Wednesday YouTube: Mars Is Amazing!

One enlightened, and funny, dad decided to show his daughter how not to do a report on Mars. The result is the video below. I bet you didn’t know half the stuff in there….

Filed under: HumorSpace

Tube Bits For 10/03/07

  • Heroes executive producer and director Greg Beeman has a behind the scenes look at Monday’s episode, ‘Lizards’. He does this for every episode and he has some good stuff there, including a look into the writing process. Check it out. Also, Forbidden Planet gives us the nice pic of Nichelle Nichols in her role of Nana Dawson.
  • Chris Arnold at the TCPalm.com has a mini-rant about the first two episodes of Heroes. I see some of the same problems John has ranted about. He should take this opportunity to give us his rant.
  • Contact Music (?!) has a look at the Monday ratings for all shows. Heroes did well in the 18-49 demographic, while Chuck lost 10% from last week. I’m willing to give Chuck some more time, but will the network?
  • For those of you who care, Seaquest DSV season 2 will be released on New Year’s Day. Yet another show I never got into.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Reading Tonight: “The Star-Pit” by Samuel R. Delany

For the uninitiated, like me, it’s nice to know that The New York Review of Science Fiction hosts regular readings at New York’s South Street Seaport Museum. Tonight, Samuel R. Delany kicks off the new season by commemorating the 40th anniversary of “The Star-Pit”, his Hugo-winning space opera turned radio broadcast about galaxy hoppers.

This sounds so cool. My rare visits to South Street in my youth were usually initiated by promises of large crowds and liquor At least I think so. Did I mention the liquor?

See also:

Notes on ‘The Star-Pit’ by Samuel R. Delany.

Upcoming New York Review of Science Fiction readings.

[via New York magazine]

Filed under: Events

Disney/Pixar’s Wall E

I’m probably the last person to realize that Disney/Pixar is working on a a new movie for next summer, called Wall E. Well, a new trailer has been released for your viewing pleasure. Take a look.

Even though Wall E himself looks like a cross between E.T. and Johnny 5, he is far cuter and more expressive in 60+ seconds than either of them. As a bonus, the plot is very SF oriented, concerning humanity leaving Earth and failing to return. It’s up to Wall E to help bring humanity back.

It looks like Pixar may be back on the ‘hit’ train, which seems to have left the station after The Incredibles. I’m now officially stoked to see this movie next June.

Filed under: Movies

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for September 2007

As per Google Analytics, here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for September 2007:

  1. RIP: James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (Robert Jordan)
  2. New Hard Sci Fi?
  3. Can The Sci Fi Channel Be Saved?
  4. About Last Night: Heroes Season Premier
  5. What 5 Sci-Fi Movies Do You Watch Over and Over?
  6. Bionic Woman Pilot Delivers
  7. SF Signal: What works for you?
  8. SF Tidbits for 9/8/07
  9. A Kick-Ass “Rendezvous with Rama” Student Film
  10. Weekend Doctor Who Projects

Looking at the top overall hits, while ignoring those listed above, we get these stats for older posts that were popular in September…

  1. SF/F Writers Who Blog
  2. Solve Rubik’s Cube
  3. REVIEW: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  4. Oh Wolverine, Why Can’t You Be True?
  5. The Simpsons Premiere
  6. POLL: Hottest SciFi/Fantasy Babe NOT of Yesteryear
  7. New Highlander Movie
  8. Friday YouTube Bonus! The Simpson’s Do Star Wars
  9. Free SciFi Movies
  10. Top 10 Star Wars Spoofs

Filed under: Meta

SF Tidbits for 10/2/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tuesday YouTube: Wonder Woman Opening Sequence

Now with 100% more Lyle Waggoner!

Filed under: TV

Tube Bits For 10/02/07

  • Animation Insider has a short article about Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jensen animated series. Apparently the adventures of Tek Jensen appear on Colbert’s TV show. It sounds like a hoot. Has anyone seen these?
  • AdWeek has a very interesting article detailing the ad rates for various prime time shows. American Idol is far and away the most expensive show to advertise on, going for $700k per 30 second ad. Heroes clocks in at $330k and Bionic Woman goes for $185k. I’m in the wrong business.
  • Dr. John Lynn has several articles online covering science fiction TV. He has essays on Kolchak and The X-Files, among others.
  • Good news for fans of Eureka. Sci Fi has picked it up for 13 more episodes starting sometime next year. I’ve really liked this season and i’ll definitely be watching next season.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Tube Bits For 10/01/07

  • MovieWeb has an interview with both Amanda Tapping and Jewel Staite about the upcoming fourth season of Stargate: Atlantis. Maybe it’s time to catch up on the show…
  • Starpulse is reporting that Patrick Stewart is ‘upset’ the producers of Dr. Who haven’t asked him to guest star. Stewart is a big fan of the show and really wants to be on it. Buck up little trooper! Maybe they’re working on a new spin-off just for you, ‘Cpt. Who’!
  • Karen Cliche, Bayliss from Flash Gordron, sounds off on the poor reception the show has received. She says that at the half-way point there’s a big plot twist and that the show writers have been getting better and that people should tune back in. Color me unconvinced. Is anyone still watching?
  • BoardGameGeek member Swandive78 reviews the $10 Babylon 5: A Call To Arms Starter Set, which is an introduction to a miniature figure game based on Babylon 5. If you like it, you can move up to the full version from Mongoose Publishing.
  • BuddyTV has a preview of the second Heroes episode tonight, called ‘Lizards’. Sounds kinda cool. No word on how long the Nikki storyline stays off the air.

