Monday, April 20, 2015

Edgiest SF

So I'm sitting around here tonight surfing the web for bizarro SF stories.  I know that's a subjective topic to be looking for because bizarre is going to differ from person to person.  There are plenty of examples of bizarre weirdness in comics about aliens and such, and the same is true for movies.  But off the top of my head I don't know of much SF literature that deals with it--and to be honest, I'm not even sure what I'm looking for other than something edgy.  I not sure if I'm looking for something that's hyper violent, oddly alienesque, or just plain weirdness, but something along those lines.  I'm pretty sure someone would tell me to check out some Phillip K. Dick, and I'd agree his books have a bit of that.  But to be honest, I've never really enjoyed his writing style.  Dune might be a pretty good example particularly, God Emperor Dune.  I also think Octavia Butler's Dawn has a nice style and writes about aliens in a very good way for an example.  Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination might be another example of edgy, at least in my opinion.  But I'm curious to find something even more bizarre than those, although the above example are good for novels.  Moreover I'm looking for some SF short stories. I think that would be fun to read. 

Anyway during my search I ran across the book, The Bizarro Starter Kit from the web site, Adventures In SciFi Publishing.  There's a review for it there as well if you care to read it.  Also you'll find some podcast there, which I'll have to check out, which is why I'm also posting it here. 

On another topic, (though still sort of staying with the bizarre theme) I watched Interstellar over the weekend.

Was it as good as Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey?  Probably not by my judgement, but it was really, really good, and if you enjoy SF, it's a must see film.  Highly recommendable.  It was ambitious, far flung, visually amazing, mind expanding, and certainly worthy of all the great praise that's already been given to it.  Did I find any flaws with it?  Maybe, but they are small and hardly diminished my overall enjoyment of the film.  The score by Hans Zimmer also went well with the film.  Again it's not an awesome score like the one in 2001, but I did enjoy it and thought it meshed well with the film.  I have to give it to Nolan for being able to convey stories that can get pretty abstract by design, yet make them palpable for the average movie goer.  He did the same thing with the movie, Inception, although I wasn't as impressed with it, nor did I enjoy it as well.  But again, at least I found it ambitious and full of ideas.

The below video on Mecha anime is just for grins.  I don't care for most of the music, which comes from the time period, most sounding like awful disco to me.  But it's a fun anime of old school giant robots. 


At 9:25 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

A few suggestions:

Jack Ketchum is both a very good writer and utterly graphic with violence – a rare combination. (Jeff Lindsay is both too, but his Dexter novels aren’t SF.) “Ladies Night” would be the Ketchum novel one could consider SF. A chemical spill in NYC causes all women (but only women) exposed to it to lose all inhibitions, including the ones against murder. Definitely edgy.

F. Paul Wilson started out in straight SF (e.g. “Wheels within Wheels,” which I like but which is fairly conventional) but with experience he shifted to more hybrid subject matter – something like Lovecraft but in a vastly more readable style. “The Tomb” is a good place to start, but be aware that it is the first of a 15-book series, and it can be addicting.

Charles Stross stretches the boundaries. In keeping with your mecha mention, “Saturn’s Children” is set in a future in which no humans remain, but humaniform robots do. Without humans with whom to interact, there is no real reason for the robots to remain human-like, but they do; they are conscious beings with the quirks of conscious beings, and their form is too much a part of their identity to want to change.

For graphic novels, if you don’t already have them try “Kick-Ass,” “Hit Girl,” and “Kick-Ass 2.” They are edgy, especially by North American standards. They diverge from the films in curious ways. Katie, for example, (mild spoiler) doesn’t fall for David; she has her new boyfriend beat him up. The producers decided that didn’t work on film; they wanted a love story subplot. Some things were left out of the Kick-Ass 2 movie. I almost can hear the producers reading the comic and saying, “No, that’s TOO much.”

I still should see "Interstellar." I've heard good things even from people who are not usually SF fans. Your remarks confirm it.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Thanks for the recommendations. The one by Stross sounds pretty interesting as well as the others. I've seen one of the movies made from a Ketchum novel, The Girl Next Door. It wasn't my cup of tea--I don't blame him, and perhaps his books are better. For that sort of thing I prefer Joe R. Lansdale, but there again, he mostly writes horror or mystery. Although I read one post holocaust SF story by him "Tight Little Stitches on a Dead Man's Back" which was pretty good. Sort of a Day of the Triffids scenario. Also The Drive-In, which reminded me a bit of Night of the Comet--sort of horror/SF.

I read and saw Kick Ass the movie. I preferred the comic, but never got around to reading or seeing the second film. I haven't heard of Hit Girl. Comics for whatever reason seems to cater to that more than prose stories perhaps just because the medium itself tends to be shorter on the whole, and maybe the audience is more open to it.
Thanks, Rich.


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