The End Of Heroes Season 2

Kristin over at E! Online recaps Monday’s Heroes episode in Continue reading

A Bevy of Blue (and Green) Babes

I usually shy away from rumors these days, but this recent rendition of a blue alien reportedly from James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar is timely.

To honor our resident supermodel expert Peter Y. (if for no other reason than keeping Maxim in business), I submit a bevy of blue & green scifi babes.

On the blue team, we have Zhaan from Farscape, Plavalaguna the Diva from The Fifth Element, X-Men‘s Mystique, and the new Avatar alien.

blueBabes.jpg

Perhaps you like to go green? May I interest you in a She-Hulk or that green alien chick from Star Trek?

greenBabes.jpg

Who’s your favorite? There may be a poll on this, if you know what I mean.

SF Tidbits for 11/28/07

Tube Bits For 11/28/2007

  • NBC has ordered a full season of Chuck. They have an unknown number of episodes already produce and the full commitment is for 22. No real word on how the extra episodes will be made due to the writers strike.
  • Another show the writers strike won’t affect is the pilot episode for J.J. Abrams’ new series, Fringe. The pilot is already written and Journeyman director Alex Graves is set to direct. I know many people think J.J. Abrams can do no wrong, but I’m not so sure after seeing Mission Impossible 3. Can he bring some magic to the paranormal genre?
  • Film.com over-analyzes Razor and they sure do. I’m not sure why it’s a good thing to be morally ambiguous, ‘especially with what’s going on in the larger world’. They also talk sharp jumpage, Admiral Cain’s character and other stuff.
  • Many of us here really like the show Futurama, but how many of you knew the name was a riff on a ride at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair? Wired explains in detail a bunch of interesting things about the ride, the fair, and the power of SF to predict the future. Also making an appearance is Cory Doctorow, sans goggles, cape and balloon.

Star Wars Toys Madness

I’m sure most of us have had, at one time or another, assorted Star Wars toys and other memorabilia. My brother and I had many action figures and vehicles which we would take outside and play with all the time. My favorite was the Yoda figure with snake twined around his neck. There was even a Hoth playset one of my mom’s craft magazines had plans for that I wanted to make, but never got around to. But even those hours spent playing with our figures doesn’t compare to this giant Star Wars collectibles auction on Ebay.

Over 1600 Star Wars figures, and a ton of other stuff. The seller wants to be rid of them to ‘accomplish a new plan I have for my future.’ I bet. The starting bid is $25,450, with $950 for shipping. Unbelievable. This sort of obsessive collecting just doesn’t resonate with me. I’m of the ‘rip it out of the box and play with it’ school. Call me crazy. So act fast, the auction ends on Nov. 28th at 2am CT. Oh, and the next bid will be the first.

For a much cooler, and geekier, collection, check out Joshua Budich’s collection. Although much smaller than the Ebay collection, Joshua has indulged his inner code monkey and created a really cool Flash front end to his figures. Not only did he create little images for each figure, he’s linked them to a picture of the corresponding package. Add to that all the filtering options and you have one cool interface. This is one case where obsessive comes in handy. Nicely done Joshua.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go mourn all my lost Star Wars figures and cards, and try no think about what they’d be worth today.

REVIEW: The Commons by Matthew Hughes

REVIEW SUMMARY: An interesting blend of science fiction and fantasy elements.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Guth Bandar explores the world of the human collective unconscious, which is becoming not so unconscious after all.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Intriguing world with mind-expanding ideas; cool science-fantasy setting; deals heavily with archetypes yet avoids cliché.

CONS: Needed stronger characters; some adventures weaker than others.

BOTTOM LINE: A good read that’s piqued my interest in other stories set in this universe.

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SF Tidbits for 11/27/07

TOC: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 2

Night Shade has posted the contents of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 2 edited by Jonathan Strahan, to be publishd in March 2008.

  1. The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang
  2. “The Last and Only Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French” by Peter S. Beagle
  3. “Trunk and Disorderly” by Charles Stross
  4. “Glory” by Greg Egan
  5. “Dead Horse Point” by Daryl Gregory
  6. “The Dreaming Wind” by Jeffrey Ford
  7. “The Coat of Stars” by Holly Black
  8. “The Prophet of Flores” by Ted Kosmatka
  9. “Wizard’s Six” by Alex Irvine
  10. “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” by Daniel Abraham
  11. “By Fools Like Me” by Nancy Kress
  12. Kiosk” by Bruce Sterling
  13. “Singing of Mount Abora” by Theodora Goss
  14. “The Witch’s Headstone” by Neil Gaiman
  15. “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter
  16. “Jesus Christ, Reanimator” by Ken Macleod
  17. “Sorrel’s Heart” by Susan Palwick
  18. “Urdumheim” by Michael Swanwick
  19. “Holiday” by M. Rickert
  20. “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel
  21. “Winter’s Wife” by Elizabeth Hand
  22. The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small” by Chris Roberson
  23. “Orm the Beautiful” by Elizabeth Bear
  24. “The Constable of Abal” by Kelly Link

