Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2193rd Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3641, May 24, 2007.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:firstname.lastname@example.org
|Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Denvention 3 in 2008!||Salamander Press #2676|
Last Tuesday evening, the 15th, Michael Burlake took me to the ASIFA-Hollywood preview screening of Shrek the Third, at the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences theater at Lankershim & Magnolia Blvds. We got there to find that they were serving hors d'oeuvres & soft drinks before the movie; but we arrived so late that I had to abandon a half plate to be thrown away when the final call for seating came. I hate to waste tasty food like that.
Shrek the Third is wonderful; much better than I had feared a sequel-of-a-sequel would be. DreamWorks came up with a plot that is mostly original and imaginative, while still using the expected characters in expected ways. It is close enough to Happily N'Ever After to really stand out favorably by comparison, and emphasize the difference that good writers and directors (and studio executives who leave them alone) can make. It was also a pleasure to find that the previews had not given away many important surprises.
DreamWorks provided ASIFA with premieres for its San Francisco and East (NYC) groups as well, but Hollywood's was the only one that had a Question & Answer session after the film with Director Chris Miller and Producer Aron Warner. They talked about improvements in computer animation technology that made this film much more sophisticated than the first two, yet the improvements are so subtle (mainly in facial expressions) that they will probably go unnoticed by the public. One of the harder parts of writing the script was finding roles for all the popular supporting characters (the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, the Three Pigs, etc.) that the public wanted to see back, without making them look extraneous. This movie was sort-of designed to be the end of the Shrek series, yet if it is the success that they hope it will be, there will certainly be demands for more sequels, which they would not be associated with. They hoped that DreamWorks would know when to discontinue the series before the sequels turn into bad parodies of themselves. There is already a TV Christmas Special in the works, which might start the "overkill" reaction.
I was entitled to bring three guests, so in addition to Michael Burlake I invited George & Vanessa Van Wagner for the help that have given me in getting my ˇRR! into Apa L each week. Unfortunately, they arrived just as the movie was starting and they were still listening to Miller & Warner when I had to leave to return to the convalescent hospital by 10:00 p.m., so I did not have a chance to talk with them about what they thought of the movie.
On Wednesday, I finally - after ten years! - got my contributor's copy of Dr. Alan Cholodenko's The Illusion of Life II, with my "Simba vs Kimba: The Pride of Lions" essay which was mostly written between 1995 and 1997, with taking advantage of the book's delays to update it to 2000. The whole book is a hefty 576-page trade paperback (I can barely open it with one hand), and is available in the U.S. from Amazon.com or from the University of Illinois Press for $47.00.
Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. If it had not been for writing "Simba vs. Kimba" for The Illusion of Life II, it would not have been available for my own Watching Anime, Reading Manga in 2004, and practically all of the reviews that my book got said that "Simba vs. Kimba" is the best thing in it. WA,RM also has my "Simba/Kimba Redux? The Nadia vs. Atlantis Affair" follow-up, which was written for The Illusion of Life II with Dr. Cholodenko's approval but was rejected by the Australian publisher. So I am certainly glad that The Illusion of Life II provided the impetus for me to write these essays. However, I admit that since my book was published in 2004, I have considered The Illusion of Life II mostly as an afterthought. I certainly recommend my Watching Anime, Reading Manga at $18.95 (and Amazon.com is selling it at a 25% discount) rather than The Illusion of Life II at $47.00. What about the other contents of The Illusion of Life II? "The sixteen essays composing the collection engage with post-World War II film animation in Japan and the United States, as well as with the 'expanded' field of animation, including: the relation of live action and animation; video and computer games, the electronic, digitally animated mediascape, the city, flight simulation, the military and war; and animation in the entertainment industry. In addition, it contains essays of a more general theoretical nature on animation, as well as a substantial Introduction addressing the developments in animation and its theorizing since the first book." It is too bad that The Illusion of Life II will not be in most bookstores for prospective purchasers to browse through before deciding whether it is worth $47.00; they will have to order it unseen.
Michael Burlake brought me to the LASFS meeting on Thursday. The club was showing off its new soft drink vending machine; very high-tech-looking. There were proposals to hold a monthly auction for the right to declare whatever favorite soft drinks the vending machine should be stocked with. The interest declined markedly when it was admitted that the soft drinks had better be available in standard cans; glass bottles and even plastic bottles would possibly be too breakable. Marty Cantor warned me that I had better stick to black-&-white pages for Apa L unless I wanted to use up the year's worth of donations to my printing fund in just a couple of months. Jerry Pournelle foresaw the disappearance of paperback books in the near future due to electronic technology that will make it possible to download hundreds if not thousands of books into a handheld device that will also replace cell phones, cameras, and similar recent but already outdated devices. The discussion that this generated went on so long that I had to return to the convalescent hospital before the program began. George Van Wagner & I both reviewed Shrek the Third; he liked it very much, too.
Going out on two evenings in one week was more than my hospital was happy with, so I had to miss the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization's big 30th anniversary celebrations on Saturday. The hospital would not have approved the whole afternoon of party-food munching, anyway; the doctors still say that I do not exactly have diabetes but they are treating me for it anyway "just to be safe". The C/FOers phoned me a "wish you were here" crowd greeting on Rob Powell's cell phone during the afternoon, which was appreciated.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Godzilla Verses # 140 -- (DeChancie) Actually, I do not recall seeing Susan Gleason at CaliFur 3, although the Loscon 34 table was there. As I said, the hallway where all the special interest tables were lined up was so narrow that I could not stop to chat without blocking it completely with my wheelchair, so I just waved a hello as we went by and I did not particularly note who was running the table. ## I was very surprised to discover just last week a new s-f reference website, the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) at Texas A&M University, that has a large index of 73 of my s-f reviews from 1976 to 1981. These are mostly from Delap's F & SF Review, scattered issues from #17 to the final one, #30, plus a few from Thrust. It looks like they are indexing DF&SFR backwards, or maybe they do not have the first sixteen issues. I will check the ISFDB often to see if it is updated with index entries to more of my reviews, and if my review of your Red Limit Freeway turns up, I will let you know about it. My reviews are listed as by Fred Patten under the pseudonym of Frederick Patten, which I suppose is the result of working with an automated database. I hope that they index the old Science Fiction Review soon; they only have the revival issues from 1990 on, which is after I stopped reviewing for it. The ISFDB has a long entry on you, too. ## I have given you a story idea? Good for me! I hope you write an award-winner from it.
