Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taking Collecting to a Whole New Level

I'm a collector. I like having things. Legos, action figures, glasses, statuettes, prop replicas, trading cards--there's all sorts of things that fall into my purview of "stuff I want."

Ultimately, it's an aspect of being a fan. No matter the fandom, there's collectibles attached to it. And if there's not collectibles attached to it, then that means it's solely a literary work (there's just no love for the book-fans).

That said, I fear that this urge to get stuff related to our beloved fandom has extending out past the insane and have taken us squarely into the "what are people thinking??" realm.

Need proof? Then go take a look at this article regarding collecting on I'll wait.

Back? Did you read it all?


Interesting huh? That's the Official Star Wars site, endorsing people to basically create a brand new branch of Star Wars collecting. Consider this paragraph:

But collecting Star Wars theatrical tickets is just the beginning. Star Wars has offered all sorts of extracurricular activities throughout the past -- countless conventions, scores of concerts, theme park rides, and museum exhibits around the world. Tickets to these events make fascinating mementos for fans to take away, and can also be conveniently displayed in frames or scrapbooks.

Recently, sports fans and rock-and-roll enthusiasts have started paying attention to the actual tickets purchased at specific games or concerts, since they represent a significant event in the career of a player or artist. With Star Wars firmly meshed into our social fabric, all events associated with it may become historically relevant to anyone studying the effects and influence of this iconic saga on modern culture.

Trading card collectors appear to be the forward thinkers in this relatively new hobby for Star Wars fans, which seems a natural extension to that veteran category of Star Wars collecting. Tickets, like trading cards, are traditionally small, printed on cardstock or paper, and feature a unique item of information, be it text or imagery. But tickets can appeal to other Star Wars collectors as well, such as those interested in theater-related paraphernalia or cast and crew items.

He's basically creating a guide book to this entire new branch of collecting. It's an incredibly meta-mind bending prospect. Collecting began because of love for a franchise. Geeks, the world over, saw the toys and other things and said "I must have this, because I love XYZ so much." Yet here, we have the company responsible for producing this cacophony of junk, telling us, hey, look at these things that you've not been collecting, start buying it.

Now, you might be wondering why this is such a big deal. After all, Lucas Film Licensing doesn't produce these items. They're not out there creating the actual tickets that you get when you went to see Star Wars at the theater.

Yet, it's not just about the actual items being collected. There's an entire industry built up around collectibles. Things such as guidebooks, displays, and even price guides. Not to mention the secondary markets such as eBay and collectible shops.

This is big business, and here's LFL once again telling the fans: we don't really care about you, all we want is your money, and we're not above using your collecting habits in order to separate you from it.

For other examples, see the Galactic Heroes line of figures for preschoolers. They routinely release new figures in double packs with older figures. That's torture on money-conscious collectors, especially those who want to be completists, even if it's just in a single toy-line.

I know that now that the proverbial genie has been loosed that there will now be a market for these items, but I am disturbed at the subtlety which LFL uses to push the fandom into more and more markets which they can mine for funding.

Part of me is annoyed at LFL for this. It is the part of me that rages against being used by anything or anybody.

Yet another part of me, the part that's a capitalist through and through, can't wait to see what collectible area LFL comes up with next.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another New MEME

This is coming from World in a Satin Bag, and the actual meme, can be found here:

As noted on the website, the rules are fairly simple:

  • Bold the authors whose work you have read (even just one book or story).
  • Italicize authors you don't want to read.
  • Leave everyone else unmarked.
And now for my entry...

1. Terry Pratchett
2. JRR Tolkien
3. Neil Gaiman
4. Douglas Adams

5. George RR Martin

6. Isaac Asimov
7. Iain M. Banks
8. Philip K. Dick
9. HG Wells
10. Robert Rankin
11. Ursula K. LeGuin
12. David Gemmell
13. Peter F. Hamilton
14. Frank Herbert

15. Robert Heinlein

16. JK Rowling

17. Robert Jordan

18. Arthur C. Clarke

19. Ray Bradbury

20. Stephen King
21. Robin Hobb
22. Philip Pullman
23. John Wyndham
24. Diana Wynne Jones
25. CS Lewis
26. Guy Gavriel Kay
27. William Gibson
28. Steven Erikson
29. Anne McCaffrey
30. Roger Zelazny
31. Lois McMaster Bujold
32. Raymond E. Feist
33. China Mieville
34. Gene Wolfe
35. Stephen Donaldson
36. Orson Scott Card

