December 2005 Archives

December 31, 2005

New Years Resolutions

Normally my new years resolutions are something like "read more" or "write more". However this coming year I've decided to undertake a specific task, somewhat akin to John@SFSignals one story a day. But instead of reading, it's about writing. I got the idea from Jay Lake, he suggests writing one short story a week, and I'm going to try it.

I haven't talked much about my writing here, because there's not much to talk about yet, plenty written (about ten shorts and three novels ) but no sales yet (although the novels haven't been sent out yet, that's resolution number two). However if I can find time to write 52 stories in one year then I'm hopeful that a sale will not be too far away.

The Christmas Invasion repeated

For those of you that missed the Doctor Who Christmas Special, or want to see it again (and haven't already found a torrent of it, presuming that there are Doctor Who torrents...), it's repeated tomorrow. that's New Years Day, 7pm, BBC3 with Attack Of The Graske on digital interactive straight afterwards.

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone has a very happy 2006.

December 30, 2005

Browncoats site closing

The browncoats site is closing down, from an email I received...

"It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that on January 6, 2006, The Browncoats will shut down."

A new (independent) community is being set up at http://serenitymovie.org.

The Dumbies - Credits

Big Dumb Object would like to thank the following people who made the Dumbies possible this year.

Hosting : 34sp
Everything else : James

<elvis>thankyouverymuch<\elvis>

The Dumbies - Winners

And the winners are...

Continue reading The Dumbies - Winners.

December 25, 2005

Doctor Who, The Christmas Invasion a short review

Just watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion, and played the interactive adventure Attack of the Graske (twice!). Both of them were really, really awesome! David Tennant was great as The Doctor.

The BBC Doctor Who site has an MP3 commentary soundtrack plus loads of other videos and photos!

More details when I have a moment amidst the festivities.

Happy Christmas!

I'd like to wish everyone who reads Big Dumb Object a very Happy Christmas!

December 24, 2005

The Dumbies - Results Schedule

The results for the inaugral Big Dumb Object awards (aka The Dumbies) will be released after Christmas and before New Year. The judges are currently cogitating (but will probably soon be eating and drinking instead).

December 23, 2005

Battlestar Galactica is Time's TV show of the year

Amidst all of Time's best-of lists, here's a shocker, their best TV show of 2005 is Battlestar Galactica!

They say "Most of you probably think this entry has got to be a joke. The rest of you have actually watched the show."

The Dumbies - Video Game Nominations

No video games are eligible for this year's Dumbies because the judges have busy lives and no time to play games. They are hoping however that a Nintendo Revolution may change this next year.

IGN Film Force's Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All-Time

The list crazy IGN crew have now published their Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All-Time. It's nicely entertaining , with words and pictures and stuff. Here's just the list...

Continue reading IGN Film Force's Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All-Time.

December 22, 2005

The Dumbies - Book Nominations

The books up for Dumbie nomination are:

- River of Gods
- Accelerando
- The Time Travellers Wife
- The Brief History Of The Dead
- Gridlinked
- Singularity Sky
- Ender's Game
- Light
- Flowers For Algernon

The Dumbies have neatly circumvented the raging "should the Hugos split Fantasy and SF" debate, by completely excluding all Fantasy novels. This is despite a large proportion of the Dumbie's judge's years being spent reading Fantasy (mainly Harry Potter 6 and the never ending but quite excellent Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell). Once again the judges are disappointed at how few books they have read looking back at the year (and are sure that they've forgot some), but the afore mentioned large fantasy books did eat up some time. The much anticipated conclusion to The Baroque Cycle has been put on hold until next year, after some much needed "thin" books.

The Christmas Invasion's fear factor

The BBC have let their Fear Factor panel of kids watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special, the results are here. The conclusion is Fear Factor 3 which is "Very Scary"!

Interview with Paul McAuley

Locus has interview excerpts with Paul McAuley online.

Interesting. He talks about how his publish marketed White Devils as a mainstream thriller because they thought it would sell more. If you haven't read any of McAuley's books I can highly recommend Fairyland, which is outstanding, sort of bio cyberpunky kind of stuff.

