Friday, December 18, 2015

The Force Awakens: Fanservice Galore, Some Cool Stuff, and Some Bothersome Bits (SPOILERS)

People clapped when the Lucasfilm logo signaled that the trailers were over and Star Wars: The Force Awakens had begun. People (including me) cheered when the yellow Star Wars logo popped up against the starfield, concurrent with John Williams' triumphal theme.

At the end of the movie, there were just a few scattered claps (not including any from me).

There was a lot that I loved about this movie, and nothing I hated. But I did have some problems with it.

Starting with the positive, everything felt real and solid. I expected nothing less than a seamless blend of real special effects and CGI, and I got it. Also, BB-8 was indeed cute.

I loved the multiracial cast. I loved that women had strong, active roles.

I loved the fanservice, up to a point. There were many callbacks to the first six movies, from the opening crawl to other things that I'll start mentioning after the spoiler warning. 

SPOILER WARNING!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mind Meld: What Makes the Perfect Short Story?

I recently participated in another Mind Meld at the SFSignal website with about 20 other writers and editors. This was the question posed by superfan Paul Weimer, which each of us answered in our own way:

Novels have to do many things, novellas a few things. But a short story is a pure, distilled idea, crystallized down to the core, drilling down through a reader’s shields and evoking a reaction, branding a reader’s memory forever. With this in mind, we asked our contributors:
Q: What do you consider the perfect SF/F short story, or the elements of one?

Follow the link at http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/12/mind-meld-makes-perfect-short-story/ and scroll down to see my reply along with those of many others.

(This item was really published here on Dec. 19 but scheduled as if on Dec. 16, the day the Mind Meld went up at SFSignal, to keep my essays chronologically tidy in my blog's timeline.)