Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Verdict So Far

I watched most, but not all, of the shows that premiered this week--though I'm still waiting for Pushing Daisies. Most of the shows were more or less what I expected them to be, though I ended up liking some more than I thought I would, and some less... Chuck: Very slick. Kind of a comedic Alias with the spies who can do all kinds of amazing martial arts. I ended up liking this one a lot. Maybe the gag will wear thin over time, but for now it's fun. And I love seeing Adam Baldwin back on a TV series. Reaper: Also funny with the Kevin Smith influences showing through in the dialogue. I liked it but I'm not sure if it will hold my attention. I'll give it a few more views and see what my opinion is then. Bionic Woman: I liked this more than I thought I would. For some reason the previews left me cold but the show was pretty damn good. I thought Michelle Ryan did a very credible job and the dark David Eick influence works well with the story. I wonder if Katee Sackoff (Starbuck) can play anything other than crazy? Moonlight: I couldn't finish it. If I want to watch vampire TV I think I'll go back to Blood Ties. I didn't catch Journeyman so you guys will have to tell me if it's worth watching. I'm still kind of obsessing about Dexter and the fact that I don't have Showtime, thus missing the second season. I know I'm weird. I just went back and re-read the Jeff Lindsay book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter and enjoyed it much more this time. I must be in the mood for some dark stuff right now. So what do you think of the premiers so far? Decent? Crap? What about the returning shows like Heroes? Let me know....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another Year Bites the Dust

Today's my 38th birthday. I'm going to take the day off and try to pretend being this close to 40 doesn't leave me prostrate with grief. *smiles* Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Comfort Viewing

You know, I think I'm due to steal another post from Sci-fi Signal. I mean, it's been months hasn't it? Fortunately, John put up the perfect post for thieves like me. If you could only pick 5 movies (I'm assuming sci-fi/fantasy--but not necessarily) to watch (you know, the desert island type of scenario) what would they be? Here are mine: Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark Star Wars: Episode 4 of course Blade Runner Batman Begins Terminator (1 or 2) These are not meant to be the best movies ever, just what you could watch over and over. And let me tell you, when you mull it over, it's tough. I keep wanting to add The Matrix and Serenity, but I'll stick with my first choices.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Anyone Up For a Review?

I've been expecting some books for the last week or so, but they've been slow in coming. I did finally get a couple this morning and I'm looking for some help with the reviews.

First I have Worlds Apart. It's an anthology of Russian fantasy and sci-fi.


Slaves of Shinar by Justin Allen. This one seems to be getting pretty good reviews at Amazon so it's probably an enjoyable read.

If anyone is interested in these leave a comment or email me and I'll send them off to anyone who wouldn't mind saying a few words about them for me on the book review blog.

I do expect to get some more titles soon and I'm sure I'll be needing some more help-- so keep an eye out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Let the Season Begin....

I do this every year. I look at the pilots scheduled to air and think wow, they've got lots of sci-fi/fantasy stuff this year. Obviously I am not the only one who likes this stuff. So here is a quick list of what the television networks have in store for us this year. Oh, and no YouTube on this post. It slows the loading of my blog waaaay down. I'll just link to the main page of the shows and any YouTube videos of interest. Chuck leads us off with it's premier tomorrow night. Chuck isn't really sci-fi/fantasy but I include it because it's kind of a comedic version of Bond. I've already come to love Burn Notice, so Chuck ought to fit right in. YouTube teaser clips can be found HERE. Journeyman also premiers tomorrow night. I haven't heard as much about this show. All I know is that it's about a reporter who suddenly finds himself traveling through time and able to change peoples lives. The cynic in me (and my journalism degree) scoffs at the idea of a journalist actually helping someone, but hey, this is Hollywood. Reaper starts on Tuesday and if any show can bring the CW out of obscurity this is probably it. The basic idea is kind of a lighter version of Brimstone, in which someone, whose soul belongs to the Devil, hunts down renegade souls and sends them back to Hell. Only this time the bounty hunter is a twenty-something slacker. Despite my love/hate feelings for Kevin Smith, this show looks very funny. Bionic Woman premiers Wednesday. This is produced by David Eick of BSG and is supposed to be a darker, grittier version of the original. Added bonus-- it looks like Starbuck shows up as a fembot. Additional YouTube teaser clips available HERE. Moonlight, our token vampire show of the season, premiers Friday. I will have to hold off commenting on this one until I've seen it. I'm not sure I can handle any more vampire-with-a-good-heart-but-struggles-with-his-true-nature television. Pushing Daisies premiers on Wednesday October 3rd. This is one of the shows I have been looking forward to the most, though I have no idea why. Ned, the main character, can bring the dead back to life, though if he touches them again they'll be dead permanently. He uses his gift to bring back murder victims and find out the mysteries of their deaths. Kind of like CSI-the easy way. So, do any of these look good to you?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tin Man Trailer