Robert Sheckley's obituary by Christopher Priest

Christopher Priest writes Robert Sheckley's obituary in the Guardian. [Via Locus]

SCi-Fi Brain's top ten men in SF

SciFi Brain continue with their top ten lists and do one for the ladies, The Fembot's Top 10 Hottest Men in Sci-Fi.

Adam Baldwin comes out top, then they interview him.

Channel 4's Invasion site is live

Channel 4's web site for the ABC Science Fiction show, Invasion, is live here and includes details about the show, including the scheduled time of the first episode, 8th Jan at 8.30pm

Invasion is one of the wave of new Science Fiction programmes commissioned last year in the US based on the back of the success of Lost.

UPDATE
Read my first thoughts on the show

The end for Firefly

Entertainment Weekly (via TV Squad) are reporting that Joss Whedon has accepted the fact that the Firefly franchise has come to and end, with Serenity not making enough money for the studios to invest in any more films.

I'm sad. Very sad.

December 21, 2005

David Tennant TV interview

David Tennant was interviewed on BBC Breakfast this morning and you can watch it online. Worth a watch for Doctor Who fans, it includes some clips (new and previously seen) from The Christmas Invasion.

An interview with Doctor Who producer

SFX has an interview with Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson.



SFX: How does the new Doctor change the dynamic with Rose?
PC: “I think the obvious initial dynamic changes because she has to learn to trust him again, and The Christmas Invasion is very much about that."

More searches for The Force than Dark Side

One of Google's Zeitgeist graphs shows that throughout the year more people searched for "The Force" thand "Dark Side"!

The Dumbies - Film Nominations

This years films contain the end of a saga and hopefully the start of a new one.

- Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith
- Serenity

The film nominations have suffered somewhat this year because of the judges inability to get to see Science Fiction films at the cinema, and then being lazy about renting them on DVD. Therefore a few of the years big films fail to qualify: The Hitchers Guide To The Galaxy, which the judges friends said was rubbish so don't bother, The War Of The Worlds which just sort of slipped by and probably deserves a watch on DVD and the critically unacclaimed The Island.

However the two films up for nomination made up for the lack of quantity with supreme quality, and both of them were critical successes.

December 20, 2005

Joss Whedon interview on AICN

Ain't It Cool News has an interview with Joss Whedon. You have to scroll down about half way down the page due to AICN's terrible formatting. It's a mildy interesting interview, nothing earth shattering.

New Doctor Who trailer

I happened by chance to catch the new Doctor Who, The Christmas Invasion trailer which was shown on BBC1 today. It isn't online yet. The trailer was 30 seconds long and showed lots more of the aliens and Rose. Everything looked very cool (including The Doctor in his pyjamas).

The Dumbies - Television Nominations

This year's Dumbies Television nomination list contains an old show rediscovered and three new shows.

- Lost
- Battlestar Galactica
- Firefly
- Doctor Who

Doctor Who proved that Science fiction in the UK could be primetime family entertainment and was an incredible success for the BBC. Meanwhile Firefly continued to win over fans long after its demise thanks to the DVD release, and then managed to spawn a film. Battlestar Galactica won the critics over with its serious SF style, despite most of them desperately trying to discount it as Science Fiction or using cliches such as "redefining the genre". Finally Lost was a massive ratings success both sides of the Atlantic and qualifies as SF because the judges love it and it has a polar bear on a tropical island.

Invasion coming to Channel 4

ABC's Invasion is coming to Channel 4 in the new year. The site is supposed to be http://www.channel4.com/invasion but it doesn't seem to be online yet.

December 19, 2005

Who am I?

Mark Kelly at Views From Medina road says "I have a perhaps unjustified suspicion of websites that do not identify their authors or hosts" he then goes on to mention Big Dumb Object, "Similarly Big Dumb Object, an SF blog covering both media and literary topics, by 'James'. Who be 'James'?"

