Old Man, Your Kung-Fu is Useless!

Nova Express is a Hugo Award nominated zine covering the entire spectrum of speculative fiction. Issue 14 is the highlight, containing, among other things, an interesting discussion of Hong Kong cinema, including the superbly titled Old Man, Your Kung-Fu is Useless! (don't forget to read part 2), and a few top ten lists. Author Walter Jon Williams does a resonable job categorizing and giving examples of the various genres within the Chinese action film (though he excludes the more recent Honk Kong Gangster genre typified by John Woo and Ringo Lam). If for no other reason, its good for finding some good examples of Chinese action movies. I'll be checking out some of the Wu Xia Pian films... if I can find them...

Also, in the same issue, is an interesting article entitled Why Lovecraft Still Matters: The Magical Power of Transformative Fiction. The author, Don Webb, examines some of the things that make Lovecraft so pervasive, and gives a brief overview of his works. Lovecraft's Mythos was an ingenius creation, as he was somehow able to slowly evoke a subtle emotional reaction on readers' minds. The Mythos itself was almost self reinforcing; most of Lovecraft's stories were published in the pulp magazine Wierd Tales, and Lovecraft was able to secure a secondary source of income by revising manuscripts for other Weird Tales authors, which enabled him to add references to his own imaginative universe in other authors' works. Further, he encouraged his friends to drop references to them in their own work. For example, one of his best known creations, the Necronomicon (the magical book of the dead), is often thought to be real because sometimes Lovecraft would reference other well known books of the occult alongside his fictional Necronomicon. Other authors also referenced it in a similar manner, thus lending to the illusion. Fascinating stuff.