Phillip Jose Farmer’s “Riverworld”

If you were or still are a Philip Jose Farmer fan and read his Riverworld series years ago, did you know that there are now films? And if you weren’t a fan, maybe you will become one. If you like Sci-Fi, the odds are you will enjoy this story.

In 1971, while I was still in college, I read Philip Jose Farmer’s “To Your Scattered Bodies Go”.

The novel begins with adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton waking up after his death on the earth but in a strange new world with an endless river. He soon discovers that he is but one of billions of previously dead people—many are well known historical figures— from throughout Earth’s history stretching from the Neolithic age to modern times.

Next I read “The Fabulous Riverboat” (1971) where the main character is Samuel Clemens—Mark Twain—building a riverboat.

I have been an avid reader for most of my life. In fact, when I was in intermediate and high school (grades 6 to 12), I filled my free time reading and often read one or two books a day. Of course to achieve that, I ignored the homework. And sports weren’t an issue, because I was under a doctor’s care for years being treated for a virus that wanted to destroy my heart.

To give you an idea of how serious my condition was, when I graduated from high school, I stood 6’4” and weighed 125 pounds. From the side, I was all but invisible—a shadow, a thread. After high school graduation,—with the virus defeated after what felt like a thousand needle shots—the doctor said I could join the Marines.  In MCRD in San Diego, I added thirty pounds. Today I’m about two inches shorter and weight more than 180—we shrink as we age.

Even as a college student, I still managed to read at least one book a week when the average for an avid reader in America is 9 to 10 books annually.

Six years later, when the 3rd book in the “Riverworld” series was published—“The Dark Design” (1977)—I was teaching full time in the public schools and missed the book’s publication.  I also missed “The Magic Labyrinth” (1980) and “Gods of the Riverworld” (1983).

After I started teaching (1975 – 2005), the 60 to 100 hour work weeks—teaching, planning, correcting papers, dealing with the daily challenges like protecting my students from bullies, doing grades, calling parents—took a toll on my reading time. In addition, I was struggling to find time to write after I was bitten by the writing bug in 1968 during my first year of college. With the demands of teaching getting in the way of writing and reading, I often got up at 3:00 AM to write for an hour or so before going off to the classroom.

In Farmer’s series a number of historical figures—including Sir Richard Burton, Samuel Clemens, King John of England, Cyrano de Bergerac, Tom Mix, Mozart, Jack London, Lothar von Richthofen and Hermann Göring (for example)—interact with fictional characters with a goal to discover why they were brought back to life and the purpose behind the Riverworld’s creation.

Now retired and with real free time, I discovered that the Sci-Fi channel had produced a television series of Riverworld in 2001, loosely based on the Farmer’s books.  The film was released in 2003. Because I still have fond memories of reading the first two books, I searched Amazon and found the 1-hour and 30 minute Sci-Fi pilot episode and bought the DVD. This version starred Kevin Smith and Brad Johnson. It wasn’t the greatest quality production, but that film lit a hunger for more, and I went hunting.

Then I found the 175-Minute Riverworld film staring Tahmoh Penikett that was released to DVD in 2010.  According to Wiki, this 2nd version of “Riverworld” was supposed to be a 4-hour TV movie. I wonder what happened to the other 65 minutes. I feel cheated.

I think the production quality of the second film was better than the first but both took to many liberties with the story that I fondly remember from forty-two years ago. And I want more.

Discover Barber Shop Quartets and Amazing Acappella

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

John Carter film named one of worst flops of 2012 – but is that wrong?

Something stinks of Mar’s dust.

On December 25, 2012, Samuel Weigley of 24/7 Wall St. reported, “The science-fiction movie (John Carter), … opened with a meager $30.6 million in U.S. ticket sales.

“Foreign sales helped boost opening weekend to more than $100 million, but sales quickly fell. Disney said shortly after the release it would take a $200 million write-down on the movie, making it the biggest box-office dud ever.”

However, the numbers do not add up?

As of today, the domestic total gross is more than $73 million and that doesn’t count the global gross.

So far, John Carter’s foreign take has doubled to almost $210 million and DVD sails boost the total another $19.6 million. Source: The Numbers.com

Add them up and what do you have? $302.6 million, and according to imbd.com, the budget for the film was estimated at $250 million.

So, why does the John Carter film keep getting so much coverage in the media as the box office loser of 2012?

I enjoyed John Carter and want to see more from this potential franchise. How about Cloud Atlas taking the title of box office loser of 2012? The total box office gross for this film so far is $26.7 million but the film had an estimated budget of $100 million.

Let’s see, Cloud Atlas cost about $100 million to produce and promote and earned only $26.7 million compared to John Carter earning $302.6 million with an estimated budget of $250 million.

Maybe we should send Disney and Weigley back to learn basic math, but I’ve always heard that Hollywood does math different from the rest of the world.

Discover The Sexiest Woman Alive – Really?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Sexiest Woman Alive – Really?

Who decides Esquire Magazine’s sexiest woman alive that the American media touts as the World’s hottest woman?

And who decides the Academy Awards; the Noble Prize in literature, and the Pulitzer, etc?

For 2012, the so-called sexist woman alive was Mila Kunis.

At Esquire Magazine, the final decision may have come down to one person because in most publications even in countries with a so-called free press (free from government interference but not free from corporate influence), the final decisions usually belong to the editor or publisher—one person.

The Academy Awards are televised in more than 100 countries as if these awards represent the film tastes of most if not all of humanity.

