Monday, June 29, 2009

linky links: scifi edition wk26

Links, comin' at'cha.

Yeoman Rand in Star Trek 2? I liked Nurse Chapel better, but how awesome would it be to have more than just the one strong woman in this series? And I'm very excited about seeing how she can be updated and worked into the new continuum.

National SF / F Writer's Day: We missed it-- I think almost everyone did-- but there's a Facebook page linked there, and I've joined, and I'm planning on getting it next year. i love Arbitrary Holidays. And it's appropriately also Joss Whedon's birthday.

Remember when the apocalypse was fun? I didn't either until I read this article.

Augmented Reality: The article is about how it's already happening, but I can't wait until it's pervasive. Until holograms hover in front of things, telling you all about them, until the internet can be linked to your brain, until books can have hyperlinks embedded in them, and until tv can be fully referential and linked to everything pertinent. I love this definition of the information age, and I want it now!

A spoilery pic of the last two Dr Who Specials -- Not the last of the timelords? Awesome. i'm still desperately sad to see my future husband go, but I'm so excited about a whole season run by Steven Moffet that I don't even mind that RTD is sort of overdoing it and undoing all the pesky history that made the revival so new.

I'm not, however, all that pleased that there will still be Daleks: They've been so overdone. I will trust the Moff until I have a reason not to, and I will hope that he can make something cool out of them again, but I can't forgive them for The Daleks Take Manhattan.

Another peek for SGU: They keep emphesizing 'sexy' and 'gritty'. I still don't think it needed to be turned into BSG, but I'm more worried that they're going to off the big name actors. They like to do that in the first episodes. And I really like Robert Carlyle.

Eleven Doctors for this years Childen in Need? That's almost one Doctor per minute of screentime and might be too much, but it'd be fun to see how they explain Tom and Colin being so much older than they should be...

Ideas for ITV to get some scifi: Now that they've offed Primeval. The bastards.

Saturn's moon Encaledus might have the conditions for life: You know, even if they never find life in other worlds, I love that they're looking, and I love that the conditions seem to be so easy to find. It means scifi always has something to work with, and it's always sort of there, hovering around the zeitgeist.

A new robot can move around and emote at the same time: Previously, it was one or the other, so this is pretty sweet. I hope we get into I, Robot territory before I shuffle off-- I want to see whether something that seems to have sentience and emotions actually does.

How to meet and woo a nerdy girl: I would define the girl in question as a geek, but hey, that's just me. Actually, it's entirely me.

A discussion of International SF: This seems to be the hottest thing in SF/F scholarship, and I embrase it fully. We're not the only people telling stories about the future.

Geeky kid names: I love the idea of a kid named Whedon.

Salon says Spike ruined Buffy and io9 says it's Buffy's fault vampires are weak. I think there were always a few repentant vamps who sort of veered into the spotlight at that time and took over the world, allowing Edward Cullen to be the new ideal...

Google Voice threatens cellphones and I can hardly wait. For many of the same reasons I want holograms and a fully-interactive world.

The Tv Fandex! It racks how often shows are talked about on blogs, Twitter, fansites, FaceBook, MySpace and the like. And ranks them. And proves that TV ratings have nothing to do with popularity.

Monday, June 15, 2009

books: the blue sword

This is probably the seventh or eighth time I've read this book; I first picked it up when I was... what, fifteen or sixteen? I think it was of my own accord-- I'd already read The Hero And The Crown for summer reading when I was somewhere around twelve, and I'd only just discovered that people who write one book I like probably have other books I'll like. And I did.

It's an easy read, but in a good way, no less complex because it's easy, though it is much simpler and more affected than her more recent stuff (I think Sunshine is the most beautiful and complex one of her's I've read yet, but I haven't picked up Chalice yet, and I haven't read everything she's written)-- but affected in the way of an early book, no in a way that I hate. Harry is relentlessly unpretentious, and that probably saves the book, though she does get a little too formal at the end. I mean, she just saved the world. But I understand that she was fully accepting the Hill Ways at that point, and they're formal and traditional, so it's okay. It makes sense in the context of the book, and it's charming enough in it's own right.

It's set after Hero by, like, five hundred years, but written before, and not everything said about Aerin comes out in the next book that's actually about her, but the large timespan makes that okay, too. She's mostly legend by then, and the core of who she is is in Hero the same as it is in this one. Though I do wish that there were more Damar books; it's a wonderful place perfect for semi-YA high-fantasy, but I'd rather have these few wonderful stories than a glut of ones I don't like that were just written because she thought she should.

So, here on the eighth reading, even knowing how it all goes, I can say it's still great fun, and with enough space between readings, still surprising. I forgot about the Trials and Mathin, I forgot they went to see Luthe, I forgot that they split up and had to be reunited; I think maybe I forgot on purpose so it's like reading it for the first time again-- a first time with a lot of deja vu.

review: the sarah jane adventures s02

In these trying times without my Doctor Fix, when we seem to never be watching Classic Who and there's no Nu Who to sate me, I'm glad I had a whole season of Sarah Jane to watch, even if the fact that I watched it all in one sitting means I'm back where I started and now I have to find something else to do.

