Some of you may already be familiar with Engrish.com, a website that showcases funny English translations.
OK, now what do you get when you cross Engrish with Star Wars? You get a humorous translation of the (already atrocious) dialaogue from Revenge of the Sith or, as it is translated, Episode III: Backstroke of the West.
Filed under: Star Wars
The 27th annual ArmadilloCon is scheduled for this weekend (August 19 – 21) in Austin, Texas. Its focus is on literary science fiction and there are a ton of well-known attendees including Charles Stross (Guest of Honor), Charles de Lint (Toastmaster), Sean McMullen (Special guest) as well as Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Patrick Nielson Hayden, Joe R. Lansdale, Rick Klaw, Chris Roberson, artists John Picacio, recent Hugo winner Bradley Denton, Damien Broderick, P. N. Elrod, Neal Barrett, Jr., Dennis L. McKiernan, Sharon Shinn, and Wil McCarthy.
Filed under: Meta
REVIEW SUMMARY: A great companion to a great show.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Anthology of 21 essays examining the cult (and canceled) TV series Firefly.
PROS: Excellent introspections into a great show; insightful; eye-opening; humorous.
CONS: a brief episode guide would have been helpful; of little or no interest to non-fans.
BOTTOM LINE: A hands down must-read for any fan of Firefly.
I wish I could say that I was a fan of the now-canceled sf/western TV series Firefly since the beginning (as if that holds some prestige) but the truth is I never watched while it aired on Fox. It wasn’t until after its DVD release and the subsequent buzz that I took notice. My impression of the show today could not be any higher and I very much look forward to the theatrical release of Serenity later this year.
And so it was with great anticipation that I dug in to Finding Serenity, an anthology of twenty-one essays examining the many different aspects of the show. The book is edited by Jane Espenson who wrote Firefly‘s “Shindig” episode. She also has a professional history with Firefly creator Joss Whedon having worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Espenson provides brief intros to each essay and would have done well to include a conspicuously missing brief episode guide to summarize the episodes since they are referenced in every essay.
The essays are written by fans of varying professions. (Who else but a sex therapist is qualified to examine Inara?) They are insightful, eye-opening and humorous. Each one focuses in one or another interesting aspect of the show yet they are unique. This is the true appeal of Firefly – it entertains and intrigues on so many levels: characterizations, storytelling, world-building, dialogue, artistic and more. Finding Serenity is the map to this wonderfully detailed universe.
As might be expected, a book targeting such a specific audience as one for a TV show – and a canceled one at that – may be of little value to the uninitiated. However, if post-cancellation DVD sales and the upcoming resurrection to the big screen are any indications, the Firefly fan base is growing. (My secret hope is that Firefly is resurrected after its huge DVD and – hopefully – theatrical success.) For Firefly fans new and old, this book is a must-read as it will to get you thinking about the show in ways you never thought of it before.
Filed under: Book Review
No really, Talking Squids in Outer Space is just that. A web site devoted to squids in SF. I have to admit that my squid SF reading is sadly lacking. Although, I have read Manifold: Time and the first two books in the Rifters Series by Peter Watts, and squids were in Galaxy Quest? I must have missed them or, more likely, have forgotten.
Who knew that cephalodpods were so versatile? A tasty (so I’m told) appetizer and intrepid space explorers. Not bad for a creature with no spine!
Filed under: Web Sites
Did you ever get a song stuck in your head? Usually songs that won’t go away are the annoying ones. Things like Toto’s “Rosanna” or the McCartney/Wonder duet “Ebony & Ivory”. This week’s cranial throbbing, for me, is courtesy of the worst song ever: Starship’s “We Built This City“. (And, in case you were wondering, the band’s name makes it eligible for posting on a science fiction blog that already has a music category. So there.)
What puts an extra layer of pain on this particular ditty (and by “ditty” I mean “dogpile”) are my memories of the horrendous video. There’s a lyric in the song that goes “‘Cause we’re just simple fools!”. (Leave alone for a minute that I am one of the ones who misheard the lyrics as the nonsensical “‘Cause we’re a ship of fools!”) The lead singer, Mickey Thomas (visit the website and click track #4 on the Flash jukebox at the top of the page. Go ahead. I dare you.) strikes a pose that can only be described as…well, actually it’s juts indescribable. But I’ll try. He makes 2 fists and holds them up in some sort of (I guess) emotional and heartfelt moment of communication. These guys get it. Quite frankly, it irritates me; mostly because I cannot get it out of my head! Grrrr! Kevin suggests that maybe the video director is responsible for this move. OK, well, at some point you have to take the responsibility for looking like a doofus. Thomas’ only defense is that it was the 80′s. Knee deep in the hoopla indeed.
