“This is called the theory of narrative causality and it means that a story, once started, takes a shape. It picks up all the vibrations of all the other workings of that story that have ever been. This is why history keeps on repeating all the time.” — Terry Pratchett
“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.” ― Terry Pratchett
When people ask me why I feel diversity is important in Science Fiction and Fantasy, I direct them to Terry Pratchett. He wrote a great deal about racism, sexism, and classism. He also knew a thing or two about people and story. Mainly, that story has a big effect on how people view the world and themselves. Continue reading
This is my third post on diversity in Science Fiction films. I started with Metropolis (1927), and then skipped two decades to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Largely, my reason was that there weren’t any options for the 30s or 40s available on Netflix. Apparently, there aren’t very many SF films within that twenty year period. I’ve decided to skip Frankenstein — although the novel is one of the first, if not the first, SF novels — because the classic film has more in common with horror than SF. I feel much the same about King Kong. Therefore, I settled on Things to Come (1936), which is based upon the H.G. Wells’ novel published in 1933 entitled The Shape of Things to Come. I know I’m risking a bit of confusion by going backward here, but I felt it was too important to skip. Also: keep in mind that I don’t think I read the novel. At least, I don’t remember having read it. So… Things to Come. Continue reading
I thought I’d seen this film before, but apparently not. For a film made in the early ’50s — the era when post WW2 women were told to return to their “feminine roles” — it’s pretty inclusive. From the beginning, we see PoCs as part of the world’s population — even as part of the American population. They may not always have lines, and they may not be a big part of the action, but they exist in the background. Watch an American film today and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Not only do non-model-worthy people not exist, but neither do PoCs. Mind you, the British newscasters say things like “Throughout the Empire and the rest of the world,” and we see shots of these colonials in their colonial-ness — but hey, they EXIST. Wooo. Continue reading
Since there seems to be so much noise these days about the Golden Age of SF, I decided to begin rewatching (or in some cases, watching) classic genre films in order to get a more sound foundation in my chosen genre. If I do this with novels, why not films? In this case, I’m glad that I did. One of my graphic design professors had us watch Metropolis in class. I’d vaguely remembered it as stylish — it’s a fine example of Art Deco design — and only a little coherent. At the time, I wondered why anyone would sit through the whole thing. It made no sense. The professor didn’t mention that the film had been censored. I’m not sure she was aware of how much it’d gotten cut as she didn’t mention it in the introduction. When I looked for it on Netflix, I found two versions. The first claimed to have restored footage and an 80s soundtrack. The second also had restored footage. What I failed to notice was that the first print was one hour and fifteen minutes long. The second? Two hours and fifteen minutes. I recall the version I saw in class was less than an hour. Wow.
So, I confess I tend to avoid films starring Keanu Reeves. He’s just not one of those actors I prefer (although, he doesn’t actively annoy me). Also, I studied Kendo, jujitsu, and enjoy things samurai-related. It appeals to my inner warrior, and hey, female samurai actually existed, as opposed to the European knights who were all male all the time (as far as we know). That said, the trailer for 47 Ronin instantly turned me off from the film. The reason why has everything to do with The Last Samurai, another movie I avoided in theaters but saw at home. The Last Samurai highlights the historically non-existent role of a white samurai from North America who through his super powers of whiteness, American-ness, and dudeness attempts to save a group of samurai from progress — or something. Ugh. Just… ugggh. Continue reading