Saturday, August 20, 2011

Twilight and Its Contexts

Published last year from John Wiley & Sons, Twilight and History is a mixed bag of essays exploring the various contexts of the Twilight series:

Twilight and History
Nancy Reagin
ISBN: 978-0-470-58178-0
288 pages
April 2010
US $17.95

The first look at the history behind Stephenie Meyer's bestselling Twilight series, timed to release with the third movie, Eclipse.

The characters of the Twilight Saga carry a rich history that shapes their identities and actions over the course of the series. Edward, for instance, may look like a seventeen-year-old teen heartthrob, but was actually born in 1901 and died during the Spanish Influenza of 1918. His adopted sister, Alice, was imprisoned in an insane asylum in 1920 and treated so badly there that even becoming a vampire was a welcome escape. This book is the first to explore the history behind the Twilight Saga's characters and their stories. You’ll learn about what life might have been like for Jasper Whitlock Hale, the Confederate vampire who fought during the Civil War, Carlisle Cullen, the Puritan witch hunter-turned-vampire who participated in the witchcraft persecutions in Early Modern England, and the history of the Quileute culture that shaped Jacob and his people —and much more.

Gives you the historical backdrop for Twilight Saga characters and events
Adds a whole new dimension to the Twilight novels and movies
Offers fresh insights on vampires, romance, and history
Twilight and History is an essential companion for every Twilight fan, whether you've just gotten into the series or have followed it since the beginning.


Acknowledgments: For Those Who Turned Us.

Twilight's Timeline.

Introduction: Frozen in Time (Nancy R. Reagin).

PART ONE: Your Basic Human-Vampire-Werewolf/Shape-shifter Triangle: Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

1 “An Old-Fashioned Gentleman”? Edward’s Imaginary History (Kate Cochran). [download from the publisher]

2 Biting Bella: Treaty Negotiation, Quileute History, and Why “Team Jacob” Is Doomed to Lose (Judith Leggatt and Kristin Burnett).

3 CinderBella: Twilight, Fairy Tales, and the Twenty-First-Century American Dream (Sara Buttsworth).

4 Courting Edward Cullen: Courtship Rituals and Marital Expectations in Edward’s Youth (Catherine Coker).

PART TWO: Some Family History: The Cullen Coven.

5 Jasper Hale, the Oldest Living Confederate Veteran (Elizabeth Baird Hardy).

6 Smoky Mountain Twilight: The Appalachian Roots of Emmett McCarty Cullen and His Family (Elizabeth Baird Hardy).

7 Better Turned Than “Cured”? Alice and the Asylum (Grace Loiacono and Laura Loiacono).

8 Carlisle Cullen and the Witch Hunts of Puritan London (Janice Liedl).

9 A Subtle and Dangerous Gift: Jasper Hale and the Specter of the American Civil War (Andrea Robertson Cremer).

10 Like Other American Families, Only Not: The Cullens and the “Ideal” Family in American History (Kyra Glass von der Osten).

PART THREE: A World of Vampires: The Volturi and Beyond.

11 The Sort of People Who Hired Michelangelo as Their Decorator: The Volturi as Renaissance Rulers (Birgit Wiedl).

12 “Where Do the Cullens Fit In?”: Vampires in European Folklore, Science, and Fiction (Eveline Brugger).

13 Getting Younger Every Decade: Being a Teen Vampire during the Twentieth Century (Kat Burkhart).

The Forks High School Faculty.

Index: Alice Foresaw All of This

Nancy R. Reagin is a professor of history and women's and gender studies at Pace University, who has published several books in modern European history. Her current research focuses on the history of literary fan communities. She's also an active fan who has worked on fan archives and Web sites, and has helped build fan organizations. She rooted for Team Jacob long after most reasonable people would have given up hope.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Torchwood Reborn?

I had sworn off Torchwood after what seemed to be the needless deaths of its most interesting characters in season 2 and Children of Earth, but the recent mini-series Torchwood: Miracle Day on Starz shows some promise (though I still dislike Gwen). The first episode is/was available for viewing to non-subscribers to the pay-cable network. No word yet on a DVD release.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Extrapolation 52.2

Extrapolation 52.2 (Summer 2011) arrived in the mail last week. Contents as follows:

The Holy Family in Outer Space: Reconsidering Philip K. Dick's The Divine Invasion
Umberto Rossi

Mapping the Walls of The Dispossessed
Sandra J. Lindow

Gotlieb Upon Caliban
Dominick Grace

Flexible Heroines, Flexible Narratives: The Werewolf Romances of Kelley Armstrong and Carrie Vaughn
Erin S. Young

Stanley Weinbaum: We've Met The Aliens and They Are Us
Drko Suvin


Grimm TV Show

I came upon this video in relation to Once Upon a Time: Grimm is a new series for NBC inspired by the fairy tales of the Brother's Grimm (and, clearly, a bit of The X-Files and Supernatural).

Once Upon a Time TV Show

ABC is set to premiere the fairy-tale-inspired series Once Upon a Time this fall. An interview with the creators at Spinoff Online details some of the background around the creation of the series. It looks interesting, but, given the current climate towards telefantasy on network television, how long can we expect it to last?

Eureka Update

SyFy has done it again, and another fan favorite series is dead. According to an article at Spinoff Online, Eureka had been green-lighted a six-episode season to tie up lose ends, but SyFy has now reneged and canceled the series out right at the end of the upcoming (and, apparently, already completed) season 5, . Fans of other popular SyFy and Sci-Fi shows (remember Farscape, for example), will no doubt recall similar circumstances that lead to their premature demise. Not to be too paranoid, but, my only question is what's next SyFy? Warehouse 13 and Sanctuary are now three years old; has their time run out as well? Is any show safe? (Besides the very, un-SyFyish ECW, of course.)

"Thundercats, Ho!"

Cartoon Network has recently revived Thundercats, a fan-favorite cartoon of the 1980s, as a half-hour anime-inspired animated series airing Friday nights. The new series offers an innovative approach to the original and bears following. For those interested, the Spinoff Online web site includes some snippets from interviews with the producers and two members of the voice cast.

Doctor Who Returns 27 August

The hit series Doctor Who returns to BBC America on Saturday, 27 August, and reruns air throughout the month on the network. (My thanks to the Spinoff Online web site for the head's up.)

John Carter of Mars!

Trailer released last month:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Parallel Universes and Source Code

The recent film Source Code is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray and for download. The film is not that great but presents an interesting theory of parallel universes and our ability to interact with them, when the US military employs a wounded soldier (there's not much of him left really) to stop a terrorist who threatens to blow up Chicago. Rather like Avatar, the soldier is uploaded into the body of another man and must discover the identity of the terrorist and stop him. In the end, the film allows the soldier to come to some resolution (at least in the parallel universe) to his life and a chance both to be a hero and to start over, albeit having taken over the life of another, who, troublingly, is never taken into account here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beastly on DVD

The recent film Beastly is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and for download/rent for sources like Amazon and iTunes. The film offers a modern-day recasting of the Beauty and the Beast story and is adapted from the young adult novel by Alex Finn. As reviews have noted, it is not the most successful representation of the story, but it should spur much discussion as an adaption of Finn and of the traditional fairy tale.

I append below both the trailer and an interview with the principal cast:

DVD/Blu-Ray extras as follows:
"Be Mine" Music Video by Kristina and the Dolls
Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes
A Classic Tale Retold: The Story of Beastly
Creating the Perfect Beast