Tube Bits For 08/06/2007

  • La Dolce Vita reminisces about about Time Tunnel, and contrasts his/her childhood memories vs. the realty of the show. Verdict: fun if you’re a kid, not so much as an adult. this can be said of much early TV science fiction. I wonder how well the newer stuff will hold up?
  • Charles G. at Blog Space has a short piece on the Sci-Fi Drive-In at Disney-MGM Studios. As with Charles, I’m from the Star Wars generation, but this place does look kinda fun. I’d definitely visit if I ever get to Disney-MGM. Additional links about the drive-in at the bottom of his post.
  • Bankrate.com has a short interview with Damon Lindelof, executive producer of LOST. Damon says LOST wasn’t supposed to be a big hit, they were aiming to be a cult success. Looks like they over achieved.
  • SyFy Portal has an article detailing the future plans for the internet TV show Sanctuary. Apparently a video game is in the works and a jump to the small screen isn’t out of the question.
  • Periodically we find a post about re-imagining/re-booting or updating Star Trek. A poster on SF Fandom is the latest to do so, positing a couple of scenarios that don’t mesh with Rodenberry’s vision, but would certainly add some spice.
  • Variety has a short article covering DVR use in Los Angeles. The upshot being that popular shows display a distinct uptick in ratings when the Nielsen “day plus seven” ratings are viewed. Even less popular shows show an increase in ratings. The results seems to indicate that shows that people are interested in will be recorded. These results are somewhat consistent with our post Does Tivo Kill Science Fiction?

Filed under: Tube BitsTV

POLL RESULTS: Masters of Science Fiction

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
The sci-fi anthology show Masters of Science Fiction airs this week. Do you plan on watching?

RESULTS

(71 total votes)

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about whether Harry Potter is destined to be a classic!

Filed under: Polls

Harry Potter And The Aftermath

Unless you’ve just returned from a round trip to Alpha Centauri, you know that the last installment in the Harry Potter series has been released to much fanfare (see our review). With the story finally at an end, you’d think everything would be wrapped up neatly. But you’d be wrong. Harry Potter fans still have questions. Lot’s of questions. That’s 120000 questions submitted during an online chat with J.K. Rowling. Rowling gives more details on life after Voldemort and fleshes out the stories of some of the other characters (too bad that didn’t make it into the book). If you’re interested, and haven’t seen it yet, you can read the full chat transcript over on MuggleNet.

With all this attention on Potter after the last book’s release, The Meadville Tribune wonders whether Harry Potter has what it takes to be a classic? And by classic they are referring to things like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord Of The Rings, and Winnie The Pooh, among others.

Now this is a very interesting question. I’d say from a purely writing standpoint that the Potter series doesn’t stand up too well to those other books. Certainly Rowling has become a better writer, but I don’t think Potter has the depth of Chronicles or LotR. Yes, the Potter series is full of interesting, fantastical ideas, but it’s really a pastiche of ideas and themes that already exist, from mythology to modern day fantasy. Woven into an enjoyable tale, yes, but really nothing terribly new.

The interesting thing to me is: Will Potter achieve classic status by virtue of its immense popularity? I’d say this is almost a certainty, if by classic we mean something that will be read and re-read by generations to come. I’d bet that the younger set who’ve read Potter will read the books and share the stories with their children. And since we’re talking millions of readers, that’s a lot of kids. I’m sure we’ll see that Potter books in print for a long, long time, and the Potter franchise will still be in the public’s eye with the last two films to go.

So, I think Potter has a decent chance to be regarded as a ‘classic’ but due more to its popularity than to how good of a story it is.

Filed under: Books

Sci-Fi Week at XFire

August 13th – 17th is Sci-Fi Week at XFire, bringing you 5 days of chats with the top authors, artists, and creators in the field of science fiction.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday August 13: Authors Charles Stross, Peter Watts, Vernor Vinge and Artist Michael Whelan.
  • Tuesday August 14: Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
  • Wednesday August 15: Jim Butcher, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
  • Thursday August 16: Author James Patrick Kelly and Webcomic Artist R. Stevens.
  • Friday August 17: Dan Abnett and Spider Robinson.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 8/5/07