Which made me chuckle. Let me just alay Mark's suspicions. Big Dumb Object is not a front for a major media conglomerate (although if you've read this blog I'd be amazed if you thought that!). BDO is a blog, written by me James. I don't splash my last name about here because I don't think it really matters. I don't particularily feel I'm anymore anonymous than anyone else out there in the SF blogosphere. Besides if you read this blog you'll know more about me, my likes and dislikes, than a paragraph of bio would reveal.

What else would anyone out there like to know about me? Questions in the comments!

The Watchmen movie go again?

According to Variety, Warner Brothers have bought the stalled "The Watchmen" film from Paramount and they are now seeking a new director and writer. Hopefully elongated production hell won't be detrimental on the film, because the comic was truly awesome.

More details on Doctor Who - Attack of the Graske

Via The Doctor Who website, here's some more details on the interactive Doctor Who episode, Attack of the Graske....

Attack of the Graske is a mini episode of Dr Who with a twist - it allows viewers to become the Doctor's companion.

Viewers will get the chance to track down an evil alien life form by flying the TARDIS and completing a series of challenges set by the Doctor himself.

December 18, 2005

A Scanner Darkly reviews

Via Solar Flare, there's three reviews of A Scanner Darkly on Ain't It Cool News. The opinion seems to be that if you've read the book you'll like it, the one person who hadn't read the book was completely confused.

I'm not sure how the film will live up to being my favourite PKD book (that I've read, still got loads to go), but I'm still looking forward to it.

SFX review The Christmas Invasion

SFX have reviewed the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion. They give five stars out of five and absolutely loved it, saying "The Christmas Invasion is probably the new Who’s best yet."

Cool. What a great Christmas present!

December 17, 2005

Exclusive Serenity deleted scene

If you're a Browncoat then you can log in and see a deleted scene from Serenity which features Inara and Sheydra talking. Nothing too stunning.

December 15, 2005

Serenity DVD clip

Sci Fi Wire has a clip from the Serenity DVD. It features Shepherd Book and an extended look at the camp when the crew of Serenity arrived. Available in QuickTime (high, medium and low) and Windows Media Player (high, medium and low).

SFWA press releases

SFWA Pressbook is a weekly compilation of press releases from SFWA members and has a RSS feed.

[Via Trufen]

Virgin Galactic

I'd heard mention of Virgin Galactic, but suddenly it all seems very real. They reckon that the first flights will be in late 2008 or early 2009. On top of that the spaceships are looking really cool!

Nice one Branson for putting your money where we want it. They're also getting lots of publicity in the UK due to the fake space tourists in Space Cadets.

December 14, 2005

Flowers For Algernon - Daniel Keyes

Flowers For Algernon is about Charlie Gordon, who starts the story with an IQ of 68. Then he undergoes an experimental operation that increases his IQ to genius level.

I'd heard of this novel and bought it along with my other bulk SF masterworks purchases. With the cover proclaiming that it was the winner of a Hugo and a Nebula I had high expectations.

Continue reading Flowers For Algernon - Daniel Keyes.

Spoiler pictures for The Christmas Invasion

Some new SPOILER! pictures for Doctor Who, The Christmas Invasion are now online, which includes pictures of the Sycorax. Scary.

December 13, 2005

Doctor Who - Attack of the Graske, more details

The BBC Press Office has more details on the Doctor Who interactive adventure that will be available via digital television after The Christmas Invasion on Christmas Day.

"Attack of the Graske is a pioneering mix of live action, state-of-the-art special effects (from multi-award-winning The Mill) and individual tasks"

Sounds interesting.

David Tennant's first live interview as the Doctor

Next week BBC Breakfast will have David Tennant's first live television interview since he took on the role as the Doctor in Doctor Who. Joining David will be Russell T Davies, who has written and overseen the rebirth of the show.

TARDIS crash landing

BBC Breakfast has just shown an extended clip of the TARDIS crash landing from The Christmas Invasion. The Doctor stumbles out in a confused and amusing manner!

David Tennant interview in the Observer

Via Emerald City, The Observer has a nice long interview on, and article with, David Tennant about his life as Doctor Who.

Forbidden Planet offering free web hosting

The FPI blog announces that Forbidden Planet are offering web hosting..

