Tars Tarkas Lives!

First, it’s interesting to compare Robert Charles Wilson’s Bios with Avatar. Both stories are about an alien Gaia ecosphere, and both are about Gaia violently rejecting human invaders. But here the similarity ends. Unlike Avatar, Bios cannot be characterized as, “What These People Need is a Honky“. No, in the world of Bios, insufficiently advanced honkies (and non-honkies) hemorrhage and dissolve into goo. Take that, imperialists!

Second, there’s no doubt that James Cameron’s amazing special effects technology is pretty amazingly amazing. I’m hoping it will be licensed soon. After all, if you want a movie with:

  • Fantastical terrain
  • Giant proud alien warriors
  • Nasty multi-limbed beasts
  • Nearly-naked space babes
  • Swashbuckling adventure
  • One brave honky saving the world

Then why the heck are we bothering with Avatar? Onward to John Carter of Mars!

2 thoughts on “Tars Tarkas Lives!

  1. I kind of think that Avatar is being accused of racism, when mostly it’s only guilty of being trite and poorly plotted, such that every event is telgraphed at least twenty minutes in advance.

    Personally, I find it plausible to say that Jake Sully is intended as a transformational John Brown figure, not a colonize-from-within white-fantasy-fulfillment figure.



  2. Good links.

    I can see Jake Sully as a transformational John Brown figure. But Cameron still falls into the trap of having Sully become the great white savior. It’s Sully who tames the giant dragon thingy, it’s Sully who rallies the tribes to fight, and it’s Sully who is smart/naive enough to petition Eywa for help.

    In other words, without Sully, the Na’vi are screwed. Compare to *Dances With Wolves*, where Costner’s conversion doesn’t save the Lakota. (Then again, it’s not clear that Sully saves the Na’vi in the long run either. Unless there’s some in-universe explanation for why those Unobtanium deposits wouldn’t survive a full orbital bombardment…)

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