SF Tidbits for 7/30/07

Filed under: Tidbits

[via TV Squad] August 4th marks the premiere of the new ABC sci-fi anthology series Masters of Science Fiction. The show, hosted by Stephen Hawking, boasts a star-studded lineup of stars and a quite an impressive list of writer credits, too. Unfortunately, the show has had a spotty production record. The ABC website lists four episodes to be aired in August, but the show’s website lists these six episodes:

Episode:A Clean Escape

Synopsis: A dying Dr. Deanna Evans refuses to believe that her patient, Robert Havelmann, cannot remember the last 25 years of his life. It remains unclear why she has been so obsessed with this particular patient until the final, shocking conclusion.

Starring: Judy Davis and Sam Waterston

Based on the short story by: John Kessel

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: TV

POLL RESULTS: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

The final Harry Potter book is out this week. Are you interested?


(157 total votes)

Folks were quick to point out some apparently-obvious missing choices:

“You forgot an option: ‘Yes – in spoilers,’ for those of us who couldn’t be bothered to read the last two (now three) books.” – Mehra

“Actually I’m borrowing it from the library” – Cynthia D.

“See you forgot the ‘mooch’ choice which is for all us folks who plan to obtain the book from the hordes who pre-ordered it.” – Tim

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about The Masters of Science Fiction!

Filed under: Polls

No offense, but our own Tim does a better Gollum impersonation. I’m just sayin’…

[via Poe TV]

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 7/29/07

  • New free fiction: “Creatures of Vibration” by Harl Vincent. “Carr Parker sat day-dreaming at the Nomad‘s controls. More than a week of Earth time had passed since the self-styled “vagabonds of space” had left Europa, and now they were fast approaching the great ringed orb of Saturn with the intention of exploring her satellites.”
  • From the July issue of Locus, Locus Online has excerpts from interviews with Peter S. Beagle and Paolo Bacigalupi.
  • Chronotopicality in SF in 2006. Colin Harvey reflects upon reading David Hartwell’s & Kathryn Cramer’s Year’s Best SF 12. “Is it any wonder that the defining emotion in SF in 2006 was anxiety?”
  • Warren Ellis interviews William Gibson at Wired. [via Gravity Lens]
  • Quiz: Cite the source…Scientology or Weekly World News?

Filed under: Tidbits


If you’re a Potter fan, you’ve been waiting for this book for a very long time, and, if you haven’t read it yet, you may be wondering if its worth the wait. The short answer is: yes. As final books go, The Deathly Hallows wraps things up quite nicely indeed.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

Tube Bits For 07/28/2007

  • CBS and Paramount announced today what we all knew was coming: the release of the remastered original Star Trek episodes on HDDVD/DVD. The catch being you can only buy them as a complete set, and it will set you back $218. Nice case though.
  • You don’t just get the HD DVD/DVDs for your $218, though. No. You’ll also get a preview of the upcoming Star Trek Online MMORPG. Being a fan of Trek, and wanting to see more SF themed MMO’s, this one has my attention.
  • The BBC announced today the release of their iPlayer. The BBC will allow viewers to download any show from the past week, for free, for viewing later. Sadly, the shows will be deleted after 30 days. Still, this is a step in the right direction. Available in the UK only, but there are ways around that.
  • LOST producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff held a standing room only panel at Comic-Con 2007 and gave out small nuggets about the show’s upcoming season. I can’t wait for next year…

And a parting video for you. A spoof of The Prisoner, done with stuffed animals. Behold, The Prisonbear.

Filed under: LOSTStar TrekTube BitsTVWeb Sites

SF Tidbits for 7/28/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Did You Know: Analog TV Goes Bye Bye In 2009

You probably already know, but, according to this article, Congress is concerned that too few American realize their older, analog TVs (i.e.- non-HD) will become giant paperweights on February 18, 2009. That’s the date Congress has mandated that all over the air broadcast TV must be in digital High-Def, and all current analog signals must stop. That’s in a little under two years from now, and many people don’t know it’s going to happen.

What I find crazy is the bureaucrats mandated this change and are now complaining that the networks aren’t doing enough to educate the viewing public about the change. Also, what about all the people who can’t afford to buy a new TV, let alone a cable connection or HD antenna? Those people are SOL and yet the government is trying to blame the networks.

You may be wondering why there is a mandate at all. You’d think the market would eventually sort through the process and HD would win in the end. Of course, the answer comes down to money. By shutting off access to the analog TV portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the government can then auction parts of the spectrum off. This means big money for them, and big headaches for the rest of us.

