Pixel Scroll 10/26/16 The Tick Against the Box

(1) CAN’T STOP LOOKING. CinemaBlend’s Gregory Wakeman waited to finish his post about this Jar Jar Binks movie poster before gouging out his eyes…

(2) ADD THIS WORLDCON BID TO YOUR SCORECARD. Kevin Standlee reports that, at the request of this bid, he has added UK in 2024 to the Worldcon.org list of bids. The link is a Facebook page. Kevin notes, “They did say to me when they contacted worldcon.org that they plan to have an actual web site eventually as well, not just a Facebook page.”

(3) PREDICTING THE PRESENT. In “The Celebrity Campaign” on National Review Online, Kevin D. Williamson summarizes William Gibson’s Idoru and explains why Gibson’s work is important for understanding the vapid, celebrity-driven campaign we have this year.

(4) OCTOCON. Forbidden Planet bookstore’s correspondent James Bacon easily mixes dance with journalism: “Science Fiction in Ireland: James Reports from Octocon”.

Even though I finished work at 5.30AM in London on a mild autumnal Saturday morning, within a few hours I was in the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin’s city centre, amongst friends and fans at Octocon. The enthusiasm and excitement then carried me through until I hit the sheets at 4.30AM on Sunday morning, fed by the energy of the convention, dancing well past midnight and imbibing great cheer.

This year’s committee is youthful, bucking a trend with similar conventions in the UK, and possess a dynamism that brought together a nice programme, good fun social elements and of course overall a very enjoyable convention. The Guests of Honour, Diane Duaine and Peter Morward and Rhianna Pratchett, allowed much ground to be covered and attracted great audiences. With over two hundred people in attendance, the five-stream programme was busy.

(5) SETTING THE STUPID AFLAME. This Bradbury-related tweet went viral.

Here’s the text:

I love this letter! What a wonderful way to introduce students to the theme of Fahrenheit 451 that books are so dangerous that the institutions of society — schools and parents — might be willing to team up against children to prevent them from reading one. It’s easy enough to read the book and say, ‘This is crazy. It could never really happen,’ but pretending to present students at the start with what seems like a totally reasonable ‘first step’ is a really immersive way to teach them how insidious censorship can be I’m sure that when the book club is over and the students realize the true intent of this letter they’ll be shocked at how many of them accepted it as an actual permission slip. In addition, Milo’s concern that allowing me to add this note will make him stand out as a troublemaker really brings home why most of the characters find it easier to accept the world they live in rather than challenge it. I assured him that his teacher would have his back.

(6) REMAINS OF THAT DAY. The demolition of Ray Bradbury’s house inspired Joshua Sky’s Omni story “The House Had Eyes”.

The exterior was yellow with a brown triangle thatched roof and a thin brick chimney. The windows had been destroyed—the frames, like the living room, were gutted. Their remains tossed into a large blue dumpster resting on a hillside covered in dying grass. All that was left were two large cragged square shaped holes that bore inward yet outward all at once. Inward, laid the wisps of soot polished ruin. Hardwood floors, a mantle, masonry, some shelves and dust. Outward—the structure telepathically transmuted its emotions of loss and sorrow. She knew she was dying.

I was transfixed, my eyeballs locked with the house’s. It was like something straight out of a Bradbury story! My hands tightly gripped the fence, chain-links dug into my finger tendons. Focused on the yellow lawn, my mind pictured a phantom montage of Bradbury, time-lapsed: Watering the grass. Reading on the steps. Puttering about. Stalking the sidewalks. Talking to the neighbors. Talking to himself. Writing. Staring at the sky. Staring at the stars. Staring beyond. Marveling in awe. Downright dreaming—of rockets and Martians and technicolored time travelers.

It all felt so cosmically unfair. Why’d they have to tear it down? Why’d they have to piss on a legacy? It felt like we were all losing something—even if we didn’t know it. That our country—the people—the vanishing literate—were losing not only a landmark, but a sense of our collective wonderment. That we were continuing a bad trend that had no hint of ending—swapping our heritage for a buck. That’s the American way some would say. Some—maybe—but not all.

(7) FROM VELOUR TO MONSTER MAROON. With Halloween just around the corner, Atlas Obscura offers guidance to cosplayers: “How to Read The Secret Language of Starfleet Uniforms”.

