December 2007 Archives

December 31, 2007

The Dumbies 2007 - The Winners!

And the winners are....



Continue reading The Dumbies 2007 - The Winners!.

December 30, 2007

The Dumbies 2007 - Comics Nominations

The judges didn’t read too many comics this year, although they did venture into the world of Manga for the first time.





Continue reading The Dumbies 2007 - Comics Nominations.

December 29, 2007

The Dumbies 2007 - Video Game Nominations

The judges didn't play many videogames this year (yet again). Here's the shortlist...


  • Wii Sports
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)
Yes, I got a night's play on the revolution that swept the videogame world. And it was good.

December 28, 2007

The Dumbies 2007 - TV Nominations

New blood into the TV category this year...




Notabley Battlestar Galactica is missing, that's because the judges got bored, decied the Cylons plan was non existent and stopped watching.

Otherwise, TV was okay, not amazing. In fact the general trend was that shows failed to live up to their potential. (Although Primeval actually exceeded expectations.) In fact, from that list there is only one show which I wouldn't have changed.

A special mentions hould go to Flight Of The Conchords, which is the funniest thing that I've seen on TV for ages, and has a song called The Humans Are Dead (they were killed by robots).

December 27, 2007

The Dumbies 2007 - Film Nominations

As usual the judges didn't get to the cinema as much as they would have liked, and in fact missed the big SF release of the year, Sunshine. (Also the second biggest release of the year, I Am Legend  was only released yesterday.) To compensate with the lack of cinema going there was a concerted attempt to catch up with older missed films on DVD, and also a flight to the other side of the world with on demand videos (thank goodness).




Interestingly, only The Golden Compass could be classified as straight-ahead blockbuster SF, and maybe Deja Vu. Everything else is a bit quirkier (or in the case of The Fountain, completely mental), a bit indie, and very, very cool. In fact 70% of the films are Woah!++, with three of them being genuine SF classics.

It should also be noted that one of the films of the year was not SF, and so is not eligible, the incredible The Bourne Ultimatum. Non-stop awesome action.

December 26, 2007

The Dumbies 2007 - Book Nominations

The judges are pleasantly surprised at how many books they managed to read this year, so much so that they can even split the award into two categories - Fiction and Non-Fiction (no back and forward BSFA dithering here).

Firstly the nominations for Non-Fiction books are:



All of which the judges really enjoyed, although the Tiptree biog was a little depressing. They are also books that will be kept around and dipped into repeatedly, particularily the highly addictive Brave New Words SF dictionary.


And now the Fiction books:




Wow, what a selection of books. There's a couple I really didn't like, a handful I was disappointed with, one I thought was great but didn't like(!), two that haven't even been released yet, four Charles Stross books, one I found in a second hand shop, six books that were awesome and two books that were so far beyond awesome that I completely fell in love with them.

A good year of reading.

December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

A very happy Christmas to everyone!

Today's agenda is:
  • Open presents
  • Play with new toys
  • Eat turkey
  • Watch Doctor Who
I hope you all have a lovely day.

December 24, 2007

The 3rd Annual Dumbies

Big Dumb Object is pleased to announced the third annual Big Dumb Object awards, known as The Dumbies.

The awards follow the same format as last year (thanks to cut and paste)...

Media are eligible for nomination if they have been seen or read by the judges panel in the year of 2007, no matter when they were released. Categories include Best Film, Best Book, Best Television Series, Best Comic 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.

The nominations will be announced over a few days (for no other reason than to string it out a bit and provide content when the judges are in fact eating and drinking). 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 cogitated 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 speculate on the nominations until they are announced.

December 21, 2007

Cloverfield TV Spot

"Oh my God! Oh my God!" "Arggggh!" etc..

The 10 Best Science Fiction Stories About Religion

Gabriel Mckee let me know about SF Gospel's list of the 10 best SF stories about religion, which is really just advertising for his book The Gospel According to Science Fiction: From the Twilight Zone to the Final Frontier, but I'll let him off because it's quite an interesting list and I was looking for Christmas stories and this is sort of close. I've only read the Asimov story, so I can't comment on the others.

