Look! It's a trailer for the sequel to the Spider-Man reboot series! I found the first one to be underwhelming and inept, but a lot of people seemed to like it—or at least it made a ton of money. So, quick! Back to the spider-trough!
One positive thing I do have to say about this trailer is that they finally got the costume exactly right. Spider-Man looks just like Spider-Man in the comics, which is great.
In light of Paul's earlier post, please enjoy this. (There's a promo for the guy's video game at the end. Bonus?)
Thanks, Slog-Tipper Mark!
For the nostalgia freaks, there's Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series. This one is the exact same format as a book that collected Garbage Pail Kids cards from earlier this year, and it's pretty much a straight shot of nerdy collector mania. In addition to larger-than-scale reproductions of the photographs from the 1976 trading card set, the book contains trivia about the production of the card series. (For some reason, every series regular character in Star Trek is represented except for Sulu, whose absence feels weirdly pointed.) There's not much more than a rehash of every episode of the original series; a few new cards are glued into the back of the book, but it's basically a book-form reproduction of the trading card series. If that appeals to you, here you go.
Rachel Dukes posts her cartoons on the internet for free. She loves it when her cartoons are shared. But even an artist who gives her work away for free wants her name attached to her work. Dukes posted a cat cartoon in January that circulated around the internet at a pretty healthy clip. However, the cartoon didn't really take off until some 9Gag user clipped the URL and credit information from the bottom of the cartoon and published it as their own work. Dukes provides a tally of how far the cartoon made it around the net, in both credited and uncredited versions:
Posts using the credited image:
2,721 Tumblr notes
0 Pintrest shares
14,000 Facebook likes
10,700 Facebook shares
Posts using the uncredited image:
62,393 Tumblr notes
6,000 Pintrest shares
2,085 Facebook likes
347,984 Facebook shares
This is, obviously, crazy. Dukes is asking for no payment other than her own name attached to her own work; most of the internet can't even be bothered to allow her that one simple request. Why has the uncredited version traveled so much further than the credited version? Is it that people just like to claim others' work as their own? Or is it somehow subconsciously easier for people to "share" work online when there's no obvious authorship attached? Now that Google makes it ridiculously easy to do a reverse image search, there's no reason for sites like BuzzFeed and Cheezburger to get away with these kinds of shenanigans. But they still do it. Boy, do they ever do it.
(The Lost in Font blog on Tumblr deserves credit for getting this post in front of my eyes.)
Black Friday never ceases to fill me with despair. But Small Business Saturday fills me back up with hope again. And I'd especially like to remind you that books are always perfect gifts. I encourage you to go check out Ada's Technical Books in their beautiful new location on 15th Ave E. They've got tons of science-minded books, kits, and puzzles. In that same area, a couple of nerdy Capitol Hill stores are having sales this weekend. Gamma Ray Games is having a buy-one-get-one-for-half-price special, plus free gifts. And Phoenix Comics & Games is giving a 25% discount on a single item to anyone who mentions "Shop the Hill" at checkout. Also worth your while: Tomorrow is Short Run, the annual small press festival, which is happening at Washington Hall. It's always a great place to pick up mini-comics, small press books, and art prints.
AND IN ADDITION TO ALL THAT: A number of local independent booksellers are welcoming authors into their stores as guest booksellers tomorrow. You'll be able to get book recommendations from a number of local writers, as well as autographed and personalized copies of their own books. This is a program that's going on in just about every bookstore in town. Sherman Alexie will be making a series of Santa-like appearances in bookstores everywhere—this whole thing was his idea in the first place—and other authors who are participating in the event include Maria Semple, Garth Stein, Nancy Pearl, Ethan Stowell, Stephanie Kallos, Maged Zaher, Kathleen Flenniken, Jonathan Evison, Jennie Shortridge, Ryan Boudinot, and Ken Jennings. All of these authors are voracious readers, and they're militant about getting the right book in the right hands. If you're looking to give a gift with a story behind it, you can't do much better than "The greatest Jeopardy! champion in history told me that this book would change your life."
A complete list of the local stores with celebrity guest booksellers is after the jump.
Paul has been writing about the new Marvel superhero, a teenage Muslim girl named Kamala Khan who will reportedly be from New Jersey. Maybe she can join the Totally Biased Avengers, including Hari Kondabolu and this real-life Sikh Captain America, on their bold adventure to the Garden State...
