MOVIE REVIEW: Sky High

REVIEW SUMMARY: Superheroes, villains, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell, Lynda Carter, and, oh yeah, positive messages for kids …what’s not to love?

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Will Stronghold, the son of world-famous superheroes, copes with the rigors of high school as a “normal”. Or is he?

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Positive messages for kids; cool uses of special powers; good special effects.

CONS: Some predictable moments for adults; soundtrack of 80′s covers only made me wish for the originals.

BOTTOM LINE: A fun and entertaining movie for geek parents to watch with their kids.

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Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 7/25/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 07/25/2007

  • Reaction Shot has an interesting tidbit regarding the 80′s classic SF show, V. It seems that the show creator, Kenneth Johnson, has penned a novel, adapted from a screenplay for a second mini-series. Johnson was the creator of the first mini-series, and his book takes up where that left off. No V: The Final Battle, no V: The TV Show. They didn’t happen. I’ll leave it to you to decide how wedded you are to those versions. The novel will be available this fall from TOR.
  • In case anyone is interested, you can purchase the DVDs for V: The Mini-Series, V: The Final Battle and V: The Complete TV Series. If you’d rather not buy the DVDs, you can download using Amazon’s Unbox service. Well, the mini-series, not the TV show. I chalk this one up in the same category as Buck Rogers: I couldn’t wait to watch them as a kid, but they make me cringe today.
  • Did you know The CW’s new genre show, Reaper, had its first episode directed by Kevin Smith? I find Smith to be a very funny person, even if I’m not a big fan of his films. I’ll probably tune in to see how this show looks. At least, being a bounty hunter for the devil sounds mildly intriguing. I’d also like to mention just how awful Flash-y the CW’s web site is. Take a Valium or something. You’re in last place for a reason.
  • Summer Glau discusses the changes between the Terminators from the films and The Sarah Conner Chronicles. It sounds like the Terminators will be less powerful than the movies. Interesting choice.
  • Does anyone remember the CGI TV show ReBoot? I remember seeing a few episodes and being somewhat interested, but I never really followed. Rainmaker Animation has announced their plans to release a trilogy of films for ReBoot. But wait, there’s more. There is also a ‘social network’ site for fans of the show to log on to: Zeroes 2 Heroes. Fans will be able to interact with the dev teams and suggest ideas for the reboot of ReBoot. Next month, fans will be able to vote for the pitches they want to see onscreen.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Blogging Tips Meme

Paul Raven from Velcro City Tourist Board has tagged us with the Blogging Tips Meme. Now, you may think this is because we have been at this blogging thing for four years, but its probably a pre-emptive tag, so we don’t tag him! :)

This isn’t a ‘standard’, answer the questions type meme. No, this meme we get to give you, the blogger, a helpful tip for your blogging pleasure. Or, in our case, the first thing we could think of.

-Start Copy-

It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!

Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!

1. Look, read, and learn. ****
-http://www.neonscent.com

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. ****
-http://www.bushmackel.com

3. Don’t let money change ya! ***
-http://www.therandomforest.info

4. Always reply to your comments. ***
-http://chattiekat.com

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. **
-http://chipsquips.com

6. Don’t give up – persistance is fertile. *
-http://www.velcro-city.co.uk

7. Give link credit where credit is due.
-http://www.sfsignal.com

-End Copy-

Now the fun part. We tag James at Big Dumb Object, John C. Wright, Jeff at Gravity Lens, Matthew Jarpe, Pete Tzinsky from BBT Magazine, the peeps at Club Jade, SF Signal fanboy and resident spellchecker Fred at Texas Best Grok, John Joseph Adams, Tech Republic’s Geekend, Angela at Scifi Chick and a bonus tag to Sci Fi Ranter Girl.

Filed under: Meta

William Shatner comments on Star Trek XI rumors.

From Forever Geek, we have a video of “The Shat” (as we call him) responding to the rumors about his lobbying for a part in the new movie. There has been some speculation that he was quite upset regarding the situation and clears the air in this video.

Filed under: Star Trek

I know a guy who re-reads Orson Scott Card’s Worthing Saga every year. I told him he needs to branch out. He told me he likes the story so much he makes it a tradition.

