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Showing posts from January, 2011

Toy Story 3

contains spoilers!

Upfront, let me say this: I love Pixar's films, and have done since Toy Story came out in 1995. I cried in the silent montage sequence at the beginning of Up; wondered at the dazzling beauty of Finding Nemo; even, belatedly, enjoyed Cars (which is about Route 66 Americana rather than NASCAR) and in fact got my biggest Pixar belly-laugh from that film. My favourite Pixar film, though, is Toy Story 2, a work of absolute genius: smart, very funny, self-conscious, beautifully designed and engineered, and with a marvellously circular script that gives a very satisfying sense of completion. And it's utterly postmodern, in that it's a sleek, shiny object of desire that complicitly critiques consumerism and spectacle.

Therefore, I was in two minds about Toy Story 3. If you can make a sequel that is better than the original (as I think Toy Story 2 does with Toy Story), could even Pixar make lightning strike twice (or catch lightning in a bottle twice, more like)? I…

Afrofuturism

Almost exactly a year ago, the blogosphere proclaimed 'the death of science fiction' (see, for instance, here or here). In a reaction to what was perceived as the institutional biases within sf as unreconstructedly patriarchal, white, ideologically conservative/reactionary and incapable of properly dealing with (a) science and (b) the changing nature of contemporary technology and its impact upon everyday life, several writers lamented the state of contemporary sf, suggesting that it must change or die. This, of course, is an old story: Ursula LeGuin, in putting together the Norton Book of Science Fiction in the late-1990s, inveighed against such biases and attempted, in her selection, to tell another story about sf. We cannot undo the history of sf, however, while admitting those biases; the consternation among some (male) sf writers about LeGuin's revisionist project (and the way she handled the selection of some stories by white male writers) was not only a sense of agg…