A couple of SF novels I've read that deal explicitly with religion come immediately to mind:
It should be noted that I read the The Sparrow and Children Of God before I read A Case Of Conscience which may have some affect on my opinion of the latter.


December 20, 2007

Top 10 Most Popular Entries in the StarWars.com Databank

Via the StarWars.com news email, here's the top ten most popular entries in their databank, the definitive encyclopedia of Star Wars knowledge...

10. Yoda

9. Luke Skywalker

8. Obi-Wan Kenobi

7. clone troopers

6. the Empire

5. Anakin Skywalker

4. Sith

3. Darth Vader

2. lightsaber

1. the Jedi order.

December 19, 2007

Is Your Child A Computer Hacker?

Here's a handy (and very funny list) of things to look out for to check whether your child is a hacker.

I like number 4...

4. Does your child read hacking manuals?
There are, unfortunately, many hacking manuals available in bookshops today. A few titles to be on the lookout for are: "Snow Crash" and "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson; "Neuromancer" by William Gibson; "Programming with Perl" by Timothy O'Reilly; "Geeks" by Jon Katz; "The Hacker Crackdown" by Bruce Sterling; "Microserfs" by Douglas Coupland; "Hackers" by Steven Levy; and "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" by Eric S. Raymond.
So that's 4 of my favourite ever books, another one I've read and one I gave up reading. I'll leave it to you to guess which is which.

December 18, 2007

Exclusive Primeval image - a sabre tooth tiger!

A new web site for Primeval has launched, over at itv.com. Just a tantalising bleak control room at the moment, but I've been told that over the next few weeks content will be coming, including latest news, sneak peeks and previews for series 2.

And...
I have an exclusive image of one of the show's upcoming monsters:



A sabre tooth tiger! Cool.

I was pleasantly surprised by Primeval, it was fun, didn't take itself too seriously, had action packed episodes and an interesting main story arc, which turned at a tangent at the end of the series. (Oh, and it had Hannah from S-Club 7 dancing in knickers).


Primer




Primer is a film which I somehow missed from my Top Ten SF Films I haven't seen. So, long overdue, I finally watched it.

Woah.
Whoah+++.

It's very cool. This films shows how you can make low budget intelligent Science Fiction. But don't be put off by the tag "low budget", it never looks cheap, I never once thought "if only they had some money". In fact the whole film looks awesome, with tremendous style and panache. In some ways it reminds of the atmospheric cinematography of Gattaca.

And intelligent. Oh yes. The plot revolves around time travelling. It will hurt your brain, as true time travelling stories should. Watch it, then watch it again to try and make more sense, then watch it again. It's a beautifully paced plot.

The acting is also great, completely believable.

There's nothing bad about Primer, it's a truly awesome film.




December 17, 2007

Classic Science Fiction Paperbacks (including I Am Legend)

I just stumbled upon a whole web site full of cool vintage SF book covers.

How about a cover for I Am Legend?



Others include:
Nice. Also a whole category of Sleaze Science Fiction covers if you want to see scantily clad people or Multi-Coloured Bunny Girls or see what the cover for a book entitled Those Sexy Saucer People looks like.


The Times' SFF book Christmas list

A bit old, it was published 7th Dec, but The Times' Christmas SFF book list is...

  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  • Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
  • Brasyl by Ian McDonald
  • Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
The only surprising entry is the Ray Bradbury book.

I should also mention that The Dumbies are on their way. Yes, the prestigious, annual, Big Dumb Object awards are back again for a third year. The judges are getting ready, the world of SF is waiting on baited breath.... not long now.


December 16, 2007

More Cloverfield footage

Wow, the viral hype machine is going all out with Cloverfield. Here's a clip which includes a competition, although only if you're in the US, BOOOOO! What about the rest of the world JJ? Fortunately so far all the clips have been superb, this looks like apocalypse by monster as Godzilla should have been. And I still have seen nothing to prove it isn't a Cthulhu film. [Via SFSignal]


 

Another Doctor Who Voyage Of The Damned trailer

The BBC have put another trailer online for the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage Of The Damned. This one is 40 seconds long, has spooky music, and shows us that everything is not exactly as we expected...

December 15, 2007

Interzone at Fictionwise

Interzone is now available in digital formats at Fictionwise.

"Beginning with Fictionwise’s regular release of new titles on Monday, December 17, 2007, readers will have the option of purchasing single issues or a one-year subscription. The eBooks will debut with the three latest issues of Interzone: 211, 212, & 213. Future issues will appear alongside the arrival of the print edition. At this time, there are no plans to offer any issues before 211."
That's great news, not only for overseas readers but also for UK readers who want to sample an issue, because at the moment it's quite hard to find Interzone in magazine shops (so single issue impulse buys are not likely).

Blogs ending

Both Uncle Zip's Window (M. John Harrison) and SF Diplomat (Jonathan McCalmont) are closing down. Which is a shame, but understandable.

I've thought about giving up blogging just about every year since I started, about 100 years ago. But instead I just let the blog idle, prune my feeds and find some new inspiration. Although this blog is severally lacking inspiration at the moment, and I can't see that changing this year. So bear with me whilst BDO idles into the new year.


Bionic Woman trailers on ITV

ITV is showing their "coming soon to ITV2" trailer in quite heavy rotation. The first show that it's plugging is Bionic Woman. They also have  a dedicated section of the site for Bionic Woman too.

December 14, 2007

BBC iPlayer now with streaming

The BBC iPlayer now has streaming live. This means that if you're in the UK you can watch the last seven days worth of TV programmes streamed live to your computer, whether it's Windows + IE or not. (It appears to use Flash.) The download service still exists for Windows users.

So, now you can watch all those Doctor Who repeats (almost) whenever you want. It's still a bit hit and miss, I've been using it to watch Spooks this series, and the last episode hasn't appeared yet. I also haven't compared the resolution between the downloads and the streamed versions, but it's a step in the right direction.


December 13, 2007

2000AD to launch digital downloads

In what's being billed as taking 2000AD global, the galaxies greatest comic is launching a download service. The digital versions will be available a week after the print edition, and you'll be able to read them on your iPod.

Via UK SF Book News


The Torchwood Institute blog

The Torchwood Institute is an American Doctor Who and Torchwood blog. They have news that Torchwood is likely to be shown in the US at almost the same time as in the UK, starting January 2008.

December 10, 2007

The Golden Compass

It's been a few years since I read Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, but from what I can remember The Golden Compass is a very accurate conversion of that book to film. That does unfortunately mean that it suffers from all of the same deficencies as the book. At times the plot wanders away from the core story of missing children, characters are introduced seemingly at random and there is the hint that everything is much bigger than the story we are being told. Which is of course true. Northern Lights becomes a better book after reading The Subtle Knife.

There are some good things about the film though. Firstly it looks gorgeous, I loved the twisted, parallel world vistas of Oxford and London, and also liked all the airships type contraptions, and the daemons were fantastic. As for the polar bears, well, they could have been real. I thought the atcing was pretty good too, Nicole Kidman was scary, Daniel Craig didn't have too much screen time to prove himself, and all the daemons acted well too. Plus it gets bonus points for having Derek Jacobi and Christopher Lee in the same scene.

Hopefully the next two films will get made and we can watch the true, full, story of His Dark Materials, whereupon all of the plot hints and subcontext will become more exposed.

Anyway, I liked it. Metaphysics for adults, fighting polar bears for kids.

December 7, 2007

R2D2 Translator

Hours of fun with the R2D2 Translator. For some reason "big dumb object" was a very long set of bleeps.


December 6, 2007

Heroes Volume 2 Review

Heroes Volume 2 was 36.36% Woah!

It missed being 45.45% Woah! by having a rubbish ending. Sounds familiar.

It should be noted that all of those Whoah! scores came from the last 50% of the Volume. Slow starting. Sounds familiar.

James Cameron updates Avatar status

James Cameron gives some detail on how his new Science Fiction project Avatar is coming along.

"The first couple of weeks we were still coming up to speed, figuring out how to control the interocular and convergence for all different types of shooting situations. But we've got that dialed in now."

