Could an expanded universe help rebuild Harry Potter’s world?

Monday, 22 August, 2011

Now that Harry Potter and friends have dispatched with dark lord Voldemort what happens next? Hogwarts needs to be rebuilt, and corruption within the Ministry of Magic weeded out, among many other things. But where to begin a reconciliation and reform process that could take decades to see through?

Surviving Death Eaters will have to be brought to justice or reintegrated into magical society. Long-standing rifts among magical communities that the war widened must be healed. Most of all, we must ensure that the values that triumphed in the final battle – tolerance, pluralism, and respect for the dignity of all magical and non-magical creatures alike – are reflected in the institutions and arrangements that emerge from the conflict. What ultimately matters is not just whether something evil was defeated, but whether something good is built in its place.

Could such a situation provide material for an Expanded Universe series of stories, as we’ve seen with the likes of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars”?

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I’d be lying if I said I was telling you the truth… about anything

Thursday, 24 June, 2010

Lying holds a lot of allure it seems. The realities we create in our own minds offer far more certainty and finality than clear or indisputable truths and facts ever could. No wonder lying is so popular.

Unlike lies, truths require evidence to support them. But no matter how much evidence we accumulate, our truths will always be approximations and absolute certainty will exist only in our fantasies. Lying gives us the temporary delusion that our personal and social worlds are intact, that we are loved, that we are safe, and above all, that we are not likely to overwhelmed by the uncertainty inherent in living in a world we can never truly know.

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Lives of mystery and imagination beat lives in the real world

Thursday, 3 June, 2010

Rather than engaging in more active, or “real world” pursuits, retreating into fantasy worlds within our imagination, or living vicariously through the actors of our favourite television shows, is the pastime of choice for many people:

Surely we would be better off pursuing more adaptive activities – eating and drinking and fornicating, establishing relationships, building shelter, and teaching our children. Instead, 2-year-olds pretend to be lions, graduate students stay up all night playing video games, young parents hide from their offspring to read novels, and many men spend more time viewing Internet pornography than interacting with real women. One psychologist gets the puzzle exactly right when she states on her Web site: “I am interested in when and why individuals might choose to watch the television show Friends rather than spending time with actual friends.”

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Russian illustrations of “The Lord of the Rings”

Monday, 31 May, 2010

Characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s three-volume book, “The Lord of the Rings”, as depicted by a Russian illustrator.

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2010 Hugo’s shortlist for the best in sci-fi and fantasy writing

Friday, 9 April, 2010

Nominations for this year’s Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy novels, short stories, and graphic novels, have been posted.

Winners will be announced during the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon 4, which takes place in Melbourne, on Sunday, 5 September, 2010.

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Wouldn’t you write long novels if you were paid by the word?

Friday, 2 April, 2010

The word count of novels, particularly science fiction works, has been growing in recent decades. Are authors hoping to be paid more, or is this some bizarre manifestation of the Harry Potter syndrome, which has seen books in that series more than double from the first to last titles?

Many earlier novels are still deceptively short by modern standards. A typical SF novel of the 1960s was 70,000 words long. By the 1980s, 80,000 words was the norm; by the 1990s it had bloated to 100-120,000 words. Why?

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A list of the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books

Wednesday, 27 January, 2010

Alex Carnevale’s list of the The 100 Greatest Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels of All Time.

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Rather ghoulish these images of mystery and imagination

Thursday, 3 September, 2009

A collection of morbid though quite intriguing manipulated photo images with horror and fantasy themes.

Via Ample Sanity.

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Seems we’d all rather play WoW than explore the final frontier

Wednesday, 17 June, 2009

Developing technologies that permit a feasible form of intergalactic travel (for example the ability to reach the nearest star in weeks rather than years) may prove too problematic for both ourselves, and other alien intelligences, something that goes some way to explaining why no evidence of intelligent life beyond Earth has so far come to light.

And it could be alien civilisations are as content as we apparently are to explore virtual or fantasy worlds instead

“Solution 15: … and Surf the Net” deals with the creation of virtual reality worlds so impressive that real world challenges, such as space colonization, pale in comparison. Games and virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life have already gained a reputation for being addictive and all-consuming. Future generations of these immersive fantasy worlds will compel more people to neglect the real world.

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Playtime: it’s game on for young and old

Monday, 16 March, 2009

It’s official: growing up is no reason to stop playing games.

A pioneer in research on play, Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults – and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

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