" If you are a creative person in either of these fields - comics writers, artists, sci-fi novel or short story writers and you have had any work published in a professional capacity we are willing within some limits (see below) to host your website for free on our servers. "

They're offering:
150mb of FREE Webspace
2 FREE Email Addresses
FREE Web Stats
Frontpage Extensions

Sounds like a very cool thing for them to do.

Sci-Fi Brain's top ten SF moments of the 90's

Here's Sci-Fi Brain's top ten SF moments of the 90's

  1. The Matrix is released
  2. Doom the videogame is released
  3. Terminator 2: Judgement Day is released
  4. The X-Files
  5. Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is Published
  6. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  7. Superman Dies
  8. Final Fantasy VII is released in North America
  9. The Star Wars Special Edition Original Trilogy is Released in Theaters
  10. Starcraft is released

Hmmm. Not sure I agree with the inclusion of the videogames. Also choosing DS9 over Babylon 5 is surely just the decision of someone who has not seen B5?! And neglecting The Phantom Menance is surely an oversight, it's the film that introduced Star Wars to a whole new generation of kids, and for my mind still has the best lightsaber fight ever committed to screen. As for the Matrix at number one, maybe, I just wish they hadn't made those awful sequels.

Serenity region 2 DVD has special extras

SFX reports that the Region 2 version of the Serenity DVD (that's UK and I think Australia) will include a special feature that's not on the US version. Called "A Film-Maker's Journey", this featurette is billed as "a journey with Joss from script to screen", and is about 20 minutes long.

Other extras include nine deleted scenes, six minutes of out-takes and a few other short featurettes.

December 12, 2005

Coming Soon - The Dumbies

Big Dumb Object is pleased to announced the inaugral Big Dumb Object awards, henceforth know as The Dumbies.

Media are eligible for nomination if they have been seen or read by the judges panel in the year of 2005, no matter when they were released. Categories include Best Film, Best Book, Best Television Series and Best Videogame. There are no worst awards in The Dumbies, life is too short to consume bad media and the judges therefore try to avoid such matters.

After the nominations have been announced the judges will be open for bribes for an unspecified period of time. Once they are satisfied that the best offers have arrived and have cogetated on the nominations the judges will then make their decision and announce the awards in a grand ceremony that involves a single, but important, blog post.

Please feel free to specualte on the nominations until they are announced.

River of Gods the movie

Ian McDonald talks about early movie discussions for his book River Of Gods. A movie which did the book justice would be amazing. Please be true please be good.

Doctor Who, The Christmas Invasion trailer

The full Doctor Who The Christmas Invasion trailer is online. And very good it is too. Almost 30 seconds of teasing, including a big alien spaceship, the "gherkin" getting destroyed Id4 style and a crazy TARDIS crash landing (which looks awesome!). Can't wait.

December 9, 2005

Shada, a Doctor Who episode by Douglas Adams

The Doctor Who radio episode Shada is being rebroadcast on BBC 7 on Saturday but is also available online. It's interesting because it's written by none other than the late, great Douglas Adams, and has Paul McGann as the doctor.

Doctor Who Christmas Invasion teaser trailer two

The second teaser trail for the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion is online now, and includes creepy trumpet playing Father Christmases!

Scarlett Johansson joins The Prestige

Another big name star has signed up for Christopher Priest's/Christopher Nolan's The Prestige.


That makes Hugh Jackman, David Bowie, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson.

Awesome.

December 8, 2005

Space Cadets the first episode

I watched the first episode of Space Cadets last night. It's is being tauted as "the biggest prank in television history" and edges reality closer to The Truman show than ever before. Initially I felt guilt about watching it. But then I got over it.

The first thing to understand is that the people applying for the show were in fact, as far as they knew, applying for some other show called Thrill Seekers, with minimal details revealed. Of all the recruits were tested for suggestibility and claustrophobia, then taken on an adventure weekend in the hills. The suggestibility tests were very amusing, with many people seeing outrageous things in random dot patterns. It was amazing what people would put themselves through when they didn't now any details about what the show involved. A sad statement on the UK's obsession for getting on TV I think.

