Archive for August, 2008
I just saw the trailer for the new short film 2081 and it looks really good. The movie is based on the 1961 short story Harrison Bergeron written by Kurt Vonnegut. If you haven’t read it, read it now. The story takes place in the dystopian society of 2081 (hence the name of the movie) where everyone is finally equal not just in the eyes of God or the law but in hard cold fact. This equality is ensured by the Handicapper General who job it is to ensure that no one is smarter, more attractive, stronger, faster, or anything better than anybody else. “The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks, and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything.”
I have always been a fan of stories about dystopian societies. Back in high school we read 1984 by George Orwell, Brave new World by Aldous Huxley, and the 1961 short story by Kurt Vonnegut called Harrison Bergeron. All of which I enjoyed although Orwell’s prose was a little hard to get through at times. I remember Vonnegut’s story in particular really made me think about the direction society was heading for the first time in my life. That’s why I was very excited to hear about 2081 which is based on Harrison Bergeron. The clips I saw showed the typical dark and dirty world common among much of the dystopian society fiction. It look very cool and very appropriate. In our world where political correctness and government intrusion threaten free speech and free thought and where technology has finally advanced to the point that could make these stories a reality they are more important than ever.
Seeing the trailer and rereading the story inspired my to create logo for the U.S. Handicapper General’s Office. I wear it to remind others to remain vigilant lest these fictional futures become our own.No comments
I have been playing D&D since 1978. I started with 3 little brown books, went to the blue Basic D&D set then to 1st edition AD&D, 2nd edition, 3rd edition, and finally 3.5E. At each step along the way I have thought the game and the mechanics were improved. So it was with great anticipation that I awaited the arrival of 4E from Wizards of the Coast. I thought 3.5 was awesome but there were still a few problems which needed to get worked out such as the sorcerer class (which I loved). I was really looking forward to getting 4E because I hoped they would have tweaked the 3.5 rules to fix these problems.
I knew that most of it would either be written by the 10% of D&D players who will hate any changes to the game (these are usually the people who would still be playing with the little brown books if the could find them), or the 10% of the D&D community who love everything and anything Wizards of the Coast publish no matter what (WoTC could crap on a paper plate, slap it in a hard covered book and these people would run right out an buy it). I certainly didn’t want to fall into either of these categories or have my views influenced by them. In any case, I ignored all of the pre-release hype. Although I will say that I was fully prepared to become a lover.1 comment
So lately I have been on another one of my Drow kicks. I do love Drow. I’ve been reading Lisa Smedman’s Lady Penitent series which, I am almost finished with. Once I finish up Ascendency of the Last (the final book in the series) I’ll put up a review. In the mean time, the Lady Penitent me to create a create a few more drow-inspired designs:
This one is in tribute to Eilistraee, also known as the Dark Maiden, the good Drow Goddess of the Moon, the Sword, and the Hunt.
This one is for all of you Spider-Kissers out there. In Dark Elvish characters, the runes above read Vin’ult Lloth! L’ Orbb Valsharess! which translates into English as Hail Lloth! The Spider Queen!.
Likewise this message is also written in Drowish runes. It reads Streea ulu l’Shinduago Xellased! or Death to the Surface Dwellers! which of course is a common sentiment among the Dark Elves. I understand you need to be a real D&D geek to get, never mind wear or design these, but hey, if the shirt fits wear it.
If you like these, you can check out the rest of my Fantasy designs including quite a few other Dark Elf designs.No comments
1421 the Year China Discovered America
by Gavin Menzies
This was an absolutely fascinating book which I read this summer. Gavin Menzies, a former British submarine captain, presents his case for the Chinese discovery of America 7 decades before the Europeans did. In fact, Menzies discusses how the Chinese knowledge of these lands migrated into the hands of the Europeans beginning the great age of European exploration. In fact the Chinese treasure fleets discovered, North America, South America, Africa, and Antarctica. Apparently the only place they managed to miss was Europe. Unfortunately, all of the official records of these voyages were destroyed after the fleets returned. This was the time when China went into it’s great period of isolationism and so the ruling Mandarins destroyed all of the records, charts, etc. of areas outside of China to discourage interaction with other lands and peoples. Which is why people especially those in the western world know so little about them. As a result much of Menzies evidence is circumstantial but taken as a whole would be very hard to discount. Menzies combines his knowledge of prevailing winds and currents along with the sailing quality of the Chinese ships of the period to show how the Chinese could have made this voyage. He combines this with cultural and archaeological evidence from the native societies the Chinese encountered. Menzies does an excellent job of composing a time line for the Chinese Treasure Fleet’s movements and discoveries. In the end, Menzies presents a very believable case for the Chinese exploration which takes away very little from the European explorations and in fact does a lot to explain how those came to take place.No comments