Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi & Fantasy’ Category

More Halloween fun

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Behold the Hogwart-osphere. (Hat tip: Glenn.)

Breaking news from Hogwarts

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

We interrupt this college-football game day to bring you the following bit of news from the Harry Potter universe:

Albus Dumbledore is gay!

J.K. Rowling outed him yesterday:

[Rowling] was asked by one young fan whether Dumbledore finds “true love.”

“Dumbledore is gay,” the author responded to gasps and applause.

After the jump, a quote from Rowling about Dumbledore’s great unrequited love — which is a bit of a Deathly Hallows spoiler, if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t read it yet.


“This is not a class in temporal logic!”

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

And now, for a little change of pace from football… here’s one of my all-time favorite bits of Star Trek dialogue. It’s from the episode “A Matter of Time,” and Captain Picard is trying to convince a time-traveler — who claims to be a historian from the future — to use his foreknowledge to help Picard decide whether to take a risky action that could save, or kill, millions of people on the planet below. Here it is, for your viewing and/or Brendan-mocking pleasure:

“It’s not theoretical, it’s not hypothetical, it’s real!”

Fred Thompson Facts

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Frank J.’s Fred Thompson Facts are pretty funny. (Hat tip: InstaPundit.) Yeah, it’s basically the same thing as Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer jokes, but still, funny. Scrolling down, I found the Harry Potter edition of Fred Thompson Facts, from back in July. Heh.

Search engine hit of the day

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Someone just found my blog after searching for “Romulan Woman Having sex.” (Scroll down; this post is #10 on the list.)


R.I.P., Madeleine L’Engle

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and the rest of the Time Quartet, has died. She was 88. (Hat tip: InstaPundit.)

I read the books in middle school, but to be honest, I don’t recall much about them — though I do remember liking them. And I remember how one of them was centered around “mitochondria and farandolae.” When I subsequently learned that there actually are such things as mitochondria, I was fascinated… and disappointed that farandolae are fictional. :)

Harry Potter and the Bookshelf of Nerdiness

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Becky and I recently unpacked several of our boxes of books from South Bend — yeah, the unpacking process has taken a while :) — and filled up our bookshelf. I’m particularly proud of the “nerd shelf”:

Speaking of which, I recently re-read Half-Blood Prince, which I hadn’t read since the day it came out. I had forgotten a lot of its plot, so several things from Deathly Hallows suddenly make a lot more sense now. :) But I’m more perplexed than ever about one thing. So I have a question — but it’s after the jump, because it reveals a major Deathly Hallows spoiler. (I hear there are still at least 3 or 4 people out there who haven’t read it yet.) So… Warning: spoilers after the jump, and in comments.


Jackson, Raimi to collaborate on The Hobbit?

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Rumor has it that Sam Raimi may direct The Hobbit for troubled New Line Cinemas — with Peter Jackson as producer!

Spoiler of Doom!

Thursday, August 9th, 2007
My Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom is:
Hermione is killed by the resurrected James Potter on the Quidditch pitch
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom

That Which May Potentially Be Blogged

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

All right, it’s been two weeks since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, so I’ve decided to scale back the special measures I’ve had in place to prevent people from accidentally stumbling upon spoilers. In particular, new comments on all posts — including “That Which Must Not Be Blogged” — will once again appear on the recent comments page. So if you’re trying to avoid spoilers, I’d suggest steering clear of that page.

Relatedly, it is now OK to post Harry Potter spoilers in comments on some posts other than “That Which Must Not Be Blogged” — but only those posts which contain a spoiler warning in the text of the post. (At present, no such posts exist aside from TWMNBB, but I’ll probably post a few in the coming days; I have a couple of issues related to the book that I want to blog about.)

Basically, I want people who haven’t yet read the book, but intend to do so, to know which comment threads it’s safe to read, and which ones they should avoid like the plague. So please confine any discussion of plot details to posts with spoiler warnings. (And if you’re one of the people trying to avoid spoilers, please steer clear of posts with spoiler warnings, and of the “recent comments” page.) Thanks!

