Cheeseburger Gothic

Giants of Gallipoli

Posted Friday by John Birmingham

Tip o' the propellor beanie to Guru Bob for the link to this amazing set of vids in NZ. A tour of the Museum of New Zealand's 'The Scale of our War' exhibit. Hyper real, over sized dioramas. The whole sequence is worth a look – in fact it's probably worth a flight across the ditch.

The embed below details how the Weta studio put it all together.

14 Responses to ‘Giants of Gallipoli’

TheWah mutters...

Posted Yesterday
I've never liked ANZAC Day... and before I get lynched by the mob I have nothing but respect for the people that have died tragically and savagely in painful ways for defence of country and their own ideals, but the day itself is a weird twisted version of what it should be. In my opinion, it should be a day of quiet introspection about the sacrifices made and utter awful waste of the situations that brought about those sacrifices. November 11, Remembrance Day, fits the bill nicely. A quiet minute of thinking about it all, not a day of parades and children wearing medals from grand parents, parents, uncles and aunts long dead. I apologise if this offends you, reader, it is was not written with that intent. I worry about how the mythological aspects of this day grow ever larger and the beating of the drums grows ever louder with every passing years since the last WW1 digger died.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
No Wah, I get youI'm a 20 year vet but i don't 'get' ANZAC day as it exists now.And I didn't attend any of the services.The glorification and commercialization of Galipolli sickens me.The parting plea of Australia's last Anzac, Alec Campbell, before his death in 2002 was: "For God's sake, don't glorify Gallipoli – it was a terrible fiasco, a total failure and best forgotten." and I agree.
there are some thoughful comments on this in the brisbane times today, which mirror my thinking.
<font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/weve-turned-anzac-day-into-another-consumerist-bingefest-20150423-1mrq8q.html</font>

TheWah puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
Thanks for the links, MickH.And thanks for your service. You have done something I doubt I ever could.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
Well said, both of you. I distrust the veneration of "service" in this context - it seems to me a strange way to disrespect the victims of tragedy by refusing to acknowledge the nature of that tragedy.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Our Hughsey has worked herself into a bit of a lather over on Farcebook about this. I know better than to approach a crazed woman on a spittle flecked hate bender, I'd as soon charge a Turkish machine gun emplacement. But it has me wondering. I doubt a moustachio-twirling Machiavelli is gleefully admiring the indoctrination of a 4 year old in spidey jammies. I believe a symbol means only that which you invest in it. Like an insult it only has power if you let it. I picked up Mum at 05:00, made our way down to the cenotaph, listened with heads bowed and then got about our day. By rising before dawn and coming together I, we, in action demonstrate our appreciation for those who served and who serve. I don't see it as glorification. In my heart it isn't about an ill-fated invasion, it about acknowledging the service of those who went and the sacrifices of those left behind.
Of course the corporate prostitution is offensive. Being an anti-capitalist, I find most things done by corporations offensive.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
Read her rant. Or, rather, Lori read it to me (I don't do facebook).

I love Hughsey. In totality, a unique presence on this globe.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Of course the "what you invest in it" thing is right. Doesn't mean that some or even most of the poppy enthusiasts aren't driving a really awful interpretation of this.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Again, what would you expect? It is an active, conscious effort daily to not look upon many of our countrymen with a mix of pity & anger. I know I'm pig ignorant about so many things from horse-breeding to stock market investment, but the thing is I recognise my ignorance. So many people I speak to confuse opinion with knowledge, then will argue that their knowledge trump that held by experts in the field. I've found 9/10 times "Common Sense" is fig leaf that barely covers the oozing-sores of pendulous ignorance.

damian mutters...

Posted 16 hours ago
It might not be 9/10 - people refer to Common Sense when they don't understand why something is or is not logical. Most people don't understand the difference between logical inconsistency (or fallacy) and factual incorrectness (or false premises). They also don't understand the basic probability and stats needed to evaluate most arguments of fact.
You get a small amount of formal logic in high school maths and slightly more of the probability and stats. But really there should be a separate, compulsory subject on logic and stats, which pulls the formal logic out into its application in evaluating real-world issues, makes people familiar with the common logical fallacies and gives at least some basic grounding in what claims you can make based on what information.
One key feature to note with arguments based on Common Sense, is that they always seem to position the onus of proof upon the case that differs from the social norms surrounding the person making the argument, rather than on the case making the more extraordinary claim. To be clear, we all look at the world through our own prejudices, but for those not used to examining them, it always seems simpler to align with them.
You see this a lot when you call yourself an atheist (someone who doesn't believe in god) rather than an agnostic (someone who isn't sure whether they believe in god or not). Common Sense tells people the atheist is obliged to prove there is no god, though just moment's thought should show why that's totally illogical. (Actually there are other assumptions going on in such interchanges, but this is the one I'd like to draw out here).
I malign Common Sense here, but I do quite enjoy Dan Carlin's podcast of the same name. And apologies, that's a bit of a rant - guess it's the right time of year for one.

NBlob mutters...

