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Re: [Julian-May-discuss] Taking the trip again...

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  • Michelle Rose
    ... From: awabookz Subject: [Julian-May-discuss] Taking the trip again... To: Julian-May-discuss@yahoogroups.com Date: Wednesday,
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 1, 2011
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      --- On Wed, 9/28/11, awabookz <awabooks@...> wrote:

      From: awabookz <awabooks@...>
      Subject: [Julian-May-discuss] Taking the trip again...
      To: Julian-May-discuss@yahoogroups.com

      Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 12:03 PM


      Slonshal and Slitsal to you, Anthony. My, what a nice well-considered letter. Surfacing from the minor tsunami of academia, I'll add my comments to yours, s'il vous plais.


       

      Slonshal All (and Welcome, bartonmft :-),

      Again my profound thanks to all of you for putting and keeping this group together. I've given little and enjoyed much...


      I have made yet another trip back to the Pliocene, and as always have had a bunch of thoughts which I'll just "throw at the wall," and see if any stick ;-):

      • I think 2011 is the 30-Year Anniversary of the Many-Colored Land, as well as Mrs. May's 80th year (Slonshal!) I'm still astounded by two things: 1) These books are amazingly entertaining, seemingly no matter how many times I read them(!)  2) For a Sci-Fi series, these books still read "incredibly well" (not "dated" as many Sci-Fi titles often become...)
      • That's 'cuz JM was amazingly well-read, a writer of science books for teens and middle schoolers and had enormous resources to draw on. Plus she was able to think and plot her story-lines in much the same way that cloud-computing is designed. (Don't believe me? Do a rough plot using the two Groups visualized as a 3-D Venn diagram. Add a third for the Rebels. Note how the story lines enter and exit the three 'bubbles' or clouds. Recognize anything?) 
         
      • I'm not the most widely-read Sci-Fi fan, but I've read a bit: Verne & Burroughs (hope the Carter/Mars movie is good! :-), some of the early pulp authors--many of whom became the early "Grand Masters"--and quite a few more recent.
      • What Burroughs Mars movie?! They're doing a Barsoom movie? Links! Please! (I gotta get out more...)
         
      • Maybe it's "just me," but recognition for Science Fiction authors seems similar to wealth distribution in America: There's the "top 1%," then there's "everybody else". Sadly, I don't think Judy May* made it to the level she deserved.
      • I've never heard her called 'Judy'. That was her pen name for Dune Roller. I hung around her and her posse for about five hours during WorldCon51 and never heard her addressed as anything but 'Julian'. (I got pictures of her in the flying suit. Tres' cool.) I agree in that she never achieved name-recognition, but she made an awfully good living from writing.
         
      • Yeah, here are the "Grand Masters" of Science Fiction:
        http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/nebula-weekend/events-program/grandmaster/
        Out of 27 authors, I see 3 women (hmmm): Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Andre Norton.
        In my (nearly worthless ;-) opinion, Le Guin is the only one "on level" with Mrs. May (and as much as I respect "The Left Hand of Darkness," I doubt I'll ever pick it up for a second reading...)
      • I've never understood why James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon) was never nominated. (She did get an award named after her.) But even LeGuin agrees that TLHOD is flawed. She attempted to portray a genderless society and instead defaulted to the male mode for the dominant gender; a stylistic choice she now admits was the result of her own conditioning and inability to think all the way outside the box. May could write every bit as tough and 'male' as any testosterone-soaked hard SF writer, but was equally adept at pouring on the sentiment and, God be thanked; knew how to tell a woman's story without the gender barriers. I can think of few writers who have that kind of emotional range.
         
      • I suspect anyone reading this shares my opinion of Mrs. May's works. I've mentioned before that I am actively giving away copies of TMCL to anyone I think might read it and become a fan. Sadly, I know this will never amount to much... I've also had a number of additional thoughts on "increasing awareness":
         
      • Title: Like or not, book titles (and even cover illos) still do affect sales. Sorry if this sounds heretical, but as much as I really do love the book, I really don't think "The Many Colored Land" is the best title. "Saga of Pliocene Exile" is interesting, but I think "Pliocene" would lose more casual "surfers" that it would attract.
      • I dunno. I think "The Many-Colored Land" is marvelously evocative. But I like flowers and her description of the foliage throughout the four books is impeccable; without peer. 
         
