BSG Fan Film Toolkit

SCIFI.COM has released a Battlestar Galactica Videomaker Toolkit which allows fans to make their own films.

The toolkit gives fans everything they need to create their own four-minute Galactica movies. It provides more than 30 visual effects and 20 audio effects, as well as cuts from the show’s soundtrack. Fans can post their completed videos on SCIFI.COM to share with other fans. Two videos have been posted on the site as examples.

Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick will select his favorite video, and it will be broadcast in its entirety on SCI FI Channel during an episode of Battlestar Galactica.

Sorry, Tim, you cannot win if you mix your own home videos with stock Boomer footage. :)

Filed under: TV

REVIEW: Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas

REVIEW SUMMARY: A refreshing blend of science fiction, horror, mystery and action.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Shapeshifting private detective Jeremy Stake is hired to find the rare, bioengineered doll of his rich client’s daughter in the dark, gritty setting of Punktown, a futuristic metropolis of alien creatures, mutants and inter-dimensional travel.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Imaginative setting that you’ll want more of; consistent and enjoyable pacing; awesome second half; successful juggling of multiple story lines.
CONS: Some plot turns were predictable.
BOTTOM LINE: Come for the plot, stay for the setting.
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SF Tidbits for 3/6/07

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SF Tidbits for 3/5/07

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Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Who is your favorite amongst midriff-baring space royalty?

RESULTS

(126 total votes)

Poor Pricess Aura from 1936! Alas, voters were more merciless than Ming himself.

One comment this week, I guess others were busy ogling:

“I don’t think you can go wrong with Queen Amidala. I mean, Natalie Portman’s hot, no matter which way you slice it. George Lucas got that right. Once we all grew out of our collective crushes on Leia, along came Amidala, to make us feel creepy and guilty and in love.” – Pete

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Star Trek XI!!

Filed under: Polls

Best American Fantasy: The Rest of the Best

Jeff VanderMeer has posted a list of 25 fantasy stories that were good enough to consider for his upcoming anthology Best American Fantasy, but could not be included for various reasons:

  1. “Stab” by Chris Adrian
  2. “Dominion” by Calvin Baker
  3. “The Creation of Birds” by Christopher Barzak
  4. “Inheritance” by Jedediah Berry
  5. “The Duel” by Tobias Buckell
  6. “The Life of Captain Gareth Caernarvon” by Brendan Connell
  7. “The Paper Life They Lead” by Patrick Crerand
  8. “The Alternative History Club” by Murray Farish
  9. “Night Whiskey” by Jeffrey Ford
  10. “thirteen o’clock” by David Gerrold
  11. “Lucky Chow Fun” by Lauren Goff
  12. “Letters from Budapest” by Theodora Goss
  13. “Galileo” by John Haskell
  14. “The Marquise de Wonka” by Shelley Jackson
  15. “Irregular Verbs” by Matthew Johnson
  16. “The Mysterious Intensity of the Heart” by Jeff P. Jones
  17. “Bainbridge” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  18. “A Secret Lexicon for the Not-Beautiful” by Beth Adele Long
  19. “A Change in Fashion” by Steven Millhauser
  20. “Robert Kennedy Remembered by Jean Baudrillard” by Gary Percesepe
  21. “The Man with the Scale in His Head” by Eman Quotah
  22. “Magnificent Pigs” by Cat Rambo
  23. “Swimming” by Veronica Schanoes
  24. “Mountain Man” by Heather Shaw
  25. “Snow Blind” by Bridget Bentz Sizer

See Jeff’s original post to get links to stories and excerpts.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 3/4/07

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SF Tidbits for 3/3/07

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Here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for February 2007:

  1. 1967 Wonder Woman TV Pilot
  2. Of Princesses and Polls
  3. George Lucas Hates The Empire Strikes Back
  4. BSG Backlash?
  5. Harry Potter And The Hype Machine
  6. Twenty Years Ago the Classics Were Different
  7. LEGO Millenium Falcon – Better Than The Real Thing?
  8. SF Tidbits for 2/1/07
  9. REVIEW: Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker
  10. Cordwainer Smith’s Dedication for Space Lords

Looking at the top overall hits in February while ignoring those listed above, we get these stats for older posts…

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SF Tidbits for 3/2/07

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REVIEW: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The continuing adventures of Rincewind, this time in China! Err, the Counterweight Continent.

PROS: The usual Pratchett wit, wordplay and funny characters.

CONS: A bit slow in the middle.

BOTTOM LINE: A worthy entry in the Rincewind series. Anyone who likes Rincewind should read this one.

