Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Urtexts

K & I

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Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the Foundation series—”It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, ‘See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism.'”

Krugman and I have something in common. (via io9)

Written by gerrycanavan

April 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

SF Urtexts

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Poli-Sci-Fi Radio took my Urtexts posts from Sunday (1, 2) and ran with it on the show last week. The podcast (free!) is here; the conversation about SF and my post starts about 25 minutes in. Who knew so many of us had once been Star Trek geeks?

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January 23, 2009 at 2:34 am

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So those are mine. What are your imaginative Urtexts, dear readers?

For me, a few runners-up:

* Superman (really, Superfriends)
* Star Wars (naturally, but less than you’d think)
* the Adam West Batman TV show
* Back to the Future II

and maybe most crucial of all

* the LEGO Space franchise

That last one might be more important than even these.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm


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Every science fiction fan has a foundation for their nerdity. It is their Urtext. For me—and I take no particular joy in admitting this—there’s no question that it is Star Trek. The first movie I ever saw in a theater was Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and I watched more or less every episode of Star Trek produced before the day I came to understand the show’s structural limitations sometime during the mid-’90s.

But if my nerdy nature can have a second foundation, it’s undoubtedly Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, which I remember as vividly today as the day I read them a decade and a half ago. It’s only partially an exaggeration to say that for me all theories of history are but footnotes to Asimov. (If it’s good enough for al Qaeda, it should be good enough for everyone.)

Asimov Wiki
Timeline of the Robots/Foundation Universe
A favorite commentary, and a followup.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend that any of you necessarily read these books now; I suspect Asimov’s magic only really works on thirteen-year-old boys. But I bring this up because there’s word that a Foundation movie is finally going to be made, and it’s clearly going to be awful. The director attached, Roland Emmerich, directed Independence Day, the Godzilla remake, The Day after Tomorrow, and 10,000 BC. On his entire IMDb page only Stargate and The Thirteenth Floor (producer’s credit) fills me with anything less than total dread. B-movies are great, but Foundation shouldn’t be a B-movie. If anything, it should be a HBO series…

Written by gerrycanavan

January 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm