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September 5, 2013
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Just after finishing my last blog entry, I  found out about the passing of SF author Fred Pohl. Right up front let me say I was never a HUGE Pohl fan… but that's more my fault than his. I just haven't read lots of Pohl's work… though those I did read I quite enjoyed – in particular the Heechee novels that started with "Gateway".

Born in 1919, Pohl was part of the same generation that brought us Clarke, Heinlein, Clement, DeCamp, and Asimov. His departure all but closes the door on that great era of  seminal SF voice. I met Pohl once, back in '80. He would have been in his early sixties. He was a wise and balanced voice at that presentation and was very open to conversing with his fans.

I guess the era of his generation's active influence in the genre ended some time ago, but Pohl's departure just seems like something close to putting a period to the end of their sentence. So with said, my hat's off to all those great SF authors of the 20th century who forged the foundation of what we enjoy today.May their legacy shine brighter and brighter.

When one door closes, another opens. Maybe some of you have already heard the news but a company has optioned the James S.A. Corey "Expanse" novels for TV. Alcon Television group has acquired the rights and plans to move ahead on producing a pilot that they will then shop around to networks. They are aiming for an hour-long episode format, ala "Game of Thrones" (among countless others…). Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby ("Iron Man", "Children Of Men") developed the pitch and will write the pilot for the hour-long drama. They also will executive produce.

CALIBAN'S WAR by dana-redde

So let's hope this is good news... and that it gets picked up by someone like Showtime or HBO instead of SyFy or Fox! I am cautiously optimistic. I at least hold more hope for this than I do for SyFy's "Ringworld" and "Childhood's End". And as you all may recall, I'm a big fan of the "Expanse" novels. It's probably my current favorite active literary series. This news begs the question for us "Expanse" fans, though – who would you cast in the main roles of the Rocinante's crew? I'm still chewing over my own response to that.

  • Listening to: SOMA-FM
  • Reading: "Crux" by Ramez Naam
  • Watching: Portlandia
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:icondana-redde:
dana-redde Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Exciting news about the Expanse pilot! I've always seen Fred Anderson as Shepherd Book/Ron Glass, but I don't Firefly-tize any of the other characters. I like Naomie Harris or your choice of Noémie Lenoir for Naomi (what convenient names :) ) There are plenty of white dudes who have the kind of youthful-handsome-but-not-too-rugged-or-too-pretty look that I picture for Holden, and so long as they get one who can act, I'll be happy. Lee Pace is a little too pretty for my headcanon, but I never object to seeing him on screen :D I'm more concerned with them getting the PoC right and not whitewashing the crap out of them, since that's usually where TV and movies make missteps. On Goodreads, a thread was arguing that Julie Mao was white, and I just wanted to bang my head against the wall.

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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
I don't think Ron Glass is as imposing as Fred is/needs to be. I picture of more of an aging action hero. With Denzel Washington getting on in years, he might make a good choice and has more "presence". I'd love to be able to say Richard Rountree, but he's gotten too cuddly with age. You're right in that Holden's casting is probably the smallest challenge, if only because Hollywood's Wonderbread shelves are brimming with his archetype. I still think Lee Pace could be a good fit.... but he's certainly not the last word for me.

Julie Mao is white???? Man, what are these people thinking?!? I suspect it's even easier for people to overlook Alex's ethnic roots since the guys don't often make hay of it in the writing. If he and Naomi show up as WASPS, I'll find it hard to watch the whole thing... at least without gnashing my teeth. I'm thinking that W.Earl Brown could make a good Amos.... though he might be aging out of the role.
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:icondana-redde:
dana-redde Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Seriously, I could maybe see an argument for biracial because of the French given names, but come ONNN. Also, in CW and AG, her father and sister are described as looking Chinese. But racist fanboys gonna be racist.

Ugh yeah...Alex KAMAL...with  blond hair. *cringe*

W Earl Brown is a great choice!

Haha, maybe I need to watch more TV, I'm literally drawing a blank trying to come up with possible actors.

Do you think they'll just ignore the "Belters are tall and skinny" thing or try to CGI it?
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
On the belter thing, I'm betting they ignore it... but I wonder if they could do something like what they did with Hobbits in LotR to make Belters look taller?

