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Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Time Event
12:05a
Your Daily Dose of FLASH!
Those of you who are old enough will recognize the heraldic theme by Queen. Those of you even older will recognize the stunning (for its time) animation and stunning (now and forever) faithfulness to the original of the Filmation animated version that appeared in 1979-1980. The faithfulness is all the more stunning compared to the bastardized version that disgraced television set not long after (does anyone else remember the version where Flash was no longer a polo captain, but a skate board thrasher?) Those of you who are even older will recognize the original Alex Raymond drawings, which are a monument in that little corner of history concerned with comics.



You may be asking yourself: but why do you, would-be esteemed international science fiction and general layabout John C. Wright, concern yourself with lowbrow entertainment like Flash Gordon comics? To which I can answer but in two words: SPACE and PRINCESSES.

You see, for-real esteemed international science fiction author Stephen Brust once explained how he decided what elements to put into his books. Anything cool. Anything he liked. You like rapiers? Rapier fencing scene goes in. You like assassins? Assassins go in. Elves, the sea of chaos, ancient beasties? Whatever is cool ends up in the book.

I like Flash Gordon over its contemporary competition, say, Buck Rogers, not just for the superior draftsmanship, but precisely for that quality of Brustian inclusion: the kitchen sink approach to adventure literature. Flying men? Dinosaurs? Swords? Rocketships? Robin Hood's Merry Men? David Innes-style mole machines? Fu Manchu of outer space? Queen Ayesha of Kor, oh, excuse me, I mean Azura, Queen of Magic, of course... it all fits in.

It is the kitchen sink approach. I realize tastes differ, but I also realize that the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow entertainment is not what causes snobbery. I have met just as many snobs -- indeed more so -- of lowbrow entertainment than I have of high. You have not heard snobbery until you have overheard fanboys debating who is the authentic Green Lantern.

A simple street corner chapel of whitewashed clapboard and an ornate Gothic Cathedral protected by gargoyles are not equal architectural achievements, no matter what anyone says, but they are both built to serve the same spirit, if you take my meaning. 

(PS: any comment that accuses Flash Gordon of racism will be deleted without reply. The vampires who grow fat sucking on festering wounds of fashionable but insincere guilt -- and you know who you are -- are not fit company even for a discussion about so light a topic as comic strips.)
10:01a
Non SF Books for SF readers
The fine folks over at SfSignal asked me my opinion on what non-genre books I would recommend to SF readers. Being opinionated, of course I had an opinion! It is my job to have opinions! My public duty! If it is a topic I know nothing about and have no interest in, I'll make up an opinion and pretend I have it! Such is my devotion to my avocation!

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2009/03/mind-meld-non-genre-books-for-genre-readers/
 

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