This is so delightfully silly and yet, surely this is the way it was meant to sound. A must listen for Lovecraftians.
First seen at the delightfully silly and creepy Ectoplasmosis (a few related links over there)
Back on December 4th, in our hotel room in Branson, I was channel surfing and stopped when I saw Nicholas Cage and a young boy staring at several glowy aliens. I soon realized that I was seeing the end of what looked like a very good movie. Later I figured out that the name of the movie was Knowing and I knew I wanted to see it even though it had been “spoiled” and last night I got to see the whole thing. I was not disappointed. In spite of having already seen the ending, I thought it was a great movie and didn’t feel that it had been all that badly spoiled. But I don’t want to spoil it for you so if you don’t want to read a spoiler stop reading now. Watch the trailer instead.
* * *
At the beginning of Knowing an elementary school class opens a time capsule buried fifty years earlier by another class at the same school. Inside are letters from the students in the earlier class. Each of the kids in the current class is given one of the letters. One boy, Caleb, gets a page full of apparently random numbers. The other kids think it’s “boring” but Caleb wants to know what it means.
His father, a widowed astronomy professor, played by Nicholas Cage, dismisses it at first but then starts looking at it and discovers that the numbers are the dates of disasters and the numbers of victims. And there are three that have not happened yet. Caleb starts hearing whispering voices and seeing mysterious men watching him from the shadows. Caleb and his dad meet up with the daughter of the girl who wrote the numbers – and her daughter who is, conveniently, the same age as Caleb – and together try to figure out what’s up with the numbers and the mysterious strangers.
I think this is a very good movie and I’m surprised that it’s not more popular. I’m not sure how much seeing the ending first might have changed the way I saw it. We are used to movies in which the hero saves the day in the end, no matter how impossible the situation. That didn’t happen in this movie. But were there subtle clues? Might I have realized at some point that this wasn’t going to end with everyone dancing a happy dance? I think that’s likely.
Overall, I think the movie was well done and well acted. I especially want to praise the very effective use of the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony near the beginning and again at the end. But I can’t say it was perfect. You can probably find plenty to pick on in this movie if you’re the type who’s more inclined to nit pick than to just sit back and enjoy the ride. To start with, if the aliens had known about the coming disaster for fifty years how come they could only save two children? And why the f**k couldn’t Dad have come along too? Would that really have been so impossible for powerful, glowy aliens who can whisper to you inside your head? I don’t think so.
One more thing, about the movie itself, I think they could have done a better job on the CGI for the planet they dumped the kids on, but overall, really, really good movie.
The butler did it. – Or did he?
Myke Amend – Steampunk and fantasy art. Has some nice skins for phones and laptops.
Victorian Star Trek – Several cool images. I think Scotty is my favorite. The one with Chekov and Sulu is rather memorable too. Scroll on down for some fun with Chewbacca and more.
More great steampunk art – Beautiful desktop backgrounds
Wallbase – … and even more backgrounds
Megastructures – Speculative engineering
To be honest, I didn’t expect to like this. This music is from my very favorite episode of Star Trek: TNG. The original is just perfect and it doesn’t need to be messed with by some guy showing off on a weird early twentieth century electronic gadget. However, I was wrong. This is very nice. (thanks)
…but this is still the best:
Ah, September… that time of year when, for a short time, we are filled with hopes of being entertained every night for the next six to nine months, only to have those hopes dashed within two months when most of the best shows are canceled. I’m happy that a few of my favorites from last season are back and I’ve watched a few new ones that seem promising. In no particular order…
Chuck (NBC) – This is a fun show. There were a lot of changes late last season and it looks like there are more to come. Changes on my favorite TV shows always make me nervous but so far Chuck remains fun and the surprises help to keep it fresh.
Castle (ABC) – Nathan Fillion. Need I say more? Well, I guess I could. This is pretty much a formula cop show but it has some great actors and writers. There’s drama, action and humor. If you pinned me down and forced me to pick my current favorite TV show this would be it.
Fringe (Fox) – Sort of an X-Files reboot. I enjoyed this show a lot last year but I’m not sure I like the direction the story arc seems to be headed. Less soap opera and more weirdness, please. And more Walter. I like Walter.