Yeah... I'm not much of a TV watcher either so I feel your casting pain....
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Fred was a true giant of the field, as you say. I think he was the last of the monumental talents that fired the genre for so long. Fred was local to me, and I'd sometimes run into him a couple of times a year. One particular time was in 1999, when I shared a bus ride with him during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Chicago.There was a field trip up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to visit Yerkes observatory. Fred was there simply as an amateur astronomer, like most of us. During the tour of the awe-inspiring 40 inch refractor (the largest refracting 'scope ever built), the guide happened to notice Fred's name tag and commented, "You have the same name as the famous science fiction author." Fred and his wife laughed, and said, "I don't know about famous, but I AM the science fiction author!" The guide got all bug-eyed, before saying that he was honored to meet him, and stumbling back into his very good account of the history of the telescope.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
I guess there ARE some folks out there who don't know what famous folks look like ;)
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:iconfarwanderer:
Farwanderer Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013
I had the honor of having a private conversation with Fred and David Gerrold at MadCon 1999. What a blessing it was to do so. I should more aptly say I sat and listened as those two talked of MANY things. I knew that was a magical moment and I am greatly saddened at hearing of his passing. You are so right, the giants of SF are all but gone and I fear the future of the genre.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
I think the genre will do just fine, but it won't be the same... and folks like Pohl blazed the trails that others now can only follow.
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:iconrobby-robert:
Robby-Robert Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013
Well, holy crap. That ruined my day, and I wasn't in the best of moods to begin with. I'd been following his blog for years, and always wondered at his wisdom, good grace and decency.
May we all meet again at the eschaton! www.amazon.com/The-Other-Time-…
Thanks
Robert
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:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I read Gateway in middle school when it was new. Didn't know/care at the time that it would be considered a classic -- it was just something I picked up at the drug store while mom was shopping.

HOLY FUCK. It opened my eyes to what it was to be an adult: all the pathos, suffering, bad decisions, regrets. I hated and envied Robin in equal measures; wanted his life but at the same time was thoroughly glad I didn't. All of this painted against an honest thriller/mystery science fiction backdrop. Gateway! Sex! Adventure! Boredom and instant death!

It's the first book I finished then turn around and read again straight through.

Pohl had the gift of building dense, realistic futures with only a few words. So much of Gateway's universe is implied. In a way I'm sad that the sequels (ranging from pretty good to meh) described things in more detail... that ruined some of the mystery, made it less "real". Though I do credit the sequels for CHON and my interest in the Oort cloud.

Pohl was a better writer than other "masters" (lookin at you, Heinlein) and I'm sad he's gone.

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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, I really enjoyed Gateway, too. It was a stand-out. But now I can get caught up on the rest of the series. I only read the first two, previously.
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:iconstarshipmodeler:
starshipmodeler Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
In random order:

Ms Lenoir's IMDB starts with the "trivia" that she was saved from suicide by a dog-walker.  Ouch.  Otherwise, sure - she's tall, thin, and looks exotic to those of us in the Flyovers.  I suspect the authors were originally  dreaming about Nyota Uhura, though.

I wanna go to that coffeshop, NinjaBear.

Jayne (look it up) had tons of what they call "street smarts" in the trailer park (don't ask me how I know - please).  And he *did* grow up some in the "moral" department - which see, the climactic scene in "Ariel".

Holden is a "Holy Fool" character.  I dunno who in meatspace has the chops to pulll that off convincingly.
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:iconagent3x:
Agent3X Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Bradbury last year and now this. He will be missed. We also recently lost a giant of contemporary SF in Iain Banks. I'm steeling myself for Moorcock. Long may that day be off.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, Moorcock's still "relatively" young - about 75 now.
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:iconjames-is-james:
James-Is-James Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I met Pohl too, also in that time frame, I think at Syracuse University.  I can't remember why though, except that he was speaking....
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:iconmaster-ninjabear:
master-ninjabear Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Hobbyist Artist

Mr. Pohl will be missed, but his fans are aging out as well.

Those of us who understand and enjoy real sci-fi find ourselves outnumbered by morons who take "Sharknado" for serious speculative fiction.

 

I don't know if there's an afterlife, but I'd like to believe there's a library with a coffee shop where I can stand in polite, quiet respect while observing the masters of this art argue the finer points of literature.

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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Aging fans or not, Pohl will always be a part of the genre's history. A real player.
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:iconmaster-ninjabear:
master-ninjabear Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artist

Yeah, don't bet on it.
I ran afoul of some fathead who loves the cartoon "Roughnecks", but didn't know it was allegedly based on Starship Troopers.

