May 2009 Archives

May 29, 2009

Love And Hate

Things that Big Dumb Object has loved and hated this week:

 

Loved

  • Reading. Lots of reading.

Hated

  • That every week does not contain as much reading.

May 27, 2009

District-9 Looks Like An Awesome SF Film

Check out MNU Spreads Lies. Then watch the awesome trailer for District-9.

Wow.

It’s produced by Peter Jackson, directed by Neill Blomkamp and is out this summer.

May 26, 2009

Most Wanted

Things most wanted by Big Dumb Object this week (the optimistic future technology edition):

  • GM wheat that doesn’t fail, can be grown throughout the year in any climate and is suitable for micro-farming.
  • Bread maker mills. Pour in heads of wheat, out comes bread.
  • Micro-reservoirs to purify rainwater for drinking and filter into household water systems.
  • Ultra-efficient solar panels that are cheap to make.
  • Air source heat pumps for all.
  • Open source self-replicating 3D printers for producing the parts for all the open source technology that can change our lives.

May 25, 2009

Bank Holiday Space Tourism

It’s a Bank Holiday in the UK. The banks are on holiday and so are we. Teleport to a beach and enjoy some sunshine.

May 22, 2009

Love And Hate

Things that Big Dumb Object has loved and hated this week:

 

Loved

  • Actually doing some reading. Nearing the end of The Quite War.
  • Sunshine.

 

Hated

  • No Lost. I feel empty. Looking for a new SF TV show to become obsessed with in the meantime.
  • No Doctor Who. Shouldn’t his be the time when we have some cool Doctor Who episodes?
  • The urge to read a new Culture book resulting in the realisation that it might be two years from now, and then I might not even like it. Perhaps I should just reread the ones I loved? But at the risk of spoiling the memory? And when there are so many new books to read. The eternal reading dilemma.

May 21, 2009

A Pittsburgh Storm, Free Novel Online

David R. O'Keeffe is publishing his Science Fiction(ish) novel online under a Creative Commons licence at the rate of one chapter every three days, on his blog.

I’m interested in this kind of venture. Have many people leapt from self publishing like this to a publishing deal in the genre of Science Fiction? It would seem that the odds are stacked against the writer, and yet there must be a future way of doing this and making a living?

May 20, 2009

The Black Dawn

The Black Dawn is a low-budget indie web serial set after a virus wipes out most of the world's population. The virus has turned the sky black, so this post-apocalyptic future takes place on an Earth constantly shrouded in darkness. Which is not only a great money saving technique but also offers the opportunity for large dollops of creepiness. The show follows the survivors as they figure out what happened and rebuild society.

The prequel The Black Dawn: Catalyst is also online now, and sets up everything that's taking place in the main web series.

It’s another impressive indie Science Fiction project; the quality of indie SF films being produced online now are pretty awesome.

May 19, 2009

Dr. BDO's Problem Page

Dear Dr. BDO,

I’m trying to write optimistic Science Fiction and I keep getting bogged down in pessimistic apocalyptic visions. What can I do?

Please help me, you’re my only hope.

Sincerely,

Pessimistic in Peterborough

 

I’ve been away for a while, on transit to Jupiter, but taking this scheduled stop-over at Mars to answer a few questions.

Pessimistic, do not despair. Keep writing, keep imagining. Take every obstacle and imagine how it can be overcome. Sometimes it’s a small and obvious leap, a technological advance that inches us forward, or a mindset shift that allows the previously unimaginable. Small things can add up. Take a problem, solve it. Move on. Then tell us about it, write us a story, make us feel happy and joyous and looking forward to the future. If you hit a problem to intractable then swerve around it, perhaps other foundations might need to shift until that one can be cracked.

And never give up.

You can help us imagine our future.

May 18, 2009

Most Wanted

Things that Big Dumb Object most wants this week:

  • Terminator Salvation. Now all the Star Trek hype has passed it’s time for some killer robots from the future.
  • Lost. What do you mean I have to wait until January to see the next episode? How will I cope?
  • The missing 13th episode of Dollhouse. Intrigued.
  • A long period of reading.

May 17, 2009

Lost S05E16 and S05E17

The Incident part 1 and 2.

Season 5 finale.

Woah. And oh. And ah. And ahhh. And erm. And NOOOO!

Now we have to wait until next year. That is torment.