Oh.

Via Dave

The Dark Knight teaser poster

I like it



Via Dave, a tame AICN reader.

December 5, 2007

How to spot a Cylon poster

Joe at FPI has blogged about some awesome posters...

Firstly the rather lovely Blue Sun Travel posters which are tourist posters for Serenity Valley, Persephone, Londinium, Sihnon and Miranda. All destinations from the Firefly / Serenity universe.




Secondly the very funny How to spot a Cylon poster. I like number 2: Red Dress + glowing spine == trouble.





Alastair Reynolds interview in Physics World

There's a nice interview with Alastair Reynolds in Physics World [Via SFSignal].

I used to have Physics World delivered to me in the past, when I was a physicist. In fact probably still got some knocking around somewhere. I don't remember any interviews with SF authors! Interesting to see things from the physicist becoming writer angle.

Alastair's advice...

What advice do you have for physics students thinking of a career in science-fiction writing?

Write short fiction, and keep working at it until you break into the science-fiction magazine market. Many of the big names made an initial splash in the magazine market, and it's often how they caught the eye of editors and publishers. I published my first stories when I was working towards my PhD and the contacts I established from those early days eventually led to my getting a contract to write novels. Also, make the most of your scientific literacy. Editors like to see "hard science-fiction" stories — fiction where the science plays a strong role in the narrative, even if it's wildly speculative. They never see enough of this type of story, and so are more than willing to forgive minor deficiencies in characterization, plotting, style and so on, provided the ideas are fascinating. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't work hard at those things as well — no one gets a get-out-of-jail-free card!






A Doctor Who Christmas

It's Christmas Day. The wrapping paper has been collected. Toys have been opened. Batteries have been cursed. Turkey and Christmas Pudding have been eaten. The Queen has said some stuff. Everyone has had a nap.

What next? Turkey sandwhiches?

Well, yes, but also Doctor Who.

Christmas Day, BBC1, 6.50pm for 71 minutes - Voyage of the Damned.

That's about as prime time as you get in the UK. And also the longest episode of new Doctor Who yet created.

The Christmas trailer is online now too.

December 4, 2007

New Torchwood Website

Torchwood has the skeleton of a new website up. With new things on the way...

"The new site will launch shortly with a brand new design and with all new content. There will be more than 50 exclusive behind the scenes videos, including video diaries produced by the main cast members. We'll have interviews with the guest stars, all the new monsters and the crew. We've also commissioned rich media 'case files' for every episode which will enable viewers to delve deeper into the Torchwood world. These will include unseen footage and completely new material that will be unavailable anywhere else."
Via Torchwood.Tv

Robot Family T-Shirt

Home Is Where The Hub Is - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Nice.

December 3, 2007

I Am Legend Global Banners



If nothing else I Am Legend has some cool looking marketing assets. See here for a selection of global banners the London one is shown above, or here for even more.

Despite being vehemently wary about this film, I'll still go and see it, mainly to see if I was right. It's released on 21st December in the UK (and a week earlier in the US), just in time for some cheery Christmas apocalypse.

December's Ansible is online

Torchwood on BBC2 in January, and watered down for kids

The BBC have issued a press release stating that Torchwood will begin series two mid-January 2008, and it will be shown on BBC2, rather than the all digital BBC3.

The most interesting part of the release is this sentence...
"In response to audience demand, younger fans will now have the opportunity of watching a specially edited pre-watershed repeat."
Which I choose to interpret as "all that adult sex and violence stuff was a bit rubbish so we'll cut it down, plus the younger viewers are a lot less fussy so maybe we can hook them in."

Guest stars include James Marsters (Buffy something),Alan Dale (Neighbours), Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones), Richard Briers (The Good Life), Nerys Hughes (The Liver Birds) and Ruth Jones (Gavin And Stacey).

The series will have 13 episodes.

I hope it won't be as dreadful as series one.

December 1, 2007

The Doctor Who Advent calendar.

December 1st? Must be time for the Doctor Who Advent calendar. The front page has another picture of Kylie in a maids outfit, and behind are some scary looking angels.