Alien Nation: Ultimate Movie Collection Giveaway

It’s that time again everyone. Time to give something away! This time we have a copy of the Alien Nation: Ultimate Movie Collection DVD set to just give away! I know, cool!

So what do you get? Well, first you get all 5 TV movies. The first four have ‘Making Of’ featurettes and gag reels. All movies have Ken Johnson commentary tracks and still photo galleries. And all this can be yours for the low low price of free. Well, actually, the low low price of an email. We have 1 copy to give away to a lucky reader and all you have to do is email us your name and address (we will delete your address as soon as the contest ends and a winner is picked. We will never use your address for anything else, except to exercise the DELETE function) to:

contest AT sfsignal DOT com (do the replacement move here and send us an email!)

Better get cracking if you want this DVD set. This contest ends on Sunday, April 27th. The winner will be notified on the 28th, and we’ll let you know when you can expect your set to be shipped!

Hop to it.

The Dark Knight Trailer

The official trailer for the upcoming Batman film looks groovy.

BOOK REVIEW: The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin

REVIEW SUMMARY: A thought-provoking classic.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: George Orr, a man who can alter reality with his dreams, is manipulated by Dr. Haber, a dream specialist.

PROS: Awesome premise; excellent characterizations; great writing.
CONS: None, really, though I was frustrated that this Omnipotent Reader couldn’t figure out a way for George to solve his problems.
BOTTOM LINE: An excellent, thought-provoking classic.

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SF Tidbits for 4/21/08

Tube Bits for 04/21/2008

  • Farscape is the show that just won’t die. First Farscape is getting a series of webisodes to air on in the near future. In conjunction with that, Farscape will also receieve a new comic series. Each series will be a set of 4 comics and will ‘explore and expand the stories of Farscape‘. Good news for fans.
  • Sci Fi Japan continues their coverage of Speed Racer in anticipation of the new movie’s release on May 9th. This time they look at the beginnings of Speed, or Mach Go Go Go in Japan. Complete with sketches from the show.
  • Has The Sarah Connor Chronicles finally been renewed? We’ve heard rumors before, and while we still have no official word, the rumor from scoop-master extraordinaire Michael Ausiello is that it has been renewed. Good news if true, and Fox is loading up on the SF shows for next season. With that many shows, they can’t jack with all of them, can they?
  • reviews the Sci Fi Shows of the ’70’s. I had completely forgotten about Fantasy Island, much to my shame (de shame boss, de shame!).
  • John at Grasping for the Wind explains how LOST lost me. And if, as John has, you’ve only seen through season 2, I can certainly understand why. The last part of season 3 and, of course, the new season have put the shine back on.
  • Lisa Paitz Spindler lists 13 things I enjoy about Battlestar Galactica. Sadly, none of them is ‘The Cylons have a comprehensive and logical plan’.
  • TV Guide has posted a really nice interview with Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto about being Spock. It’s amazing how much Quinto looks like Spock when in full makeup.

POLL RESULTS: SF books in the Perfect Library

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.


Which of these books from the “Perfect Library” is your favorite?


(147 total votes)

All I can say is more people need to read The Day of the Triffids.

Lots of comments this week…

“I admit that Foundation may not be the best work, in literary terms, of the list. However, I read the book first out of all of the books on the list, and the power and vision of Asimov’s work still resonates with me today.” – Jvstin

“For “favorite” I used the ‘one I enjoy re-reading the most’ criterion. These are all good, but really… nothing from the last twenty years? Nothing? How much time does it take to make something a “classic” anyway?” – Karen Burnham

“1984, Foundation or 2001? Flip a three-sided coin…” – platyjoe

“‘1984′ was the most influential and ‘Brave New World’ had the most metaphorical accuracy, but ‘Foundation’ (I assume this means the whole trilogy) was the most enjoyable. Of course, that’s from the perspective of a teenaged sf nerd. Let me re-read them all and I’ll give you my adult opinion…” – Matte Lozenge

“Whose perfect library? Basic, yes. But very limited, Tolkien…Lewis….Bradbury…Howard..Keyes….and on and on?