Anyway, since I can’t get that damn song out of my head, I think it’s time to take stern measures. I need to meet the problem head-on. What I need to do is get it out of my system, see the damn video, and (hopefully) realize that it’s not as bad as I remember, or at least that I over-exaggerated the horror of it all. Googling yielded nothing (nothing!) on this video. No clips….not even screenshots. Can someone please, please find (or copy to the web) some captured footage/image of this painful video moment (“‘Cause we’re just simple fools!”) and put me out of my misery?
Filed under: Music
As I am listening to the most recent This Week in Tech podcast, I hear an interview with Bob Young, the former CEO of Red Hat, discussing his newest venture. That venture is LuLu. This allows authors the ability to self publish and consumers can then acquire books on demand either in print or in an ebook format. They have a section dedicated to Sci Fi/Fantasy. So a question to those authors who visit us and share thier wisdom, would this change the way you release a novel or would you ever consider this as a mechanism for distribution…
Filed under: Web Sites
In case you’ve missed any of the new shows (looks at John), Sci-fi will be running a mini-marathon of the first 5 episodes startig tonight at 7 Eastern. That’s 6 for us here in the Central zone (looks at Tim). So fire up your DVRs!
H/T to the Unofficial Battlestar Galactica Blog for the link.
Filed under: TV
From NBC Nightly News on August 15th, 2005 comes a story about books referred to as Teen Fiction. Apparently these books are all the rage with teen and pre-teen girls today (specific figures on sales weren’t mentioned, but some statement about it being a fast growing segment of the market was.) The rub – these books often contain subjects that parents might not be comfortable with 10-15 year olds reading about – specifically sex, drugs, and other topics that include child abuse and rape. Yikes!
They interviewed one mother of 2 teenage girls who was previewing the books her daughters wanted to buy and she referred to many of the books as smut (her words) and that she had felt bad about not realizing what her daughter had read in the past, but that she was monitoring it now. They talked about one book (unfortunately I can’t remember the name now) that dealt with a teacher seducing a student – noting that it was ‘ripped from the headlines.’
Is this new, or hasn’t this sort of material always been written for and been available to teens? When I was a teen I remember people passing around copies of books by Judy Blume (Forever for example) at one point with highlights on the passages involving sex. It wasn’t gratuitous or explicit, but it was there. Is this new fiction worse? Comment if you’ve seen any of it!
Filed under: Books
REVIEW SUMMARY: Fantasy novel from one of the best in the genre.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A rogue who steals from his aristocratic family and ends up a blight on all of the Lords and Lady’s of the realm is transformed into the savior of not only the city and planet he loves, but of the entire multiverse itself.
PROS: Very good writing, intelligent dialog, good female characters
CONS: Typical fantasy fair, nothing really new here
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re fan of fantasy novels or Moorcock you’re likely to enjoy this book – otherwise, I’d give it a pass.
Filed under: Book Review
Strangelets are tiny ‘fun-sized’ nuggets of strange-quarks (not to be confused with the regular, or familiar-quarks). Thought to be a by product of the Big Bang, scientists have been unable to detect their presence, until now.
Not quite the same scale as a wandering black hole swallowing the Earth, but still cool.
Off the top of my head, SF books about Earth and Black Holes:
Forge of God, Greg Bear
Singularity, Bill DeSmedt (a favorite of SFSignal)
Filed under: Science and Technology
REVIEW SUMMARY: A thought-provoking book about cloning.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrón, the 140-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.
PROS: Interesting setting; thought-provoking issues; claustrophobic feel.
CONS: The story was longer than it needed to be.
BOTTOM LINE: An entertaining read.
Filed under: Book Review
I had Rubik’s Cube as a kid. I’d like to whip out a story about how I came to solve the cube in less than 3 hours or some such. However, I never did solve that demonic apparatus. The only thing I got out of Rubik’s Cube, besides endless frustration, was the indication that not all of life’s problems are solvable.
Then again, I never had access to an online Rubik’s Cube Solver. Kids today have no idea how easy they have it.
[Link via Grow-a-Brain]
Filed under: Games