atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2224: Little Fuzzy DOES NOT NEED a "reboot"!


The original book by H. Beam Piper doesn't need to be rewritten and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts this guy's "reboot" of it will be shit.

...his name's John Scalzi and a description of his main body of work includes this lede: "This series of books is what I’m currently best known for," and it's under the "Sci Fi Channel" imprint. *rolleyes* It doesn't mean he's a hack, of course, but I've never heard of the guy.

He's won some awards, though not major ones; and that tells me that he's probably taken a maggoty, runny shit all over H. Beam Piper's world. I'll have to read his fanfic version to see, but I'll be a monkey's assistant if I'm going to buy the damn thing. I'll get it from the local library.

Wait, you ask--what makes me think that? So the guy's won some awards; why does that make you think this guy's crapped on Piper's work?

Well, you see, the only people who win writing awards are people who have the "right" opinions and write with "correct" politics. Okay, Flashforward's author Robert Sawyer filled his novel with short polemics about socialized medicine and also uncritically presented "the future" with massive ozone depletion because of CFCs.

...I don't know how many damn times I've written about ozone depletion and CFCs here; do I need to repeat myself? Short form: the "ozone hole" was discovered in 1956 and explained as a natural phenomenon. The magnitude of the "ozone hole" in 1956 was approximately identical to the "worst ozone hole in recorded history", and the "ozone hole" always recovers every year after the meteorological conditions which prompt its formation pass. In other words, the "ozone hole" scaremongering contained about as much real science as the "anthropogenic global warming" scaremongering does.

Robert Sawyer wins writing awards.

So this John Scalzi has won some minor awards himself; his status as a not-very-well-known writer is probably why he's not won bigger ones. And I'd wager those awards are the kind of prizes given to people because they write well and have the correct opinions, the same way most awards are.

Piper's universe was largely libertarian/conservative, with a strong emphasis on personal responsibility and self-reliance; someone who wins writing awards is likely to shit all over that.

* * *

I only know of this nonsense because I posted a comment here and wanted to give non-SF-readers a link to the story I was talking about.

In Little Fuzzy, Jack Holloway used a Nitro Express to shoot a damnthing, you see. I had to go for the reference. Little Fuzzy remains one of my favorite SF novels of all time.

* * *

Scalzi defends his "reboot" of LF by saying that all kinds of things have been "rebooted". But his examples are series which desperatley needed it, because the prior efforts were schlocky or asninine.

...wait; he says "Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek". Where's the reboot of Star Trek? As far as I know there aren't any. Star Trek: The Next Generation is in the same continutiy as the original series; the same goes for Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise. None of these rewrote anything having to do with the original series; even Enterprise was shoehorned in as part of the continuity of the Trek universe. (I could comment on that, answering the criticisms leveled of that series, but I'll leave that for another time.)

But BG desperately needed a "reboot". The original was written for 10-year-olds; it was primarily a way to sell toys, because no one in Hollywood took SF seriously enough to think adults would want to watch an SF TV series. And Glen Larson didn't know shit about serious SF, anyway.

The only reason BG happened originally was that Star Wars had shown that SF didn't have to be a niche market, that it could make serious money if done even halfway correctly. The primary benefit of SW was that it didn't talk down to the viewer, nor did it try to be too fantastic.

Want to make me cringe? Use these terms from the original BG: "Felgercarb". "Secton." "Daggit." "Tylium" (pronounced "tie-lee-um"). The former three were excised entirely; they changed the emphatic syllable of their fuel to "till-ee-um" and it sounded better. They'd say "second" instead of "secton" (the entire Colonial timekeeping method was changed in favor of the units we use) and the entire deal with Boxy and his robo-dog-thing was chopped out in its entirety.

The folks in Hollywood thought, "Oh, those SF nerds eat this kind of junk up. Give everything a weird nonsensical name and they'll love it." This was a disease peculiar to writers, directors, and producers, well into the 1980s.

You want to do a reboot of something? Reboot Battle Beyond the Stars! Holy shit was that a turd of a movie. God damn it. George Peppard as a space trucker! (CB radios were in vogue at the time, after all.) Nestor, the hive mind--Jesus, way to fuck up that concept, guys: one takes a bite of a hot dog and another one chews? How do you explain that? Matter teleportation? And then the first one says, "There is no dog in this!" How the fuck would an alien know what dog tastes like? WTF, why are they even eating hot dogs anyway when this is some society in either the far future or the far past? Because George Peppard the Space Texan has hot dogs as his traditional cowboy food! And John Boy was organizing a ragtag group of warriors to battle some kind of galactic overlord? It was fucking stupid and it made no damn sense at all!

...but 20th Century Fox had a super-hit with that "Star Warts" thing, so we've got to jump on the bandwagon! Shit, that movie by itself put SF cinema back a decade, easy.

How about rebooting Silent Running? Or, here's a thought: reboot Callahan's Crosstime Saloon so that it's not a bunch of feel-good lefty bullshit masquerading as SF. That would be a worthwhile read.

No, wait! I've got it! WRITE YOUR OWN DAMN STUFF! That way people won't think you're a total freakin' hack!

In my family, Alan Dean Foster had--for years--a bad reputation, because all he did was novelizations of movies, and he got them wrong. (In fact, Foster worked from a script, and changes inevitably get made during filming; only Foster wasn't privy to them, so his novels didn't reflect the final version of the movie. We blamed him unfairly; but we didn't know that then.) We thought he was a hack, someone who could only rewrite others' stories, usually badly. (Example: his Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which was probably the first Star Wars book outside the continuity of the movies. And it was shit.)

...but when he finally started publishing his original works, I discovered that the guy was actually a capable writer. His standalone novels are pretty good reads; his Cyber Way is a pretty cool mixture of computer technology and Navajo mythology. His Icerigger trilogy is a great read and it was the first of his books which led me to reconsider his ability as a writer.

* * *

But someone has paid for this "reboot", so it's going to be published. WTF.

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