Aspiring author/screenwriter/editor. Uses green ink for editing to soften the blow. No social media, unless you're interested in desserts on Pinterest. Feedback appreciated!
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Hard and Soft Science Fiction
Define ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sci-fi. [See for distinction: (link) Why are they distinct? Where are each found (types of books, age/gender-demographics, or region)? Where does ‘soft sci-fi’ end and fantasy begin? Are they distinguished by authorial background? What trends have been seen in both over time (what are the trends right now?). Most importantly, what are their different narrative functions/potentials (are hard meant for commentary on humanity while soft are just set dressing? Vice versa?)? And why does the distinction matter?
Some examples of ‘hard sci-fi’: works of Isaac Asimov/H.G. Wells, The Martian, The Diamond Age, Interstellar (arguably)
literatureWrite this topic
Comparing The Aeneid and The Odyssey
Analyze the differing portrayals of ‘heroism’ in the Aeneid and the Odyssey, two epic poems which explore the lives of heroes after the events of the Iliad. What do these differences reveal about the different values of Romans (Vergil) and the Greeks (Homer)? Consider Aeneas’ internal struggle between acting in self-interest, as Odysseus often does, and following his destiny and exhibiting ‘pietas’. What roles do the influences of Octavian and Homer play in the Aeneid?
Examining the Different Versions of 'Oldboy'
Consider Park Chan Wook’s ‘Oldboy’ (2003) and Spike Lee’s American (2013) remake. What do the differences in these two works reveal about their respective cultures?
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Gunnerkrigg Court: Nature, Magic, and Technology
Analyze the juxtaposition of nature, magic, and technology in Tom Siddell’s long-running (12 years so far) webcomic, Gunnerkrigg Court. How does Siddell allow these three to coexist, and how does he allow them to clash? Does Siddell favor any of the three? How are these elements connected to the two main characters/settings (Antimony and Kat, The Court and the Forest) and their respective flaws?
Can Passive Characters Still Be Engaging?
Kurt Vonnegut once said that "every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water." But can some characters, like some people, be partially passive elements in a story? The orphan who doesn’t care who their parents are, the divorcee who makes no attempt to salvage their marriage, the hero that saves the world because..they do. Is it possible to have a compelling story with such characters playing a central role?
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The Success of Herbert's Dune
Why was Dune so successful despite being largely inaccessible to a mainstream audience? How did Herbert manage to write the best-selling sci-fi novel of all time (surpassing classics such as the works of Asimov and Wells)? While rumors of its reboot arise, why might a major studio (Legendary Entertainment) take on such a sprawling project?
Overall, what is the appeal of Dune, and why has it been so enduring?
What Determines Success When Challenging Convention?
Many directors who have a very distinct style; however, some are criticized for not adhering to convention (Batman V Superman’s lack of establishing shots, Le Miz’s use of handheld and disregard of the fourth wall*) while others are praised for it (Wes Anderson’s constantly symmetrical shots, which ignore the Rule of Thirds). Why are these so differently received? Which filmmakers are successful when they challenge convention, and why? Success here is defined by critical and popular opinion (‘majority rules’), rather than box office returns.
This topic should mainly address technical aspects of filmmaking such as lighting, camera-work, and cinematography, rather than plot or character.
*from Film Crit Hulk’s excellent review
Way preferable to anything explored here; I didn’t think Disney would go in that direction, but Rian Johnson structured that entire movie in a ‘rebellious’ (to Star Wars tradition) manner, so it was kind of inevitable given his method. Rey’s underlying obsession with seeing her parents (cave scene) was kind of weird, as it didn’t gel with any of her other character motivations; I wish that had been handled better so the actual reveal had more emotional weight (but the reveal scene was well-acted, etc.).
If I’m remembering correctly, Batwoman was created to disavow Batman and Robin’s seemingly ‘gay’ relationship-either due to censorship, or just reception. Some poetic justice: the current Batwoman is DC’s #1 lesbian character.
(A continuation on gay characters: the 2015 Midnighter miniseries is really good; if anyone’s interested)
Can’t believe I never know about those; thanks for teaching me a new thing!
He’s only about ten years older than her…
Yes, but take a look at BvS’ budget, especially its marketing budget. It’s not as if they aren’t getting a ton from WB.
They definitely could. Despite the inherent silliness of most comic book characters, many have great depth and themes to explore (Dick Grayson, whom I will never shut up about, is very complex and interesting, despite originally donning a mullet and 80s-style suit. His storyline is the best way I’ve seen the inherent dichotomy of youth and growth explored. I can definitely see an action-art house hybrid film with him in the lead). The problem is that DC (mainly Snyder) is equating the ‘grimdark’ style and ‘edginess’ with depth, along with the basic elements of an Intro-to-Philosophy course. They think heavy-handed Jesus imagery makes a film deep and artistic, while it actually makes it more stupid when unearned and blatantly shoved in. The weird pseudo-Christian narrative Snyder has been forcing is the problem, rather than the source material defying complexity. Take a look at ANAD Moon Knight, Watchmen, TDKR. Even Red Hood Rebirth has some themes going on. Comic books can undoubtedly be deep and complex, just not in the way DC has been forcing it.
By that logic DC should have objectively better films because there’s more care put into them, which unfortunately is not the case (coming from someone who usually likes DC more). I think they prioritize the wrong things. Marketing for SS was great, but then they neglected…the rest of it. If you look at the CG Behind-the-Scenes for BvS, they put a ton of work into Doomsday’s ‘birth’ scene, but neglected the actual STORY and PLOT (and design of Doomsday for that matter… I don’t care how good your textures are if your monster looks generic/boring). They devote more time to each film, but that doesn’t make them better, even though it should.