Browsing Tag



So the Star Wars movies have been released in digital

… and I find before me a dilemma: do I want to commit to buying new copies?

For the longest time, the only copies of the original Star Wars movies we’ve had in the household have been the laserdisc release copies we have. Original trilogy–we do not own copies of Episodes 1, 2, and 3, because Reasons. So for purposes of this post, you may assume that by “Star Wars movies”, I actually mean A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

I have to admit, it would be cool to have versions of A New Hope and Empire that I could watch with a French language track. These are, after all, movies I know backwards and forwards, and it would be helpful to practice my listening skills to have versions that could deliver me dialogue in French.

BUT. Googling tonight to confirm whether these new digital releases were the Special Edition versions (all signs point to ‘yes’), I found something else that concerns me deeply.

Namely, they’ve taken the 20th Century Fox fanfare out of the beginning of the movie.


Han says NO.

Han says NO.

The Verge reports on how John Williams wrote the Main Title theme in the exact same key as the 20th Century Fox Fanfare–but what they don’t say is the story Dara has shared with me tonight, of how they in fact re-performed the Fanfare. So the version you hear in Empire? The reason it sounds so seamless is not only because it’s the same key–it’s also the same musicians, in the same space, with the same gear.

I have in fact just re-listened to the soundtracks of all three movies, since they popped off my Not Recently Played playlist lately. And while I’ve had my share of beefs with the history of the movies during my adulthood, I have but to listen to that opening fanfare, leading right into the grand main title and the bright ringing of the trumpets, and part of me goes right back to being eight years old.

I grant you that people younger than me, who didn’t imprint on Star Wars at a very early age and upon the soundtracks as well, may not have fucks to give about this. But John Williams gave me the three pivotal soundtracks of my childhood–Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman: The Movie, and Star Wars.

Changing it like this is wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

I’m almost as cranky about this as I am about Han not shooting first. I’m still MORE cranky about Han, mind you–as y’all know, I played Han for two and a half years on Star Wars MUSH, for fuck’s sake. I love me some Solo. I am well and thoroughly of the opinion that making him not shoot first entirely wrecks his character arc, because it means way, way less that he’s heroic later if he doesn’t start from the place of being a badass rogue who’s been forced to learn to shoot first and ask questions later.

But I’m also a musician. I’m the flute player who daydreamed about being in an orchestra just so I could play things like the theme from Star Wars. (And who never had a more awesome time in middle school band than when we broke out the Raiders theme, I’m here to tell you.)

And this right here is the thing that may keep me from ever buying a new copy of the movies. Because hearing anything else at the beginning, just before “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, would never, ever be the same.


A few things make a Sunday post

John Scalzi has a good post up addressing the question of whether self-publishing has rendered Yog’s Law obsolete. Good commentary in the comments about this, and the importance of distinguishing between oneself as “writer” and as “publisher” when one self-publishes.

I saw this come up in the last backer update that went out to all of us who supported the Long Hidden anthology: an issue of whether it’s an expression of privilege when you dismiss the use of dialect in fiction. There’s a Storify link of the Twitter discussion here, and Insatiable Book Sluts has a thoughtful post up about it here. A lot of food for thought at both of these links, for both readers and writers.

Sad to hear that Angry Robot is closing a couple of its imprints. Scalzi has cogent commentary on this here, and I know this impacts several authors whose works I’m interested in. Notably, userinfomarthawells.


For tumblr users, Dara’s started a couple of extra tumblr blogs in addition to her main one. One is called Oldphemera and is for pics of old oddities that she finds. The other is Seattle–July 20, 1971, where she’s posting scans of a bunch of old bits of newspaper she found being used as packing material. It’s a fun glimpse of Seattle from that year, as seen in the newspaper.

Check ’em out!


