2015 Hugo Awards

Source: 2015 Hugo Awards

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Adults or Children first? – Labels for readers…

Just a quick thought about the term in fiction and the book industry we call ‘Young Adult’. Now, I may not really-if ever at all-read these kind of books, but I do of course know people who do, a few of which are grown adults, and some who are teenage. I am very aware of the big sellers, some of which have been adapted to the big screen such as Twilight, The Maze Runner, Divergent, The Hunger Games series.

While I may not really write this kind of fiction, I do respect some of it, and how it can get many people into reading and reflecting upon society.

My main thought here though is the term ‘Young Adult’. What age are we thinking of here and why? Is it just simply a marketing idea, a suggested age for suitable readers the books are aimed or is the label very wrong, insulting or negative?

Why not instead ‘Mature teen’ or ‘Old teen’ fiction?

I could say something slightly mocking about adults who may read books like The Hunger Games or Twilight, but many people who do not read very regularly do simply want some not very demanding escapist fiction, or get pulled in by seeing the films based on the books or by the word-of-mouth or cultural zeitgeist.

Terms and labels can be restrictive for any kinds of art-music, books, actual artwork-and are often mostly used in order to sell and market the items more easily to consumers and audiences.

We can also sometimes find more easily what we are looking for when things are put into categories like ‘science fiction’, ‘steam punk’, ‘young adult’, ‘dystopian urban fantasy’ but what if these labels begin to make the writers or creators feel restricted as they produce the tales and stories?

Also my other main thought here was, where is the line? What kind of fiction crosses beyond what may be considered ‘Young Adult’ into real fantasy, science fiction, horror or other ‘adult’ level reading? What would make a story suitable for just adults- detailed sex scenes, politics, death, drugs or other things included in the book? Why could teenagers or ‘young adults’ not handle these, or why should they not be allowed to?

There are thankfully a number of very intelligent YA books which do involved and consider many relevant themes of race, class politics, crime, government, corruption, poverty, gender and more and this is a really good thing.

Thankfully some of the so-called ‘Young Adult’ books go beyond and around the label and offer many interesting ideas and stories for readers of many ages.

New Book News…

Right here at the end of summer 2015, I am at the start of the path forward for my new science fiction novel being published. A deal has been made and now the process of editing and design begins over the next few weeks and months.

I can not say too much currently about the book, but I will suggest that it is what some might call ‘space opera’ science fiction, and it is set out in space much further into the future than my previous book Orbital kin.

More news soon, keep watching this blog for updates.

Orbital Kin-my debut SF novel available on amazon uk/.com, Foyles, Waterstones, WH Smith, Play.com and good bookshops in the UK and overseas. Paperback and Ebook.

BEETLEJUICE 2: OLD SPOOKY JUICE TASTES FRESH?

So Winona says yes along with Burton.

It seems Tim Burton just casually dropped a definite yes during a fairly recent interview for some other project when asked about the regular rumours of the possibly sequel to one of the most bizarre but cult late 80’s movies, and his own breakthrough film.

Both Burton and Michael Keaton have agreed that they would reunite if a good enough screenplay was written, and a new version has been in the works over the last year or more we can believe. But now also Winona Ryder admits that she certainly would love to be involved again, and so arguably the three strongest elements linked to the original Beetlejuice film are ready to go.

But just what kind of sequel should we expect?

Beetlejuice was one truly very different, nutty, kooky, strange, fun and crazy movie. Not really a kids movie, not totally a horror movie. It was some kind of comedy, horror mash-up-it largely defined the style of Tim Burton just before he went on to direct the totally massive scale 80’s gothic Batman movie, which also hired Michael Keaton, straight after Beetlejuice which confused and almost enraged many comic fans.

I must have first seen Beetlejuice when I was around eight or nine and went on to rent the video many, many times until I got my own copy. I then watch that VHS tape so many times over the years until it was time for a dvd update.

Very many years back, in the early 90’s I remember that there were rumours of a Beetlejuice sequel, possibly around ideas of the character going on vacation, possibly to Hawaii or his married life. Very strange, but then so was the character.

Now we are actually decades since the original movie, the actors and director are much older. Would they produce a film with the same kind of wild acting, script and style? Would it seem forced or contrived?

There was even a spin-off animated Beetlejuice cartoon series in the mid-90’s, and this showed that there were of course plenty of mad adventures for the character to have, even if that was for saturday mornings and not rated 15.

In this day and age, maybe we do need a Beetlejuice movie. I could joke about how keaton would need less make-up now, and the script could possibly play around with popular horror themes, poke fun at things like The Walking Dead, zombies, vampires and other monsters riding high in pop culture today. It may be only a short while until we see that sleazy, cranky old ghost with the most again. Say it three times if ya dare…

SUICIDE SQUAD-THE GOOD SIDE OF BAD

The trailers for this very increasingly anticipated new DC Comics movie adaptation have been out over the internet for a few weeks now, and they have caused all kinds of reaction.