        My personal noodling has come up with "Exile's Gate". I bet some of you out there might have ideas. I'd love to see some!
         
      • Cover Art: Michael Whelan did fantastic covers for the first (American, anyway) paperback editions of all four Pliocene books (and the two Intervention books). In my eye, they are by far the best. (At one point, I think Mr. Whelan was asked to do a new cover for TMCL, which I think must have affronted him, because his latter effort of blonde "valley girls" with what looks like a man in nun's habit on horseback in the background, is not at all to Whelan's standards... :-(
        Bottom Line: Keep the original Whelan covers, and ditch the rest!
      • Gotta agree with you on this one. Mike Whelan is da bomb.
         
      • A Path Forward(?) Though a busy parent, I still try to carve out a little time for gaming, and by that I mean the old-school, pen & paper, table-top role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons.
         
      • If any of you know any gamers, consider introducing the series to them, perhaps under the auspices that the Pliocene Exile would make an incredible RPG "game world" setting--because it would! ;-)
         
        If an "Exile" RPG could somehow be produced, there is a chance, however slim, that this could attract the attention of comic book/graphic novel publishers, and/or video game producers. An "entry" in either of those worlds could indeed lead to what many of us would love to see, a shot at video series/movie release.
      • Oy, the costs! And the plots would have to be dumbed down so much. You're talking about many thousands of sub-programs that would execute simultaneously. You might be able to run it on a lot of parallel-processor machines--cloud-computing offers some possibilities--but who wants to play a game that takes a half-hour or more to load? 
         
      • Hell, if just one person like Joss Whedon (Buffy, Toy-Story co-writer (yep!), comic book author extraordinaire, "savior" of the Captain America movie script, writer/director of the upcoming Avengers movie--please God, let it be awesome!--could be hooked, that could be enough traction to get the ball rolling!
      • Whedon would be a good choice. Or JJ Abrams, if you could control his tendency to mess with the script. I always thought Spielberg was the only one with the proper big-screen aesthetic to direct/produce these. (If you say "George Lucas", I will be forced to draw my Bosch actinic blaster and burn you down in cold blood.) But Spielberg is a cautious man these days and there should be at least four three-hour movies to do this justice. I can't see any major producer or director committing to something like that. Peter Jackson? Now, he would be an intriguing choice. 

      So take heart, all--and dammit!--let's try to keep moving Mrs. May's Decology to the significantly loftier position it so richly deserves!


      All the Best, -Anthony A.

      * (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_May)
    • Baralier
      ... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401729/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rf55GTEZ_E
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 1, 2011
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        Michelle Rose wrote:
        > What Burroughs Mars movie?! They're doing a Barsoom movie?
        > Links! Please! (I gotta get out more...)

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401729/

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rf55GTEZ_E
      • awabookz
        Re: Taking the trip again... Thanks for some wonderful input, Michelle, I ll try to nest some more with yours, but I suspect we ll be pushing the Yahoo
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 3, 2011
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          Re: Taking the trip again...

          Thanks for some wonderful input, Michelle,

          I'll try to "nest some more with yours," but I suspect we'll be pushing the Yahoo System to it's limits! ;-)



          Slonshal and Slitsal to you, Anthony. My, what a nice well-considered letter. Surfacing from the minor tsunami of academia, I'll add my comments to yours, s'il vous plais.

           
          Slonshal All (and Welcome, bartonmft :-),
           
          Again my profound thanks to all of you for putting and keeping this group together. I've given little and enjoyed much...
           
           I have made yet another trip back to the Pliocene, and as always have had a bunch of thoughts which I'll just "throw at the wall," and see if any stick ;-):
           
          • I think 2011 is the 30-Year Anniversary of the Many-Colored Land, as well as Mrs. May's 80th year (Slonshal!) I'm still astounded by two things: 1) These books are amazingly entertaining, seemingly no matter how many times I read them(!)  2) For a Sci-Fi series, these books still read "incredibly well" (not at all "dated" as many Sci-Fi titles often become...)
             