Warehouse 13 (SyFy) – It just finished a season and is on hiatus now. The whole “H.G. Wells was really a woman,” thing always bothered me a little bit and then first she was bad, then good, now bad again to keep us guessing but I’m still enjoying this show. It’s fun and quirky and of course I like the little steampunk touches. The season ended with a good cliffhanger. Hope that turns out okay!
Survivor (CBS) – Yes, darn it, I’m watching it again. It’s been several seasons since I’ve watched it and I think I only ever watched two seasons all the way through but I decided to start watching again because Jimmy Johnson is on it. Not that I like him exactly but I was curious. I’m already getting bored with it though.
Ice Road Truckers (History Channel) – A soap opera with eighteen-wheelers. Not as fascinating as the first season but still somewhat entertaining. Only one show left this season.
Swamp People (History Channel) – LeeAnn once referred to the people this show is about as “feral south Louisianans.” Strangely fascinating.
The Defenders (CBS) – A new show starring James Belushi and Jerry O’Connell as attorneys who fall somewhere between stereotypical slimeballs and selfless heroes of the courtroom. So far I’m really liking this show a lot. Fortunately, I have never had the opportunity to observe the goings on in a real criminal court but to me this has a feeling of realism. It’s more about the behind the scenes deal making than it is about tense courtroom drama and moving speeches. It has a generous helping of humor with enough drama to keep it realistic.
$#*! My Dad Says (CBS) – It’s been about 10 years since I’ve watched any sitcom. I got bored and disgusted with all of them but when I heard of this one with William Shatner I had to give it a try. So far I like it. Shatner plays the grouchy old man role disturbingly well and the writing is very good. He gets some very funny lines.
This is not an all-inclusive list. I’ve probably forgotten one or two I wanted to mention. There are several returning shows that I’m looking forward to including The Good Guys (Fox) and Memphis Beat. (TNT) I’ve been seeing ads for Stargate: Universe. I have mixed feelings about that one. It’s sci-fi; it has a starship. That’s almost enough right there to insure that I will watch it but, on the other hand, it’s dreary, not very interesting and often seriously annoying. So, I don’t know if I’ll waste my time on it anymore.
Mary Shelley is best known as the author of Frankenstein. I did not know much about her or what else she wrote but I was browsing science fiction titles available for the Kindle and came across another of her books, The Last Man, and I was immediately curious to see what else the author of one of our most enduring tales had imagined.
The Last Man, after a rather silly and pointless introduction, apparently intended to give a sense of reality to the tale, takes place in the late 21st century. This is the only thing that qualifies it as science fiction. Technology and society are essentially identical to that of the early 19th century, though there are political differences.
It is written in the first person. The narrator is Lionel Verney. In the first half of the story he tells about his personal history, his wonderful family and near perfect life, in flowery and often highly emotional language. If you did not know that this was the reminiscing of someone who believed himself to be the last man alive on Earth it might be rather dull or even sickening, but I was surprised to find myself enjoying it quite a bit. It sort of reminded me of some of my early childhood fantasies of living in a castle, happy all the time and having nothing to do but read and have fascinating conversations.
Life isn’t all perfect. There are affairs and political intrigues but the overall focus us joy, joy, joy, joy. A strange plague, the nature of which is not fully explained, is at first far away but it eventually reaches England. When there are only a few hundred people left alive in England it is decided that they should all migrate to southern Europe where they think life for such a small population will be easier. This all takes place over a period of several years. Finally, as the title suggests, there is only one man left alive in all the world, though he still hopes that somewhere there might be others.
I usually don’t care for end-of-the-world stories but I liked this one. I think it helped that this book was written over 180 years ago and there’s nothing at all futuristic about it so it feels more like an alternate history than a possible future. Another reason is that in spite of the gloomy subject it was actually a somewhat hopeful and positive story and, it seems to me, presented an accurate portrayal of the human psyche. Even amidst the deepest grief and despair the characters are able to appreciate beauty and find moments of peace and even happiness.
* * *
I have never read Frankenstein. I’ve thought about it but it’s never been very high on my “Must Read” list. I think I will read it someday but not immediately. Now I think I will move on to something more recent – something from the last century at least. But I do want to read more classics – I mean the Great Books, the ones that everyone has heard of – but it’s hard to decide where to go next.
This really should be bigger on the inside. Now that would be worth forty dollars. I mean… can you imagine? What I really need is a refrigerator that’s bigger on the inside. Or perhaps not.
