Saturday, October 30, 2004
"THANKS A BUNCH:" witches and their cats pardoned 300 years after execution. Or as they'd say in We3, "ST!NK BOSS."
Good clean fun or Satanistic evil fun? The great Halloween debate will probably rage on long after today's kids are nonagenarians. Fort Wayne shows some hints of sanity about it.
Despite the debate, though, Halloween is actually growing in popularity, to the point where it has its own version of Wal-Mart.
8 PM? 8 PM? I had no idea Schenectady was such a dangerous little burg. I mean, kids gotta be safe and all, but 8 PM?? Paranoia hits Canada, too.
South Park's Cartman dressed in a Hitler costume, as did the Jewish adolescent Ben Kurtzman in the film Liberty Heights. Well, guess what.
If Hitler's too offensive, you can always go out as a pimp like thousands of others. I wonder how real pimps feel about this.
If you're allergic to eggs, the FDA wants you to stay away from "Jelly Candy Pops Sour Zip Kids." Doesn't that sound like a spam header?
Okay, I want a REAL hero in Brian Bendis' Avengers. I want Rescue Rick, the Grass Cut Man and his faithful sidekick, Tripod the Dog! "GUD DOG!" (Look, just buy We3, already.)
Finally, the top ten costumes of '04. Hey, Spider-Man, princess, witch, vampire, monster, Sponge Bob, ninja, athlete, ghost, and the Power Rangers? That's a pretty good Avengers lineup, too! Okay, no, it isn't. But I'd buy it!
Friday, October 29, 2004
Meanwhile, Maritza Campos just completed her best action sequence to date, and the REALLY wrenching part comes AFTER the fight is over.
And meanwhilier, Stephen Notley does his best to get out the vote.
On other fronts...
Ravenswood the Modest tips us off to news about the upcoming Narnia movies.
The wackiness-watcher Wednesday White has found a treat and a trick: Doc Martens for each member of Neil Gaiman's Endless (just in time for Halloween!), and William Shatner's latest album, legally downloadable (just in time for you to let your eardrums know you always hated them!).
Yes, The Incredibles is based on a true story. Or two.
"Elektra is lethal!" You know, until she gets killed. By a self-aggrandizing dipwad. Whom Daredevil will then beat up 4,378 times.
Hitchhiker's radio show already has one million web listeners. This time, why not follow the crowd?
In no science fiction movie, TV show, comic, website, play, radio show or pantomime ever produced, people control computers by moving their noses. Well, guess what. I officially love the word "nouse."
Primer is getting the attention from reviewers that it deserves. If only general audiences were as fair.
It is not often that I wish I lived in Britain, but the overseas buzz about Battlestar Galactica is so good that I'm almost ready to stop making jokes about the sex-change operations. Wait. Whom are we kidding? That will never happen.
Speaking of buzz from Britain, Iain M. Banks is back with another freewheeling parade of ideas, The Algebraist.
Finally, the Episode III trailer is coming!
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I always credit individuals who send me links (unless I forget). But should I credit sites that I often check out for their cool links? Because I keep repeating the words "Boing Boing" a LOT.
Lurk, But Don't Touch saw my meditations on Scrabble and reminded me of this video, which takes a lot of the character traits from Word Freak to their irrational conclusion. It's the kind of video that scares the Hell out of Shanna Cochran...
The witty and wise Wednesday White peers ahead to 2007, which apparently will see the birth of "the world's first hypoallergenic cats." I'm a little nervy about their claim that removing the allergen won't harm the cats in any way-- they may feel sure of that, but they can't really pre-test it, can they? Still, let's give 'em the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I'll even say that Shanna's future-cat from Fans is hypoallergenic.
This man made one of Arthur C. Clarke's dreams come true. No, not that one, or that one. Satellite TV. Yes, that was one of his.
It's looking like 2005 might be the year for videoconferencing. It's looking like it won't be the year for nanotubes. But, y'know, we've got Apple iPhotos and FLYING RAT NEURONS. It's a more interesting than not time to be alive, y'know?