I find this whole thing stupid in the extreme, and the whining from the congress critters about the networks really, really irritates me. They helped create this mess and now won’t take part of the blame. Typical really. I try not to get political on this blog, as that’s just asking for trouble. But this makes me wish the government was way smaller than it actually is and less influence on public life.

Anyway, consider this a heads up for anyone who didn’t know about the switchover. You’ll need to upgrade your TV to an HD set soon and you’ll either have to buy an HD antenna or get an HD capable cable box. The only good news is that any network science fiction shows will be shown in HD. Which, as an avid LOST viewer, looks really sweet.

And if you have an HD set and get Universal HD, they are running Firefly on Saturday nights. In HD. Sweet.

Filed under: TV

Most Overrated?

Taking author John Scalzi up on his request to post about what I consider to be a most overrated work, I submit the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Now I know many people consider this a great film and heartwarming and it certainly was popular. But I’ve never liked it. Most importantly, I thought it was a bad piece of science fiction with little even slightly plausible. The McGuyver-style phone home machine just capped it off for me as terrible. I saw it described as a dog movie – that is boy meets dog, boy names dog, boy grows up, etc. – and to a large part that’s true. The alien doesn’t have to be alien at all – it was developed based on Spielberg’s childhood imaginary friend and it shows. The kids end up proving to be wiser than parents, and the dog runs away, er – E.T. goes home. Of course, my family loves the movie and I am ridiculed for my dislike.

As for the extra credit assignment (was there ever an effort that initially I disliked but then thought better of) I submit Fargo. I didn’t care for it at all the first time I saw it in the theatre, but have since come to think of it as quirky and funny. I figure it was my state of mind on the day in question.

And as a side note, I too read Dune when I was about 12 and did not like it at all. I’ve often thought about rereading as an adult to see what I missed. Scalzi’s comments encourage me to do so.

Filed under: Movies

Here’s a trailer for the family-friendly superhero movie Sky High…remixed as a thriller.

WARNING: Major spoilers shown – if you haven’t seen the movie and want to, look instead to the original Sky High trailer. Look at it anyway, it’s got Bruce Campbell’s “Sidekick” bit.

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 7/27/07

  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Chris Roberson, author of Set the Seas on Fire.
  • Matthew Jarpe is a hack. “One of the common epithets people throw at a writer they don’t like is ‘hack.’ That’s ‘a writer who exploits his or her ability primarily for money.’ As if producing a product of art with commercial potential is wrong. Well, here’s the thing, I’m a hack.”
  • Jeff VanderMeer has posted mystery excerpts from his New Weird Anthology. The first person to correctly guess the author who wrote them wins a copy of the book.
  • Over at Amazon’s blog, VanderMeer lists 13 Reasons to Read Richard Morgan’s Thirteen. See also the SF Signal review.
  • The Wall Street Journal profiles Robert A. Heinlein. [via Cynical-C]
  • JK Rowling says she will publish a Harry Potter Encyclopedia. [via No Blasters]
  • Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist interviews Peter F. Hamilton (The Dreaming Void). “As a species we’re just not psychologically adjusted to living for more than a century, yet billions are being poured into research that leads to increased life expectancy. Suppose it works out, and we can live for three of ten times longer than today. That’s the kind of question which SF exists for.”
  • Over at his AOL gig, John Scazli looks at overrated books and cited Catcher in the Rye as his pick. “Tell us of one piece of culture — book, movie, album, painting, play, architectural “masterpiece,” whatever — that you think is wildly overrated.”
  • Lou Anders responds to Discover magazine’s “Blinded by Science: Fictional Reality” article.
  • Borders bookstores has cut back their soft seating by 30%. Ed Champion comes to the defense of sitting in bookstores.
  • It’s official: J.J. Abrams, director the upcoming Star Trek movie, confirmed the casting of Heroes star Zachary Quinto as a young Spock and surprised the audience with the announcement that original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy would also appear in the film.
  • The Avalanche Software Art Blog is still going strong with nearly very post offering up some cool, artsy goodness by their very talented staff. Their latest entry is is a caricature of Qui-Gon Jinn.

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 07/27/2007

  • Surprise! Michael is back on LOST, as announced at surprisingly influential Comic-Con 2007.
  • And pity the poor TV critics who feel that Comic-Con is stealing TV news thunder from the Television Critics Association press tour. Please stop whining. It’s clear that Comic-Con does more as far as promotion for TV shows than a press tour for critics.
  • If you’ve spent any time at the Heroes website, you know that NBC has a series of short comic ‘books’ that help flesh out the story. DC Comics will be releasing a hardcover version of those comics, sometime in the near future.
  • Rob Buckley, a UK journalist, offers his impressions of the upcoming Bionic Woman show. Supposedly a new version of the pilot will be screen at, yes, Comic-Con 2007. Maybe his feelings will change.
  • The News&Observer gives 4400 reasons to love summer TV. I keep hearing about how good The 4400 is, but I’ve never seen it. Maybe I should head on over to NetFlix. And I know Tim appreciates the Burn Notice plug.