Filed under: Tube Bits

SF Tidbits for 10/1/07

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: Your Favorite David Cronenberg Film

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Which of the following is your favorite David Cronenberg movie?

RESULTS

(92 total votes)

A bunch of comments this week:

“Stephen King’s ‘The Dead Zone’ is one of my favorite Top Five novels. Not just in scifi, or any genre sub-category — but in all the novels I have read. I thought the movie did an admirable job in bringing the story to the screen. Christopher Walker was awesome — he brought Johnny Smith to life. I had hopes for the TV Series…but that didn’t last long.” – Morjana

“I will always have a weak spot for eXistenZ. I even adapted the tagline ‘Death to the Demoness!’ as a way of relieving tension at my (then) hellish boss.” – Paul

“Crash. I’m surprised Dead Zone is getting many votes, it’s the least Cronenberg of all his films!” – James Grebmops

“Clive Barker’s Nightbreed or Crash (1996)” – Allan

“The year 1999 was good. It was three movies about virtual reality: Matrix, The Thirteenth Floor and eXistenZ. For me, all are very good SF movies.” – girotix

“I had to vote for Videodrome, although ExistenZ was a close second. Christopher Eccleston is like icing – everything is better with him added to it.” – Misty

“Dead Ringers: Emotionally powerful, intelligent horror. Unique.” – Matte Lozenge

“Tough question really Cronenberg has done a lot of good movies, but my favorite is non-SF, A History of Violence. As far as SF goes, The Dead Zone wins.” – Jim

“I picked ‘The Fly’ simply because it was the only one of the six that I remember actually having a plot.” – joshua corning

“Favourite Cronenberg is ‘A History of Violence’. I hear the new one is quite good as well.” – Wes

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll on Blade Runner: The Final Cut DVD!

Filed under: Polls

Cult Pop

The Cult-Pop website is unassumingly cool. It’s a simple web page; there are no links and there’s no navigation because there are no sub-pages. There’s just a giant TV screen. The website is the online companion to the TV show that airs on Michigan cable.

What do they show? Their play list includes video interviews with authors like John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder, Brad Meltzer, Nick Sagan and more. They also have a ComicCon report. The videos are cool, so hang in there through each show’s too-long intro.

There only seem to be about 8 video podcasts at this time, but the subject list promises good things to come. Check it out!

Filed under: Web Sites

MEME: Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time

Below is Snarkerati’s list of Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time. A great topic for a meme!

You know the drill…copy the list and BOLD the movies you have seen. Post yours in the comments, or on your own blog (a link back here would be appreciated!)

  1. Metropolis (1927)
  2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  3. Brazil (1985)
  4. Wings of Desire (1987)
  5. Blade Runner (1982)
  6. Children of Men (2006)
  7. The Matrix (1999)
  8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
  9. Minority Report (2002)
  10. Delicatessen (1991)
  11. Sleeper (1973)
  12. The Trial (1962)
  13. Alphaville (1965)
  14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
  15. Serenity (2005)
  16. Pleasantville (1998)
  17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
  18. Battle Royale (2000)
  19. RoboCop (1987)
  20. Akira (1988)
  21. The City of Lost Children (1995)
  22. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  23. V for Vendetta (2005)
  24. Metropolis (2001)
  25. Gattaca (1997)
  26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
  27. On The Beach (1959)
  28. Mad Max (1979)
  29. Total Recall (1990)
  30. Dark City (1998)
  31. War Of the Worlds (1953)
  32. District 13 (2004)
  33. They Live (1988)
  34. THX 1138 (1971)
  35. Escape from New York (1981)
  36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
  37. Silent Running (1972)
  38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
  39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
  40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  41. Soylent Green (1973)
  42. I Robot (2004)
  43. Logan’s Run (1976)
  44. Strange Days (1995)
  45. Idiocracy (2006)
  46. Death Race 2000 (1975)
  47. Rollerball (1975)
  48. Starship Troopers (1997)
  49. One Point O (2004)
  50. Equilibrium (2002)

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 9/29/07

Filed under: Tidbits

New Philip K. Dick Volume Due

Confirming what was reported earlier, the Library of America will be releasing a second collection of Philip K. Dick’s work. The original collection included The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ubik. The second collection will include:

  • Martian Time-Slip
  • Dr. Bloodmoney
  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Now Wait for Last Year

Also: Gabriel Mckee (SF Gospel) and Matt Cheney (Mumpsimus) have reports of the event where this was announced by Jonathan Lethem, LOA’s PKD series editor.

