Monday, March 2, 2009

DEBATE AT LOLITA BAR: "Should Sci-Fi Avoid Nostalgia?"

nybakken.jpg VS. raspler-more-or-less.jpg

This Wednesday, March 4 (at 8pm), a clash of titans — namely speculative-fiction-admiring Scott Nybakken and retro-rocketed Dan Raspler (a current and former DC Comics editor, respectively).

They’ll thrash out the tricky question of whether sci-fi should reach, like Arthur C. Clarke, for the hazy outlines of boldly-imagined plausible futures — or draw upon its own internal storehouse of iconic and familiar imagery, from Flash Gordon to Transformers. Is nostalgia the death of true futurism — or half the fun?

Hosted by Todd Seavey and moderated by Michel Evanchik.

Free admission, cash bar. Basement level of Lolita Bar at 266 Broome St. at the corner of Allen St. (on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one block south and three west of the Delancey St. F, J, M, Z subway stop).

Whether you’re a cyberpunk or an art deco moonman, a glimpse of the Singularity or a dimly-remembered dream from childhood, please join us — and bring all the geeks and visionaries with you.

P.S. Speaking of nostalgia and DC Comics, tomorrow brings my Book Selection(s) of the Month entry, including the Watchmen comics — and some thoughts on the actual art movement called Futurism — but tomorrow also brings an advance screening of the Watchmen movie, which I’ll review for Reason later in the week. Now that’s a reason to look forward to the future.

P.P.S. If all this is too geeky and not political enough for you, though, visit downtown the night after our Wednesday sci-fi debate for a Thursday, March 5 (6:30pm) panel discussion at 201 Mulberry St. on the prospects for restoring capitalism, organized by the America’s Future Foundation and featuring Megan McArdle and Brian Carney, among others (RSVP to Kathleen[at] [UPDATE 3/4: Gelinas and McArdle have both apparently bailed and will not have to face the music, replaced by Max Pappas and last time's Lolita Bar victor Ryan Sager].

P.P.P.S. I’ll say this for Scott’s relationship to the honored past, though: He and Ali Kokmen both wrote letters to Brown Alumni Monthly recently, chastising the magazine for an article by Lawrence Goodman about Jews in comics that was error-filled as it was brief, misspelling the name of one of Superman’s co-creators and attributing Captain America’s creation to the writer of Batman. Someone has to fight for the truth.


Dirtyrottenvarmint said...

Old vs. New in sci fi has already been discussed by Joseph Campbell, David Brin, and George Lucas among others. Not that there isn’t always room for more discussion.

Todd Seavey said...

[...] I’ll save my thoughts about the place of nostalgia in sci-fi for tonight’s exciting Debate at Lolita Bar (preceded at 6pm by Richard Ryan’s nerd-themed birthday party there), and I’ll save my reaction to the Watchmen movie for my upcoming Reason review of it. [...]

Todd Seavey said...

[...] In my entry one week ago, I suggested that a pause for reflection might be in order after this past week of big-government spending, an AFF panel discussion on capitalism, and much talk of sci-fi and superheroes. [...]

Todd Seavey said...

[...] One of Scott Nybakken’s complaints in our last Debate at Lolita Bar was overuse of time travel, with all the absurdity it tends to introduce. [...]