The Economist reviews two comic books on my wish list.
Well, if he's not doing TV, and he's not directing X-Men 3, what is Joss Whedon doing? Stumping for Kerry, that's what.
Who needs all those whizzy, headache-inducing 3-D graphics? Play Grand Theftendo, the back-to-BASIC-basics version of Grand Theft Auto!
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
From Comixpedia, The Comics Reporter is the heir apparent to the much-missed comics weblog Journalista, even though the writers of these two blogs don't always see eye to eye on issues like "The New New New Marvel."
William Shatner can't do it. Brent Spiner-- I love Brent Spiner-- but he can't do it either. But this episode is making me consider breaking my Star Trek embargo. "Who invented the transporter-- and what if he wanted to take it to the next level?" See, I was braced against stuntcasting, but... that's such a good idea... ohhhhhhh, I know they're going to screw it up somehow... be strong, be strong...
Thanks to Brian Daniel for the Yoda fart rumor. Of course, we all know that George Lucas is far too accomplished a storyteller to so tastelessly sully his own mythic creatioHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA(sob)
400 pages on The Making of The (eleven-octillion page) Dark Tower series. No matter how big a Stephen King fan you are, Bev Vincent is bigger.
Frustrated Pilot is even more frustrated now that they're teaching rat neurons to fly. This article also has a link to the SF work that best anticipated it, as reported on the previously-linked Technovelgy, one of THE BEST SF SITES ON THE INTERNET, PERIOD. If you're not paying attention to this one, START!
Camper van Beethoven is back in music with a science-fiction rock opera called New Roman Times. Read what the critics are saying. If you like your SF with a bit of political commentary and you feel we've gotten back the worst of the Eighties, you'll probably enjoy it.
Birth is a harder call. This reincarnation romance has its supporters, but those who hate it reeeeeeeeeeeally hate it. If your story features an attraction between a Nicole Kidman character and a 10-year-old she believes to be her long-dead husband, "boring" is probably not a good word for a reviewer to use. But draw your own conclusions...
...because any film that takes too many chances is bound to be in a similar situ (well-loved and well-hated). Just ask genre-bender Brad Anderson.
Not that science-fiction fans pay any attention to critics anyway, apparently.
Also from Frustrated Pilot, hobbit skull found. Really! Sort of.
Finally, from The Internet Review of Science Fiction, the state of Israeli science fiction. Subscriptions are still free for another five weeks, so you have no excuse!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Seriously, apologies aplenty. Computer glitch cost me my usual update time, and a few entries which I'll have to restore tonight. So today's is short, but tomorrow's will be long.
At the... suggestion... of ravenswood, we've added a shiny new suggestion thread!
I'm happy she got that "#1 in America" title while she still could. Because. I hate to say it, but Sarah Michelle Gellar's days in any kind of role for young people are numbered. Don't believe me? Look at that Beeb photo.
And on the subject of diminishing prospects for a Buffy revival, Joss Whedon flees TV because of the reality craze. Just like so many viewers!
Painkiller Jane was actually a better comic than its title would have you believe. Though that isn't saying much, admittedly. Still, high hopes for this Sci Fi series.
An entry every day for the next YEAR. This is my promise to you.
During that year, I'll be getting serious about supporting this blog (independently of my work on Graphic Smash) so that I can continue it beyond that year. Look for an "advertise" page to go up this weekend. Other suggestions for sources of revenue-- and for content-- are always welcome.
One thing I miss about now-distant friends is, I no longer have anyone to play Scrabble with regularly. Scrabble has its own division of geekdom, celebrated and lampooned in the book Word Freak and its film adaptation Word Wars. There are tournaments in Oman and literary festival, and among its fans are singers like Christina Aguilera and Sting. And there are lots of Scrabble fans nearby. Yet for me, it's just not the same unless it's played with someone I know closely and like well. (Sigh) At least Uncle Arthur's still big into it at family reunions.
Is there a tabletop game you guys would like to see me cover? Yes, I'm taking suggestions all over the place.
Warhammer Online is back on. And there was much rejoicing.