Posted 13 hours ago
+1

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted Yesterday
http://www.smh.com.au/national/ww1/gallipoli-100-in-the-silence-only-solemn-reflection-remained-for-the-anzacs-20150425-1mt52r.html

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted 15 hours ago
I'm simply glad the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings is now over. The success of the commercial and media invasion of the Anzac space is in inverse proportion to the success of the Gallipoli military operation. Solemn and reflective commemoration in dignified silence brought to you by VB and Woolworths. Now, it's back to our celebrity chefs and renovation experts and their existential versions of Turkish Delight Anzac Biscuit Dugouts.

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Halwes would have you know...

Posted 14 hours ago
I've been pretty disgusted by what Anzac Day has become for a while now. I spend a lot of time thinking about sacrifice, heroism, the fact that, if a soldier decided that they weren't going to go over the top, then someone shot them for cowardice, the futility of war, lessons that have never been learnt and lost youth. What gets me is the way it seems to have become like another Melbourne Cup day with loud, drunk women tottering around in pretty dresses and high heels and blokes who only see it as another way to get drunk and gamble. I'd be surprised if the great majority even think about the meaning of the day let alone understand the issues. I love two up and drinking until it comes out of my ears but I don't do either on Anzac Day. As for Coles and Woolies and all the other product advertising, I'm not shocked because it is what I've come to expect.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 13 hours ago
Please don't feel I am condescending when I say that your discomfort with jingoism is charming. Please fight it all you can. Look to your seppo cousins for warnings of what can happen when it gets out of control.

I'm not sure what to say about the drift from original meaning and purpose that you observe. Humans seem universally to pervert holidays intended to foster silent reflection, transforming them, with enough time, into excuses for excess. Look at Christmas. Look at New Years Day. Look at St. Patrick's Day. Look at Pesach. It seems ANZAC Day has drifted in the same direction.

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My new XBox

Posted Friday into Games by John Birmingham

It's taken a few months, but the last of the equipment destroyed by the Storm Gods has been replaced by the insurer and installed. So I now have a new working Sony Bravia hooked up to a new Xbox One. The television is a bit of a wonder, and not because it's a 3-D model; there's almost no 3-D content to play on it.

No, I'm just amazed by how much lighter it is than my previous model of Bravia. Probably about half the weight. The high-definition screen is actually high definition too, unlike the bullshit pretend hi def in the earlier model. That's not always a good thing though. With so much TV and even movie content now being shot on video, there is a sort of flat, harsh reality that can get in the way of suspending your disbelief. Example? Sets really look like sets and if the make-up hasn't been properly applied to the actors it can be horribly distracting.

Still, great TV set.

I haven't had a lot of chance to play the Xbox. Nothing unusual there. I was kind of disappointed to learn it was not backwards compatible with all of my 360 discs. I managed to get about 30 bucks trade in for them at EB Games. I restarted my play-through of GTA V on the new machine and was suitably impressed with the work that Rockstar had done to upgrade the game for the new console. It looks gorgeous and plays beautifully.

Lucky thing I hadn't played much of it on my 360, because I couldn't find that many great titles to play on the Xbox One. It's been out for a while now and I would have expected a much deeper library of games. Maybe this partly explains the collapse in revenue for the XBox reported in Wired this morning. If lightning had not destroyed my old box I doubt I would've forked over good folding money for a new console with such thin selection of titles to play.

17 Responses to ‘My new XBox’

Blarkon reckons...

Posted Friday
There's a couple of issues at work - most titles are cross platform now anyway, and cross platform often also means 360/PS3 as well as XB1/PS4. You have stuff like Uncharted which is a PS exclusive and TitanFall which is an XB exclusive, but the economics are such that developers are a lot more reluctant to tie themselves to one platform exclusively now.

Some of the Kinect games are fun if you have kids the right age - the adventure rafting one keep Blarkon Jr entertained for a while, and the niece and nephew like Kinectimals. And there's Minecraft for XB1 (there's Minecraft for PS4 as well, because Microsoft's all "cross platform" now)

Our XB1 primarily gets used for NetFlix, movies from the store, and Blu Rays.

The biggest change coming down the pipe is that later in the year XB1 is going to be running Windows 10 - so stuff that is published to PC as a Universal application will also run on XB1. Cortana will also be coming to XB1 - and having a consistent Cortana profile across PC, Phone, XBox and HoloLens will be interesting.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted Friday
My favorite thing is probably getting up and saying "XBox Pause" when watching something instead of hunting for the remote.

In the middle future full Skype integration - again something that really requires Kinect - sort of points at using the living room TV in a way that's different from just "content consumption". The "play" is that at some point we walk into our living room and interact with parts of the world through Cortana. Turn on the TV, say "Cortana, Call Havock" or "Cortana, order pizza".

Who knows if any of this will come to be - but it is an interesting SciFi vision of the future home.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted Friday
Pity I didn't get the Kinect kit. It would uglify the Ive-like simplicity of my media room.

Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted Friday
It's the eternal dilemma, the calm zen like experience of one big shiny white button that does a limited number of things in a frictionless manner versus being almost able to do anything in something that looks like the bridge of the Nostromo.