At a time when Marvel studios is dominating world-wide cinema box-office success practically every year now with films including like ever returning and continually popular comic legends Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and less known but almost just as popular characters such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man now; the cinematic output from DC Comics/Warners has been problematic and tentative for the last few years.

The Green Lantern movie had a huge budget but just generally bombed on release which quickly made DC rethink their options. Soon after they hooked up with infamous flashy and at times controversial director Zack Snyder-director of the Watchmen film but also Suckerpunch-who then took up the challenge of offering the world a new vision of Superman.

The rivals Marvel set up their cinematic universe, successful movie after another successful movie, and land the biggest hit with the first Avengers movie. It became very quickly one of the most successful movies ever released.

To save the day for DC/Warner films came the Superman/Man of Steel movie. Some how the trailer actually did really surprise all of us. The key thing here was that even while Zack Snyder was director which could lead to the film making no sense and being very simplistic, it was overseen by Chris Nolan as his own Batman trilogy ended.

While there were a few dumb and confused moments through the film, Man of Steel was a brave and bombastic movie, giving audiences one of the most visually stunning visions of Superman to ever be seen on screen. Overall, this did suggest that now DC could finally challenge Marvel on the big screen.

A long list of DC comic film adaptations were revealed to match the similar list Marvel had planned aiming all the way toward 2020 so far. Like Marvel, DC/WarnerBros. set up their own double movie epic for a few years from now, set to see all of the individual DC heroes collected together as they as known in the comics as Justice League.

Before any more of the new DC hero movies are released, they are putting out the surprise villain supergroup movie Suicide Squad. Does this make much sense? Is it one big middle finger in the direction of Marvel Studios?

Suicide Squad is of course adapted in some level from the DC comicbook of the same name. At this point in 2015 after dozens upon dozens of popular but increasing predictable and formulaic superhero movies, perhaps this comicbook adaptation could be just the right thing for potential cynical cinema audiences. They villainous characters are corrupt, dangerous, nasty individuals and all kinds of devious events could take place with such a volatile group pulled to work together. Now that does sound different and maybe worth seeing.

Probably the character included in the movie which has had the largest number of people fanatically excited has been Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. The saucy female sidekick to the Joker has been a huge favourite for cosplay fans for a few years now, and there are a number of distinct versions of the character which some fans prefer over others. In this movie, she has been given largely urban, casual street style, though she still has a visible clownish look, with her white powdered face, make-up and bleached and dyed hair. The character is much loved by female comicbook fans, she could be possibly very interesting on screen if written and acted well. Besides Quinn, the other main draws are Will Smith as Deadshot, and with the most mixed fan response Jared Leto as the first actor to play the Joker on the big screen since Heath Ledger.

So with this film taking a different path with villains instead of heroes (although it seems Batman will be showing up in the movie) could this be a strong step ahead for comicbook films now?

Could we about to see more comicbook villains and misfits on the big screen soon? We already now have a very cool cheeky and wild Deadpool trailer, so this could be the start of more unusual comicbook movies to rival the regular macho clean-cut characters we often see.

FANTASTIC FOUR: MORE FOUR, NOT FANTASTIC?

Here we are again with another version of Marvel comics Fantastic Four hitting our cinema screens.

Many people were not very satisfied with the two previous big screen F.F. films which had taken decades to reach cinemas after so many years of studio problems and the time just never being right until the last decade or so.

Were those two previous movie really so bad?

This weekend we get another version, and from the very first pictures and trailers it has divided fans and cinema audiences. Are the actors too young? Does the tone seem much too dark for this particular comic-book adaptation?

The reviews are coming in and so far they do not seem too great. There even seems some mention of the director suggesting that his cut of the movie is not the one out there, and that version may have been much better that what we will see. Could that be true?

I am all up for filmmakers changing things, taking a story from new angles and finding some different view to develop. The feeling of being let down here may come from those who believed that the previous two Fantastic Four movies were just what they should have been. We could see this new reboot as a radical alternative view of the characters from that classic Marvel comic-and why not?

As those two goofy, colourful previous F.F. movies came just before the mighty Marvel studio began the non-stop journey to mega-box-office success ever since, they were still attempting to find the right tone, attitude after the Sam Raimi Spiderman films but probably required better effects. But then, when they added Silver Surfer in the second movie he was a very stunning result, but sadly Galactus became a gigantic smog cloud or rain storm, which totally let down all fans.

Can this new Fantastic Four rise above all of that? Should that change have been so very drastic and different to before?

I may just go see Antman again…