SF Tidbits for 12/31/07

  • Tim Pratt (Blood Engines) invents a new literary movement at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog.
  • The Agony Column has part one of a podcast-interview with Charles Stross (Halting State), who, at his own website, lists his upcoming novels.
  • A.R. Yngve takes an introspective look at sf fads and fashions: “All science-fiction fads, when you look back at them, seem naive. They are invariably rooted in the wishful thinking and cultural anxieties of their time and audience.”
  • More 2007 Best Lists:
  • As part of The Sci-Fi Experience 2008, Dark Orpheus shares his re-reading experience with C.J. Cherryh’s Cyteen.
  • The New York Times recollects an article from 1908 that offered predications for 2008. “We may have gyroscopic trains as broad as houses swinging at 200 miles an hour up steep grades and around dizzying curves…”
  • And finally, the last tidbit of 2007: Brewster Rockit, Space Guy looks at New Years’ Resolutions.

Tube Bits For 12/31/2007

  • Just before Christmas, Art Asylum released two pictures of their new retro Galactica minimates figures. These are cool beyond words, and they go nicely with the minimates for the new series they released earlier this year. I’m heading to Target as soon as these are released. They’ll look so good in my cube…[via ToysREvil]
  • So you say you missed out on the previous LOST ARG and had to miss all the fun of deciphering the clues. Well never fear! A new ARG for LOST is starting today! It appears the Oceanic Air is re-opening it’s doors to the flying public, and their new web site, Fly Oceanic Air, is set to open today. If this is your thing, give it a go. I prefer to wait and let others do the hard work while I reap the story benefits.
  • Matt Reves, director of Cloverfield has seen the Trek XI teaser trailer and thinks fans should be excited about it. Knowing how Hollywood can make any movie look good in a trailer, I’m still not excited.
  • MySanAntonio lists their Best TV of 2007 and Journeyman, Dr. Who and Torchwood make the grade.
  • SFFaudio points us to the new Blake’s 7 radio program on BBC 7. It’s apparently three, one-hour long broadcasts, and you can find them on the BBC site. Sadly, you can only listen to shows from the last week, meaning the first episode is unavailable.
  • For those of you who watch Medium, the new season starts on January 7th, and NBC has placed the last three episodes, of last season, online so you can catch up. And fans of the show give their predictions for the new season over on YouTube. I’ve never watched the show, but they must be doing something right to get 4 seasons.
  • The Website at the End of the Universe points us to the pilot for the shot-lived TV show Automan. Just check out that Tron looking uniform. In fact, the whole show looks like a Tron rip-off, with cheesier SFX.

POLL RESULTS: Reading Over the Holidays

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Do you read more or less over the holidays?


(95 total votes)

Comments this week:

“Well, it really depends. I read more if we spend the holiday at home or with my in-laws. But it’s way less if I spend it with my parents. They spend all year just reading, and when the kids are around they want to talk, talk and talk some more.” – Karen Burnham

“I daresay there is scarcely a more beautiful and satisfying thing than to be in your bed till the very late/early hours of the evening/morning on a holiday reading a nice book. Happy holidays to all.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about upcoming movies based on comic books?

Tron Director Working On A New Movie, Soul Code

Those of us of a certain age, which includes all of us here at the big SFS, remember the ‘classic’ SF movie Tron with at least some fondness. I managed to score the 20th Anniversary DVD edition for my birthday a couple of years back and introduced my kids to Tron, which they then proceeded to watch at least 5 times over the next two days.

Writer/director Steve Lisberger directed two more movies, Hot Pursuit and Slipstream, but nothing that approaches the cult status of Tron. But now, Tom’s Games has an interview with Lisberger where he details the new script he’s working on called Soul Code. The new movie isn’t a sequel, as Lisberger says Tron stopped pretty much at the end of the road, but Soul Code will deal with human interaction with advancing technology. Those of you who want to see more of the Tron story ought to find the PC game Tron 2.0, which is actually a really nice FPS in it’s own right, aside from continuing the story.

From what is in the article, Soul Code will deal with the discovery of the ability to ‘download’ people’s memories, presumably into a computer. Nothing really new to us in the SF community, but as far as SF movies go, I’m hard pressed to think of one that deal directly with this. Maybe the Lawnmower Man movies.