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In a classic moment of office conversation….

The topic rolled into the science fiction and conflicts that would cross world boundaries. At this point, you are most likely thinking that this could be a deep thought provoking discussion regarding some of the great races and powers that have been discussed within the confines of a great number of books, movies and some television shows. You would also be wrong since the conflict in question was: Ewoks versus the Borg. That’s right those plucky little furballs that we all love to hate against the assimilation machine known as the Borg. So, the question is now out there – Ewoks versus the Borg, who would win?

Mike (who now receives my Star Wars Fanboy crown) speculated that Ewoks would win only if Chewbacca was involved since he was responsible for turning the battle for the rebels in Return of the Jedi, but who is to say. Personally, I felt that the whole situation would have been resolved by simply deforesting the planet and then burning it down. That’s how you handle problems of this nature.

And to further complicate matters, what if we throw the Sleestack from Land of the Lost into the mix and make it a Battle Royale for the next possible Undead Time Travelling Entity. So I leave it you, our gentle readers, who would win this battle.

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SF Site has posted the Reader Choice list of best sf/f books of 2006:

  1. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  2. The Thousandfold Thought: The Prince of Nothing, Book 3 by Scott Bakker
  3. Temeraire / His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
  4. Blindsight by Peter Watts [see SF Signal review]
  5. The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
  6. Fragile Things Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  7. Glasshouse by Charles Stross
  8. Forest Mage: The Soldier Son, Book 2 by Robin Hobb
  9. Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge [see SF Signal review]
  10. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi [see SF Signal review]

Filed under: Books

Spoilery Thoughts on Heroes

It’s been a few months since my post 5 (Spoilery) Things About Heroes That Annoy the Begeezus Out Of Me. I’m still watching Heroes, but I have a weird love/hate thing with it that demands to be looked into. I am currently at the “liking it a lot” part of an up-and-down mood swing that began at episode #1. The “Company Man” episode aired this week and we got to see a lot of the background of Horn-Rimmed Glasses guy (H.R.G.), Claire’s father. I like the way the show is progressing (mostly) and it doesn’t seem to be standing too still (usually) even though I disagree with the general consensus that creator Tim Kring – unlike the Cylons in BSG – “has a plan”.

Here are my thoughts on the characters and story lines:

SPOILER WARNING!!!

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REVIEW SUMMARY: This anthology makes a good argument for why you should be reading short fiction.

MY RATING:

[Note: When rating an anthology, I usually weight the stories according to length: novellas count twice as much as novelettes, which count twice as much as short stories. Since I did not know for sure the lengths of the stories in this anthology, I weighted each one equally.]

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 16 original stories of science fiction.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: 4 standout stories; variety of styles and sub-genres.

CONS: 2 weaker stories.

BOTTOM LINE: More good stories than bad; worth the read if only to sample the variety sf has to offer.

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction is the first book to be published by the Solaris imprint and aims to serve as their manifesto: to publish “outstanding science fiction and fantasy, whatever the form.” Like a large majority of anthologies, your story mileage may vary, but overall, they are off to a really good start.

The book’s brief introduction talks about science fiction’s short form and it is clear that editor George Mann values the “sparkling gems” the format produces. He succinctly cites what’s so exciting about the short form: the “single conceit”, neatly packaged for the bite-size consumption, long enough to explore that single idea (though some stories here could have used an extra page or two to provide better closure) and sometimes the launch pad for linked or longer stories. Short fiction delivers sense of wonder in its purest form.

Perhaps more important to regular short fiction readers is the publication of a promising new anthology that doesn’t add to the already-crowded “Best of…” or themed anthology set, but instead offers a various sampling of what the science fiction genre can accomplish. There are indeed many “gems” here. Standout stories included “C-Rock City” by Jay Lake & Greg van Eekhout, “The Bowdler Strain” by James Lovegrove, “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter and “Third Person” by Tony Ballantyne.

Reviewlettes of the stories follow….

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Dear Hugo Voter,

We know it’s late and the deadline is a scant two days away, but there has recently been a groundswell to nominate SF Signal for a Hugo Award in the Best Fanzine category. (OK, so maybe it was more of mole hill than a groundswell. And by “mole hill”, we mean two or three people, some of whom might be related to us.) As you may imagine, we are ecstatic. In case you can’t imagine it, picture a bunch of middle-aged geeks running around in small circles doing something that resembles a chicken dance if that chicken were spastic and a danger to anyone nearby. It’s not pretty.

