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, Dec 18, 2014
by Ned Wazowski

It’s still story time

Curio & Co. looks at the power of storytelling and the joy of having books read to you. Image from classic comic strip Frank and His Friend, courtesy of Curio and Co. www.curioandco.com

Who says that only kids get to have stories read to them?

I used to think that audio books were only for blind people or truck drivers. Once you’d graduated to reading on your own, I thought, story time was over. I’m so glad I finally saw – well, heard – the light.

One holiday many years ago, an audio book-loving friend gave me an audio book of a Christmas Carol, and although I’d never listened to audio books, I figured that it might be something to listen to while curled up in front of the fire or putting together puzzles after the presents had all been opened. And what a treat it turned out to be. I was hooked.

There are plenty of benefits to audio books. They free up your hands, and allow you to move around – maybe taking on household chores or completing a puzzle. They can be enjoyed by many people at the same time and audio books unplug everyone from staring at a screen – which we could all use more of.

Best of all though, audio books take you right back to childhood, with the comfort and warmth of having someone read you a story. You can even hear the same story over and over, and never get any complaints.

With everything, quality is king, and some stories just aren’t written to be read aloud. Too pensive, too action-packed, too much description and you might be better off with a paperback. But get the right story – and the right reader (Stephen Pacey, every time) – and you’re in for a good time.


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, Dec 12, 2014
by Ned Wazowski

Galactic Time

Curio & Co. looks at the complicated timekeeping of science fiction futures, especially the Star Years of classic 1960s animated series Spaceman Jax and the Galactic Adventures. Image courtesy of Curio and Co. www.curioandco.com

Meeting with a species from another planet starts to get tricky when it’s time to synchronize your watches.

The dates in Spaceman Jax’s world are complicated and unwieldy. Spaceman Jax was born in 6324 1/2, Tarloc was born in 6298 3/5 and he started his first company in 6304 1/9… which I guess would be 20.3888888889 years before Jax was born? Putting the dates in fractions – and such ridiculous ones at that (a 17th of a year?) is pretty funny, but I certainly hope that once our society gets that far into the future, we’ll be using an easier form of timekeeping.

Science Fiction doesn’t seem to see it that way, though. Tales of other galaxies and inter-planetary communities are filled with Metric Time or Universal Universe Time or Megaseconds, which could really leave you hanging when someone tells you “just a second.” Men in Black uses a Galactic Standard Week, which is an hour of our time, and the Star Wars universe keeps time from the 368-day calendar of the planet Coruscant. Even Star Trek’s stardate system is pretty inconsistent – something to do with time dilation (or so Mr. Spock says). All of which starts to make Spaceman Jax’s Star Years (such as 6348 7/8, the year his home planet Tiberion 3 was destroyed) seem pretty standard, I guess.

Still, I hope we have something worked out by the time we get together with the Little Green Men of our own solar system. Considering that a day on Mercury is about 59 days on Earth, scheduling the committee meetings alone will be a mess.

 

 

 

 

 


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, Nov 18, 2014
by Ned Wazowski

Spaceman Jax today

Curio and Co. looks at how Spaceman Jax might be handled by a studio today. Comic panel from classic 1960s animated TV show Spaceman Jax and the Galactic Adventures as he appeared in the pages of Ringer Comics. Image from Curio & Co. www.curioandco.com.

What would the Spaceman Jax character be like done by a studio today?

If Spaceman Jax and the Galactic Adventures were back on TV today, I’d love to see a really faithful adaptation. Sure, they’d need to update the animation, and I could see Jax rendered in CG with flashy animation, but I’d hope that they’d keep the mood of the original and especially the personality of Jax. Because Spaceman Jax isn’t really cool, and it would be awful to see a studio turn him into a backwards baseball cap-wearing, texting and social media type.

What makes Jax so great is that he has aligned himself with classic heroes of the past and set himself apart from his peers. He is out of touch, in more ways than one, and this would be critical in any new version of the show.

In fact, what would Spaceman Jax do with social media? I could see him enjoying Twitter, but being lost on Facebook. Twitter is so one-directional and that would suit his single-mindedness really well, He would send out his messages of courage and idealism, never really knowing whether they were read or not, but assuming that many would want to follow his exploits – and of course, we do. I think that the back and forth and the sharing of Facebook wouldn’t interest him as much, and he would get caught up in more of the narcissistic sides of Facebook. Plus, how would he “like” justice or bravery?

 


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