Next weekend I’m going to have the pleasure of attending a house concert starring Claude Méthé, Mario Loiselle, and Pascal Gemme. Pascal is of course one of the three members of Genticorum, one of the contenders in the pitched three-way fight for Anna’s Favorite Quebec Trad Band! He’s recently released an album with Mario, and meanwhile, M. Méthé is another excellent Quebecois fiddler. They’re all on the way to Fiddle Tunes, and they’re stopping in Seattle to do their house concert.

VERY excited for another chance to hear Pascal play! And also excited about hearing M. Méthé–I’ve got a couple of recordings that feature him, and this’ll be the first time I get to see him in person.

I will report on the concert in depth. Stand by for that to come!


And one more music-related thing, this time on filk! This is an excellent little academic study on filk, which is NOT a sequence of words I’d normally think of putting together. The study identifies the various kinds of filk, and explores how male vs. female filkers deal with using material by others, and whether there are any differences between genders. Fun reading. I was particularly interested that this story got picked up by io9!


Last but not least, off to go see How to Train Your Dragon 2 this afternoon. All signs indicate it’ll be stupendous great fun. Hoping I’ll stay awake during it, since I’ve been recovering from dental surgery for the whole past week and I have to take antibiotics and painkillers right now. But for Hiccup and Toothless, I’ll do my best to stay awake!


And now for this morning’s round of PUNCHINGS

Let me tell you a thing about having an iPad, Internets: it means I’ve become way more of a comics reader than I used to be, back in the day when the only comic I had any real interest in was Elfquest.

Dark Horse has contributed a lot to that–not only because they’ve picked up Elfquest for its resurrection, but also because they’ve produced excellent material for the extensions of the storylines for both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. I’ve even dabbled some in the comics adaptations of the new Trek universe, wherein they’re telling stories more along the lines of what I am NOT getting out of the new movies: i.e., some goddamn Star Trek, with obligatory strange new worlds and exploration and such. In the last few years I’ve enjoyed a MacGyver miniseries from Image Comics, the three-part Anne Steelyard story, and the graphic novel for the Thrilling Adventure Hour.

But it’s been because of the Mary Sue and their coverage of certain Marvel storylines, combined with my growing general affection for the Marvel movie universe, that I’ve committed to following some actual superhero comics for the first time in my life. These are the current storylines for Black Widow, Captain Marvel, and the new young Ms. Marvel, that last in no small part because I really like that Marvel’s trying to branch out with some religious and ethnic diversity in their superhero lineup.

See, ’cause here’s the thing–I’ve been all too aware and very sad about how a lot of the comics industry these days is infected with rampaging sexism. But dammit, I like superheroes. I have ever since I discovered the X-Men when I was in middle school. I loved Christopher Reeve as Superman way back in the day, and Michael Keaton in the first of his Batman movies. I adored the first season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. And I am full of nothing but love for the extended DC Animated universe, that connected all the episodes of the Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. That was some damn fine storytelling, and to this day, Mark Hamill’s brilliant voice work for the Joker makes his version of the character my all-time favorite.

And it’s very worth mentioning that in the Murkworks, we very, VERY much like She-Hulk. In fact, Dara played her in an RPG we did in Kentucky, back when we were still having our Saturday gaming nights.

So when I see news like this about how one of the people involved with the still-unnamed sequel* to Man of Steel (the one in which Wonder Woman is finally going to have her first big-screen appearance EVER) says some hugely insulting things about She-Hulk and about geeks in general, I feel my blood pressure spiking. Because this? This gives us a two-fer, a slam not only to a beloved character, but also to comics geeks of both genders all over the country.

And make no mistake, the questions he was asked shouldn’t get a pass, either. “Slut-Hulk”? SERIOUSLY?

And I can’t even muster rage about it, because it’s so goddamn exhausting to see this attitude again and again and again.

But for the record, let’s lay it out:

One, women can like superheroes too. Seriously. We CAN. We DO. And it’s hugely, hugely offensive to dismiss the women in your character lineup as “porn stars”, i.e., only there for the gratification of the men, because HELLO, we’re buying these comics too.