This has such an amazing cast. But I wish, more than anything, it wasn't produced by the Sci-fi channel. They've canceled Dresden Files and they're ending BSG. Dare I get attached to Tin Man?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Showtime is Evil!

Pure evil I tell you! Direct TV has been showing the first season of the Showtime series Dexter for free this week and after only three episodes I'm hooked. Jerks. See, I'm too cheap to subscribe to HBO or Showtime just to get one show here and there, but this time they may have gotten to me. I just don't know if I can wait until the second season comes out on DVD. However, my husband doesn't share my entertainment sensibilities-- and Dexter may be a tough sell. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, Dexter is a show based on a series of books by Jeff Lindsay. And though they aren't really sci-fi/fantasy, the premise is fascinating for someone with a morbid sense of irony, like myself. Our hero, Dexter Morgan (an amazing Michael C. Hall), is a blood spatter expert in Miami who has a few sociopathic tendencies. Okay, he's a serial killer-- with a morality code. Dexter's adopted dad, a very very pragmatic cop, recognized Dexter's homicidal urges and taught him to redirect his need to kill toward those who deserve it. So Dexter only kills other killers. How's that for a moral quandary? This show is not for the squeamish, but I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone that. Though you gotta give Showtime credit for not making the show too gruesome. No, what does it for me is the internal dialogue that Dexter has going on. He knows he isn't normal. He tries to show emotion and he is capable of caring for other people. But when a problem arises, well, he doesn't have the same boundaries as the rest of us. And Hall is fantastic in the role. The deadpan look he has on his face most of the time is so perfect; just what I would imagine someone who is trying to be human would look like. It's funny to me that I have taken to this show so much. I read the first book and thought the premise was better than the execution; though it wasn't bad. But those evil, evil people at Showtime got me hooked something awful. Jerks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Indy 4 Teaser and Clerks Video (that I poached off of another blog...)

TV Guide Online has an interview with George Lucas and he talks about why Sean Connery isn't in the newest Indiana Jones movie. TV Guide: Were you disappointed about Sean Connery not coming out of retirement to play Indy's father? Lucas: No, in the end, it turned out better. In the beginning, he was just in a little bit of it, and I think with the strength of Sean Connery, people would've wanted him to go all the way through the whole thing, and the story really didn't work that way. And so I think there would've been some disappointment that [his character] dropped out partway through the movie. By having somebody else fill that role, you lose him without any regret, so to speak, even though we got a great actor to play the part. And I mean, he's not his father, so it's much easier.... TV Guide: You mean [the other actor] is not playing Indy's father? Lucas: That's right. It's just a completely different character, so you're not invested in him in any way. The fact that that character, after the first part of the movie, isn't needed doesn't become a problem. Whereas I think with the scene we had, where [Indy] says goodbye to his dad, everybody was, "Wait a minute! Isn't he coming back?" So in the end, I think it turned out for the best. Sean just retired and he wants to stay retired, and I understand that. [Laughs] I think he just said, "Look, I've done it, I've done it." He was very tempted, you know, and we talked for a long time. But in the end, he just said, "Eh, I'm playing golf." TV Guide: Anything about the film that's been out there, wrong Internet buzz, that you want to correct? Lucas: Well, I don't really read the Internet buzz. TV Guide: Probably healthy. Lucas: Yeah, I don't get involved in all that. A film is what it is. And you know, I think it's turned out well. It's very funny, it's very exciting, and it's everything that the other ones were. I can't wait to see it! [Laughs] And Cassandra had this clip from Clerks 2 on her blog. The great debate over which is better, The Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars Trilogy. Don't watch if your kids are in the room though, it has more than its fair share of profanity.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Deus Ex Machina

