Archive for December, 2003
This is a year-end wrap up for my sf/fantasy/horror experiences for 2003. These are not necessarily things that first appeared this year; they are just the things that I read or watched this year.
From CNN: Man trapped under mountain of books, papers…
The New York Times has their list of Notable Fiction books for 2003. Science fiction titles listed are:
Other non-sf titles include Jennifer Government by Max Barry and Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
For Dr. Who fans, the BBC is running a special on Doctor Who to celebrate his 40th Anniversary. Personally, I never really got into it. And it appears they are still going; there are new web-based episodes available.
In case you need to know that sort of thing. One pixel equals one meter (in 1-to-1 scale).
It also compares the ship sizes with real-world objects, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
One of the more interesting internet hoaxes is the elaborately done web log of John Titor, Time Traveller. This mysterious visitor from the year 2036 accurately predicts various events that have happened since his first “posts” in the year 2000. Here’s a good summary of the hoax that yields over 6200 references in Google. Alas, there are no refrences in Cthuugle. Maybe Cthulu is forgotten in the year 2036?
REVIEW SUMMARY: A sequel that is as superb as its predecessor
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Phaethon, exiled from Utopia, seeks to reclaim control of his space exploration ship, The Phoenix Exultant.
PROS: High-quality and high quantity sense-of-wonder; fantastically created world; fascinating technological ideas; interesting plot.
CONS: Like its predecessor, slightly weighted down by too much jargon.
BOTTOM LINE: If you liked The Golden Age you will like The Phoenix Exultant.
When its a game that good a great review from Gamespot. I know Gamespot reviewers are weird, but an 8.8 is a decent mark. Star Chamber itself is a ‘collectible’ card game like Magic Online, but places a heavy emphasis on using a ‘board’ to place units and use your cards. From what I’ve seen, its akin to Cosmic Encounter, but with collectible cards instead of race powers. You can download the client for free, and you get a small sample of cards to use. I may check it out. Decks cost $3, and that’s the only cost to you, there’s no monthly fee. Which beats Cosmic Encounters Online, even with it’s $5/month fee. Now I just need to free up even more of my time….
Now you too can feed your inner Star Wars fanboy with the Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader replica lightsaber! For only $99! Woo! But hurry, this ‘collectible’ will no longer be available after Dec. 31st….
Holy WarGames, Batman!
<voice type=”computer-generated”>Would you like to play a game?</voice>
REVIEW SUMMARY: A predictable mediocre piece of fiction mis-marketed as sf
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An amnesiac car crash victim does not believe he is who people say he is.
PROS: A quick read.
CONS: Mis-marketed as SF; predictable plot; silly love story sub-plot.
BOTTOM LINE: Look elsewhere for science fiction.
Burned again by the publisher. Well, sort of. Let me explain…
SYNOPSIS: (from the back cover) little, big tells the epic story of Smoky Barnable – an anonymous young man who meets and falls in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, and goes to live with her in Edgewood, a place not found on any map. In an impossible mansion full of her relatives, who all seem to have ties to another world not far away, Smoky fathers a family and tried to learn what tale he has found himself in – and how it is to end.
PROS: Magical prose, memorable characters.
CONS: The book did not have conflict (or at least not MUCH conflict), but rather meanders through telling various family members’ stories.
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best urban fantasy novels I’ve read. Probably the best love story I’ve ever read.
I found this book while at a Borders waiting for another author to sign a different book I’d bought. I still haven’t read that book, but have just finished little, big.
The Opte Project aims to do just that. Some of their maps are cool looking though. A fascinating read too. Oh, please help by donating a new server. They need mucho CPU cycles…
GameSpot’s Best and Worst of 2003. A comprehensive look back at the best and worst games of 2003. My current favorite game, Knights of the Old Republic, takes a couple of honors. Also interesting, is the “Worst’ Game of the Year category. Yikes. Although I am surprised that Peter doesn’t own either DOA Vollyball or Outlaw Volleyball….
Taking a break from their usual horror fare, well moviewise anyway, the SciFi Channel has take a step to put the Sci back in the Fi. Their Christmas Movie Marathon actually has some SF-related movies. At least they aren’t all fantasy or horror (some would say that fantasy = horror…). Gremlins/2 are more Sci than not. The Neverending Story/II ARE fantasy, but at least, contrary to the title, they do mercifully end. Nick Fury is comic Sci Fi. Bad comic SF, but still. In fact, the next 3 movies are comic SF. At least Batman doesn’t suck. Little Shop of Horrors. Hmm. Not sure how to classify this one. Some Fantasy some SF. At least Steve Martin is a riot as the sadistic dentist. I remember Matinee as being semi-humorous. Not sure its SF though. But, with the plethora of comic movies, SF is here to stay on the SF Channel. At least for one day.