"Ignorance is curable, stupidity is not."
Robert A Heinlein

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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Must be an IO9 staffer. They're always discovering 1960's and 70's SF creations and announcing them like no one's ever heard of them before. "Wow, check out these great retro SF paintings by some guy named Whelan?!"
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:iconmaster-ninjabear:
master-ninjabear Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Facepalm 
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:iconmaster-ninjabear:
master-ninjabear Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Facepalm 
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:icontaka67:
Taka67 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
What SyFy did to Riverworld. :fear:
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Let's NOT relive the trauma, K?
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Still building up my casting, but for Naomi I'm gonna place my bets on Noémie Lenoir
 www.imdb.com/name/nm1105708/?r…
She's got the look - and she's got enough height to pull off that Belter illusion.
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:iconabakon:
AbaKon Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional Writer
The novel characters feel like firefly to me, so there's half your cast!
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Y'know, lots of folks say that, but I really don't see them that way at all. Holden is NOT Mal at all. Zoe loves her guns and violence, Naomi abhors the same. Jane is a morally challenged pinhead while Amos would die for you in second. And Alex... in no way, shape, or form resembles Wash. Yeah, they're a tight crew on their own indie ship, but I don't see many parallels beside that.
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:iconabakon:
AbaKon Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional Writer
Oh yeah? Well you're a poopy head.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yes. Your point?
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:iconabakon:
AbaKon Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional Writer
I love you, man.
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:icondeltigar:
Deltigar Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Actually, I got the impression that Jane was smarter than he let on, and while he was morally challenged, he was going to grow in that area while working with Mal and the gang. I would really have liked to watch that character develop. He was one of my favorites.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Naw  - I think Jane had some rudimentary smarts about "killin' stuff"... and he had a strong but (fortunately for the crew) unrefined sense of greed. Loved his Momma, too. But his accolades stopped there, as far as I can tell. What did you see in him that made you think he actually had somethin' goin' on in the smarts dept.?
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:icondeltigar:
Deltigar Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
As an author, it is the direction I would have taken the character. After Ariel, I think it would have been the best way to go, where eventually River and Kaylie would have been like his little sisters and they could trust him 100%. I would let it evolve over a couple of seasons, then hammer it home in a season finale with a crisis that shows how far he has come. Adam Baldwin is an excellent actor, and I really think Joss Whedon was thinking along those lines.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well... I guess we'll never know for sure... unless the crew become Avengers?!?! ;)
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:iconspugster:
spugster Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Here's my list from earlier today:
  • Holden: Edward Norton?
  • Miller: Kenneth Branagh
  • Naomi: Gina Torres (Firefly)
  • Amos: Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
  • Alex: Kal Penn (House)
  • Julie Mao: Grace Park (BSG)? Or Kimberly Estrada maybe? She knows martial arts!
  • Dresden: Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) or Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)? Or Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) if he's older.
  • Fred: Clarke Peters or Robert Wisdom (both from The Wire)
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:iconspugster:
spugster Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Scratch Norton: Sam Rockwell as Holden.
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:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I pictured Holden as being a large man. Not Sgt.Hatred big, but imposing.

Norton or Rockwell would be awesome for the personality they'd bring, if you could plug that into Vin Diesel's body.

Other picks are spot-on IMHO. :)
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:iconspugster:
spugster Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013
I guess that makes sense, as he's a veteran soldier, but I didn't picture him as large as Vin Diesel at least... Maybe someone like James Badge Dale from The Pacific is an OK compromise of personality and build?
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Either are good choices.... but I'm stickin' with my Lee Pace ;)

And the Firefly castings... well you know that ain't gonna happen.
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:iconvektorix:
Vektorix Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Interesting news; we were just talking about it being optioned. Looking forward to see who they cast - and looking forward to see who YOU'D cast...

Another TV recommendation, although it's totally non SF genre: Broadchurch, from iTV in Britain. Absolutely top notch police procedural, created by Chris Chibnall of Doctor Who fame (and starring David Tennant). FOX is remaking it for the US next year, but if it intrigues you at all, see the original!!
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well I came up with Holden. I'm gonna go with Lee Pace.
www.imdb.com/name/nm1195855/?r…
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:iconvektorix:
Vektorix Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
I can see that. First saw him in the criminally overlooked Wonderfalls...
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, "Wonderfalls" *sigh*
There ain't no justice.
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:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wonderfalls might even have been science fiction; we never really found out. :(
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