Thursday, May 3, 2018

Some of What I've Been Up to Lately

It's been longer than I thought it would be when I last posted, but here I am. As I said, I've been doing (a lot) more non-blog writing lately.

Among the results:

* A piece in the February New York Review of Science Fiction--a follow-up to my 2011 article in that same publication ("A Revolution of Falling Expectations: Whither the Singularity?") where I make the case that the bust for techno-hype we saw a decade ago has given way to boom again.

* A few working papers at the SSRN. One of them uses bestseller data to consider the demise of the spy fiction market in the '90s. What happened? Simply put, that decade saw the thriller go domestic as the spy stories gave way to legal thrillers and forensic thrillers and serial killer profilers for a whole generation--which I suspect those who bothered to think about the matter suspected, but anyway, here are the numbers.

* And, just in time for the arrival of Solo in theaters, second edition of my book Star Wars in Context, which you can find in print and e-book editions on Amazon. This new edition, which is twice as long as the original, has heavily revised and expanded discussions of the material the original covered, while being updated as close to the present moment as I could manage.

The new material ranges from such issues as what influence Carlos Castaneda and Bruno Bettelheim had on Lucas, to why fans have become more accepting of the prequels, to the stature of the Star Wars movies in the new, globalized cinematic marketplace, which in turn sheds light on old issues. Among them is a fairly complete explanation of exactly where the whole idea of the Force came from--and just why it seems so slippery. (Castaneda, whose influence on Lucas I discuss here at length, had a lot to do with it, and it's a wonder that all this isn't much better known, but then if it were, why write about it here?)

As always, any thoughts you have on all this are welcome here.

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