I can’t say I’ve ever gone that far, but I have re-read books before:

  • I read Dune twice. It did not hold up nearly as well on the second read.
  • I read The Fellowship of the Ring twice, but only because the first time through Lord of the Rings, I stopped in the middle of The Two Towers.
  • A non-genre example: I read Lord of the Flies twice; one force-fed reading in high school, and one much better reading as an adult.
  • (I’ve also said I want to re-read The Man Who Fell to Earth.)

That’s all I can recall at this point. I usually don’t re-read books because there is so much other good stuff out there to read and part of me – no matter how illogical and impossible I know it to be – wants to read it all.

What books have you read more than once?

Filed under: Books

REVIEW SUMMARY: It disturbs me to say that I liked so many bad people in this book.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Gunner Avery Cates is hired to execute the high priest of The Electric Church, a group of brain-stealing cyborgs (yes, you read that right) who aim to preach about eternal enlightenment.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Excellent pacing; well-written action sequences; fun characters; dark setting.

CONS: There’s something remarkably unsettling about passionately rooting for the killers and thieves.

BOTTOM LINE: A first-rate piece of science fiction entertainment.

The majority of the characters in Jeff Somers’ The Electric Church are not people you would want to meet in real life. They are murderers, thieves and generally shady characters. Even the police are nothing more than crooked cops. Blame it on the near-future dystopian New-York setting, a post-Unification society that has done the opposite; it has separated its citizens into the civilized and the uncivilized. Or blame it on the fact that the book only focuses on the uncivilized. Either way, you’re unlikely to a more disreputable group of people who are supposed to be the good guys.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 7/24/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits for 07/24/2008

  • Sci Fi Weekly has an interview with Bruce Boxleitner, Tracy Scoggins and Peter Woodward about the upcoming Babylon 5: The Lost Tales DVD. Galen sure sounds like he’s back to being his meddlesome sel.! The DVD is available now and is currently the #8 selling DVD on Amazon. Good on ya’ Joe!
  • Superhero Hype has a long interview with Heroes creator Tim Kring. Tim covers a lot of stuff, some which may be possible spoilers for season 2. One interesting thing he said was that he thought Hiro would end up being the comic relief for the show. Well, he is funny, but he’s also the heart and soul. A testament to the acting of Masi Oka.
  • Sci Fi Wire has a short piece on New Amsterdam‘s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays John Amsterdam, a 17th Century Dutch soldier who becomes immortal. I’m guessing this could be a somewhat interesting show, but can a continuing series continually explore the ramifications of immortality for more than a season at the most? Anyone else planning on watching this one?
  • MaryAnn Johanson, from Film.com, gets hooked on, of all things, Enterprise. Well, sort of hooked. She’s heard the last season gets really good and that it has a really good final episode (I’ve heard different about the finale), so she’s trying to gut it out. I have similar feelings about Enterprise. I lasted about 4 episodes and gave up. I’m shocked to see that it made it to 98 total. 98! That’s more than the original series. But I’ve been contemplating watching this series in its entirety as well. And I’d like to suggest that the next Trek series take place in the mirror universe. Now that would do wonders for the franchise, not to mention goatees.

Filed under: HeroesTube Bits

This month marks SF Signal’s 4th birthday. Go us! As in previous birthday posts, I will summarize here the highlights and low points (mostly the highlights – our egos are only so strong) of our cozy little blog thingie. When you’ve been in the blogging business as long as we have – as much as an advertising-free blog can be called a “business” – you pick up a little bit of the lingo and “cozy little blog thingie” is the official textbook definition. You can look that up for yourself.

There were lots of memorable posts this past year. Mostly on other blogs. (Ba-dum, crash!) On this blog we rambled a lot, mostly about books. Our favorite bookish posts are the ones where we solicit the opinions of our readership. That’s you. There were a series of Reader Challenges that we threw your way…challenges which you met head-on with courage, stamina and a big-@$$ helping of venom. Just the way we like it. In these posts, we asked you about sf books you haven’t read, the coolest sf threats, the coolest science fiction setting (for books and tv/film), and the next science fiction Grand Masters. An additional challenge – culminating this month with the release of the final book in the series – is embodied by The Harry Potter Outreach Program. Who knew reading a blog would be so much work for you, eh?