According to the show's host Johnny Vaughn (who's a sort of comedy presenter) additional screening filtered out anyone who knew any astrophysics or could name more than four characters in Star Trek The Next Generation!

What's going to be interesting is whether the show can really fool these people. Can they make a disused airfield seem like a Russian space training camp? Can they make a shuttle simulator in a big hangar seem like outer space? Surely not? For a start the training camp has the acronymn STAR (space traning something blah) which doesn't sound very Russian. All in all though they've spent a fortune on making the transformation including grocery shopping in Moscow for everything on the base.

Suddenly all those conspiracy novels about the moon landings are looking entirely possible!

Another rave review of David Marusek’s Counting Heads

Bookslut calls David Marusek’s Counting Heads The Next Big Thing and loves it. A lot. [Via Locus I think, not sure, forgot because I left the window open too long before blogging it]

Copyright free SF movies

Here's 119 SF movies, whose copyright have alledgedly expired, and are available for download in a variety of sizes (iPod and PDA!) I say alledgedly free of copyright because I haven't investigated whether they truly are or not, but looking at the titles I think I believe it....

Atom Age Vampire, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (episodes 1-12), Kong Island, Radar Men From the Moon (episodes 1-9), Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and so on...and on...

December 7, 2005

Doctor Who new season details

Via Outpost Gallifrey, a BBC press release gives some more info about the upcoming new series of Doctor Who...

"...battling a host of new and returning aliens and monsters, including the dreaded Cybermen, an evil race of Cat Women, the sinister Krillitanes and maybe even a Dalek!"

It also mentions the return of Sarah Jane Smith and "his faithful robot dog", K9.

December's Ansible, now with RSS feed!

Ansible 221, December 2005 is online and now includes an RSS feed. Unforunately the RSS feed just contains links to the monthly Ansibles with no content what-so-ever. Oh well.

Should anyone be allowed to review books?

SFSignal have had a rather entertaining run in with an author whose story they have reviewed. The author in question, on her blog, says...

"But it still pisses me off when I see people who obviously cannot master anything beyond the simplest narratives being allowed to review books right out in public where anyone can stumble across this crap."

!

Perhaps she would like a global interweb SF reviewing test to be incorporated to ensure that any bloggers attempting to review are of sufficient "quality" to meet her requirements?

Question 1: Are you comfortable reading complicated, non-linear naratives.
etc..

Lucasfilm touting for Oscar votes

Apparently, begging for oscar votes is something that lots of people do. Lucasfilm have taken it to the extreme with several big posters listing the cast and crew.

December 6, 2005

Battlestar Galactica on your ipod

Now via the iTunes Music Store, straight to your iPod, Battlestar Galactica episodes!

UPDATE
Masquerading as someone in the USA I've checked out iTMS for Battlestar Galactica episodes. You can get the miniseries for $15.99, season 1 for $25.87 and the 10 episodes so far of season 2 for $19.90. That's $1.99 per episode, like all other shows on iTMS.

Want to be a Battle Angel?

SFX reports that james Cameron is beggining to cast Battle Angel. You need to be a 16-20 year-old female with voice and movement training.

Counts me out then.

X Men 3 trailer online

The X-MEN 3 trailer is online and looking pretty spectacular. Next years US national landmark to be destroyed? The Golden Gate bridge.

December 5, 2005

Star Wars Trilogy DVD 3-Pack Now Available

Fed up of all that bonus DVD nonsense? Want to watch the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD? Then you want the Star Wars Trilogy DVD 3-Pack. It's exactly the same as last years orginal trilogy DVD release, but minus the fourth bonus disc. And presumably it costs less, at a guess.

Stephen Fry's Doctor Who episode moved to season 3

Last weeks film reviews with Mark Kermode (on BBC Radio Five Live and available as a podcast), included an interview with Mark Gatiss who mentioned that the Doctor Who episode that Stephen Fry has written is going to be moved to season three because it is too expensive to make this season. He also talked about writing an episode for season two that would live up to the scariness of "The Unquiet Dead", his season one episode (which included zombies at 7pm on BBC 1!). He reckons he has done it though.

