5 Friday Faves: “Author! Author!” Edition

LOL – see what I did, there? I used a movie title just to draw attention to this post, which is really about my five favourite writers of fiction! I read quite a bit, and have a long list of writers whom I admire and always look forward to their latest writings. They’re also great in that their older works are worth re-reading from time to time; like a nice, classic outfit, they never really go out of style.

I had to think long and hard about these writers, but was finally able to come up with why these specific five are awesome! I’m not doing a numbered list this time; instead, I have listed them in order by their last names. I’m listing past and present writers, as two people on this list are deceased. With that disclaimer, here we go!

Octavia Butler (22 June 1947 – 24 February 2006): Octavia Butler is still one of my favourite authors, even years after her untimely death. She was a science fiction writer, earning multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for her many excellent books. She was also the first science fiction writer to earn the MacArthur Fellowship, which is nicknamed the “Genius Grant.” I have all of her books, and I think it is time to pull them off of the shelf and give them a re-read! I usually go five years between re-readings, so that the stories are somewhat fresh. One can never have too many books, I think.

Harlan Coben: I happened upon this author when I was browsing the shelves of a bookstore that sold or traded used books. I was looking for some Jonathan Kellerman and Patricia Cornwell books, and since books were listed by genre and alphabetical order (by last name, of course), I saw Coben’s name just ahead of Cornwell’s. The title of one book caught my eye, so I took it along with the other selections that I’d already made – very glad that I did! I love a good mystery / psych-thriller, and his writings are perfect. He sprinkles funny lines in his tales, similar to Stephen King, and does quite well at throwing in unexpected twists that might keep most people guessing until the last page. I don’t think that I have all of his books yet, but I’m certainly working on it!

David Gemmel (1 August 1948 – 28 July 2006): David Gemmell was a phenomenal writer, and I enjoyed his books immensely. His untimely death in 2006 almost spelled the death of a series he was in the middle of working on; fortunately, his wife was able to do it justice and complete the works under a joint authorship. She did quite well, I have to say! I have all of David’s books, and again, must pull them off the shelves and give them another go – starting with Legend, of course.

Stephen King: Stephen King is the author whom I’ve been reading for most of my life. I think that the first short-story of his that I read was the one about the little toy soldiers that come to life and kill the head of a company. I was eight when I read it, then was re-introduced to his writings in 6th grade. He slowly overtook Piers Anthony and V.C. Andrews during my junior high years, and then firmly established himself as my favourite author for close to seven years. It was around that time that I was introduced to this next author’s writings by a close friend.

Dan Simmons: I had finished reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred and was talking with a friend about good sci-fi novels. He had just finished reading Hyperion and was starting on The Fall of Hyperion, so he lent me the first book – I was hooked from the first page! When I went to the local bookstore to look up what else he had written, I was pleased to see that he wrote horror and mystery novels as well. In fact, he has won multiple awards, including the Hugo, the Bram Stoker, and the Locus, to name a few. I have most of his books, if not all of them…and, I have a tattoo of the Shrike. It’s just fitting, for me!

Racism & Sexism In Entertainment: Part III

Part III: Movies

In Part One, I gave some examples of racism in video and computer games. In Part Two I illustrated the racism I’ve seen in graphic novels, by describing how a fairly popular, black female superheroine was minimized, masculinized and desexualized (in my not-so-humble-opinion), and finally ‘whitewashed’ in the well-known series of movies which made millions of dollars at the box office. I think this is a great segue into how other non-white people are written out of movies when they are brought to AmeriKKKan movies by the racist fucks in ‘Hollywhite’.

First off, let’s talk about three movies which were brought to the big screen in the past five years: Speed Racer, DragonBall Z, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. These began as manga, the Japanese graphic novel; later, they were developed for television as anime. A lot of the fucktards and asshats in Alaska referred to it as ‘Japanimation’…it annoyed me when they said shit like that! Anyway, when these great creations were brought to the big screen for AmeriKKKans, all of the main protagonists were bleached-out and made into white characters – never mind the fact that the majority of the characters, if not all, were originally supposed to be of Asian descent: Chinese in Airbender; Japanese in Speed Racer and DBZ. Yes, there are some white characters in those shows; that’s not the issue – it’s the deliberate, unnecessary whitewashing of the non-white characters that pisses myself (and a lot of other people) off! Interestingly enough, the P.C. police have also seen fit to sanitize DragonBall Z for Saturday morning cartoons; specifically, the character named Mr. Popo, who is drawn as a classical racist stereotype of Black people. I think that the racist drawing should have been left as-is, so parents would HAVE to talk to their kids about racism and stereotypes!

Here he is before the change:

…and here he is, afterwards:

I think that a lot of people get frightened over possibly having to discuss and/or explain racist stereotypes, symbols, and imagery. My question is, how is ignoring and/or avoiding it solving the problems it causes?

I digress…I recently heard that yet another great anime from the 1970s could soon be coming to the big screen, thanks to Warner Brothers Studios. I also hear that a HUGE whitewashing, face-lift, ‘retooling’ and general overhaul is due to be done to it, and that annoys me greatly! Akira: a fantastic, dark, captivating cult classic from 1988. It is perfect as it is – please…don’t do a damned thing to it. I have the full-length, uncut version on DVD and haven’t watched it for some time…I will change that this upcoming weekend! I have no intention of watching the movie because it will be a piss-poor, white, AmeriKKKan bastardization. I saw this video and article on another blog and wanted to re-post it here: it features George Takei, famously known for his role as Commander Sulu in the Star Trek franchise, discussing some of the details: http://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/george-takei-on-akira-casting/

It’s not a new thing, either. Non-white people have been slowly erased from factual and fictional tales for ages. For instance, people truly believe that the ‘old West’ was full of white cowboys having shootouts at high noon at the O.K. Corral. In reality, the numbers could be summed up thusly: Two out of every four cowboys were of Latin descent; of the remaining two, it was highly likely that one of them would be dark-skinned, as many freed slaves went West to pursue their dreams – shameful that they were preyed upon by the so-called ‘lawmen’ of the day and wrongfully imprisoned (this hasn’t changed), and victimized by the Native tribes, who were urged along and assisted by the government in that matter. More of the old divide-and-conquer trick, but that’s a topic for another day…and, speaking of the Native Americans, they have been marginalized and stereotyped horribly.

Back to the main topic…the ‘whitewashing’ of movies is why I watch little television and almost no movies. For instance, there is a popular book titled The Hunger Games, which was made into a movie. A Black, female character in the book was suddenly transformed into a white girl in the movie. I’d wager that the Hugo-award winning author, Octavia Butler (now deceased), had no desire to see her fantastic sci-fi novels bastardized on the big screen! Her books are excellent and I recommend them to everyone who lauds Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and the other ‘great, classic’ sci-fi authors. Another excellent non-white author is Steven Barnes, who wrote the excellent book The Kundalini Equation – if you’ve never read it, I recommend it – it’s fascinating and very well-written!

 

Graphic novels and animated shows made into movies lose every aspect of what made them great to watch: The Tick and Aeon Flux are prime examples of this. Sadly, many non-white authors have a more difficult time in getting published, especially if the book has an obviously non-white protagonist – unfortunately, consumers are just as responsible for this dearth. In general, movies and television shows insult me in too many ways. They insult me as a human being. They insult me as a woman. They insult me as a person of color. They insult my intelligence. They insult my core beliefs. If people really wanted to admit it and really, truly, look at and analyse movies as critically as they claim to analyse televisions shows and people…well, they might just wake up and see that the things that are insulting to me are insulting to them, too. This is something we all have in common, worldwide!

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