Tube Bits for 02/29/2008

  • Marc Wade, former director of production at StarTrek.com, has landed a weekly column over at Roddenberry.com. His first column takes a look at Star Trek: The Tour.
  • Cine Fantastique Online has a very long, in-depth interview with George Takei. The cover a wide range of topics including Star Trek, William Shatner, Heroes, Howard Stern and a lot more. Part 1 here. Part 2 here. This interview happened some time last year, but only recently posted, so some of the information is out of date.
  • At last week’s WonderCon, Chris Carter dropped some hints about the upcoming X-Files movie. It will be stand alone and won’t deal with the mythology of the show, instead it will focus on the scarier stories that peppered the show during its original run. Rumor has it there may be werewolves involved.
  • If you really can’t wait for the last season of Galactica and don’t mind being very spoiled, then head on over to IO9 ans see thier BG video clips for season 4.
  • In case you weren’t planning on playing the new video game, LOST: Via Domus, now you can watch TyndelM play through the entire game! In fact, it looks like he has several video walkthroughs. I find this, odd.
  • The fine folks over at RavenStake have released their second LOST parody video, using actual LOST action figures. Check it:

Filed under: Tube Bits

Michael Moorcock Named SFWA Grand Master

From the Science Fiction Writers of America:

The SFWA® Board of Directors and President Michael Capobianco are pleased to announce that writer and editor Michael Moorcock has been named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for 2008. The Grand Master represents SFWA’s highest accolade and recognizes excellence for a lifetime of contributions to the genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Mr. Moorcock is the twenty-fifth writer recognized by Science FIction and Fantasy Writers of America as a Grand Master. He joins Robert A. Heinlein (1974), Jack Williamson (1975), Clifford D. Simak (1976), L. Sprague de Camp (1978), Fritz Leiber(1981), Andre Norton (1983), Arthur C. Clarke (1985), Isaac Asimov (1986), Alfred Bester (1987), Ray Bradbury (1988), Lester del Rey (1990), Frederik Pohl (1992), Damon Knight (1994), A. E. van Vogt (1995), Jack Vance (1996), Poul Anderson (1997), Hal Clement (1998), Brian Aldiss (1999), Philip Jose Farmer (2000), Ursula K. LeGuin (2003), and Robert Silverberg (2004), Anne McCaffrey (2005), Harlan Ellison (2006), and James Gunn (2007).

The award is presented at Nebula Awards weekend, April 25-27.

Filed under: Awards

Thursday YouTube: Starship Troopers 3

Call me silly, I liked the first movie. I never saw the supposed suckfest that was Starship Troopers 2. And now this? I dunno. Your thoughts?

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 2/28/08

Filed under: Tidbits

MIND MELD: Which SciFi Movie Ending Would You Change?

Common sense and statistics say that, even when you think you’re watching a decent SciFi film, you should refrain from celebration until after the end credits – because sometimes movie endings suck. We asked a host of luminaries the following question.

Q: Which SciFi movie ending do you wish you could change?

*** SPOILER WARNING! ***

Some of these answers (and accompanying videos) contain spoilers. But in this case, the answers are more entertaining than the end of the movie anyway, so…spoiler warning redacted. :)

Mike Brotherton
Mike Brotherton is the author of the hard science fiction novels Spider Star (2008) and Star Dragon (2003), the latter being a finalist for the Campbell award. He’s also a professor of astronomy at the University of Wyoming, Clarion West graduate, and founder of the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop for Writers (www.launchpadworkshop.org). He blogs at www.mikebrotherton.com.

First, what makes for a good ending? The hallmark of a great movie ending is that it’s impossible to anticipate while watching it, but seems like the only ending possible in hindsight. It shouldn’t fall prey to sentimentality, at least not overly so, and should follow through with the power of the premise. Surprising, inevitable, memorable; some examples that come to mind include: A Boy and His Dog, 12 Monkeys, The Thing, Planet of the Apes (1968). I guess I like the shocking sci-fi horror ending! A lot of sf movies have conventional endings, a little too pat and expected, but not weird or ugly.

I decided to start with a list of movies I think have endings flawed one way or another, a list that includes a lot of movies I truly like. 2001 is pretty confusing. Contact is a bit of a let down and the government cover-up seemed unnecessary. AI goes for the weird alien happy ending. The Hulk ending is a dark mess. The finale of Sphere sucks. Changing the ending of Armageddon sure couldn’t hurt it. Return of the Jedi is full of Ewoks and happy happy joy joy Darth Vader. Ridley Scott himself has changed the ending of Blade Runner several times.