Sudragon asserts...

Posted Friday
I'd rather have Javis than Cortana. There's just something about the slightly snarky english butler type of AI that just works better...

damian puts forth...

Posted Yesterday
I'm impressed: I didn't think space lizards would have even head of Joseph Conrad

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted 13 hours ago
Space lizards are all about Conrad and hold a special affection for the Secret Sharer. But, in this instance, I suspect Blarky is referring to the USCSS Nostromo (reg. 180924609) a mining vessel (Lockmart CM 88B Bison M-Class starfreighter) owned by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation and used as a commercial hauler between Thedus and Earth.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted 13 hours ago
I assumed it would be something like that, but I'm not familiar with the franchise in question. Is it the one with the guy Brianna Wu says she looked up to till he came out as a f***w*d, ****, **** last year?

Blarkon reckons...

Posted 10 hours ago
You've never seen Ridley Scott's Alien?

damian puts forth...

Posted 3 hours ago
Not for a couple of decades. And the name of the ship doesn't really stick in the mind well enough to override, you know, Joseph Conrad.
Relieved it's not Firefly though...

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted 23 minutes ago
I'd find it no more defensible to avoid a television show for the politics of one of its actors than I would the excuses made in the McCarthy era about banning the movies of people who had communist sympathies or those used to excuse banning the scientific theories of scientists who didn't meet the governing regime's philosophical world view.

Works stand on their own independent of the politics of their creators or participants.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
si onusto

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted 13 hours ago
Quae est infernum, quod volo volo?

NBlob reckons...

Posted 13 hours ago
potest esse bonum, quando aliquis habet pecuniam

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 13 hours ago
si tacuisses philosophus mansisses, and all that? Oops

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted 12 hours ago
"potest esse bonum, quando aliquis habet pecunia"

After posting my question, I realized that might have been your point - to which I am forced to agree.

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Real time golden age

Posted Wednesday by John Birmingham

This isn't wierd at all.

Blogging the late 50's era of Sci Fi in real time, as it happens. Or happened. Or something.

Galactic journey. Check it out. Today (er, fifty-five years ago) the Journey Master is pissed that an editor he really doesn't like took over an obscure widely unread journal that you've never heard of.

It's a bit like one of those Twitter accounts doing realtime WW2 coverage.

38 Responses to ‘Real time golden age’

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted Wednesday

I like the prose style of the exasperated fan / critic, nothing like today's troll-like bloggers.

I can imagine though a twitter account from Hari Seldon of Asimov's Foundation detailing trials and tribulations of getting 'psychohistory accepted by the chosen few.

Leads me to wonder what other characters from sic-fi history would we like to see with a social media profile?

Spanner asserts...

Posted Wednesday
Jubal would call in the true witness.

ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
Slippery Jim de Griz.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
Jubal was a deeply unsettling character for me. Like Lazarus Long, not someone I felt I'd like IRL.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted Thursday
Who said anything about liking the character? It has nothing to do with potentially enjoying his or her twitter account.

As for Slippery Jim, if he had a social media presence it would be for criminal purposes. Sort of like an ultra Nigerian Prince.

ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted Thursday
I remember seeing a book years ago which had art and interviews with major science fiction characters including the two above. Can't remember the name of the book and a google search was unsuccessful.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted Wednesday
Or you just could follow the current slapfight in progress.

GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday

There's never a squad of Colonial Marines around to hose down dissent when you want 'em.

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted Wednesday
Well, the ones who'd be doing the purging wouldn't know the business end of a firearm from their assholes.

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Sardine Apocalypse ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday

It's a spectacular exercise in groupthink - a group of people that are convinced that stuff like Jo Walton's "Amongst Others" and Scalzi's "Redshirts" represent the pinnacle of written work in the genre for their years. (Scalzi's book was entertaining, but also wasn't entirely that far away from rebadged Trek fanfic).

The Three Body Problem is a good read - but it won't win because it includes actual *science* - and the authors politics don't conform to what is considered acceptable by Worldcon attendees (the Hugo has very much become a "vote for the person rather than voting for the book")

That's not to say that much on the Puppy slate was worthy of consideration either - but the Puppy slate was a symptom of what was already wrong with the Hugos rather than a cause of it.

At least we know, with another McMaster-Bujold book coming out soon, what will be in the shortlist for next year. Perhaps Connie Willis and Scalzi will have something new out as well - that leaves two slots open to surprise candidates like Mira Grant.

Who are, clearly given the number of nominations each have garnered, all literary titans writing books each of which are monuments to their towering talent.


Murphy mutters...

Posted Wednesday
Reading Willis always leaves me feeling as if I listened to someone who inhaled too much helium.

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
Read it days ago.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted Thursday

Airport bookshops are a weird sort of litmus for "what people are reading". Go to the SF shelf of an airport bookshop and you'll see Ian M Banks (RIP), Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Neal Asher, Andy Weir and others (Birmo being on the special KICKARSE shelf).