The Taiwanese news-animators get passive-aggressive about Tuesday's news that local author G. Willow Wilson is bringing a Muslim teenaged girl superhero to Marvel Comics:
You can’t explain the plot of Thor: The Dark World without getting trapped in a Tolkien-ish morass of ridiculous-sounding words. See, thousands of years ago, there was a dark elf named Malekith who used an unstoppable zombie warrior named Kurse and an evil, drippy CGI space-substance called Aether to battle Odin’s father Bor on the day when the nine realms of the world tree Yggdrasill aligned in something called the Convergence. Now,as the Convergence is beginning again, the Aether has infected Jane Foster, the earthly love interest of Odin’s son Thor, and Malekith has returned to destroy the nine worlds. See? It basically sounds like a garbage stew of words plucked from Norse mythology, a bad Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and the liner notes of a Led Zeppelin album.
But the good news is that there’s a lot of fun here, too. Besides the obvious joys of watching medieval battles between gleaming golden Asgardian soldiers and a bunch of goblins armed with rocket launchers, The Dark World is booby-trapped with funny gags, entertaining fights, and a pair of charming actors who add a human element to the fantasy trappings. Tom Hiddleston as Loki, imprisoned on Asgard after trying to take over the world in The Avengers, and Chris Hemsworth as the arrogant-but-caring Thor, have to team up to stop Malekith, and their half-brotherly rivalry is pointed enough to make us forget about the tremendous cast that’s otherwise wasted. (Tip to Hollywood: don’t cast Idris Elba and give him nothing to do, and also don’t cast Christopher Eccleston as the main bad guy if the Dark Elf in question doesn’t have a personality besides KILL EVERYTHING.)
This time around, Thor and company are led by frequent Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, and for a first-time blockbuster film director, Taylor acquits himself admirably. He keeps his actors from looking goofy in their enormous, Kirbyesque headdresses; he's confident enough to pile joke on top of joke in expository scenes to help the bitter fantasy terminology go down smoothly; and he can keep track of a huge cast of characters spread across several different dimensions. But The Dark World has a serious pacing problem whenever it’s called upon to push the plot forward. The movie feels at times like it’s set to 1.5 speed, with dialogue and events happening way too fast to resemble anything resembling realistic pacing, but those sped-up scenes somehow feel like they’re slowing the movie down and getting in the way of the fun. There's too much stuff, and it's all happening all at once; a simpler, less universe-threatening plot would have given the characters some more room to breathe.
To indulge in a bit of score-keeping: The post-Avengers, so-called "Phase Two" of Marvel Comics' film adaptations have both improved on their previous outings. Iron Man 3 was immeasurably better than the staid Iron Man 2 in almost every way, mostly by keeping a sense of humor about itself and following one protagonist, rather than a huge cast of superheroes. Thor: The Dark World is a much better film than Thor: The effects are bigger, the humor is looser, and the general sense of can-you-believe-this-shit-I'm-telling-you-right-now is much more appealing than the stodgy world-building of the first outing. As long as you don't get too swept up in the dumb names and the convoluted plot, you'll probably have a good time.
Apparently, J.J. Abrams' new Star Wars movie will be released on December 18th 2015. Start lining up outside the Cinerama now, nerds, if you want to be guaranteed a seat at the first screening.
The news broke this morning. Deadline's David Lieberman and Nellie Andreeva explain it this way:
Disney will provide Netflix with live action series and a miniseries featuring Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage set in the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to at least four, 13-episode series over “multiple years,” beginning in 2015, culminating with a miniseries, The Defenders, that “reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.”
On the whole, I'm pretty excited for this. I always figured Daredevil was a character better-suited for a TV series than a movie—he's a character who does best when he's suffering slow punishment, and you just can't get that kind of stretched out agony right in a movie—and the Jessica Jones character is from Brian Michael Bendis's Alias, which is some of his best work for Marvel. Beyond that, I've always thought Luke Cage and Iron Fist were two of Marvel's best characters. I hope that if this works out, after The Defenders, they'll do a series of just Cage and Iron Fist. And purists might complain about the Defenders name being used for these characters, but let's face it: As much as I'd love to see a faithful TV adaptation of Steve Gerber's run on the title, there's no way the comic book version of The Defenders would work on-screen.
Which is not to say that this news doesn't give me a little pause. I like that Marvel is finally adapting properties with a black headlining character and a female headlining character, but it'd be a shame if these characters became the sole examples that Marvel could point to when they were asked about their diversity. The movies are obviously the highest-profile product that Marvel does, and more diversity on movie screens should remain an important goal. Also, I hope these series aren't as cheesy and poorly written as Marvel's disappointing Agents of SHIELD series, which continues to be a total piece of shit TV show. If they manage to retain the spirit and the adventure of the movie adaptations on Netflix, these shows will be huge hits.