Two, enough already with the tiresome stereotype of geeks and nerds as losers who can’t get dates, who live in their parents’ basements, etc., etc., we’ve heard it all before. And y’know what? If your reaction to our interests is to point and laugh at us as socially inept and unfuckable, you know who we definitely won’t be going out with? YOU.

If you need me, Internets, I’ll be over here, consoling myself with the coming of Agent Carter–and with comics that aren’t belittling my gender. Or belittling me for picking them up in the first place.

* Editing to add: ah, apparently the film actually does have a title now: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I am still not filled with confidence here. Not much room for it with all the PUNCHINGS.


General reminder: Ender can play his game without me

My belovedest of Daras told me this morning that she got into an argument on Tumblr, wherein another party first snarkily demanded whether she could provide any evidence that Orson Scott Card had ever said anything against queer people. And, when she provided them a map to Mt. Why Yes Card Has Shot Off His Mouth Repeatedly On This Very Topic, they promptly shifted the argument over to “well, you should support this movie anyway because it’s racially diverse!”

Dara didn’t buy this argument. Neither do I.

Leave aside the whole question of whether you’re actually accomplishing anything if you refuse to support Card’s work. What it boils down to for me is, if I say, “Look, I’m not going to go watch this movie, because I feel that the writer is a raving homophobe and trying to watch anything with his name on it is tantamount to my being punched in the face”, and you then say, “Well, you should watch it anyway, because if you don’t, these other people over here might also be punched in the face!”, you know what you’re saying to me?

You’re saying that my motives for refusing to engage with the art don’t matter. And you’re also throwing in a side helping of guilt on top of it.

And for what? For my refusal to engage with a piece of art. You are, in short, trying to dictate to me how I should spend my entertainment time and money, which is an asshole maneuver to pull. Especially when the entertainment in question wouldn’t even entertain me, because c.f. previous commentary re: punching in the face.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t care how well done a particular book, movie, television show, musical performance, or whatever might be, I’m not obliged to engage with it. And if I’ve specifically stated I’m avoiding that piece of art, for the love of gods, do not then try to force that piece of art down my throat. It’s not going to make me like it, and it sure as hell is not going to make me think any more favorably of you for dismissing my stance on the matter.

So no, still not going to see Ender’s Game. By the same token, I am still not going to give anybody a hard time for choosing to do so. Because it’s no more my place to critique your choices on how you spend your entertainment time and money than it is yours to do so to mine.

I have much better things to be doing anyway, and what limited time I have for movies in the next couple of months will be much better applied to Thor: The Dark World, Catching Fire, and The Desolation of Smaug.

Movies, The Internet

Post-vacation link roundup

Here’s a fun thing I apparently missed while I was on vacation: some nimrod made a “SFWA Fascists” Twitter account attacking the various notable SF/F authors who have been speaking out against racism and sexism–in other words, the people who are speaking up for treating everybody like people. Names like Scalzi and Kowal and Hines and Jemisin are on the list, and others have started calling this the roundup of People You Should Be Following On Twitter. Props to them!

And the maddest of mad props to Mr. Hines, who, being awesome, has responded beautifully.


In other news, The Mary Sue has reported that Lionsgate is scrambling to distance themselves from Orson Scott Card. They’re even going to host a LGBT benefit premiere for the movie.

How nice for them. I’m still not going to see the movie.

I’ve seen quite a few people opining that to specifically avoid seeing this movie because of Card is ill-advised, on the grounds that Card probably wasn’t even involved once his rights were optioned, and also because boycotting it would hurt the pro-LGBT people at Lionsgate and who have worked on the film. I don’t buy it, and I remain pretty damned sure that not one person, from Harrison Ford clear down to the catering staff, is going to be financially harmed by my failure to buy a ticket. They’ve gotten paychecks. They’re not going to starve.