Janis Ian writes science fiction. Really? I had no idea. I need to get out more. Or perhaps, less. Back in the 70′s I liked her song At Seventeen but other than that I know absolutely nothing about her. At first I was excited about the science fiction but then I read some of the excerpts and I think I’ll pass. Or maybe I’ll decide I have to torture myself for the sake of curiosity. I’m strange like that. Anyway…
…he loved her fecundity, the womanly wealth that thrived on and gave nourishment to the holy seed within her, and spewed Him forth in a river of…
But no, I can’t finish that sentence. I won’t have it on my site. Actually, not all the excerpts are that bad but that one sort of leaped out at me and shouted, “Be wary!”
Here’s a nice collection of Star Wars art. I was inspired to see what else is out there. Here’s the Google images results for “star wars art”. There’s a lot of really good stuff, both silly and fairly serious. It includes some Star Wars crafts like this crocheted Luke and Yoda. I think Yoda by himself would have been cuter. Crocheted Luke looks kinda creepy.
Fantasy fashion trends. Heroines are starting to wear more sensible shoes these days and their weapons are more compact. Damsels in distress have almost disappeared but cleavage is here to stay.
Well thank goodness heroines are wearing more appropriate footwear these days. I feel better about the future of the universe already. Seriously, I’ve never been too hung up on the accuracy, or even the plausibility, of fantasy and sci-fi cover art though I do appreciate good cover art. The worst covers, in my opinion, are those that are too simple, lacking in detail. It’s nice if it appears to be somehow related to the story inside but mostly, just give me something fun to look at.
UPDATE: Oops. I think I must have typed this in my sleep. Fixed two really, really stupid errors.
This morning I finished reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer. For quite a while, I had been thinking about reading it but the reviews and descriptions of it made me think that it would probably be not exactly my cup o’ tea. But it’s considered an “important” book so I kept thinking about it. Then Thinkgeek added it to their list of stuff you can get with Geek Points and it seemed like the perfect opportunity. (I still have lots of Geek Points)
It turns out that I was right about it being “not exactly my cup o’ tea”. (My cup o’ tea being space ships, strange planets, bizarre aliens and so forth, though I do enjoy something a little different once in a while if it’s good.) For nearly the first half of the book I considered giving up on it but I have often read books that took that long to get interesting so I kept going. It did get somewhat more interesting and I’m glad I stuck it out to the end. My biggest problem with it is that I didn’t care about any of the characters. I just couldn’t really feel anything about them. I expect a book to make me love the good guys and want to help them and then hang out with them after the adventure is over and hate the bad guys and want to participate in their destruction. I did not like any of the characters in Neuromancer but I couldn’t really hate them either. They were just blah.
I’m not sure about Neuromancer‘s status as an “important” book. I don’t really care. I’m glad I read it because now I know. It was not bad. It had some good ideas and an okay story.
Next on the reading list? I think I’ll go back to Andre Norton for a while. Because it’s there.
Yesterday I mentioned that nearly every sci-fi TV series does a rapid aging episode. Both Warehouse 13 and Haven did it in the same week a while back. Another common sci-fi trope is body swapping. (Or mind transfer) Last night’s episode of Warehouse 13 had Pete’s and Mika’s minds transferred into each other’s bodies. (That’s not a spoiler since they showed that much in the commercials but I won’t say any more.) Now I’m wondering what this week’s Haven will be about. I think Eureka has already done a body swapping episode but I can’t remember anything about it.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery what about when you take something and bend and twist it and add a bit of your own thing? It must be love.
First, a Japanese TV commercial.
Something silly: Light Saber Toast.
And finally, the ultimate in awesomeness: Nathan Fillion’s steampunk light saber!.
Here’s another list of 100 science fiction books. It’s almost completely different from the other list. I’m not going to do the “bold it if you’ve read it” thing with this one because there are so few that I’ve read. (How embarrassing!)
There are a few that were on the other list – Babel-17, The Dispossessed, Ringworld, Mission of Gravity, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Childhoods End, Dune, The Time Machine. I have also read Rendezvous With Rama. I read Helleconia Spring but I have never been able to find the other Helliconia books. I think I might have read Behold the Man but I’m a little confused about that. I thought the story I’m thinking of was a short story. A novella maybe?
That’s it. Looks like I’ve got a lot of reading to do.