P.S. Apropos of which, a poll:

(Powered by … Opinion Polls & Market Research)

Slowly sinking in

Friday, July 27th, 2007

This morning, as I was waking up and getting ready to start my day, my thoughts turned to Harry Potter, and I mused internally that I’m looking forward to re-reading Deathly Hallows more slowly than I did on Saturday, taking time to appreciate its subtleties rather than rushing through it to get to the ending (and return to bar prep) as quickly as possible. But then, reflexively, a subconscious thought popped into my head, along the lines of, “But I can’t do that yet, I have to study.”

When my conscious brain promptly smacked that thought down, the resulting mental sigh of relief was enormous, and probably constituted the first time it had really begun to “sink in” that I’m actually, really and truly, done.

Well. Unless and until I end up having to take another state’s bar exam, or if I failed this one. But done for at least for the next year or so, if not longer.

Harry Potter as a metaphor against global warming?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Saw this letter to the editor in the Knoxville News Sentinel today, and laughed just a bit. I guess this person was sirius..err serious.

Like millions across the world, I saw the new “Harry Potter,” movie, which was even better then I hoped, but I was also struck by a possible underlining message.

As most people know, the issue of the movie is He Who Should Not Be Named is back, and unless everyone starts working together, the world is doomed. But, though there is plenty of evidence to support the crisis, the Ministry of Magic — the government of the Magic world — is refusing to admit that there is a problem and is actually undertaking a media campaign to discredit Professor Dumbledore, Harry and others who are trying to warn the world of the coming danger.

As most people know, each book or movie starts with Harry living in London with his normal family and in a world that knows nothing of magic. The first couple of scenes in the movie take place in blazing hot heat with media reports of a record heat wave.

Is anyone else other than me seeing some similarities between the movie and our nation’s handling of the global-warming crisis? Of course, in Britain there is widespread acceptance of the incredible scope of the global-warming crisis, and both the Liberal and Conservative parties are united in their will to fight.

In the movie, there is no conspiracy — just policy leaders who can’t deal with the scope of the problem and therefore simply convince themselves that the experts are wrong. So, if President Bush is our Minister Fudge, I guess it is up to us to take up the issue.

Right now it looks like He Who Should Not Be Named is clearly winning. Let’s just hope we have enough people who join Dumbledore’s Army to save the day.

Gil Melear-Hough


So I understand how there is some indication of the ineffectiveness of a government bureaucracy and a “none so blind as he who wouldn’t see” motif can come through in the HP books. Certainly makes sense to me. I think that JK Rowling has even stated that there’s some metaphor on governments and bureaucracy in HP. Extending it to global warming? Saying that the government is taking on a media campaign to discredit global warming activists? The logic doesn’t seem to follow to me from what I’ve seen in the news.

Taking the same logical leaps that the writer of this letter did, I’m going to make some broad, unsupported by objective proof (since I don’t feel like researching them now to buttress my case) statements at this point. In our country now, the advocates of the position of human induced global warming tend to get much more favorable press than those that are dubious of the claims. Global warming caused by burning fossil fuels and other man-made activities is taken as absolute gospel truth. The global warming doubters are labeled in the press as Luddites who simply refuse to see what is glaringly obvious. That is hardly the case in HP.

Think about your comparisons in more detail before you try to be cutesy in writing a snippy letter to the editor or a blog post. Read what you’ve written more than once before you send it. Does it really make sense? I know that I’ve written tons of things that I’ve later decided weren’t correct. It’s after this kind of review and analysis that you can determine if there’s a true metaphor there.

I really don’t care what position you take on global warming, and I don’t think it’s particularly relevant to the point I’m trying to make here. Ultimately, we can’t shoehorn every possible pop culture reference to model our personal world view. The drafter of this particularly poor letter to the editor has tried and miserably failed in his attempt to do so.

I say “Expelliarmus” to this bad piece of writing and to the KNS for printing it. Hopefully the spell will work to exclude nonsense such as this from the paper in the future.

Open mouth, insert crow (Harry Potter edition)

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen, the polls have closed, the results are in, and the tally is: Nikki Finke 1, Brendan Loy 0.