37. Alan Moore

38. David Eddings

39. Michael Moorcock
40. Trudi Canavan
41. Kurt Vonnegut
42. Tad Williams
43. Jim Butcher
44. Clive Barker
45. Neal Stephenson

46. Alastair Reynolds

47. Jules Verne
48. Mervyn Peake
49. H.P. Lovecraft
50. Sherri S. Tepper
51. Robert E. Howard
52. J.G. Ballard
53. Octavia Butler
54. Jasper Fforde
55. Harlan Ellison
56. CJ Cherryh
57. Mercedes Lackey
58. Jennifer Fallon
59. Stephen Baxter
60. Richard Morgan
61. Terry Brooks
62. Elizabeth Haydon
63. Dan Simmons
64. Richard Matheson
65. Marion Zimmer Bradley
66. Harry Harrison
67. Jack Vance
68. Katharine Kerr
69. Alfred Bester
70. Larry Niven
71. Stanislaw Lem
72. Susanna Clarke
73. Robert Silverberg
74. Edgar Rice Burroughs
75. Julian May
76. Charles de Lint
77. Samuel R. Delany
78. George Orwell
79. Simon Clark
80. Joe Haldeman
81. Joe Abercrombie
82. J.V. Jones
83. Theodore Sturgeon
84. Kim Stanley Robinson
85. Jacqueline Carey
86. M. John Harrison
87. David Weber
88. Scott Lynch
89. Jonathan Carroll
90. Christopher Priest
91. Jon Courtney Grimwood
92. Michael Marshall Smith
93. Olaf Stapledon
94. Ken MacLeod
95. Brian W. Aldiss
96. Terry Goodkind
97. Charles Stross
98. Sara Douglass
99. Gwyneth Jones
100. James Herbert

Wow, 35 authors that I've read (at least that I can definitively say that I've read, I'm uncertain about Priest, MacLeod, de Lint and Fiest. I'm also pondering the lack of some SF/F authors from the list. Consider, where are Bova and L'Engle? While, yes, King does have some Fantasy novels to his name, either of those two would make a bit more sense than him--at least in my opinion.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Coasting on the beach

I've spent the last week at the beach. It's had its moments (such as the jetskis) but it was primarily a working retreat. Many, many hours of dealing with problems and other such things. What's this got to do with SF? Who knows, that's not really that important.

But I have watched a few movies this week. The closest that could be called SF would have to be the new WarGames movie. Which was basically the plot of the original with a few twists and turns in an effort to make it a brand new movie. It wasn't bad, just... it has the potential to create a franchise of these movies that could become formulaic. Basically if a WarGames 3 comes out and it's uses the exact same plot device to solve the problems, then they've got a problem on their hands.

Alas, it's all fun and good until they stop producing good SF.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rambling, Just a Day Late

Well, maybe more than a day, as it's been an incredibly long time since I last updated.

Of course, as always I have that nice "I'm busy" excuse on hand, but sooner or later my life is going to have to settle down enough that I can actually resume blogging on a consistent basis. At least for this blog, the KrashPAD and A Programmer's Dream I'll probably always be more hit and miss on updates for those as they're somewhat specialized.

Anyways, my life has been somewhat hectic. A decent number of work projects, and all the joy which accompanies those. PLUS I get to meet with one of our clients in a few days, and will have to showcase the software I've been building.

Lucky me, huh?

Anyways, I've yet to see The Dark Knight, though I have seen Wall*E and Journey to the Center of the Earth. I did enjoy both quite a lot, and my wife was highly amused by the fact that this was the first 3d movie that I had ever seen (and if you see that movie, try your best to see it in 3d).

In book news I've got a decent number of items awaiting reviews, and I should be posting up the review for Jedi Twilight sometime very soon. Also I hope to get the reviews for Hal Spacejock 2, Lisey's Story, By Schism Rent Asunder and the latest Tremaire novel done in some sort of short order.

On the boob-tube, I'm still dearly loving The MiddleMan and of course, I've been really enjoying How I Met Your Mother. If you've not yet begun watching The MiddleMan, you've no idea what you're missing. It's smart, funny, and has tons of geek-cred going on for it.

Anyways, I am now off in an effort to get caught up on my anime viewing. I've not watched any of my series since sometime around last Thursday, and while that doesn't bother me quite as much as my profound lack of blogging (as I've not missed as much anime as I have skimped out on the blogging), it is still a bit irksome.

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