I finished reading The Line of Polity by Neal Asher. I think it might be my favorite in the Ian Cormac series so far but they’re all so good it’s hard to pick a favorite. If you like spaceships, strange planets and bizarre, scary alien creatures and can stand quite a lot of violence and gore you’ll like Line of Polity. It’s a fairly complex story involving a cruel and corrupt Theocracy, a pair of runaway slave laborers, rebels, an insane arch enemy, and lots of weird and scary alien creatures.
I have to share with you my favorite sentence in the whole book. I don’t know why, exactly, it’s my favorite, only that it made me laugh and it has stayed with me for some reason.
He caught a glimpse of an array of glowing green eyes below a domed head, the muscled column of a body with more limbs than seemed plausible, and a whiff of quite horrible halitosis.
Great fun. I’m ready for more.
I saw this list of 100 Science Fiction Books Everyone Should Read and decided to do the “bold it if you’ve read it” thing. (Everyone? Really? Or just all science fiction fans?)
The Postman – David Brin
The Uplift War – David Brin – I’ve read a couple of Brin’s books but not these.
Neuromancer – William Gibson – Just started it so I won’t count it yet.
Foundation – Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire – Isaac Asimov
Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
The Long Tomorrow – Leigh Brackett
Rogue Moon – Algis Budrys
The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – Deserves its place on the list. Really mind-blowing book.
The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
Armor – John Steakley
Imperial Stars – E. E. Smith
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card – I read the first four of the “Ender” books. They’re okay but I wouldn’t put them in the “must read” category.
Dune – Frank Herbert – Awesome! I read all three books in the original trilogy and two or three of the later sequels. Those (the later sequels) weren’t worth the time.
The Dosadi Experiment – Frank Herbert – Didn’t care for this one. I actually don’t even remember anything about it but I know I’ve read it because I remember being disappointed.
Journey Beyond Tomorrow – Robert Sheckley
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – I probably shouldn’t count this one. I know I read some of it, about 30 years ago, but I don’t think I finished it.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
Valis – Philip K. Dick
A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – I keep thinking I really need to read some PKD but haven’t got around to it yet. Something else always seems more interesting
1984 – George Orwell
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau – H. G. Wells
The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
From the Earth to the Moon – Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
Nova Express – William S. Burroughs
Ringworld – Larry Niven – I liked the concept of the Ringworld better than I liked the story
The Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The Unreasoning Mask – Philip Jose Farmer
To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – I’ve always wanted to read this one because of the title. I’ll get around to it someday.
Eon – Greg Bear
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
Lightning – Dean Koontz
The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison
The Fifth Head of Cerebus – Gene Wolfe
Nightside of the Long Sun – Gene Wolfe
A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – *UPDATE: Yes, this is the one I read. I wasn’t sure because I couldn’t remember the title. Had to look it up.
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
Doomsday Book – Connie Wills
Beserker – Fred Saberhagen
Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. LeGuin
The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delany
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes – Another one that I want to read because I really like the title.
The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
Star King – Jack Vance
The Killing Machine – Jack Vance
Trullion: Alastor 2262 – Jack Vance
Hyperion – Dan Simmons
Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – I’ve tried reading a couple of other Heinlein books but this is the only one I liked
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon
A Time of Changes – Robert Silverberg
Gateway – Frederick Pohl
Man Plus – Frederick Pohl
The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
Mission of Gravity – Hal Clement
The Execution Channel – Ken Macleod
Last and First Men – W. Olaf Stapledon
Slan – A. E. van Vogt
Out of the Silent Planet – C. S. Lewis
They Shall Have Stars – James Blish
Marooned in Realtime – Vernor Vinge
A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor Vinge – Loved it!
The People Maker – Damon Knight
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Contact – Carl Sagan
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – Started it but didn’t get very far. I might have made more of an effort but the pages started falling out almost immediately and based on the little I’d read I didn’t feel it was worth putting up with loose pages. I have read the first two books in the Mission Earth series. Those were sort of fun and there’s a good chance I’ll eventually read more in that series.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Jack Finney
Planet of the Apes – Pierre Boulle
I will definitely read more of the books on this list but not all. Everyone who reads science fiction could probably come up with a list of “100 books that everyone must read” and they would all be different. And they would all be right – except for the “must read” part.
I was having a bit of conversation about e-book readers with my oldest son in the comments so I thought I would expand on that post with a little more of my thinking.
