John Carter and the Failure to Communicate

I would like to tell you an amazing story. A fairytale. A legend of a hero. I would like to take you on a quest to far away planets, and get you involved in a complex political system of alien life forms. I want to present to you creatures you have never seen before – blue, green, tall short, with four arms and no legs. I want to tell the story of an epic journey, brave choices and the victory of good against evil. I want you to listen, to watch, to get excited and thrilled – I want you at the edge of your sit. But I can’t. You’ve seen it all before – Star Wars, Avatar, Superman, Alien, Star Trek – goddamnit! We’ve seen it all already! The story has been told, please move on.


In 1912, a book was written. It involved a civil war veteran that finds himself on the surface of the planet mars, equipped with superpowers and in the midst of a war between three alien civilizations. This guy’s name was John Carter, and the book was written by one, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Rings a bell? This is the same author that gave birth to one of the most iconic characters in the world – Tarzan. For sci-fi geeky devoted readers of the time, John Carter was as iconic. In fact, the epic story of “John Carter of Mars” was the inspiration for almost everything we see on our sci-fi screens today – and yes, this includes Star Wars, Avatar, Superman, Alien, Star Trek etc.

100 years later, in 2012, a movie was made. It was based on the book, and was meant to take us to the beginning of an epic intergalactic journey. It had everything – an origin story that was very original (in 1912), a strong hero of chance, a beautiful and smart princess, dozens of different aliens, an intelligent storyline and the charm of its production house, you may heard of it – Disney. It completely flopped, like, severally, and any chance for a sequel was gone. The movie was good, better than the showy Avatar. But don’t take my word for it – go and watch it, most chances you haven’t yet, according to the lousy income it got.

So what happened? Sadly, John Carter, the great grandfather of all popcorn sci-fis, arrived after his grandchildren and their children had used and overused every single narrative and storyline it brought to the world. So the clichés shown in the film were actually born as original ideas in the book. But this is not enough to ruin a film, as the two hours and forty minutes long cliché called Avatar had demonstrated.1331575727_rktars1

Michael D. Sellers is a devoted fan of the world of John Carter that was created by Burroughs. Ever since the film was released and failed, he is working relentlessly to expose the poor handling of Disney with the marketing of the film. He wrote a book called “John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood” in which he describes the way films are being marketed today. From changing the title only a few weeks before first screening, to the failure to utilize social media advertising, to the forcing of 3D on an originally 2D movie and more. Mistake after mistake, he says, the marketing department has butchered the film’s potential of telling an epic story and becoming an inspiring franchise. Very good examples are the trailers for “John Carter” that portrayed the movie as an explosion fest. Sellers has created a fan-made trailer that emphasizes the complex story that stands in the heart of the movie.

To sum it all up, “John Carter” was a good product with a lousy marketing. For me, it was as exciting as Star Wars (yes, I said it). The sci-fi community missed a great film, while repeatedly being bombarded with lousy products with great marketing – such as “The Avengers” and “Ironman”. Conclusion? Go watch “John Carter”. I promise you that you’ll google “John Carter sequel” the minute you finish. The first result will be Seller’s website that is still fighting for recognition of this great, forgotten intergalactic fantasy.

Seller’s Trailer: 

Your plate tells a story of class warfare

By Daniel Isler

When you chew some delicious food, and you come across something unchewable (this is not a real word), would you simply spit it on the table?  Of course not. But in large parts of the world, including China, spitting bones and other undesired food straight onto the table is quite the norm. Why is it that table manners are so different from culture to culture, and what does it have to do with class warfare and veganism?


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Aaaaaand… this was 2013!

So, 2013 is over. A lot happened in the world this year, but we are not going to go through that again; we are sure your favorite magazine has already done a great job at it. But 2013 was also the year that gave birth to the blog you are reading right now. It started off as an experiment, a way for a bunch of writers to express their views in a free environment. It went on to be bigger than we expected, and without a doubt, the best part is yours, the reader’s, reactions.

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6 Sci-fi films that went under the radar

By Daniel Isler

12-monkeys-mentalWhen I was nine years old, I watched Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys” for the first time in my life. I was hooked – the character of James Cole (Bruce Willis) – the suffering time traveler – was enough to make it my favorite movie. Almost 20 years after its release, it still is. What makes it so unique in my opinion is the simplicity of the settings, the strong characters, the philosophy behind it and of course – a powerful ending. I despise the contemporary firework shows that call themselves sci-fi only because they have laser guns or giant robots. For me, the magic of science fictions lays in the ability of the film to communicate an amazing and grasping idea – in a realist and modest way. Here are a few that do it very good, but are mostly unknown to most of us. Continue reading

Exploding? The Sensitive Issue of Overpopulation

By Daniel Isler

In his mesmerizing book “Freedom”, Jonathan Franzen delicately handles a sensitive but critical issue. He takes his protagonist to a journey into a large sustainability activists group, calling mainly for immediate actions to decrease the world’s population. Although being recognized as a genuine issue by sustainability scientists and social scientists – the subject of decreasing population is still a taboo in most parts of the world. Just think for a second about China’s one-child policy, forbidding more than one biological child for each couple of parents – and feel the repulse and intimidation we experience in light of such intervention to our personal decisions.

But this is by no means a new issue: warning signs were raised already over 200 years ago, namely by British scholar, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. In a nutshell, he showed and argued that while population growth is exponential by nature (2-4-8-16…), food and other resources grow arithmetically (1-2-3-4…). This observation means that if untouched, the population will outgrow its own fuel needed to live, and will unavoidably extinct. Although debated intensively over the last 200 years and often dismissed by other scholars – Malthusianism remains a central notion in the debate about global over population.


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