You know what I'm talking about. You're watching Star Trek TNG and you look at the clock. Ten minutes to go and the crew is still in deep s***. You know the situation needs to be resolved before the show goes to commercial but there seems to be no solution in sight. That's where Deus ex machina comes in. Commonly defined as an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot (e.g. an angel suddenly appearing to solve problems), Deus ex machina is a plot device all TV shows, movies and books seem to employ at one time. Remember the infamous Dallas episode that wrote off an entire season as a bad dream? So common is the Deus ex machina phenomenon, that Wikipedia (not super reliable, but hey, a decent source for the purposes of a blog) has several types of techniques listed. Such as: The Reset Button Technique; simply put, use of a reset button device returns all characters and situations to the status quo they held before a major change of some sort was introduced. Examples given: The TV series Quantum Leap—The very premise of this show, Dr. Beckett’s “leaping from life to life” through time, provided a natural and complete reset device for each episode. As long as Dr. Beckett never leaped home (to stay), nothing substantial in his situation could change, since at each episode’s end he would leap out of the time, place, and identity he had occupied for the duration of that show, to be assigned a completely new setting and identity in the next episode. In an episode of the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman, Clark Kent is kidnapped along with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson by a villain intent on procuring a memory loss spray. Threatened with death, Clark takes off his glasses and reveals that he is Superman. He later erases his friends’ memories with the spray. Character shields; (also known as plot armor or plot shield) are plot devices in films and television shows that prevent important characters from dying or being seriously injured at dramatically inconvenient moments. It often denotes a situation in which it strains credibility to believe that the character would survive. Example given: The phrase originated with fans of the television show Star Trek to describe combat situations where the Enterprise is not destroyed, but other ships without major characters aboard are lost. The idea is that important characters shield their ship from damage. It also applies to situations where important characters (the stars of the show) survive difficult circumstances, but a minor character is killed. Expendable characters are sometimes referred to as "Redshirts," since red uniforms in the original Star Trek indicated security personnel, who were often the first to die in any given episode. Suspension of disbelief; was coined by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 to refer to what he called "dramatic truth". It refers to the alleged willingness of a reader or viewer to accept as true the premises of a work of fiction, even if they are fantastic, impossible, or otherwise contradictory to "reality". It also refers to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the acceptance of those premises. According to the theory, suspension of disbelief is a quid pro quo: the audience tacitly agrees to provisionally suspend their judgment in exchange for the promise of entertainment. Example given: According to the theory, suspension of disbelief is an essential ingredient in the enjoyment of many B-grade science fiction films and television series such as the early series of Doctor Who, where the audience willingly ignores low-budget "cheesy" props and occasional plot holes, in order to fully engage with the enjoyable story — which may be the more so for those additions to its inherent outrageousness. One of the most-well known examples of suspension of disbelief is the audience's acceptance that Superman hides his identity from the world by simply donning a pair of glasses, wearing conservative clothing, and acting in a "mild-mannered" fashion. Not only is the disguise so thin as to be ridiculous, but also in the TV series, Adventures of Superman, this absurdity was carried to an extreme. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen constantly suspected Clark Kent of being Superman, yet when obvious evidence was right in their faces — such as times when Clark was missing his glasses — they never saw the resemblance One of the most interesting aspects of the whole Deus ex machina phenomenon is that it seems more closely tied with sci-fi/fantasy than any other genre--except maybe soap operas. (which is just a sad sad thing) It makes sense of course, after all, there is nothing so fantastic as what we see in our favorite movies: time travel, space flight, super human powers, magic etc.... But wait, shouldn't the fact that sci-fi/fantasy tropes involve ideas that are already outside the realm of what we know to be possible make Deus ex machina redundant? I mean, Superman already has God-like powers, do we really need an improbable, last minute salvation in another form? Don't we already have one? Jeez, just the inconsistency of it is giving me a headache.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chuck -- Coming to NBC

Ugh! Tired. Too weak to come up with legitimate post. On the other hand, I am so looking forward to this show. I hope it doesn't suck.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm One Year Old Today