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Filed under: Meta

Tube Bits For 7/23/2007

  • Jack Coleman gives some insight into HRG’s character for season 2 of Heroes. Apparently he will still be a manipulative bastard who needs to carry a gun.
  • Heroes took home the Television Critics Association Award for ‘Program Of The Year’. I guess the season ender didn’t cause too much heartburn. The Discovery Channel also won two awards for their excellent Planet Earth series.
  • The Baltimore Sun discusses some of the upcoming new genre shows on TV. Is it me or are dead people making a come back this season? These shows can’t all be good can they?
  • Eclectic Commons wonders what would happen if Wonder Woman joined the WWE. The results aren’t pretty.
  • The Sci Fi Channel is developing a Running Man style reality TV show. Sadly, no Richard Dawson and no real weaponry. Sci Fi should just go all out and borrow the reality TV idea from Brasyl where pimped-out cars are left around to be jacked, and the thieves get to keep the car if they can avoid the police. Sweet.
  • The Seattle Post Intelligencer discusses the apparent snub of LOST, which did not receive a nomination for Outstanding Drama, despite having several other nominations for writing and acting. I think the ‘pod’ theory espoused is correct: the first 9 episodes were ok, Niki and Paolo were annoying, but the last few episodes rocked like few have rocked before. I’m waiting patiently for the next season.

Filed under: HeroesTube BitsTV

SF Tidbits for 7/23/07

  • Pan Macmillan is releasing an Exclusive Boxed Edition of Peter F. Hamilton’s Dreaming Void. [via Peter F. Hamilton]
  • SFFaudio has started a campaign to get the shelved J. Michael Straczynski radio drama “The Adventures of Apocalypse Al” onto the air.
  • It’s not just science fiction, comic books are dying, too. Or are they? [via Gravity Lens]
  • Ian Sales tells us Why Television Sci-Fi Sucks. “Television sf may be the intellectually-challenged brother of written sf, but if it wants to be “good” then it’s still bound by the same rules, it should still use the same techniques.”
  • Bloomberg reports that sales of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows reached 8.3 million copies on the day of its release. [via GalleyCat]

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: Reading…More of Less?

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Are you reading more or less than you did 10 years ago?

RESULTS

(130 total votes)

Comments this week:

“I voted less…but that’s for lack of time, not lack of interest. Ten years ago, I was in elementary school. Now I’m in college and I work two jobs.” – Claire

“Much, much less. Being a adult with obligations provides a lot less reading time than than being a kid/student. Also I “read” a lot more on the internet now – blogs, fan fiction, etc which I put in a different catagory than reading books and print materials.” – Kristen

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Filed under: Polls

SF Tidbits for 7/22/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Sunday YouTube: Star Trekkin’

(Apologies in advance. It was either this or “Singing Picard“.)

As much of a science fiction fan that I am, I never got into The Firm’s musical Star Trek parody “Star Trekkin’”. I generally lumped this song in the same bucket as “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”, “The Streak”, and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”. However, I know that many people out there love comedy in musical format, so here’s the claymation video.

And truth be told, I caught myself tapping my foot a teeny bit. “There’s Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow..”

Great…now I can’t the damn thing out of my head. Oh well, it could be worse.

[Curse you, Edd Vick! ;-)]

Filed under: HumorMusicStar Trek

According to the Discover magazine article Blinded by Science: Fictional Reality, science fiction helped make the present but now it’s obsolete:

Then again, it could also be the other thing–the thing that nobody’s quite bringing up over the plastic cups of Yellowtail Merlot. Which is that science fiction, the genre that lit the way for a nervous mankind as it crept through the shadows of the 20th century, has suddenly and entirely ceased to matter.

Granted, the ways in which it once did matter were never obvious. The early days of science fiction, much like all its later days, found its exponents bickering about what the genre was, what it should be, and what its relationship was–if indeed it had one–with the more established human pursuit known as Science.

But the genre has an even bigger dragon to slay with its new profusion of cheesy, dwarf-wrought superswords: the scarcity of foreseeable future.

The world is speeding up, you may have noticed, and the rate at which it’s speeding up is speeding up, and the natural human curiosity that science fiction was invented to meet is increasingly being met by reality. Why would I spend my money on a book about amazing-but-fake technology when we’re only a few weeks away from Steve Jobs unveiling a cell phone that doubles as a jetpack and a travel iron?