It’s a long article and I’m officially interested in the movie, which could be ready by late 2009, so set your alarms now.

Sunday Cinema – Firefly: The Train Job

Last week we showed you a bunch of science fiction TV episodes from Hulu. Today we’re going to bring you the next episode of one of the best, if shortest, science fiction shows ever produced. I’m talking about, of course, Firefly.

If you’ve never seen it before, now, and in the coming weeks, you’ll have the chance to see it right here. Hopefully you’ll be drawn in and become a raving browncoat like many of us. Or possibly you’ll be interested enough to purchase the box set of the DVDs so you can see it in it’s full glory on the television. In any event, after the break you can watch the second episode Whedon intended.

(See here for the first episode.)

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SF Tidbits for 12/30/07

2008 SF/F Movie Slate: Which Ones Do You Want to See?

SciFi Wire has been listing 2008 genre movies, though I’m not sure how some of these fall under the guise of sf/f (blame SciFi Wire, not me!)

  • From 20th Century Fox: Jumper, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, Shutter, Starship Dave, The Happening, and Babylon A.D..
  • From Disney: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, WALL*E [w/ Pixar], South of the Border, Bolt, and Bedtime Stories
  • From Paramount:Cloverfield, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Ruins , Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Kung Fu Panda , Nowhereland, Ghost Town, Madagascar: The Crate Escape, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Star Trek, and A Tale of Two Sisters.
  • From Universal: The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Death Race, The Tale of Despereaux, and Doomsday.
  • From Warner: One Missed Call, 10,000 B.C., Speed Racer, Get Smart, The Dark Knight, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

SF Tidbits for 12/29/07

Friday YouTube: Nichelle Nichols Sings!

Today is the birthday of Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek‘s Lt. Uhura). What better way to do a Friday YouTube than with Nichelle singing “Know What I Mean?” from her 1967 Down to Earth album?

Happy birthday, Nichelle! And what a coincidence…I got tasty-hasty pudding too, if you know what I mean, know what I mean…

This almost makes up for Shatner’s early singing career. Or not.

Tube Bits For 12/28/2007

  • Adult Swim is showing every single episode of Futurama from now until the crack of Midnight, January 1st, 2008 (see the schedule for times and episodes). I believe it actually started last night, but still, for those of you who don’t have the DVDs, now is the time to set your DVRs or stay up late every night. Then why not top it off by buying the new movie on DVD?
  • D. Maass at Film.com goes back in time to dissect an About.com article bemoaning the lack of ‘diversity’ in science fiction TV. Maass, quite rightly, shows that much of science fiction today has strong non-traditional leads and uses Bionic Woman, Galactica and Torchwood to make his point.
  • TV Squad has a spoilerific review of the first two episodes for The Sarah Conner Chronicles. I know I’ll watch just to see how it turns out.
  • Speaking of remakes, did you know the BBC is re-imagining the 1960’s sitcom Bewitched? As with the Dune remake, is this really necessary? Even with Sheridan Smith as Samantha.
  • Paul Levinson lays into TV Guide’s Worst TV of 2007 for including Journeyman on the list. Levinson basically says that Adam Schubak, the TV Guide critic, doesn’t ‘get’ science fiction (and neither do most people) and that’s why Schubak didn’t ‘get’ Journeyman. I never watched it, but I’ve heard some good things about the later episodes. Hmm, it is on Hulu. (and the NBC main site)
  • Super Punch points us to a photographic look at the old TV show UFO. First, what’s up with the horrible, on the men anyway, mesh shirts. Is there a shortage of cotton (or any other fabric) in the future? Second, the anime chick with the purple hair looks a lot like a young Jane Fonda…
  • The anime production company, Gonzo, is creating their own P2P netowork to compete with the other networks and, hopefully, sell their shows. Although at $9 an episode ($14 for HD), I don’t see this going anywhere fast. If you’re going to compete with the pirates, you need to provide your product at a competitive rate (vs. free), and these prices are too high, at least to me.
  • Dreamworks/Paramount is remaking the creepy Korean horror flick, A Tale Of Two Sisters, for American audiences. It will star Emma Browning and Elizabeth Banks. I’ve seen the Korean version which was very creepy and suspenseful, with a cool, and logical, twist at the end. I’m interested to see how this can be ‘Americanized’.
  • With the start of season 4 of LOST fast approaching, ABC is reaching out to fans, both current and lapsed, with this 8:15 (natch) recap of the previous 3 seasons to get people up to speed for the new season. Just over one month and counting. This is worse than waiting for Christmas.