Funny, I feel much older. But the calendar doesn't lie, it's been one year since I wrote my first post on this here blog. So in the interest of reminiscing, and not having to come up with a new post, here are links to some of my favorite posts of the last year. Sid and Marty Krofft Made Me What I Am Today The Ultimate Science Fiction Family Animate Me Baby Good Ideas Gone Wrong Superman Can't Have Sex (written by Stewart Sternberg) Mary Sue (written by Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator) The Devil You Say (Stewart Sternberg) Heresies-U-Like (Hey There Skippy-- now known as Dan O'Connor) The Future's So Bright I.....Oh Wait.... There. That should keep you busy. And to all the lurkers. Leave a comment. Just this once. Let me know the last year hasn't been a waste of time.

Book Review and Freebies

Check out my book review blog for details on how to win a copy of "Ragamuffin." Also, win a copy of "The Electric Church" and/or George R.R. Martin's "Dreamsongs" at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, scroll down the whole page to catch all the giveaways. And if you're feeling really lucky, go to Fantasy Book Critic and win an Orbit books prize pack. AND Sarah Monette's "The Doctrine of Labyrinth" series ANNNNNNND! he just added the whole Naomi Novik "Termeraire" series too! He also has "The Book of Joby," "The High King's Tomb" and "Seeing Red" up for grabs. The Book Swede has several copies of "The Inferior" to give away as well. My good friend Remy over at The Fantasy Review has Karen Miller's duology "Kingmaker, Kingbreaker" to give away too! Now, who's looking out for you?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Maybe I'm Projecting

It's a conceit I'm sure, but I've always had this thought in the back of my mind that fantasy/sci-fi as a genre tends to be more open minded than most. Maybe it's due to the fact that Star Trek was widely congratulated as one of the first TV series' to have multi-racial casts. I don't know, but somehow I've always thought of my favorite genre as being something that attracted others who have values similar to my own. But maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see. I ran across a post on another blog that argued that fantasy novels in general are not liberal in any sense and support more conservative, authoritarian values. My first reaction was huh? I mean, look at Harry Potter for example. Every right-wing nut job has had it in for Harry since the beginning, calling it Satanic for daring to mention witchcraft in any kind of positive sense. It's easy to brush off people who want to ban Harry Potter because it seems so harmless. But the post I mentioned before doesn't invoke Harry Potter. Instead it mentions authors like George R.R. Martin and C.S. Lewis. The basic idea is that authors like Martin and Lewis (hey, Martin and Lewis.....) are conservative at heart, promoting things like religion and capital punishment. And while it would be so easy to scoff, I have to stop and realize, he has a point. He specifically cites an example in Martin's book, "A Game of Thrones," in which Eddard Stark beheads a man. By having Stark do the act himself, we are told he doesn't take the act lightly, but it is still by implication justified. And well, I doubt I need to even explain the religious connotations that are so obvious in Lewis' work. The man himself has openly declared that "The Chronicles of Narnia" have Christian themes. And the thing is, so many fantasy novels are written in what are basically medieval settings, with the traditional noble hierarchy, that it's easy to see how someone could say-- see, fantasy novels are all about espousing the might-makes-right values of stereotypical conservatism. Foolishly, I wrote a comment saying, but wait a minute, lots of fantasy I read has very open-minded views on things such as homosexuality. And in part, that's true. But I made the mistake of putting a favorite author of mine, Anne McCaffrey into the category of authors who have benign portrayals of homosexuality. Boy, was I wrong. Fortunately, I wasn't slapped down too hard on this. But I should have been more certain of my argument before I said anything. Turns out, McCaffrey--in books that I have not read--has implied that homosexuality is something that can basically be cured. And on reflection, I didn't realize how stereotypical her depictions of homosexuality were. You know, the couples with the effeminate and the butch partnering. Now, I'm not especially invested in gay rights as a cause, I simply have a live-and-let-live attitude and don't believe in telling anyone else what values they ought to have. I know I am being a total hypocrite here. After all, McCaffrey is entitled to have whatever views she wants to and put them in her books. No one is forcing me to buy them, right? So what business is it of mine to have a problem with whatever opinions are expressed in any book? I don't know. Like I said, there was this unconscious part of my mind that believed that books the explored the outer reaches of space, the limits of our minds and the fantastical worlds that include dragons, elves and magic, must in some way be more open than the rest. But I suppose the setting doesn't necessarily change human nature. I can find authors who have more open minded attitudes toward things like sexuality--Lynn Flewelling and Mercedes Lackey come to mind-- but are they any more open minded than any other authors of any other genre? I can't say, I pretty much only read fantasy and suspense novels. Like I said, it's likely a conceit of mine that fantasy and sci-fi is more lenient toward different opinions. But still, I like to think it is....

