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In Space, No One Can Hear You Complain About Your Job July 20, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Uncategorized.
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This was a real conversation.

Ian: Asteroid mining.  That’s the job for me.

Me: That’s the mindless labor of the space forces.

Ian: Fact, you drive a spaceship.  Fact, you shoot lasers at things probably.

Me: False.  You drive a drill.  And a shovel.

Ian: A space drill.

Me: Sure.  Okay.  The drill is in space, but it’s still a drill.  The same type of drill that would be in Kansas.  They don’t call it a Kansas drill so you shouldn’t call it a space drill.

Ian: Except it’s in space.  Everything is better in space.

Me: So is Kansas if you think about it.

Ian: It’s like Deadliest Catch, except instead of Alaskan king crab, it’s a chunk of palladium the size of Huston.  And, if all goes well, space crabs.

Me: I heard that if you aren’t careful you can catch those off a space toilet.


To Hulk, or Not to Hulk July 13, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Movie News.
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That is the question, isn’t it?


By now most people know that the long-gestating rumor that Edward Norton wouldn’t be returning for the Joss Whedon directed Avengers film is true. Marvel Studios has confirmed it. Says Kevin Feige, Marvel’s President of Production:

“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”

So that is that, Norton is out. Which begs the question of who would be an ideal candidate to play Bruce Banner, the conflicted genius with a raging monster within?


I, of course, have an opinion.

If I had my druthers and was in charge of casting the film I would bring in little-known actor Sharlto Copley. Mr. Copley is probably best known as that guy from District 9.


He was also recently in the A-Team film, playing the role of Murdoch. So very different than his part in District 9. This man has range.

He can also play the stammering, nervous, nerdy man . . . we definitely saw this in District 9. What else did we see? A man terrified over the prospect of turning into a monster. Once I realized that Copley could be an option, I haven’t been able to must up a half good argument for anyone else. This is the guy I want playing Banner.


I rarely get what I want though. I would settle for Adrien Brody.

Stranger in a Strange Land Book Review July 3, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in book review.
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This is a cross-post from the forum for the Comic Book Outsiders. Their current book club selection is Stranger in a Strange Land, and I had enough of a response that I thought it was worth sharing.

Let me preface this by saying that I really like Robert A. Heinlein. His is some of the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve ever read.

That said though, I did not like this book. I was okay with about the first 2/3rds of it, but the last third was really dull, grating, and irritating to me. In some ways I hated it (the only other Heinlein story I had this reaction to was Farnham’s Freehold, which actually touched upon some of the same ideas – maybe I’m a prude when it comes to cannibalism?)

I was with it when they were discussing the differences between human and Martian culture. I dug the vague descriptions of the Martians themselves, and their powers. I was definitely with it when Mike was on the run from the government, still trying to survive in a world he couldn’t fathom. That’s good stuff there . . .

And then the orgy based religion. I think any time that you get to the point in a story where your main character forms a cult with himself as the godhead, you’ve jumped rails.

And it was definitely a cult. Members lived together in one big group marriage, separated from outside societal influence and under the guidance of a single ultra-charismatic leader who can do no wrong because only he holds the special knowledge they all seek. Knowledge wasn’t given freely, you had to move through a series of harder and harder “circles” to gain “enlightenment”. And how do you advance through these circles? By having sex with the cult leader, by gum! Orgies and a lot of neat phrases about how cool and bright and hippie awesome everything is abound.

Plus the cannibalism. Sure, sure, I get it it, it’s Martian and different. But I AM a prude when it comes to that.

I understand that maybe Heinlein had intended this to be a critique of religion, and if so I rescind my statements. I don’t think so though, because the book was held up as such an example of how to truly live by the New Age movement that the satire was either completely missed, or not there in the first place.

I loathe the solipsism of the movement in the story. It was only about hedonistic self-indulgence. Nothing was wrong, so go ahead and do whatever feels good (sounds vaguely of how people get sold on Satanism, all I’m saying). The problem with that idea is that if nothing is wrong, then nothing can actually be RIGHT, and, as my philosophy professor used to say, then you can’t get out of bed in the morning.

Valentine Michael Smith couldn’t be a hero because he didn’t STAND for anything. I guess I’d just rather read stories that have heroes.

All of that isn’t even the main problem with the movement in the book though. Any of that I can forgive in a story, but this is meant to be science fiction, and I think at the heart of science fiction is a certain amount of humanism. The problem here is that all of the characters we’re supposed to care about, to prove their value, give up everything that makes them human. Everything but sex. That seems to be the only thing humanity has that is of any value in the end of this story.

Maybe I missed the point . . .

Ultimately, I’d have much rather read a book set entirely on this vision of Mars. Those Martians were interesting sounding and I’d have loved to have spent time with them.

I still really like Heinlein though. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Citizen of the Galaxy, Starship Troopers, Glory Road, The Puppet Masters – now those are some cracker books!

June 2010 Movies July 1, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Uncategorized.
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Body of Lies
The Hangover
Tokyo Story
Iron Man 2 *
Twelve and Holding
Duck Season
Quid Pro Quo
The A-Team *
Reign of Fire
Speed Racer

* Movies seen in theaters