Tube Bits For 11/27/2007

  • On Dec. 2nd, Sci Fi will premier it’s new mini-series Tin Man. Unlike Razor, so far it hasn’t been leaked onto the torrent networks. However, Multichannel News has seen a screener and has a review entitled: SCI FI Channel’s ‘Tin Man': If It Only Had A Heart. The verdict: Great production values, terrible dialog and cliched situations. Who knew George Lucas was involved?
  • The casualties of the writers’ strike keep coming. First it looks like Bionic Woman will be canceled, and now Journeyman may suffer the same fate. And with the new TV series reaching the end of their produced episodes, it may be a long, cold winter of re-runs.
  • Lance Henriksen has appeared in many science fiction TV shows and films. Henriksen recently appeared at a con in the U.K. and gave a non-answer answer to the question ‘Will Frank Black appear in the new X-Files movie?” It seems to me he will. Bonus info: Did you know Henriksen is the voice of Brainiac in Superman: Brainiac Attacks? Me neither.
  • Who doesn’t like LEGOs? No one that’s who. Those of us who have Comcast as our cable providers will have the opportunity to watch the LEGO ON DEMAND channel, starting Dec. 3rd. There is also a companion website where viewers can rate the programming. Could be good, could be just an involved commercial. I think it’s at least worth a look.

REVIEW: Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder

REVIEW SUMMARY: Schroeder’s sequel to Sun of Suns is an even better book – a focus on characters against a fanastic hard sci-fi backdrop. This is one sequel that surpasses the original.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following the events of the first book, Venera Fanning inadvertently lands on Spyre, a decaying cylinder station on the verge of collapse, and realizes that the Key to Candesce she liberated from the pirate horde could destroy the entire world that lives in Virga. Her arrival sparks a change in the insular little community and sets in motion a chain of events that disrupts not only the political stability of the region but also the way Venera sees herself.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Can be read standalone, excellent characterization – Venera’s Machiavellian nature is a perfect canvas on which to paint the experiences she has, hard sci-fi is always there in the background having a real impact on the book.

CONS: As with the first book, this one is a bit too sci-fi for non-fans to stomach.

BOTTOM LINE: Great book that I recommend easily.

Continue reading

Ridley Scott Still Hates SciFi

Here is an anti-scifi rant by Ridley Scott. Again. This time it’s a minor one, taken from a to BBC interview where he is talking about Blade Runner and scifi.

Why do you think it’s stood the test of time?

MTV started around 1980, and I used to watch it. I think in its early days it was more interesting – these little filmlets cooked up by the bands and the director that were four, five minutes of really great entertainment. I’d get a lot of ideas off them. But then I started to notice bits of Blade Runner in there.

I thought, ‘Where the hell did they get that? My god – someone’s copying me!’ It was a huge influence in a lot of rock videos: wet streets, smoke, funny people. There was an evolution occurring. That generation only really watched MTV, and that would be the generation we’re talking about now.

How do you feel about the future of science-fiction?

Everyone and their mother are making science-fiction movies, and for the most part they all really lack story. The tail is wagging the dog – the special effects, instead of being the means to an end, are the end in itself.

Where do all the writers go? Writing is the single hardest thing to do. Once you get your design on paper, everything else is pretty straightforward.

Yeah, Ridley Scott invented wet streets. Please…

Note to filmmakers: If your movie features wet streets, streets with a sheen that may suggest wetness, or any pavement whatsoever that is not 100% dry, please forward royalties to Sir Ridley Scott, c/o Fantasyland.

Oh, and Blade Runner is overrated.