A 4 Foot Inflatable Dalek

Because every home needs one (and just in time for Christmas) here's a 4 foot inflatable Dalek.

Presumably it's 4 foot and not the full Dalek size so that you can still feel dominant (and not too scared)?

Doctor Who teaser trailer - spinning Christmas trees!

The teaser trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion i sonline (click "WATCH Teaser") ans also showing all over BBC 1.

It' a very short clip and it shows as spinning Christmas tree! It must be the psychotic tree that Russell T Davies mentioned in a previous interview. Funny to me, scary to young children?!

Also online are some photos from the episode, including the evil Father Christmases, looking scary with their brass band instruments.

December 2, 2005

Famous Samuel R Delany essay online

I've finally found a copy of Samel R Delany's famous essay entitle About Five Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Words online. Can't remember how I got there apart from that it was via some tortuous journey through Live Journal.

Serenity sequel rumours

IGN:Filmforce has a rumour that Universal is planning a straight to TV movie sequel to Serenity. Joss Whedon's people deny the rumour. Which probably means that the studio execs are trying tom think of ways to squeeze more money out of Firefly fans and make more profits.

Personally I think that if Joss is involved it will probably be okay. And at the moment he's pretty busy so I wouldn't hold your breath.

Doctor Who to be shown on US Television

From Sci Fi Wire, Burton Cromer who is vice president of BBC Direct says that Doctor Who will definitely be shown on US TV and that they are in discussions now.

Interestingly though, they decided put the DVD out before any TV deal is finalised because "people were getting ... secondhand copies or copies from the U.K." err... or from bittorrent trackers.

That's a model that might work in lieu of global broadcasts via the interweb. Release the DVD of a TV show globally, then fans can either buy it or wait for the TV broadcast. Presumably the broadcast would still get enough viewers for the TV station to justify buying the show? Don't know but an interesting thought. (And anyway, who doesn't have a multi-region DVD theses days? So they might as well give up on region coding and regional releases).

December 1, 2005

Best Villain 2005? The Daleks of course.

The BBC are running a Best Drama of 2005 awards thingy, andyou can vote online. The Doctor Who site suggests that you vote for Doctor Who, which I think is a great idea, espcially if you vote for the Daleks as the best villain. Imagine a Dalek trying to get up the stairs to collect the award. That would be funny (until it exterminated the entire audience).

AeonFlux review screenings cancelled

It looks like my prediction that the new AeonFlux movie will be rubbish is one step close to becoming reality, they've just cancelled the review screenings, a sure sign that they are worried about bad reviews.

Top Ten 80s SF

Scifibrain lists their top ten SF things of the 80's. They are....

  1. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are released
  2. 80s Science Fiction Cartoons
  3. James Cameron directs some of the best science fiction films of all time.(Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss)
  4. Several classic science fiction game franchises are born
  5. Star Trek: The Next Generation airs on T.V
  6. Akira is released
  7. The Watchmen is published
  8. Blade Runner
  9. E.T. is released
  10. Back to the Future is released

Not sure about the cartoons, or the videogames. Compare the cartoons to the anime and they are revealed to be lightweight cheesyness. And the SF videogames mentioned were not spectacular. Also, Back To The Future should be higher! (Every time I see Marty McFly dressed up in that radiation suit playing Van Halen to his dad makes me laugh out loud).

Otherwise I agree.

The Triangle

It doesn't matter if The Triangle manages to put some fresh spin into the tired cliche that is the Bermuda Triangle, I still won't be able to watch it. Why? Because when I was young there an incredibly dull soap-style drama called Triangle "about the crew and passengers of a North Sea ferry, on the triangular route between Felixstowe, Gothenburg and Amsterdam."

Yes it really was that bad.

And so I will never be able to watch anything called Triangle (or similar) again.

Electric Spec

ElectricSpec is a new ezine "featuring the best science fiction, fantasy, and macabre short stories". [Via Locus]. So that's another batch of stories to add to the long list that I don't have time to read. I know, I know, you make time...