Blessings” – Richard Novak

“I voted for Brave New world, but Day of the Triffids was a very, very close second.” – SF Fangirl

“I didn’t answer this poll for several days because it was too hard to select just one. Really I’d almost have to include five of these as absolute musts: 1984, Brave New World, 20000 Leagues, Foundation, and 2001, with most of the rest almost-as-musts.” – Bryan

“Several years back, when I knew hardly anything of written sf I picked a copy of the Foundation based on thickness and cover art alone. I had no idea. After a few minutes reading my eyes were open wide, my mouth agape. I had no idea there were such things in this world. Since I have reread the book, ohhh a lot. So, I would say that Foundation is my favorite.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about your favorite villain from the Batman television series!

Sunday YouTube: High-Tech Noon

No, I’m not talking about Sean Connery’s Outland

Here’s a “video-shopped” version of High Noon to make it appear like some futistic old time West. Much coolness. And that “Marshal’s bionic eye” bit…nice touch

[via Roberson’s Interminable Ramble]

A Dilemma: Books I Can’t Finish Reading

I have a dilemma and I’d like your help. I have amassed a few of books I can’t finish because I don’t want to spend any more time reading them. Do you want to know about these books? Before you answer, let me explain why I consider it a hard decision.

Here at SFSignal we get a lot of emails from people asking us to review their books. Almost all of the requests are from major publishing houses and are part of the overall book hype machine. I’d like to think I have some integrity and will tell you when I don’t like a book, but disliking a book doesn’t seem to happen that often. Looking back over all the novels reviewed I reviewed so far this year, none have received less than 3 stars. In some ways I believe it goes to my argument that major publishing houses are unlikely to publish a bad book because 1) they have editors who work with the author to polish a book prior to publication and 2) they don’t want to lose money.

But of course, that’s not the whole story.

Update: Folks I owe an apology to the reviewers here on this blog. I did not intend to imply that the people here wouldn’t tell you when they didn’t like a novel. They certainly will and there is a ton of evidence of that here in the archives. I meant this to be about me and my dilemma involving small press/self-published works – not about the other fine folks who review here. I changed the paragraph above to be clearer and (I hope) remove the offensive language (and to be clear, it was offensive – I can only apologize again and humbly state that it was not intentionally so.) – Scott

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SF Tidbits for 4/20/08

Star Wars, The Empire Strikes back in 60 Seconds

Not re-enacted by bunnies, but still cool.

[via Topless Robot]

SF Tidbits for 4/19/08

REMINDER: U.S. Season Premiere of Doctor Who Tonight

Perhaps a little theme music to put you in the mood?

REVIEW: Sands of Oblivion

[NOTE: This is a guest review by blogger, author and ‘winner’ of our Sands of Oblivion contest, Larry Ketchersid. All opinions expresses herein are those of Larry and not necessarily those of the management, staff, families or pets of SF Signal. Although they might be. We may even tell if you ask nicely. Due to various technical issues (read- I’m lazy) this review was not posted under Larry’s name but under JP’s. See four sentences above.)]

REVIEW SUMMARY: All that you would expect from a SciFi channel monster movie: hokey special effects, bad acting….but, unlike most, this one had an interesting plot plus stars from TV series Serenity and Charmed.

MY RATING: (2 stars from me, 3 stars from my 17 year old son)

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Cecil B. DeMille films The Ten Commandments in the desert around Guadeloupe, California. Mysterious deaths, caused by some kind of curse, cause him to bury the constructed set. Sixty years later, archeologists try to find and move the set because of impending floods, and unearth an ancient Egyptian monster.


PROS: Interesting plot premise, Jayne (Adam Baldwin) and Inara/Adria (Morena Baccarin), an excellent gun-totting redneck retired Army guy as comic relief.

CONS: Special effects reminiscent of Power Rangers or other SciFi Channel monster movies; why is George Kennedy in this movie?;about the worst go-cart chase scene ever; Jayne plays a wussy-man…is there nothing sacred??

BOTTOM LINE: Im glad I didnt pay for it (thanks, SF Signal)but the Egyptian lead in and theme creates an interesting premise; just keep in mind it was free on the SciFi Channel and worth every penny.

My wife enters a lot of contests; last year, she won a trip to the Super Bowl and took me. I told her I won this movie on an SF Signal contest and I’d let her watch it with me to even the score.

After watching it, I’m still in her debt by a large amount and may owe her more.