Tube Bits For 11/26/2007

  • Wizard Universe has a short interview with David X. Cohen on the pending release (Nov. 27th, tomorrow!) of Bender’s Big Score. The movie will involve time travel, and if it’s anything like ‘Roswell That End’s Well’, it should rock. Although making a feature length film that will later be split into four separate episodes is a bit weird.
  • The Denver Post reviews the Star Trek The Original Series — The Complete First Season DVD set, just recently released. As you would expect, the real draw are the episodes themselves, while the extras are hit and miss. Is it worth $140 to buy these episodes? Again?
  • AOL News says Battlestar Galactica is the best political show on TV. He praises it for its “unblinking examinations of such hot-button issues as genocide, torture, suicide bombers, villainous occupiers and heroic insurgents.” He then says that SF TV has a history, when being politcal, of being “long on preachy, short on entertainment.” Which is ironic considering the third season of BG was exactly that. When they went for entertainment it worked, otherwise the politics became boring. There is also a short list of additional ‘good political SF’.
  • Associated Content interviews Stephanie Jacobson about her role as Major Kendra Shaw on Razor. I see, according to IMDB, that Jacobson is in line to play Maya for David Kelley’s American adaptation of Life On Mars.
  • And finally, for Pete and others like him, HavadisNet has the goods on Hayden Panettiere’s GQ photo shoot. Once you hit 18, apparently the high style men’s magazines come calling.

SF Tidbits for 11/26/07

POLL RESULTS: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Posters

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Do the new posters for The Sarah Connor Chronicles make you want to see the show?

RESULTS

(92 total votes)

A couple of comments this week:

“Come one – hot chicks with guns and mechanical bits? I am in… Now if only Grace Park would make a cameo… A man can dream.” – Tim

“I watched the pilot at Comic Con in San Diego and am very conflicted about this show. Let’s just say breaking into a bank to find a time travel device in a safe deposit box is a weird idea.” – Christian Johnson

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about when Star Wars jumped the shark!

When Did Star Wars Jump The Shark?

(This was previously mention by John in a tidbits post, but I think it deserves its own post.)

Jay Garmon at Geekend asks Sci-fi rant: When did Star Wars jump the shark? Now we all know that the prequel trilogy just doesn’t live up to the original three, and that Revenge of the Sith, while the best of the three, can’t unjump the shark. So when, exactly, did the Star Wars jumpage occur?

Jay’s answer is one word for you: Midi-chlorians. As lame as midi-chlorians are and as bad as all the awfulness they lead to (the ‘royal’ blood to be a Jedi, Annakin’s miracle birth), the series didn’t jump the shark here because it had already been jumped. In Return of the Jedi. You probably know where I’m going, so I’ll say just one word:

Ewoks.

That’s right, the moment Lucas decided to put merchandising above storytelling, the shark was well and truly jumped. Not only did we get cute, cuddly Ewok toys and the execrable Ewok adventure movie, we were also cheated out of seeing the Wookies kick some Empire butt during the fight to eliminate the shield generator.

Because Lucas saw $$$, the Wookies were relegated to a bit-part in Episode III, and the Ewoks took their glory, and we got the shaft. Episode VI could have been so much better without Ewoks, too bad Lucas was eying the killer fish in the water in front of him.

Review: Razor

Tonight’s the night Galactica fans have been waiting for. We finally get to see what happened to Pegasus during and after the Cylon attack on the colonies. It promises a return to the ‘one step from oblivion’ tension of the first season, and, for the most part, it succeeds.

First, the good stuff. Razor is well acted, with most actors turning in good to great performances. From a story standpoint, the tale of the Pegasus itself is told in flashback, but we do get to see some of what happened to her and her crew. Which brings us to the battle sequences. Tim and I were talking last week about space battle scenes, and I realized that Galactica, the new one, is chock full of great scenes. Razor is no exception. The attack on the space dock where Pegasus is undergoing repairs is awesome. The others aren’t quite as exciting, but they still manage to be visually interesting and well shot.

However, I did have some issues with Razor. Those of you expecting a lot of backstory on the Pegasus leading up to her encounter with Galactica, you’ll be a bit disappointed. The Pegasus‘s story is told in flashback form, centering on Kendra Shaw, who has become Lee Adama’s XO. We see the events that lead to the questionable actions of Admiral Cain and her crew after the Cylon attack, including the murder of innocents from a civilian fleet of ships running from the Cylons.

This is where the story falters. The flashbacks seemed very clunky to me, focusing on the wrong things. For example, in one scene, Cain gathers her officers together and states that, though they will fight the Cylons as long as they can, they won’t recklessly throw people at the Cylons. In the next scene, the Pegasus is attacking a base star and Cain orders the remaining Viper squadrons into what is a suicide attack. Her XO objects which leads to Cain executing him on the spot, even though he was right. No explanation forthcoming to explain why Cain went from reasonable but tough to psycho beotch from hell. She then continues to operate from the deep end, acting in an insane manner, with no real explanation. This leads to Major Shaw also taking questionable action during the encounter with the civilian fleet. Again, little explanation was given for why she would do what she did, or why she was the type of person who would be influenced by Cain’s actions.

