Happy May Day!

Video

Have a video. Not the best visual thing I ever posted here, but it’s live and the lyrics make up the difference.

So, April is done. On to May! I’ll have an A to Z Reflection for you soon. We have a new feature coming early next week which might involve interviews. There is also an A to Z afterparty in the works, and all I know about that is you need to watch this blog for a day or two. Also, Comparative Geeks is about to get even more interesting than it already is 😉

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Blogging A to Z Day 30: Zombies!

As Sourcerer’s resident horror blogger, it should be no surprise that I am a zombie fanatic. I watch zombie films, I read zombie books, I keep up with The Walking Dead and iZombie and virtually every other zombie show or flick out there, and I sometimes play zombie games.

There are, of course, a host of things that help to account for our fascination with zombies:

fear of disease, fear of death, fear of losing our mental faculties, etc. We seem at once aware of the zombie as a fictional character and concerned about the plausibility of a zombie outbreak. And the result of our fascination is that zombies have become a multi-million dollar industry.

As for me, there are three simple but terribly true reasons that I find zombie stories compelling. The first is the world that gets created when everything fails-the government, and by extension education, social welfare, prison systems, road maintenance, etc.; and modern inventions, including electricity, the Internet, GPS, running water, and telecommunications.

The second is the failure of modern notions of childhood, morality, and socioeconomic status to hold up under the pressures of a post apocalyptic world. In Zombieland, one of most disturbing erosions of culture is the loss of names; in The Walking Dead, it’s the loss of childhood embodied by Carl, Judith, and Carol’s decision to teach the children about knife safety and zombie killing during story-time; in 28 Days Later, it’s ownership of the female body. These conversations mirror conversations that we have daily, that we rehearse in our arguments about these concepts.

And the third thing is the complexities that arise when we see something human that isn’t human. Or that we don’t think is human. In Shaun of the Dead, the undead are able to be trained to perform simple tasks. In Warm Bodies, they retain something of their prior selves and can think and feel. And there is a repeated scene in which someone must kill a loved-one-turned-zombie, one that turns up in virtually every piece of zombie fiction ever.

And so, here at the end of A to Z, and on a Thursday, no less, I give you a Thursday 13 of my favorite zombie flicks:

13zombiefavorites

This post is by @parttimemonster of Part Time Monster and Sourcerer contributor. For more A to Z geekery, check out Part Time Monster!

Blogging A to Z Day 29: Young Jedi Knights

Navigating the extensive Star Wars Expanded Universe can prove a tricky task. In almost forty years of existence, it has never ceased to grow. Some titles are still famous and others remain obscure. One of them is the youth oriented book series The Young Jedi Knights, written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. The fourteen volumes were released between 1995 and 1998.

The books focus on a young generation of teenage Jedi, learning at the Academy Luke Skywalker runs on Yavin IV. This includes the first born twin children of Leia Organa and Han Solo: Jacen and Jaina Solo. The main group also involves Chewbacca’s nephew, Lowbacca, Tenel Ka Djo, Hapan princess of Dathomiri ascendancy, and finally Zekk, a childhood friend to the Solo twins.

These books do a great job at developing the new generations, who get prominently featured in following adult Star Wars novels, as from The New Jedi Order series. In a way, I find that it is a linking ground, such as the recent Star Wars Rebels television show is to both prequel and original trilogy eras. Indeed, several well known characters appear in The Young Jedi Knights, including from the older generation.

Source: Wookieepedia.

Source: Wookieepedia.

The books are quite short and aren’t necessarily alike to how they would be written twenty years later. Maybe now they would be a bit grimmer and complex; but they nevertheless tackled certain serious topics, including the common pattern of acquired disability with the character of Tenel Ka losing an arm in the fourth book. It also presented a diverse cast, with the main group including three male characters, including an alien, and two female ones.

For those interested in these characters in the following books, this series meant for younger audiences, give a lot of background, not just about the characters themselves, but about their connections.

Regardless of the actual content and family evolutions the upcoming sequel movie trilogy, the previous stories told in the Star Wars expanded universe, including The Young Jedi Knights, participate to how fans pictured what happened to the original trilogy characters as they carried on with their lives following the downfall of the Empire and the reconstruction of the Republic.

These books aren’t easy to find at this point, but if you like Star Wars and have a friend who happens to own these, you may want to give this a try.

Blogging A to Z Day 28: X-Files

I always say that without Star Wars, I wouldn’t be who I am today, including as an author and scholar. This is true, but there is another strong influence: The X-Files. This Science Fiction universe has also had a great impact since my adolescence. I even remember thinking that the FBI might be a career I’d like (although I am French!) and I loved how Mulder and Scully served their country, even when it was going against the system and put them in life threatening situations.

I don’t like every single episode and I am not a huge fan of the second movie but this doesn’t take anything away from my love for the show. I hope that we get to see more X-Files in the near future, and that if it happens, we don’t just get Scully, Mulder and Skinner back, but also Reyes and Doggett. The last two seasons of the show had many brilliant moments and Doggett and Reyes were compelling characters. Of course, the duet formed by Mulder and Scully remains at the heart of what makes The X-Files my all time favorite TV show. I love their connection and how both characters develop so much over the years. Scully remains one of my role models and a game changing female character in the television landscape. I can’t wait to be able to work on the book project I have about her. Even with so much already published, there is still room for more analysis and angles to be tackled.

Source: The X-Files Wiki.

Source: The X-Files Wiki.

The show inspires to be perseverant even in face of the adversity and I like how faith has such a strong place in it, whether it is in God, science, other people or in the existence of aliens. Faith has many faces in The X-Files and without it, the characters might not have made it through. The tagline of the show, ‘The Truth Is Out There’, is a good way to sum up the show and its message. Even when a situation looks like a dead end, with too many road blocks piling up, there is always a way. This doesn’t mean there isn’t loss or tragedy, because there is a lot of these in The X-Files. Yet, the characters are always able to carry on and do the best they can.

This is why ‘I Want(ed) to Believe’ we would get more X-Files! I was so happy when official news about six new episodes came out in March. I can’t wait to see them and I hope that this might be the beginning of a new era (I can dream, right?)