Archive for September, 2007

Cult Pop

The Cult-Pop website is unassumingly cool. It’s a simple web page; there are no links and there’s no navigation because there are no sub-pages. There’s just a giant TV screen. The website is the online companion to the TV show that airs on Michigan cable.

What do they show? Their play list includes video interviews with authors like John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder, Brad Meltzer, Nick Sagan and more. They also have a ComicCon report. The videos are cool, so hang in there through each show’s too-long intro.

There only seem to be about 8 video podcasts at this time, but the subject list promises good things to come. Check it out!

MEME: Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time

Below is Snarkerati’s list of Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time. A great topic for a meme!

You know the drill…copy the list and BOLD the movies you have seen. Post yours in the comments, or on your own blog (a link back here would be appreciated!)

  1. Metropolis (1927)
  2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  3. Brazil (1985)
  4. Wings of Desire (1987)
  5. Blade Runner (1982)
  6. Children of Men (2006)
  7. The Matrix (1999)
  8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
  9. Minority Report (2002)
  10. Delicatessen (1991)
  11. Sleeper (1973)
  12. The Trial (1962)
  13. Alphaville (1965)
  14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
  15. Serenity (2005)
  16. Pleasantville (1998)
  17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
  18. Battle Royale (2000)
  19. RoboCop (1987)
  20. Akira (1988)
  21. The City of Lost Children (1995)
  22. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  23. V for Vendetta (2005)
  24. Metropolis (2001)
  25. Gattaca (1997)
  26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
  27. On The Beach (1959)
  28. Mad Max (1979)
  29. Total Recall (1990)
  30. Dark City (1998)
  31. War Of the Worlds (1953)
  32. District 13 (2004)
  33. They Live (1988)
  34. THX 1138 (1971)
  35. Escape from New York (1981)
  36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
  37. Silent Running (1972)
  38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
  39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
  40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  41. Soylent Green (1973)
  42. I Robot (2004)
  43. Logan’s Run (1976)
  44. Strange Days (1995)
  45. Idiocracy (2006)
  46. Death Race 2000 (1975)
  47. Rollerball (1975)
  48. Starship Troopers (1997)
  49. One Point O (2004)
  50. Equilibrium (2002)

SF Tidbits for 9/29/07

New Philip K. Dick Volume Due

Confirming what was reported earlier, the Library of America will be releasing a second collection of Philip K. Dick’s work. The original collection included The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ubik. The second collection will include:

  • Martian Time-Slip
  • Dr. Bloodmoney
  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Now Wait for Last Year

Also: Gabriel Mckee (SF Gospel) and Matt Cheney (Mumpsimus) have reports of the event where this was announced by Jonathan Lethem, LOA’s PKD series editor.

REVIEW SUMMARY: Still a great story.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The rebellious Harlequin causes mischief in a society that is strictly punctual.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Engaging prose; interesting premise; a parable that’s effective 40 years after it was written.
CONS: If I think of any, I’ll let you know.
BOTTOM LINE: A classic short story that deserves its great reputation.

In 1965, Harlan Ellison sat down to write a story for submission to a writers’ workshop. The result after a mere 6 hours was “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”, a story that went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and is reported to be one of the most reprinted stories ever. Underwood Press published a nice-looking, 48-page commemorative anniversary edition in 1997 – aptly late considering the story’s premise – to celebrate the story’s initial publication. This hardback edition comes with some nice looking illustrations by Rick Berry. You know what? Forty two years later, the original story holds up remarkably well.
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SF Tidbits for 9/28/07