I’ve also seen people opining that there are way better ways to assert one’s support of LGBT causes than by inaction–i.e., not seeing a movie. I don’t buy that either. For one thing, speaking up publicly about why you choose to not do a thing is itself an action. For another thing, it is inappropriate to assume that people avoiding the movie aren’t doing other, more active things in support of LGBT rights. Like, say, donating money, which Dara and I have done on a rather regular basis.


Meanwhile, in other news of Movies I Am Specifically Avoiding This Summer, I’d also like to call out this excellent little commentary as to why exactly Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan in the current Trek flick is problematic.

(Yes, I’ve heard the criticism pointing out that casting Montalban to play a Sikh in the original series wasn’t exactly ethnically appropriate either. But moving from that to casting a white guy was not, in my humble opinion, a step in the right direction.)


However, to shift over to news of Movies I’m Feeling a Lot More Hopeful About, I’m very much looking forward to seeing Despicable Me 2 and Pacific Rim as soon as possible. And I shall direct you post-haste over to who provides this helpful guide to Knowing Your Kaiju.

Because it is critical, CRITICAL I SAY, to know which monster is about to stomp your city into rubble.

Movies, Politics

No, actually, I’m NOT tolerant of bigotry

Just came back from getting my phone replaced to see the word going around the Net that Orson Scott Card has apparently decided to call the question of gay marriage “moot” and has asked for “tolerance from the victorious”. And for added WTFery, is calling on people to not boycott his movie.

It’s one thing to say that “I am against gay marriage on religious grounds” and to therefore apply that to your own life. I don’t like that, but it’s appropriate to accept that others who don’t agree with me are free to live their own lives as they wish. It’s quite another thing entirely to say that “because my religious views are against gay marriage, nobody should ever have gay marriage EVER”–to actively throw your own reputation, money, and life effort into not only trying to pass laws to enforce your views, but to promote the outright dehumanization of LGBT folk.

And now he has the nerve to ask people to not boycott his movie? I have two words for you, Mr. Card: fuck you.

Because no. I’m not tolerant of his toxic brand of bigotry. He has the freedom to believe what he likes, but when he starts trying to force his views down other people’s throats, no, I’m not going to put up with that. As the old saying goes, your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

I never read Ender’s Game, so I have no particular sentimental attachment to that book. In fact, I’d only ever read one book of Card’s before I found out what a homophobic asshat he is. But I know a lot of SF/F fans who did love the book, and so I’m sad for them–because they’re unhappy that a beloved book turns out to have been created by a vile weasel of a person.

Me, I’m a little sad just because Harrison Ford is in this movie, and as you all know, I’ve been a longstanding fan of Mr. Ford. But not even his presence in the film could make me give any money to anything with Orson Scott Card’s name attached.

Dara has pretty much echoed my thoughts here, and James Nicoll has commentary here.

ETA: Commentary at The Mary Sue over here.

ETA #2: For a counterpoint view Cory Doctorow chimed in on BoingBoing. I’m linking to him because even though I don’t agree with his stance, it’s worth noting as an opinion I’ve seen out there a lot every time something of this nature comes up: i.e., how much leeway can you give between the creator of a piece of art, and the art itself?

I’ve seen a lot of people advocate separating them and I can buy that up to a point. In Card’s case, he crosses the line for me specifically because he is an activist. I.e., he’s a member of an organization dedicated to the dehumanization of LGBT-folk; it’s not enough for him to just have these beliefs. And you know what? Fuck that. I don’t care how good a writer he is. I have no qualms whatsoever about potentially missing out on good stories despite my lifelong goal of Wanting to Read All the Books. My life is too short, and there are too many other great authors out there who aren’t trying to pass laws to make my wife and second-class citizens, to give dime one to him.

ETA #3: James has another post up linking off to a stunning comment from another author pretty much equating “refusing to buy an author’s work and therefore causing him economic harm” to “causing actual physical harm”, and asserting that these differ only by degree.