Filed under: Books

REVIEW SUMMARY: Still a great story.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The rebellious Harlequin causes mischief in a society that is strictly punctual.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Engaging prose; interesting premise; a parable that’s effective 40 years after it was written.
CONS: If I think of any, I’ll let you know.
BOTTOM LINE: A classic short story that deserves its great reputation.

In 1965, Harlan Ellison sat down to write a story for submission to a writers’ workshop. The result after a mere 6 hours was “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”, a story that went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and is reported to be one of the most reprinted stories ever. Underwood Press published a nice-looking, 48-page commemorative anniversary edition in 1997 – aptly late considering the story’s premise – to celebrate the story’s initial publication. This hardback edition comes with some nice looking illustrations by Rick Berry. You know what? Forty two years later, the original story holds up remarkably well.
Read the rest of this entry

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 9/28/07

  • Apparently he will be back…sort of. DVD Review reports that we can expect not just another sequel, but a whole new second Terminator trilogy! One of the films is likely to focus on the war of the machines.
  • Wired has an interview with Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner, the last sci-fi film to be made before sci-fi died. “You know, Alien is a C film elevated to an A film, honestly, by a great monster.” “I honestly couldn’t get into [Philip K. Dick’s book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep]. It’s so dense, by page 32 there’s about 17 story lines.
  • Cinema Blend News has the teaser poster for Pixar’s WALL-E.
  • File under “Why, God, why?”: Tom Green and Crispin Glover have been cast in the sci-fi comedy film, Freezer Burn: the Invasion of Laxdale, which tells the story of aliens from outer space disguised as Dutch oil company executives who buy a local grain silo and promise to create jobs for a failing farm town, but secretly plan to use crop circles to heat up the temperature of the planet and turn Earth into a Club Med for extraterrestrials.
  • Interviews (The first 3 snagged from Swivet):
    • CHUD interviews Richard K. Morgan (Thirteen). “I’m about telling the story, and I’ll create whatever backdrop I need to do that as I go along. I don’t like info-dumping, and I try to avoid it.”
    • Columbus Dispatch interviews Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates). “I’ve never sympathized with the idea of covertly commenting on the social and political issues of today. That’s a fatal error. As soon as the reader notices the parallel, it prevents the suspension of disbelief.”
    • A Dribble of Ink interviews Brandon Sanderson (Elantris). “In my opinion a good book is a balance be-tween character, setting, and plot with character being the most important of the three. You can have the coolest magic system in the world, but if readers don’t care about the characters who are using that magic system, the book won’t be very fun to read.”
    • Simon Haynes interviews Tim Pratt (Blood Engines). “I’m not sure SF/Fantasy has a particular purpose that’s different from the purpose(s) of all literature, which are variously to edify, to entertain, and to illuminate the human condition.”
    • Amazon Daily interviews M. John Harrison (Nova Swing). “SF is an opportunity to have an intense relationship with your own imagination. It’s a kind of drive-by poetry, trashy and addictive; it’s fun.”
  • In response to their earlier post Does Literary Fiction Suffer from Dysfunctional Pricing?, LitKicks looks at the pleasures of paperbacks.
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Ben Bova, author of The Aftermath, the fourth and final book in his Asteroid Wars series.
  • New at ManyBooks.net: “Pagan Passions” by Gordon Randall Garrett. “Adult Science Fiction, with the supernatural making complete sense.”
  • Del Rey will be publishing new Indiana Jones books.
  • Besides a mini-Seinfeld reunion, the video for Brad Paisley’s song “Online” features a cameo by William Shatner (at 3:14). [via Big Dumb Object via Deanna Hoak, who are hereby put on notice for making me listen to country music.]

Filed under: Tidbits

Friday YouTube: Robot Insurance

OK, this is already a repeat tidbit, but Geekend reminded me of it gaian and I had a good giggle, so I’m going for a video three-fer.

Filed under: Humor

Tube Bits For 09/28/07

  • The premier of Bionic Woman pulled in decent ratings, especially considering it was scheduled against ratings juggernaut, Dancing With The Stars. It even managed to best Heroes ratings for Monday. We’ll see how well it keeps its viewers next week.
  • Speaking of Heroes, haven’t had the time to read all of the online comics for the season? Well, no you don’t have to. George from OnOurTV has done the work for you and gives us the quick summaries for all 52 online comics. Truly a dedicated Heroes fan, and a heck of a developer too.
  • NBC’s Digital Insights and Innovations team has done some research about viewer habits for online content. They found that a high number of people who watched Heroes online for the first time continued to watch the show later, both online and off. The take away being that there is an ‘opportunity’ for cross platform marketing to reach more people. In other words, viewers will be bombarded with more targeted ads on the NBC site. Just what we need. But I still think NBC’s online viewing capabilities are the best of the major networks.
  • Michael Wentz gives us his review of Journeyman. In it, he takes to task those who compare it to Quantum Leap. Not having seen it yet, all I can say is the synopsis makes it sound like a personal QL.
  • Blog Critics Magazine also has a review of CBS’ Moonlight, which premiers tonight at 9pm ET. Sounds bad.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Thursday YouTube: The Space Elevator

Here’s a quick intro to space elevators courtesy of ISR and NASA.

[via Imagi-Nation]

Filed under: Space

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