First of all, my internet provider is switching me over to a faster connection this Friday. I don’t know how smooth that switchover will be, so don’t be alarmed if I go offline for a few days.
And now for some links:
WordPress has prepared a report about the activity of this blog in 2012. Go here to read it.
Vulture wonders why romantic comedies keep bombing at the box office and ask a bunch of studio executives. The answer include such silly theories as “Well, Americans are getting married later [at the biblically high ages of 26 and 28 respectively, which would be at the lower edge of marriage ages in most of Europe] and they no longer believe in true love, so they refuse to watch romantic comedies.” Yeah, that’s the reason why romance novels are failing to find readers – oh, wait!
A couple of the people interviewed come close to hitting upon the true reasons, namely that studios don’t like romantic comedies because they don’t offer the potential for sequels and because they appeal mainly to women. Because the ugly truth is that the major Hollywood studios killed the genre themselves by treating its overwhelmingly female audience with condescension (“Women will watch anything”), putting out formulaic crap and adding all sorts of gross-out humor to appeal to male viewers. Oh yes and “attractive and successful woman ends up with Seth Rogen/Kevin James/Adam Sandler” is no woman’s romantic fantasy, even though Mssrs Rogen, James and Sandler are talented actors.
Canadian fantasy writer C.P.D. Harris has two great connected posts about unjust or just plain evil systems as villains, using Les Miserables and the character of Javert as an example.
I found these posts very interesting, particularly since I’m in the process of writing a series of SF novellas set against the backdrop of the great galactic revolution against the evil Empire™. I’ve always been a sucker for SF stories about overthrowing evil systems to the point that “includes a revolution against some kind of evil system” was once a core genre requirement for me. And of course, I’ve long wanted to write my own, though the epic SF saga complete with revolution to expel the evil elements of the great galactic empire that I started in my teens isn’t really salvagable for a number of reasons.
Besides, there is the problem that once you’ve hit your early twenties, probably mid twenties in a quiet time in global politics, you can’t really believe in the idea of a great revolution that solves every problem and wipes away all injustices anymore, because by that time you’ve seen too many real world revolutions fail in all sorts of nasty manners. I’ve long been interested in how other writers deal with that dilemma, particularly since the great revolution is still a core plot of our genre. Most of the solutions aren’t very satisfying, because they either ignore the problem or the ending is so bleak that you want to slit your wrists afterwards.