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.

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.

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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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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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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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!)

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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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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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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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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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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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]

SF Tidbits for 12/25/07

John Picacio’s Well Built City Triptych

As mentioned in the past three tidbit posts, Artist John Picacio has published the unabridged cover triptych for Jeffrey Ford‘s Well Built City trilogy, which is being re-issued by Golden Gryphon. Sweet….

Click the image for a larger version.

Monday YouTube: Have an Atari/E.T. Christmas

[via Poe TV]

A Christmas Gift: First Novels/First Time Authors

Christmas is fast approaching, and as the saying goes, it’s better to give than receive.

We here at SF Signal receive a lot of books every year. So many, we can’t possibly hope to read them all, even with a ‘team’ of readers (and by team, I don’t mean Harriet Klausner). However, as many writers will tell you, getting that first novel published is thrilling, even if it takes a long time to happen. With that said, we do read first novels/first time authors from time to time, so, in the spirit of giving, we’d like to give some props to the first novels/first time authors we’ve seen this year.

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SF Tidbits for 12/24/07

  • World’s Biggest Bookstore’s Sci-Fi Fan Letter interviews Joel Shepherd. “Fantasy tends to be more lyrical, which is fun as a writer, because you can just let the words play with each other through the sentences. My SF tends to be a little more brutal and direct.”
  • If ever we needed a reason to classify the Indiana Jones movies as science fiction, it’s this way-cool book The Complete Making of Indiana Jones by J.W. Rinzler, slated for a May 2008 release. Rinzler is the man behind The Making Of Star Wars.
  • Recently free fiction at “…After a Few Words…” by Randall Garrett (1962).
  • The latest Odyssey SF/F Writing Workshop Podcast features Michael A. Burstein on The Plot Skeleton.
  • Quasar Dragon offers some Christmas treats for sf fans.
  • L.A.’s the Place calculates Six Degrees of Inspiration with Richard Matheson. “Who do Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and George A. Romero all have in common? His name is Richard Matheson and his influence is legendary.”
  • The January 16th KGB Bar reading will feature Marly Youmans and Dan Braum
  • Artist John Picacio shows off the 3rd Jeffrey Ford cover, this one for The Beyond, part of his Well-Built City trilogy. When all three covers (The Physiognomy, Memoranda, & The Beyond) are placed side-by-side-by-side, it creates a larger image, which Picacio and Ford will post soon.
  • I received 92 credits on The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz. How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?

POLL RESULTS: Do Online Book Reviews Affect Book Buying?

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Has an online book review ever influenced your decision to buy a book?


(118 total votes)

A few comments this week:

“No, but I have checked several books out of the library based on online reviews” – Cynthia Dalton

“I read a ton of books and only trust the reviewers I know from the web; SFSignal; Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist; Fantasy Book Critic; Bookgasm and a handful of others. You bet they influence my book buying, and I’m glad they do.” – David

“I learned about ‘Eifelheim’ through an online book review.” – Gabriel McKee

“Any online review so long as its not Harriet Klausner.” – Trey
[John D says: Here, here!]

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about holiday reading: more or less?

Sunday YouTube: Hellboy 2 Trailer

Tube Bits For 12/23/2007

  • This one is for all you Dr. Who fans out there. If only your parents were as accommodating as little George Baker’s of his Dr. Who obsession. George’s parents redecorated his bedroom to look like the inside of the Tardis. That is awesome. And Geroge even looks like a Time Lord in training!
  • Freema Agyeman (Dr. Martha Jones on Torchwood) has posted a trailer for series (season) two of Torchwood. Looks rather interesting. Anyone disappointed in the first season going to watch the second?
  • The new Knight Rider show is in full production mode, and Popular Mechanics has the specs for the new KITT vs. old KITT. One thing: Sorry new KITT, if you’re going to be a true American muscle car, you simple must be rear-wheel drive. None of this wimpy all-wheel-drive, it’s wussy.
  • Speaking of the old KITT, there appears to be an auction on eBay where one of the KITTs used during the original series is apparently up for sale. And at only a hair over $25k, it’s a steal! Did I mention it has rear-wheel drive?
  • January 31st is fast approaching/moving slower then Christmas for LOST fans. Luckily, BuddyTV has a bunch of season 4 premier pictures to whet your appetite for its, albeit strike shortened, return! (Checks calendar again. Dang.)
  • As if the pictures weren’t enough, MovieWeb has a new Season 4 trailer for LOST. It has scenes you’ve probably seen on the commercials, plus a bunch of other, new stuff. (Checks calendar. Dang again.)

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