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George R.R. Martin’s Comments on the Hugos/Sad Puppies Don’t Endorse SJWs

Humpty Dumpty By Aravindan Rajasingham

Humpty Dumpty
By Aravindan Rajasingham

Papers that can’t be bothered with knowing anything about SF have gotten their pullquote on the Hugos/Sad Puppies situation from George R.R. Martin, the one living SF/F writer non-SF people actually know.

The Hugos have been broken. They’ve fallen and can’t get back up again. That’s what GRM said. Commence the SAD PUPPIES BROKE THE HUGOS FOREVER stories.

Just completely ignore his larger range of commentary across three blog posts in which he

1. Fails to call the Sad Puppies slate racists, sexists and cis scum and warns others who agree with him to refrain from doing so. The same sites and scribes quoting him to support an accusation that he rejects.

[[Once again, comments and dissent are welcome, but I expect courtesy from all parties. And yes, that means those of you who are on “my side” as well. Let’s not throw around insults, or charges of misogyny and racism, please.

And he tosses out the SJW tone policing argument

There’s a thing out there on the internet called “the Tone Argument.” Supposedly this is a bad, bad thing to do. In online discussions, one must never use the Tone Argument.

The way I have seen it work, dozens of times now, is that a debate or discussion starts out as a reasonable exchange of ideas, but then grows heated. Tempers fray, names are called, the posts get uglier and angrier… and someone, or maybe a bunch of someones, steps over the line and says something truly cruel or hurtful or just nasty. And the target, or maybe a bystander, objects and says, “no call for language like that” or “can’t we all calm down” or something along that line… whereupon a loud cry of “Tone Argument, Tone Argument, Tone Argument” goes up, and person who called for calm is shouted down or torn apart.

The essence of the trope seems to be that if you’re on my side, you can say anything you like, no matter how vicious or unkind or inflammatory, and I will defend not only your argument but your “right” to be as nasty as you want. If you’re on the other side, of course, well, that’s a whole different story. Then you might get silenced or moderated or banned.

There’s also a lot of rhetoric about kicking down and punching up and the like.

I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.

I am against punching and kicking. Up, down, or sideways. No punching here, please.

I applaud the Tone Argument. The Tone Argument is valid. Yay for the Tone Argument.

Martin just shut down a major SJW tactic.

Why does Martin think Sad Puppies broke the Hugos? Context.

The Sad Puppies did not invent Hugo campaigning, by any means. But they escalated it, just as that magazine/publisher partnership did way back when. They turned it up to eleven. Their slate was more effective that anyone could ever have dreamed, so effective that they drowned out pretty much all the other voices. They ran the best organized, most focused, and most effective awards campaign in the history of our genre, and showed everyone else how it’s done.

The lesson will be learned. The Sad Puppies have already announced that they intend to do it again next year. Which means that other factions in fandom will have to do it as well. Just as happened with the “let me tell you about my eligible works,” the rest of the field is going to need to field slates of their own in self-defense.

I don’t look forward to that. It cheapens the Hugos. Will future winners actually be the best books or stories? Or only the books and stories that ran the best campaigns?

Martin is taking issue with the effectiveness of the Sad Puppies slate. He admits with some caveats that campaigning always existed, but that it’s going to scale up. He criticizes Sad Puppies for controlling the outcome, but the outcome was already being controlled for a while before Sad Puppies got into the mix.

He ought to know that.

George R.R. Martin makes other objections, mostly cultural stuff that pigeonholes the Sad Puppies guys and girls as military SF fans who should stay out of WorldCon (someone should have told Heinlein that) because it’s not really theirs. That’s Trufan stuff I’m not going to bother parsing. I have issues with the SP people, but they’re truer fans than the Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon fangirls who took a field defined by Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein and tried to turn it into a bad emo graphic novel.

The objections are weak and he recognizes that. They’re Get Off My Lawn stuff.

An honest sum of Martin’s posts is that he thinks that things are changing in ways that he doesn’t like, and he directs some of the blame at Sad Puppies, people he doesn’t seem too familiar with and doesn’t like, but that he admits were happening anyway.