Because other network reality shows just don't SUCK enough, NBC is actually airing Scare Tactics this Halloween. Okay, it's not as bad as The Swan, but it's too close for freakin' COMFORT.
It's been, what, TWO WEEKS since the last time William Shatner made the news? After doing the kind of cheesy promotional campaign they mocked in GalaxyQuest, Bill wants to go to space for real. Slashdot responds to this news item by observing that he is fat. Hilarity ensues, only not really.
And finally, 9-year-olds put the screws to the Church of Scientology.
Friday, October 22, 2004
I'm working on a long-term solution to this problem which should go into effect next week. Wish me luck...
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
In Fans today (Thursday): yes, that is a nod to J.G. Ballard, and not the first in the series. (But no, it was some other Ballard who adopted Will.) Check under the graphic for footnotes.
Robots set to take over the world in 2007, sort of, according to the United Nations. The long version of their report is here. While we wait, the first robot telescope! Perceptor would be proud.
(By the way, am I the only one repelled by the recent Transformers series? The animation's more TECHNICALLY proficient, but it seems like both characterization and aesthetics dropped off a bit in Generation 2 and then took a nose-dive. I can't even LOOK at the Energon series without getting a headache. Is it just me? Am I missing something? Anyone out there like it?)
The UK has some early word on the regular Battlestar Galactica series. Premiere has a kicky conceit (crisis every 33 minutes!) that bodes well. On the other hand, I hope Sci Fi's new version of The Wizard of Oz is better than it sounds like.
Steve Butts (don't giggle) is trying to contain his enthusiasm for the upcoming Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. But it does sound like mecha done right...
Biotech-themed SF on pay Canadian TV. You may never see it, so get your vicarious thrills.
Neal Stephenson: The Slashdot Interview.
About that Superman post yesterday: the rumors are true. Who cares, really, as long as Brian Singer is directing it, I'm in. This is the director who made Rebecca Romijn-Stamos behave like a good actress, after all. I'm less sanguine about the Fantastic Four film after listening to Doctor Doom talk about how he wants to bag Sue Richards.
Finally, when we threw amnesia pills into Fans, I honestly thought I was indulging my wildest imaginings. Maybe we'd have those in 25 years. Well... say it with me... guess what.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
The kind of yellow journalism we need more of, concerning some Save Farscape campaigns. The writer also makes the very good point-- which no one else seems to want to admit-- that the producers of Farscape have to bear a fair amount of responsibility for the show's cancellation. I mean, yes, TV executives can be stupid, but not that stupid. Considering the calisthenics NBC went through to keep Friends and ER on the air, it's highly unlikely that Sci Fi would have gone through with the cancellation if they could have afforded to keep the show around. They had to know what the fan reaction would be...
Almost unremarked in the media is the death of Tetsu Yano, Japanese translator of just scads of books by SF luminaries like Heinlein, Herbert and Pohl.
Speaking of Heinlein, didjaknow his stories kept the inventor of the waterbed from getting a patent?
Video game avatars exhibited as post-ironic art.
"Deep Impact" spacecraft launches. Because calling it "the Armageddon spacecraft" might give people the wrong idea.
All we have about the next actor playing Superman are rumors.
I've never heard of this guy before now, but you gotta respect the gall of anyone whose press release announces him as the future of science fiction.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Sebastian gets the biscuit.
Fans reader Cather Steincamp writes: "I'm currently kicking around a novel that was indirectly inspired by Fans. (The only thing it actually has in common is a group of science fiction fans-- but, well, not the same kind. That's all I'm gonna say-- but I'm betting were you to read it you'd see a bit of Rikk, Tim, and Guth.) One of the characters will be named Campbell, in tribute."
I love my readers.
George Lucas's lifetime achievement award.
From Boing Boing, live-action women's D&D show.
From J. Lehmann: Techie finds a crueler name for firstborn than "Junior."
FBI gets Stargate SG1 webmaster. Submitted without comment... I'm too conflicted on this one.