None of these authors makes the shortlist for the Hugos.

The Hugos are on their way to irrelevance. They represent what a small and fairly insular group of late middle age readers who attend worldcon buy for themselves. The reason that "Among Others" won was that it mapped onto the life experience of most Hugo voters. It's about a woman who was born in 1965.

The future as seen by a 50 year old is very different from the future as seen by a 20 year old. That's why the cohort that went to worldcon voted for stuff like Neuromancer and Snow Crash back when they still on the shiny side of adulthood.

If Cocoon was remade, it would be a cinch to take the Hugo for best SF film.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
"The future as seen by a 50 year old is very different from the future as seen by a 20 year old."

That's because 20 year-olds are unimaginative, under-educated morons.

NBlob mutters...

Posted Thursday
More than less. They haven't the experience of the slings & arrows that withers dreams, burns aspirations and decimates certainty.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted Thursday
"small and fairly insular group of late middle age readers"
I think that might be true of a lot of literary awards.

Murphy mumbles...

Posted 1 hour ago
I haven't read a Hugo Award winner or a nominee since the middle of the last decade. Most of what seems to get it these days is derp.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted Wednesday
Love the cover art of those old SF mags.

Spanner ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
My dad bought me the Encyclopedia of SF just because (ok he wanted it) back in 1980. I still have it. The SF cover art from the novels and magazines was brilliant.
Now there's a blog topic: SF cover art.
I've got Harry Harrison's illustrated novel Planet Story and Great Space Battles. The SF art is just magnificent in those books.

Sardine Apocalypse ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
Check out "The Art of Jim Burns" - it includes the Planet Story work.

The one you really want to get is the Chris Foss book "Hardware" - he did some of the Terran Trade Authority stuff (which was a collection of SF cover art from the 70's)

Both are available from Amazon UK

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
In response to SF cover art, I have only one thing to say:

Space Chicks.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
May I offer for your edification & enlightenment; http://www.stylish365.com.au/mambo-exhibition/

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted Thursday
Heavens no.

Allow me to offer for your edification and enlightenment:

https://paulboylan.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/3468/

Therbs would have you know...

Posted Thursday
Excellent!

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Bunyip would have you know...

Posted Wednesday
I think I can safely say that Galaxy, Analog and IF! had a formative influence upon my vocabulary, not to mention foisted me with a lifelong interest in genre fiction. Mind you, my adventures with them were post 1970.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted Thursday
SF set me up for a life of disappointment. No Rocket Pants, no hover bike, no zeroG DD boobies.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted Thursday
Perhaps no hover bikes or zero g, but the rocket pants and DD boobies were realized.

The glass is definitely half full.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
You misunderestimate me, ZeroG DD boobies. And I'd very much like to know from whence you source your rocket pants. Not the Rocket In your Pants. I don't want to know anything about that.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted Thursday
Then you are not interested in anything I am eager to discuss.

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GhostSwirv would have you know...

Posted Thursday

It's a little known assertion that J.G. Ballard is in fact a writer-director's script credit construct generated by Steven Spielberg when he was in the later stages of his ... 'if you won't let me direct 007, I'll goddam make my own super-hero' phase.
In which he transplanted a young, rich, white boy actor from a rich, white, coddled aristocracy into a feudal war-ravaged training ground in the hopes he would develop into angst-ridden shadowy ninja with a penchant for spelunking and a really growly deep voice.

Only to have Christopher Nolan reap all the rewards of his hard work and selfless social engineering.

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dylwah ducks in to say...

Posted Saturday
Fabulosotastic

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After London

Posted Tuesday by John Birmingham

The Public Doman Review has one of the first post-apocalyptic novels published in the English on it's site, a lovely digital copy of 1911's After London.

The dense curlicues of Edwardian era language can take some getting used to. (I'd have deleted the first sentence, for instance, and started cold with the second which is much punchier.

"It became green everywhere in the first spring, after London ended, so that all the country looked alike."

PDR's reader is pretty basic, but if if the book takes your fancy they do link to a nice new digital version published by Observatory Press.

5 Responses to ‘After London’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted Tuesday
I read War of the Worlds recently, and the olde worlde language is quite noticeable there too. It just makes it sound like a couple of people pouncing about the countryside having a gay old time. I'll give this one a go.

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GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted Tuesday

Welles' original tale for me is ripe to be retold as a Victorian period sci-fi disaster epic. Jeff Wayne's concept musical version from the 70's is still pretty worth a listen to - Thunderchild always gives me chills.

But if After London doesn't grab the average cheesepunters attention I suggest scrolling down the Public Domain Review page and partaking of the joys of Santa Klaus vs The Martians or The Last American and who could resist the inimitable Plan 9 From Outer Space.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
Reminded me of Shelly's 'The Last Man'.

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Sparty ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
Nice catch will give it a look

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Spanner asserts...

Posted Wednesday
I'm curious about a genre mash up. Distopian-steampunk-post apocalypse-romance. .
Ok I'll put down the beer and the Encyclopedia of SF.

