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Archive for October 2nd, 2016

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by Sam Juliano

We have crossed the October threshold and with that some serious progress into what is traditionally the most rewarding span for all the arts.  The award worthy film season has now commenced, though for this viewer the best stuff has yet to surface.  Halloween watchers are now in their glory and horror film aficionados (including Yours Truly) are again visiting the genre with remewed abandon.  The prevailing colors are normally orange and brown, but so far the summer season has refused to clear out completely.

The long-running Top 100 Science Fiction Countdown is down to its final three weeks, and all things considered it has done reasonably well.  In every barometer of measurement it can’t hold a candle to the musical, comedy and romance genre polls, but by way of the quality of writing it is right there.  The site’s overwhelming tragedy has cast a pall over the proceedings, but we are working our way tail up to the finish line.  After studied deliberation I have decided to launch the 2016 installment of the Caldecott Medal Contender series earlier than usual, opting not to wait for the end of the science fiction countdown.  The first post went up mid week, and there will be several more before October ends.  The series of course will run until the awards are announced in late January, but I am unsure at this point how many essays it will involve. (more…)

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the-day-the-earth-stood-still

by John Greco

If we don’t stop killing each other we will be exterminated. That’s the message given by one of the greatest science fiction films ever made. World War II ended with the dropping of a couple of devastating nuclear bombs over two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 129,000 people. Over the next few months, more than another 120,000 people would die due to burns, radiation poisoning and other after effects of the bomb. The bombing ended the war at a high cost. And while it ended the war, it was just the beginning of a new era in warfare. Ever since, along with Russia’s own testing of a nuclear bomb in 1949, the fear of nuclear war has hung over us like a massive mushroom cloud. In the world of science fiction, films like The Incredible Shrinking Man, Godzilla and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to name a few, have used these fears to demonstrate what our future may be. In 1951, came an early entry in the field. It remains to this day one of the best. Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still warns us that if we don’t stop killing each other, we may not have a future. It won’t be just giant genetically modified monsters we’ll have to worry about.

Of course, mass killing of humans by humans is nothing new. It goes as far back as to the Old Testament. However, modern man seems to have developed a knack for killing off so-called undesirables: The Armenians early in the 20th century, The Holocaust, The Killing Fields of Cambodia just to name a few. The list really does go on right up until today in Syria.

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