Look, I get it – you’re still mad about Star Wars: the Last Jedi. But rather than discussing what I think is good about the movie, let’s have some fun on this Sci-Friday. Kick back, and enjoy a blooper reel from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Come for Daisy Ridley, stay for Mark Hamill’s ‘Grandpa Simpson’ impression:
In case you’re wondering, yes – I loved TLJ. Not a great film, but a perfect movie. Hit a lot of great storytelling notes and should be appreciated for what it is in the context of our toxic scifi fandom. I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!
I had some fun last week on Twitter with the release of a new Dune movie trailer. What would a bad fan theory of Dune be? I did a round-up of bad Dune fan theories on Twitter and collected them for Sci-Friday. Please enjoy these and feel free to add your own.
The worm dies at the end
For the ‘pain box’ scene, @RealChalamet researched mental torment by watching all five seasons of Mama June: From Not to Hot.
The butler did it.
Frodo and Bilbo have The Ring and they need to throw into Mt. Dune.
They needed someone to act like a sexual predator for the role of the Baron, so they originally offered the role to Harvey Weinstein
Dune’s promotional tie-ins include LASIK surgery renaming itself to lasgun surgery.
Dune has a breakfast cereal coming out called Arrakis Flakes
The original Dune script had Will Smith recording the title song at the end.
Dune is really The Love Boat but in the desert
To promote Dune, @RealChalamet will feel true spice agony during his appearance on Hot Ones #Dune #BadDuneFanTheories
When we first meet Princess Irulan, she’s wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Atreides in the streets, Harkonnen in the sheets.’
On Arakis, they play hockey but instead of ice all they have is sand and the worms eat everyone who tries to play.
The Dune action figure playset comes with 100 lbs of sand you can bury your friends in!
Will include ‘Scooby Doo’ guest appearances including the cast of Friends, BTS, and Ellen DeGeneres
Cinnamon rebranded as ‘Melange,’ Starbucks quickly rebrands PSP drinks as ‘Arrkis Spice Lattes’
Bene Gesserit is an anagram for ‘beer signer’ – use it to get 10% off your movie ticket purchase
So there you have it, a round-up of bad Dune fan theories that we can use to celebrate this classic scifi tale releasing into a larger movie epic. Will fans love it, or hate it? If they hate it, you may wish to make use of an emotional scifi crisis plan I originally created for the Rise of Skywalker. I hope you enjoy this dump of fun scifi stuff and take some time over the long holiday weekend to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.
Some Fantasy / Sci-fi artwork for your Sci-Friday. No major themes or ideas, just good clean fun science fiction stuff. Words communicate ideas, but art communicates emotions. You’ll probably catch a few while looking at these:
In the immortal words of Bob Ross, I tell people, ‘You can do this.’ And they write back and say, ‘You were right. I can do this. And now I believe I can do anything.’ If you’re learning how to make clouds, or write a story, or just build your life instead of watching it collapse, you’re my kind of people. This Fantasy / Sci-fi artwork is just part of the fun Science Fiction stuff we like to share at Inkican. I hope you enjoy this collection, and also that you have a great weekend. <3
Now, for this Sci-Friday, please enjoy a collection of Princess Bride Reaction GIFs for your social media/email/texting pleasure. As a fantasy movie, The Princess Bride is one of those beautiful ‘blurred lines’ movies that contains many things to enjoy: the sword fights, the dialogue, the drama, and the comedy. I’ll talk more about ‘blurred lines’ movies later, but this is something I think a lot about while working on novels like Mesh.
Enough talk, it’s time to dig into these Princess Bride Reaction GIFs. Have fun!
In fact, here are some fun facts about The Princess Bride you may have forgotten:
In order to create the Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times, Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin trained for months with Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson (who also choreographed Star Wars). Every spare moment on set was spent practicing. Eventually, when they showed Rob Reiner the swordfight for the movie, he was underwhelmed and requested that it be at least three minutes long rather than the current one minute. They added steps to the set, watched more swashbuckling movies for inspiration, re-choreographed the scene, and ended up with a three minute and 10 second fight which took the better part of a week to film from all angles.
William Goldman came up with the title of the novel based on what his daughters requested in terms of ideas for his next novel, one suggested he write his next book about a princess while the other suggested a book about a bride. He then coined the title “The Princess Bride” for the novel.
The video baseball game the Grandson is playing during the first scene is “Hardball” produced by Accolade, Inc., in 1985. It was widely available in the mid-1980s for the Commodore 64 computer system. It was a one or two-player game. The sound was not from the actual game, but later added.
The film tested better than every other movie of that year other than Back to the Future (1985). Consequently, there seems to be some bitterness on William Goldman’s part that it didn’t make more money. He blames the studio for not knowing how to sell it.
