Friday, February 05, 2016

E-Books Galore

When I promised to start making ebooks of some of the posts in this blog's (gulp) ten-year-old archives, I thought I'd get on that in a few weeks.  Six months later, I've finally done it!  the E-Books tab has been updated with three new collections: the series Back Through the Wormhole and Let's See What's Out There, in which I reflected on the Star Trek series Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation, and Austen and Friends, a collection of my reviews of Jane Austen's novels and other related books.  All three ebooks are available in epub and mobi formats.

Please let me know if there are formatting issues or problems downloading any of the ebooks, and if you have comments on the contents.  It was an interesting experience, going back to my old writing to edit and format it for these collections.  In some cases, posts that I wrote ten years ago, when I was still working out what I wanted this blog to be, still resonated with me.  In other instances, things that I wrote just a few years ago struck me as misguided.  I've made some alterations to the original texts where I felt that they were making points that I genuinely couldn't stand by anymore, but mostly I've left them as they were, as a testament to how I used to think, and how I hope I've grown as a writer.

If you have any ideas about what subject should be collected next, I'd love to hear them, though maybe this time I shouldn't promise to be too swift about it.

6 comments:

Sidley Park Hermit said...

On the one hand, I think the the Battlestar Galactica posts are very much deserving of collection, but on the other hand it feels cruel to ask you to relive that journey...

Abigail Nussbaum said...

To be honest, I think those are among the posts that I'd have the hardest time standing by today. Not because I disagree with what I wrote, but because the urgency on it now feels completely unjustified. When the show ended in 2009, I really thought it represented the future for SF TV. But within a few years, it was, if not quite forgotten, then definitely growing in irrelevance - the consequence of tying itself so inextricably to its present political moment. It really doesn't feel as if people talk about BSG anymore, and I might feel a bit strange bringing the subject up again.

Adam Roberts said...

Isn't that interesting? I mean about BSG. I think you're right, but it puzzles me that I still see a fair amount of online discussion not just of original Trek but of all the Trek spin-off series (maybe not so much on Enterprise, but certainly TNG, DS9 and Voyager) where they've stopped talking about Galactica. I wonder why that is?

Adam Roberts said...

(That's not to say that you shouldn't publish an ebook of your BSG posts; they were really good ...)

Abigail Nussbaum said...

As I said, I think it's got a lot to do with how the show nailed itself to the mast of present-day political relevance. And to be clear, when I say present, I'm not even talking about the present in which the show was produced - in 2008 and 2009, when Bush had been voted out and the war in Iraq was generally agreed to have been a terrible idea, it was still fighting the political battles of 2003 and 2004.

But I also think that, similar to the observation that people have been making about James Cameron's Avatar and the fact that it has had no cultural footprint, BSG's disappearance has to do with the fact that it's had virtually no successors, and no influence on the TV that has followed it. Partly this is not BSG's fault - it ended just as the entire genre was making a lateral shift into superhero stories, and there's hardly any space opera on TV at all. But of what there is, none of it seems to be trying to be BSG. There was Stargate: Univers, SyFy's ill-conceived attempt to do BSG all over again as soon as it had ended, but with worse writers and actors. There was a British show whose name I can't even remember about people who go to an alien planet and act awful to one another. And just recently, Agents of SHIELD, of all shows, did what was basically a play-by-play remake of the Pegasus arc, even bringing in Edward James Olmos to play the Admiral Cain role. But that's about it. Of the recent space opera on TV, shows like Dark Matter and Killjoys owe a lot more to Firefly than BSG, and The Expanse, after one season, is still too anemic to have much of a personality either way, but from what I can discern it's reaching back to Babylon 5. BSG billed itself as a response to Star Trek's politeness and cleanliness, but it ended up being the end of the line instead.

Jeremy Bee said...

Hello Abigail -

Long time reader, but this is my first post; I'm glad you've gathered some of the essays and posts together. I just wanted to add a couple of thoughts about BSG, since, after reading this post, I started kicking it around in my head. Like you, I loathed it by the end, and I think that is actually part of the reason why it's gradually faded from the conversation. A lot of observers (mainstream and genre) did enthuse about it, but I think that was at least in part the sunk cost fallacy; it's difficult to be entirely objective about 80 odd hours of time - at least, until distance has shrunk the relative size of that investment. Once everyone got over it a bit*, it became clear the later series just weren't that good, and the putative complexity had collapsed into confusion. I came to the show rather late (after completion in fact) and it's true the general political argument was already losing relevance - but that only made the overall weakness more obvious.

That said, I am also not entirely sure it didn't spawn a successor, of sorts: a gritty, adult long-form take on a genre which has, on TV at least, rarely been taken seriously? April is coming...


*something I believe also holds true for the execrable Avatar.

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