And I repeat: I don’t give a rat’s ass how good a writer Card may or may not be. Ability to string sentences together into a coherent SF/F novel does not excuse you for being a rampant, bigoted, hate-filled asshole. And it sure as hell does not mean I have to subject myself to your work. There are too many good people in the world who are far more deserving of my money.

Card’s already brought a gun to something that wasn’t even a knife fight, so y’know what? No, I do not give a fat flying fuck about whether I’m causing him any economic harm by refusing to support him or his work.

(The comment in question appears in this thread on, which actually raises good thoughts about what to do as an ethical consumer of art, in situations like this–where significant art has been created by terrible people. The post itself is worth reading, but as with many places on the Internet, for gods’ sake STAY OUT OF THE COMMENTS unless you’re feeling feisty.)

ETA #4: Chuck Wendig speaks eloquently on the matter right over here. Money quote:

That’s him doubling down and saying, “You need to tolerate my intolerance.” Which is a classic derailing tactic that smells so strongly of horseshit that when he says it I wonder if I’m actually living inside a horse’s ass.


On the Desolation of Smaug trailer, and Tauriel!

And lo, yesterday, the Internet did quake with the coming of the first trailer of The Desolation of Smaug! And it was GOOD. Internet, I AM EXCITE. Because OMG the shot of Bilbo at the top of the trees with the butterflies. OMG the barrels tumbling down the waterfall. OMG there’s Bard the Bowman. And OMG THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF SMAUG! \0/

If you haven’t seen it yet, behold!

I’ll just say this right now: after seeing Legolas and Tauriel, I have just two words for Mr. Jackson. Those words are: HEADCANON ACCEPTED!

I do not give a fat flying damn that Legolas is not actually in the book. He is after all Thranduil’s son, and it makes sense for him to be around. I’m absolutely fine with his presence. Particularly if he’s going to be badassed and pretty and shooting things.

I give even less of a damn that Tauriel is entirely a figment of Peter Jackson’s imagination. Those of you familiar with my longstanding Elfquest fandom will know how much I appreciate a clearly badassed female elf. Those of you familiar with my longstanding Tolkien fandom, likewise. Because after all, Lúthien, Galadriel, and Éowyn are my top favorite characters all over Tolkien’s works. Especially Lúthien–because, hello, badassed female elf, even though her badassery is less combat-oriented and more magical.

Also, having read the relevant chapter of The Hobbit not terribly long ago, I do note that Thranduil does in fact have a guard captain. Yes, he’s male in the story, but he’s so incidental a character that I have no problems whatsoever with Jackson pulling a genderflip.

I’d pretty much already decided that I’m on board with Dara’s interpretation of Jackson’s movies, which is to say, Middle-Earth has reached such mythic status that Jackson’s simply now adding extra versions of the same stories into the rich tapestry of stories available. It’s like Greek mythology–there are several different versions of any given Greek myth, depending on what sources you check. With the works of Tolkien, it’s simply that we know which ones are the original canon. Same deal with superhero stories, which are certainly giving us our modern mythic heroes.

Or, if you will, Jackson’s just giving us some damn good AU fanfic. In which case HEADCANON ACCEPTED makes all the more sense. ;D

Here’s one more thing that makes me willing to deal with Tauriel’s presence as well: wondering honestly whether she’s fated to die in the Battle of Five Armies. This would, I think, make narrative sense. I mean, we know what happens to Legolas. We know he starts off bitterly anti-dwarf in LotR, and that it takes his friendship with Gimli to pull him out of it. If the rumblings I’m hearing about Tauriel being his love interest in these films are true, and she goes out in a tragic blaze of glory in the Battle of Five Armies, it would work quite neatly to set up his sentiments in the other films.

Until we get film #3, though, I’ll be over here admiring her badassery. Because redheaded elf with a bow who looks like she knows how to use it? SIGN ME THE HELL UP.