It’s Halloween time again, and as it has been for the past 50 years, a Star Trek costume is a safe bet for anyone looking to dress up. But do you want to be a Starfleet captain in 2268? A ship’s doctor in 2368? For the uninitiated, deciphering the language of colors and symbols that place you in the show’s universe is a crapshoot.

Luckily, Atlas Obscura is here to help, with a bit of cosplay codebreaking….

The most recent Star Trek television series, 2001’s Enterprise, was actually a prequel, taking place in the mid-2100s, and strangely, their uniforms take cues from every era of the Star Trek franchise. Taking place prior to the formation of the Federation Starfleet seen in later incarnations, the uniforms of the very first space-faring Enterprise, were once again standardized into a purple workman’s jumpsuit (echoing the red-washed uniforms of the later Original Series films). Position on the ship could be determined by the color of a seam that ran along the shoulder of the jumpsuit, with the colors corresponding to the original command gold, science blue-green, and operations red.

And then rank was indicated by the number of silver bars over the right breast, just like the pips used in The Next Generation. While not everyone’s favorite, this suit kind of had it all.

(8) NEXT AT KGB. The Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series will present John Langan and Matthew Kressel, on Wednesday, November 16, beginning at 7p.m. in New York’s KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.)

John Langan

John Langan is author of two novels, The Fisherman and House of Windows.  He’s also published two collections, The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters.  With Paul Tremblay, he co-edited Creatures:  Thirty Years of Monsters.  He is one of the founders of the Shirley Jackson Awards and he currently reviews horror and dark fantasy for Locus magazine.

New and forthcoming are stories in Children of Lovecraft, The Madness of Dr. Caligari, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu, Swords v. Cthulhu, and Children of Gla’aki.  In February of 2017, his third collection of stories, Sefira and Other Betrayals, will be published by Hippocampus Press.

John Langan lives in New York’s Hudson Valley and teaches classes in creative writing and Gothic literature at SUNY New Paltz.  With his younger son, he’s studying for his black belt in Tang Soo Do.

Matthew Kressel

Matthew Kressel is the author of the novels King of Shards and the forthcoming Queen of Static. His short fiction has been twice nominated for a Nebula Award and has or will soon appear in such markets as Lightspeed, Nightmare, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, io9.com, Apex Magazine, Interzone, and the anthologies Cyber World, After, Naked City, The People of the Book.

From 2003-2010 he published and edited Sybil’s Garage, an acclaimed SF magazine. He also published the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Paper Cities and for his publishing work, received a World Fantasy Award nomination for Special Award Non-Professional. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series alongside Ellen Datlow. When not writing fiction he codes software for companies large and small, studies Yiddish (Nu?), and recites Blade Runner in its entirety from memory.

(9) NEW SF BOARD GAMES. In a piece on arstechnica.com called “Essen 2016: Best board games from the biggest board game convention”, Tom Mendlesohn reports from the International Spieltage convention in Germany, where most of the new board games have sf/fantasy content.


Terraforming Mars

FryxGames, 1-5 players, 90-120 mins, 12+

One of the most buzzworthy releases of the whole show, this title sold out by 3pm on the first day—a whole hour before Ars even arrived. The one table that FryxGames ran with a playable copy was booked every day. Fortunately, Ars US staffers already got their grubby little hands on the title and gave it a thorough—and hugely positive—review.

You’re playing as a futuristic global megacorp attempting, as the title suggests, to terraform Mars. Your tools are lots of plastic cubes, which track your resources and which are traded to in for asset cards, which get you more cubes. (The game is a total engine-builder.) Though the art isn’t terribly exciting, this is a terrific thinky Eurogame of interlocking systems and finding the most efficient ways to exchange one set of numbers for a higher set of numbers. 

(10) HE MADE IT SO. In a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle by Mike Moffitt called “The Real James T. Kirk Built the Bridge of the Enterprise – In the Sunset District” profiles a guy named James Theodore Kirk, who was born a month before Star Trek went on the air and who built a replica of the Enterprise in his house.  He also is a Trekker who once won a chance to meet William Shatner, but he was dressed as the villianous reptile Gorn and wouldn’t tell Shatner his name really was James T. Kirk.

Captain’s log, Stardate 21153.7: After straying into a wormhole, the Enterprise has somehow crash-landed on Earth in early 21st-century San Francisco. We are attempting to effect repairs from a location in the city’s Sunset District.