The Science of Science Fiction

Slice of SciFi looks at The Science of Science Fiction:

Science Fiction involves buying into the premise of a scientific “reality” that often pushes, even shatters, the boundaries of what we know. As fans we accept this. As fans, we realize the vehicle need not be 100% feasible to transport us to good entertainment, with believable characters, and viable plots. I can buy into some things I know are not yet possible within our current understanding of science, and go with it for the sake of a well-told story.

What I find increasingly objectionable is the outright violation of science, as we know it. Humanity stands on the shoulders of countless individuals who painstakingly built the foundation for understanding the world around us. We owe them respect, not dismissal. Whatever premise we are asked to accept should build on this foundation, extrapolate it, even stretch it, but not tear it down for the sake of a “cool” visual.

I see it as a duty of the science fiction fan to hold sci-fi vehicles to a higher standard. Science is an important part of our lives, and reasonably good science should be the first requisite of “Science” Fiction. Instead, I see science casually tossed aside for the sake of a plot point, or worse, for the sake of presenting a special effect in lieu of a plot. The unintended consequence is that it makes “real” science seem mundane, boring, and lame.

SF Tidbits for 12/28/07

  • Readers Voice interviews Ann VanderMeer, Editor of Weird Tales: “The fantasy element can give the writer the freedom to explore topics and ideas that may come across as too dogmatic in mainstream fiction. The best fantasy stories will take the reader someplace new and out of the ordinary. They will stick with the reader long after the story has been read. Whether it is a single character, an event or perhaps even the overall theme of the story, if you finish it wanting more yet are still satisfied, then the story works.”
  • Brandon Sanderson has written a FAQ on Memory of Light, the 12th and final volume of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time fantasy series, which he has been commissioned to finish.
  • Grasping for the Wind has a version of Tobias Buckell’s Sly Mongoose video w/ sound added.
  • Free Fiction: BenG offers a list of books available on MobileRead sorted by genre.
  • More Bloggers list their Best of 2007:
  • Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Bob Zemeckis’ Back to the Future were added by the Library of Congress to its national registry because they are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
  • SciFi Wire lists some 2008 genre movies from 20th Century Fox (Jumper, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, Shutter, Starship Dave, The Happening, and Babylon A.D.) and Disney (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, WALL*E [w/ Pixar], South of the Border, Bolt, and Bedtime Stories).
  • Neat-o-rama has this cool retro X-Men poster by Eric Tan, the guy who did those retro WALL*E postcards.

Subterranean Online Winter 2008 Issue

Subterranean Press has just started posting the Winter 2008 issue of Subterranean Online. Here’s what available now, with more to come in the weeks ahead:

[via SF Scope]

SF Tidbits for 12/27/07

Tube Bits For 12/27/2007

  • Just before Christmas, Universal quietly (as if they would make a big about this one) released Battlestar Galactica 1980 on DVD. If only they had released it in November, making it the perfect White Elephant gift. There’s always next year.
  • The ‘fan’ made Trek film, Of Gods And Men, released part 1 of their production, online, on Dec. 23rd. Many Trek alums have roles in this film, including Nichelle Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney, Alan Ruck and others. It takes place 12 years after Cpt. Kirk was swept up in the Nexus.
  • Jalopnik has the new, 15-second Knight Rider trailer online. I tried to find it on YouTube with no luck. And everyone can rest easy, the Cylon red lights are still present. Sadly, Grace Park doesn’t appear in the show.
  • Speaking of Cylons, check out these (if you haven’t seen them already) really cool propaganda posters for Battlestar Galactica. Follow their links for other cool SF related items, some which we’ve highlighted before.
  • Slashfilm brings us a short pictorial on this terribly geeky, yet strangely awesome Batcave home theater setup. Bat suit not included.
  • Detroit’s AmericaJR reasons we are all geeks because: 1) Science fiction on TV is rather popular and 2) the stuff we take for granted today is the science fiction of yesterday (cell phones, iPods, etc). The people bringing it to you? Geeks. So we’re all a part of geekdom,whether you like it or not. Myself, I kinda like it.

