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Archive for October 2005

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is the subject of much debate in SF circles. Is he a fascist? A Hitler apologist? Did he even write the award-winning “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead“?

One tactic I consciously avoid in this blog is linking to content as an entry. I don’t have this blog to show you what other people are writing – it’s here so you can read what I put down. This is a rare exception, because I want to point out a passage may otherwise go overlooked.

Card recently reviewed “Serenity” and you can read that here. He thought it was the best movie of the year, and possibly of all SF, but that’s not what led me to post the following excerpt.

Because for me, a great film — sci-fi or otherwise — comes down to relationships and moral decisions. How people are with each other, how they build communities, what they sacrifice for the sake of others, what they mean when they think of a decision as right vs. wrong.

Yeah, even comedies. Even romantic comedies — it’s those moral decisions.

Wow, that sounds so heavy. But great film is heavy — out of sight, underneath everything, where you don’t have to be slapped in the face by it. On the surface, it can be exciting, funny, cool, scary, horrifying — all those things that mean “entertainment” to us.

Underneath it all, though, it has to mean something. And the meaning that matters is invariably about moral decisions people make. Motives. Relationships. Community. If those don’t work, then you can gloss up the surface all you want, we’ll know we’ve just been fed smoke. Might smell great but we’re still hungry.

That is exactly what I have a problem with.

I’m toying with some system that may help me improve, a sort of checklist for scenes that will force me to address the issues I seem to circumnavigate.

On the other hand, just the fact that I have to make a checklist is not, I have a hunch, an omen for success.

Busy-ness and another mouse problem

I haven’t blogged much in the past few dys. I’ve been busy thinking of 16-year-old girls, correcting assignments, and thinking of the short.

Nearmiss and I took the same initial approach to the notes, that being complete bewilderment at how to handle them. Once we started chatting – well, instant-messaging, my brain seemed to start working. We have a good collaborative partnership: she likes all my ideas. Seriously, my strengths are her weaknesses, and my weaknesses are her strengths. She can’t grasp the big picture, schemes like plotting, a cinematic scope, and theme. My problems are emotional investment, crisis, and stakes. We complement each other.

I sent her “Sheep’s End” and she is going to see what she can find. I’m open to a partnership. The short is certainly progressing well.

My mouse has started to spontaneously double-click. I don’t have another USB mouse to test with – I hope it’s the mouse and not my keyboard or Mac. I’ll go get another tomorrow, right after I pick up mousetraps. And a bulb for my overhead lights. And a bulb for the torchiere. And a new remote for the VCR….

I found an Orson Scott Card article I’d like to comment on, but that will have to wait until after tonight’s Rosh HaShanah dinner. More later tonight. Or tomorrow.

Good exercise

I’m wrestling with stories based in the dark, gritty world of 16-year-old girls.

My main stumbling block remains emotions and motivations in general. Toss in what I see as a bit of a contradiction – to me, 16-year-old girls are flighty and driven to be emotionally attached, but aren’t necessarily dark or gritty – and it’s not easy work.

On the other hand, it may help me improve in the long run.

Every click…
...contributes to world domination.