James T. Kirk commands the Starship Enterprise from the captain’s chair of the ship’s bridge, conveniently located in the back of his house in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset.

The bridge is equipped with a wall of computers blinking with colorful lights, a transporter room and the main viewer, which would toggle to show flickering stars, sensor data or the occasional Romulan or Klingon message demanding the Enterprise’s immediate withdrawal from the Neutral Zone.

There is even an “elevator” in the back that makes a “whoosh” just like the one on the classic 1960s show “Star Trek.” Of course, the bridge is not an exact duplicate of the show’s — it’s a smaller area, so the key fixtures are a bit crammed and the helmsmen seats are missing altogether. But the overall impression is clearly Mid-century Modern Starship.

(11) KUTTNER. You can find Stephen Haffner hawking his wares this weekend at World Fantasy Con. Or you can order online today!

Haffner Press does it again! In 2012 we included a newly discovered Henry Kuttner story—”The Interplanetary Limited”—in THUNDER IN THE VOID. Now, with the upcoming release of THE WATCHER AT THE DOOR: THE EARLY KUTTNER, VOLUME TWO, we are pleased as pandas (!) to announce we have discovered ANOTHER unpublished Henry Kuttner story!

MAN’S CONQUEST OF SPACE or UPSIDE-DOWN IN TIME is an early gag-story (featuring pandas) supposedly written for the fanzines of the 1930s. It likely predates Kuttner’s first professional sale in 1936. “And how can I get a copy?” you ask? Well, we made it simple. So simple that it’s FREE* if you place (or have already placed!) a PAID preorder for THE WATCHER AT THE DOOR: THE EARLY KUTTNER, VOLUME TWO. We’re printing a limited quantity of this new Kuttner story, so Do. Not. Delay.

(12) KEEP WATCHING. Martin Morse Wooster recommends an animated short, Borrowed Time.

A weathered Sheriff returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget. With each step forward, the memories come flooding back. Faced with his mistake once again, he must find the strength to carry on.

“Borrowed Time” is an animated short film, directed by Andrew Coats & Lou Hamou-Lhadj, and produced by Amanda Deering Jones. Music by Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla.


[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman, John King Tarpinian, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

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80 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/26/16 The Tick Against the Box

  1. @Darren:

    Well, that leads to the question of which Rouge One trailer you’ve seen?

    Ooooh. I haven’t seen them yet, but now I will. That is encouraging 🙂


    Did you ever see the original trailers for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi? Or, for that matter, the trailer for just about any major motion picture in the last 40 years that had action/adventure elements?

    Stop demolishing my authoritative complaining! Why, when I was a kid, my movie trailers were chock full of Nutty Nuggets!!!

    Yeah, you’re probably right here. I think I’m severely allergic to advertising; it tends to be aimed so very firmly away from me, in a way that really gets my dander up sometimes.

    And now I’ve gone back to watch the original Star Wars trailer, and AGGGH MY EYES.

  2. The 2024 bid should probably pick a city RSN and go with that to avoid the whole UK(?) branding.

    Hmm, does this mean that soon the UK will be ineligible to host EuroCon? But if it splits up, Scotland would still be in the running. Wonder where Cornwall will end up — still hitched to the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, I’d guess. Oop North might go its own way, Scotland for sure, likely Wales (that’s going to change Charles’ name) and nobody’s ever known anything about Northern Ireland.

    “The Maltese Falcon” (Bogie version) was a remake of a movie that had already been made only 10 years earlier — with all the pre-Code “lewdness” making it more faithful to the book. The oeuvre of Chuck Heston alone shows two great remakes: Ben-Hur and Ten Commandments.

    @JJ: At least the Wendig bundle might have fun sweary digressions.

  3. A friend at the bar asked a good question (He asks many, but not all are relevant to this discussion): Instead of remaking a classic movie that everyone loves, why not remake a bad movie and do it right?

    (The answer, of course, is that the studios don’t want to fund movies with a track record of failure. All they care about is—again from my pal—will it do good in China? But still . . .)

  4. Both Maltese Falcons stayed pretty close to the book. Huston, in preparing the screenplay, basically pasted up pages from the book much of the way. There’s also the radio version, with Edward G. Robinson as Spade, who totally rocks the role.

    John M. Cowan
    I might as well have been that friend, except for the going to bars part. I’ve been saying for years that they should remake movies that somebody messed up, and do them right, instead of trying to recapture the success of one that was just fine.

  5. Remakes— acknowledged as such or not— were even more prevalent in the early history of movies. And theater. And probably novels too, though I’m on shakier ground there.

    @Standback: “And now I’ve gone back to watch the original Star Wars trailer, and AGGGH MY EYES” ……..Yeah. My ears, too— that narration, like the voiceovers in many trailers of the time, now sounds like parody when it wasn’t. Of course in the case of the first Star Wars, there was a big element of “We’re not really sure how to describe this to people, it’s not (yet) a familiar combination of genres for a big-budget movie, so let’s just say some vague stuff that sounds exciting and cut together some crazy visuals”… whereas by the time Empire and Jedi came around, they could be presented as follow-ups to events and characters that people were already into. Something like Rogue One is kind of in between, in that they obviously know the main things to get across are “this is Star Wars-ish, so if you liked that, you should see this” and “this is a flashback side story, not a continuation of the series”, but because of the latter, we can’t have any prior knowledge of or attachment to the characters.

  6. @John M. Cowan:

    Instead of remaking a classic movie that everyone loves, why not remake a bad movie and do it right?

    How often was the movie badly done from good material, rather than being a bad idea (or, perhaps, something that just can’t fit into a movie short enough that theaters will show it and people sit through it)? There was that Bakshi rotoscoped LotR in the 1970’s (that IIRC did not complete the trilogy because the first movie did so badly), and a non-broken version of The Dark is Rising would be nice (but I doubt it would get funded); but I suspect most bombs started from somebody thinking a thin or outright rotten premise would somehow make a good movie.

  7. @Chip Hitchcock

    That’s kind of my point: The Bakshi LOTR was bad, but Peter Jackson did it again and did it better. You’re right that lots of bad movies come from bad concepts; I wish I could think offhand of a movie with a good concept that wasn’t executed well—there are probably lots of examples, but I’m tired. Although BSG might in the ballpark, at least for the first few seasons and depending on what you thought of the original 1970s version. Did we have a discussion a while ago about movies/TV shows we’d like to see done again, and done better?

    It’s a lack of imagination on Hollywood’s part, and the desire to build franchises. Plus avoid risk. With the money involved, I’m not sure I can blame them. But it doesn’t make for innovative storytelling. Redoing the familiar is safe, but for the most part it’s not that interesting. Too many times they just rehash what we already know instead of going someplace different.

    Inception, for example—whatever its flaws, when I saw it a couple of years ago, I just really enjoyed seeing a movie that wasn’t based on anything I’d seen before. On the other hand, Avatar—ugh. Maybe that’s the example I was looking for. You could do that again and do it with a story that actually has believable characters and isn’t just Dances with Wolves/Pocahontas.

  8. Or just stop redoing origin stories, for Cthluhu’s sake. Does anyone NOT know how Superman came to Earth after Krypton exploded, or that Peter Parker was bit by a radioactive spider? Or that Bruce Wayne’s parents got murdered? You don’t need to spend half the movie explaining who these people are.

    Exhibit 1: The A-Team. The original TV pilot didn’t bother with an origin story, it just presented the A-Team as it was in the present day. The movie remake wasted everything by giving us two hours of how the team came to be, and totally missed the point of the series: “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.”

    (Yeah, The A-Team might not be the best example of a good concept done poorly. But I loved that show in the 1980s. I love it when a plan comes together.)

    Exhibit 2: The Miami Vice movie. Michael Mann, who created the original TV show and directed the movie, didn’t do a reboot or a wacky comedy about how they all came together (the Starsky & Hutch movie, anyone? Yuck). He just made another episode of the series—with different actors, okay, but Colin Farrell was fine as Sonny Crockett—but it worked because he held true to the original premise. (Although without Edward James Olmos as Lt. Castillo, it lacked a certain intensity.)

    Okay, sorry. I’ll stop now. Have a good evening, everyone.

  9. “The Maltese Falcon” (Bogie version) was a remake of a movie that had already been made only 10 years earlier — with all the pre-Code “lewdness” making it more faithful to the book.

    And in between them was a version called “Satan Met a Lady.” Hollywood did 3 different versions of the same novel in a decade.

    The oeuvre of Chuck Heston alone shows two great remakes: Ben-Hur and Ten Commandments.