[via Christopher Paul Carey]

Filed under: Books

Deathly Hallows Spoilers!!!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, our crack team (see we have more than one) of book acquisition specialists have braved the parties and lines to not only purchase the new Harry Potter book, but also put in our hands so that we could not only demonstrate that the money spent on Evelyn Wood Speed reading courses was not in vain. So after completing what can only be described as a perusal and skimming of the contents within, we have decided to help all those folks who are not reading the book to learn the shocking secrets held within. Without any additional fanfare (because I am pretty sure there was waaaay too much tonight), SF Signal brings you the top 10 spoilers from Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

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Filed under: Humor

SF Tidbits for 7/21/07

  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Ben Peek, author of Black Sheep.
  • Amazon Blog has pasted part 2 of an interview with William Gibson, author of Spook Country.
  • Artist Bob Eggleton shows us the cover art for an upcoming Neal Asher book.
  • New/Updated at Gutenberg: “The Hills of Home” by Alfred Coppel.
  • Edward Champion offers 7 Additional Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit, following LifeParticles’ 14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit.
  • The Book Tour connects authors and readers. See when authors are coming to your area with a Google Map mashup! [via Booksquare]
  • Paul DiFillipo posts his essay on sf author Michael Bishop as it appeared in the 2003 reference work The Scribner Writers Series: Supernatural Fiction Writers. “A talent capable of being decanted into many different molds, genre and otherwise, Bishop’s skills and vision translate from one medium to another without diminishment or concealment.” [via Matt Cheney]
  • The Great Eric muses about The Sin of High School English Class, or Why He Hates Classic Literature. “Starship Troopers taught me more about fascism than pretty much anything else I’ve ever read, because it’s the only book that forced me to think about it on a higher level than ‘Hitler is evil!’ “
  • Kylopod discusses the myth of the fantasy genre. ” ‘Fantasy’ is a funny name for a genre. The word suggests make-believe. All fiction is make-believe, but fantasy deals specifically with events that not only didn’t happen, but couldn’t happen. We, the readers, allow our minds to enter a universe that we know could never exist. The books tap into some part of our subconscious where rationality has not penetrated, and for a brief period of time we “believe” in magic. The genre is not about exploring possibilities, as science fiction does, but about losing ourselves in impossibilities. As Orson Scott Card put it in his book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, ‘science fiction is about what could be but isn’t; fantasy is about what couldn’t be’ “
  • Here’s John C. Wright on Ursula K LeGuin. (HEL-lo!)
  • Check out this cool Robbie the Robot bank/alarm clock combo.
  • Holy Calamity looks at Dan Dare, Pilot of the Paleo-Future. “Dan Dare went on to have as massive an impact on British science fiction and comic as you’d expect from a magazine selling two million copies a week.”
  • Submitted without comment: The Fat Wonder Woman Blog. [via Neatorama]
  • SciFi Scanner shows us John Cleese meeting Doctor Who.
  • BoingBoing points us to a Worth1000 Photoshop contest with the topic of If Trekkies Ruled.
  • This is what happens when Zombies go vegetarian. [via Dark Roast]

Filed under: Tidbits

A Closer Look At The Emmy Nominations

There is, of course, and extensive list of all the Emmy nominations online. But lets face it, we don’t care about most of them, only the ones where the genre-related shows are nominated. Let’s take a look at the nominations and see what the competition is.

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Filed under: Battlestar GalacticaHeroesLOSTTV

Pete Crowther sends word that there’s another publisher to welcome to the blogosphere. His own PS Publishing has announced the PS Publishing News Room. As per the site:

We’ll be using the News Room to keep you up-to-date with all the latest PS publication news and behind-the-scenes developments, point you in the direction of PS-related material elsewhere out there on the World Wide Web and, from time-to-time, bring you news and info from PS authors, artists and partners.

We’ve kick-started the process with a couple of months’ worth of back-dated items to fill you in on what we’ve been up to – or have spotted elsewhere – recently; including the latest, June 2007 news bulletin from our highly esteemed (and, indeed, award-winning) publisher, Pete Crowther.

The site is run by Ariel, who I’ve been reading since his Alien Online days. Back then, Ariel inspired me to write my review criteria. Today he also blogs at The Genre Files and UKSF Book News, so he’s no slouch to blogging. Peter Crowther, no slouch himself, is an award-winning author and editor.

Good luck, Ariel and Peter!

Filed under: Web Sites

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