SF and Anime

Ohh boy! do I have a lot to talk about here! Let's start with a plug. Visit the good fine people at Baen Books. Home of the Baen Free Library, Honor Harrington, Eric Flint and David Weber. Good fine people who are not afraid to share.

On a less pluggy note, I've been reading SF for as long as I can remember. I found some Heinlein juveniles sometime around grade 2 (so I was 6-7 at the time) and I was sold. I am still a rabid reader, and my aquistion of a net feed has made it worse. As has my purchasing of an Apple Newton - which has the only electronic book system that feels like reading a paper book!.

For SF, I have always had a fondness for space opera, so Weber, Flint and several others of the Baen stable a popular with me. At the other extreme, paranoid conspiracy is also fun to play with, hence my collection of Phillip K. Dick. My reading extends beyond hard SF, to fantasy and horror. I find H.P.Lovecraft particularly amusing.

One thing that I have found over the years is that kids tend to be far more demanding readers than adults. As a result, I find myself reading a lot of so-called juvenile fiction - J.K.Rowling, Madeline L'Engle, Dianna Wynn Jones, and so on. I am especially taken with Garth Nix works - Sabriel and its sequels are an excellent read.

One thing that has usually lead me to disappointment has been SF movies. Exceptions have been Solaris, Frequency, Pleasantville and a handfull of others. TV series have been pretty much as bad. Notable exceptions have been Babylon 5, Firefly, Reboot, and Farscape.

As a result of this interest in SF, I discovered fandom shortly after meeting my wife - and we've been attending conventions ever since. Recently I took the next (stupid) step, and volunteered to help out with one! Contact with other fans also put in into contact with the Anime fans, and hence to Japanese Animation.

Anime as a medium is quite differant to western animation styles - there are differing rules of pacing, and a number of conventions that are ... odd. That said, it should be pointed out that I am not completely sold on anything Anime. In fact, most of it is dross of the worst order. There are, though, some gems. Particular gems are "El Hazard", "Iria", "Revolutionary Girl Utena" (but avoid the movie), "Cowboy BeBop", anything from Studio Ghibli (like "Spirited Away", "Nausicca", "Laputa", "Princess Mononoke", and "Totoro"), "Galaxy Express 999", "Patlabor", "Blue Submarine No.6", and "Shamanic Princess".

Just as Anime differs to western animation, Manga differs from western comics. Same rule applies, though. Most of it is rubbish. Things to look out for, though: "Ranma 1/2", "Diary of a Yokohama Shopping Trip", "Read or Die", and the mangas of any of the anime above.

Meantime, look for me at any of the local conventions: Swancon, Genghiscon, or Wasteland Convention. I'll be the guy in a hat with a Newton in his hand. Probably playing some boardgame.