PRICE – Although I’ve complained about prices, it’s not the primary thing on my mind. Nook is the cheapest at $149. That’s actually not too bad but I wouldn’t buy based on price alone. If I find a reader that I definitely want, based on its features, then I will decide whether or not I want it badly enough to pay what it costs.
WIRELESS INTERNET – Oh, yes yes yes! I want! The most expensive PocketBook has wi-fi, not 3G. The Kindle has 3G. The $199 Nook has 3G. The $149 Nook, wi-fi. I do really, really want the wireless Internet capability. But I could live without it (maybe) and I haven’t made up my mind whether or not it’s a must have.
DOWNLOADS – As I mentioned in the comments to the other post, I mainly want to be able to download free books from sites like Project Gutenberg. Kindle does have this capability. Nook? I do not know. (Barnes & Noble’s website is not as informative as it could be.) PocketBook? Yes. If I had a Kindle I might buy e-books from Amazon.com but that’s not primarily what I have in mind and, frankly, I don’t want something that is likely to make me spend more money. And there’s another issue that I’ll mention farther on.
SIZE – The Kindle is not bad – too large to put in my purse and carry around with me everywhere but a good size for reading. The Kindle DX is not only too expensive, it’s too big. Don’t want one. The smallest PocketBook would be easier to take with me and the size is adequate for reading. I don’t know the exact size of the Nook but I’m guessing it’s similar to the Kindle.
STORAGE – Nook and Kindle both say they hold 1500 books (2 Gb) which seems like all anyone would ever need but my experience has been that what seems like several times what you could possibly ever need usually turns out to be not enough in a surprisingly short time. The PocketBook takes up to a 32 Gb SD card. Or at least the two larger models do. They don’t specify on the 360.
BATTERY LIFE – Two weeks on the Kindle if you’re only reading books; no more than half that if you’re connecting to the Internet. Now I wonder how many hours a day they’re estimating that you’re going to spend using the thing. I would like to know more about the battery in the PocketBook.
There are more features I won’t go into all of them. Overall, it looks like the Kindle is probably the best value but there is something that bothers me a lot. You might remember a while back there was a bit of an uproar about Amazon deleting copies of a book from their customers’ Kindles. I can’t remember exactly how that came out. They apologized, refunded customers’ money I think? I would not have been satisfied with that. I would want the book back. When I buy a dead-tree book the store I bought it from does not send someone to my house to take that book away from me when they discover that there’s a problem with the copyright. Regardless of whether or not they made things right, it seriously bothers me that Amazon, or anyone else, is even capable of doing such a thing. For this reason I am extremely reluctant to ever buy eBooks.
I have read several complete books online, including a couple of very long ones. Most people do not like to read books online. I don’t have too much of a problem with it except that when I read a book online I am stuck here at the computer. I can’t take it and read it in bed or outdoors. This is the reason I want an e-book reader – so I can download public domain books and take them anywhere. Just a minute or two of browsing at the Project Gutenberg site and I start desperately craving an e-book reader – any e-book reader. Must! Have! NOW! But then I think about my digital camera. I looked and researched and waited and waited for a long time before I bought one. Then, almost immediately, I started seeing much more advanced cameras for half what I had paid. Sometimes it almost seems like they’re waiting for me to buy before they come out with the new, better, lower priced models.
So, I don’t know. Right now I’m still leaning strongly toward the PocketBooks and hoping that someone will come out with an e-book reader – very soon – that’s better and cheaper and not tied to any particular retailer.
UPDATE: A huge thank you to EdH for the link to Best-eReaders.com. I’ve read most of the reviews. I skipped over the most expensive ones and haven’t got around to the last few yet. The Nook is definitely eliminated from the race. No TXT files and shorter battery life. There are several very nice readers but none that leaped out at me and said “I’m the one!” I am very very interested in the PocketBook 601 which, apparently, isn’t for sale yet and they’re still keeping the price a secret.
The Kindle? You know, if I had a Kindle 2 I’d probably be reasonably happy with it but it’s not really what I want. It’s easy to get distracted by shiny things like free wireless Internet access. But I live in a dead zone so that would only be useful to me when I leave home and the Kindle is big enough that it’s not convenient to carry around everywhere so that feature would be of limited usefulness to me. What I really want is just a good, small, not too expensive e-book reader that I can use mainly to download free public domain books and so far the PocketBook is still looking very attractive to me.
