Sunday Cinema: Firefly – “Out of Gas”

I know a lot of people like this one, but I always found the last minute rescue of Mal to be completely unbelievable. Just how many ships are there in the depths of space for the crew to come across and ask for help?

It smacks of a deus ex machina and spoils the episode somewhat for me.

Filed under: FireflyTV

New Wall-E Trailer (#3)

Two movies are on my ‘must see’ list this year: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and this one, Wall-E.

And now, hot on the heels of the Super Bowl commercial, is this, longer trailer, now with more storyline! I can’t wait. I want a Wall-E action figure. Or plush I can hang from my rear view mirror, ’cause that’s how I roll…

Filed under: Movies

Is the Future of Reading Ebooks and Cell Phones?

This is one one of those serendipitous posts. Earlier this week I had saved a link to a ComputerWorld aricle, Will cell phones save books? The point being: People aren’t reading as much anymore (yes, this again) so why not deliver books via cell phones? After all, the kids in Japan love that, so why not here?

I’m not sure you’re going to get people, let alone kids, to read books just by making them available on cell phones. The point about making them participatory might generate some interest, but my guess is that most people use their entertainment to be immediate and short, like a video or song, and not something like an ebook.

Which brings us to Epublisher’s Weekly’s article 30 Benefits of Ebooks. Being portable is one of them. Supposedly, ebooks are cheaper and more environmentally friendly. There are a lot of interesting points, but none of them address the real problem I have with ebooks (and why I don’t think cell phones are a good medium for books), the screen.

I hate all of the current screen sizes, and I intensely dislike the current methods of reading ebooks. Even my iPaq, with a bright screen, sucks for reading. I’m holding out hope that e-paper might make this better. Until we get ‘paper’, like the USA Today shown in Minority Report, I don’t see ebooks going anywhere fast.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/10/08

  • Neal Asher writes that Nightshade books is publishing his next book, Shadow of the Scorpion, on May 1st. Set in the Polity universe, The book covers the early part of Cormac’s life.
  • Free Reads: Joe R. Lansdale is posting one free fiction story a week (each one replacing the one before it) on his website. Peripheral Vision
  • A writer in need: Caitlin R. Kiernan blogs about her medical condition, which has forced her to have an Ebay auction to pay bills. [via Omnivoracious]
  • Karl Schroeder has a re-designed website. [via SF Canada]
  • Michael Swanwick tells the story of how science fiction writer Murray Leinster (Will Jenkins) worked to help protect our submarine forces in World War II. [via TexasBestGrok]

Filed under: Tidbits

The 7 Old Men of Science Fiction


Over at No Smoking in the Skull Cave, Becca has posted an awesome cartoon rendering of Seven Famous Science Fiction Authors.

The image has clues to their identities…can you name them? (Click the image for the larger version.)

Filed under: Books

Sign Up for Free eBooks from Tor

Irene Gallo, Art Director for Tor Books, tells us that Tor has something exciting and new on the horizon:

Something new is coming. Register to be one of the first to join us, and receive free digital books from bestselling and award-winning SF and fantasy authors. This is just the beginning.

Once you register, you’ll receive our newsletter and a link to download a digital book. And you’ll receive a link to another new book every week.

The first week’s free book is Mistborn, by rising fantasy star Brandon Sanderson. Next week’s will be Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, 2006’s winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Over the next several weeks, other books still.

So sign up. Stay in touch. And watch the skies.