Today, local publisher Fantagraphics Books put their entire spring publishing lineup—39 books—on Kickstarter, with an eye on a $150,000 goal. This isn't an attempt to shift the publishing paradigm over to a crowdfunding model. It's because 2013 has been a really shitty year for Fantagraphics:
Earlier in the year, one of our founding partners, Kim Thompson, was diagnosed with lung cancer and died four and a half months later, on June 19. Because Kim was such an active part of our company, his death has had repercussions — emotionally, of course, but financially as well. Kim edited our European graphic novel line and as a result of his illness, 13 of his books scheduled for the Spring-Summer season had to be cancelled or postponed, representing the loss of nearly a third of that season. Our fixed costs stayed the same —because they’re fixed— but the income 13 books would’ve generated was lost, disrupting our cash flow, and leaving us in a tight spot.
There are a dizzying number of rewards, including finished copies of the books you'll be helping to fund, original art and signed copies from cartoonists including Stranger-certified literature Genius Jim Woodring, and various other weird and wonderful objects and services. I generally don't promote Kickstarter projects on Slog*, but Fantagraphics is the best damn comics publisher in the United States, period. They contribute immeasurably to Seattle's literary importance. And they've also got a proven track record of publishing books, which means that, unlike other Kickstarters, you're probably going to get to enjoy your rewards in a timely manner. Go see what you can give—and get.
* I don't link to Kickstarters on Slog for many reasons, but one huge reason is that every time I mention Kickstarter on Slog, I get deluged with people trying to get me to promote their Kickstarter or Indiegogo or Gofundme or Gimmemoney campaigns on Slog. So let me be clear about this: I'm not going to promote your Kickstarter on Slog. You are not the exception to this rule. Once you publish amazing comic books for decades and foster the careers of some of the greatest cartoonists the world has ever known, then you can come back to me and ask me to promote your Kickstarter. Otherwise, I'm just going to ignore you.
Slog tipper Stesha points out that Seattle author G. Willow Wilson won the World Fantasy Award for her debut novel Alif the Unseen over the weekend. I can't believe that I missed this news; the World Fantasy Award is a pretty huge nerd award and a big honor for fantasy authors. I read and very much enjoyed Alif when it was published last year; you should read my review and then pick up a copy, now that you know professional nerds enjoyed the book enough to give it a big-time award.
Today brings some new G. Willow Wilson news, too. the New York Times just posted the exciting information that Wilson is writing a new superhero series for Marvel Comics. It's about a superhero named Ms. Marvel, and here's the pitch:
With most superheroes, when you take away the colorful costume, mask and cape, what you find underneath is a white man. But not always. In February, as part of a continuing effort to diversify its offerings, Marvel Comics will begin a series whose lead character, Kamala Khan, is a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City.
I expect conservatives to be overjoyed by this news. (Just kidding! They'll lose their shit over the fact that there's going to be a superhero who isn't a white guy. Expect lots of "what's next, a one-legged Samoan midget superhero?" sneers and other, less polite comments all over the internet.) This sounds really promising to me. Ms. Marvel was the name of one of Marvel's first female superheroes to headline her own series in the 1970s. (The original character has since graduated to the title of Captain Marvel.) So there's a history of this name being used for progressive causes in the comics industry. Congratulations to Wilson for winning the World Fantasy Award and for the Ms. Marvel news. I can't wait to read this comic book.
The first new Sandman comic in well over a decade was published yesterday. If you've never before read the comic that introduced Neil Gaiman to the world, you shouldn't start with Sandman: Overture. But if you've already read the other books, you'll find a lot to enjoy here. Because Gaiman is writing the book, it doesn't have the cash-grabby smarm of, say, DC's awful Before Watchmen series. There's an unmistakeable reunion feel, a kind of clubby getting-the-band-back-together vibe, but it's not crass or overly sentimental. We get to see a lot of the characters from the old Sandman books, specifically Dream and the Corinthian, although there are a other cameos, too.
New issues of Sandman: Overture will be published every two months for a year, and I think this is a series you might enjoy serially, picking up in comics shops on a regular basis. I saw firsthand last night that Phoenix Comics has plenty of copies, but I'm sure that every other comics store in Seattle will have them, too, from Zanadu downtown to the Comic Stop, The Dreaming, and Comics Dungeon around the U District, on out to Arcane Comics and Dreamstrands Comics up north. (There are probably others that I forgot, too. You can check out the Comic Shop Locator for comprehensive information about all the shops near you.) This comic is worth the trip.