Saturday, September 08, 2007

This Was Fun

I haven't even read all of the books and I liked this one...

Your Score:House Targaryen

63% Dominant, 63% Extroverted, 72% Trustworthy

Ancient. Noble. Passionate to the point of insanity. Transcending lesser beings, you are of House Targaryen. You are a dominant personality—in fact, you are the most dominant of all eight house types. You will not suffer yourself to be ignored. You will not suffer yourself to be ruled. The phrase "I will not suffer myself to _____!" was practically made for you. You are willful, arrogant, and exceedingly dangerous to screw with. With a temper like yours, anyone stupid enough to saunter into your line of fire won’t soon forget their mistake. You are also extroverted, which means that everyone in the world knows exactly what your intentions are. Unlike your cohorts (who hide behind smiles and courtesies and court politics), you think of it as your birthright to come riding in on an enormous dragon and breathing fire. Hey, what you lack in subtlty, you make up in style! Finally, you are trustworthy. Your absurd amounts of power and borderline psychosis are not used unjustly. Unlike many, your general aims are just and true. You we bred for rule, and the fact that you cannot rest until you are doing so is not your fault. If you make up your mind, it becomes reality. Never one for empty threats or vainglorious lies, you can only speak the truth. And the truth is "fire and blood." Representative characters include: Daenerys Stormborn, Rhaegar Targaryen, and Viserys Targaryen Similar Houses: Baratheon, Lannister,and Tully Opposite House: Frey When playing the game of thrones, you play it to the death.

Link: The Song of Ice and Fire House Test written by Geeky_Stripper on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Things I Do When I Can't Think of a Post

*Cruise other blogs looking for ideas to poach. Damn, nothing so far. *Spin my chair around in circles while staring at the ceiling. Nope, nothing yet. *Repeatedly check email just for something to do. *Start cruising other blogs again. Sh**, this is getting sad. *Flip through all the TV channels looking for old sci-fi movies. Only find old re-runs of "The Cosby Show." *Stare at the computer screen and hope for divine intervention. *Sigh* God doesn't care about blogs.... *Debate looking for a video on YouTube. Nah, too many of those lately. Maybe if I find a funny one..... No... *Drink some wine and hope the alcohol haze will make something sound interesting. End up sleepy and half drunk. *Debate cruising blogs again but give it up as a lost cause. *Paint toenails. It has nothing to do with the blog, but now my toenails look pretty. *Compose a pointless list and hope it passes as an actual post. Yeah.... *Hope God decides to care about blogs in time to give me an idea before the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Favorite Sci-fi Quotes

Matt had a post on his blog a few days ago that listed some of his favorite comedic movie quotes. I thought it was such a good idea that I stole it; only this time it's all about science fiction. Here are some of my favorites............. Are you telling me you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?" Marty McFly Back to the Future "Come with me if you want to live" and "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead" Kyle Reese The Terminator "Do, or do not. There is no try" Yoda The Empire Strikes Back "Get away from her, you bitch" Ripley Aliens "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die" Inigo Montoya The Princess Bride "I hate snakes, Jock. I hate 'em" Indiana Jones Raiders Of The Lost Ark "I know kung fu" Neo The Matrix "Lycans are allergic to silver. We have to get the bullets out quickly, or they end up dying on us during questioning." "What happens to them afterward?" "We put the bullets back in." Selene & Michael Underworld I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attacks ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain... Time to die." Roy Baty Bladerunner "Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun" Ash Army Of Darkness Okay, your turn...............

Dragon Wars (D-Wars) Trailer

What more do you want in a movie about dragons??? This looks really fun!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Blue Lady Special

I have a new book review and giveaway at my book review blog. Now don't say I never did anything for you. Aaaaaand.... Remy has a giveaway going on at The Fantasy Review. I hear this book is really good.....