Who Am I?

Toney, Alabama, United States
Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, XML/X3D/VRML97 Designer, Consultant, Musician, Composer, Writer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Post Policy and Sci-Fi

Just to remind some who send me anonymous comments, it's my policy not to publish those. It stops a lot nonsense and reflects my opinion that a comment worth publishing has a name. Otherwise, the chicken hawks take over.

Usually I won't respond either but like all policies, I set'em and I can break them.

I'm a fan of sci-fi and have been since the days when my Dad's friends in the rocket industry would bring their old books and magazines for me to read. I spent summers curled up in the phone booth at the Northwest YMCA reading the few books that came with the bookmobile from the downtown library. I am/was the protoGeek before such terms existed.

My remarks about sci-fi and VR are not to say sci-fi isn't or wasn't good literature. It was to say that despite what today's geeks want to claim, it isn't mass audience literature. There are probably more fantasy readers. The problems for the VRML community early on were the extravagant claims made which the technology just couldn't live up to then or now. Snowcrash, etc., aren't particularly good books but the dreams they spawned are good dreams. It was a bridge too far in those days and still is in some respects although broadband, cheap video cards and practice improved. I remain a fan. I still contend that graphics-based non-linear storytelling is THE emerging art for this century and those of us who have kept a foot in the door so the next generation can push through did so deliberately knowing it wasn't ours to make but that holding that door open was ours to do.

I confess I don't like a lot of the cross-over genre. The Watchmen is a bad movie from so many perspectives. The games industry produces extremely violent content and I'm not a fan. On the other hand, Felicia Day's "The Guild" is a send up of the culture and she knows it isn't quite that bad but it's close. It is funny. It is entertaining. It does have something to say, and it seems she gives a damm. Hats off to the redhead geek goddess.

(Commenters say she isn't really a redhead. I say whatever color a woman chooses and uses is as real as it matters. Cluetrain guys: as another graphics elder once said, opening portals to hell is usually a bad idea.)

But in content, we all have opinions and you'll have to make your own way. I am very impressed by the moxie people like her are showing as they increase the professional content on the web and find ways to finance it while remaining independent. This is all good. She has said what some have said before that when budgets are low, it is writing that gets it done. This was the way early sci-fi producers particularly the Brits did it. Early Dr. Who has terrible production but great scripts. The legacy carries on. The Watchmen is an example of how a lot of money and a bad script result in a bad product. Others will do better.

Early sci-fi focused on societal ills and as exemplified by Rod Serling, found a way to 'say it between the lines' in the days when the censors could easily stop a script at the door. The web can easily route around that but eventually culture will get bad memes in the cross hairs and as a result, some good if provocative memes will be put into hibernation because of collateral damage.

For what it's worth as an old-schooler, I am impressed by what I am seeing from the young turks. They are finding their voice and if they don't get too enamored of the tech, the art of storytelling is in good hands. If I have one bit of advice, it is the one you've heard before: don't stick to the safe harbors. Sail away and if you can, come tell us what you see and feel. At the same time, the Great Get Even against parents, religion, or bad cafeteria food is rarely worth the time or trouble.

Except maybe the bad food. It don't matter what you think if you're drinking bad water.

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