Green Arrow's first sidekick got a drug habit. Now his new sidekick's getting AIDS. The moral? As a father figure, Green Arrow sucks. (Okay, not fair. Actually, she gets AIDS before meeting him. And if anyone can do this kind of story right, it's Judd Winick, whose AIDS-centered Pedro and Me should be required reading. But seriously, as a dad Green Arrow does suck.)
One more Blake's 7 link which thoughtfully provides filmographies of the actors so I don't have to.
And finally, four Thors: Dangerous and Fluffy creators Adam Cuerden and Timmeryn have cobbled up the most historically accurate Thor in comics history. And if you want to make Adam mad, bring up this image from Marvel's ever-expanding TPB line. It's "Teen Thor," and I'm not kidding. The mainstream comic book just had its "final issue," a claim which is fooling absolutely nobody; the question is not whether Thor will be brought back, but how, and by whom. One of comics' legendary writers has had his name mentioned repeatedly...
The comics are comin' out on schedule, but the blogging's going to have to back up a little today too. I'll make it up to you with a doozy of a news&links roundup tomorrow.
Meantime, a tasty, tasty biscuit to the first one who can tell us where Shanna's two figurines come from. The pistol, of course, comes from here.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
This Monday begins the ginormous wrap-up Fans storyline, "The Ways The World Ends." You heard it here first.
This blog will take the weekend off while I mosey on down (incognito) to a Jersey convention and get caught up on scripting for Penny and Aggie. The Fans storyline "Others" will continue through Sunday.
No, the Liberator is no Enterprise or Millennium Falcon in the annals of popular culture, but Blake's Seven has earned itself a fan film. Devotees, getcher episode reviews here, yer comprehensive Wikipedia entry here, and yer encyclopedia devoted entirely to the show here. As they did for Star Trek, fans are trying to continue the series on their own yet also panting for a possible official revival. It's been four years since that was officially announced, but the producers keep that site updated, and hope springs eternal. You know us.
Piece on the soldiers of the future mocks Captain America way too much for my taste-- yes, he wears chainmail spandex into warzones, okay, OKAY-- but has valid points about the "Captain DARPAmericas" we're envisioning. Christopher Priest, I hope you're reading this.
Article on Farscape's new season has a list of other shows given a stay of execution by fanac.
As here, so there (apologies if you're reading from there): Taiwanese gaming firms get ready for the "hot season."
Want some free e-mailed horror stories that have nothing to do with the size of sexual organs? You'd be supporting the fight against cancer, despite the stories being free. No, really, you would.
This administration has driven William Gibson back to the blog.
Finally, Wil Wheaton has a book out, and he's got a reading from it available here. If you still think of him as just "the actor who dragged down Star Trek: NextGen," then you really need to give this one a listen. (Besides, *no* actor could have rescued that character from the lines he was given in his worst episodes...)
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Gee, Star Trek producers are tired of being kicked around, just like Richard Nixon. Didn't see THAT coming. Poor babies.
Look, guys, I know it feels like you can't win, but that's only because YOU CAN'T WIN. Seriously, reread these entries: I gave you every chance in the world. You've burned all your bridges with the fans who care about primo SF, and you've wasted years trying to appeal to a demographic that can get pr0n much more easily elsewhere. You have destroyed or neglected virtually every likable trait about your characters. The only audience you have LEFT are the hardcore Trekkers, and despite how #$%@ing dumb you think they are, they are smart enough to know that the bottle may say "Chateaubriand 1989" but the contents are ketchup. Don't complain about the complainers, guys. Worry about the silence that comes when people stop complaining and just GIVE UP.
NPR discusses the RFID tag, a universal locator which could really have helped those guys on Lost.
And speaking of Lost, what ABOUT that damn polar bear?
The reviewed-as-much-better-than-it-should-be TV movie Thoughtcrimes plays this weekend.
EverQuest II has a couple of star voices, this time out. (So THAT'S what happened to Saruman!)
I'm starting to think Batman Begins might just work after all, despite another pair of incongruous villains.