The most fun superhero comic to be published this year didn't come from Marvel or DC Comics. Instead, it was a book published earlier this month by First Second called Battling Boy. I've been a fan of comics artist Paul Pope for almost twenty years, but he's always been an artist whose potential far outweighed his output. He's never made a book that fully lived up to his considerable skill as a cartoonist, until now.
The inventiveness of Battling Boy is its real charm. The monsters are silly doodles springing to life on the page, belching fire and waggling their crooked teeth around menacingly. Pope's messy style evokes Kirby, but it doesn't slavishly imitate him; all the characters have Pope's signature beestung lips, and the linework is brash and subliminally sexual in a way that most American comics artists can't seem to manage. Battling Boy's powers come from his collection of magic t-shirts. Each shirt has a different animal on it—a bull, a lion, a t-rex—and he gains the power of whichever animal he decides to wear. ("The pictures [on the shirts]—they appear to shimmer and shift, as if they were alive! These were painted," Battling Boy explains, "with inks made of pulverized moonblood!") It's a great gimmick, one that you can imagine Jack Kirby laughing over. Battling Boy quickly develops its own mythology, creating a world where the sole apparent superhero, a cross between Batman and the Rocketeer, dies, leaving his daughter with a bunch of beautiful toys and a mission that will surely set her onto a collision course with Battling Boy.
The only problem I have with Battling Boy is that it ends abruptly, and there's no indication in the book that the story will continue anywhere. (I checked with First Second, and Pope is thankfully at work on a second volume of the book now.) This is a great book to give to kids who are interested in comics but who maybe need exposure to something a little more artistic than the standard superhero stuff. For someone who was raised on superhero comics, it's a great little jolt to the brain-stem.
If I don't turn in my pieces on time for this week's paper, I'm just going to blame Scroll Down to Riker.
Are you aware that Geek Girl Con is happening this weekend? I was down there today with an entourage of 8- and 9-year-olds so I didn't make it to any panels, but we did see plenty of costumes, explored the DIY Science Zone where the kids made slime and learned about genetics and DNA extraction, and checked out the vendors and artists.
The con continues 9 am-7 pm tomorrow, and there are still a limited number of passes at the door as well as select comic and gaming stores. Check out the Geek Girl Con web site for more details!
And here are a few of the fabulous costumes from today (I apologize for the occasionally crappy quality of my sad little point-n-shoot):
Things in mainstream superhero comics can get better for women and minorities, as this Atlantic profile of Marvel Comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick attests. Marvel is trying, slowly, to bring more female characters to the forefront.
"I think that the message is that no one is 'other,' that white males are not the 'default human being,'" DeConnick said on Comic Con's final day, crystallizing her credo.
I think the glaring overabundance of white dudes on their movie slate is causing Marvel some embarrassment as they move more and more into the public eye. (It probably helps that strong female character advocate Joss Whedon is spearheading their movie universe, too.) Whatever the behind-the-scenes reasons, I'm glad they're pushing for a broader, more inclusive array of superheroes.
Marvel Comics has shut down a Punisher fan film that the current Punisher comics team has publicly gushed over. It'd be smarter for Marvel to leave the not-for-profit fan films alone; that kind of generosity has helped Star Trek remain a relevant nerd franchise for a very long time now. Maybe they're just embarrassed that the actual, licensed Punisher films were total garbage?
Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz is a book of posters. Ortiz, an illustrator and graphic designer, challenged himself to come up with one movie-style poster for each episode of the original Star Trek series—80 posters in all. The challenge is to make 80 unique, compelling images with a limited set of symbols. How many ways can you twist the shape of the USS Enterprise, the Starfleet logo, or Spock's face and still make an image that has its own design language?
Not every page of Star Trek is memorable, but there are a lot more winners here than losers. Ortiz pays homage to Saul Bass, Jack Kirby, Russian propaganda posters, Jackson Pollack, and many more influences throughout the book. Sometimes his posters look more like those great old sci-fi paperback covers, or psychedelic band fliers from the 60s. They each reference at least one plot point in the Star Trek episode they're representing, making it an ideal gift for the Trek fan who's seen every episode of TOS multiple times.
Ortiz's art aggregates into a narrative that runs underneath all the posters: It's the story of a Star Trek fan who decided to revisit one of his favorite shows, but this time as an artist, in the hopes of finding something new to enjoy. I think the story has a happy ending.
