August 27th, 2009

Flash Gordon  -  Flaming Rocket of Lurve

Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Tor Books surprisingly sane on fanfic

From an interview at io9.com on the future of books in an increasingly digital world:
io9: Will new online formats change the format of the novel?

PNH: I have a severe Google Reader habit. I think people will use blog forms and twitter to contrive fiction. Here's an interesting thing online: The explosion of fanfic. I don't read much, but back in fandom 1.0 - zines - there were people writing Star Trek stories, but it was below the salt socially. There was a strong aversion to publishing amateur fiction because people felt that if it were any good it would get published professionally. If you were seeing an amateur SF story, it was partly an admission that it was crap and couldn't get published.

But with fanfic, there's no ceiling on how great it can be because it's unlicensed and can't get published. It's often written far better than the stuff it's based on.

I wish [fanfic could go legit]. For most of human history, remixing narratives in circulation has been how culture worked. I believe in compensating artists, but yesterday [on a panel at WorldCon] the "moral rights" thing came up, and I think that's horseshit. I think artists should be treated well and so should waitresses and plumbers. Artists shouldn't have "treat them extra nice" rules. People experience art socially. People say "Watch this! Read this!" We experience art and we want to talk about it. I know that there are writers horrified by fanfic. Jo Walton hates fanfic. But in general I think with TV and the mass media world, somebody is going to figure out a way to encourage [fanfic] in a way that makes them a pile of money.

Great Xenu!
Dr Who - One PWNS

The Doctor’s Shadowy Past

The more I see of William Hartnell in the Brit Noir series, the more I want to track down pictures of him as a child or an adolescent, because I just cannot imagine him as a kid. I keep picturing Those Eyes peering out from beneath a white muslin bonnet and That Voice demanding, “Where’s my bottle, hmm? You’d better fetch it, if you know what’s good for you...”

The closest I’ve gotten so far was the film I saw on Tuesday, Appointment with Crime (1946), in which Hartnell (in his late thirties) gets star billing as a spiv out for revenge against the gang who abandoned him after he had both wrists broken during a smash-and-grab gone wrong. It’s a fairly straightforward little B-movie, though there are some expressionist flourishes during an anesthesia-induced flashback, and the gang leader’s bespectacled right-hand man (Alan Wheatley, another future Who alumnus) is evah so fey. The main appeal is watching a younger, darker-haired First Doctor with a hat and a gat bark lines like, “Get him on the blower!” and pitch woo to a dancehall blonde, though by the time he gets around to kissing her she knows he’s a no-good, lying, murderous rat.

Hartnell is in at least two more movies in the series: Brighton Rock (1947) (script by Grahame Greene, starring Richard Attenborough) and Odd Man Out (1947) (director Carol The Third Man Reed, starring James Mason).
TP - Laura WIP

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them; women are afraid that men will kill them.

If you put Cocteau’s La Belle et la bête, Hitchcock’s Rebecca, and Otto Preminger’s Laura in a blender and hit frappé, you might end up with something like the film I saw today, Corridor of Mirrors (1948), although it was not as good as that list of ingredients might lead one to expect. Perhaps the recipe included the instruction, Strain out any magnetic actors or memorable lines. There was no one as interesting as Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson, or Clifton Webb; and no dialogue as evocative as “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” or as sharp as, “I’m not kind, I’m vicious. It’s the secret of my charm.”

What it does have: enormous, eyepopping sets; gorgeous costumes (many apparently inspired by 16th-century Venice); and a scenario chock full of class issues, D/s vibes, fetishism, necrophilia, and nods to Othello and Bluebeard. I would urge fans of The Phantom of the Opera (particularly Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version) to buy a copy, if it were available on DVD,

In conclusion, I’m glad I saw it, although the peevish little man in the seat to my left announced “What a terrible movie! I slept through the whole thing!” as the lights came up. I was tempted to ask how he’d formed an opinion if he’d been unconscious, but refrained for fear he’d answer me.

P.S.: The heroine was named Mifanwy Conway, and she was half-Italian, half-Welsh. Captain Jack Harkness would hit that so hard, they’d end up halfway to China.