But why, you may be asking yourself, do we deserve such an honor? Well, we could bore you with long, detailed research reports that would most likely put you to sleep like they did us. But instead – and keeping in line with the short-attention-span culture of The Age of The Internets – we present…a list!

7 REASONS TO NOMINATE SF SIGNAL FOR THE BEST FANZINE HUGO

  1. James Patrick Kelly says we should be.
  2. John C. Wright thinks we’re the Matterhorn of Fame. (We concur.)
  3. We serve as a catalyst for Klausner-bashing.
  4. Three words: Forklift safety video!
  5. One of us has a brother who lives in Tokyo and could actually accept the award and, more importantly, stuff the ballot box.
  6. We started the Undead Time Travelling entity revolution, where “entity” includes Nazis and Green Bay Packers.
  7. Our high level of dedication sits somewhere between “Han Shot First” and “Someone set us up the bomb“.

So, if you could somehow see fit to include us on the ballot, we will continue to be the source of crunchy SF (and, yes, supermodels) that folks have come to expect. Also, we promise not to gloat at those “other” nominees. Well…most of them.

We’re just sayin’,

The SF Signal Team

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SF Tidbits for 3/1/07

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REVIEW: Eric by Terry Pratchett

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Eric is Pratchett’s novel parodying the classic tale of Faust.

PROS: Some amusing bits

CONS: Not as funny as other books, very short book.

BOTTOM LINE: Aside from continuing the adventures of everyone’s favorite Wizzard, Eric just doesn’t hold up compared to other Discworld books.

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Trek XI On Track For December ’08 Release And Suckage

It’s been confirmed by Paramount that Trek XI will be released on Christmas Day, 2008 and that J.J. Abrams will be directing. But is Abrams, the brains behind Alias and LOST, enough to save this movie? I say ‘No! A thousand times no!”.

Let’s count the ways shall we? Yes, we shall.

  1. The biggest obstacle is the odd-numbered curse. I’m not sure how you can break this cycle of inevitable suckage, but I don’t see Abrams as being able to. Why? Keep reading.
  2. The story. Kirk and Spock at Starfleet. Yawn. This isn’t what made ST:TOS popular. Sure, characters are part of it, but do we really need to see them going on drunken binges and panty raiding the Orion slave girls? No! Except for, maybe, the slave girl part. I know! Abrams ought to make Porkys: The Next Generation.
  3. And if the rumors are true, just look at the cast. Matt Damon as Kirk? Really? Adrien Brody as Spock? Why do I see Alexander Dane from Galaxy Quest? Gary Sinise as McCoy? I like Sinise, but not as McCoy. James McAvoy as Scotty. At least he’s a Scott so he won’t have to fake the accent. And Daniel Dae Kim, from LOST, as Sulu. Isn’t this just reprising his role from Crusade? Now, if he brings Yunjin Kim along to play Yeoman Rand, that would work.
  4. I hear you saying: “Why are you such a hater? You have to cast new people if you’re going to focus on young Kirk and Spock!”. Well, yes, for obvious reasons and no, because you shouldn’t be focusing there at all! My point being that Shatner, Nimoy and crew are the iconic figures of classic Trek. Recasting them will raise the ire of many people and they new actors won’t be accepted by a large portion of the audience. Unless they’re furry. And now that I think about it, the slash people ought to have a field day here…

  5. A lot has been said about Abrams’ work on Alias and LOST and how he’s the guy to breathe new life into Trek. Well, I saw Mission Impossible 3, and if that’s an indication of his feature film ability, then we should pack it in right now. It wasn’t that good. And it was based on an established property. Much like Trek XI. Hmm…

So you see, ladies and gentlemen, far from being a sure thing to ignite the masses of Star Trek fandom, this movie has trainwreck written all over it. Sure, the Galactica re-imagining has worked out, but this? It isn’t even a proper re-imagining, just a focus on a time that isn’t that interesting. STar Trek has some mileage left, I think, but not on re-hashing older characters. We need new stuff. And good stuff.

Filed under: Movies

The New Hampshire Humanities Council is launching a year-long, book-based project called Speculate: a new past, a different present, an out-of-this-world future. The program

Here’s their suggested reading/listening list:

  1. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress [See SF Signal review.]
  2. Burn by James Patrick Kelly [See SF Signal review.]
  3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury [See SF Signal review.]
  4. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  6. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  7. Martian Race by Gregory Benford
  8. Moon Over Morocco, audio-drama by by ZBS Productions
  9. Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
  10. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  11. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card

[via W@tEotU]

Filed under: Books

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