  • Award news: The winners of the Sidewise Awards for Alternate History are Charles Stross for The Family Trade, The Hidden Family, and The Clan Corporate (Tor 2004-2006) and Gardner Dozois for “Counterfactual” from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 2006. [via James Nicoll]
  • StarWars.com has a new subsite dedicated to The Clone Wars. [via TheForce.net]
  • Author Karen Miller has a three-part interview with Lois McMaster Bujold. “Tolkien and Pratchett are two other writers who, notably, have come the long way around to get home: the landscapes of Tolkien’s own late 19th Century childhood informing aspects of his tales, Pratchett most recently with the Chalk, home turf of Tiffany Aching and himself. And not just home ground: it’s the lost place, the refuge of distant memory.”
  • Only interviews William Gibson (Spook Country). “I think that I’m pretty much a complete urban life-form at this point. The distinction between being urban and not being urban has more to do with bandwidth than where you live. Your little kids in Omaha with their bedrooms are totally urban creatures, but there’s no city outside their window.”
  • Marissa Lingen talks about what she wants from science fiction. “I would like more upbeat-cool futures we could get to from here. [...] FTL all you want, but don’t pretend that we have a working space program at the moment or, y’know, in my lifetime.”

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 08/04/2007

  • I Am Addicted has some interesting Dr. Who links for you, including a Dalek cake, a DIY Dalek and a knitted Dalek. Which looks sweet.
  • Sybil’s’ Garage has a slight rant on the paucity of good science fiction on TV. They use Erueka as an example of non-good SF TV. I can see their point, as the technobabble has increased this season, but I still like it because it’s goofy fun, and it isn’t about science, but the characters. But the bigger point still stands: there really isn’t much good science fiction on TV.
  • It appears that The Dresden Files has finally been cancelled by Sci Fi. Too bad they didn’t stick to the books, those stories are better than what we got on TV.
  • Fox seems to be at it again, this time with New Amsterdam. The show has been moved to mid-season when people actually watch Fox. That’s a rather interesting reason, and I’m not sure I buy it. It will be replaced with Don’t Forget The Lyrics, which has too much contestant, not enough Wayne Brady.
  • If you didn’t get enough Comic-Con 2007 and you own a (working) Xbox 360, then Xbox Live Marketplace has a ton of content for you to download and watch, including panel discussions and new trailers.

Filed under: Tube BitsTV

SF Tidbits for 8/4/07

Filed under: Tidbits

[via Cynical-C]

Filed under: Star Wars

Harlan Ellison Profiled in Documentary

From Jewish Journal:

…the celebrated writer is the subject of a new documentary, “Dreams With Sharp Teeth,” the title taken from a three-volume collection of Ellison’s stories.

The documentary by Erik Nelson traces Ellison’s life from his tumultuous childhood in Painesville, Ohio, where Ellison lived as “a Jew in a world where there were no Jews.” Ellison’s Jewish heritage made him a favorite target of physical and verbal abuse by the local bullies. He retaliated years later by naming the villains in his story after his childhood nemeses. “What gets you passionate and angry enough to write are the hurtful memories,” he told Tom Snyder during a 1974 television appearance.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 8/3/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 08/03/2007

  • Heroes news: Buddy TV covers the Heroes conference call held on 08/02 with Tim Kring and Masi Oka, which covers wide range of things, including tidbits about the villains for Season 2. MovieWeb has a more in depth article on the Heroes Season 1 DVDs. Remember, the DVDs are released on August 28th. And now you can check out the Heroes Comic-Con 2007 panel for yourself, courtesy of NBC (nice job NBC). [via TheTVAddict.com]
  • Speaking of Comic-Con 2007 panels, over on DarkUFO, you can view the entire LOST panel. Dang, Lindelof and Cuse are funny guys. When does 2008 get here again? And Buddy TV has a short article on the rumored addition of two new cast members.
  • The San Jose Mercury News has a pre-post-mortem on the sure to canceled show Caveman. Wondering if the show will actually air, they say, ” Me? I putting my money on ‘never sees the light of day.'” Now that’s an observation so simple, even a caveman could make it.
  • HubPages has an interesting article on How 5 Science Fiction Series Were Destroyed, that is, how they stayed on too long and spiraled into a grisly end. The only one I ever watched any of, and I’ve seen every episode, is Star Trek. The others never did much for me.