Season one was brilliant, and season 2 follows suit. There's the obligatory Sontaran episode (these producers are so friggen fond of the Sontarans, but I find them generally dull), but it serves as a really kind way to write out Maria, with all the emotional resonance that sort of thing means-- and maybe because this is more of a kid's show than Doctor Who, she doesn't have to die or get trapped in an alternate dimension, but only moves to America... though that might amount to the same thing*. I liked Maria, and I liked her interactions with Luke and Sarah Jane, but she was given the time for us to be sad and her to be sad about it, and it was okay. And Rani is bright and adventurous in a different way, that I like also, and we all know that Companions have to go so new ones can come. And she and her exceedingly cute dad have a cameo later anyway. Plus, Rani's family are fun and three-dimensional, and they fit into the series well, though her mom really needs to work on not getting hypnotized quite so much. And we got to finally meet Clyde's family, which is great, since he's sort of been this dislocated child all this time. And Luke and Sarah Jane's relationship is tested and comes out true. Yay!

Plus, there's a quarry!

This season was surprisingly scary and tense. I don't remember if last season was like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was; these aren't the sorts of shows that really talk down to kids, but rather simplify complex topics so that kids can relate, without having to dumb them down at all. I love that. The kid in me that was so annoyed at the shows that assumed I was an idiot (thank god I had Press Gang and such like to keep my brain from mushifying) loves it, too. It was nice to see that the unflappable Sarah Jane has real fears that aren't really at all related to being a Companion, and it was beyond lovely to see the old Foxbridge and The Big again. He's much older, but he's still got that voice and that sardonic tone that I do so love.

The info on Series 3 says Sarah Jane is getting married; if it's a serious thing, and not some coercion, there was no indication of anyone she might like to marry here. Whoever he is, he'd better be amazing.

* ... as I learned when I moved from Scotland to Florida, and promptly lost track of everyone I knew. Except for that one kid who inexplicably wound up in my PE class.

review: primeval s01

I got season one a while ago, but I watched something like five minutes of the pilot and decided to watch something else. Then, about two weeks ago, I caught an episode of season 2 on SciFi, and that was it: a new fandom. All in that one second-season mid-story episode.

So I went back and found season one, and watched it all day over this weekend while out internet was out (yet again). Season one is six episodes, which is short for a Brit Scifi show (at least for the ones I've seen), but that doesn't damage the over arcing storyline at all-- in fact, I'd say it improves it, by eliminating any chance to spin wheels, fill in with lame episodes, or get repetative.

This is the story of Nick Cutter, who gets involved with these rips in time called Anomalies that generally open up from some prehistoric place into our time (which means, temporally, our time is awfully cluttered with them, as the rest of history is so much larger, but maybe that's dealt with later?). He's a dinosaur specialist, and together with his research assistant / tracking expert / ass-kicker Steven, former student and all over tech-geek Connoor, and herpetologist and assistant zookeeper Abbie, the tracks the mean beasties that come through the Anoamies and rome around England causing trouble. His ex wife Helen is the main villain, his new love interest Claudia is their PR expert, and their boss Lester is a jerk. And the story is fun. Connor, especially knows how cool it is that they're chasing dinos, and all of them appreciate the awesomeness of getting to see them in real life. Plus, there's subplots! Helen, whatever she's up to; Nick and Claudia getting to like eachother despite the fact that they're often at odds; Connor liking Abbie while Abbie likes Steven and Steven has an off-screen girlfriend; Connor's friends who cause trouble midway through the season; the research into the Anomalies; the appearance of future-centric Anomalies and what that means; and, of course, the chasing of the monsters that keeps the show from getting too cerebral and plot-y. The characters interact well, and each has their own reason for doing what they do and for being how they are. The world isn't exactly feasable, but the science is consistent, and what they say about each creature, as far as I can tell, is pretty acurate before the necessary shinying-up for the screen.

I loved it. It makes me remember how much I liked dinosaurs as a kid, and makes me a little sad that Anomalies aren't real (unless all of SciFi is real, in which case, I feel cheated that it's being denied me). It's cool, it's fun, it's cheeky and a little intense, and it's short enough to watch in an afternoon, like a movie marathon. I've already moved on to season 2.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

movie: land of the lost

When I was sick recently, I stayed up all night watching a marathon on SciFi of the original Land of the Lost. I'd always thought it was silly and cheezy-- which it was-- but I didn't expect it to be fairly well-written. I was surprised at names I recognized (like Ben Bova) on the author list, and at how consistent the storylines were. Before I watched that, I wanted to see the movie; afterward, I was actually excited, since I had a little background on it and knew enough that I could now catch any in-jokes.

The movie's been doing really poorly by the reviews. Like, dismally poor, last time I checked. In my opinion, they're missing the point. I found the movie silly and more than a little rediculous, but that's what I was expecting: that's what the show was like, and it never once claimed to be a serious interpretation, anyway. It's fun, cheerful, silly, a little crude but never really terribly insulting, and has more plot than I expected it to have. It's full of really great references to the actual show and how this isn't the same thing, and it's quotable enough that it's already made its way into our personal lexicon. Sure, there are plot holes, but they generally don't matter much to the story as a whole; it won't be winning any awards, but it's not the trainwreck it's been made out to be. I mean, Holly gets to take on Sleestaks with only a belt and some feistiness! Marshall gets to ride and dinosaur! Watch it with an open mind, and love it for the silly little bit of brainfluff it really is.

If I had been given the choice, I wouldn't have made Enik's story arc the way it was, and I would have had everyone stay, but then we wouldn't have gotten the triumphant return to the Today show at the end. Ah well. 

I'll probably buy it and watch it when I don't want to have to think too much, like when I'm doing housework or I can't sleep or something-- it's not at all challanging, but it makes a rip in time and space look awfully fun.

Plus, there are these neat-ass Sleestaks.