He’s complaining because a good type of campaigning (insiders trading votes) got traded for a bad type of campaigning (online faction slates out in the open).

I’m not a fan of Martin or Sad Puppies, but I can see their good sides. I see nothing good about the current rotten system. It was a comfortable state of affairs in Martin’s day and some writers lost out but the overall quality was high. The overall quality is terrible now and Science Fiction is losing out.

The Semplica Girl Diaries or Why Does Art Lit Love Bad Science Fiction?

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Despite all the progress made in yadda yadda, Science Fiction is still a ghetto. Sure the occasional Philip K. Dick will be plucked out into the spotlight, but despite the aggressive trashing of the genre by the New Wave, Science Fiction stays in the ghetto.

Sure it may at times be better written, smarter and deeper than the Art Lit (and in keeping with Sturgeon’s Law, an equal amount of it is crap), but it’s just not serious enough. Greg Bear, David Brin, Vernon Vinge, etc are never going to show up in the New Yorker. They’re just not serious enough. (Stephen King is, but that’s a whole other club subject.)

But when Art Lits like science fiction (small caps), it’s usually some very badly written Science Fiction from their own ranks. The kind of thing that almost no SF magazine (except the maybe Asimov’s under Gardner “If It’s Bad Art Lit Posing as Science Fiction, I Love It” Dozois) would accept. It’s bound to be so hackneyed and such a string of lame cliches that it would get tossed into the trash after a page.

The big writer now that we’re supposed to be paying attention to is George Saunders, who is “the writer” of the age. No really. He’s “the writer for our time.” Until maybe next week. There’s a bunch of his books in the window of every Art Lit book store, which almost makes me feel good about the triumph of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Saunders lifted into a whole new stratosphere with a story that appeared in The New Yorker a few months ago. It’s one of the standouts in his new book. “The Semplica Girl Diaries” is an example of writing that combines both devastating realism and a stunning detour into surrealism.

It pretty much floored me. Many others had a similar reaction. It was circulated and commented on the way a trend piece on Slate might be passed around. The eighty-six-year-old mother of a friend of mine was so excited she called up her son right after she finished it to say she thought it was the best story she’d ever read. Again, the publication of this story felt like an event, a beautiful moment when emotion, meaning, and experimentation with form dovetailed perfectly.

What is “The Semplica Girl Diaries”? It’s bad Science Fiction.

Semplica Girl Diaries is bad for three reasons.

1. It’s badly written. This is a function of Art Lit which has a fetish for awkwardly written narration in a way that no human thinks or talks as a signpost that this is artsy important writing that gets down into the consciousness stream of all life on earth. Maybe the narration is supposed to clue you in that the story is set in the “NOT SO DISTANT FUTURE” (another staple of Art Lit and its Mudane SF cousin), but other characters speak a coherent modern English, so that’s not so.

“Hereby resolve to write in this book at least twenty minutes a night, no matter how tired. (If discouraged, just think how much will have been recorded for posterity after one mere year!)”

This is a sample. It gets annoying after one sentence. By ten pages it’s unnecessary nails on a chalk board. It’s supposed to project sincerity, working class realism and that kind of stuff. It doesn’t.

2. It doesn’t make any sense. This is another function of Art Lit, which we’ll get back to. When Art Lit does SF, it tries to make no sense, that way it’s surrealistic, rather than a plot. The French sighed when Edgar Allan Poe insisted on laying out and researching exactly how to fly a balloon to the moon for his satirical short story. He was so imaginative, yet so prosaically Americans, they said. Science Fiction is still Edgar Allan Poe. Lit Fic is still French.

3. And this is the really relevant one… it’s a string of cliches with political relevance.

“The Semplica Girl Diaries” has been done 400,000 times before in Science Fiction. It’s a concept that has been explored since the early days of the genre. Even the politically relevant aspects of it have been done to death. Cheap labor and the middle class? Done. There is nothing new to say about it and Semplica Girl Diaries has nothing new to say.