Filed under: LOSTTV

Does Tivo Kill Science Fiction TV?

While surfing around on these here intertubes, I ran across a rather long rant against Alexa and the way it used as a sort of Nielsen ratings for web sites. What was interesting, and what caught my feed scanner, was this little paragraph:

The Nielsen ratings struggle to account for PVRs. Since you got a TiVo, when was the last time you watched “Live” TV? This is part of why Science Fiction shows struggle on TV… scifi fans are early adopters. So we stopped getting counted and our favorite genres are butchered by networks and lost to the void.

The Cooperative Blog picked up on this and expanded a bit on it by saying:

So smart shows and very noticeably Sci-Fi shows are given the ax because of “low viewership.

The obvious question to ask here is: Is Tivo (DVRs) to blame for science fiction shows being cancelled?

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: TV

Caption Challenge #3: George Lucas Edition

Yes, it is time for another challenge for our readers. This one comes from one of my favorite sites, Forever Geek. They found this Flickr image from the production of the new Indiana Jones film, and I could not resist using it for a challenge. So feel free to give some caption love to Mr. Lucas and Mr. Ford.

Now the arrow points to a t-shirt that says “Han shot first” which can be purchased over at the Star Wars shop and was launched as part of the umpteenth release of the Star Wars Trilogy DVDs.

Filed under: Star Wars

Tube Bits For 07/26/2007

  • Gate World has an interview with David Hewett, who plays Dr. Rodney McKay on Stargate Atlantis. We get the usual stuff about the upcoming season, then he lets loose with a little nugget that he, among others, has been working on a pilot script for a potential series on Sci Fi. This series would be called Starcrossed, and would be about all the behind the scenes silliness that takes place on the set of a science fiction show, sort of a take on The Office, with a SF flavor. Interesting. [via You Know What The Goa'uld Really Want From Us?]
  • If you’re interested in Comic-Con 2007, and you have an Xbox 360, then you might like to know that Xbox Live Marketplace will have a veritable cornucopia of Comic-Con stuff available for your viewing pleasure. Game trailers, interviews, 360 themes, all kinds of stuff. Sadly, all I can do is stew in envy juices as I wait for my 360 coffin to arrive.
  • And now for a bunch of Heroes stuff. Sun-Sentinel.com has a short article that covers some info on season 2. These may spoil some stuff for you so beware.
  • If you really want to be spoiled, then HeroesTheSeries.com has cast photos for season 2. And I do mean spoil. Just seeing the people there brings up numerous questions. Dont’ go unless you really, really want to. You have been warned. Repeatedly. Bad Heroes fan!
  • And lastly, Ubisoft is apparently working on a game, set in the Heroes universe. More info may, or may not, be disclosed during Comic-Con 2007. The mind boggles at the possibilites here, with the number one thought being: “It’s a game based on a TV show, how can it possibly not suck?”

Filed under: Tube Bits

Not Science Fiction

Maureen McHugh has an excellent post over at Eat Our Brains on discussing Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union where she talks about “Not Science Fiction“, the kind of science fiction that some classify as anything but. Maureen’s book Nekropolis is described as a literary novel in sci-fi clothing, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Sez Maureen:

Not Science Fiction is a genre of books which are declared Not Science Fiction, usually by the publishers and the critics. There are dozens of reasons why a book that takes place in the future (The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) or describes a fantastical break with space and time (The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger or Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing) or even a journey to another planet in a spaceship where the hero meets aliens (The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell) are declared Not Science Fiction and they range from the legitimate to the pernicious. But as a person navigating a bookstore, I find it a useful category. Certain types of books are never Not Science Fiction. So I know that if I go wandering off to find my title in the general fiction stacks, there are certain characteristics of genre it won’t have. (They aren’t usually series, they tend not to emphasize the science, and they tend to avoid certain conventions like Galactic Empires-tropes I don’t dislike but that I don’t like all that well when it comes right down to it.)

Other Not Science Fiction Books:

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Children of Men by P.D. James
  • Oryx and Cake Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 7/26/07

Filed under: Tidbits


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


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


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.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 7/25/07

Filed under: Tidbits

 Page 709 of 918  « First  ... « 707  708  709  710  711 » ...  Last »