And then there’s the movie I finally settled on: Signs

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Mind MeldMovies

Wednesday YouTube: 1968 J.R.R. Tolkien Interview

MilkandCookies Middle-Unearths this 1968 interview with J.R.R. Tolkien and grandson Adam (2007).

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/27/08

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: Deep Inside by Polly Frost

REVIEW SUMMARY: A collection of well-written erotic science fiction short stories.

MY RATING: See the text below.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 10 erotic science fiction short stories written by Polly Frost.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: An interesting collection of stories that makes fun of science fiction tropes occasionally but also contains some interesting ideas. Most of the stories involve a last-minute twist (ironic or otherwise) that I enjoy most in short fiction.

CONS: Some stories are just strange as opposed to interesting.

BOTTOM LINE: If you find erotic fiction to be your cup of tea, I think you’ll enjoy this collection of stories that Polly has written.

Because I’m not sure how sensitive our readers are to this sort of thing, I’m putting the rest of my review and an analysis of each of the stories after the jump. Read on if you dare!

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

John Jude Palencar Wins 2008 Spectrum Grand Master Award

John Jude Palencar has been presented with the 2008 Spectrum Grand Master Award.

From the press release:

Cathy and Arnie Fenner, the directors for Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, announced that this year’s Grand Master Award has been presented to John Jude Palencar. The Spectrum Advisory Board–consisting of Rick Berry, Brom, Mark Chiarello, Leo and Diane Dillon, Harlan Ellison, Irene Gallo, Bud Plant, Don Ivan Punchatz, Tim Underwood, and Michael Whelan–reviewed a list of eligible artists and reached a consensus to confer the honor.

The Spectrum Grand Master Award is presented annually to a living artist whose career has spanned at least twenty years, whose work has achieved and maintained a high-level of skill and imagination, and who has inspired others with their art and attitude.

Previous recipients of the award are Frank Frazetta, Don Ivan Punchatz, Leo and Diane Dillon, James E. Bama, John Berkey, Alan Lee, Jean Giraud, Kinuko Y. Craft, Michael William Kaluta, Michael Whelan, H.R. Giger, Jeffrey Jones, and Syd Mead.

Congratulation, John!

The Spectrum site has more winners of the Spectrum 15 Awards.

Filed under: ArtAwards

Daily Monster

Stefan G. Bucher’s Daily Monster website operates with a simple premise: every day he posts a short, high-speed video of him drawing a new monster.

A simple idea, yes, but the results are awesome.

The website has also spawned a book: 100 Days Of Monsters, which also comes with a DVD that features videos from the website. Now why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, no-talent @$$-clown. (With apologies to Michael Bolton…)

[via Boing^2]

Filed under: Web Sites

Can You Name This Story? (Part 3)

Another reader writes in with a story description looking for a title. Do any of our readers out there know the title of this story?

When I was a kid in the 1970s, I read what was probably a short story (probably in an anthology for young readers) about a bunch of children who lived in a controlled environment with a minder looking after them from a voice in the wall. In fact that’s what they called this person, “Voice.” All the children have names like Emelen and Emanee (those are the two I can remember). One very bright child figures out that “Voice” is actually more than one person, as the personality changes over time, and this child eventually organises an escape, in which all the children discover a huge world outside their home and that they have been kept prisoners. They also learn that they are all mutations of some sort, with extra limbs or misshapen facial features, and that that was why they were separated from the rest of humanity. Their names turn out to be 3-letter codes, MLN and MNE, in the examples above, and the M stands for “monster.”

I remember this story hitting me very hard as a youngster and I’d like to reread it if anyone remembers it.

- Maria S.

Can you name this story?

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Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/26/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Flash Gordon Read-Along Books

Way back when I was a young geek, science fiction took many forms, one of which was a precursor to audio books: I’m talking about the 45 RPM Read-Along comic books. I personally owned my very own copy of a Spiderman read-along comic called Mark of the Werewolf, much to the endless amusement of my much-cooler imaginary friends.

Now you can once again experience the unique joy of reading along with these Flash Gordon read-along MP3s. Well, almost experience….you don’t actually get to see the books, they’re just MP3s. But you do get to hear the awesome “turn page now” chime. Man, that sends chills down the place where my spine used to be.