  • Apparently he will be back…sort of. DVD Review reports that we can expect not just another sequel, but a whole new second Terminator trilogy! One of the films is likely to focus on the war of the machines.
  • Wired has an interview with Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner, the last sci-fi film to be made before sci-fi died. “You know, Alien is a C film elevated to an A film, honestly, by a great monster.” “I honestly couldn’t get into [Philip K. Dick’s book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep]. It’s so dense, by page 32 there’s about 17 story lines.
  • Cinema Blend News has the teaser poster for Pixar’s WALL-E.
  • File under “Why, God, why?”: Tom Green and Crispin Glover have been cast in the sci-fi comedy film, Freezer Burn: the Invasion of Laxdale, which tells the story of aliens from outer space disguised as Dutch oil company executives who buy a local grain silo and promise to create jobs for a failing farm town, but secretly plan to use crop circles to heat up the temperature of the planet and turn Earth into a Club Med for extraterrestrials.
  • Interviews (The first 3 snagged from Swivet):
    • CHUD interviews Richard K. Morgan (Thirteen). “I’m about telling the story, and I’ll create whatever backdrop I need to do that as I go along. I don’t like info-dumping, and I try to avoid it.”
    • Columbus Dispatch interviews Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates). “I’ve never sympathized with the idea of covertly commenting on the social and political issues of today. That’s a fatal error. As soon as the reader notices the parallel, it prevents the suspension of disbelief.”
    • A Dribble of Ink interviews Brandon Sanderson (Elantris). “In my opinion a good book is a balance be-tween character, setting, and plot with character being the most important of the three. You can have the coolest magic system in the world, but if readers don’t care about the characters who are using that magic system, the book won’t be very fun to read.”
    • Simon Haynes interviews Tim Pratt (Blood Engines). “I’m not sure SF/Fantasy has a particular purpose that’s different from the purpose(s) of all literature, which are variously to edify, to entertain, and to illuminate the human condition.”
    • Amazon Daily interviews M. John Harrison (Nova Swing). “SF is an opportunity to have an intense relationship with your own imagination. It’s a kind of drive-by poetry, trashy and addictive; it’s fun.”
  • In response to their earlier post Does Literary Fiction Suffer from Dysfunctional Pricing?, LitKicks looks at the pleasures of paperbacks.
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Ben Bova, author of The Aftermath, the fourth and final book in his Asteroid Wars series.
  • New at ManyBooks.net: “Pagan Passions” by Gordon Randall Garrett. “Adult Science Fiction, with the supernatural making complete sense.”
  • Del Rey will be publishing new Indiana Jones books.
  • Besides a mini-Seinfeld reunion, the video for Brad Paisley’s song “Online” features a cameo by William Shatner (at 3:14). [via Big Dumb Object via Deanna Hoak, who are hereby put on notice for making me listen to country music.]

Friday YouTube: Robot Insurance

OK, this is already a repeat tidbit, but Geekend reminded me of it gaian and I had a good giggle, so I’m going for a video three-fer.

Tube Bits For 09/28/07

  • The premier of Bionic Woman pulled in decent ratings, especially considering it was scheduled against ratings juggernaut, Dancing With The Stars. It even managed to best Heroes ratings for Monday. We’ll see how well it keeps its viewers next week.
  • Speaking of Heroes, haven’t had the time to read all of the online comics for the season? Well, no you don’t have to. George from OnOurTV has done the work for you and gives us the quick summaries for all 52 online comics. Truly a dedicated Heroes fan, and a heck of a developer too.
  • NBC’s Digital Insights and Innovations team has done some research about viewer habits for online content. They found that a high number of people who watched Heroes online for the first time continued to watch the show later, both online and off. The take away being that there is an ‘opportunity’ for cross platform marketing to reach more people. In other words, viewers will be bombarded with more targeted ads on the NBC site. Just what we need. But I still think NBC’s online viewing capabilities are the best of the major networks.
  • Michael Wentz gives us his review of Journeyman. In it, he takes to task those who compare it to Quantum Leap. Not having seen it yet, all I can say is the synopsis makes it sound like a personal QL.
  • Blog Critics Magazine also has a review of CBS’ Moonlight, which premiers tonight at 9pm ET. Sounds bad.

Thursday YouTube: The Space Elevator

Here’s a quick intro to space elevators courtesy of ISR and NASA.

[via Imagi-Nation]

SF Tidbits for 9/27/07

Pilot Night In America: Wednesday, 09/26/07

Premier week marches on! Today we have only one interesting genre (and real SF) pilot, the oft mentioned Bionic Woman at 9/8C. SF Signal Scott kinda liked what he saw of the pilot and will be watching at least for a few more episodes. I haven’t seen the pilot yet, but I have it from Amazon’s Unbox so I won’t be recording it tonight. I’d be interested in seeing what others think of the show.

Again, if anyone is interested in talking about the show while it is on, or any time after, I’ll embed the chat room below the jump.

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What 5 Sci-Fi Movies Do You Watch Over and Over?