This excerpt from Digital People gives you its flavor. Publishers Weekly sez it works best as a history of our fascination with robotics-- but doesn't do so hot when dealing with problems of engineering or philosophy.
And finally... Hey, if sexy pseudo-lesbian film fights can't convince you to vote, I can't help you.
Next ep, we'll look in on Blake's Seven...
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Also on the drawing board, picture-pigeons.
Still in only limited release, but Primer sounds fascinating.
Video gamers design their own roller coasters, picking among several themes including (gasp) an SF one.
For his next trick, George Lucas is sniffing around TV. Could do worse. Has.
Oh, another of Harry Potter's characters is gonna die in the next book. On the one hand, that's potentially touching, but on the other hand, well, there are eleven octillion characters in those things. Rowling at least admits that Harry will survive until Book Seven. Daniel Radcliffe says, "Outlook Not So Good."
Wow, despite lukewarm reviews, Shark Tale is doing great.
NY Times (free subscription) has a great piece on Anne Rice's customer relations.
And finally, testing to make sure your local candidate isn't a replicant.
Christopher Reeve passed yesterday. There are pieces about his work on behalf of the handicapped, the impression he left as Superman, his last work, his brief suicidal depression following his accident, and the fact that his death should not have been totally unexpected for a man with his type of injury.
I was not aware of that-- and recently wrote a Fans page that implied he would still be alive and well in 2010. Time to revise that one. :-(
If you're feeling down about it, keep your eye out for airings of his appearances on "The Practice" and "Smallville," or look for his remake of Rear Window. The guy was having a lot of fun, right up to the end.
They were going to give Team America an NC-17 rating? I love this country. It's so insane.
From Boing Boing, The Fighting Perverts Power Ranger porn (this link is work-safe).
The Motley Fool gives some perspective on Midway's recent buyout of-- oh, excuse me-- "mini-merger with" Inevitable Entertainment. Also in gaming, the January '05 release Scrapland looks cool, and MMORPG master Mythic Entertainment is maturing mightily.
Slashdotters interview Neal Stephenson, one of the few people who might write fast enough to keep up with them.
Nudist camp has its own SF con called "Spock-toberfest" where individuals cover their naked bodies in silvery paint. You think I'm kidding, don't you?
Finally, if the presidential debate were moderated by SF fans... tee-hee!
Monday, October 11, 2004
For the few readers not coming to this site from my comic Fans, that comic has begun its photocomic storyline. As ever, I'm excited about playing with new forms and variations on comics, and this time out I've been aided by a very able troupe of actors.
Also from the world of webcomics, Keentoons has gone live, shortly after the Keenspot newspaper strips launched. I hope these initiatives mean nothing but good things for my colleagues, though I'm reserving judgment until they've had a few months to prove their worth.
Not much news from the rest of the SF world today. A few quick items...
Cory Doctorow has some nice things to say about Terry Pratchett's latest book.
On the drawing board: A Princess of Mars, a film adaptation of the "John Carter of Mars" stories. No, it's not going to pull a Battlestar Galactica and transgender its protagonist. I don't think.
And finally, cyberkinetics are coming... you can now just about play Pong with your mind.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
People are talking about my performance as moderator of the SPX webcomics panels here and here. I have to agree with Joe Zabel that there were some built-in problems, but I think I learned from the experience and hope to get another crack at it before too long.
Eugene Roddenberry feels the world has room for one more Star Trek documentary.
Hilarious quote of the day: "Because the theater often gets movies several weeks after they're released, Anzalotti stays away from science fiction, horror and other movies that normally attract teenagers hungry to see the newest movies. Instead, the theater shows a mix of mainstream movies like Harry Potter"... which doesn't atract any teenagers at all, right? Dumdums.
SF artists, caveat emptor with this client!
Robert Heinlein inspires a journalist.
Whoa, you mean someone might actually sue over Scare Tactics? Promise?
Farscape fans, payday is here!
The National Book Festival adds an SF section.
Disparaging use of term "science fiction" #49: Humiliating failures of allegedly science-fact shows.
Finally, at times I find this dystopian essay shrill and quick to demonize, but have patience with it: it's got its points...