[Note: the download links for these MP3s use the MegaUpload website which makes you (1) type in a captcha code, and (2) wait 45 seconds for the "free" download. Very Lame.]

[via Cool-Mo-Dee]

Filed under: Books

Tube Bits for 02/25/2008

  • Toy2R and Diamond Comics Distributors unveiled their upcoming Futurama Qees figures in ToyFare magazine. Check out the sweet Fry pic on the right, and click through to see Bender. They will be released sometime this summer, with a promise of more figures in the future.
  • Lots of J. Michael Straczynski news from WonderCon: JMS has signed a deal with DC Comics, but he was tight-lipped about what that entails. His first major motion picture, The Changeling (starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich, directed by Clint Eastwood) has just wrapped. In news sure to warm Tim’s heart, he has been tapped by Plan B to adapt World War Z for the big screen. He also hints at Lensmen, the movie, and a possible Babylon 5 feature movie. Go read.
  • The Telegraph has a long piece cover Bionic Woman actress, Michelle Ryan. Interesting tidbit from the story: Jennifer Aniston was up for the role of Jamie Sommers. That would have been, bad.
  • From the ‘What are they thinking’ file: Did you know Sony Pictures is producing Starship Troopers 3 – Marauder? Casper Van Dien is back, this time bringing with him…Jolene Blalock. Why won’t this series die? When the trailer hits (today, supposedly) we’ll let you in in all the gory details.
  • Recently, ReelzChannel caught up to J.J. Abrams and asked him a few questions about the new Star Trek movie and the possibility of Cloverfield 2. Here’s what he had to say:

Filed under: Tube Bits

REVIEW SUMMARY: A very good read that I might have enjoyed this even more if I hadn’t read the novella on which it is based.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An angry prospector is forced by aliens to hunt someone down.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: The core story is engaging; thought-provoking sf-nal ideas; clear, concise prose makes for easy reading.

CONS: Because I read the novella version, the extra material felt like padding.

BOTTOM LINE: A solid, well-constructed and wholly entertaining story.

A few years ago, I read an excellent novella called “Shadow Twin” that was co-written by George R.R. Martin, Gardener Dozois, and Daniel Abraham. Now, in the grand tradition of science fiction literature and marketing, that novella has been expanded into the novel-length story Hunter’s Run. I was curious. Does the novel hold up?

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Filed under: Book Review

Monday YouTube: Star Wars in the Eyes of a 3 Year-Old

Filed under: Star Wars

EW Reviews SF/F

Issue #980 (February 29, 2008) of Entertainment Weekly offers some brief reviews of science fiction and fantasy books.

Here’s a snippet…

by A. Lee Martinez

Movie Pitch: Iron Man meets X-Men.

Lowdown: The dialogue and supporting cast are full of creaky clichés, but in time Mack’s smash-and-grab mission acquires some satisfying philosophical heft.

Grade: B+

by Iain M. Banks

Movie Pitch: A Star Trek “Prime Directive” episode meets The Lord of the Rings.

Lowdown: Trippy geography and climactic techno-mayhem can’t fully offset the slog through pseudo-Tolkien territory.

Grade: B

by Kim Harrison

Movie Pitch: Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Tank Girl.

Lowdown: Outlaw may be tough for newbies, but Rachel’s personal growth, series-altering revelations, and a lot of humor make it inviting.

Grade: B+

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/25/08

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: The Book That Should Win the 2007 Stoker Award.

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION

Which of these 2007 Stoker nominees for best novel should win?

RESULTS

(60 total votes)

Yikes! What a serious drop in voters. I feel like Peter Brady and nobody came to my party. Anywho, here are some comments this week.

“I’ve only read HSB and I thought it was a bit overrated.” – Tony Geer

“I lived through a war. For me that is all the scares I will ever need.” – GeneralX

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about whether an award win denotes quality!

Filed under: Polls

New Iron Man Poster and Information

Screen Rant brings us this cool, new Iron Man poster (see big image here) for the forth coming movie. In it you can see the evolution of the Iron Man armor, from the Mark 1, made from odds and ends, to the Mark 3, able to outfly F-22s. I wasn’t too big on the movie to begin with, but this poster is really cool. So far, I’d say it’s the best SF(ish) movie poster this year.

Screen Rant also has a lot more Iron Man information posted from the WonderCon Iron Man panel. And if you want to see the new trailer, be sure to tune in to this week’s episode of LOST (2/28).

Filed under: Movies

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