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 goes back in time to dissect an 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.

Filed under: Tube Bits

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.

Filed under: BooksMovies

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.

Filed under: Tidbits

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]

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 12/27/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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.

Filed under: Tube Bits

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?

Filed under: Movies

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.

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 12/26/07

  • Yummy Xmas leftovers: The Daily Pop features A Batman Christmas Carol.
  • Recently free fiction at “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.

Filed under: Tidbits

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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Filed under: FireflyTV

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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Filed under: TV

It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Battlestar Galactica (Original)

“There are those who believe that life here began out there..” With those words Battlestar Galactica was launched, and gained quite the cult following, me included, that far outweighed it’s campiness.

Still, it led to the new, re-imagined Galactica we have now. So let’s return to 1979, and re-live the exciting encounter between the Galactica and Pegasus. Yes, we have both episodes!

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Filed under: TV

Cinematic Titanic releases The Oozing Skull

Cinematic Titanic, the new brainchild of the comic genuises who originally gave us Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K), released its first DVD a couple of days back, just in time to save us a long, cold, hard, icy, dark, cold, winter. Pop the little bundle of warmth titled The Oozing Skull onto your viewing device-of-choice and look forward to the funny (I myself have a mega-home-theatre that hoovers so much electricity that every time I power it up, Al Gore cries.). I find it most encouraging that they recorded it in front of a live audience and discussed how much that improved the performance (if only I were an employee of ILM and got to see it live!)

Filed under: Movies

It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Weird Science

I’m sure you all remember the movie, Weird Science, starring Anthony Michael Hall and the hot, Kelly LeBrock. Did you know it made the jump to the small screen, and actually lasted for five(?!) seasons?

Starring no one you know, but also the hot Vanessa Angel. And we’ve got the pilot for you. Enjoy!

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Filed under: TV

It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Buck Rogers

As our tour of Hulu sci fi goodness continues, we move into the late, late 1970’s and land on Buck Rogers, starring Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (you’re welcome Tim).

I’ve selected a very special episode for you. Quite possibly one of the worst ever episodes: “Space Rockers”! No need to thank me, I’m doing this all for you.

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Filed under: TV

It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Lost in Space

We continue our tour through Hulu’s science fiction library, stopping on another Irwin Allen classic.

This time, we present the very first episode of Lost in Space, in all it’s black-and-white glory!

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Filed under: TV

It’s a Sci Fi Christmas – Land of the Giants

Recently, I had the opportunity to join the closed beta for NBC’s new streaming video service, Hulu. It’s been called a YouTube competitor, but that’s really an inappropriate description. What it is, is a repository for a ton of TV show episodes, both old and new, that you can stream to your PC or, even cooler, embedded on a website, such as ours. This is awesomeness beyond belief.

So, as our Christmas gift to you, every hour or so for the next few hours we’ll be posting an episode, or two, of a classic or influential science fiction TV show. And what we show you is just a taste of the library Hulu has to offer. I’m impressed so far, I think you will be too.

First up, an Irwin Allen classic: Land of the Giants.

(Yes, you’ll have to put up with the occasional commercial. Deal with it, it’s free! And all videos are after the jump in deference to our readers with slower connections.)

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Filed under: TV

REVIEW: Keeping it Real by Justina Robson

REVIEW SUMMARY: Not your typical fantasy novel that is extremely imaginative, this book falls a little short for me.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following a rift in Texas the world we know is joined with 5 other planes filled with fantasy creatures. One of the elves named Zal has become a major rock star whose life is threatened when elements of his home plane move to kill him. Government agent and cyborg Lila Black is sent to help him and ends up with far more than she bargained for dealing with the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll world that Zal and his pals live in.


PROS: Highly unique fantasy setting, very well written dialog, often hilarious

CONS: Simple in structure, character growth didn’t seem genuine

BOTTOM LINE: Justina can write (far better than I ever well) and there are lots of things to like in this book. But the characters didn’t seem genuine enough to me and as a result I ended up feeling somewhat underwhelmed with the total book.

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Filed under: Book Review

Merry F#$%n’ Christmas, William Shatner

God Bless WIlliam Shatner, everyone.

Here’s a clip from Denis Leary’s Merry F#$%n’ Christmas Special.

[via Milk & Cookies]

Filed under: TV

SF Tidbits for 12/25/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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