Monday, August 20, 2012

Does Google Dream of Electric Sheep?

"Nexus 6 Replicants" graphic by Superior Graphix

I got the urge recently to reread Philip K. Dick's Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep? as it's been about 20 years since I last read this wonderful novel. It's so much different than the movie Blade Runner, which is based on DADOES?

The novel doesn't have the visual impact of the movie, nor does it have the manic emotions and level of violence of the movie. The novel is a completely different [reading] experience -- and if you are a fan of the movie and have not read the novel, I encourage you to do so.

But the novel notwithstanding, I am a huge fan of Blade Runner and, in fact, I own three versions of the movie: the original version with the voice-over (on video), the Director's Cut and the Final Cut (both on DVD). One of my favorite scenes: following the fight between the replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) and Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), on the rooftop, after Batty saves Deckard, when Batty could have easily just let Deckard fall to his death below. Batty, with symbolic white bird in hand, says to Deckard (and to everyone):
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

PKD was offered $400,000 to write a novelization of the movie, but he refused, stating that the novel would remain as is and there would be no novelization. Now, to put that $400,000 in perspective: Since the film was released in June 1982, let's assume that the novelization offer was made in 1981. According to DollarTimes's inflation calculator, the inflation rate since 1981 is 3.15%; so $400,000 in 1981 is equivalent to $1,045,988.41 (let's not forget the 41 cents!) in 2012.

So, my question to you: Would you be willing able to turn down a million-plus dollars to maintain the integrity of your novel, your writing? Sorry, but I don't think so, not in this day and age of me, me, me....

In the end, in 1982, Del Rey Books released a mass market paperback movie tie-in version of the novel, featuring the Blade Runner title and promo poster on the cover, with the subtitle -- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- in parenthesis. And on the copyright page the following blocked text was added:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

July Links & Things

The past five or so weeks have been very busy for me -- but having work to do is always a good thing: it helps to pay the bills. I completed a developmental edit on a manuscript for an unpublished author; I completed a line and copy edit on reprint anthology The Apes of Wrath for Tachyon Publications (edited by Rick Klaw); and lastly, I completed a comprehensive line and copy edit (and some content editing as well) on Kameron Hurley's Rapture, the final volume in her Bel Dame Apocrypha series, for Night Shade Books. Oh, and for my own personal reading (which occurs so seldom anymore), I read the omnibus edition of Wool by Hugh Howey -- one of the finest works of post-apocalyptic SF that I have read in years. I don't recall any typos at all, though there was the occasional dropped word, missing hyphenation, etc., but that's it. Imagine that -- and a self-published book, too!

I also attended Readercon in mid-July; there are aspects of Readercon that I truly enjoy, but too much of it is simply cliquish and pedantic -- and thus not my personal preference; but I attend roughly every other year for the sole purpose of seeing friends whom I would not ever see otherwise. But, it turned out that this year's Readercon wasn't so typical after all, as a lot of controversy ensued afterward. Just search for "Readercon controversy" in any search engine and you'll find enough links. Or, you could check out John Scalzi's blog post: he links to a list of "Readercon controversy" posts, and provides his own personal view on convention harassment. Bottom line: the Readercon board of directors reversed their initial decision regarding a Readercon attendee, and they have all resigned from their positions as directors. You can read the official public Readercon statement.

Now to resume my regularly (albeit late) scheduled programming: This is my monthly wrap-up of July's Links & Things. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern; or Friending me on Facebook (FB). Note, however, that not all of my tweeted/FB links make it into these month-end posts. As with prior months, June was a busy month, so there is a lot of content here. Previous monthly recaps are accessible via the "Links and Things" tag in the right column.

  • If you are a Facebook user -- and a writer -- you may want to add the following group to your FB profile: OPEN CALL: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY & PULP MARKETS. The majority of posts are made by Cynthia Ward, publisher of Market Maven, but anyone can post an open call for genre submissions. There have been a half-dozen posts already today, which is fairly typical.
  • I recently critiqued a couple stories for a "new" writer, after which he contacted me about ways he might improve his grammar. I recommended that he read works by a few specific authors, one of which was Lucius Shepard. Shortly thereafter I read a blog post by Michael Swanwick (another author whose work I would highly recommend) in which he quoted a lengthy paragraph written by Lucius Shepard; in this paragraph, a tyrant's son restores a dragon skull. The paragraph is approximately 160 words, and includes very few adjectives and only two adverbs. As Michael says about the paragraph: "Beautiful stuff, eh?"
  • On In an article entitled "Thank you for killing my novel," author Patrick Somerville explains how the New York Times "panned my book, then had to correct the review to fix all their errors"; he then shares the email communication one of the book's characters (yes, that's right, a character from the book) had with an NYT editor. (via Curt Jarrell's Facebook page)
  • I do a lot of copy editing in my line of work, and if you've ever wandered just what a copy editor does -- a good copy editor -- then read this next link and be amazed: courtesy of Angry Robot Books (@angryrobotbooks). (also via Curt Jarrell's Facebook page)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Firefly-class Serenity

"They" say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, this one photo is simply not enough to do justice to this amazing wonderwork: a minifig-scale model of the Serenity spacecraft created with Legos. That's right, boys and girls: Legos!

This model was recently featured on io9:

The designer is 37-year-old Adrian Drake. According to Adrian, the model took 475 hours to build over a span of 21 months; it measures 7 feet 2 inches in length, weighs 135 pounds, and contains approximately 70,000 lego pieces. Adrian states that he spent $800.00 specifically for the model in addition to the "many many many thousands of dollars I've spent on Lego over the years."

Adrian debuted the Serenity on August 4 at Brickfair in Chantilly, Virginia. And to get a sense of the size of this model, you need to see this picture, taken at the Brickfair:

But even this photo doesn't do this masterpiece justice -- because... the interior features the bridge (in fact, Wash has his toy dinosaur to hand), crew accommodations, the dining room, and cargo bay, plus Inara's shuttle. And, the cargo bay and Firefly drive light up.

Seeing is believing: Adrian has posted a 31-photo Flickr set entitled "Serenity Construction," and the coup de grâce: a 75-photo Flickr set featuring a look at the finished model, inside and out, from every angle imaginable.

Please do check out these 106 photos, which showcase Adrian Drake's Serenity.

Now, who's for getting out their Lego sets?