Our good pal J. Michael Straczynski is either the #1 scribe in Hollywood or very close to it. Details on this and JMS’s other films at Variety. Lots of other films. When does he sleep?

Jerry Bruckheimer is plotting a civil war at Disney, tapping J. Michael Straczynski to adapt 2K Games’ “Shattered Union.”…In the game, states secede from the U.S. and form their own governments that wage a civil war against each other after Washington, D.C., is wiped out in a nuclear blast and chaos ravages the nation.

At Topless Robot, James Cameron’s Avatar film looks suspiciously close to a 1959 Poul Anderson novella.

Now, is Cameron ripping off this Poul Anderson book? I say FUCK AND YES. Maybe Cameron forgot he read it, or he heard about the story second-hand and doesn’t realize how much he’s stealing, but this kind of shit can’t be coincidence.

An interesting article on a new biography of Ayn Rand, made far more interesting by the comments section. Leftists and Objectivists go at each other. Spectator sport, bring popcorn.

1. If those who act according to the tenets of some ethical theory are, by and large, morally repulsive, then that theory is false.
2. Those who think and act according to Objectivist tenets are, by and large, morally repulsive (narcissistic, contemptuous, egoistic).
3. Therefore, Objectivism is false.

Nothing ad hominem about that.

Then we should all be leftists because Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Kim Jung Il are moral giants.

…I’d like to think that I have the exotic machismo of Castro, the happy-go-lucky charm of Marshal Tito, and the “Byron-esque” self-reflection of Mussolini.

Popcorn. I like mine with lots of butter and extra salt.

Alas, popular science fiction artist Don Punchatz, dead at 73.

Interesting note about his studio work method:

One of them, the comic artist and painter Gary Panter, said the studio worked like a Renaissance workshop. “Don did the initial line art, which was passed to a line of assistants with varying degrees of expertise,” Mr. Panter explained in an e-mail message. “The least skilled (that would be me) painted flat colors; next came basic rendering of values in transparent washes of acrylic paint to indicate form and refine the surface detail; often the art was overlaid with a unifying color airbrushed over the entire illustration; then Don finished the illustration with a final level of highlighting and precise calligraphic brushwork, Rapidograph or fine knife scratches.”