The Sleeper Awakens! (New Dune Movie A Go)

Director Peter Berg confirmed that a new Dune movie is ready to go, and that the writer’s strike is the only thing holding it back. Presumably that means there’s no screenplay yet.

The question then becomes, do we really need yet another version of Dune? I like both David Lynch’s overproduced and overacted silver screen version and the Sci Fi Channel’s much lower budget miniseries. Both have their strength and weaknesses and both show just how difficult it is to adapt Dune for a visual medium without compromising the source work in some way. you simply can’t film the internal monologues without looking silly (I’m looking at you Kyle MacLachlan) and doing without forces you to find other ways to dispense the information.

And let’s not forget the SFX that will be needed to make this look really good. While ok for the movie, I felt the SFX were much better in the miniseries, at least enough to not get in the way. I’d think with today’s technology, it ought to at least look really good. In fact, I’d go in expecting to be knocked out. That means big $$$ to do it right.

What do you think, is this a good idea or just another example of Hollywood being bereft of ideas?

MOVIE REVIEW: Bender’s Big Score

REVIEW SUMMARY: Futurama returns in a glorious tour de force! Rivaled by only such classics as Casablanca and To Kill a Mockingbird this seminal film is an instant ‘straight to DVD’ classic. Er, OK, I’m an admitted raving fanboy of the show, so this might not be an entirely unbiased review. That and a shout out to my new amphibian master, the Hypnotoad.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Planet Express package company was ‘cancelled’ by the idiot executives at the ‘BOX Network’. However those folks are gone, and the company and crew are back once again delivering packages. That is, until they are scammed out of their personal information by a bunch of aliens using well known Internet scam techniques who then proceed to take over everything using the same mechanism, eventually scamming President Nixon’s head out of the Earth itself. Will the Planet Express crew be able to organize a rag tag fleet of rebels against a planet defended by a ring of solid gold Death Stars?


PROS: The show is back and doesn’t miss a beat; liberal bashing of the Fox Network for canceling the show, “Torgo powder – apply directly to the buttocks” homage to Manos: The Hands of Fate, Two fun singing numbers, time travel paradoxes, cameos voices by Al Gore, Coolio, Mark Hamil, appearances by favorites from the show, and lots and lots of Bender.

CONS: Fans of the show will love it. Fans of math too. And science. And this blog. And puppies and kittens. And air. If you don’t like those things, then maybe you won’t find it to be awesome beyond your ability to think straight. Coming, green master!

BOTTOM LINE: If you don’t already have your own copy, check your pulse and click the friggin’ link above and have one delivered to you by the fine folks at Amazon already! And no downloading a pirated version either – not if you want more comedy goodness.

SF Tidbits for 12/26/07

  • Yummy Xmas leftovers: The Daily Pop features A Batman Christmas Carol.
  • Recently free fiction at ManyBooks.net: “But, I Don’t Think” by Randall Garrett (1959): “As every thinking man knows, every slave always yearns for the freedom his master denies him…”
  • More free fiction: “Chicken Soup for Mars and Venus” by Matthew Jarpe (2004): “A collision course. Well, that had to be a mistake…”
  • The Eaton Science Fiction Conference, scheduled for May 16-18, 2008, will be themed “Chronicling Mars” and will bring in Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Arthur C. Clarke (via video teleconference), Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Ben Bova, Howard V. Hendrix, Geoffrey Landis and Kim Stanley Robinson.
  • XKCD spoofs Blade Runner.

It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Firefly

We wrap our Christmas science fiction extravaganza of shows with the poster child for great science fiction killed too early by no nothing execs. I’m speaking, of course, about Firefly.

Below we present the original pilot episode as intended by Whedon, “Serenity”. Yes, all (almost) two hours.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos we’ve brought to you today. You can look for a more in-depth look at Hulu in the near future. For now, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Enjoy the rest of your day!

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It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Battlestar Galactica (Re-imagined)

Hopefully our glimpse at the original Galactica put you in the mood for a little of the new Galactica, which, of course, Hulu has online. Unfortunately, this is one of the shows where there is a lack of episodes to choose from, with only 5 available. All from season 3.

So, if you’re one of the haters (looks at John), you may want to move on. Otherwise, we present the episode “Maelstrom”.

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