Will we ever see another Reaction Gif collection this good? Inconceivable! You can, however, dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.
Not sure if you heard or not, Dune’s release date has been pushed back to October 22, 2021. That’s disappointing, but it gives me a chance to finish reading Dune before the movie comes out so I can say ‘the book was better.’ To honor the movie and scifi in general calls for some fun scifi stuff, so the Dune memes must flow!
What’s Dune about, you ask? Originally, Dune was ‘a 1965 science-fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert, originally published as two separate serials in Analog magazine. Dune is set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which various noble houses control planetary fiefs. It tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis. While the planet is an inhospitable and sparsely populated desert wasteland, it is the only source of melange, or “the spice,” a drug that extends life and enhances mental abilities. Melange is also necessary for space navigation, which requires a kind of multidimensional awareness and foresight that only the drug provides. As melange can only be produced on Arrakis, control of the planet is thus a coveted and dangerous undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the factions of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its spice.
I’ll talk more about this later, but I’m struck by how modern the writing of Dune is. Great pacing, minimal exposition. Like Jules Verne before him, Frank Herbert had the foresight to avoid bogging his readers down with details. Give me action, give me stuff happening. I try to do the same thing in my writing, and it’s inspired by great authors like Herbert and Verne.
So the Dune memes must flow! I hope you enjoy this dump of fun scifi stuff and take some time over the long holiday weekend to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.
You know Peter Cullen even if you don’t know him. He’s been the voice of Optimus Prime, the hero of the Transformers, since the 1980s. Along with Transformers, Cullen is also: Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh,he first voice of KARR in Knight Rider, and the original vocalization resource for the Predator. How do you get a front-row seat to all of that sci-fi history? As you’ll see in the video below, it comes down to finding the humanity in the strangest of circumstances. The origin story of Optimus Prime’s voice is both interesting, and insightful. For Sci-Friday #116, learn how Peter Cullen made Optimus Prime’s voice for the original series and later for the Michael Bay franchise:
Cullen had no idea of Prime’s popularity until the character’s controversial death in the 1986 animated film.Wikipedia notes: ‘the studio had never given him fan letters from children addressed to Optimus. The public backlash over Optimus’s death surprised producers greatly. Children were leaving the theaters distraught because of the character’s death.’
Outside of Transformers, Cullen has enjoyed a steady career as a voice actor, but the biggest takeaway I got from Cullen’s story is this: the emotional cores of any scifi character should come from real places. The kids in Mesh, for example, are based on people I know: good, bad, or ugly. No one would be able to recognize themselves in Mesh, just like I think Captain H.L. Cullen would be hard put to recognize himself in Optimus Prime. Nonetheless, you don’t have to look too far for inspiration. Usually it’s right in front of you.
I hope you enjoyed learning how Peter Cullen made Optimus Prime’s voice and, guess what? I’ve got more fun scifi stuff to share! Dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!
Getting warmer out there as we move into summer, so for this Sci-Friday let’s revisit some fun scifi stuff by watching the Making of Super 8. It’s ten years old now, and still remains one of the best non-Spielberg Spielberg movies you’ll ever watch. Kick back and enjoy the Making of Super 8 movie below:
Super 8 isn’t for everyone. I posted a Reddit thread about the movie and was surprised to find that many people were put off by the way the story was structured. CrittersRules for example, felt that ‘It was also a mistake to focus on the character who’s mourning his mom’s death. Spielberg movies have big loud families with dogs and annoying siblings etc. In this case it’s just him and his father, and TBH they’re just a huge bummer.’ trackofalljades also had this to say: ‘I […] was completely on board for it until the part of the third act when you actually see the reused Cloverfield monster design up close…then it totally fell apart for me so badly I would compare it to the “water revelation” part of Signs. It took a hard turn from beautiful homage into mocking failure.’
I’m in the other camp. I loved Super 8 for it’s heavy emotional beats:
Loss of a parent
Coming-of-age kid reconnecting with his distant father
Kids shaped by family conflicts beyond their control
Previous generations’ Coming-of-age experiences, and how different they are from now
That experiential magic of discovering your creative talent for the first time
Having lost my parents, my heart ached when the protagonist kid (Joel Courtney) watched that old movie of him as a baby with his mother. Later, when his father finally hugs him and his eyes close. He lost his mother, but he got his dad back. Oh man, the feels.
Super 8 says, quietly but urgently, that men, boys, fathers, and sons suffer when they can’t express their emotions but that this is a fixable problem without the big Hallmark moment. It also says that growing up is something precious, to be nurtured and treasured. All those silly moments where the boys argued and threw Twizzlers at each other before sneaking out on a summer night in somebody’s borrowed car. They’ll remember that for the rest of their lives and we get the message: The time you spent with your friends, even if it was doing nothing, was never wasted. Finally, I connected the small plot of the adults watching helplessly as a child they cared about suffers unimaginable loss – his best friends’ parents were dorky but you could tell they cared about the protag and wanted to do the right thing.
