December 06, 2019, 03:11:37 PM

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Topics - J.R. Darewood

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Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Deadpool
« on: May 21, 2018, 07:05:52 AM »

Best song from the OST:

Saw it in 4D, moving chairs and all that. The water spraying on your face when there was blood splatter was SO GROSS, but also really fun.


I posted this on fb too but I thought I'd also vent here.

Ok so I never read the comics these movies are based on (I was into Spidey but never the Avengers) but even implied science is important b/c there's a lot of f**ed up policy out there.

** The human strain on finite resources is about two things 1) Over-consumption 2) the ratio of population growth rates to death rates. There are plenty of real life disasters that have shown the actual number of people on the planet after some sort of disaster is irrelevant if growth rates are high.

Over-consumption. 1% of the world's population consumes the vast majority of it's resources, so this whole discussion of over-population is actually missing the point. Our environmental crisis stems primarily from rich people in the US, Europe and China decimating the world, not poor people having too many children. A subsistence farmer in an Amazonian village consumes less than 0.04% of their biological environment in comparison to an American, who in a 15 minute trip to the grocery store decimates natural systems around the world via mining, petroleum, plantations and whatnot. But hey, we'll sideline this one for the moment and look at how killing half of everyone wouldn't solve over-population either.

Population science. Stable systems (in homeostasis) have mechanisms to either keep growth rates down or death rates high. Rats have tons of babies. They also get eaten by tons of stuff. Pandas, orangutan, cheetahs, gorillas have low birth rates b/c they don't have a ton of predators. The trick is looking at under what conditions humans have low birth rates.

Human birth rates vary. For wealthy people, or people in secure environments, birth rates tend to increase-- people put more energy into each offspring and try to keep it to 1 or 2. Eg. for the wealthy sub-populations in US and Japan, population growth rates have gone down over time as wealth has increased. In insecure environments (read: deepening poverty, after disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes or war that kill tons of people) humans tend to have lots of kids. Consequently, killing off half of humanity would result in increased birth rates. If long-term insecurity resulted from that shock (wealthy places didn't recover, insecurity remained geographically widespread a generation later) there could be a long-term acceleration of population growth. (side note: keep in mind what I said above are generalities coming out of human biology that can, in practice be culturally mediated)

The environmental crisis is the result of disembedding our consumption from natural systems. Globalization allows Europeans, Americans, Chinese etc to set up infrastructures that lay waste to much of the world, turning ancient jungles into toilet paper, and oceans into a toilet. The natural consequences are felt by the rural poor of the 3rd world who, as a result of being displaced by armed men setting up banana plantations which you purchase in your grocery store, have tons of kids b/c there's a high chance some of them will die. The wealthy, who drive the ecological crisis, are disembedded from the consequences of their actions and thus destabilize what was previously a homeostatic ecological system.

Anyway, when Thanos is like "look your planet is now better off" to Gamora, I know it was a single line in a piece of fiction, but that's simply not what would happen if half the planet died, and the belief that it would is just more fodder for jackasses who promote policies that make our environmental problems worse, not better (which has happened in many places). So even if nature somehow works differently in Marvel's fictional universe, it leaves audiences with a implicit misunderstanding of over-population that makes me really angry.

I guess, what I'm saying is that whether or not it works in the Marvel Universe or not, the movie left viewers with the impression that it might work-- these ideas about overpopulation weren't explicitly challenged and Thanos wasn't painted as being completely misinformed about the long-term consequences of his actions. We get images of Thanos's own planet destroyed from inaction, and an unchallenged narrative about how "bellies are full" in Gamorra's planet now. Fiction is, well, fiction, so anything can be changed, but the thing that upsets me here is that there's tons of people out there that might not want to kill everyone, but understand overpopulation in the same terms Thanos used, and it upsets me to see that misapprehension spread because there are real consequences to people not understanding our current ecological crisis. Choosing to build this in as a character motivation spreads jackassery irl. To me it's just as upsetting as if I saw racism or sexism built into a narrative in a way that left it unchallenged as bad in the audiences mind.


So looks like we're getting a 5-season LoTR

I've been pretty disillusioned with intellectual properties lately.  I mean on the good side, they did a great job with, say, Harry Potter.  On the bad side, you've got Disney murdering Star Wars, after it had already been bludgeoned to death by it's creator. Don't get me started on spiderman or batman's 3000 film iterations.

I feel like there's some great IPs-- I read shitons of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books as a kid and they obviously ranged in quality, but I liked them.  But when you get a studio buying up a recognizeable name to milk it... it just sounds like bad news.  The first 3 LoTR films were great, but the Hobbit trilogy seemed like a preview for what they're going to do.

I feel like TV studios have gotten even more aggressive with the idea that it doesn't have to be good, it just has to have a marketable name to sell.  I wish things were art-inspired... like they would just wait until someone has a good script instead of leading with the intellectual property.

I'm not hopeful. How about you guys?

