Favorite Science-Fiction Films of the 1920s: Metropolis

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Metropolis is a brilliant science-fiction film (1927) directed by Fritz Lang. This movie, recently restored to its entirety, is a disturbing look at the world of the future through  the eyes of visionaries in the 1920s. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thea von Harbou (1925). The book deals with a city created on the backs of exploited workers and run by the capitalist upper-class. It is also a love story, and it is set in the year 2026.

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Metropolis offers a powerful and damning social commentary on the effects of the ruling class, the capitalist industrialists who rule the world by using and crushing the ordinary people who build and fuel their wonderland. While the workers live underground in squalor and destitution, the upper-class live literally in palaces high above the ground. There they explore and indulge in numerous amusements including those sexual and athletic. This film is not a simple polemic but drives its message through a compelling story that shows the love between the Master of Metropolis’ son Freder and Maria, who lives in the underworld and serves as a kind of saint to the oppressed.

Frankenstein, 1931, owes a cinematic debt to the mad scientist in Metropolis, Rotwang, and his equipment. There he creates a robot woman, using the life force of Maria. Clearly the novelist, Mary Shelley and her book, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, first influenced this movie.

Lang’s cinematic vision is exquisite and deeply influential to filmmakers who followed him in exploring the idea of future cites. His soaring towers and buildings, high bridges with fast cars, and aircraft flying near the buildings are based on the designs of the modernists and futurists, and this concept is a clear model for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Certainly an argument can be made that Metropolis is a foundation for many other science-fiction movies.

This film is extraordinary, and the full version is now available on DVD. It is an important piece of cinematic history, and I give it my highest recommendation.

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What is a Book You are Currently Reading?

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I am always interested in hearing what books other people are reading, and the blogging world has many interesting, intelligent, and engaging people in it. I am lucky to have met many of you through this blog.

I usually have several books going at one time, so I will mention that I am rereading Stephen King’s Hearts In Atlantis, which I am teaching in my Contemporary Fiction class at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College. I am also reading The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman and Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt.

So, what are you reading?

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

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Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

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Favorite Science-Fiction Films: A Trip to the Moon (1902)

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I teach a course for the Wescoe School at Muhlenberg College: English 255 Literature & Film, which makes me very happy, because I am able to look at both literature and film, both media which I love. In one of the lectures for the class on film history, I speak to the earliest examples of cinema.

One of the first movies is also a science-fiction film: A Trip to the Moon (La Voyage Dans La Lune). Georges Méliès, one of the innovators of cinema, was the director, and he based the film, at least loosely, on Jules Verne’s novel From The Earth To The Moon (1865).

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

This movie is revolutionary not only in its being an early example of cinema but also in the treatment of science-fiction. Human beings have been explorers for the entirety of our existence, and this movie suggests that it was possible to move our journeys from the Earth to other worlds, a concept that informs our science-fiction cinema from the beginnings to our current films.

The plot shows scientists explaining how to get to the moon, the trip there, including a spaceship being shot out of a cannon, landing on the moon, being chased by inhabitants of the moon, and finally escaping back to Earth. This film explores adventure, imagination, advances in technology, and human potential.

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This movie is usually considered by critics to be one of the most important in film history. It can be seen at https://archive.org/details/ATripToTheMoon1902 . If you are interested in the history of film and science-fiction, you should see this important historic and artistic film artifact.

The film runs, depending on the print from about 10-15 minutes.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

 

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

A New Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

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“I highly recommend the book Maledicus by author Charles French. I found it riveting and excellent! Can’t wait for the next one!”

                                                          Kathi Christman Janton

I want to thank Kathi Christman Janton for her wonderful review of my book, which she posted on Facebook.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Quotations by Mark Twain

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“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 

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Writing Progess: An Update

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It has been a long time since I have done a post about my writing progress, so I thought I would mention what I am doing. I self-published Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book I last October. Since then, I completed what I hope is a very good draft  — draft 4 — of my YA novel, The Ameriad: The Monastery of Knowledge, which I am in the process of submitting to agents and editors.

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I am close to being done with draft 1 of Gallow’s Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book II. My goal is to have the initial draft done this coming week, and then I will do heavily focused revisions, one after another over the next couple of months.  I hope to release it in October.

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I also should be able to release a Spanish language version of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book I  in October. And I am looking into an audible edition.

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When I am done with these projects, then I will work on one of two books I have already drafted and need revisions. Plus, I have many other tales waiting their turns to be written.

 

wp-1476386546701-maledicus

 

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Neil Gaiman’s The View From The Cheap Seats: An Early Recommendation

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I do not usually recommend books before I finish them, but I will make an exception now. I have begun reading The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, and I am taken with it. In this book, Gaiman discusses a variety of topics, including books, reading, and writing, and he does it with great perspective, wit, and insight.

Here are a couple of selected quotations from this book:

 

“We writers–and especially writers for children, but all writers–have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were–to understand that truth is not in what happens but in what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.” (13)

“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. ‘If you want your children to be intelligent,’ he said, ‘read them fairy tales. It you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.'” (15)

 

As I said, I have barely begun this book, but I am thoroughly enjoying it, and I recommend it highly. Read his book to explore a great writer’s thoughts on writing, books, fantasy, and more.

 

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