It cloaks its non-newness in style and in the equally unoriginal YOU THINK THIS IS A CURRENT STORY BECAUSE I MENTION LOTTERY TICKETS AND JOBS, BUT SURPRISE IT’S TAKING PLACE IN THE FUTURE, EVEN THOUGH EVERYTHING IS THE SAME EXCEPT FOR A SINGLE PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY AND LEGALIZING SLAVERY.  It cloaks it in the sneering at the Middle Class that makes Art Lit go round.

Strip away the style and you have a bland story about how the middle class oppresses the lower class to climb into the upper class using a Science Fiction cliche that is handled as ineptly and implausibly as is humanly possible.

If you have never read anything except The New Yorker before, then yes it’s new to you. If you have read Science Fiction before then it’s like seeing a white guy do a lame Chuck Berry and watching the New York Times critic praise him as a defining moment in music history.

Science Fiction is still in the ghetto. And Art Lit is its own ghetto. The two don’t often meet and that makes it possible for crap like The Semplica Girl Diaries to be treated as a great story, instead of a lame watered down, shoddily written, badly plotted retread.

The Clone Alliance by Steven L. Kent – Book Review

Based on the blurbs on the back of The Clone Alliance, you might open it expecting to read Hemingway or Joseph Heller. Instead you don’t The Clone Alliance by Steven L Kenteven get David Drake. The Clone Alliance is military Science Fiction, but it’s bad even by the standards of military SF. Like most of the breed, Clone Alliance exists in a universe where wars are still fought pretty much the way they are now, except the weapons are a little better. But in Clone Alliance, the entire universe is also just like the United States, except the weapons are a little better. A little, not much. Your average writer might be called a hack for coming up with nothing better than a Space United States and its Marines and SEALS fighting a Space Confederacy and a Space Scientology. But if you have the right marketing, it can be passed off as inspired social commentary.

Even bad Military SF writers usually know enough to create colorful characters. Steven L. Kent instead writes about clones who have as little in the way of a personality as you would expect. The main character could be confused with wallpaper, except wallpaper is more outgoing. Everyone he interacts with is just as one dimensional. Asshole officers. Cartoon marines. And yeah, that’s about it. Aside from some Japanese officers who the book repeatedly tells us are very Japanese. Over and over again. A taciturn bounty hunter. And one marine with a sense of humor, who just makes the narrator and every other character in the book look bland and blank by comparison. Again in your average writer, this might be dubbed hackery. But with the right marketing, it’s inspired social commentary about clones. Or something.

It doesn’t get any better than that. The Space United States just lost a war against Space Scientology. But don’t worry, there’s no chance of this going anywhere interesting, because the Space Scientologists don’t bother to invade Earth. Instead they hang around. Also they’re hopelessly incompetent buffoons who can’t tie their own shoelaces without tripping over. You might think that they might be interesting, but don’t worry they have no personality traits besides incompetence. Luckily they have the help of aliens who provided them with invulnerable shields. Unluckily for them, shields can be turned off. That’s about as interesting as it gets.

The Clone Alliance is probably the worst piece of Military SF I ever read. It has no new ideas. It imagines that formulaic agonizing about how hard and unpleasant war is, is breaking new ground. Which it might be in SF if Kent had a time machine that he could use to travel back to the seventies. The book ends with the completely forgettable main character vowing to have nothing to do with fighting for the Space United States Marines ever again. I’ve never read any of the other Clone books, but I have a sneaking suspicion that every one of them ended the same way.

The Best of SF 13 – Why Science Fiction is Dead

The Best of SF 13Opening The Best of SF 13, the collection of what are supposed to be the year’s best SF stories, as collected by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer reminded me of opening up a New Dimensions collection from the 70’s and finding it full of the worst kind of experimental New Wave trash.

