could possibly entertain me for hours. Every inch of wall space appears to be covered in science-fiction themed movie posters and other bits of memorabilia.

Happening upon this little gem on the internet leaves me quite thirsty. LA needs this type of dive! But if per chance anyone makes it to Paris before I do, stop by Le Dernier Bar for me and take a few pics. But you'd better go soon. Once December 21 hits, we'll all be out of luck.

Le Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde
19, avenue Victoria 75001 Paris

Friday, October 12, 2012

Arrow – Another Dark Knight
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Arrow; CW; Wednesdays 8/7c
I suppose it was only a matter of time until the superhero universe once again made a bid for TV viewership. Past attempts have proven fatal (dare I mention Wonder Woman). But seeing as how Christopher Nolan's Batman exited the screen leaving the fans yearning for more, the CW has decided to capitalize on our love for the dark anti-hero. Enter Green Arrow – or as CW has reimagined him – Arrow.

Now, I will readily acknowledge that I don't avidly read comic books (sorry). I am one of those fans that enter the comic universe via film. However, I have yet to commit to a superhero TV show since watching reruns of Lou Ferrigno's The Incredible Hulk. But after being bombarded by billboard after billboard of a shirtless hunk holding an arrow, I decided to give Arrow a chance.

I am not yet sure if that chance has paid off.

What I both like and dislike about Arrow is its use of reliable stock characters, even though here they seem like recycled copies from other successful ventures. The billionaire playboy turned vigilante. The out-for-justice but by-the-books love interest.  The friend who begins to suspect the truth. The parent who may or may not be the villain. The tortured cop who must hunt down the vigilante despite the fact said vigilante is doing "good."

Yawn. This was all done rather well in Batman Begins. But I have come to find that comics, too, tend to copy one another. Green Arrow was a response to the popularity of Batman. Green Arrow is a royal Robin Hood operating under the cover of night – a great companion for those who responded to Batman's dark mythology. Except CW's Arrow seems to enjoy killing the bad guys. That aspect of his character actually turned me off. I liked Batman's moral conscience. After all, killing makes you equal to the bad guys, not above them.

Nope, not Tom Hanks
CW also missed an opportunity to build Arrow's driving purpose. We really have to begin as a character straight out of Castaway? I have seen this before, CW! So if you want to remind me of how five years of isolated island living can change a man, then at least throw in Wilson.

But the regurgitation aside, the reason this superhero formula works is that the formula itself is a strong piece of storytelling. A boy who becomes a man, who then seeks to right past wrongs, is always riveting. And I like that the theme is not revenge, but atonement. So there's hope here. I just hope the show can veer into new territory with Arrow – not keep revisiting scenarios I have already seen play out countless times on the big screen. This is a show, not a movie. So let's hope that Arrow can steer us into some uncharted waters.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Star Wars Sing-A-Long

Got me laughing this morning...

For anyone who's ever yearned to stretch their lungs and sing along to "Duel of the Fates" from Star Wars (New Trilogy) - Here is your chance!

YouTube Duel of the Fates (sing along)
Prince Phillip - Say It Ain't So!

Not really a post here, just a reaction. I just watched the Once Upon A Time premiere (yes, very late). And I have to say right off the bat - I could never be a story book character. If I had the chance to kill a powerless Regina, I would. Doesn't the woman deserve it after all the souls she has destroyed? Yet the innate goodness of princes and princesses seems to keep her alive. I'm not that good. I guess that's why I'm a mere human.

But I digress. I was alternately thrilled, and upset, by the appearance and early demise of Prince Phillip. Really? I was just getting in to his awkward love triangle between Mulan and Aurora. What exactly happened between him and Mulan during all those battles? And what truths were they going to tell her once she "woke up" from her slumber?

I guess I'll never know because now he's gone. Although, something about this show tells me that I haven't seen the last of him. After all, he didn't really die, he only had his soul sucked out by a wraith. Which means his soul is residing somewhere, awaiting a rescue by his two lady loves. Or so I hope.

And who was that man in New York in the very beginning of the show? He gets a postcard via carrier pigeon  that the curse is B-R-O-K-E-N. Okay, so 1) who is sending postcards so soon after the curse is broken and 2) how can this man be a part of Story Book Land while living in New York?

Now I am seeing shades of Lost, the reveal that only leads to a thousand more questions that I will have to wait endlessly to be answered, if they ever are. Seeing as how last season at least solved a number of looming problems, I am hopeful. But alas, all magic comes with a price. And these characters aren't done paying quite yet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gearing Up for Once 

The return of fall TV has not excited me for years. The last show I was an honest fan of was The X Files. Not necessarily because the shows of the last decade were lacking, but because I did not have the time to commit my energies to a set hour every week. Well, DVR has changed all that.

Last season I got completely hooked on Once Upon a Time – the creative re-telling of popular fairytales. It's got a delicious evil queen (I love you Lana Parrilla), a spunky Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin is a surprise treat) and a conflicted Prince Charming (jury is out if I'm in love with him).

But most of all it has one of the best acting performances I have seen on the small screen of late – Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin. This actor needs an Emmy people! His subtle expressions, his guarded eyes, his knowing grin – he is really what keeps me tuning in week after week just to discover what secrets swirl around his devious brain!

But perhaps what I love best about the show is the theme of choice. Even though the show follows many characters, their struggles stem from the dilemma of choice - and with every choice comes a consequence. "All magic comes with a price," says a grinning Rumpelstiltskin. Man, is he right. It is easy to lay blame for the lack in our lives onto the heads of others – our parents, our friends, our government. But it is far more dangerous to realize that we have the power to choose our path, and that any choice we do make will have far-reaching effects into our future lives. I love a show with a good life lesson.

This season will begin with all of the fairy tale characters remembering who they are. Let's hope the delicate balance between current day Storybrooke and past life Fairy Tale Land is maintained. I will probably be talking a lot about this show as the season progresses. Not because anyone really needs to know what I think, but because the show offers up good fodder for conversation. Season premiere is this Sunday. I am there with bells on.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Here I Go Again

I am not ashamed to admit I am a sci-fi geek: formerly closeted, now out and proud. I AM, however, ashamed to admit that this is my 3rd attempt at a blog. Previously, I tried to start a coffee-lovers blog (I was out of ideas) and a Mommy blog (aren't there enough?) I've spent the last 2 years in-between nap-times, play-times and poopy diaper-times writing my very first YA science fiction adventure novel. So I figure - why not start a sci-fi/fantasy lovers blog for everything on the movie screen, the TV screen and in print? We'll see how it goes. And if it fails, I'm open for ideas on blog number 4. :)