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Friday YouTube: Robin Trips Batman While Running to Bat Pole

Nice going, Boy Wonder.

SF Tidbits for 4/18/08

Stories From the Golden Age by L. Ron Hubbard

Galaxy Press is embarking on an ambitious publishing project called Stories From the Golden Age, a project that will reprint 80 cross-genre Pulp titles written by L. Ron Hubbard. The project will span six years, with the publication of about one book per month.

From the Press Release:

..the Golden Age is again being celebrated, enabling readers to explore the largest series of multiple-genre, pulp fiction novels ever written by a single author — Stories from the Golden Age published by Los Angeles-based Galaxy Press. The series will include eighty titles with their original artwork to be released over as many months and will showcase some of the era’s most evocative and far ranging literary genres penned by explorer, master storyteller and multiple New York Times’ best-selling author L. Ron Hubbard.

It was 1938 when the top brass of the New York publishing company Street & Smith asked two of the most established top-line adventure writers of the day, Arthur J. Burkes and L. Ron Hubbard, to begin writing a new kind of science fiction story where people, not machines or gadgets were central to the story. They were introduced to now-legendary editor John W. Campbell, Jr., publisher of Astounding Science Fiction. From that moment on, the Golden Age was in full swing.

The series looks like it will be supported with podcasts, and downloadable extras, and the site makes mention of a “book & audio” club. Genres listed at the website include science fiction, fantasy, mystery, western, far-flung adventure, tales from the Orient, sea adventure, and air adventure.

REVIEW: Starcross by Philip Reeve


Starcross is Philip Reeve’s sequel to his awesome Larklight (SF Signal review) novel for young readers. This time, Art Mumby, his sister Myrtle and their mother travel to the finest sea-bathing resort in the asteroid belt, Starcross. While there, they encounter all manner of strange and interesting things, the least of which is menacing mechanical Punch and Judy machines. The mystery they uncover could spell doom for the British Empire!

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SF Tidbits for 4/17/08

Tube Bits for 04/17/2008

  • Ah yes, LOST, everyone’s favorite convoluted SF TV show. Do you think you know what’s going on? Then prove it. USA Today is running a contest for LOST fans whereby you can send in your hypothesis (200 or words or less) for any, or all, of the island mysteries and win a chance to have your hypothesis ‘graded’ by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse who will tell you if you’re supposition is right, wrong, or terribly wrong. The best will be printed in the paper and online, while the best of the best will get the Darlton treatment. I don’t think it’s possible to sum up the overall mystery in 200 words…
  • Amazon’s Screening Room continues their celebrity blog postage, this time with an entry by Tim’s favorite Galactica character, Boomer. Sorry, I mean Grace Park. You can follow the link above to hear the complete audio interview with Grace. Something I’m sure Tim will do. Repeatedly.
  • This past April 2nd part of the creative team behind Eureka attended a chat session at Missouri State University (whether in person or online I can’t determine). They cover quite a bit of stuff and not all of it pertaining to Eureka.
  • Warbirds is another Sci Fi Original movie debuting this Saturday. This part of the description I like, “the film is set during World War II and blends action and SF”. But it quickly devolves into yet another monster movie (YAMM, mmm, yams), “an Air Force colonel being ferried on a secret mission across the Pacific when a pterdodactyl [sic] attack forces his bomber and its all-female crew to land on a remote island”. Sigh. So much could be done SF-wise with a WWII movie, and we get pterodactyls. Well, actually, we get ‘pterdodactyls’ which sound like a cross between dodos and pterodactyls. Not something that sounds menacing.
  • The Nickelodean anime show, Avatar: The Last Airbender, seems to be quite popular. So much so that M. Night Shyamalan(a-ding-dong) is adapting it into a live-action movie. Yet another animated show turned into a live-action movie. Supposedly, the TV show was heavily influenced by the creator’s love for Hayao Miyazaki. Of course, I don’t hold out hope that the movie adaption will be anywhere close to Miyazaki’s level.

Wednesday YouTube: The Andromeda Strain Trailer and Promo

I’m getting excited about the A&E adaptation of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. I loved the book and enjoyed the 1971 Robert Wise film, and this is looking pretty decent even though they changed some things (as they always do).

A science fiction blog featuring science fiction book reviews and with frequent ramblings on fantasy, computers and the web.