Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New and Noteworthy (Rayburn on Hollywood, Remembering the Pulps, SFScope on Sherlock, Stross on Obesity)

In today's edition:

* Airlock Alpha's Dennis Rayburn, revisiting the question of reboots, remakes and re-everything else, asks "Is Hollywood Creatively Bankrupt?"

This seems like a rhetorical question, of course. After all, can anyone but a Beverly Hills Babbitt possibly say "No" to that with a straight face? However, it's not just that I'm sympathetic to the sentiment that led me to note it here; Rayburn does show how it fits in with the industry's broader situation.

All the same, I think he's overoptimistic about the reality "craze" fading away. It's already gone strong for a decade now, with no sign of letting up, and the creative bankruptcy of which he's spoken, and the attractions of reality TV for media executives, especially those trapped between the shrinking resources of beleaguered networks, and the smaller ones of the network's cable subsidiaries (low production costs, non-unionized writers, none of that messy "creative process" Suits can't stand) make it exceptionally resistant to a backlash from an audience that frankly isn't discerning enough to teach Hollywood a lesson by refusing to have anything to do with the format.

* An abbreviated version of the roundtable discussion about the history of pulp science fiction magazines between Robert Silverberg, Richard A. Lupoff and Frank M. Robinson, up at the Locus web site. (Those intrigued by the subject may also want to check out this 2006 article by Brian Curtis for Slate Magazine regarding pulp fiction generally, across genre boundaries-and in knowing that since its redesign in October, Tangent Online has devoted a section to those same pulps, as well as one to classic science fiction in all formats.)

* And finally, Charles Stross on the possibility that a virus is responsible for the obesity epidemic, as well as the tiresome tendency to view physical illness as a matter of moral failure rather than biological disease. (Also of interest on Charlie's Diary: his commentary on the recent announcement of Prince William's marriage, which those similarly inclined may find a welcome respite from the tedious, fawning hoopla surrounding the event.)

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