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The business of Star Wars fandom.

Posted Monday by John Birmingham

Interesting piece from the New York Times about how deeply Lucasfilm integrates Star Wars fandom into its business. I even found it a little suprising, given the poor reception of the prequel trilogy. Orin will correct me if I'm wrong (it's his core competency) but I thought part of the reason Lucas backed away from the story world was the hard time fans gave him.

As the Times reports, though Lucasfilm has a full time head of fan relations and works hard at both giving and getting as much value as possible to and from fans:

For instance, Lucasfilm has a long history of plucking employees from the fan ranks. Ms. Franklin was recruited after the studio noticed an online “Star Wars” fan club she created while living in Cordova, Alaska. Matt Martin, Lucasfilm’s manager of digital content and community relations, started at the company in 2002 as a volunteer at Comic-ConInternational, the annual pop culture convention in San Diego.

Ms. Kennedy, who took over Lucasfilm from George Lucas in 2012, hired fans to work in the “creature department” of “The Force Awakens” after attending the last Celebration, held in Germany in 2013. “It was literally jaw-dropping,” she said in an interview, speaking of an exhibit of fan-constructed R2-D2s. Hiring amateur droid builders not only makes the community feel valued, she said, but “it brought authenticity” to the film.

Whole story is worth a read.

And of course, the new trailer is out.

30 Responses to ‘The business of Star Wars fandom.’

Rob has opinions thus...

Posted Monday
Lucasfilm has a long history of embracing the fans. I read a bio of Star Wars (not a lucas PR one) and basically Mark Hamil did a tour with their marketing manager of all the serious comic book and scifi conventions in 76 to 77. Mark Hamil said of this ' those lines at the movies had to come from somewhere' and the small initial release proved the marketing work was well placed.(creating a demand and interest) From 26 theatres to begin with (huge interest and low ability to see the film) to releases near college campuses. I can see JB does something similiar with this here blog too.

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Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted Monday
Can anyone clarify when the new Star Wars movie is to be set?

I assumed it would follow RoTJ thus making it Ep 7 but I just read an article that claims its to be set between Ep 3 (revenge of the sith) and Ep 4 (a new hope).

Sizzlord has opinions thus...

Posted Monday
Lobes Ep 7 is set 30 years after the original trilogy.
The first non-main sequence 'anthology' movie called Rogue One is set between Ep 3 and Ep 4.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted Monday
and of course DisneyXDs Star Wars Rebels is set between 3 and 4.

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Rob asserts...

Posted Monday

I would like to know what is the point of the standalone movie? we know how it will end. The plans get delivered to Princess Leia who puts them in R2D2. Just makes me think who will really care about the film, or is it just a theme park ride?

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Monday
How many times have you rewatched a movie? Go and see it and pretend it's your second time.

GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted Monday

Rob,I think the sound you're looking for is KA-CHING!!!

Rob has opinions thus...

Posted Monday

The toys better be good. The last run of Star Wars toys have been shit. My xmas stormtrooper had zero points of articulation. He looks like a mook trying to not wee on his shoes.

GhostSwirv mutters...

Posted Monday


Pretty sure John Williams could create a score that'll make even a Star Wars bowel movement epic.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted Monday

Episodes 1-3 were complete Disney style shite. Can't see any reason why ep. 7 will be any better.

They're not 'fans', they're called 'marks'.

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Shifty Tourist is gonna tell you...

Posted Monday

The trailer gives me some new hope for the planned trilogy... although Disney's involvement is a worry, George Lucas absence means the return of the jedi to the big screen may not be plagued by the same poor directorial and writing choices of Eps 1-3. However, we must wait and see if the Disney empire strikes back against concerns it will sell out (whats left) of the soul of the serious, via cutesy character toy-bait and sequelling/spinoffing the canon into a convoluted mess.

The intensity and drama of the teaser, makes me think they may be treating it a bit seriously. The shot from the first teaser with Boyega, pulling off the helmet and puffing like a bellows... clearly running for his life... that image, poke a hole in my shroud of cynicism. Other cast is also pretty good, Serkis, Von Sydow etc. Even the unknowns seem encouraging.

Also that shot from the second teaser, with the downed imperial ship in the background. The nerd in me wants to hope!


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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Monday
I will forever remember being 7 years old and barely breathing as the Corillian SD just kept rolling in from the top of the screen in the opening sequence of Star Wars. It didn't become the fetishised object of puritanical rage that appears to have become for others of my cohort. Perhaps because my beastly parents didnt buy me the action figures, pajams, sheet sets, board games, lunch box etc. Yep the Ewoks were sh!t. Yes Jar Jar Binks was an action figure in search of script. Yeah the Phantom Menace was shite. Still I don't feel the righteous indignation. What do you expect? Look at the other films of similar vintage, not much better. To expect otherwise is to expect Smokey & the Bandit III to reveal unexpected truths about ecology.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted Monday
I was pleasantly surprised by some of the stories in the Star Wars Clone Wars animation series, this gives me some hope that 'the force awakens' will be enjoyable.