A great couple of episodes. Forget Jacob’s interference I loved going back and revisiting each of the characters in true Lost flashback style (or flashforward depending on your frame of reference). Guns, action, metal stuff flying everywhere. Tears. And an atomic bomb. Why was Radzinsky so crazily intent on drilling into the EM pocket? He seemed a bit nuts. Who was he working for?  Poor Sawyer though, how come it always works out worse for him? I quite wanted him to escape and live happily ever after with Juliette.

And, Jacob. Jacob and the other guy who pretends to be Locke are in some eternal struggle over The Island, or how they use The Island. Or something. And in trying to outdo each other they’re playing some massive game of trans-time chess. Probably. So Ben and Whidmore were mere pawns?

And just when we thought it had all gone wrong. It goes right. Maybe? Is that a big red reset button they’ve pressed?  Not sure but I have faith.

What else can I say?

AWESOME.

Now I need a lie down.

May 16, 2009

Star Trek, Now The Band Is Formed

I have seen the new Star Trek movie at the cinema. It was funny, slick, shiny, massively entertaining and not the slightest bit annoying. I really enjoyed it.

Wow. There’s three sentences I never thought I’d write.

JJ Abrams has taken Star Trek and made it accessible once again. There were lots of things I loved:

  • The lense flares! The future is bright and shiny.
  • The awesome cast.
  • The wit.
  • The lack of techno-babble.
  • The standard Star Trek plot tweaked with a dash of JJ to out-maneuver the fanboy canon snobs.

..but most of all..

  • The formation of “the band”.

For the first time the crew of the Enterprise felt like a gang, like a band, a group of equals forged together. I refuse to use the word team because it is cooler than that, less official, more primal. It was like the feeling when you play a gig and come out the other side, mistakes and all; together you can conquer the world! Or in this case the galaxy.

Not sure how I feel about a sequel. Bizarrely, I think I’d prefer an awesome TV series.

But in the meantime I actually want to go and see the film again.

May 15, 2009

Love And Hate

Things that Big Dumb Object has loved and hated this week:

 

Loved

  • Dollhouse. Finally watched the whole season. Hmmm.

 

Hated

  • Staring at the big stack of books on my shelf and working out that it will take me all year to read them at my current pace.

May 13, 2009

A Review Of The Flash Forward Pilot

Ain’t It Cool News has a review of the pilot episode for the TV series Flash Forward, which is based on the book by Robert J. Sawyer (UK / US). The series is to be shown in the US on ABC, no news yet of a UK broadcast.

The reviewer’s summary?

“I’ll watch the next episode in the Fall, but I’m not anxiously awaiting it.”

 

Via Dave the BDO AICN correspondent.

Galaxy Quest Re-Released On DVD

Filed under very obvious cash-in, Galaxy Quest has been re-released on DVD in a Deluxe Edition. Containing stuff (see below). I never really liked Galaxy Quest, too many Star Trek jokes, not enough real comedy.

  • Historical Documents: The Story of GALAXY QUEST—Actors and filmmakers discuss how GALAXY QUEST came together, why it still works today and what they think of the film 10 years later.  Includes new interviews with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Justin Long, Missi Pyle, Enrico Colantoni and respected Star Trek feature film writer and director Nicholas Meyer.
  • Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector—This featurette celebrates one of the most talented and diverse casts of fake sci-fi actors of all time.
  • By Grabthar’s Hammer, What Amazing Effects— Explores the special effects, visual effects and creature effects created by ILM and famed effects artist Stan Winston.
  • Alien School – Creating the Thermian Race— The story of how actor Enrico Colantoni developed the voice and manner of an alien race.
  • Actors in Space—Delves deep into the psyche of a cast the likes of which have never been seen together before.
  • Sigourney Weaver Raps—Needs no further explanation.
  • Deleted Scenes (previously released)
  • Thermian Audio Track (previously released)
  • Theatrical Trailer (previously released)
  • Alternative Coordinates Has A SF Media Blog

    The Science Fiction magazine Alternative Coordinates now has a blog Media Explorer, dedicated to genre fiction.

    It begins by reviewing Star Trek.

    Naturally.

    May 12, 2009

    Roger Zelazny's Lost Novel

    The Sandusky Register has an article about Roger Zelazny's lost novel:

    Here is the inside story of how a novel Zelazny completed in 1971 was finally published, more than 13 years after his death. His forgotten novel was rescued from old papers that sat inside a warehouse for many years.