While most of America is busy shitting their pants in anger over the government shutdown, today Star Wars fanatics have a reason to cream their pants in delight, for scientists now have the technology to create an actual motherfucking lightsaber. More via the Guardian:
Harvard and MIT physicists writing in the new edition of Nature say they have discovered a way to bind photons together in order to form a new molecule which behaves almost exactly like George Lucas's deadly devices.
"Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless and do not interact," said Harvard university physics professor Mikhail Lukin. "What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they act as though they have mass, and bind together to form molecules.
"It's not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers. When these photons interact with each other, they're pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what's happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies."
We're still waiting on the hoverboard, though.
Cancel your afternoon plans and go read this free, 63-page biographical comic of Ayn Rand by Darryl Cunningham. I don't know why Cunningham's not selling this comic; it's really wonderful. (And if you're wondering about the tone, it's fairly objective. Cunningham obviously isn't a Rand believer, but he's not excoriating her, either; he reports on her strengths and her weaknesses in a straightforward manner. It's a top-notch comic book biography.)
(Via The Beat.)
Geek Girl Con, which takes place October 19th and 20th downtown, has released their official schedule of events. There are dozens of things to do, for just about every level of geekery. Here's a handful of panel names to give you an idea of the breadth of discussion:
Race in Costuming and Performance
20 Years of Myst
Crowdfunding Without Losing Your Mind
Bringing Your Writing to Life with Spoken Word
Everything I Thought I Knew About Fashion History was Made Up by Victorians
Fat Girl: Fan Girl
Karen Prell: The Career of a Muppeteer—and a Performance by Red Fraggle!
Esperanto: La Internacia Lingvo
Life as a Lone Wolf: Tips for a Successful Freelance Career
Spotlight on Kelly Sue DeConnick
That's science, video games, comics, social commentary, career advice, history, arts discussions, linguistics, and a motherfucking Muppeteer. Talk about range. There's much more, too, including crafts, advice on writing your own role-playing game, and much more. Go visit Geek Girl Con's website for all the details and start planning your convention experience now.
Did Star Trek Into Darkness suck because the fans are "shitty," like one of the screenwriters allegedly claimed?
Did it suck because the tie-in video game to the first rebooted Star Trek sucked, like the director claimed?
Did it suck because one of the writers was a 9/11 Truther who was leaving coded messages in the movie?
What other reason could there possibly be? Shitty fans, awful video games, and Truthers—those are the three big reasons why movies suck, right?
(Brian Ralph appears tonight at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery at 6 pm. It's free.)
Cartoonist Brian Ralph's Reggie-12 basically has the same premise as Big Guy. It's about a boy robot who a scientist created to fight the giant monsters who are invading his city on a regular basis. Unlike Big Guy—or Pacific Rim, or any of the other kaiju fictions that have popped up recently—Reggie-12 is a black-and-white comic, drawn in a large-format, Sunday comics-style collection. The title character is a cat-faced robot who acts like a rocket-powered child: He's enthusiastic, easily bored, and prone to petulant fits. Professor Tinkerton is absent-minded and occasionally likes to make new robots to replace Reggie-12. There's also a talking cat, along with a bunch of monsters. Some of the monsters are friendly, like a giant walking maple syrup spill named Lawndark of the Woods. ("By the way, I dropped the 'of the woods' part of my name. These days, most people just call me Lawndark.") Other, nastier monsters have drills for hands (which, it is repeatedly pointed out, is a highly impractical design) or Jack Kirby-ish heads. The humor is relatively innocent, although there's some swearing and adult situations, so it's definitely a book for older teens and adults.
Ralph's artwork is somehow intricate and primitive at the same time. His page layouts are complex, and there's a whole lot of detail, but his lines are easy to follow and never too overwhelming. In this way, they're a perfect complement to the writing, which is simple and charming and cute-but-not-too-cute. Ultimately, the appeal of the book relies on the enthusiasm of the characters and of its creator, which allows Reggie-12 to be many different things—crass, clever, friendly, prickly—at the same time. This is a hard book to explain, but an easy book to love.
This news is all over the nerd internet. Here's Rob Bricken's summary at io9:
J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have announced they'll be leaving as the [creative] team on Batwoman, citing DC's editorial interference and in particular, the publisher's refusal to allow characters Kate Kane/Batwoman and her partner Gotham City police officer Maggie Sawyer marry each other.