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TheWah mutters...

Posted Monday
No.. I will not be tricked again. You hurt me Star Wars franchise. You abused me over many years. It was great at the beginning, so fun and interesting. We laughed, we cheered, and we cried.. but we cried together. Then you got rich, and vain.. and mean, you forgot where you came from. You forgot who you were.You kept whispering sweet promises in my ear how the changes were going to be so good. Yes, it did look so shiny and new. But underneath you were cold and soulless ... and you hurt me.. over and over again.And Here you are again with more sweet promises... beckoning me to come back to you. Well, I won't.. I've.. I've met someone new. They are funny and adventurous and.. and.. everything you used to be before you lost your way, before you went to the dark side. I hope your new trilogy works out for you but I won't be there for you. I'll be with Guardians of the Galaxy and I hope you can find it in your heart to be happy for me.

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted Monday
How many times can you (and have you) watched GotG?

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted Monday
" I hope your new trilogy works out for you but I won't be there for you."

Does this mean that you won't watch 7, 8 or 9 at all? What is your time frame on this?

TheWah puts forth...

Posted Tuesday
I've seen GotG as many times as I saw 1, 2 and 3. Nothing will ever make me sit through those movies again.

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted Monday
Lucas hasn't really told the story about why he handed everything over to Disney. I'm sure it will come out at some point. He's certainly talked about getting abused in public by neckbeards who are upset about Jar Jar, Ewoks, or Greedo Shooting First.

Publicly he's saying that now he can make movies that lose money because it's his money to lose. A lot of directors get pissed off at the compromises they have to make because there are so many people (many of whom don't have talent) that get to have their say in the process. Those are the rules you play by when you're spending someone else's money. Lucas is no longer bound by those rules. Doesn't mean what he makes will be great, but it will be *his*.

I'll be there at midnight on the opening day to see the new films, but I suspect they'll be as hollow as a fast and furious film. Disney is about entertainment, not parable.

The prequels had a lot to say (imperfectly) about power, fear, and corruption. There were many shades of grey for an audience that has become conditioned to perceive "good" and "bad" as binary concepts. Disney (wisely) tends to avoid nuance. Given that minds conditioned by modern social media are troubled by the notion of context, this is likely a wise move.

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yankeedog reckons...

Posted Monday
I gave up on the need for any Star Wars sequels, prequels, or any other kind of -quels after 'Star Wars Downunder'. The perfect followup to the originals. Maybe expand that film into a two-hour epic. The SW universe might be ready for a rogue Aussie Jedi in search of the Galactic Republic's version of 4X.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhTn8cjm9ZM

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MordWa mumbles...

Posted Monday
I've pretty much just come to the conclusion that George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney because he doesn't want to be be GRR Martin when he grows up - ie, 80 years old "- and when are you going to finish it?!".

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted Tuesday
What is holding Imperial Forces together with the death of Emperor Palpatine?
More to the point, how is the Empire able to stay together after the disaster at Endor? I would think more worlds would pull away from the Empire and that many units and commanders might decide it was a good time to switch sides.
Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Sudragon puts forth...

Posted Tuesday
<Jedi Handwave>

All your questions will be answered. You WILL see the new movies...

Shifty Tourist would have you know...

Posted Tuesday

Actually, how they handle this is my biggest concern for how this movie sets up the state of affairs after Jedi. There are several "wrong" ways to do it, in my opinion. The wrong way, is to completely piss on the ending of Jedi. Ie, nothing has changed, there is an "Emperor" surrogate, the Rebels are still the Rebels (scrappy underdogs) and the Empire (or Empire by another name) duking it out.


Ideas it must avoid in particular are: Cloned Emperors, Luke turning to the Dark Side (I worried they may actually do this one), and more superweapons.... Definitely no more superweapons!!

By the same token.... I do think it would be unrealistic for the Republic to have just reverted back to pre-palpatine days.... I think there would be a lot of systems that after Jedi would have said... hmmm.... rejoin a super government after decades of dictatorial rule... not thanks, I think we might go our own way thanks.

This is how I think it should work.... The Empire didn't hold together, but fractured into many independent systems. The New Republic (by whatever name) exists, but is smaller than the pre-Palpatine, and tenuous. Much of the Imperial forces were destroyed or surrendered... but a portion did not, and wander around with their own agenda... too small to conquer the Universe, but too big and too well trained (just look at Storm Trooper marksmanship as an example) to be definitively defeated.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted Tuesday
Rupert Murdoch takes over.

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Tuesday
Isn't he too busy running a nuclear power station in Springfield?

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BigWillieStyle mutters...

Posted Tuesday
Episode 7 (sorry, Epsiode VII) is set 30 years after ROTJ. I presume we'll see Luke & Han discussing the diversity of their Superannuation Portfolios, Leia reclining on her ergonomic furniture reading whoever the space equivalent of Barbara Cartland is, and R2D2 & Threepio shooting ads for soothing balms for their aching joints.

Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
So is Episode VII a different movie to Rogue 1?
Sorry, it's still early here and I have paid literally zero attention to Star Wars until that second trAiler came out the other day

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted Tuesday
I don't know nothin about this stuff. The only thing I can be sure of is how happy I am that someone - anyone - other than Lucas is finally in charge of script and casting.

If we are really, really lucky, we will get the same kind of excellent product that resulted from kicking Stan Lee upstairs into an honorary producer position. If you don't believe me, take a look at the original Captain America movie (1979) and compare it with The First Avenger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzE4Hv6Z-yk

As an added bonus, here is the trailer for the 1990 upgrade:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs8rFsmhNTc

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ShaneAlpha would have you know...

Posted Tuesday
But it is directed by J.J. Abrams.So the joke after he was announced as director was that the title would be "Episode 7: The Rise of Lensflaricus."

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Wayne Mink mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
I lot of misinformation on here.

1. The Mouse was not involved with Episodes 1, 2, or 3 or the Clone Wars. The Mouse took over with Star Wars: Rebels.

2. Lucas punched out because his kids did not want creative control over the Star Wars universe and he wanted to hand control over to an entity that would be a good creative steward of the universe. He had watched Disney's control of Marvel and opted to go that route (and cash out).

3. J.J. Abrams always wanted to play in the Star Wars sand box. Star Trek was just a step in that direction.

4. Rogue One is a stand alone movie (Jerry Goldsmith will not write the music for it) between episodes III and IV dealing with a rogue Rebel operation to steal the Death Star plans.

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Respond to 'The business of Star Wars fandom.'

Writing tools

Posted April 16 into Writing by John Birmingham

I was asked over on the Twitterz which writing programs I used, and what music I listen while using them. That is not a question to be answered in 140 characters. But I’ll answer succinctly as I can.

Taking the second question first, I have a long playlist on Rdio, called ‘Writing’, which consists of a couple of hundred jazz songs I cribbed from the Blue Note 75 app. (Get it, if you’re a jazz or blues fan). It’s great background music. I had it on today while writing Saturday’s column.

If I want something to drive me along a little, I’ll create a playlist of about a dozen albums to roll through the day. Nothing heavy enough to break my concentration, but not aural wallpaper like the jazz list. A random sampling from the artists I might normally program: The Double X, Velocity Girl, Flight Facilities, Kate Miller-Heike, Death Cab for Cutie, RAC, Juliana Hatfield, Angus and Julia Stone, Real Estate, Jamiroquai, The Concretes, Minor Alps, 10 000 Maniacs, Camera Obscura, Blake Babies, The Waifs, Liz Phair, Sea of Bees, First Aid Kit.

Cafe music, I guess. Which works well with that Coffitivity app I have to generate the sounds of a cafe in the background.

With the playlist set, it’s down to work.

There are four main programs I write in.

Dragon Dictate - for dictation, natch. Although I found I used this less with The Dave series because the last major update borked the program for me.

Pages - which is my utility word processor, for throwing out columns, blogs, features and so on. I love its elegance and simplicity. I did use it to compose the first draft of the Hooper manuscripts, because the iPad version syncs beautifully with the desktop, meaning I could work on the books away from home. Being able to access the documents via iCloud almost meant Murph could work on them at the same time. But Pages file management system is arse. As I generated more and more files, it became increasingly difficult to manage them by Apple’s preferred method - tags. I still use Pages every day, but not so much for manuscript work now.

Scrivener - the crack cocaine of writer apps. I took this up over the summer. I’d been meaning to for years, because its users are addicts who swear by the program. I could and probably should write an entire blog on Scrivener alone. For now though, I’ll just say, it works well for a working writer. The document management and structuring functions are first class. It is especially good at allowing me to keep a firm whip hand hovering over the structure of a long story arc. I don’t go that deeply into all of the apps capabilities. There is a trap for young players in which you spend more time managing your metadata than writing actual copy. But if you're looking for a writing app which gives you a God-like top-down view of your manuscript and granular scene-by-scene control, then this is your app.

Word - What can I say? Every publishing house uses Word because every publishing house uses Word. When it comes time to submit the draft, there is no avoiding it. This also means that redrafting and final edits are also done in Word, often on my iPad outside the house. I like to think the change of scenery freshens me up.

Other apps?

Besides Coffitivity I use iTranslate for, well, translation services. And Vitamin R for time tracking and management. It’s like a nuclear powered Pomodori app and I know that if I don’t open it first thing in the morning I will get a lot less writing done by the end of the day.

My research gets bundled into Evernote. I use the Dictionary.com app on my iPad for it's theasaurus, but a big hardback copy fo the MacQuarie Dictionary for spelling and meaning. There are a bunch of specialist writer apps on my pad that are obscure enough, but interesting enough, that I will do them separately.





22 Responses to ‘Writing tools’

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted April 16
What's the app that makes kids not have school holidays. I want that app.

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted April 17

No school holidays!!!

That's insane - how else am I expected to avoid the little buggers and get any of my own writing done?