Am I being unfair? Not really. Five of the stories are satires, or that’s what they’re being called anyway. The worst of the bunch is John Kessel’s The Last American, which is a long, pointless and awkward narrative supposedly retold by a cybernetic intelligence (to make it more awkward) about the last human American President, as composed by a long session at an ANSWER rally. This kind of lame shopworn radicalism, that dates more to 2003 than 2008, fills the volume. Terry Bisson’s Pirates of the Somali Coast is labeled a satire, though it’s an ugly and pointless non-SF narrative told in letters so well researched that apparently Bisson is under the impression that the Somali pirates are arabs.

Then there are not one, but two, badly translated stories. First up is Baby Doll by Johanna Sinisalo , another non-SF satire, about the sexualization of young girls, that beats the point home by page 2, but drags on endlessly until you want to throw up. After finishing Baby Doll I assumed that I had survived the worst that Best of SF 13 had to offer. I was wrong. There was still John Kessel coming up.

Then there are the trunk stories. Marc Laidlaw’s An Evening of Honest Peril, a trunk story from six years back that features a “realistic” retelling of a World of Warcraft type MMORPG battle is a childish piece of fanfic that might have had some justification for existing in 2003, but has none in 2008. But in a bid for relevance Hartwell and Cramer seem to have gathered up gamer centered stories, including Kage Baker’s mediocre Plotters and Shooters.

Mediocre is the best that can be said of most of the stories in Best of SF 13. There’s Kage Baker and Joy Fowler, who along with Terry Bisson, have the ability to get their grocery lists printed in Best of SF collections. Nancy Kress shows up with Endgame, yet another story of a scientist discovering a substance that’s meant to improve humanity but destroys the world instead. Stephen Baxter shows up with a story that even the intro can’t help but connect to an Arthur C. Clarke original. Then there’s Gregory Benford’s Reasons Not to Publish, a two pager which revisits the astoundingly original idea that the whole world is a simulation. Tony Ballantyne’s Third Person hangs around the same neighborhood, and it’s a Solaris leftover, which tells you just what to expect. The Bridge by Kathleen Ann Goonan is yet another hardboiled PI in a cyberpunk future coping with wacky techno shenanigans involving human identity. Then there’s Ken MacLeod’s Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359, a story whose most interesting feature is its title. If you haven’t read any Science Fiction in the last 20 years, these might be new to you.

There are a handful of good stories in The Best of SF 13, if you look hard enough, mainly Wolfe’s Memorae, which makes an unusual amount of sense for Wolfe, How Music Begins by James Van Pelt is a nice surprise, Greg Egan’s Induction is passable and more notably Ian McDonald’s Sanjeev and Robotwallah is the one real winner here. John Henry’s As You Know Bob is amusing, mainly because it’s an unintentional parody of the rest of the collection. It also sums up why Science Fiction is in so much trouble.

That and the fact that David G. Hartwell, a Tor senior editor, and Kathryn Cramer, a reviewer at the New York Review of Science Fiction, think the mess that is The Best of SF 13 actually represents the best of Science Fiction. I can only hope that this collection was the product of the old boysgirls network in SF and that Hartwell and Cramer were just playing favorites with their friends. Because the only alternative is that they genuinely think that The Last American or Pirates of the Somali Coast or An Evening’s Honest Peril or End Game really are the best that Science Fiction has to offer. And from two people in a key position to shape what printed Science Fiction actually looks like, that is a very scary thought. Scarier than anything in this volume.

The Fading Days of Science Fiction

With the death of Arthur C. Clarke, it’s hard not to notice that the Science Fiction of the present has lost much of what attracted so many to Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein in the first place. Squeezed on one side by market realities and merchandising novels and on the other by the erosion of quality and the loss of basic storytelling skills, Science Fiction today is a pale shadow of what it once was.

Science Fiction today is less concerned with the future than it is with the present. Faith in the future has given way to trends of technophobia and luddite sentiments not only in the usual haunts in Hollywood but in many books as well written by authors raised on Hollywood’s technophobic versions of Science Fiction’s vision.

