29 December 2009

Neil Stephenson's "Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out"

An interesting comment in an email pointed me to this Slashdot story, which was good but I have no strong opinion either way on it.  It did have an interesting link to a Neil Stephenson article from 2005, Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out.

It is a critique of a Star Wars movie that was just released.  His criticism was more toward the movie itself not having much "geek" in it, all veg.  Maybe a little more of a critique of the method.

Post Origional 3 SW movies all sorts of TV shows, books and other products were produced that developed a rich background for the movies to be based on.  Neal describes an early scene in one of the newer movies where the Jedi board a ship and fight a lot, then take the ship over.  The problem he notices is that noplace in the movie is it revealed who owns the ship!  I caught the theme of Socialism vs. Free Market from Neal'sdescription, but that is a different issue.

Full disclosure, I am a fan of Mr. Stephenson, Snowcrash is one of my favorite books ever.  I am not a Star Wars follower, but I have seen the first two movies.  I was unaware that the movie franchise had done what Neal describes so extensively.

Something I did with the Suki Series was put the background to the story online, but I was trying to avoid what Neal describes in his article.  In the books I think I have enough descriptions of gadgets, cars, clothes and the general environment to have complete stories.  I also began this blog and got Suki to help (she helped with everything and is too modest about it) to get into the super geeky details.  She even started her own blog for ultra geek things related to the books.

For example, I think I describe "gogs" well and I never bothered to Google the term.  It just seemed like an appropriate term for glasses with a view screen, but I didn't want to take up pages of book space for it, so the details are here and at SukiSite.com.  I wanted the story to be focused on the characters and their relationship.  Very little of it is affected by world events, in the beginning, so that stuff is here and on the website too.  When world events invade their lives that is in the books and not much mention of it here.

Anyway, go check Neal's article.  It is very good, just like everything else he writes.  I am hoping that the method I used is beneficial to the readers.  The bits of feedback I have gotten so far are mostly positive and yes, I know the SukiSite.com page is "plain and ugly," it is supposed to be that way ;)  Fast loading, clean, etc.

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