            That's 'cuz JM was amazingly well-read, a writer of science books for teens and middle schoolers and had enormous resources to draw on. Plus she was able to think and plot her story-lines in much the same way that cloud-computing is designed. (Don't believe me? Do a rough plot using the two Groups visualized as a 3-D Venn diagram. Add a third for the Rebels. Note how the story lines enter and exit the three 'bubbles' or clouds. Recognize anything?)

             
            ... :-( ...  Sadly, I will have to confess that my "3-D Venn diagramming" visualization skills are likely not up to snuff. If you wouldn't mind posting even a brief glimpse of something along those lines to the "Files" or "Photos" areas, I would love to see!
          • I'm not the most widely-read Sci-Fi fan, but I've read a bit: Verne & Burroughs (hope the Carter/Mars movie is good! :-), some of the early pulp authors--many of whom became the early "Grand Masters"--and quite a few more recent.
             
            What Burroughs Mars movie?! They're doing a Barsoom movie? Links! Please! (I gotta get out more...)
             
            Thanks, Baralier, for the Link post!
          • Maybe it's "just me," but recognition for Science Fiction authors seems similar to wealth distribution in America: There's the "top 1%," then there's "everybody else". Sadly, I don't think Judy May* made it to the level she deserved.
             
            I've never heard her called 'Judy'. That was her pen name for Dune Roller. I hung around her and her posse for about five hours during WorldCon51 and never heard her addressed as anything but 'Julian'. (I got pictures of her in the flying suit. Tres' cool.) I agree in that she never achieved name-recognition, but she made an awfully good living from writing.
             
            By "Judy," I was merely referring to info from her Wikipedia entry... I humbly bow before you're more authoritative sourcing--and I would love to see some pics in the Photos area ;-)
          • Yeah, here are the "Grand Masters" of Science Fiction:
            http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/nebula-weekend/events-program/grandmaster/
            Out of 27 authors, I see 3 women (hmmm): Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Andre Norton. In my opinion, Le Guin is the only one "on level" with Mrs. May (and as much as I respect "The Left Hand of Darkness," I doubt I'll ever pick it up for a second reading...)
             
            I've never understood why James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon) was never nominated. (She did get an award named after her.) But even LeGuin agrees that TLHOD is flawed. She attempted to portray a genderless society and instead defaulted to the male mode for the dominant gender; a stylistic choice she now admits was the result of her own conditioning and inability to think all the way outside the box. May could write every bit as tough and 'male' as any testosterone-soaked hard SF writer, but was equally adept at pouring on the sentiment and, God be thanked; knew how to tell a woman's story without the gender barriers. I can think of few writers who have that kind of emotional range.
             

            I completely agree with Tiptree/Sheldon. I haven't read nearly enough of her, but I remember really liking what I did read a number of years back...

            How about C. J. Cherryh, fer Chrissakes?!? Wow, a quick wikipeek shows "Downbelow Station" as the 1981 Hugo winner; the year May's TMCL was nominated (I think). Downbelow Station, I have to admit, is a Sci-Fi masterpiece (I think I've read it two, maybe three times... I need to give Cyteen another try.) That those two books were published in the same year...
             
          • I suspect anyone reading this shares my opinion of Mrs. May's works. I've mentioned before that I am actively giving away copies of TMCL to anyone I think might read it and become a fan. Sadly, I know this will never amount to much... I've also had a number of additional thoughts on "increasing awareness":

            Title: Like or not, book titles (and cover illos) still do affect sales. Sorry if this sounds heretical, but as much as I really do love the book, I don't think "The Many Colored Land" is the best title. "Saga of Pliocene Exile" is interesting, but I think "Pliocene" would lose as many casual "surfers" that it would attract.
             
            I dunno. I think "The Many-Colored Land" is marvelously evocative. But I like flowers and her description of the foliage throughout the four books is impeccable; without peer.
             