The genre itself has grown convoluted, more concerned with itself than with serving as an open door to welcome in readers. Less concerned with telling a good story and more concerned with posing against the backdrop of some moral quandary and the latest scientific trend. It’s no wonder that anime is a lot more popular among the teenagers who should have been SF’s new readers and that the average age of the Science Fiction reader is continuing to trend upward and that the market accommodates it.

Science Fiction is killing itself off by turning inward, by catering to its core demographics’ preoccupations and failing to attract new readers in the process. What Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein brought first and foremost to their writing was a strong solid sense of rationalized order combined with an unfailing enthusiasm for exploring the possibilities and wonders of the universe. Both are qualities sadly lacking in Science Fiction today.

Martin H. Greenberg – Good for Science Fiction or Bad?

With the shrinkage of short story markets, once the major place for the development of new Science Fiction and Fantasy talent, you might suppose that Martin H. Greenberg’s endless themed short story collections are actually good. Except of course that Martin H. Greenberg mainly recycles commonly read stories by recognized authors, which lets them get paid for the reprint and creates an incentive for already well paid authors to keep writing short stories in a marketplace that rewards them better for simply sticking to writing novels.

It’s one justification for Martin H. Greenberg’s endless story collections that he edits the way compulsive gamblers play cards. Unfortunately it’s the only one. The con for the pro that Martin H. Greenberg lets professional authors get paid twice is that his short story collections are invariably terrible. Occasionally a good short story will somehow sneak in to a Martin H. Greenberg collection, probably because it was written 50 years ago by Isaac Asimov. But overall Martin H. Greenberg’s short story collections attract bad and outright overly reprinted stories the way lightbulbs attract moths, with the same destructive outcome.

Somehow it wasn’t this bad a decade or so ago when Martin H. Greenberg had a bunch of short story collections under his belt but they weren’t too frequent or too egregious. Lately though it seems as if Martin H. Greenberg turns out a dozen of them a year and that may be an exaggeration but not that much. Last time I stopped by, I saw at least four new ones and the covers alone made me slightly nauseous. The problem is that there are actually good short story collections out there, none of them however have the name Martin H. Greenberg on them. Martin H. Greenberg has become the Burger King of SF and F short story collections and the results are the same tasteless reprocessed junk.

Let’s Get Serious

On the heels of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Jim Crace, yet another award winning seriously literary writer coming out with The Pesthouse, a novel which like The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of civilization has come crashing down and refugees wander amidst the ruins of civilization.

These brilliantly original plots of course are Science Fiction, right? Wrong. Serious literary writers and critics don’t acknowledge they’re writing Science Fiction– even when they’re blatantly writing Science Fiction. Consider John Irving’s At The End of Time– yet another novel on a similar theme of the kind actual SF writers have been churning out non-stop for decades. Yet claim it as SF and get your nose bitten off as an uncivilized barbarian. It’s like the boy from the farming village who grows up, goes off to the city, becomes the Royal Astronomer and you had better not remind him that he’s not doing much more than what he did back home when he and the other boys were counting stars in the sky and naming the constellations after haystacks.

Because you see being taken seriously is all about reputation or all the reputation you can work on manufacturing for yourself. That in the end is what serious literature or serious film is. Pretentiousness. Of course there’s usually some talent and real work in there, but there’s talent and real work everywhere.

Why Nemesis is worth your time and money – Pro and Con film analysis

Besides falling victim to a film release schedule that was the
equivalent of shoving a poodle into a meat grinder, Nemesis also
likely fell victim to the studio’s own hype. Hype to which no movie,
not even the original Wrath of Khan could have lived up to. The result
was that audiences went into the film expecting something really
amazing and left disappointed. The public availability of the Nemesis
script also undoubtedly spoiled key moments for fans while raising
expectations for scenes that ended up not making the cut.

No Nemesis is not Wrath of Khan for the next generation, ironically
enough in part because it compulsively borrows from Wrath of Khan, but
it is the best of the TNG films and since it may well be the last TNG
film that means quite a bit despite the shortage of quality among its
competition.

