In the TED Talks video, educator John McWhorter asks: Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na’vi real languages? as he discusses conlangs (fantasy constructed languages).

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In episode 167 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester and his rag-tag band of panelists, discuss:

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

  • Which 2012 Debut work (movie/short story/book) most impressed you?
  • Which 2012 book that you were really looking forward to, delivered on your expectations and why?
  • Which 2012 book that you were really looking forward to failed miserably and why?
  • Which 2012 movies disappointed and why?
  • Which 2012 movies most impressed you and why?

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A few years back, I was hanging out with one of my friends and his kid did this kung-fu move and shouted something about bending air at me.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Then my friend suddenly kicked the ground, did another kung-fuey move, and said something about bending earth.

I was completely lost.

It was explained to me that there was this ‘kick ass show’ called Avatar: The Last Airbender that all the kids were into and that it was also pretty entertaining for their parents.  Ok.  I didn’t check it out until Netflix started streaming the show and found that I was really impressed.  My only complaint came when I realized how few episodes there actually were of the series: 3 seasons, 61 episodes.  Still, given how poorly genre shows typically do with series endings, I had to admit that Avatar at least had a beginning, a middle and (most importantly) an end.  A pretty good one, too. The show had a rich world and great characters.  I think a sequel was inevitable.

Enter: The Legend of Korra.

WARNING:Spoilers for the original series from this point forward!

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[GUEST POST] L.B. Gale on “John Carter” and Ripoffs

L.B. Gale is a literacy specialist in New York City. She studied comparative mythology and fantasy fiction for her Master’s degree at the University of Chicago. She writes articles on both analyzing and creating speculative fiction at www.lbgale.com.

Dancing with Avatars on Mars: On John Carter and Ripoffs

Harold Bloom is a Yale literary critic and a crank. I have no doubt that he would consider Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom series to be popular culture trash, and I have even less doubt that he’d look down on Disney’s attempt to translate Burrough’s saga to the screen. Nonetheless, Harold Bloom is famous for a theory that helps explain the most perplexing tidbit emerging from the pre-release buzz surrounding Disney’s John Carter-the fact that the John Carter stories were both original and incredibly influential, and yet John Carter is already being lambasted for ripping off the very stories that likely ‘ripped off’ A Princess of Mars in the first place.
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TRAILER: Avatar II

Against my better judgment, I laughed at this.

[via Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist]

Avatar: Creating The World Of Pandora

Forget the mediocre story, Avatar is all about the visuals. Check out this feature for a behind-the-scenes look at how they did it.

[via Geeks of Doom]

Avatar: The Good and The Bad

I finally got a chance to see James Cameron’s Avatar. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

It’s about a military mining operation on the planet Pandora that is hindered by the location of a village of the native Na’vi. To avoid killing the natives, a contingent of scientists attempt a peaceful negotiation through the use of Avatars, home-grown versions of Na’vi that are genetically linked to humans. A soldier, Jake Sully, is elected to join the Avatar program and learn their ways so that he might convince them to relocate.

There’s been a lot of opinions floating around about this supposedly landmark film…usually emphasizing one extreme (“A new standard!”) or the other (“It sucked!”).

Here are my impressions of the film…

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Will You Go See Avatar?

Avatar, the long-awaited film from James Cameron, opens tomorrow. It’s being called a ground-breaking film for it’s seamless blend of live action and computer-generated imagery.

I have to agree that the film looks absolutely stunning. Some of the scenery and science fictional elements look spectacular (though I think that the aliens movement is a little too slow and not quite lifelike). But I also wonder about the story itself. I really, really hope it will be good but fear it will suffer from LPS (Lucas Prequel Syndrome – looks real pretty but has a weak story). A recent review at JoBlo confirms my apprehension. I’m still undecided on whether I will go see it, much less if I will see it in 3D.

How about you? Are you planning on seeing the latest SciFi blockbuster?

Here’s a trailer to help you decide…

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SF Tidbits for 8/21/09

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Trailer: Avatar

James Cameron’s long-awaited next project, Avatar, has been all buzz and no trailer. Until now.

I dunno…I like the idea of a cool military SciFi story, but some of the effects are too obviously CG.

[via Twitch]