As you may recall, I predicted last week that the box-office receipts for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix would be noticeably depressed on Saturday because all the Potter fans would be at home reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I also thought Friday’s numbers might be slightly boosted by fans going out to see the movie before buying the book at midnight. I e-mailed Finke, the L.A. Weekly columnist and Deadline Hollywood Daily blogger, about my theory, but she dismissed it: “personally i dont think book will have any effect on movie either way. different animals.” I, however, persisted: “Well, she’s a box-office expert and I’m not, but I think the Harry Potter book is going to be such a cultural phenomenon that it will have a detectable effect [on Saturday’s numbers].”

Alas, score one for the expert. The final numbers are in, and Potter 5 actually did better on Saturday than on Friday, both in raw numbers ($12.3 million vs. $10.2 million) and in percentage decrease from the previous week (-56.6% vs. -60.5%). If anything, it was Friday’s numbers that were slightly depressed, considering that Saturday and Sunday showed nearly identical decreases from the previous weekend (-56.6% on Sat, -56.4% on Sun) whereas Friday’s decrease was 4 percent more drastic (-60.5%). That could mean that some Potter fans stayed away from the theaters on Friday night because they were too busy anticipating Book 7’s release to want to watch Movie 5 (precisely the opposite of what I expected would happen on Friday), and then perhaps some of those same fans did what Trisha and Mike suggested, and went out Saturday night (after finishing the book) or Sunday to watch the movie. But that’s a real stretch, based on the small percentage deviation between Friday and Saturday/Sunday. There is certainly no need to invoke the book’s timing in order to explain the distribution of the movie’s weekend numbers. They’re perfectly within the normal range.

The bigger question is whether the book’s release dragged down the movie’s numbers not just for a particular day, but for the whole weekend. Overall, the Friday-Saturday-Sunday total was 57.8% less than the previous week’s Fri-Sat-Sun total. That’s a slightly above-normal drop-off from Weekend #1 to Weekend #2, according to what Finke told me last week, when she said “any drop off less than 50% would be considered normal.” However, when you compare Potter‘s drop-off with those experienced by this summer’s other big-opening blockbusters, 57.8% doesn’t look so unusual. Shrek the Third dropped 56.4% from Weekend #1 to Weekend #2, while Pirates 3 and Spider-Man 3 each dropped an identical 61.5%. Only Transformers fit within Finke’s “normal” range, at 47.5%.

Anyway, regardless of how you do the math, making $32.5 million in the movie’s second weekend (for a domestic total of $207.8 million and counting) hardly constitutes a bomb, nor a “tank” job, as Marty predicted. So I’d say Finke is justified in writing on her blog: “There’d been speculation whether the new Harry Potter book would cut into the franchise’s movie ticket sales. Nah!


Sunday, July 22nd, 2007


P.S. Although I no longer need to worry about spoilers, please continue to confine spoileriffic comments to That Which Must Not Be Blogged (for now), for the sake of readers who haven’t finished the book yet. Thanks!

P.P.S. Glenn Reynolds writes:

Hmm. Clicking around a few sitemeters, it appears that yesterday was the slowest Saturday in a long time for the blogosphere. Coincidence? Or all those people reading Harry Potter?

Okay, I didn’t check enough to be scientific, but I still think we should be glad J.K. Rowling didn’t release the book on a Monday, as the economic drag would probably tip us over into recession . . . .


That Which Must Not Be Blogged

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

NOTE: This post will remain on top of my homepage all day Saturday, even as new stuff is posted below it. That way, anyone who wants to comment on Deathly Hallows as they’re reading it will be able to easily do so.

If you want to leave spoileriffic comments without being exposed to other commenters’ spoilers, use the “safe” comment form. Otherwise, use the regular comment form.

Either way, THIS IS THE ONLY POST ON THE BLOG FOR DISCUSSING HARRY POTTER SPOILERS. It’s okay to discuss the book in non-spoileriffic terms elsewhere, but please confine any comments about the book’s contents to this post only. Thank you!

FINAL WARNING: There are spoilers after the jump, and in comments on this post.