It is not a great film but it is a good one. It’s not flawless, it’s
not a movie that’ll have you flashing back to key scenes for months
afterwards or calling people on the phone and insisting they go see
it. But then few movies, in SF or outside it, make that grade. Nemesis
on the other hand is a fairly decent sendoff for the crew and the
series whose Trek heart is in the right place, it has some touching
moments and a decent script and I didn’t check my watch once while I
was watching the movie (not counting the previews or the ads.)

Are there flaws, plot holes, poorly structured narrative due to cut
footage and any number of other objections that critics and fans have
raised? Sure. But then no movie is pure in that department. Not even
the holy grail of Star Trek filmmaking itself. STII.

Wrath of Khan contains a scene that features Scotty holding a dying
cadet in his arms, which due to footage being cut makes no real sense
as we never find out the boy is his nephew. As to poor continuity,
Checkov and Khan recognize each other even though they never met on
the series. The Reliant is on a science survey that’s studying a
planet down to its most microscopic lifeforms, yet fails to notice
that one of the planets is missing and that the planet they’re
studying is a different planet entirely. But while fans jump on those
kinds of goofs during the first viewing as time passes, they fall away
and it’s the meat of the movie that matters and not its mistakes. Time
forgives the foolish errors of aging films and the mistakes that once
seemed to important and the issues that seemed like such a betrayal of
expectations don’t end up mattering that much ten years later.
Especially as Nemesis is now increasingly likely to be the last TNG
film and probably the last Star Trek film ever made and will come to
be viewed fondly in that context.

Indeed while Nemesis works hard to be Wrath of Khan, it comes closer
to being The Undiscovered Country, a bittersweet sendoff, a conspiracy
hidden within a diplomatic mission, the possibility of growing peace
with old enemies and a sense of hope for the future overshadowed by
the harsh knowledge that today’s victories hold the germ of tommorow’s
defeats.

So no Nemesis is far from perfect as I’ll go into detail further down,
but it’s the best of the TNG films and likely one of the best Science
Fiction films you’ll see in a while. Certainly better than the only
one of the trailers for a SF film that ran before Nemesis, which
essentially amounted to Armageddon at the earth’s core complete with
gratitious devastation of cities that some faint hope might have
suggested Hollywood would shun after the all too real devastation on
an American city not long ago.

Think of Nemesis in that context. In the context of 500 more idiotic
SF thriller, monster and disaster films that were made and that are to
come. Think about the fact that despite the most optimistic
predictions people have been putting forwards even now, the prediction
I made months ago that Nemesis would have the worst opening of any
Star Trek film ever has held up. And the news will only keep getting
worse from here on it. I’m not calling on anyone to go see Nemesis
because it’ll improve STN’s numbers and save the film franchise,
nothing can likely do that now. But it is almost certainly the last
film and it’s worth seeing it on the big screen, if only to say
goodbye to the franchise and goodbye to the last of Star Trek that
Gene Roddenberry had a hand in creating.

Now comes the analysis complete with spoilers for pretty much
everything. If you don’t want to know them, don’t scroll down any
further.

(Note that I still haven’t read the original script for Nemesis and so
I won’t comment on what might have in the script but was left out)

– The bombing scene at the start places its emphasis on the shock
value which is meant to propel viewers into the movie and grip them
from the beginning but since none of the players are familiar, the
lack of development makes this scene more gory than shocking, let
alone engrossing. The key assasination is carried out by a woman we
never even hear speak again on behalf of a figure we’ve yet to meet.

A smarter approach would have been to show a more fleshed out version
of Shinzon’s flashback in the mines under the tagline ‘X Years Ago’
that would have shown Shinzon as a boy and developed Viceroy a bit by
showing his kindness to the human boy and the conditions in the mines
at the start. It would have also shown the Reman aversion to sunlight,
their oppression by the Romulans and Shinzon’s history without the
need for some of the clunky exposition that comes later in the movie.