    Don’t forget his “Omega Man”, which was a remake of the 1964 Vincent Price “The Last Man on Earth” (both adaptations of Matheson’s “I am Legend.”)

  10. Bill: Don’t forget his “Omega Man”, which was a remake of the 1964 Vincent Price “The Last Man on Earth” (both adaptations of Matheson’s “I am Legend.”)

    Richard Matheson famously asked why they kept remaking “I Am Legend,” saying none of the movies followed his book.

  11. Mike Glyer: Richard Matheson famously asked why they kept remaking “I Am Legend,” saying none of the movies followed his book.

    OMG, I saw the Will Smith version on the DVD at home, and I was yelling at the screen because they had Smith’s character behaving so unbelievably stupidly. The Heston version was heaps better, even if it wasn’t faithful to the book.

  12. Film adaptations of Frankenstein were released in 1910, 1915, and 1920, prior to the one that most people now think of as the first. There had already been more than a dozen stage adaptations before those. I’m not sure why “Is this a story no one’s ever encountered in any form before?” should have been the overriding concern on everyone’s mind at all of those times, rather than “Can we do some form of this story well?”.

    Of course one big difference between today’s film world and the early 20th century is that, in most cases, movies are still available in some form all over the world for many years after they’re released. In earlier times, it was more likely that your film or stage re-adaptation of story X would be the only one your target audience could reasonably be expected to have seen. But “We shouldn’t do a thing now because we have fewer reasons to do it than they had in the past” is a different argument from “We shouldn’t do a thing now because it’s inherently a bad thing to do, as they used to understand in the good old days.”

  13. @JJ: I found the Heston movie nearly unwatchable and enjoyed the Smith one quite a bit, but don’t care to argue about those overall. But I am slightly curious as to what in particular you thought was “unbelievably stupid” behavior by Smith’s character; I can’t think of any offhand and haven’t seen that particular criticism of the movie before.

  14. Late edit for the second-to-last comment above: as mentioned in that link, some of the decisions made in stage adaptations of Frankenstein later found their way into Shelley’s own rewrites of the novel. I think it’s worth considering that even when some remake/re-adaptation/ripoff of an earlier work seems like an unworthy failure overall, it often introduces the grain of a good idea that will influence someone else’s work down the line, much as genetic mutations that are originally pointless become useful in a later generation. It’s understandable if audiences find those intermediate steps annoying and would prefer to skip them, but I don’t think it would ultimately be a good thing for art in general if we could somehow convince everyone to stop making unoriginal works.

    Edited AGAIN to add (and then I need to stop procrastinating and put the computer down): this is why I think Matheson’s comment, despite being understandable from his point of view, is backwards: the fact that all of those movies are wildly divergent from the book and from each other is actually a good argument for making more of them.

  15. Late edit for the second-to-last comment above: as mentioned in that link, some of the decisions made in stage adaptations of Frankenstein later found their way into Shelley’s own rewrites of the novel.

    Similarly, the movie adaptation of A FEW GOOD MEN “fixed” a few problems in the story, so Aaron Sorkin rewrote the play to include the better material.

  16. @John M. Cowan

    Or just stop redoing origin stories, for Cthluhu’s sake. Does anyone NOT know how Superman came to Earth after Krypton exploded, or that Peter Parker was bit by a radioactive spider? Or that Bruce Wayne’s parents got murdered? You don’t need to spend half the movie explaining who these people are.

    Believe it or not, when I watched the Gotham pilot with a non-fan, she visibly jumped, when the Waynes were shot in the alley. And I was like, “Oh please, don’t tell me that was a surprise for you. Cause that’s one of the most famous superhero origin stories ever.”

    Now this particular non-fan knows who Batman and Catwoman are and must have seen at least one Batman film before (definitely some of the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films) and she must have seen the origin story before, but for some reason, she still didn’t connect the murder in the alley to Batman.

    I actually agree that we don’t need to see the origin story of every single superhero and other characters all the time, but even with the most famous origin stories of all there are people who don’t know them.

  17. Truly true about the remakes in the earliest days of movies. There’s a TV documentary series from the 70s called “The Amazing Years of Cinema” that covers the first ten years of motion pictures, and if one studio did a 20-second movie of a kid playing with a turtle, every other studio would cover it with their own version. When a studio did the hose gag (kid kinks hose; dad looks at hose; kid lets dad get it in the face), they all did it, getting more and more elaborate.