Of course, it does setup the obvious tale of redemption that takes place during the ‘current’ time frame of Razor. A scouting mission from Galactica has gone missing, and Pegasus is tasked to find them. Of course they run into Cylons and must rescue the scouting mission from very familiar, but still rather cheesy, looking Cylons. Lee sends a mission to infiltrate a base star and extract the human crew. Which led me to ask why would you risk an entire battlestar, without backup, to rescue three people? Tactically, it doesn’t make sense. But from the redemption standpoint, of course they had to. This part felt forced, and not just for Shaw’s story.

It’s at the end, aboard the base star, that we learn the ultimate ‘fate’ for Starbuck and how it will affect humanity. If there had been no mission to the base star, we wouldn’t have had a chance to learn this secret. The way it was told felt forced, but it doesn’t really affect the impact of the information. What we learn makes season four much more interesting. Maybe we’ll even get to see how it ends.

Overall, while Razor is better than most of season three, it doesn’t live up to the tightness of the first season. Still, it’s well worth watching, especially for Galactica fans, who will be watching regardless.

Tube Bits For 11/24/2007

  • Here’s an unexpected media tie-in for you, a series of books about USA Network’s TV series, Monk. The third book is titled Mr. Monk in Outer Space, where Monk must track down the killer of a cult SF TV show. Random Ramblings has a quick review. As much as I like the series and Tony Shaloub, I haven’t watched it in a couple years and I don’t see myself reading the books. Maybe Tim will…
  • Is British pop star Lily Allen joining Dr. Who for next season? Sci Fi Scanner has heard rumors and isn’t keen on the prospect. I’ve only ever seen the one video of Allen’s song, Everything’s Just Wonderful and, while I like the song, I can’t comment on her ‘rightness’ for Who.
  • If you think Heroes has been on the rebound lately, you’re not alone. Even though it’s still finishing third in it’s time slot, it’s ratings have stabilized and even risen from earlier this season. Bionic Woman though is not so lucky. The strike may kill that show off soon.
  • The Daily Galaxy looks at the theology of Battlestar Galactica, covering both the human and Cylon side of things. They then wonder why we should expect any species to be rational and scientific, even one that may be created by us. That’s an interesting question, but I think the answer is “We can’t”, if for no other reason than good old Murphy.
  • Slashdot is running another in their long line of interviews, this time with MST3K creator, Joel Hodgson. If you’ve ever wanted to ask Joel a question, here’s your chance. The top 10 questions will be posed to Joel and the answers posted at a later date.

Brain Aldiss Asks: Why Are Science Fiction’s Best Writers So Neglected?

SF Author, editor, and Times Online columnist Brian Aldiss makes an impassioned plea for his genre.

SF is a city literature. It thrives in developed countries. It’s the magic brewed, not in the high street, but in side streets, in high-rise apartments, in hotel rooms, in offices, in airport lounges. It is predominantly an urban literature, written from within that love-hate relationship we have for our big cities. For the citizen, this is city Zen. Just a touch short of oceans and glaciers and impenetrable forests.

Ever since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Or, The Modern Prometheus, SF has been dishing out a variety of gloom and diets of catastrophe. The refreshed version of my A Science Fiction Omnibus offers a modest selection. Well, it is not all gloom; there is also fine satire, such as William Tenn’s Liberation of Earth, and the comedy of Katherine Maclean’s The Snowball Effect. There are also magisterial stories that it is difficult to classify, such as Eric Frank Russell’s Sole Solution and Ward Moore’s Lot.

You know the names of all these authors, of course. What, you don’t? I have known and enjoyed many of them for decades, in all their variety.

SF Tidbits for 11/24/07

  • Entertainment Weekly throws fan questions at George R.R. Martin. “I think I speak for virtually all fantasy and science-fiction writers that it’s a constant annoyance for anyone who works in these fields, that whenever a great piece of work is produced, you get reviewers saying, ‘Oh, this isn’t science fiction, it’s too good.'” [via John Joseph Adams]
  • IMAX has a short online video featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight.
  • Time talks with Stephen King.
  • The December edition of the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series, hosted by Ellen Datlow and Gavin J. Grant, features Naomi Novik (the Temeraire series) and Christopher Barzak (One for Sorrow). Also: See photos from past KGB events.
  • The List Universe lists Top 10 Errors in Science Fiction Movies.
  • Firefly‘s Jewel Staite gets a website. And it has a photo gallery page. And we all give thanks. [via Whedonesque]

Friday YouTube: Hey Shatner

“Hey Shatner, how do I hurl bolts of lightning?”

[via SF Universe]

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