However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a professional honorary organization, maintains a voting membership of 5,783 as of 2012. These are the people that decide the winners of the Academy Awards.

Since its beginning in 1901, the winner of the Swedish Nobel Prize for Literature has been chosen, in accordance with Nobel’s wishes, by a five-member committee of lawmakers (all older Caucasians) elected by the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, and assisted by specially-appointed expert advisers.

Today, the population of Sweden is 9.5 million. Alfred Nobel (also known as the merchant of death) was the inventor of dynamite (he was a weapons manufacturer) and made his fortune selling products to blow up things such as people. The money he left to establish the Nobel Prizes came from inventions used to kill more people faster.

The first Nobel Prize in Literature was in 1901 and went to Sully Prudhomme (1839 – 1907).

Sully who? I’ve never heard of this guy. I Googled lucky Sully and learned he was a French poet and essayist born in Paris.

This year Mo Yan, a Chinese author, won the award and immediately received criticism from so-called Chinese democracy advocates, because Mo Yan has never protested that China should adopt an American/Western style democratic government.

Mo Yan’s literature deals with upheavals in Chinese history. At the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair, he said “literature can overcome the barriers that separate countries and nations.”

Too bad that most Americans never read a book again after leaving high school (I’ve read this number is 80% of US adults).  If you don’t read, you cannot help overcome these devisive barriers that Mo Yan talks of. Especially if you are one of the millions that listen to talk radio shows such as Rush Limbaugh.

Then there is the Pulitzer Prize selected by a 20-member board that consists mostly of major newspaper editors and executives, along with six academics including the president of Columbia University and the dean and administrator of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The administrator and the dean cannot vote. The board elects its own members for a three-year term (excluding the dean and the administrator). Members of the board and the juries are selected with close attention “given to professional excellence and affiliation, as well as diversity in terms of gender, ethnic background, geographical distribution and size of newspaper.” Each year, the chair rotates to the most senior member. The board makes all prize decisions.

There are more than SEVEN BILLION people on the planet.  More than 1.34 billion live in China; 1.2 billion in India; 313 million in the US; more than 500 million in the 27 member states of the  European Union, 248 million in Indonesia, 205.7 million in Brazil, etc.

Do any of these countries have voting representation at Esquire Magazine, the Academy Awards, the Nobel, the Pulitzer, etc?

I think you already know the answer.

Going full circle back to the so-called Sexiest Woman Alive, half of humanity are women—about 3.5 billion.  For a few Western editors at one magazine, mostly Caucasians I’m sure, to claim that one woman is the sexist woman alive is ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ridiculous.

In fact, as one man, I often see women that beat Mila Kunis as the sexiest woman alive. That is my individual opinion of course, which doesn’t count since I am not David Granger, the Editor-in-Chief of Esquire Magazine.  I don’t subscribe to Esquire and have never bought or read a copy.

I must be really missing out!

To be more realistic, instead, Mila Kunis should be called Esquire Magazine’s Sexiest Woman Alive of 2012, and then Esquire should tell us how many people decided she was the winner of that dubious title and how many people Esquire represents: Esquire claims it has a customer base of 2,698,000 adults in 21 countries—69.6% are men and 30.4% are women; 44% have graduate degrees and 18% have a Post Grad Degree.  The median age is 44.5.

At least programs such as American Idol lets the millions of people that watch the program decide the winner.

Discover The True Value of American Idol

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Twisting History for Fun and Profit — maybe?

Yahoo Movieland! ran an interesting piece about Historically Inaccurate Movies (historical fiction), and the liberties Hollywood takes with historical fiction movies is amazing.  To learn what that deliberate revision of history was, I recommend you click over to Yahoo’s Movieland! and see for yourself (use link above).

However, the impact of Hollywood rewriting history may be devastating in the long term.

When it comes to historical accuracy, it seems there is a HUGE difference between historical fiction novels and historical fiction films. If an author of historical fiction novels did the same thing, he or she would be roasted by critics.

In fact, I’m sure many people that go to movies worldwide read nothing about history let alone read books, and they walk away after seeing these movies believing this is how it really was—the beliefs of millions influenced for a lifetime.

After the first video, there is a list of thirteen of the fourteen historical fiction movies that were featured in the Yahoo Movieland! post and the money these movies raked in.

“Season of the Witch” earned more than $90 million worldwide

“The Young Victoria” earned more than $27 million

“Inglorious Basterds” earned more than $120.5 million

“10,000 B.C.” earned about $95 million

“300” earned more than $456 million

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” earned more than $74 million

“Apocalypto” earned more than $120.6 million

“Memoires of a Geisha” earned more than $162.2 million

“The Last Samurai” earned more than $456.7 million.

“A Beautiful Mind” earned more than $313.5 million

“The Patriot” earned more than $215.2 million

“Gladiator” earned more than $457.6 million

“Braveheart” earned more than $210.4 million

If Hollywood does this for fun and profit, what do they do out of patriotism to make America’s so-called enemies look worse than they really are while inflating a false image of America?

What we learn from this is that the world we live in is made up of smoke and mirrors and reality/facts do not seem important to many people.

There are other posts on other Blogs that explore this topic. For example, here are two:

Hollywood Is Becoming the Pentagon’s Mouthpiece for Propaganda at AlterNet

World War II Movies — Propaganda and Patriotism at Hollywood Movie Memories.com

There is an old saying that says, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” – French novelist Alphonse Karr (1808-1890)

Discover The going, going, gone American Dream

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”