Filed under: HeroesLOSTStar TrekTube Bits

Genre TV: ABC Family Channel and Sci Fi Channel

This is the last in our series looking at the upcoming genre shows on TV (see ABC, CBS, The CW and Fox and NBC). Today we’re focusing on the ABC Family Channel and the Sci Fi Channel, each with only one new show, so this will be short and sweet.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: TV

Because there’s more to life than tidbits…

21 SF/F Books Whose Titles Would Be Funnier if They Used the Word “Pants”

  1. 20,000 Pants Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  2. A Fire Upon the Pants/A Deepness in the Pants by Vernor Vinge
  3. A Journey to the Center of the Pants by Jules Verne
  4. A Song of Ice and Pants by George R. R. Martin
  5. A Stranger in Strange Pants by Robert A. Heinlein
  6. Altered Pants by Richard K. Morgan
  7. Do Androids Dream of Electric Pants? by Philip K. Dick
  8. Fallen Pants by Peter F. Hamilton
  9. His Majesty’s Pants by Naomi Novik
  10. Lest Pants Fall by L. Sprague De Camp
  11. Little, Pants by John Crowley
  12. Lord of the Pants (Fellowship of the Pants/The Two Pants/Pants of the King) by J.R.R. Tolkien
  13. Make Pants! Make Pants! by Harry Harrison
  14. Pants for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  15. Red Pants/Blue Pants/Green Pants by Kim Stanley Robinson
  16. Snow Pants by Neal Stephenson
  17. The Lion, the Witch and the Pants by C.S. Lewis
  18. The Man in the High Pants by Philip K. Dick
  19. The Pants My Destination by Alfred Bester
  20. The Pants of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
  21. Titus Pants by Mervyn Peake

Bonus! (Heh-heh…I said “bonus”…)

13 SF/F Stories Whose Titles Would Be Funnier if They Used the Word “Pants”

  1. “Bears Discover Pants” by Terry Bisson
  2. “Behold the Pants” by Michael Moorcock
  3. “Ender’s Pants” by Orson Scott Card
  4. “I Have No Pants and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison
  5. “Microcosmic Pants” by Theodore Sturgeon
  6. “Pants for Leibowitz” by Walter M Miller
  7. “Schrödinger’s Pants” George Effinger
  8. “The Cold Pants” by Tom Godwin
  9. “The Little Black Pants” by C M Kornbluth
  10. “The Man Who Sold the Pants” by Robert A Heinlein
  11. “The Nine Billion Pants Of God” by Arthur C Clarke
  12. “The Pants Men Don’t See” by James Tiptree, Jr.
  13. “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Pants” by Samuel Delany

Filed under: BooksHumor

Tube Bits For 08/02/2007

  • The fan produced Star Trek: New Voyages has announced the premiere date for their latest episode “World Enough And Time”, starring George Takei. The new episode will debut on Aug. 23rd, at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills. The are also running a contest where the winner will be flown in the see the premier and have dinner with Takei. Has anyone watched any of the New Voyages? I’m rather intrigued now.
  • J. Michael Straczynskl has taken over Amazon’s Unbox TV. Among other things, he lists standout episodes of Babylon 5 and he gives a selection of comics he has written.
  • Buddy TV has a short interview with Sam Waterson on his upcoming appearance on Masters Of Science Fiction. I could make a joke about the creator of Calvin and Hobbes appearing on a sci fi show, but it would suck so I won’t.
  • Speaking of Masters Of Science Fiction, AZ Central thinks the show is ‘buried treasure‘. It’s apparent ABC doesn’t think so, but we’ll get our chance to find out real soon. As in this Saturday.
  • Heroes The Series points us to an NBC contest where they are giving away copies of the forthcoming Heroes Season 1 DVD set. All you have to do is answer trivia questions about the show to potentially win.
  • In our look at ABC’s Fall Genre TV lineup I wondered about how good a show Pushing Daisies might be. Well, if the torrent pirates are correct, it will be a hit. Much like Heroes before it, the screener for Pushing Daisies is all over the torrent networks and is generating a lot of hype. How long will it be before the studios just cut out the middle man and allow viewers to watch and vote on all the pilots that were ordered? Just think of the positive press the first studio to do this will receive. [via Buddy TV]