De Jueves #1531 - (Moffatt) Spain claimed all North America from 1494 (the Treaty of Tordesillas) until sometime in the 18th century, when Spain grudgingly officially conceded the existence of the English and French colonies there. Before that, Spain considered them as illegal pirate settlements, and sometimes tried to wipe them out at times of open warfare between Spain and the other countries, mostly during in the 16th century. North America was just too large for any one country to effectively colonize. The settlement of Alta California in the 1770s came during Spain's last push (practically a one-man project by Carlos III) to expand into an empty part of what it claimed before the Russians or the British could tie it down with settlements.
ˇRábanos Radiactivos! #2192 - (Patten) In retrospect, the comic strip on page 4 looks misleadingly like it comes from The Ancient Book of Myth and War which is reviewed just above it. The strip is actually page 10 of Persona Animus, by John Scharmen, a recently-discovered immediate favorite. Scharmen only adds a new page every month or so, which is slow but acceptable because of its quality.
My New Printer Is A Liar - (Cantor) Since the Van Wagners copy ˇRR! out of my computer and format it for Apa L before giving it to you, I do not know how many intermediate steps it goes through before it is ready to be printed. I hope that it is not too much trouble for anyone. ## I cannot think of anything that I have ever said in ˇRR! that I would object to being made available to the general public to read. On the other hand, I do not like the idea of it all being in the public domain for everyone to reprint freely. This same situation arose several years ago in Rowrbrazzle, the funny-animal apa, when someone proposed to scan all the early mailings and make them available on CDs to new members or anyone else who wanted to buy them. The consensus was that some cartoonists were embarrassed by their earliest fannish artwork; many early members had drifted out of fandom and their permission could no longer be gotten; and that too many members had included other people's copyrighted material in their zines, which was legitimate fair use for free distribution and discussion in an apa but a copyright violation if those apa mailings were sold to the public.
Vanamonde #731 - (Hertz) Westercon LIII (Honolulu, 2000) was worth turning red as a lobster at. ## Was the Bachem Ba349 one of those 1945 particle-board aircraft that could theoretically fly but the Luftwaffe could not complete actual models of before the end of the war? They were not expected to last for more than one or two flights assuming they did get airborne, did not get shot down by Allied aircraft, and landed in reusable condition. ## I have not written any new theriopangrams in the last four years. The last one drawn was published in Furrlough in September 2003. I wrote over thirty that are still outstanding because their artists never drew them (including Marc Schirmeister). To quote three, "Stefan Skipjack's submarine squad shadows six savage, sleazy sharks," "By Jove, Skiouros, that zealous Quaestor wants to examine Porcius Flavius' budget!", and, "Tanuki Jizu exemplifies the samurai code by showing bravery on his quest." I eventually got tired of nagging the artists who were still promising to draw theirs after five years, or of looking for new artists to take over a long-outstanding theriopangram. Also, by 2003 the attitude of cartoonists in Furry fandom had changed considerably. In 1997, it was considered prestigious to get published in a *real comic book* even if the pay was less than $10.00 for the full-page drawing. By 2003, cartoonists were more interested in making money, and they could get much more than $10.00 for a full-page drawing in a fan's sketchbook.
Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) Green mimeo ink on bright red paper? I'll bet Jack Harness was the publisher. ## I remember that Internet news report claiming that New Orleans was full of roaming armed looters, and that many police had drowned while trying to do their jobs, or were resigning because of being overwhelmed by the hopelessness of the situation.
S.F.F.A.M. #495 - (Merrigan) Apparently by 1846, the Russians had given up trying to claim the Pacific Northwest down as far as Northern California, and had settled for the northern border of the Oregon Territory as the southern extent of their claims. Fort Ross in northern California was abandoned in 1841. The Mexican border was vague, as you note; the government had not settled much farther north than Sonoma, and it was problematical how far it could push into the Oregon Territory which both the American and British governments had shown they were ready to fight for.
I Zoom In On Querty - (Gold) Arizona was still part of New Mexico at the time of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. All of the borders were so vague that into the 1850s California was claiming that its eastern border extended into about the western half of Nevada, even though the national government in Washington, D.C. had set the exact border between California and Nevada in 1850. ## Whatever the reason is, Ken Pick does not seem to count his sale of art to illustrate Land of the Rising Sun as turning himself into a professional s-f/fantasy writer/artist. (He is another artist who never drew the theriopangram that I wrote for him, and I wrote a specific one featuring his characters that is not transferable to another artist.) ## You can check Marc Gunn's website for the pub-style drinking songs for cats. His website says that he is active in "the Celtic community of central Texas". I had wondered whether Gunn is known to filk-singing fandom or is an amateur bard from outside fandom. ## I intend to send Kay Shapero my CaliFur 3 report to add to my website, when I have time. I would have probably done it by now, but I got sidetracked by writing reviews and then by discovering the ISFDB website. ## Thanks. I may take you up on your offer to borrow your Suddenly DVD when I am able to visit my sister Sherry's apartment again and see it on her 42" TV screen, and without the frequent interruptions of nurses.