Skip the Book?

Today on AE, five books you can forgo in favour of the film. I’m a die-hard bookworm, so when I say the movie’s better, well, opinion is still opinion, but you might pay a little closer attention. Of course, the films in question are all genre (with Fight Club perhaps straddling the line a bit). Here’s one more that wouldn’t have fit on the list at AE:

Non-genre Bonus Example!

Into the Wild. The film is a dramatized version of the true story of Christopher McCandless, a thoughtful, adventurous young man with an inspiring zest for life. The book is a stunning example of long-form journalism by a master of the craft. Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction account of the McCandless story grew out of an article he wrote for Outside magazine. The book is a mix of narrative, interviews, the history of adventure travel, and some of Krakauer’s personal anecdotes.

In fine journalistic fashion, speculations are clearly labelled as such, multiple theories are floated and batted around. But in the movie version, a single interpretation is taken, a single cohesive narrative emerges, and it really feels like we see things from Chris’ perspective. In the film, we have a protagonist. In the book we have a subject. Most of us would choose the former.

Tuesday Links (01/01/13)

The Ten Essential Genre Films of 2012: There are a few here I’ve missed. Time for a rental or two, mayhaps.

Art History Through Sci-Fi Coloured Glasses: Nothing to add.

The Offer on Old Man’s War: A Ten-Year Retrospective: “Patrick making an offer on Old Man’s War quite literally changed my life, and almost entirely for the better. The eight novels I have written since are because of that offer and everything that’s resulted from it. . . . Professionally, I have become who I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s amazing.”

Tuesday Links (09/04/12)

Benedict Cumberbatch in a spot of bother over CBS’ Elementary: “Despite the fact that the upcoming CBS show Elementary went to the trouble of making Watson an Asian-American woman and therefore is totally different, the cast and crew of the BBC’s Sherlock continue to express their suspicion that the network is attempting to copy their own modern Sherlock Holmes show, simply because CBS tried to copy their own modern Sherlock Holmes show.

Farmers are dealing with corn shortages by feeding their cows candy instead: Yep.

What If Films Had Kept Their Working Titles?: Movie posters altered appropriately.

Tuesday Links (07/31/12)

Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb: “Watching this film, there are many things to wonder (and worry) about, but one of the stranger moments is how the bomb bursts in complete silence. We see a sudden white flash. It makes the soldiers flinch. Then there’s a pause, a pregnant quiet that lasts for a beat, then another and then — there’s a roar.”

Batman: Plutocrat: “Superman (for example) fights intergalactic dictators, evil monopolists, angry generals, and dark gods, i.e. symbols of abusive authority. Batman fights psychotics, anarchists, mob bosses, the mentally ill, and environmentalists, i.e. those who would overthrow the status quo. Superman fights those who would impose their version of order on the world. Batman fights those who would unbalance the order Batman himself imposes on Gotham.”

Dinosaur Comics Presents McDonald’s Presents the Olympic Games: “Perhaps you’ve forgotten Coca-Cola, THE OFFICIAL SUGARED AND COLOURED BEVERAGE OF MCDONALD’S PRESENTS THE OLYMPIC GAMES?? You want a sculpted gold-medal body? Have you tried exercising? Sure, maybe. But have you tried CHUGGING A COKE?”

ABCs of Sci-Fi Film, Results

Well, since taking my sci-fi film quiz, the answers have been posted. Actually it looks like he had these up on his Tumblr account even before I made my attempt. So you’ll just have to trust that I really came up with my answers on my own. Let’s correct together, yeah?

A and B correct. C turns out to be Cube. Damn, I guess I thought it was too obscure for him to pick. Too bad. D was Dune and F The Fly. Very famous, but I wasn’t even close to getting them.

G to K all correct. But L was The Last Starfighter. Never saw it. Nor did I see Moon, so it was somewhat of a lucky guess. Nineteen Eight-Four? I keep forgetting the title is properly spelled out and not a number. And The Omega Man? I just wouldn’t have guessed he would have used both that and I Am Legend, which are both remakes of the same original movie (based on the novella by Richard Matheson).

And speaking of Mr. Omega, we have back-to-back Charlton Heston, with my Planet of the Apes answer being, obviously, correct. Q, which I left blank, is something called Quatermass 2. No idea.

R, S, T: all correct. I had no idea for U, even though I’ve seen Universal Soldier (and plenty of other crappy van Dame movies back in the day). And V, it turns out, is V. This seems like a cheat, though, since according to Wikipedia it was a couple of miniseries and a regular television series, never an actual film.

W and X I got right. Y and Z are both a bit obscure, at least to me, representing Yor, The Hunter From the Future and Zardoz.

So, grand total? 15/26, which is a shade under 60%. I pass after all, if only barely. If I had made the poster, I might have made some different choices as to which films to represent. But if I had made the poster . . . well, there wouldn’t be a poster because I lack the graphic design skills.

ABCs of Sci-Fi Film, A Pop Quiz

Via, the best SFF blog out there (yes, better than io9), a poster with the ABCs of science fiction film. The poster was designed by a guy named Stephen Wildish, who does lots of cool stuff like that. The thing is, though, the titles aren’t actually included. So, knowing the genre and the first letter, how many films can one recognize? This is the challenge.

I’ll accept that challenge, publicly, despite knowing I’ll never get a passing grade without cheating. I’ll note that, following standard practice, “the” does not count as part of the title for alphabetical purposes. Self-imposed rules: No Googling or web browsing of any kind until the quiz is finished.

A: The Abyss

B: Blade Runner (not really sure how, but I can’t think of any other “B”s and Ford was blondish in that movie, I guess)

C: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (or Cube, possibly)

D: The Day the Earth Stood Still (cause it kind of looks like Keanu Reeves, I guess?)

E: The Empire Strikes Back


G: Godzilla

H: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I: I, Robot (I’m sure it’s Will Smith, and based on his outfit, this is the right movie, but he did another sci-fi movie starting with “I” — I Am Legend, duh)

J: Judge Dredd

K: King Kong

L: Logan’s Run (I’m basically sure this is wrong, but I’ve got nothing)

M: Moon (total guess)



P: Planet of the Apes


R: Running Man

S: Solaris (changed from Space Odyssey based on colour palette)

T: Tron



W: War of the Worlds

X: X-Men



Some of these seem like they should be easy, but I’m just not getting them. Considering the ones I left blank, I have a max score of 18. Considering how many I’m unsure of, though, I could certainly do worse than 13/26, i.e., a failing grade. I’ll check the results when he gives them out and share them in a post.

Can I recommend other sci-fi freaks take a crack at this?

The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes

I’m sure you’ve all watched Guy Ritchie’s second Sherlock Holmes movie. Where can you get your detective fix, now? I can help you with that.

In keeping both with his to-the-point writing style and the cultural expectations of the time, Conan Doyle did not much expound on Sherlock’s early life or psychology, and the detective himself rarely spoke of such things. The potential for interpretation is broad. . . .

While Robert Downey, Jr. portrays somewhat of a wise-cracking action hero, Sherlock‘s title character (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is both intensely intelligent and coldly indifferent to the human element in his puzzles. . . . “I can’t be the only one that gets bored.”

Read about several of the most interesting film, television, and book properties to re-imagine the great detective recently in my article, The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes.