Mmmmm…pie….

Filed under: Space

SF Tidbits for 7/20/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Mooltipass

Double Viking tells us why Real Men Love The Fifth Element and I couldn’t agree more. There was so much to like about that film that reading this article makes me want to pull out the DVD and watch it again. Read the article…it’s quite funny. (“Bruce Willis never gets knocked out, by anyone, ever. To see him get cold-cocked by f***ing Bilbo, of all people, is hysterical.”)

While Double Viking calls out individual characters (though inexplicably leaving out blue alien chick), I often note how every single character is just so over the top good. Whether through mannerisms, goofiness, appearance or inspired performance, there’s not a speaking character in the whole movie who isn’t notable.

I’m thinking this movie would go great with my HD TV. The BlueRay DVD came out this week but unfortunately I do not have a BlueRay player. I’m still pining over the special edition release from 2005. I thought Comcast was showing this in HD this month but it doesn’t appear on my Guide. Stupid guide. Maybe I need a “Mooltipass”.

Filed under: Movies

Tube Bits for 07/19/2007

Apologies for the late posting today, I went to bed early last night as I was feeling ill.

  • BlogCritics Magazine reviews the DVD series of Space Ghost and Dino Boy. I don’t know about you, but I used to watch Space Ghost occasionally as a kid. I’ve seem some of them again as an adult, and yeesh, it doesn’t hold up too well. Better than some Hannah Barbera stuff, but that’s not saying much.
  • It’s a smorgasborg of Heroes info: Masi Oka let’s loose with some minor spoilage for next season, including the mystery surrounding why samurai Takezo Kensei is played by the Caucasian actor, David Anders. NBC is planning to expand their online offerings for their shows and will make several mini-sites for characters from Heroes. And lastly, start saving your quarters now as Topps will be release Heroes trading cards in September. No word on whether pink cardboard masquerading as gum will be included.
  • Keeping with the trading card theme, did you know that Sony Online (Tim’s favorite company), has a Stargate Online Trading Card Game? Me either.
  • Dr. Who Online is reporting that Weta Limited, the guys behind the SFX for The Lord Of The Rings movies, have announced a series of collectible statues based on Dr. Who. From SFX, to collectibles to Man Melters, is there anything Weta can’t do?
  • Kevin McKidd, star of the upcoming SF series Journeyman (on NBC), gives some details about the series. It has a Quantum Leap feel to it, only focused more on his life. Sounds kinda interesting, then he gets to the Bat Cave analogy and then it starts to sound….silly.
  • Socialist Worker Online (fight the man!) has a quick take on Heroes. I quote: “It shows that television science fiction can raise issues about the state of the world.” I guess the original Star Trek or Twilight Zone don’t count? Either that or Socialists don’t remember the 50’s and 60’s very well, at least in terms of SF on TV.

Filed under: FireflyHeroesTube BitsTV

SF Tidbits for 7/19/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Why Do You Read/Watch Science Fiction?

Matthew Jarpe’s latest post about why he writes hard science fiction has me wondering about sf in general…

Why do people read science fiction? For that matter, why do people watch sci-fi film and TV?

For me, it’s the sense of wonder….imagining what could be (science fiction’s “What if?” question), wondering what’s out there and what could be achieved. It stokes my imagination like no other genre.

I like other elements of sf, too. Things like suspense, storytelling, writing style, etc., but these can be found in standard fiction as well as sf. But even here I like the spin that sf puts on it. Take The Resurrected Man by Sean Williams. The science-fictional matter transporter leads to some really interesting thought provoking questions about ethics, legal issues and philosophy. You could get thought-provoking in other genres, but sf makes it cool, too.

What about you?

Filed under: BooksMoviesTV

SF Tidbits for 7/18/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits for 07/17/2007

“Tube bits?”, you say, wondering what the heck those are. Well, we already have John’s excellent ‘Tid Bits’ posts, but I thought we could branch out and focus on science fiction television. Tube Bits will focus on news items that deal with SF on TV. We’ll scour the web to find interesting nuggets of information, so you don’t have to!

  • The Sci Fi Channel is resurrecting Farscape as a series of 10 webisodes. No word on casting or premiere date. [Via -the Intertubes in general]
  • The Sci Fi Channel also announced their development slate for original programming. And I use the term ‘original’ in the ‘we take two or more ideas from existing properties and mash them together to make an original show’ sense. We’ve got a re-hash of The Incredibles, a mashup of Buck Rogers and John Carter Of Mars, the Odyssey meets American Gods and a bunch of ‘reality’ programming, as only Sci Fi can do. Very few look interesting.
  • NBC announces Sci Fi Mondays. Not as cool sounding as Sci Fridays, but hey, its SF on a prime time network. NBC will air Chuck, Heroes and Journeyman. Expect the premieres of most of these series in September.
  • Another clueless reporter discovers Battlestar Galactica and realizes not is it good TV, but science fiction can be good too. Describing BG as one of ‘those’ kinds of shows is a tip off to cluelessness.
  • More reportage xon upcoming SF series on the major networks. Apparently, SF is either stories about nerds, or stories for nerds. I guess you can’t have SF for regular people? I thought I was regular people.
  • And lastly, Slice Of Sci Fi has an interview with Claudia Black, whose mere presence in a show can kill it off (Farscape, SG-1, Dresden Files). (For Tim).

Filed under: TidbitsTube BitsTV

Caption Challenge #2: Cory Doctorow Edition

Well after a little photo manipulation by our crack team of humor specialists here at SFSignal, we have a shot of Mr. Doctorow in an appropriate pose for a Star Trek episode. I felt that we would be remiss if we did not poke a little fun and offer up a second caption challenge after the success of our previous endeavor (or lack of success depending on how you look at it.) So without further ado, I present Ensign Doctorow and be gentle folks.

Filed under: Humor

My Favorite Type Of Science Fiction: Space Opera

spaceopera.JPG

This post has been a long time in the making. I first get the idea from reading Jeff VanderMeer’s blog entry on the Amazon blog a few weeks ago. Much like Jeff, I like Space Opera for its large sense of scale, larger then life heroics and unstoppable threats. Add in some cool science fiction gadgets and technology, and you ‘widescreen’ science fiction filled with action and adventure. For me, the modern day take on Space Opera is some of the best science fiction out there. I know I’m probably preaching to the choir with this list, but I’m going to put it down anyway. I know if you disagree, you’ll let me know in the comments…

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Filed under: Books

REVIEW: KOP by Warren Hammond

REVIEW SUMMARY: A promising first novel.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A dirty cop’s investigation into the murder of an Army officer leads to conspiracy.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Good characterization of the protagonist; a pretty good detective story.

CONS: Cliched and shallow secondary characters; too-subtle ending; science fiction doesn’t really play a part in the story.

BOTTOM LINE: Looking forward to next book in the series.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 7/17/07

  • Arrrrr! Andrew Wheeler reviews Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe.
  • Neil Walsh’s latest Books I’ve Been Avoiding: Overlooked or Over-hyped? column is up at SF Site: “Can there be such a thing as too many books? Lately I’ve been feeling I do indeed have too many books I haven’t read yet. But is that really too many books, or simply not enough time?”
  • Gail Martin shows off the cover of the next book in her Summoner series, The Blood King.
  • Washington Technology interviews John Scalzi. “One of the frequent complaints we hear about technology is that technology is isolating. I would argue the opposite. We are so connected now sometimes it’s hard to get away from each other.”
  • Scalzi, by the way, is giving free e-book copies of The Android’s Dream to overseas service people.
  • Tuesday YouTube: The original, pre-production trailer for Alien 3, which reflects the original William Gibson version (aliens on Earth). [via SciFi Scanner]
  • Here’s the transcript for NASA administrator Mike Griffin’s talk at the Heinlein Centennial. “So, a question that has often been asked and that I’ve asked myself is, ‘Was the growth of science fiction as a genre and hard science fiction in particular, a response to the cultural zeitgeist or was it a cause of it?'”
  • File under Things I Don’t Need But Want Anyway: An Alien Abduction Lamp.

Filed under: Tidbits

This Week On Sci Fi

Welcome to the first installment of ‘This Week On Sci Fi’ where we take a look at the shows on the SCI FI Channel during primetime. If this one goes well, I’ll do more in the future.

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Filed under: Star TrekTV

The Truth Is Out There? X-Files 2

xfiles.jpg

David Duchovny let drop a big hint that the next X-Files movie is moving closer to production. Apparently, he is expecting to see a script next week and the movie will re-unite Mulder with Scully.

At this point, I have to ask: What can this movie possibly be about? Isn’t the whole alien invasion thing pretty much taken care of, if not by the series then by the whole ‘we have no idea where the hell we are going with this’ approach to the backstory?

Admittedly, I lost interest when T-1000 joined the cast and Fox ‘disappeared’, so I have no idea how the show ended. Frankly, with the writers botching the backstory so horribly, it was way past time for X-Files to end.

Is this an attempt to fix the legacy of X-Files? I don’t hold out much hope given the ‘recent’ track record. I think the truth points to more suckage, which is too bad as I really liked the earlier seasons of X-Files.

Filed under: Movies

Cory Doctorow on Futurism

Locus Online has posted Cory Doctorow’s bi-monthly Locus magazine article, this month titled The Progressive Apocalypse and Other Futurismic Delights. Cory talks about futurism, the Singularity, and the Apocalypse and also how the past and future is jaded by the present. Here’s a snippet:

There’s a lovely neologism to describe these visions: “futurismic.” Futurismic media is that which depicts futurism, not the future. It is often self-serving — think of the antigrav Nikes in Back to the Future III — and it generally doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny.

SF films and TV are great fonts of futurismic imagery: R2D2 is a fully conscious AI, can hack the firewall of the Death Star, and is equipped with a range of holographic projectors and antipersonnel devices — but no one has installed a $15 sound card and some text-to-speech software on him, so he has to whistle like Harpo Marx. Or take the Starship Enterprise, with a transporter capable of constituting matter from digitally stored plans, and radios that can breach the speed of light.

The non-futurismic version of NCC-1701 would be the size of a softball (or whatever the minimum size for a warp drive, transporter, and subspace radio would be). It would zip around the galaxy at FTL speeds under remote control. When it reached an interesting planet, it would beam a stored copy of a landing party onto the surface, and when their mission was over, it would beam them back into storage, annihilating their physical selves until they reached the next stopping point. If a member of the landing party were eaten by a green-skinned interspatial hippie or giant toga-wearing galactic tyrant, that member would be recovered from backup by the transporter beam. Hell, the entire landing party could consist of multiple copies of the most effective crewmember onboard: no redshirts, just a half-dozen instances of Kirk operating in clonal harmony.

Filed under: Science and Technology

(Here are the original post and the first update for more information.)

In less than a week, the last Harry Potter book will be released to the general public. Many bookstores (and other establishments) will be having midnight release parties. These gatherings will be filled with Harry Potter fans, many of them wondering what to read after they finish The Deathly Hallows. We here at SF Signal, and elsewhere, have put our heads together and come up with a list of recommended books for Potter fans.

I’ve placed some of that list in a PDF that can be downloaded, printed out, and taken with you if you are going to one of the release parties. Please hand out copies of the list to those who are waiting, then come back here to discuss the list and, hopefully, help Potter fans find more interesting reading. I was going to try and squeeze everything onto a 4×6 index card, but they didn’t work so well. Now it’s on a regular 8.5×11 sheet of paper. This will make it easier to print and read.

After the jump, the full list!

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Filed under: Books

REVIEW: We, Robots by Sue Lange

REVIEW SUMMARY: A well-written robot story of substance.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Avey the robot becomes more human while humans verge on becoming posthuman.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Sympathetic protagonist; interesting blend of old tropes and new; portrayal of mankind’s darker side adds depth; perfect amount of humor.

CONS: I was expecting more from the “robot uprising” aspect.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended.

Sue Lange’s novella, We, Robots, refreshingly takes one of science fiction’s oldest tropes – the robot – and exposes it to one of science fictions newest: posthumanism.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 7/16/07

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: Most Anticipated Sequel

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
There are lots of sequels on tap for moviegoers. Which of these sequels are you most excited about?

RESULTS

(149 total votes)

Comments this week:

“The ONLY one I am excited about is Indiana Jones IV, and that’s a mild excitement. I am shocked that they’re making a Jurassic Park IV. I don’t remember 3 and vaguely recall that 2 was very disappointing.” – Kristen

“BRUCE CAMPBELL AS ELVIS!” – Bryan

“Gah! Too many I’m looking forward to: AvP2, Narnia, Indy, Mummy, are the 4 from this list that I’m looking forward to.” – Kev

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about quantity of reading!

Filed under: Polls

EW Reviews SF/F

Issue #944 (July 20, 2007) of Entertainment Weekly offers some brief reviews of science fiction and fantasy books. Here’s a snippet…

The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith

For Fans of… Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting.

Bottom Line: This moving parable delivers strong psychological insights into a child’s powerlessness and anger.

Grade: B+

Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

For Fans of… Gattacca‘s DNA-driven dystopia; the subversive fury of Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go.

Bottom Line: Morgan’s bare-knuckle procedural plot makes room for provocative takes on race, gender, and religion.

Grade: A-

Exposure by Kurt Wenzel

For Fans of… Philip K. Dick; Neil Postman.

Bottom Line: Lots of alarming ideas – some fresh, many stale – and too many late-game twists. Exposure is intriguing, but often as artless as the culture it decries.

Grade: B-

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

For Fans of… Adult Swim’s Venture Bros. cartoon.

Bottom Line: Although too affectionate to be an effective parody, Grossman’s book has it’s fun moments, as when Dr. Impossible bemoans, “Henchmen are no use in a situation like this. Don’t get me started about henchmen.”

Grade: B

Filed under: Books

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