I was going to title this post as “You, a Deserted Island and 5 Sc-Fi Movies…GO!”, but I wanted to bypass the “Is there a DVD player and electricity on the island?” snarkiness. :)

You know what to do here. Name the five sci-fi movies you would most want to have with you if you could only choose 5. These are not necessarily the ones you think of as “the best”, but rather the ones you can (or would like to) watch over and over again….

Here are mine:

  • Aliens
  • Independence Day
  • Star Wars (Episode 4)
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • The Matrix

There were so many others to choose from that I had to leave off this list because I have only seen them once (Serenity) or they were just overflow (Terminator 2, Back to The Future).

Now let’s hear from you!

SciFi Scanner Post Roundup #3

As previously mentioned, yours truly had a guest-blogging gig at AMC TV’s SciFi Scanner blog. Here’s the final roundup of the posts I did there.

  1. Ender’s Game Not Dead Yet
  2. 7 Sci-Fi Movies For Parents to Share with Their Kids
  3. Mmmmm…Rayguns…
  4. Playthings for the Serious Doctor Who Fan
  5. Bill Pullman’s Theatrical Space Odyssey
  6. The Sci-Fi Blockbuster From Russia
  7. Sci-Fi Scanner Weekly Roundup
  8. Michael Bay Attached to 2012?
  9. Geek T-Shirts
  10. Avatar News
  11. Two Stargate Direct-To-DVD Movies Due
  12. 7 Superior Sci-Fi Sequels

There’s also another one that they are holding off until publishing until November so they can tie it in with a promotion.

See also: SciFi Scanner Post Roundup #1 and SciFi Scanner Post Roundup #2.

H.G. Wells’ Things to Come

Here’s the video for the 1936 production of Things to Come. H.G. Wells wrote the screenplay (!) which is loosely based on his story, “The Shape of Things to Come“.

[via Drivers and Sundry]

SF Tidbits for 9/26/07

Tube Bits For 09/26/07

  • Entertainment Weekly has a spoilery interview with George Takei (Heroes).
  • The Hollywood Reported looks at Monday night’s ratings. Dancing With The Stars and Heroes were the winners, while Chuck and Journeyman both tanked, comparatively. After one night, I’d have to say Journeyman is leading the pack for the deadpool, but the new season is still young, with many candidates still to air.
  • Heroes: Origins has acquired two new writers: Michael O’Dougherty (Superman Returns) and Eli Roth (Hostel!). Roth, especially, is an interesting choice. At least NBC is taking a creative approach to the writers for this spin-off.
  • The Helia Health Blog takes the occasion of the new Bionic Woman to wonder whether, with the aging of America, replacement parts for humans might become science fact. I’d say it’s almost a certainty. The only question is how long will we have to wait? And who will be the first cyborg?
  • NBC will be producing a Masters Of Horror spin-off, called Fear Itself. Supposedly this will be a network friendly show, but how well will a horror show perform on network TV? To me, this is something for cable.

About Last Night: Heroes Season Premier

So, with the long wait finally over, NBC debuted season 2 of Heroes, to much fan anticipation. But did the writers and producers manage to shake off the disappointing finale and bring the zest back to the show?

(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)

Well, yes, and no. First, the good parts. I still like Hiro as a character, and I was interested to see his story. That thread was the one I wanted to see the most of, and I think they did a nice job introducing the situation in feudal Japan (but how much does modern day Japanese and English sound like their counterparts from way back when?). Although I do have some reservations about Hiro’s story going forward.

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Tube Bits For 09/25/07

  • On Oct. 21, the Sci Fi Channel series, Taken, will be released on DVD. You can find out more about the set at TakenDVD.com.
  • Monsters And Critics gives us their take on Journeyman. Kevin McKidd good, writing bad. For those who’ve seen the pilot, what did you think?
  • MSN Canada investigates Hiro’s time travel ability and how you could use it to make money. Investing is involved. Me? I’d keep going back and forth and win all the high dollar lotteries. Or find some outrageous parlay bet.
  • The Dodo Blog takes a closer look at the dodos of ITV’s Primeval series. Aren’t they cute? IT’s time to find me some Primeval to watch.
  • Great White Snark tells us the secret formula for a great geek TV show. Put them all together and you have a hit geek show.

Tuesday YouTube: Han vs. Khan

Starring Harrison Ford and Ricardo Montalban’s chest…

[via Geekend]

SF Tidbits for 9/25/07

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