Then cut to ‘Present Day’ with Shinzon being honored for his military
exploits (which would have eliminated more clunky briefing room
exposition that many critics have objected to) making the offer to the
Senate and then proceeding to assasinate them as before. While this
would have prematurely hinted at Shinzon’s identity, the previews and
the trailer had revealed it anyway and this would have built suspense
for Shinzon and Picard’s first encounter.

It would have also given the entire premise of Shinzon seizing power
on Romulus credibility, which was thoroughly lacking in the actual
film as we have no real idea how Shinzon got out of the mines and
became a prominent military figure, let alone what he and the Remans
could offer the Romulan Empire as the Commander proposes to the Senate
since the Remans are slaves and Shinzon is an officer of the Romulan
fleet, making the entire idea of an ‘alliance’ sound quite odd.

A nice touch would have also been to have Shinzon declare himself
emperor, rather than preator. It would have extended the comparison
with Napoleon and the idea of the Romulan ‘Empire’ having an Emperor
again.

– The wedding toast is pleasantly handled and it features some of the
most human behavior from the crew in the movie, which unlike the
ridiculous Generations boat scene doesn’t feel forced in the least.
More crew participation would have been nice but it’s still a natural
scene that feels more like the cast roasting each other, rather than
their charachters.

Worf is still being played for laughs but this time it’s at least a
step up from Klingon puberty and the joke is a bit more respectfull of
the charachter and offbeat enough to work. And suggestive of the idea
that Worf might be drinking because it’s Deanna’s wedding which is
about as close as the movie comes to refferencing that relationship.
And it again reinforces the viewer’s memory of the song which ends up
serving as a key plot point. And that’s another way that Nemesis is
disgintuished as a proffesional script, as opposed to the earlier TNG
films. Even if you don’t like the joke, it’s still there to serve a
purpose.

Still a bit too much of the emphasis is on Picard and it might have
been a good idea to focus on Riker and Data a bit more. This is a huge
transition for Riker and he has few lines that involve anything
personal that might give us some insight into why he finally accepted
a command of his own and seems ready to settle down at last.

– By contrast the repeated joke about Betazoid nude weddings on the
bridge is awkward and completely unnecesarry and does end up treating
Worf like a buffoon again or a punching bag as most of the TNG movies
have.

Contrary to what Ebert claimed, the actual process of locating the
readings is not a collection of technobabble. And if Ebert who claims
to be an afficianado of Science Fiction can’t distinguish ‘Positronic’
which was the key element in all of Asimov’s robot stories not to
mention seven years of Data’s portrayal on TNG, then he really is the
imbecile his lazy and unproffesional Nemesis review makes out to be.

– Like Insurrection’s shuttle chase scene, Nemesis squanders time and
money on an unnecesarry action scene here. The process of finding B4’s
parts is handled well enough, though director Baird seems to have
overcompensated for all the shadowed scenes in the rest of the movie
by oversaturating the desert scenes to a ridiculous extent. The ATV
though wasn’t necesarry, neither was the chase scene. Both added
nothing to the movie, did not impress audiences, had no real purpose
and wasted time and money better spent elsewhere. Nemesis might have
done better and come in at a lower budget if it had avoided pointless
action scenes like this one resulting in extra FX sequences and
location shooting.

– The message from Admiral Janeway is surprisingly enough handled
fairly well, setting aside the plausibility of Janeway giving Picard
orders and the idea of the Sonaa being considered on a level with the
Borg or the Romulans.

– Data’s interaction with B4 has some key moments which resound later
in the episode, but at the moment they do come off a bit weak and
Spiner chooses to play B4 a bit too far into the idiot cousin of the
family mode to the point that he’s quite irritating.

– The confrontation with Shinzon is a bit too theatrical and the
weakest scene between Hardy and Stewart in the film. Shinzon’s costume
also emphasis how skinny he is in comparison to Perlman’s bulky
costume and even Stewart’s padded uniform which makes Shinzon look a
bit ridiculous. His scene with Deanna doesn’t work either. It probably
should have been handed to Viceroy instead who actually does the
penetrating and on whom Deanna gets her revenge.

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