UPDATE II: Possible new favorite: the Acer Lumiread but I want more information, starting with the price.
UPDATE III: The Cruz Reader looks pretty nifty too. But enough of this. I’m going to be looking at these things for months, at least. I promise I’ll blog about something else soon.
Here’s an interesting bit about National Identity in British Science Fiction. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve even thought about authors’ nationalities. But then I discovered Neal Asher and China Mieville (Just discovered website; WOW!) They are very different from one another but both are obviously and delightfully British.
The first thing I notice is the British spellings of some words – colour, centre, spilt, – which I, as an American, find charming and quaint. Right now I’m in the middle of Asher’s The Line of Polity. One thing in particular that strikes me about the Polity series is that the AI’s that govern the Polity are, generally, the good guys and the Separatists, the rebels who hate AI rule, are the bad guys. I never thought about it this way before I read the post at that first link but now I’m wondering if that is a British thing. In American fiction, machines taking over the world is almost always very, very bad. Maybe this sounds un-American but I sort of like Asher’s vision of the future. Yeah, there are a lot of people dying very messily in his books but I imagine that outside the story there are billions of people living secure, peaceful lives with lots of cool toys and no more hardship and aggravation than we get from our human government.
China Mieville writes very weird fantasy. His stories are fascinating but I would read them just for the style alone. He has a beautiful way with words. Of course, I like big words and don’t mind having to keep a dictionary handy while I read a novel. As they say, your mileage may differ.
As I said, I used to never think about authors’ nationalities but now, because of these two authors, I’m deeply interested in discovering more British science fiction.
There’s no such thing as no such thing.
I heard it first on the season premiere of Warehouse 13 and thought it was cute, slightly clever and a little bit funny. But then I started hearing it over and over again on the commercials for the movie The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. (I won’t be surprised if there’s a lawsuit over the ownership of the line.) At this point I still think it’s kinda cute and funny but I’m starting to imagine it catching on, imagining a world in which every time someone says, “There’s no such thing as [...]“, someone else responds with a smug, “There’s no such thing as no such thing,” and I realize it could get old really fast. I need to decide whether to hate it like all the cool kids or use it at every opportunity just to annoy people.
By the way, Jewel Staite and Sean Maher are on tonight’s episode of Warehouse 13.
It’s exactly the kind of TV SF show we’ve been moaning about not getting for years – and now it’s on and the general concensus seems to be borderline disinterest.
Well, obviously I am not one of the “we” he is talking about. Insiders and serious science fiction fans often make the mistake of assuming that all “true fans” are just like them. In fact, the vast majority of fans demand one thing from science fiction: that it be fun. Stargate: Universe, so far, is not very much fun. I think its creators looked at the highly acclaimed Battlestar Galactica and said, “Look how popular that is. Let’s do dark and edgy. That’s what people want.” But BG, though it was dark, had elements of fun. And, honestly, S:U is more gloomy than edgy.
I have to admit, one problem I have with S:U, which is just my personal taste, is that I very quickly begin to find the lost-and-trying-to-find-our-way-home format very tiresome. But it could be a little more enjoyable if they found some more interesting planets and maybe have a laugh or two once in a while. Yes I know… they’re lost thousands of light years from home and have no way back and everyone is terribly traumatized. I’m not saying make it all bright and happy but people do find reasons to laugh even at the worst of times.
But the biggest problem I have with the show is the communication stones and the way the body swapping is portrayed. Whenever one of these swaps occurs we, the viewers, do not see what the other characters are seeing; we see the person whose mind is inhabiting the body. They usually have that person look in the mirror and see the face of the person with whom they’ve swapped, just to remind us that what we’re seeing isn’t what the characters are seeing. I find this extremely annoying and every time they use the stones I wonder why they decided to do it that way. It really gets under my skin in a big way.
I don’t totally dislike Stargate: Universe and I will keep watching it. Even bad sci-fi is better than a lot of other things on TV and S:U isn’t really bad; it just needs improvement – lots of improvement. I liked both of the other Stargate series, SG1 and Atlantis even though I thought they could have done with some improvement too. I was sad that Atlantis ended so soon and I think Universe is a poor replacement but I’ll watch pretty much anything with a space ship in it.
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Speaking of Battlestar Galactica, did anyone else catch James Callis on Eureka last week? It looks like he’s going to be on several more episodes, at least.