Filed under: BooksWeb Sites

SF Tidbits for 2/9/08

  • Fantasy Book Critic interviews Felix Gilman, author of Thunderer: “I wrote a fantasy because I thought it would be fun, because I wanted to write something really strange, and because a sort of pulp-adventure-narrative seemed like a framework on which to string together the imagery and mood I wanted.” [Note: Felix Gilman has been added to the list of sf/f authors who blog.]
  • UK SF Book News interviews James Lovegrove about his forthcoming Solaris novel, The Age of Ra: “It’s more a fantasy-flavoured imagining of how the world might have turned out if (a) gods are real and (b) one of the pantheons decided to turf out all the others and claim the entire earth for itself.”
  • More Solaris news:
    • Chris Roberson points out that the cover of Nick Gevers’ steampunk anthology being published by Solaris, Extraordinary Engines, is quite cool.
    • Solaris has announced the purchase of two new books: an anthology from Ellen Datlow (Poe, an anthology of remixed and re-imagined tales inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s work), and Evil Ways by Justin Gustainis (a second Quincey Morris novel).
  • Recently free fiction at “The Circuit Riders” by R.C. FitzPatrick (1962).
  • Kathryn Cramer tells us the website for The New York Review of Science Fiction has undergone a redesign. Spiffy!
  • Over at SF Novelists, and his own site, Mike Brotherton (Spider Star) names The Worst Science Fiction Movie Ever! Can you guess what it is?
  • Over at A Different View of Reality, Emil Jung looks at The Value of Science Fiction and Fantasy: “Imaginative literature ultimately enables us to face ourselves.”
  • Sure, science fiction is the literature of ideas, but sometimes those ideas don’t come easy to writers. Worry no more! Julia West offers a Science Fiction Idea Generator which provides random ideas in categories like characters, items, descriptors, places, events. , jobs/occupations, and emotions. Why, I’m not even a writer and this generator helped me craft (and by “craft” I mean “hodge-podge”) this beauty: “The mutant starship crew was fearful of their escape from prison.” Take that, Mr. Wolfe!
  • You want lists? We got your lists right here!

Filed under: Tidbits

Is It Over? The Writer’s Strike

According to Micheal Eisner on CNBC yesterday, a deal has been made to bring the current writer’s strike to an end. Apparently, the negotiators have reached an agreement which the writers will vote on this Saturday.

Of course, if the deal is ratified, we aren’t going to see immediate results. As far as TV shows go, I’m assuming LOST will now have a short break after the current 8 or so episodes have aired, until new ones can be written and shot. But what about Galactica? Will this clear the way for actually ending the show? And will the proposed spin-off, Caprica, be shelved again? And just when will Chuck return with the new episodes that NBC ordered? Sci Fi Wire also looks at the films affected by the strike.

I’ve listed the shows I’m glad will be back. What are you looking forward to?

Filed under: TV

Tube Bits for 02/08/2008

  • This has been all over the nets, but its worth a repeat. Will Arnett is out as the voice of KITT in the upcoming Knigth Rider re-make, despite the fact he had recorded all his dialog. Instead, Val Kilmer is in, and is hurriedly recording his dialog for the show. The reason? Arnett has a contract conflict of interest. He does the voiceover for several GM products. The Mustang in the show is a Ford. GM didn’t like that. To them I say: See what happens when you canceled the Firebird? No KITT for you!
  • If you’re a geek, like us, then you probably enjoy the crazy humor stylings of Monty Python. Most people would agree they are pretty geeky. But did you know there 20 pop-cultural obsessions even geekier than Monty Python? As always, some I agree with (LARPS, Ren Fests) and some I don’t (fantasy sports, Michael Jackson(!!!)).
  • looks at the fifth season of Stargate: Atalantis and wonders: Who did they have to (censored) to get five seasons of Stargate Atlantis? I’ve never watched the show so I can’t comment much, except to say: It must be making money, thus another season.
  • Patricia at FanaticSpace has a nice article examining Eureka and underscores what I like about the show: the characters.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Philip K. Dick, Dave Itzkoff, and the Young Adult Novel

Given the the recent hubbub over Dave Itzkoff’s recent comments on young adult fiction – BTW, Gwenda Bond has a nice roundup of reaction to this – you would think the man would steer clear of the subject.

Well, in this one instance I’m glad he didn’t.

His latest article reveals a young adult book written by Philip K. Dick that was posthumously published in 1988: Nick and the Glimmung. While this isn’t really news, it’s new to me.

Although, as Itzkoff states, the book was never released in the U.S., Subterranean Press has announced a U.S. edition.

Wikipedia has more details on the book.

Filed under: Books

Friday YouTube: William Shatner Plays With Himself

…and loses.

Filed under: Star Trek

SF Tidbits for 2/8/08

Filed under: Tidbits

SciFi Dept. Looks at Comic Book Movies

In the latest weekly episode of SciFi Dept., the inimitable Kevin Maher investigates the comic-book-movie genre’s future by interviewing the guys from the Comic Book Club, a weekly talk show featuring New York comedians talking shop with comic book industry professionals.