On the surface, the movie doesn’t seem like much but like every other JJ Abrams’ project, it’s got hidden depths.
So if you’re looking for a hot-summer-night movie to enjoy, look no further than Super 8. I hope you enjoyed the making of Super 8, and if you like this kind of fun scifi stuff, I have more to share. Dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!
For this Sci-Friday, enjoy a look at the future that never happened in this collection of Collier’s photos ‘The Great 1952 Space Program That Almost Was.’ As Gizmodo reports, ‘In 1952, Collier’s magazine sponsored a gathering of the world’s greatest space experts who, in a series of illustrated articles, outlined one of the first comprehensive scenarios ever conceived for the exploration of space.’
We had no idea what space exploration would look like, so we asked a number of futurists, experts, and dreamers to tell us what we might be getting ourselves into. You can even see this issue, it’s available online, courtesy of Horizons, the newsletter of AIAA Houston Section – use the search bar to search for “Collier’s”.
Along with the breathless superlatives come realities that are sublime in their gruesomeness. As the article brings out: ‘The first step proposed is the launching of a 10-foot cone-shaped “baby satellite” carrying three rhesus monkeys. It was orbit at an altitude of 200 miles for 60 days. It would eventually be allowed to reenter the atmosphere, where it would burn up (after the monkeys are given a merciful dose of lethal gas).’ Imagine being that rhesus monkey, floating along for two months, totally at peace with your human caretakers. Then the gas starts.
If you think I’m being macabre, look up what happened to Laika, the Soviet Space Dog. The United States scored a publicity coup by sending Ham to space and bringing him home safely, but the Collier’s article proves that wasn’t in the first draft of the plan. In those final moments panic and struggle, a monkey might not put the horrible truth together, but a human would. This was the plan all along. You were never meant to come home. Freaky!
William Gibson satirizes that mindset in The Gernsback Continuum, calling it ‘Hitler Youth Propaganda.’ I prefer to think of it as the result post-WWII American exceptionalism that died in the tragedy of Vietnam. Either way, it’s interesting to consider and that’s why I wanted to share The Great 1952 Space Program That Almost Was on this Sci-Friday. If you like it, go down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.
This is an interesting piece of obscure tape – for Sci-Friday #113, watch a documentary about making Jabba the Hutt for Return of the Jedi. From the first time we saw him in RotJ, Jabba Desilijic Tiure quickly established himself as a strangely comic character – half evil, half ridiculous. Now for Sci-Friday, we can see how they made him live, breathe, and lurch back in 1982.
Writing a character is one thing, animating them is another. To crawl inside that car-sized monster, you need a rare talent and for making Jabba the Hutt, Star Wars turned to Toby Philpott. Seven years of work as a comedy juggler, acrobat, and magician led to working on animatronic puppets with Jim Henson on The Dark Crystal. From there, Philpott lent his talents to Return of the Jedi, Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
What’s even more interesting is what happened next. Where do you go after making Jabba the Hutt live and breathe? The library, of course! Philpott took a job at Cardiff Central Library as a library technician, where he provides information technology and other computer support; Philpott described the job as a logical move at that stage in his life and according to Wikipedia, “Finding Jabba the Hutt working in a library is no more unusual than the rest of my life.” You can check in with Philpott at his local home site here.
As I said last week, science fiction exists through the collective imagination, blood, sweat, and tears of many people. In this Sci-Friday, Jabba the Hutt live and slug is another example of that journey. Go down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!
For this Sci-Friday we’re going down the rabbit hole of VFX in the muddled time between practical and digital special effects in movies. The VFX in Flight of the Navigator is a charming breakdown on the visual effects used by the makers of Flight of the Navigator and you’ll get a kick out of how easy some of it was.
That’s not to say there was no effort involved. At the time, FotN employed some cutting edge CGI hardware, ‘rendered in computer-generated imagery (CGI) by Omnibus Computer Animation, under the supervision of Jeff Kleiser, the brother of director Randal Kleiser. It was the first film to use reflection mapping to create realistic reflections on a simulated chrome surface. Effects were rendered on a Foonly F1 computer before being matted onto the film print. The computer did not have much storage space so once the frame was mapped the data was deleted to make way for the new frame. The rest were using one of two life size props or miniatures on a computer operated camera.’
Science fiction exists through the collective imagination, blood, sweat, and tears of many people. The VFX in Flight of the Navigator is just one example of that journey. Go down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend! Thanks to Captain Disillusionand VFXCool for putting this video together!