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June 09, 2013 | 8:08 a.m.

Beyond ‘Game of Thrones’: Exploring diversity in speculative fiction

Nalo Hopkinson, novelist and a professor at UC Riverside. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Last August, Weird Tales magazine, long a fixture on the speculative fiction landscape, got hit with a heavy dose of online fury. The publication had made plans to publish an excerpt from an ecologically themed dystopian novel in which whites are the oppressed minority and their oppressors are referred to as “coals.” Those who attacked the work were upset by a number of elements seen as racially problematic, up to and including the title, “Saving the Pearls,’’ “pearls” being the book’s term for white people and a word read as charged with an altogether different tenor than the notion of “coals.” In response to the outcry, the magazine pulled the excerpt. Online protests and allegations of racial weirdness in science fiction and fantasy are hardly new, but they began to seriously come to a head with the still contentious Internet […]
March 11, 2013 | 9:53 a.m.

Douglas Adams’ 61st birthday: A hitchhiker’s puzzle filled with clues

The late Douglas Adams, author of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" series.
Douglas Adams’ 61st birthday is being marked with a Google Doodle that would make the author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” proud. But “Don’t Panic” if you looked at the Google Doodle and wondered … “what is that supposed to be?” The interactive doodle draws on several allusions to the late English humorist’s writing, down to the rumpled towel said to be an important part of any trip. There’s a cup of tea, a packed back, a manuscript, the galaxy whizzing by outside the window. You can also see Marvin the robot by clicking on the sliding doors to the left, and you can tap the e-reader’s keyboard for several inside references. Most of it, though, will likely be lost on those unfamiliar with the author, who died at the age of 49 from a heart attack. He […]
Feb. 24, 2013 | 6:51 a.m.

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart slammed at Razzie Awards

Kristen Stewart in "the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2." (Credit: Summit Entertainment)
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were the big “winners” — and the big losers — at the 33rd Razzie Awards as the final installment of the “Twilight” saga was deemed the worst movie of the year. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2″ won seven awards in all at the Razzies, which mock Hollywood’s self-important awards season by recognizing what it deems as the worst movies and performances of the year. The “Twilight” film won the dis-”honors” for worst picture of the year, worst actress for Stewart, worst supporting actor for Taylor Lautner, worst screen couple for Lautner and 12 year-old Mackenzie Foy, worst screen ensemble, worst remake/rip-off or sequel, and worst director for Bill Condon. Oscars 2013: Complete coverage The honors make the “Twilight” film “2012′s most-RAZZed movie.” But it could have been worse. Last year, Adam Sandler’s “Jack & Jill” had […]
Feb. 01, 2013 | 1:10 p.m.

‘Warm Bodies’ gets warm reception from critics

Warm-Bodies-400
“Warm Bodies” is getting a warm reception from critics with its head-turning girl-meets-boy-zombie premise. It remains to be seen whether moviegoers will agree. Also unclear: Whether Super Bowl Sunday will hurt or help “Warm Bodies’ ” box office. (Hard to believe, but not everyone looks forward to a weekend dominated by beer, chicken wings and football.) But early reviews by some of the nation’s top media critics suggest audiences will be taken with “Warm Bodies’ ” surprisingly sentimental mash-up. Photos: Monster love Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey says writer-director Jonathan Levine strikes the right tone in the horror-meets-romance film starring Nicholas Hoult as a slacker undead and Teresa Palmer as a human who somehow warms his cold soul: “… in doing a little genre bending of romantic schmaltz and horror cheese — some fundamental zombie mythology is turned on its head — […]
July 18, 2012 | 2:26 p.m.

‘Twin Peaks’ co-creator Mark Frost seeks ‘Paladin Prophecy’

Author and screenwriter Mark Frost (Credit: Tom Lascher)
If you mapped the career of Mark Frost you’d see a line that veers across medium (he’s written, produced and directed in television and film, and as a bestselling author he’s published four novels and four nonfiction books) and lingers in unexpected terrain (acclaimed golf histories, historical fiction, a sitcom, writing stints on “Hill Street Blues” and “The Six-Million Dollar Man”). But the 58-year-old may be best known as the co-creator of “Twin Peaks,” the strange, hypnotic mystery dance that lasted 30 unique episodes in 1990-91. We caught up with Frost at Comic-Con International to talk about “The Paladin Prophecy” — his ninth book but his first for the young adult shelf — which arrives in September with a sci-fi mystery about a special youngster who is destined to join an ancient struggle against dark forces. HC: “The Paladin Prophecy” looks […]
July 17, 2012 | 11:27 a.m.

‘Man of Steel’: The Superman we ‘need and deserve’?

Henry Cavill (Kristian Dowling/AP)
Clark Kent writes for the Daily Planet but his new biographer, Larry Tye, filed his own front-page stories for the Boston Globe and Louisville Courier-Journal. Tye, author of “Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend,” is fresh from Comic-Con International where he was promoting “Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero,” the 432-page hardcover from Random House that is being billed as the first “full-fledged biography” of the character that is called both Kal-El and Kent. We talked to Tye about the ramping interest in “Man of Steel,” the Warner Bros. film that will put a new version of the hero on the screen just in time for his 75th anniversary next summer. HC: This is an era of haunted anti-heroes like Batman, Wolverine, James Bond. We also have decadent tricksters — Jack Sparrow, Tony Stark, maybe even the new Capt. Kirk — and empowered […]
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