    I have, rather bizarrely, been to Sandusky Ohio. There were some good rollercoasters there. And about a thousand British students getting drunk every weekend.

    May 11, 2009

    Most Wanted

    Things that Big Dumb Object most wants this week:

    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.
    • Lost season finale.

    May 10, 2009

    Lost S05E15

    So let me just try and recap this episode to get it straight in my head:

    • Jack, Sayid, Eloise and Richard are going to detonate a nuclear bomb under The Island to try an prevent The Hatch ever being built.
    • Sawyer, Juliette and Kate are on the submarine and heading off The Island.
    • Locke is leading all of The Others to Jacob so that he can kill him.

    Oh, is that all?!

    It’s cool that The Hatch, which has seemed like plot cul-de-sac since the end of season two, is now central to the plot again. Except I don’t quite understand it. The Dharma Initiative drill into the anomaly, cause a big problem, and then build The Hatch and the computer in which you have to type The Numbers. But at the end of season two Desmond blows The Hatch up and everything is fine. So was that the Atom bomb he detonated? And if so, why didn’t they do it earlier? And was everything really fine? Faraday seemed to believe that negating the creation of The Hatch and therefore the crash Oceanic flight 815 would sort everything out. But what does that actually mean?

    Once again I felt sorry for Sawyer: beaten up, his girlfriend beaten up and then just when he thinks he’s escaped to a happy life, Kate turns. Who, by the way, was intensely annoying this episode, mainly I think because she knows that if everything reverts to how it was her life will be rubbish again, and she’ll be heading to prison.

    Also enjoyable were the Locke, Ben, Richard moments. Both Ben and Richard seem taken aback by Locke’s confident decisive behaviour. Maybe Locke doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he’s having fun. And whilst we’re at it, who are all The Others? And where did all the people go off the crash flight that The Others took?

    Too many questions. But it’s fun.

    I’m bracing myself for the end of season WOAH! moment and then the realisation that we’ll have to wait seven months to see the end.

    May 8, 2009

    Love And Hate

    Things that Big Dumb Object has loved and hated this week:

     

    Loved

    • Lost. It's like honey. Drugged honey. Drugged Science Fiction honey.
    • Freak Angels. I've come it late and so have approximately a years worth of episodes to catch up on. Which is nice. It's giving me the urge to dig out my old copies of Crisis.

     

    Hated

    • Ashes To Ashes. It's given up any pretensions that it was SF and resorted to a weak eighties cop show. Not even close to being as good as Life On Mars, mainly due to missing the immense talents of John Simm.

    Star Trek Predictions On 42Blips

    I’m one of the bloggers offering their opinion on Star Trek, old and new, in a 42Blips article entitled Sci-Fi Bloggers Make Their “Star Trek” Predictions.

    It’s a veritable gaggle of SF bloggers including: Angela (Scifichick.com), Endy (Scificool.com), Cynthia Boris (SF Universe), Rich Edwards (News Editor SFX) and Michael R. Mennenga  (SliceofScifi.com).

    I begin with…

    I've never been a fan of “Star Trek.” “Star Wars” was the first film I saw, and so my childhood was consumed by the original trilogy. “Star Trek” was something that was shown early evenings on BBC2, with quaint special effects and melodramatic music.

    May 7, 2009

    Spock Portrait In Thread Spools

    It’s upside down and made of spools of thread, but viewed through a crystal ball it’s a portrait of Spock. Clever.

    In fact the artist Devorah Sperber has not one, not two, but three portraits of Spock using thread spools, along with one of the holodeck, one of The Next Generation bridge and a couple of Marilyn Monroe.

    Thanks to Mike for the link to ibored.com

    My Story The Kite Is In Staffs And Starships #3

    My story The Kite has been published in Staffs & Starships issue 3, which is available digitally now for $3, and available in print soon.

    The full table of contents is:

    IN THESE SHOES by Lindsey Duncan
    DEVOLUTION OF LIFE by Tamara Wilhite
    H+ by K.E. Spires
    THE KITE by James Bloomer
    THE LEFTOVER by James Hartley
    BALESAT'S SILENCE by Betsy Dornbusch
    B IS FOR BOY by David Loel

    It's a great issue, you should check it out. A particular congratulations for Kyle Spires, as it's his first published story. Hurrah!


    May 6, 2009

    Amazon Kindle DX Announced




    Amazon has announced it's new Kindle DX ebook reader.

