GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Dear Stephenie Meyer

Too good to wait for a BookTuber Tuesday post.

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2015 Roundup!

Here’s a look back on 2015  for the CIRCO blog. #MakingMemories

Last year, THE AUTOMATION was made available for free viewing and downloading on Goodreads. 

Too Many Cooks was a thing in 2015.

“Geek culture” moved one step closer toward pissing people off.

The pen name Adrian Jones Pearson was mistaken for Thomas Pynchon because of his “Cow Eye Press” novel Cow Country. Has anyone read it?

THE AUTOMATION got reviewed in Tales of the Talisman. Four talismans! 

The TV show Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell came out. Gabbler liked it.

We reblogged this critique of Lev Grossman’s The MagiciansIt’s spot-on.

James Patterson was a dick. As usual.

The Movie Ex Machina came out and was, like, the best movie of 2015.

The all-female Ghostbusters cast was announced, and B.L.A. had thoughts on it.

The CIRCO blog surpassed 1,000 likes in 2015! 

Jesse Eisenberg showed some love to the footnote. What a guy! 

Aaaaand you can check out the GABBLER RECOMMENDS category for 2015 books we recommend, like Fifteen Dogs.

finalbday

Maybe your book will be a better movie/Maybe you should be writing screenplays?

A confession: I didn’t love Andy Weir’s The Martian. Despite all the people telling me at coffee shops/airports/etc. that it was their favorite book, I struggled to get through the prose. (I know, I know…) The story of astronaut Mark Watney and his fully science-enabled quest to stay alive while stranded on Mars was fascinating, but the book’s use of repetitive plot devices and phrasings (“shit,” “holy shit,” and “well, shit” appear regularly) made it a slog. In short, it was fine—I just thought it needed a good edit.

Ridley Scott’s The Martian is that edit. Freed of Watney’s long monologues and Weir’s deep explanations of botany and chemistry, the movie is far more agile than the book. It’s no less compelling and a whole lot more fun. (At one point, I actually spent an evening doing my taxes just to avoid delving into another chapter of The Martian.) Simply put, the movie is better than the book.

And Scott’s not the only one hungry for material. Earlier in Steven Spielberg’s career, the director filmed a mix of scripts he’d been involved with—Goonies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind—and those written by others. (His Jurassic Park was The Martian of its time.) In recent years, he’s steered toward adaptations. His last three films—Lincoln, War Horse, and The Adventures of Tintin—all have been book adaptations of one variety or another. And his next two are adaptations of Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Ernie Cline’s nerd-favorite Ready Player One.

If there’s a future analog to what happened with Weir’s book for The Martian, it could end up being Ready Player One.

Ready Player One, in fact, has a lot in common with The Martian: a good yarn told competently, but not astoundingly. The characters are likable and the worldbuilding is impressive, but frankly, it reads like a movie treatment. (Cline, an admitted ’80s movie obsessive, came to prominence because of his script for Fanboys, a love letter to Star Wars). It’s now up to Spielberg to turn Ready Player One into a story told well.

At Comic-Con International this summer, Cline spoke to me about the adaptation process and said something very interesting. He had written the first two drafts of the RPO script, but told me that “they couldn’t wait to get rid of the guy who wrote the book, because I was too precious about everything.” As the screenplay went through rewrites, it got further from Cline’s original story—and lost a lot of his pop-culture references. Then, as Cline tells it, Spielberg had a meeting with Zak Penn, who was working on the script at the time, and came armed with a copy of the book that had “100 Post-it notes” of things he wanted to re-introduce into the movie. (Penn later told Cline about the meeting.) Spielberg had seen the story, and he knew how to tell it.

Ready Player One was nominally a young-adult title, but not a franchise, and as such is an exception to the recent spate of YA adaptations. However, with the exception of Veronica Roth’s Divergent books, most successful YA adaptations have been qualitatively on par with their literary predecessors: Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were both great stories, well told…

Read the rest. 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Gabbler Recommends: “Geek culture has gone too far”

“No, the danger is that reference culture is increasingly becoming exclusionary rather than inclusive, where works of art pull from other works of art as opposed to real-life experience.

Watching and reading “Pixels” and “Armada” felt as if I were being subjected to a cheerleading routine rather than experiencing a work of pop art. Congrats, you remember “Centipede”! Honorary, you know which tattoos grace the characters of “Aliens”!

“Pixels” and “Armada” can’t exist without the success of prior texts. Aliens in both even communicate via clips of old TV shows and movies (that’s probably a reference to something I missed). They’re symbols of a larger landscape in which serving the cloistered and obsessed fan is paramount.

Why, just this summer we’ve seen that “Jurassic World” is more a nostalgic ode to “Jurassic Park” than it is a stand-alone movie. Also, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” shows that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at risk of swallowing itself — a snake eating its own tail full of nods to past and future Marvel movies.

It’s not a tease, it’s a holier-than-thou turnoff. Take a scene early in “Armada” in which a typical bully is lobbing spitballs at an acne-addled freak. What Cline fails to see is that it’s him, the author, who has the power of the aggressor.

Nary a page of his book goes by without some need to reference a prior work of fiction. Infuriatingly, intergalactic war doesn’t inspire much concern. Instead, it’s an excuse to throw out nods to Buck Rogers and Admiral Akbar. And when the theories of a military official are questioned, this is the reasoning: “He doesn’t know … about common tropes in science fiction.”

Each of these is a spitball, needling the reader. Didn’t you get that “Time Bandits” joke? You mean, you prefer “Top Gun” to “Iron Eagle”? Don’t you remember the plot points of “Total Recall”? It’s OK, you love “Flight of the Navigator,” right? RIGHT? YOU MUST LOVE “FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR”?

Never seen it, and now I feel ashamed.

It’s a book that should have come with footnotes, because keeping up with all the references makes the text impenetrable to those schooled in something other than sci-fi.

It’s also exhausting. The counterculture I once found so communal has now become oppressive. Dorks are cool. Can we please stop trying to prove it?”

Read the rest.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: This blog post and blog:

https://twitter.com/merrittkopas/status/620633306674130944

[^^^ from the post]

“But the thing is this: white men don’t require the support of women and persons of color to be successful in the field of science fiction and fantasy. But women and persons of color do need to support of white men to be successful and they often don’t get it.  I see it time and again: women writers and writers of color signal-boost widely. White male writers often do not. I haven’t been tracking this in detail (because who has that kind of time), but it’s definitely a pattern that I’ve noticed–and I’m not the only one.  Women tend to boost signals of both women and men about equally, men boost mostly other men. And it’s frustrating.” – PRETTY TERRIBLE

Read the rest.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellow B&N | Amazon | Etc.