Writers' Corner / To name or not to name like a pornstar...
« on: April 06, 2018, 12:03:19 AM »

So I can't do a poll, so I'll just ask for qualified opinions.
Bradley Darewood sounds a bit like a pornstar's name.  Should I keep it, or change it?
If I change it, I could make a subtle change like "Bradley Darewyd" or try to go full on writerly like "Lance Wryter"

Writers' Corner / Pitch problems SOLVED
« on: April 03, 2018, 08:46:13 AM »

Mine is a

Keenly observed trilogy about a depressed mother's mission to explore her father's murder.

General Discussion / Dogs and Cats
« on: March 30, 2018, 08:36:53 AM »

Science has officially determined the answer to the rivalry between dogs (errr dog people) and cats (errr cat people). We finally have undisputed proof as to which animal is better.

"Why dogs really do love you, according to science"

"Your cat doesn't love you"

"How cats used humans to conquer the world"

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Stray thoughts on LoTR
« on: March 27, 2018, 06:57:25 AM »

So the eagles thing in the Hobbit, LoTR and Beren and Lúthien... could they be a metaphor for the US sweeping into WW1 and WW2 at the eleventh hour?

Fantasy Movies, Comic Books & Video Games / Black Panther
« on: February 23, 2018, 08:32:17 PM »
I just noticed we're missing a thread on this. Have you guys seen it yet? There are a lot of things this movie did right

Writers' Corner / Diversity in European Legends
« on: January 21, 2018, 05:06:12 AM »

So I would be surprised if I'm the first person to post on this.  I knew that there were black knights of the round table, but I hadn't read this guys blog before and it's really really enlightening.

"First off, six percent of the Knights of the Round Table were men of color. Granted, that’s only three out of 49 men, but the entire expanded United States Congress is hovering around 13% people of color and only has one black Senator."

Writers' Corner / Only Mostly Dead Poets Society
« on: January 12, 2018, 11:33:30 PM »
I feel like writing poetry, even bad poetry (especially bad poetry), is practical practice for making musical your prose, capturing lyrical rhythms to unleash later in your not-yet-finished narrative masterpieces. 

Plus it's just fun.

Anyone want to join me and periodically post their prose-poetry here? I know you want to @Jmack and @The Gem Cutter !

Writers' Corner / How to know which crits to listen to
« on: January 09, 2018, 01:18:17 AM »
So I just posted my new opening 150 words in a private facebook writing group, and I got some advice from one person who had some very formulaic (first sentence hook etc) advice, which made logical sense so I changed everything. A few hours later, two more people were like-- "the very first version is by far the best because xyz" and I'm like "Yes! That's exactly why I wrote it that way in the first place!"

Of course different people, different opinions that's what makes the world interesting BUT I WANT A RIGHT ANSWER LIKE IN MATH.

Anyway Ursula Le Guin says: "Group criticism is great training for self-criticism" and "The judgment that a work is complete... can come only from the writer and it can be made rightly only by a writer who's learned to read her own work."  The whole thrust of her section being that you have to learn to hear what's wrong with your piece yourself.

I've been doing this for quite a long time and I *still* haven't figured out how to tell which advice to take (and not to take).  What's the secret????

Writers' Corner / Fantasy word choice funtime
« on: December 30, 2017, 11:04:34 AM »

Poll: is it okay to use the word "insane" in a tolkienesque epic fantasy novel, or is that too modern?
"mad" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Writers' Corner / Characters who change between good and bad
« on: November 29, 2017, 07:29:49 AM »

So I love making the readers hate someone and then being like "woo hoo you were wrong you predjudiced bastards!"  so going from evil to... well not as evil seems to work out well, but going the other way...

I was just reading this book where a character who's a crafty underdog who I was totally rooting for turns out to be suuuuuper petty and evil and I was like whaaaaat and threw the book across the room and couldn't read it anymore.  So like I've got MCs with shifty allegiances too so I was all wondering if that might be kind of a problem.  I mean it's one thing if you find out they were awful all along and a totally different thing if you show them deliberating and struggling with the decision to become a bad guy, but still... how do you pull it off and delight your readers with the unexpected instead of alienate them and make them hate you


Okay so you've made it through the prologue about the Dark Lord or the Evil Queen or Baby MC or whatever and you're on to chapter 1!

What's your favorite opening-after-the-opening you've ever read?  Bran Stark watching some dude get his head chopped off?  Rand al'Thor bumbling around being a farmboy?  Or maybe there was no prologue and we just jumped to Paul Atreides sticking his hand in the old woman's box to see if he's human. (it took me years but I suddenly see the deep Jungian symbolism at play...)

It'd also be cool to think about what makes that chapter your favorite (or just plain good if you hate picking favorites).  What did it need to do and how did it do it?

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you all think...

Writers' Corner / How to write a royal proclamation
« on: November 15, 2017, 05:07:00 AM »

Someone suggested that I switch a dinner-party chapter with a royal proclamation scene, unfortunately I have no idea how to write one of those or what it would look like.

Are there any scenes from movies/TV series with a royal proclamation (that isn't campy) that I could look at? or an excerpt from a book? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

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