September 30th, 2010
(Aside from the obvious, that is.)
I recently finished reading a book about fandom, Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins. It was published in 1992. It examines various aspects of the fan community, and in a section about how fans interpret material by re-watching it, I found this choice quote:
“Each time I see [Star Wars], a new level or idea about something in it shows itself. [Part of the fun is] piecing together from the few clues what the Old Republic was actually like, who the Jedi were, what Han’s background was, … what the Clone Wars were[.]” (Roberta Brown qtd. in Jenkins 1992, 73)
That’s the entire fan controversy in a nutshell, right there. Fans watched the original movies and came up with their own theories about the background material. By keeping the background in a liminal, undefined state, it was alive and exciting. By solidifying his own version of the past in the form of the prequels, George Lucas effectively killed the fans’ grounds for speculation. That, more than the shortcomings of the films themselves, is what inspired fans’ ire.
Bonus: A moral for writers of fiction. Gaps in stories are not necessarily meant to be filled. Interesting background is often more exciting when it’s undefined; when we see the trappings but don’t necessarily know what’s behind them. This is a rocky road to tread (background still has to at least appear to have a reason to exist, you can’t just make things up at random), but it pays to remember that some things are better off unexplained. Bill Watterson never defined what “The Noodle Incident” was, and you can bet if he had, it wouldn’t be as absurd as you imagined it.
September 24th, 2010
I have cited Star Trek fansite Ex Astris Sciencia in an academic paper:
For example, Star Trek fan Bernd Schneider has attempted to accurately calculate the size of the USS Enterprise as depicted in recent film Star Trek (2009), but his calculations diverge from official figures, which has made him the subject of outspokenly hostile criticism (Schneider 2010:n.p.).
(The paper is a critique of Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins. This makes sense in context.)
September 21st, 2010
More photographs from the project.
September 8th, 2010
Well, it looks like Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life, my favorite member of the set of Comics Which Almost Never Update, has once again done the unexpected by, well, updating. With four new episodes, no less! I won’t go into detail about this comic now, suffice to say you should be reading it and leave it at that. (Well, I also can’t resist summarizing: It’s an entertaining and thought-provoking story about two robots on an interplanetary road trip.)
Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. You should be reading it.
September 6th, 2010
Some of you may remember my photograph series from last summer, “Glimpse.” (An ugly title which I’m unfortunately stuck with until I can think of a better one. Suggestions welcome.) In the coming months I’ll be working on a continuation of that series as an independent study. Though the planning and preparation stage is not actually complete yet, I’ve already staged two photography sessions in the UConn darkroom. Though my main goal was to practice the technique, either of these images could easily be used in the series as well. Have a look:
I also ended up with this strange accidental self-portrait, currently visible on the “whois” page.