Saturday, November 30, 2019

OFF-WORLD NEWS November, 2019

Our Twentieth Anniversary
Keeping You Up-To-Date on All Things Blade Runner


OFF-WORLD NEWS started out as a newsletter back in 1999 as a part of the Blade Runner fansite BladeZone created by Gerry Kissell. It was sent via email every month -- or more -- as news rolled in about anything Blade Runner-related. When signing up with OFF-WORLD NEWS, you were alerted of special events happening around the globe that pertained to Blade Runner; such as screenings, interviews, tours, and news items. And you were also alerted when there were any new articles posted on the BladeZone website.

At its inception, there was a team of Blade Runner fans who worked on the OFF-WORLD NEWS. In addition to its creator, and News and PR Manager, Gerry Kissell, there were; News Manager, Aaron Brinkley; Analysis Editor, Tor Inge Skaar; Proof Editor, Shirley LeVasseur. And later in 2001, News Manager, Richard Gunn.


In 2007, I revived the then inactive OFF-WORLD NEWS. [By that time, any site updates and Blade Runner-related news and events were posted on their main page under the heading, 'BladeZone News and Features', as they continue to do to this day.] I changed the format and moved it over to the Yahoo! Groups. Email alerts could still be sent, but it was also a place on the web where all the news could be aggregated, stored, and viewed at one's leisure without necessarily having to subscribe via email. In 2009, OFF-WORLD NEWS joined the twittersphere! Then, in 2010, the OFF-WORLD NEWS transitioned over to the blogosphere, where it currently resides, retiring the Yahoo! Group. Not only was the format more palatable on the blog, but it enabled you to subscribe via email, RSS, or Google Friend Connect (until Google retired the latter in 2016). And then, to begin 2012, OFF-WORLD NEWS found a home on Google+ to share the news with fellow googlers (until Google, yet again, retired that social network in early 2019).   

One of the features I developed for the blog was what I called the 'OFF-WORLD News Digest'. In it, I included (usually new) material, and official Blade Runner-related news, followed by articles, art, music, fanfiction, poetry, videos, podcasts, and miscellaneous. Any breaking news or special articles I continued to feature on its own. But, in recent years, I primarily followed the news digest format. 

I've seen things... 

The OFF-WORLD NEWS has featured some amazing work over the years. I'm still blown away by how much talent and creativity the Blade Runner fandom has. This movie has been rendered in the visual arts; in painting, sculpting, computer animation, architectural designs, and even fashion design. There has been BR-inspired music, live theatre productions, dance recitals, and home video productions. And fans across the web have kept the story of 'Rick Deckard and Company' alive in fanfiction. The discussions -- first documented in early fanzines from the '80s, and web forums online in the '90s, to Facebook groups presently -- continues to grow and develop to this day.

And fans have re-created many of the props seen in the movie, such as the Voight-Kampff machine, the Blaster, unicorn origami, and models of the Spinner, and action figures. [Not to mention sought-after items, like Deckard's Scotch whiskey glass; and made-up objects, like "The Snake Pit" matchbook, and vid-phon card.] And we mustn't forget the blimp-inspired props and art.

There are simply too many highlights to mention that have been featured in the OFF-WORLD NEWS over the years. From talks of a sequel to the infamous Director's Cut. The release of Paul Sammon's "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner". Westwood's Blade Runner computer game. The arduous journey putting together The Final Cut. Not to mention the beautiful art, music, articles, fan films, and fanfiction that came out of the Blade Runner fandom.


Below is the earliest OFF-WORLD NEWS that I have. It was from October 5, 1999. I am afraid that the email account that I used at the time is no longer active. So, I no longer have access to them. I just happened to have this one hard copy (click on image to enhance).

Rich Gunn happened to have some of OFF-WORLD NEWS archived and was kind enough to share them. They are from February 11, 2001 - December 30, 2002, from his time as News Manager. HERE is a link to view the pdf files.

Time to Die

Unlike its humble beginning -- the Nexus-1 series of this newsletter, if you will -- there was no team working on this generation of OFF-WORLD NEWS. There was only one -- me. The research, review, and assembly took a lot of time and effort. I am proud of the work I have done with this blog; presented an informative news digest, and shared all the amazing creativity of fellow Blade Runner fans to the readership of this blog. However, it has come to the point where I need to focus my thoughts and energy on other things. Besides, sharing any Blade Runner-related news and all the creative outpouring from its fandom, which has increased immensely since the original Blade Runner movie -- thanks in part to Blade Runner 2049 (its sequel), Blade Runner 2019 (comic book series), and the upcoming Blade Runner — Black Lotus (anime series) -- has become redundant. For example, information spreads very quickly via Facebook. It has gotten so bad that things are posted over many Blade Runner fan groups, so that, if you're a member of a number of these groups, you get multiple postings on your timeline of the same thing! A lot of repetitiveness and recirculation all around. Even if there were others involved with this blog now, you'd still have this problem. Thus making this endeavour a waste of effort, IMHO. 

I am thrilled and honoured to say that the OFF-WORLD NEWS was mentioned in Paul M. Sammon's revised & updated edition of "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner". It is available in stores and online now. For more information about the book, go to the Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner Facebook page.

Blade Runner will always be a part of my life. Still, to this day, I have a Blade Runner desktop theme on my computer (as it shall remain, as long as we have computers). I will continue to listen to the Vangelis album, and periodically watch the movie. I may even be heard using one of the memorable lines from the movie (or the Westwood computer game) from time to time. And I will continue to admire the items in my Blade Runner collection.   

This OFF-WORLD NEWS blog will remain here as long as Blogger remains online. And it is also available at the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.

It's all been truly amazing. And I am glad to have been a part of it.

"Have a better one!"

~ C.A. Chicoine (A.K.A. Kipple)