Filed under: Books

Tube Bits for 02/07/2008

  • Great news for all you TekWar fans! Image Entertainment is planning on an American release of the series based on William Shatner’s novels of the same name. It starred Greg Evigan of BJ and the Bear fame (that may date me, but I don’t care) as Jake Cardigan, who is fighting to end the advance of the drug ‘Tek’. It will retail for $40. Stay tuned for more exciting information!
  • The Mattress Police have created a script for the parody film Terminator vs. Highlander – The Sarah Connor McLeod Chronicles. I think you’ll be amused.
  • Neatorama has a couple of really cool LEGO productions for us today. First is this incredible Predator head made from LEGOs. Awesome. And then there is this really sweet set of Futurama characters. LEGO really ought to look into sets for the Predator series, think LEGO Arnie, and Futurama. Those would rule.
  • Apparently, according to the SciFiBlog, the pilot script for J.J. Abrams’ new TV series, Fringe, has been leaked on the innertubes. Potential spoilers there, BTW, if this is, in fact true. And if it is, ack.
  • Off The Pink offers us 5 Things LOST Can Teach Us About Storytelling. I have to agree with everything here.
  • And finally, Buddy TV brings us the What Is Your Fate On LOST quiz. You may wonder what my fate is. I’m glad you asked:

    What do I win?

Filed under: Tube Bits

SF Tidbits for 2/7/08

Filed under: Tidbits

MIND MELD: The Literature Of Ideas

Today we’re focusing on science fictional ideas. The ones that capture our imagination and fire the sense of wonder that drives us to read science fiction. Things like psychohistory, or the Culture, or Rama. There’s plenty more. We asked several authors about these ideas, but with, as you’ll see, a twist.

Science fiction has been called “the literature of ideas”. Focusing on the ‘ideas’ part, what science fictional idea do you wish you had written first?

An ‘idea’ here meaning a character, setting, piece of technology or anything else that fired your imagination and, possibly, made you a bit envious that you didn’t think of it first.

A little professional jealousy isn’t a bad thing, right?

Tobias Buckell
Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies.

I kind of wish I’d been the guy to think up the idea of a giant ringworld, like Larry Niven, because if that was the case I’d been on the phone with every press outlet I could find saying ‘hey, they ripped off my really cool idea.’ I wouldn’t sue them or anything, but what a great platform that would be for talking about your own idea! Halo is totally an incredible world that every Xbox player recognizes, any attempt to reach out to those players would be a lot of fun. Plus, then you’d be able to frag bad guys in a video game that looks like it crawled out of something you wrote. How cool would that be? I think it’d be pretty cool.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Mind Meld

Artist Jim Murray

Here are 4 reasons why you should visit the website of artist Jim Murray.

[via Irene @ The Art Department]

Filed under: ArtWeb Sites

Live On Stage…It’s Star Trek: The Music!

No, it’s not a live production of The Star Trek Jukebox…

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra sets out to capture new ears with their performance of Star Trek: The Music, a concert featuring music from the shows and movies and also featuring appearances by television stars John de Lancie and Robert Picardo:

That maestro of pops, Erich Kunzel of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, will be here as guest conductor, leading the TSO, as he did three years earlier for the world premiere of the Star Wars Concert.

Helping the musicians along will be two veteran Star Trek actors – John de Lancie (Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, also Deep Space Nine and Voyager) and Robert Picardo (The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager) – appearing onstage as co-hosts.

Here’s one event that will not include tunes by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven or Brahms – or any other revered, long-dead Europeans. Instead, under Kunzel’s baton, the orchestra will perform some of Star Trek‘s most notable music, including Alexander Courage’s theme from the original TV series.

The TSO will also play Emmy Award-winner Jerry Goldsmith’s opening theme for Star Trek: Voyager, the Klingon battle theme and the opening music from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Other composers whose work will be heard include Cliff Eidelman (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), Leonard Roseman (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), Dennis McCarthy (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and James Horner (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).

[via Torontoist via Derryl Murphy]

Filed under: MusicStar Trek

SF Tidbits for 2/6/08

Filed under: Tidbits

RIP: Barry Morse

Sad news:

Actor Barry Morse, who played a detective pursuing the wrongly accused Dr. Richard Kimble in 1960s TV series The Fugitive, has died, his son said Tuesday. He was 89.

Hayward Morse said his father died Saturday at University College Hospital in London after a brief illness.

Born in London in 1918, Morse trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and appeared in British repertory and West End theaters before emigrating in 1951 to Canada, where he became a regular on radio and television.

Morse also played Professor Victor Bergman in 1970s science fiction series Space 1999.

See also:

Official website

Wikipedia entry

Filed under: TV

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