    Hmm. It's got a bigger screen and looks nicer than the last version, and reads PDFs, but is clearly aimed at magazine and newspaper reading. It's still a long way away from a paperback ebook reader, which is what I want. Having said that, I haven't used a Kindle (I've tried a Sony Reader and was unimpressed) so maybe the hands on experience is better than the pictures.

    Also on the downside is the bespoke Whispernet networking, which seems completely crazy and knocks out online access for anyone outside the US.. Why not use wi-fi?

    For the inventors out there, what I want is a paper back book that can change the words on the page, I suggest using nanobots, but I'm not fussy. Until then I shall stick to real books.a

    In Moffat We Trust T-Shirt


    I'm not sure about trust, there is hope though.
    Via @Paul_Cornell

    The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2

    The finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was finally shown in the UK this Thursday. Opinions?

    Well, my initial reaction was woah as presumably intended by the writers. Followed shortly by eh?

    I'm not quite sure why John followed John Henry at all, it didn't seem to make sense. And then Sarah just stood by and watched. And where did the time machine come from in the first place? I think all the SFX budget went on that one episode. All a bit too crazy and obviously an attempt to create some press and maybe save the show.

    Overall though, the series has been excellent, only the three dot dream stuff losing the plot (quite literally). The Scottish ex-Rockstar Terminator didn't turn out to be as terrible as I imagined either. It was at its best when John and Sarah were confronting their unreal existence, fighting for some normality in a life that has been a nightmare. The contrast between killer robots from the future and trying to live an invisible suburban life was handled very nicely, and low-key scenes were always favoured over hysterics. I thought Lena Headey did great job playing Sarah Connor, and despite all the fanboy uproar made the role her own, and made her much more believable than the muscle-bound crazy mother of T2.

    Highly enjoyable.

    I'm happy for the show to end at that. Better to leave memories of awesomeness than to descend into dirge like Heroes.

    SFSignal Mind Meld, Realistic Science In TV And Film

    I took part in the latest SFSignal Mind Meld (TM) which asks:

    Which SciFi films and/or television shows do the best job in adhering to realistic science? Which ones do the worst?

    Other Meldees this time include Ben Bova and Alastair Reynolds, and there’s a healthy selection of contributors with PhDs!

    It’s always fun doing these, but then also quite intimidating when reading the final post – all those other clever people saying clever things. It’s what it must feel like playing on Jools Holland’s Later… with all the other bands watching you.

    May 5, 2009

    Most Wanted

    Things Big Dumb Object most wants this week:

    • Song of Time by Ian R. Macleod. Seeing as it won the Clarke Award I should read it.
    • Star Trek. It hasn't even opened yet. The hype starts too early.
    • Isn't there another timely series of Survivors due from the BBC?
    • Or perhaps the new Day Of The Triffids remake?

    May 4, 2009

    Bank Holiday Science Fiction

    It's Monday, it's May, I'm in the UK. It must be Bank Holiday.

    Hurrah! Holidays are the best no matter where their origins stem from.

    Traditionally a day when everyone wants to get outside in the spring sunshine but can't because it's raining. The result: TV and lots of old films.

    In celebration here's this years best Bank Holiday Science Fiction films:

     

    Back To The Future

    It doesn't matter which one, they're all awesome. The third film seems to be having a terrestrial revival season.

     

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    It's written by Ian Fleming and contains a flying car and a scary child catcher. More crazy dream fantasy than Science fiction, but it has tunes. All together now... "Toot sweets, toot sweets".

    Moonraker the James Bond film

    Evil genius heads to space with a herd of space shuttles. Best Space Shuttle dog fighting ever filmed. I think it's law that a Bond film has to be shown on a Bank Holiday.

    X-Men

    Any of the X-Men films, to tie in with the release of Wolverine.

    Wallace And Grommit

    With their clockwork steampunk contraptions and amusing adventures. Rapidly achieving inevitably-shown status.

    May 2, 2009

    May's Ansible Is Online

    Ansible 262, May 2009

    May already?!

    May 1, 2009

    Love And Hate

    Things that Big Dumb Object loved and hated this week:

    Loved

    • The Arthur C. Clarke Award, which always generates a whole load of press coverage and interesting debate about Science Fiction.
    • The finale of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Woah. Cooool.
    • Writing lots. Making things is good.

     

    Hated

    • The Sarah Connor Chronicles ending, may be for good.
    • May already?