            I agree it's evocative of a "land of many colors." (And I agree that her description of Pliocene flora and fauna is super-kanoodle-opic ;-) But place yourself in the "mental shoes" of the casual Sci-Fi/Fantasy-Fan, looking for something "new" to read,  who knows little or nothing of Julian May and her amazing series. Could Mike Whelan's cover art cause you to pick the book up? I think so. But is the title a real "grabber"? Sadly, I would have to argue "no"...
             
            I noticed on the French covers they went for a "Masthead" title, loosely translated, "The Exile Saga," followed by smaller individual book titles below: TCML, The Golden Torc, etc. I think that's a step in the right direction...

             
             My personal noodling has come up with "Exile's Gate". I bet some of you out there might have ideas. I'd love to see some!
             
            Cover Art: Michael Whelan did fantastic covers for the first (American, anyway) paperback editions of all four Pliocene books. In my eye, they are by far the best. (At one point, I think Whelan was asked to do a new cover for TMCL, which I think must have affronted him, because his latter effort of  what look like "valley girls," and a man(?) in nun's habit on horseback in the background, is not at all to Whelan's standards... :-(

            Bottom Line: Keep the original Whelan covers, and ditch the rest.
             
            Gotta agree with you on this one. Mike Whelan is da bomb.
             
          • A Path Forward(?) Though a busy parent, I still try to carve out a little time for gaming, and by that I mean the old-school, pen & paper, table-top role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons.
             
            If you know any gamers, consider introducing the series to them, perhaps under the auspices that the Pliocene Exile would make an incredible RPG "game world" setting--because it would! ;-)
             
            If an "Exile" RPG could somehow be produced, there is a chance, however slim, that this could attract the attention of comic book/graphic novel publishers, and/or video game producers. An "entry" in either of those worlds could indeed lead to what many of us would love to see, a shot at video series/movie release.
             
            Oy, the costs! And the plots would have to be dumbed down so much. You're talking about many thousands of sub-programs that would execute simultaneously. You might be able to run it on a lot of parallel-processor machines--cloud-computing offers some possibilities--but who wants to play a game that takes a half-hour or more to load?
             
            I agree with you here. I included video RPGs because I felt I "had to." But I don't play console or online video RPGs at all, because they seem to completely lack the "choices" you have as a player in table-top, pen & paper RPGs like D20 System games, Pathfinder, World of Darkness, GURPS, etc.
             
            Really my thought was that if a good pen & paper RPG "world book" (printed and digtal <pdf>) could be produced, this might attract the attention of movers & shakers in the comic/graphic novel world--and what with the amount of successful comic to movie translations these days... well, there's a chance, however small.
             
            Hell, if just one person like Joss Whedon (Buffy, Toy-Story co-writer (yep!), comic book author extraordinaire, supposed "savior" of the Captain America movie script, writer/director of the upcoming Avengers movie--please God, let it be awesome!--could be hooked, that could be enough traction to get the ball rolling!
             
            Whedon would be a good choice. Or JJ Abrams, if you could control his tendency to mess with the script. I always thought Spielberg was the only one with the proper big-screen aesthetic to direct/produce these. (If you say "George Lucas", I will be forced to draw my Bosch actinic blaster and burn you down in cold blood.) But Spielberg is a cautious man these days and there should be at least four three-hour movies to do this justice. I can't see any major producer or director committing to something like that. Peter Jackson? Now, he would be an intriguing choice.

             
            No Bosch or Husquevarna  needed ;-)  I loved the 1st three Star Wars films, but a piece of my heart shriveled & died when I took my kids to the fourth. First Indiana Jones? Da best!  Last Indiana Jones? ...Let's just say the South Park episode summed it up best...
             
            Much as I like Peter Jackson, a "mere" cable TV series could be grand(!) Look at shows like Battlestar Galactica, Walking Dead, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood and Carnival. There's scary good talent out there! (Heck, 20 years ago a woman named Lynn Marie Latham wrote and produced a show named "Homefront" for ABC, which should have been more of a wake-up call to how good plain ol' TV could be... highly recommended ;-)

          So take heart, all--and dammit!--let's try to keep moving Mrs. May's Decology to the significantly loftier position it so richly deserves!
           
           
          All the Best, -Anthony A.
           
          * (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_May)
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