Filed under: Star TrekTube BitsTV

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for July 2007

As per Google Analytics, here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for July 2007:

  1. Deathly Hallows Spoilers!!!
  2. CNet: 10 Ways Science Fiction Influenced Real-Life Science
  3. Reader Challenge #6 – The Harry Potter Outreach Program Final Update
  4. A Big-@$$ Collection of Robert A. Heinlein Links
  5. My Favorite Type Of Science Fiction: Space Opera
  6. A Look at Some Upcoming SF/F Films
  7. What Books Have You Read More Than Once?
  8. Reader Challenge #7: The Next Science Fiction Grand Masters
  9. Why Do You Read/Watch Science Fiction?
  10. Caption Challenge #3: George Lucas Edition

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

  1. SF/F Writers Who Blog
  2. Solve Rubik’s Cube
  3. POLL: Hottest SciFi/Fantasy Babe NOT of Yesteryear
  4. Top 10 Star Wars Spoofs
  5. Foundation: The Movie
  6. Forklift Safety Video
  7. Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movies Lists
  8. Free SciFi Movies
  9. Reader Challenge #6 – The Harry Potter Outreach Program
  10. Here’s a shocker… (The Klausner Post)

Filed under: Meta

SF Tidbits for 8/2/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Genre TV: NBC’s Fall Lineup

Our continuing look at the upcoming genre shows takes us to NBC (see ABC, CBS, The CW and Fox), who will have four new programs for your entertainment. Of course, being mired in last place among the big four networks means that NBC is willing to take a chance and hope they can catch Heroes lightning in a bottle again. Will they be successful? Let’s see.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: HeroesTV

Weta’s Dr. Grordbort And His Ray Guns

Weta Workshop is best known for their SFX work for The Lord Of The Rings movies. But they also do a lot more interesting things. We’ve reported earlier on their Dr. Who collectibles, and now they have a full blown site for Dr. Grordbort’s Infallible Aetheric Oscillators & Other Marvelous Contraptions, featuring Ray Guns. This is one really nicely done website, featuring all sorts of Steampunk goodness. For example,they have some nice Phosphorescent Etchings and Bestiaries Of The Cosmos. For some reason, these sections remind me of an author by the initials of: John C. Wright…. But the best part is, without a doubt, the directory of the Ray Guns.

They have several to look at, including my favorite: the Manmelter 3600ZX (and no, that is not a Terminator version of Natalie Portman). The others are really nice too. So nice, in fact, that I’d like to actually have one or two in my possession. Well, we’re in luck, as this whole entire site is really a advertisement for the Ray Guns, which you can purchase. Weta is making 500 of each, and you can buy one for a paltry $650. And if you do, in fact, buy one, you’ll be entered to win two more. Now that’s a sweet promotion. But if you need more enticement, please see the following video:

Also, coming in January 2008 will be a hardcover book Doctor Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory (I just love that name). They have a small preview available (PDF warning). Any book with a Luminiferous Aether Exciter has to be great.

Does anyone have a spare $650 + applicable taxes just lying around?

Filed under: Web Sites

Tube Bits For 08/01/2007

  • Comic-Con 2007 sure has a lot of TV news for being a Comic convention. Case in point: The first new Futurama DVD will be released on November 27th. Three more films to follow, and after that Comedy Central will begin airing episodes chopped from the films. Let’s hope they still have ‘it’.
  • BuzzSugar has even more hints about the upcoming season of Heroes. Some we’ve seen before, some not. Mild spoilage possible.
  • Blog Critics has a review of the new Babylon 5: The Lost Tales DVD. As future releases will depend on how well this one sells, you know what to do!
  • And finally, Forever Geek discusses the Top 10 Worst Sci Fi TV Shows, ever, with bonus videos. I have to say, those are some really bad shows. Luckily, I never watched most of them.

Filed under: HeroesTube BitsTV

Cover Browser

SciFi.Uk points us to a gallery of Interzone covers hosted by a website called Cover Browser.

Cover Browser is heavily geared towards comic books but they do have other genre-related galleries as well. For example, there are cover galleries for:

Not to mention the scads of comic cover images they have…

Filed under: Web Sites

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