Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011!

Another new year's eve, another year. I don't drink or "party" or do much to celebrate the new year; it's actually something of a sad time for me, as it means that a) my next birthday is in a couple of days and b) that my holiday vacation time is coming to an end. Ah, well -- in truth I should be happy that I've got a good job to go back to.

That said, and on a totally different topic altogether, for awhile I've been thinking of some "interesting" follow-ons to some popular culture media that I'd like to see -- follow-ons that will very likely never happen unless I write them myself and publish them as anonymous fan-fiction (highly unlikely). Still, I'd like to make a note of them here:

  • Star Wars: The Droid Liberation Wars - Ever since the first Star Wars movie, I've been bugged at how the droids -- who for the most part seem as sentient as any of the organic characters -- are very much "second class citizens". Remember that scene in the Mos Eisley cantina where the bartender says "Your droids. They'll have to wait outside. We don't want them here."? I wondered if Lucas might move the series towards "droid liberation", in the end leaving the Empire to be more or less on par with Iain M Banks' Culture. To the best of my knowledge -- I'm not a big Star Wars fan -- this has not happened. But I'd sure like to see it.
  • Harry Potter and the Wizard-Muggle War - I mean, haven't you ever wondered? It'd sure be interesting if J. K. Rowling and Jack Clancy collaborated on something like this. Rowling has shown she's not afraid of getting very dark -- all-out us-or-them genocidal warfare could get very very very dark indeed.
  • Sookie Stackhouse: Dead During Wartime aka True Blood: The Human / Vampire Wars - As with the Harry Potter concept above, this could get really dark and "interesting". I mean: homo sapiens encounters a superior apex predator ... this is a situation that's gonna go downhill fast.
  • Invaders of Gor - Earth takes on the Kurii, Priest Kings, and alternative (and highly non-PC) human cultures of John Norman's Counter-Earth as described in his Gor series of novels (I think he's up to #30, God help us all). You may laugh, but seriously, this could be rather interesting. The non-human Kurii have this habit of kidnapping humans from Earth and transplanting them to Counter-Earth, so there could be a nice X-Files vibe to this.

    I once wrote up a short teaser on the concept (which reads rather like a mashup of Gor with Vinge's Marooned In Realtime); I may wake up in the morning regretting this, but here it is:
    Jessica Qin was born in 1960AD on Earth in a small town in a province called Illinois, located in the United States of America.

    Advances in medical technology -- especially the Big Breakthrough in the mid-21st century -- have kept her youthful and fit. Despite what you may think of her appearance, in 23rd century America, she blends in with the crowd. But in 2235AD, bored with life, she opted for a century-long solo mission to the star Wolf 359, 7.7 light years away.

    Arriving in the Wolf system 47 years later, Qin emerged from stasis to find herself under fire by unknown entities. With 80% of her defense capability down and drive severely compromised, she found herself free-falling on a tight hyperbolic path around an object that appeared to be a Tipler Cylinder. With no drive capacity, she had no choice but to bobble herself and her remaining resources into stasis and go for a ride.

    Emerging from stasis, Qin found herself with good news and bad news: the good news was that she was on the fringes of Sol system's Oort cloud, rich in raw materials and just half a light year from Earth. The bad news was that the open time-like curve she'd traveled had displaced her 277 years into the past, back to 2005AD.

    After her ship self-repaired, she headed back to the inner system, where she was amazed to find Counter-Earth, which at first glance seemed an ideal place to stay completely out of the light-cone of Earth for the next 277 years.

    Then she became acquainted with the local customs and the political situation.

    Shocked and appalled by what she saw, she thought long and hard and concluded that her most fruitful course of action would be to align herself with the Priest-Kings in their war against the Others, repairing and in some cases augmenting their decaying technology -- Ship engineering AI de-briefs on recovered Priest-King technologies invariably included terms like "idiosyncratic", "baroque", and "paper-clips and silly-putty" -- in return for concessions that would soften the harsher aspects of Gorean human culture.

    By necessity feared more than she is loved by humans and aliens alike, she is mad, bad, and dangerous to know. And yet unswervingly faithful to those few she considers her true friends. She has an unpopular cause but near-infinite time and resources to devote to it.

    And Jessica Qin is an extremely patient woman . . .

    The scary and difficult thing about writing this would be the necessity of having to ingest (and take notes on!) the 30 volumes of "reference" material in the existing Gor novels. I once inadvisably read all 6 volumes of Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant over the course of a weekend and made myself sick. 30 volumes of purple-prose propaganda urging women to accept their place as loving slave to their Master ... that might kill me.

So there you have it. I notice that these all involve some kind of war. So be it -- most interesting narrative involves some kind of conflict, and war is about as big and in-yer-face as conflict gets. There's also a pronounced "what if God and Superman got into a fight?" flavor to the last three -- but That's Entertainment.

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