Friday, October 08, 2004
Jeopardy master Ken Jennings don't know his 17th-century SF, which cost him a Final Jeopardy... but not his winning streak.
Anarchy Online is FREE for two solid weeks??! Thats... ANARCHY!
Appleseed, the "3D Live Anime" from the creator of Ghost in the Shell, is coming. See the trailers.
NBC Universal reports double-digit profits for the Sci Fi Channel. Must be those crazy movies they produce.
One semi-legendary ufologist seeks to resolve the energy crisis-- with help from the aliens in his head.
New inductees, factual and fictional, to the Robot Hall of Fame. Similarly, the 2004 Intelligent Robotics and Systems conference (with video clips!).
Reasons to read SF other than fun.
Finally, too cool for WORDS: a treasury of science-fiction ideas and inventions.
Trekkies creator Roger Nygard speaketh.
Captain Kirk influences local politicians. (Subscription required, but free.)
Greg, this Star Trek Andorian arc scoop is just for you. Don't say I never did nothin' for ya.
I'm as anti-censorship as the next guy, but if you're going to protest, get your facts straight. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a feminist dystopian SF novel, and a damn good one. The Handmaid's Tail by Toni Morrison... well, it's not. Unconfirmed reports suggest it's porn, but I can't actually find a copy for sale anywhere. Anybody?
Nintendo's latest push to own all your spare time.
The man who took the Czech flag to the moon.
What do you do after reinventing Doctor Who? Reinvent Casanova, of course.
The Final Cut: hi-tech SF, hi-tech filmmaking, hi-tech projection booths.
Alan Moore and other British writers bring Brit-created comics characters to American audiences. Twenty-plus years after it began, the "British invasion" is complete.
Finally, the SFPA's favorite poem of late: The Metaphysics of Force. Read!
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Loose talk about William Shatner getting on Enterprise after all, along with Brent Spiner. They certainly could only improve the scenery, from what I can tell. (No, I'm still not watching Enterprise, but I have my sources.) Meanwhile, other classic Trek actors join a more enjoyable Trek series.
Halloween's a-comin', and Franklin Harris has obligingly provided a cable guide to scary movies.
Missisippi begins to take notice of SF-inspired band Atomship. Unique rock sound-- but an SF-inspired band from Mississippi would have to have one.
Along similar lines, check out the Massachusetts-based, musical-degree-holding, prog-rock band Eoband, with MP3 samples like "Attack of the Martians" and "Forbidden Planet."
Geeks in Space: A look at the culture that produces things like SpaceShipOne.
I can't take it: TrekWeb reports on Sci Fi Weekly's review of the Enterprise season premiere. Up next, TV Guide reports on TrekWeb's report on Sci Fi Weekly's review, then puts it in a top ten list.
Iraqi mega-blogger Salam Pax's confrontation with fame.
Antimatter weapons have been featured on Star Trek and Crisis on Infinite Earths. Well, guess what.
Finally, here's hoping the Penny Arcade bwahs pay attention to The New Games Journalism Manifesto. (Thanks to Boing Boing.)
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Speaking of awards ceremonies-- I know there are too many-- but how can you not relish something called The Ig Nobel Awards? Rewarding those who "make us laugh, then make us think," and sponsored in part by the Harvard-Ratcliffe Science Fiction Association, which once had me and Greg as guests.
Disembodied Brain reports that Enterprise is at least going to get rid of that damned Temporal Cold War plot before it's put out of its misery.
Let the World Cyber Games begin!
Darth Vader reduced to holding up his pizza deliveryman. Unsuccessfully. How do you use a stun gun on somebody and they STILL get away? This is... this is just... Darwin-level criminal incompetence.
One of Buck Rogers' most faithful and illustrious disciples passes on.
Zionist and reactionary reviews of The Plot Against America have better titles than the actual novel. Yet the actual GOOD review from The New York Times has a rather dull title.
Dr. Who weddings still happen.
Oh my God, Tron is back.
And finally, another giant leap for all mankind.