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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Media I have Watched Recently-

Although I am perhaps unusually sensitive to Freemasonic iconography and thinly veiled plotlines, I am nevertheless a great fan of the Stargate Atlantis series that ran 5 seasons.
--I was fortunate enough to receive Season 5 on DVD for Hanukkah/Christmas, and caught a few epis I had missed watching them on TV.
---Yes, the final epi was, um, not good, I still feel it was an excellently produced series filled with good writing, appealing characters (notably many strong female characters, most of all typified by Torri Higginson's Dr. Elizabeth Weir), and a wonderful ensemble. Many of the epis were real tear-jerkers, esp. 'The Shrine'.

Having caught a few of seasons 1 and 2 of(ST:)Enterprise, I thought little good of it. However, although another thinly-veiled spin (this time on the September 11th, 2001 events), season 3's Xindi / Expanse episodes began to catch my interest. I am working my way through seasons 3 and 4 as we speak.
--I find Archer to be one of the least appealing of all ST captains, but the rest of the cast of characters at least don't make me sigh.

SyFy's condensed version of the first season of The Legend of the Seeker was enough to make me interested in watching the second (ongoing) season.
--Let me be perfectly clear: This is not much more than brain candy for me, and NO, I have not, nor do I intend on reading Goodkind's tortuously-long(winded) book series. The spin in this series is just beyond my ability to rationally discuss without a huge treatise on what is so wrong with media-fed brainwashing regarding religion (in general), but, it does have pretty women and landscapes to look at, and at 10 pm that's about all I care to invest in.
---I'll continue my frankness: I really dig the Mord'Sith, and thought that the episode in which Cara's backsory was revealed (while predictable and sappy) was a higher standard than most TV pabulum.

The new old Star Trek.
--A resounding, No.

James (I generally loathe his message) Cameron's AVATAR.
:: Having suffered through The Dragonsfoot's typically [nothing nice to say here] thread on this film, after having seen it yesterday, I am not certain whether my liking the film in almost every possible way will lose me Subscribers, but, there you have it: I was delighted by the film. I will go further, saying that I think it is the single most beautiful moving media I have ever seen. Period.
--Please keep in mind my work in High Risk Armed Security, and my general loathing of Cameron's worldview: I encourage anyone who likes Sword and Planet fiction even a smidgen to set aside their Left/Right, Panentheist/Monotheist/Atheist (etc.) biases and go see this film.
---Is the plot small, yes. Is it predictable: 90%. Is it revisionist wish-fulfilment: yes. Is it the most gorgeously executed CGI work yet: yes. Do I love freakin' large cat-like critters: Roger that big time.

So, judge me harshly if you will, that's my take on the stuff I have been watching recently.

[Milieu][RPG] Brief: Rarity of Magic/k in the Urutsk Setting-

SHARK has posted this on his SHARK EMPIRE blog.

My solution was to make magic available to anyone, but make developing its use so costly (XP-wise) so as to dramatically narrow the potential number of dedicated practitioners, as well as retard their rate of matriculation through the 'spell-levels'.
--Urutsk has always had magickers of some sort, due to campaign event specifics, but even in the Latter Autumn era in which vectored thrust air transports, LASERS, and ELF-communications exist, those who could use anything more than the occasional elemental bolt or Mirror Image --both of which are outstripped by technological equivalents-- were a rare breed which kept their knowledge hidden.

As Humanity took to outer space and colonies were founded, many such worlds were used as remote demesnes, and the Art enjoyed a local resurgence, especially when space-age technology failed and the populations became cut off from pre-Imperial society.

It wasn't until Mid-Winter, when the Sphere of Stars/Suns was founded, that Magick was brought to the fore, although that golden 'age' only lasted 111 years. Yet, enigmatically, it is this very period that created what is known as 'magic' in the setting, throughout its full cycle...