When this iteration of Batwoman was created, the media went crazy over the fact that she was a lesbian. Except for the typically loud (but proportionally very small) right-wing blog response, the feedback was almost entirely positive. (The character even won a GLAAD Award.) The comic has bobbed along on mostly positive reviews for years now, but this will probably mark the end of that good will. In a post titled "Heartbroken," Blackman explains the situation in a little more detail:
Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end.
DC Comics has been in editorial turmoil for years now, and that turmoil has been made public most often in the form of upset creators leaving titles with very little warning. There's even an internet clock called hasdcdonesomethingstupidtoday.com, and it's updated with alarming regularity. But maybe DC's biggest mistake in recent years was soliciting a Superman story written by hateful homophobe Orson Scott Card, and the lesson DC seems to have learned from that controversy is: Don't make any waves on LGBT issues at all. Don't be pro-gay. Don't be anti-gay. Just don't make waves.
Good luck with that.
I stopped reading DC's superhero comics soon after they relaunched the entire line. It was too stupid, too creatively void. I liked Williams and Blackman's Batwoman comic, but I quit reading it because I knew it wouldn't be long before editorial bumped the two from the book. I figured they would get bounced over their refusal to take part in some stupid crossover or something, but this is even more disappointing. Fuck DC Comics and their repeated lack of support for the gay community. It's now officially a trend.
UPDATE 2:54 PM: DC Comics released a statement saying they are against marriage for these characters, not just gay marriage:
As acknowledged by the creators involved, the editorial differences with the writers of BATWOMAN had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character.
John Scalzi's sci-fi novel Redshirts won a Hugo Award over the weekend. On his Facebook page, military sci-fi author John Ringo posted this (links added to the post are mine, not Ringo's) in response:
If anyone has been wondering why Scalzi has been picking the rather stupid fights he's been picking lately:
That's why. There's nothing wrong with Scalzi's writing. This is a reasonably good novel (from what I've heard) with no real SF or literary merit beyond being a reasonably good novel. But he's been speaking truth to power about the degradation of women in SF along with other idiocracy and so he's beloved by all the hasbeen liberal neurotics who control the Hugo voting and balloting. Look to many more in the future as long as he toes the Party line. Huzzah.
Okay, okay. Conservatives have been whining about awards going to liberals since the beginning of time. There's nothing new here. But the thing that really bugs me about Ringo's post is the fact that he's so brazen about not even reading the damn novel before he complains about it. And what "literary merit" does a book have "beyond being a reasonably good novel," anyway? Is he talking about the book surviving for the ages? What the fuck does that sentence even mean?
Here's how you present an informed opinion: I read Redshirts. I really liked it. I've read a couple of John Ringo's books. I wasn't crazy about them. And here's a bonus opinion: Now that I know that John Ringo dismisses "the degradation of women in SF" as "idiocracy," I'm much less likely to read more of his books.
The influential futurist and science fiction author died over the holiday weekend. GalleyCat published some links to free e-book editions of his work and a radio broadcast of one of his best stories.
2. To celebrate their 38th (!) anniversary as a comic book store, the wonderful downtown shop Zanadu Comics is having a sale on Saturday and Sunday. All graphic novels are 38% off, which is a ridiculous discount—they can't be making very much money on each sale. If you're looking for graphic novels to buy, I suggest you try Saga, Chew, Hawkeye—seriously, a book starring Hawkeye is the best book Marvel's putting out right now—and pretty much anything Fantagraphics publishes. This kind of sale doesn't happen every day, and not every comic shop makes it to 38 years. That's cause for celebration, if you ask me.
...but you should also remember that he's a racist, paranoid asshole, too. David Weigel at Slate would like to remind you of Card's 2008 speech promising that if elected president, Barack Obama would recruit black youth into a personal army that would..
...put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama's enemies.
Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people "trying to escape" — people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.
The makers of the Ender's Game movie must be buying Excedrin by the truckload these days. But, anyway—back to Orson Scott Card's hateful homophobia! Slog tipper Luke just sent along a link to this 2002 essay by Kate Bonin that is a close reading of the homophobia and desire that appears in Card's novels. The thesis is this:
I propose to follow representations of homosexuality through a number of Card’s fictional works dating from 1978 to 1999. This twenty-year time span demonstrates how long and how consistently the same fraught image of gay desire has occupied Card’s imaginative interest. Indeed, his books return again and again to the same themes with a regularity that one is tempted to call obsessive.
Those of you who talk about separating the man from his work really ought to go read this piece.