    The narrator (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) would sometimes show several versions of the gag, and at least once, I think they didn’t have the original any more, but assured us that the French version they showed followed the British original pretty much exactly.

  18. I’ve written at length about Bakshi. The very small portion of it that’s favorable doesn’t intersect with the part that’s about his LOTR.

  19. I don’t mind remakes so much when they are taking a second bite of a source novel and not remaking an earlier movie.

    An example is True Grit. I like both the 1969 version and the 2010 version. Neither is a fully accurate adaptation of the novel–both leave out some scenes, both add some new scenes–but both are IMHO worthy adaptations. And in the 2010 version, it was refreshing to see 14-year-old Maddie Ross played by an actual 14-year-old. Who, I might add, acted circles around 22-year-old Kim Darby from the 1969 version.

    I also like the 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, possibly more than the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. One reason being that modern CGI made it possible to create the Veruca Salt/squirrels scene, which had to be replaced by the Veruca Salt/geese scene in the 1971 movie because the technology just wasn’t up to making believable fake squirrels–ever see the stop-motion squirrel in The Great Rupert? Yeah, Imagine a flock of those in WWatCF.

    (Another of my issues with WWatCF is Hollywood’s need to make all movies for children into musicals. I wouldn’t mind seeing modern music-free straight-from-the-books remakes of things such as The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins.)

  20. @ Cora: I would say it’s less that we don’t need to see every superhero origin story, but that we don’t need to see them every damn time they make a new movie with that superhero. Consider the first Avengers movie. We’d already been given the origins for Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk. Hawkeye and Black Widow didn’t even get origin-story movies. But there they all were, working together, growing into being a team.

    HOW many times have we seen the origin story for Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man? Every damn time they cast a new actor in the role, AFAICT. Can it with the origin story already and just cut to the chase!

    I have a friend who says that this was one of the biggest problems with the first Star Trek reboot. Not only was it being an origin story for Kirk, but also for everyone else in the crew — as opposed to the show, where we just walked into an existing story and took it from there. It was trying to be a superhero movie.

  21. Truly true about the remakes in the earliest days of movies.

    One example that comes to mind is Alice in Wonderland, several versions of which are public domain and in the Internet Archives.

    A version from 1903.

    A version from 1915.

    A version from 1933.

    (I could swear a BBC production from 1966 used to be there, but I can’t seem to find it now.)

    I have somewhere around a dozen movies or TV miniseries based on Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass in my collection, some more loosely than others. (One of the more–um–“interesting” ones is from weird-ass filmmaker Jan Švankmajer.) (And yes, before anyone asks, I do have the 1976 version, which is one of the more loose interpretations.)

    (Related to my earlier post about Maddie Ross being played by an actual 14-year-old, none of the Alice adaptations star an actual 7-and-a-half-year-old, but I realize that a reasonable adaptation of Alice would be a pretty difficult task for a child that young.)

    (((((Here’s a few more parenthesis, just in case I didn’t use enough in this post.)))))

  22. Adam-Troy Castro has a rant about origin stories.

    We really don’t need to know how all those [heroes of Western movies] learned to shoot. But in superhero stories it’s considered important that we learn how Snot-Man learned to sneeze villains into submission, and so we tend to get half an hour explaining how he was hit by lightning while scratching his nose, or whatever.

  23. @Kurt Busiek
    Similarly, the movie adaptation of A FEW GOOD MEN “fixed” a few problems in the story, so Aaron Sorkin rewrote the play to include the better material.

    And I believe I’ve read that new stage productions of “Glengarry Glen Ross” often include the Alex Baldwin scene from the movie (which wasn’t originally in the play), because audiences expect it — such a powerful scene.

    @Darren — If you like Alice in Wonderland, you might find this amusing.

  24. @ Seth: Thank you for posting that link. He says everything I’ve been thinking about the glut of origin-story movies, much more coherently than I could.

  25. Origin stories are also legion in comic books. So much so that Donald Simpson (creator of Megaton Man) included a “Legion of Origins” in his universe, where the supers would just sit around and recount their origin stories. Oddly plausible.

  26. @Kip
    Now that sounds like it would be entertaining.

    “Radioactive spider? That’s nothing. Let me tell you what happened to ME…”

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