Athena and Her Tool For the Zombie Apocalypse

I mean, aside from her bow, which she is in fact pretty good at. This thing is for close work, should it come to that. In the meantime it can used for any construction work we have around the house, but come on. We know it’s mostly for dealing with the undead.

Ask Papa Fuzzy Anything: Alien Probes, Paul & Storm, Movie Casting, Interspecies Erotica

Papa Fuzzy’s back and he’s got more answers to your questions!

First, he digs into the issue of alien probes:

Then, a critical evaluation of Paul & Storm’s “Fuzzy Man (Fuzzy Nation)” song, written for the release of Fuzzy Nation:

This is followed with a discussion of the casting of the inevitable movie:

And finally a brief note about interspecies erotica:


Wanna ask Papa Fuzzy a question? Go ask it in this comment thread.


Dear The Movie Junkies: Plagiarism is Still Not Cool

My pal Maryann Johanson wrote a review of the movie Shame on her site The Flick Filosopher on January 16. Here’s an excerpt of what she wrote:

What is shocking about Shame is the male vulnerability, the male weakness, the abject male misery we see onscreen. Movies simply don’t do this. Movies protect the male ego, even to the point of — at least in the United States, thanks to the MPAA’s retrograde puritanism — decreeing that male nudity is much more scandalous and is to be treated much more seriously than female nudity, which may be treated casually. (A penis? Onscreen?Why, men might feel inadequate! Unless said penis is somehow comically small. That’s okay! Male egos remain intact!) (Warning: Fassbender’s nudity may bruise some male egos.)

On January 29, a review of Shame went up on the site The Movie Junkies. Here’s an excerpt of what they “wrote”:

What is shocking about Shame is the male vulnerability, weakness and misery we see onscreen. Movies simply don’t show this. Movies protect the male ego, even to the point of decreeing that male nudity is much more scandalous and is to be treated much more seriously than female nudity, which may be treated casually. What you say? A penis onscreen? Why, men might feel inadequate! Unless the penis is somehow comically small. That’s okay! Male egos remain intact!) (Warning: Fassbender’s nudity may bruise some male egos.)

There’s no attribution to Maryann (or, one assumes, payment), although there is a copyright notice at The Movie Junkies. So there’s that irony.

(I saved a screenshot just in case the text changes.)

I wonder what would happen if someone went through the rest of The Movie Junkies’ reviews with a fine-toothed textual comb.

Here’s Maryann’s response, incidentally:

That about sums it up.

Update, 12:11pm: The plagiarized text has been taken down, which is nice.

Dear The Movie Junkies: A public acknowledgement of and apology to Maryann Johanson is something you should do, don’t you think?

Update, 12:18pm: Other possible plagiarisms are being noted in the comment thread.

The Big Idea: Elizabeth Bear

Dear world: Elizabeth Bear is awesome. Range of Ghosts is her new book. This is her big idea. Also: She is awesome. That is all.


There’s nothing new under the sun in epic fantasy, or so I’ve heard it said.

So when I was trying to come up with a Big Idea for an epic fantasy–a genre I’ve loved since before I wrote my first derivative plot coupon fantasy in fifth grade (it was deeply inspired by The Dark Crystal and Piers Anthony, but it had the best dragons ever–and I’m still stealing bits of my mad juvenile inventiveness and recycling them into other settings) it seemed to me that the obvious solution was to invent a different sun. Or maybe a whole slew of different suns.

So I did. Everybody gets their own sun! Or suns. And a set of skies to go with them.

Because the gods of this world are real, and the heavens–perforce–reflect their will.

It was important to me that this world have an economy. I wanted these books to question the too-easy monarchy “restore the king” plots that so often proliferate in our genre.

I wanted the fun and adventure of swords and sorcery, but I didn’t want to hew too closely to either the broad tropes of traditional heroic fantasy or the grittier perspective of the heirs of Fritz Leiber and Poul Anderson. Instead, I wanted a middle path–heroic, but not morally unexamined.

One of my best friends is a direct descendent of Genghis Khan. (It’s possible that I am, too–something like twenty percent of human beings alive today are, and my great-grandfather was a Cossack, a group that famously claims descent from the Golden Horde.) Her sons are my godsons, and as I considered settings, that coincidence–and the fact that have heard from friends of Asian and African descent over and over again how hard it is for them to find stories that acknowledge their heritage and cultures–influenced me.

There have always been exceptions, and this is changing, but too many fantasy worlds traditionally have not only failed to step outside of Tolkien’s worldbuilding, but don’t question the Eurocentric view of world history so many English speakers (I can’t say “the majority,” because I believe at last check India has more English speakers than most of the rest of the world) are given in grammar school. We speak of Alexander the Great, after all–and the terrifying Mongol Hordes. But the roles of Alexander and of Genghis Khan in history are not actually so very different.

Both men were conquerors. The difference in perspective–who is the hero and who is the scourge–has a great deal to do with cultural observer bias.

So I wanted these books to focus on the cognates of cultures that epic fantasy so often marginalizes–those mysterious Easterners, usually portrayed as a swarthy, untrustworthy threat on the borders of our heroes’ empire.

The intersection of those influences was the inception of the world of the Eternal Sky, of which Range of Ghosts is the first book. I knew I wanted a world of vast scope and deep history, inspired by the multicultural swords-and-sorcery milieu of classic genre works like the Conan cycle–but I hope with a bit less unexamined colonial baggage. And I knew I wanted to completely excise the usual Western European fantasy backdrops–so this is a world where the Prague-equivalent is a coastal city and Western Europe just doesn’t exist at all. No Greece, no Rome.

But a complex system of empires, khanates, caliphates, principalities–and trade routes dominates the cultural landscape.

Because dirty politics is fun.


Range of Ghosts: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Visit the author’s LiveJournal. Follow her on Twitter. Enjoy this appraisal of Range of Ghosts from a marmot.

John Carter and Hunger Games: The Postmortems

The Hunger Games is a smash. John Carter is a flop. Is there anything these two films can teach us about how science fiction films can and should be made and marketed? Over at, I offer up five lessons we’ve learned from these films. They aren’t the only five lessons. But they’re the ones I think stand out. Go get schooled, my friends.