Boycotting Ender’s Game

Today Ender’s Game hits cinemas in the United States, and there’s controversy around it. A number of folks have asked if I would be seeing it and/or reviewing it for, in light of the boycott against it.

In case you didn’t know, the author of the original work is a far-right-wing extremist who amongst other things, has used his notoriety to spread lies about and fight against gay rights, as well as being a vitriolic board member of the hate-group-with-a-baked-cookie-name National Organization for Marriage. (arensb on Epsilon Clue has a well-sourced article that traces many other examples, should you want to check on details.)

Is it possible to separate an author from his or her work? Can you enjoy the Ring Cycle or The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as a Jewish person? Can a misogynist enjoy The Avengers? Should you see Minority Report if you believe depression is, well, real? Can you watch Rosemary’s Baby if you’re firmly against statutory rape? I’m being oblique with the references, but each is a genuinely tricky question. There are lots of angles to fret over. Is the author still alive? Was the distasteful part a privately held opinion or public efforts? Is the content of their work distasteful, or just their real-world actions? In the case of Ender’s Game, should you "punish" the cast and crew who worked on the film but are outspoken in their support of gay rights and condemnation of Card? There’s even some evidence that Card won’t be getting any money from the film at all, but is profiting from the increased book sales that the movie has engendered. So what then? What good does the boycott do? It’s a rich topic, and worth discussing with friends and family at the next lull in conversation.

Ultimately I’ve decided not to see the film in cinemas. One’s efforts of avoidance should correspond to the toxin in question, and Card has proven himself to be deeply toxic. Plus I don’t want to encourage a sequel or franchise, where he might make money or his books sell more as a result.

I may watch it on a plane, or borrow it from a local library once it’s there. I want the movie industry to know that it needs to think about the people with whom it does business, either as an author or a producer, and money is the thing that will get their attention. Even though there are plenty of talented people who worked on the film, I just can’t stand the idea of putting money into Orson’s wallet, directly through salary/residuals, or indirectly through book sales, that he’s going to use against me, my family, and my friends.

I’m still making my mind up about whether to review the interfaces and interaction design. It’s something that I can uniquely offer to the cast and crew for their efforts. But I’ve got months before the movie is released to DVD & Blu-Ray to decide that.

Every thoughtful sci-fi fan should wrestle with this question. Some people I greatly respect have looked at the same questions and come to the opposite conclusion. They will see the film. If you’ve decided you are going to go, please consider buying a "hater offset" (my term: it’s like carbon offsets, but you know, for Card) and make a donation for the cost of your ticket to a pro-queer charity, like SkipEndersGame or EqualityInitiative. If they strike it big as a result of the "buyer boycott," it will send an equally big message to the film makers.

Здравствуйте, русские посетителей


I like to keep tabs on who’s visiting the site, and WordPress usually does a really good job of helping me understand where visitors are coming from. Yesterday (and to a lesser extent, today,) I’ve had a surge of visitors from the Russian Federation. And despite my searches, I can’t figure out where this spike is coming from. So, I thought I would ask: Hey, Russian/Ukranian/Belarusian visitors, how’d you hear about this site?

Name That Intro Planetscape Challenge


It’s the one year anniversary of! On 18 July 2012 I posted the Overview to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. So let’s take a little break from the review of Ghost in the Shell to celebrate with a challenge.

Both while coauthoring Make It So and here at, I spend a lot of time looking at of sci-fi for patterns and waiting for that moment when my brain tells me, Hey, You’ve Seen This Thing Before.

While posting The Fifth Element review to the blog, I had another of those moments: As the camera pans away from the empty starfield of the opening title, we’re treated to a first view of a planet. Could be Earth, could be Alternate-Earth, could be Exoplanet X572. This most beloved trope acts as an establishing shot to tell you, yes, you’re in the right cinema or on the right channel. Enjoy your popcorn. This is where you want to be.

Still, over a long time they can start to look similar. Can you identify all of these intro planetscapes? Some were sent in by readers of this humble blog responding to a post back in March. And to Compost Creative, Pete Williams, Paul Thompson, and Al Taylor (though that was technically a starscape), and all of my regular readers, thanks so much for making this first year so awesome.

The Challenge

Find below 10 intro planetscapes from movies and television shows. Drop your enumerated guesses into the comments. Be sure and use the full title of the film or television program. The first commenter to get all 10 right will win a free copy of the book to read or give to a friend.

  1. rfFqyKLv
  2. nz2Sh8Uw
  3. UZY8qCGu
  4. jygXhHUR
  5. GUwShC6J
  6. QmMNpQDL
  7. m4dGsjtP
  8. nS3Wvp83
  10. XWALjV2X

Name That Intro Planetscape


While sitting down to rewatch The Fifth Element with friends last night, I realized that the Intro Planetscape is one of the most common sci-fi tropes that I can think of (even if it has little to do with interfaces.)

That realization in turn made me want to make a Name That Intro Planetscape online quiz. I’d love some help. Do you have a favorite planetscape that appears in the first minutes of a sci-fi film? Tweet a screen cap of it with in the formula:

Hey @MakeItSoTweets, check out this #introplanetscape from the first few minutes of MOVIENAME.

Oh, be sure and attach the high-resolution screen cap, since that’s, you know, the point. When I get about 20 of them I’ll post a page with them all in a quiz format and credit the first people to provide particular ones. Nerd fame?? 3. Profit!



The Make It So blog has been on a bit of a pause while I attended to my new alien overlord (read: kid) (not pictured). But as of this week, I’ll be brining the review of Prometheus to its conclusion with a report card and an email interview with one of the film’s designers! So stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

Shift in strategies

I realized while writing up the Prometheus interfaces that the strategy I’ve been using for the website is not ideal. The idea was to combine many similar interfaces to make for a good in-depth read on Tuesdays and Thursday. But, it hinders use for actual research on a particular tag.

For instance, if a reader was curious about all interfaces with the “big label” tag and clicked the tag, she should just see a long results page with interfaces that had big labels. But since I’ve been clustering similar interfaces for long reading, she would have to skip over a lot of interfaces that don’t have big labels and try to suss out the ones that do.

Sadly, this isn’t a custom WordPress site, so I can’t do any customization that would help bridge the gap between reading and researching modes. Since the ultimate goal of publishing this material is to allow people to engage in the broad-sample comparisons with which we wrote the book, we’re going to err on the side of research and begin to publish individual interfaces. We’ll try this out for Prometheus to see how it goes, and if it works well, sometime in the new year I’ll go back and fix the blog posts I’ve already made.