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Re: [mythsoc] RotK Theory

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  • David S. Bratman
    ... And what kind of father needs his brother to be a minor-league baseball power-hitting champ in order to wield that handy object? And why does the brother
    Message 1 of 63 , Apr 16, 2003
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      At 04:17 PM 4/16/2003 , Susan wrote:

      >Furthurmore, Shyamalan's characters seem just dopey. What kind of father
      >needs a mysterious message from beyond the grave to know that if his kid's
      >in danger, he should grab the nearest handy object and whale away at the bad
      >guy?

      And what kind of father needs his brother to be a minor-league baseball
      power-hitting champ in order to wield that handy object? And why does the
      brother wield it so slowly, in the event?


      >Good stories about God don't require people to be stupid.

      Yes, and the absence of stupidity doesn't need to be signalled by "quoting
      the Fathers in the original Greek or suddenly crying out that they have
      come to understand the answer to the question of free will vs. predestination."


      >And I am SO tired of stories where the Bad Creepy Alien Things are
      >vanguished by water. It's been DONE, guys. Have you SEEN the Wizard of Oz?
      > Please: come up with something, anything, different. Make the secret
      >weapon Velveeta cheese or potato chips

      Those would vanquish me.

      >or fertilizer or . . . or . . . radiation from cell phones. Please!

      Now that's creepy.


      At 04:21 PM 4/16/2003 , Ernest wrote:

      >I have not seen this movie and it sounds not even worth the rental,

      If you can ignore all these spoilers, the opening is quite good. Shyamalan
      has great craft as a filmmaker. (Though I was kind of amused by the
      characters standing around the crop circle saying "This could not have been
      created artificially" when, in fact, the filmmakers actually did create it
      artificially.)


      >but...aliens vanquished by water? What the %^@&?

      Yes, and not a lake of it or even a bucket, but a few glasses of water left
      on top of a TV set.


      >Why the heck are they
      >invading a planet that's seventh-tenths water, then, without some kind of
      >protective gear? What if it rains, or a lawn sprinkler comes on?

      Everyone sings "Ding Dong The Alien's Dead." No, wait, that's if a house
      falls on him. Never mind.

      - David Bratman
    • David S. Bratman
      ... Yes. ... Bad can still be enjoyable. I know people who enjoy this stuff, but mostly because they read it in impressionable youth. That doesn t make it
      Message 63 of 63 , May 18, 2003
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        At 07:09 PM 5/16/2003 , Ernest wrote:

        >It hardly matters anyway, because the plot of _Forbidden Planet_,
        >although obviously derivative from _The Tempest_, is not the same as that
        >of _The Tempest_ except in its broadest outlines.

        Yes.

        >Yes, E. E. Smith's prose was preciously purple, but is it really _bad_?
        >I think it's quite enjoyable, in truth.

        Bad can still be enjoyable. I know people who enjoy this stuff, but mostly
        because they read it in impressionable youth. That doesn't make it any
        less bad.


        >I honestly prefer Doc Smith's heavily stylized but exciting pulp style
        >to the styles that are in vogue today. I think I might have actually
        >finished (say) _Moving Mars_ if Doc Smith had written it.

        That might be in large part because it would be shorter and punchier if Doc
        Smith wrote it. Not for the quality of the prose. SF prose today may well
        be, as you say, largely mediocre: but mediocre is still much better than bad.


        >If you want bad writing, try rereading _Foundation_ or its successors
        >again. Oy! Asimov at his best was top-notch--I'll put "The Dead Past"
        >on the list of best short stories I've read, SF or no--but he was rarely
        >at his best.

        I've re-read the Foundation books, and I've re-read SF from the 30s. The
        Foundation books' prose, while still pulpish, is a significant advance over
        the typical 30s product. I agree that it's hardly worth holding up to
        praise, either, and Asimov himself in later life would not have done so.

        How to identify Asimov's better fictional prose: 1) he wrote it after 1950
        [that eliminates the original Foundation books, which despite their
        copyright dates were written & published in the 1940s]; 2) he did not write
        it at the behest of his publishers [that eliminates the dreadful late
        novels, which were all written because the publishers wanted new novels
        from him, as well as various lame series fiction]. His best fiction was
        some (not all) of his 1950s novels, and much of his stand-alone short
        fiction from circa 1950 onwards.

        The Niven piece on teleportion is "The Theory and Practice of
        Teleportation", in his 1971 paperback collection _All the Myriad Ways_, but
        probably not elsewhere. The ideas he discusses in this essay he put to use
        in a story a couple years later titled "Flash Crowd" (in his 1973 pb
        collection _The Flight of the Horse_, and probably elsewhere). This story
        is now considered somewhat prescient, as "flash crowd" is now an
        established term for crowds of people who form on extremely short notice,
        through word of mouth (spread not by teleporter but cell phone) where
        something interesting is happening.

        - David Bratman
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