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted April 16
Also writers asking about writing tools are just decorating the gazebo

http://doycetesterman.com/index.php/2010/11/you-do-not-need-neil-gaimans-fucking-gazebo/

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 16
Tried to enter a stanza from an Auden poem using Siri dictation in Pages on my phone (yes back to Apple, not proud of it). I think it took only around twice as long as it would have taken to type, so that's not awfully bad.

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Toshiro Mifune would have you know...

Posted April 16
Dragon Dictate is pretty good but no matter how hard I try, it simply refuses to accept my enunciation of 'Australia' or 'Australian'. The most obscure technical terms? No problem. Straya? Watwatwat?

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 17
I wish it were possible to use Dragon Dictate while driving back and forth to my teaching job. I suspect the technology is not quite there yet.
Pages was pretty handy this last go around, I will say that. John and I could see the same document at roughly the same time if we were on Facetime discussing one issue or another. Syncing could be problematic though.
I suppose in discussing writing tools one perhaps ought to mention research tools as well. For my part, it depends on what needs to be researched. Some issues can be handled with wikipedia as a primer to more in depth source material. Since I can't afford to own a personal research armory often YouTube ends up serving as another research tool. Tactical TV is one of the channels I'll tune into along with others depending on the weapons needed.

Additionally, there is a full shelf of U.S. Army and Marine Corps manuals addressing one topic or another ranging from the configuration of the Soviet Army (useful for Stalin's Hammer) to smaller matters such as casualty evacuation.
Since my job has expanded over the years, I will often dip into the research I have done for my job as a college history instructor. This entails cracking open a number of excellent biographies on various individuals in order to see how they addressed a number of problems. It is no accident that in the Disappearance Trilogy one sees on Jed Culver's bookshelves copies of Forrest McDonald and Eric Foner, among others.

And there is the old stand by, Encyclopedia Britannica. It rarely lets me down.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

DarrenBloomfield ducks in to say...

Posted April 17
Very interesting, thanks for Sharing.

Ceramic mumbles...

Posted Monday
Thanks for sharing Murph. Nice to know some processes you used.

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TeamAmerica reckons...

Posted April 17
JB- A question related to the topic that I asked and you answered before, but the answer was lost when Journalspace collapsed. What book on good writing do you recommend?
As for your use of Dragon Dictate, I don't know why Microsoft doesn't bundle voice recognition software with Windows, given Siri and Ok, Google.

Quokka asserts...

Posted April 17
TeamAmerica - I recently bought the kindle issue of 'becoming a writer' by Dorothea Brande, on the recommendation of some writer or other that I follow on twitter. Just for the hell of it, I am far too busy building gazebos with the architect husband to be arsed trying to be a writer. We have a very pleasant gazebo here at Casa Q, with a very pleasant spa, so I don't write at all, I just read cook books & refine my baking skills. And then I go sit in my gazebo with my kindle eating cakes. It's a good life, I recommend it.A friend gave me 'how not to write a novel' by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark & it is hilarious good fun. Except now whenever I read a novel I get far too many LOLZ from watching the author fall into one of the many traps described therein.i.e. 'The Manchurian Parallax of the Thetan Conspiracy Enigma - in which backstory overwhelms story'.Very funny & incisive read, it was co-written by an author & an editor, & the latter has neatly catalogued the failing of every manuscript that has every crossed her desk & listed them in order so that would-be writers need not plague editors & agents with that long list of offences, ever again.I think it was Catty that put me onto 'The Elements of Style' by Strunk/Whiteman/Kalman, and a client gave me 'Eats, shoots and leaves.' Brilliant & hilarious book in the pitfalls of grammar & punctuation.This really needs a standalone thread, doesn't it?Apols for being off-topic, I only popped in to say that I had no idea you could put Word on an ipad & within 2 minutes of reading that it was installed.So thanks, JB. I am far too lazy to trawl the app store for anything so I lurve the tips I find here.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted April 17
Voice recognition has been bundled with Windows since Vista.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 17
Which probably explains why no-one noticed.

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted April 18
Voice recognition in Linux only has support for Esperanto.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 18
Oooh bruligi

damian reckons...

Posted Monday
Vi diras ke kiel ?i estas malbona afero

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Abe Frellman mumbles...

Posted April 17
'Cafe music'?
Something tells me you're off Kate Hyphen's Christmas Card list!

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 18
But only the very best cafes.

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TeamAmerica is gonna tell you...

Posted April 18
@Quokka- Thanks for your response.

Quokka puts forth...

Posted April 18
No wuzzas mate. Those area all quite good reads, otherwise I'd have dozed off in the gazebo & dropped them in the pool.

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Anthony is gonna tell you...

Posted April 18
And off topic but showing that he results of the above are worth it...
In todays :Age" newspaper, (Spectrum page 28) a short review of Resistance:
"Another brilliant blend of action, comedy and shameless gorefest from Birmingham. Can't wait for the next one."

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Lulu ducks in to say...

Posted Monday
Completely OT, but I really liked Greg Baum's piece in The Age this morning:
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/heroism-does-not-wear-a-national-badge-20150419-1mmvi9.html

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