[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
The big news from last week was the acquisition of LucasFilm by Disney, giving the Mouse control of Star Wars and many other properties. While fans everywhere cheer the idea of no more Lucas mucking about with the films, another bit of news dropped that doesn’t seem to be getting as much play. Several decades after Lucas first floated the idea, Disney will be making three more episodes in the Star Wars saga, with episode 7 slated to land in 2015. Since this is apparently going to happen, our question is:
Q: What do you want to see from the new Star Wars movies in terms of stories? Do you have anyone you’d like to direct the movies or star in them?
Here’s what they said…
Continuing our theme of science fiction tropes, we asked this week’s panelists:
Q: What are some of the coolest robots in science fiction? Why?
Here’s what they said. Are your favorites listed?
is the author of 50 novels, 200 short stories, a pair of screenplays, and the editor of 50 anthologies, as well as the executive editor of Jim Baen’s Universe
. According to Locus
, he is the leading award winner, living or dead, of short fiction. His work has been translated into 22 languages.
The single most memorable robot:
- Jenkins, from Cliff Simak’s City. Simak made you care for Jenkins at a time when Asimov was creating scores of robots that only Susan Calvin cared about.
- Joe, from Henry Kuttner’s “Robots Have No Tail”. Kuttner was another writer who had no interest in the Three Laws, and created a charming robot.
- Roderick, from John Sladek’s Roderick and Roderick at Random. Roderick was a perfect vehicle for Sladek’s sardonic commentary.
- Adam Link, from Eando Binder’s I, Robot (sic) and others; he’sthe missing link between clanking metallic monsters and positronic robots.
- Sisto Settimo, from Robert Silverberg’s “Good News From the Vatican”. He’s only onstage for one paragraph, but the notion of a robot pope is as memorable as they come.
And if I can suggest three totally non-Asimovian robots that made major ballots:
- Sammy, from my “Robots Don’t Cry”.
- Jackson, from my “Article of Faith”.
- Mose, from my and Lezli Robyn’s “Soulmates”.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Swann delivers an outstanding space opera.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A rogue AI looking for godhood makes himself known to humanity.
PROS: Well-conceived universe; intricately plotted and clearly explained; several story elements play well off each other; cool, large-scale ideas.
CONS: It’s (an admittedly small) leap of faith to believe that the three heretical technologies — artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and nanotech – are thought to be suppressible.
BOTTOM LINE: Reading this is like eating candy.
We’ve already talked about literary villains, so we asked this week’s panelists about bad guys (and gals) of the big screen:
Q: Who are some of the best villains in science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror film?
Read on to see their responses (and the videos I included, unbeknownst to them)…
is the host of Science of the Movies
on Science Channel. In the show he interviews filmmakers and explores the technology behind making movies. He also hosts, produces, and writes the show Heads Up! with Nar Williams
on CraveOnline, where he previews the best upcoming movies, video games, and comic books. Nar regularly contributes to Current TV’s Rotten Tomatoes Show as a film critic and writes about sci-fi and sci-tech on his blog, www.narwilliams.com
- The Joker (The Dark Knight): The crazy bastard put a phone-triggered bomb in the stomach of one of his own henchman. ‘Nuff said.
- Agent Smith (Matrix Trilogy): He really hates humans – especially our smell. Every time he growls “Mr. Anderson…” I think, “How inconsiderate! His name is Neo! He wants to be called Neo!”
- Gollum (Lord of the Rings Trilogy): Screw Sauron, even simple Samwise Gamgee knows who the real villain is in Tolkien’s epic. Seriously, the split personality once known as Smeagol is so thoroughly made of betrayal he evens betrays himself at one point (“Go away, and never come back!”) …Hate that guy.
Honorable mentions: T-1000 (Terminator 2), HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey), and the obnoxious Scottish guy with dreadlocks (Children of Men).