Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Did I Miss This Site?

Let me just say, I'm a lazy sci-fi blogger. I see stuff I like and I say hey, look at that. Or I think of stuff to reminisce about and cobble together a post about that. But it's not exactly planned. I don't keep up on sci-fi news religiously and hunt down new sites. But maybe I should. I found this site called io9. I have no idea how long it's been around, though the archives only go back to October '07 (so I may be forgiven for not noticing it sooner), but I gotta say, it's fabulous. It's put together as an online magazine and has several contributors and editors and it's put together very slick and professionally. I am impressed. Here's one of their articles: The Worst Thing Star Trek Did to Science Fiction by Charlie Jane Anders There are many things that annoy us about science fiction: godlike beings, lazy time-travel paradoxes, actions that don't have consequences... but luckily, there's one thing that epitomizes all of them: the reset button. Whenever the unthinkable happens, you can be pretty sure science fiction will unthink it. Click through for the many evils of the reset button. Here are the main types of annoying reset buttons in science fiction: The temporal paradox. Someone starts diddling the time-space continuum, and just by coincidence, suddenly all sorts of appalling things happen. The two best examples of this are the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Year In Hell Part 2" and the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords." In the Trek episode, the starship Voyager is destroyed, only to be restored when a "time-ship" that has been altering history is wrecked. In Doctor Who, Earth's population is nearing "terminal extinction," until the Doctor destroys a "paradox machine" that his arch enemy the Master built. Once that's done, time rolls back a whole year, undoing all the Master's horrible deeds, while David Tennant makes some awful yay-faces: The godlike being. In the Marvel Comics series Secret Wars, a bunch of Marvel heroes are transported to another planet, called Battleworld, where the only thing to do is merengue. No, wait, I mean fight. And in the penultimate issue, every single Marvel hero... dies! For reals! You see Mr. Fantastic's intestines stretching out all over the place, and Spider-man is all splatted. (Okay, it's not really that graphic.) But then the Beyonder takes back his amazing godlike power from Dr. Doom, who's stolen it, and in the process all the heroes are restored to life. (Several times, in the case of Captain America.) Truly, a mighty resurrection. There's also the Star Trek (again) episode "Shore Leave," where McCoy dies, once and for all... until the magic shore leave planet fixes him up, good as new. It was all a (virtual reality) dream. It's the "Bobby Ewing in the shower" version of science fiction. In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Vanishing Point," Hoshi gets caught up in a transporter accident, and spends the whole episode dealing with strange illogical events and her crew-mates act more and more out of character. And then she finds out that nasty aliens are planning to blow up the ship! Oh noes! But then she finds out the whole thing was just a dream she had during the few seconds the transporter was reassembling her. I also feel like we're told Trinity is doomed doomed doomed in Matrix: Reloaded, and then she's not... because Neo is the extra awesome, and he can bend the laws of physics in the virtual world. I tried really, really hard to come up with non-Star Trek examples of the reset button, but it was difficult. Sadly, there's a reason why Star Trek is so closely associated with this particular plot device. It's part of the essential conservatism of Trek, which sticks to the DNA of old-school television (putting the toys back neatly), with the possible exception of Deep Space Nine. It's the kind of sloppy writing and lack of consequences that gives science fiction a bad name among casual viewers. Most of all, though, we hate the reset button because we envy it -- it would be so awesome to have one in real life. It would come in handy in so many situations, to undo all kinds of horrible events, from the death of a loved one to that thing you really didn't mean to say in a business meeting. And yet watching someone wield the reset button isn't fun escapism, it's just annoying. Unlike, say, the transporter, which would be awesome in real life and is also fun to watch. All I can say now, is go forth, check them out and enjoy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Love Fantastic

I had actually meant to do this as a Valentines Day post but as usual, I was too scattered to actually get it done. But I still think it's a worthy post; the idea of love and how it appears in sci-fi and fantasy.

What's so great about our favorite genre is that there are really no bounds to what is possible. Love never has to be denied by time, space or even death. It doesn't always mean that a love-stuck couple will find their happy ending, but they probably stand a better chance than just about anyone else. So here are some of my favorite couples that appear in sci-fi and fantasy.

Trinity & Neo (The Matrix)
This love story proves my point that death is no barrier to love. At first I wasn't sure I would buy into this love story but it won me over in the end-- despite the fact that the only decent Matrix movie was the first one. But there was just something in the way that Trinity looked at Neo with such faith that it was hard not to hope that this couple would find a happy ending despite overwhelming odds.

Han Solo & Princess Leia (Star Wars)
These two had chemistry from the start. Their bickering hid a desire for each other that could only flare up before too long. And who could blame Princess Leia? Han may seem like a bad boy but he never strays too far from the side of good and his roguish side only added to his appeal. And where else but in a fantasy world could a Princess fall in love with a commoner without a whole lot of fuss?


Wash & Zoe (Firefly)
Talk about your odd couples. She's the bad-ass warrior and he's the goofball and I loved them. I never got tired of the interactions between Zoe and Wash. She might have been eternally loyal to Mal but her heart definitely belonged to Wash, and I don't think he could look at his wife without continued wonder at his good fortune.



Wolverine & Jean Grey (X-Men)Okay, I'm only mentioning this so I can talk about Hugh Jackman *sigh*. They weren't really a couple, but oh boy, the chemistry. Scott who?





Superman & Lois Lane (Superman)
Nothing, but nothing can keep these two apart. From comic books, movies and TV series' Clark and Lois always find their way back to each other. I don't what the series Smallville has in store for the couple, but I'll be interested in finding out.




Kyle Reese & Sarah Connor (Terminator)
These two didn't seem like an obvious couple from the get-go did they? A man from a future wasteland and a woman who started out not knowing one end of a gun from another. But somehow you could buy the relationship between these two and by the end I was really hoping for a happy ending. I think I still have a tiny kernel of hope flickering in me too.... Like I said, nothing is impossible with sci-fi.



John Crichton & Aeryn Sun (Farscape)
I didn't actually watch this series when it first came out but I have since bought it on DVD. I haven't finished it yet--so don't give too much away. But boy, these two have chemistry don't they? I can't wait to see where this story goes.


I admit, this isn't a deep list. I haven't gone into depth about what makes these couples great other than the fact that I like them. But I suppose that's good enough isn't it? I don't consider myself a girl who is into chic-flicks but I don't mind a good love story--as long as there's plenty of action to go with it.

So who would you add to the list?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Some People Just Don't "Get" Blogging, Do They?

I've only had this blog for about a year and a half, but I've learned a lot. One thing I've noticed is that if people don't blog, they really don't understand it. I've been a stay-at-home mom for almost 8 years and blogging became a way for me to connect with adults while still being able to be at home at watch the kids. At first, I visited other blogs. Actually, I did that for about a year before it dawned on my to do more than post a comment here and there. The next dilemma I had was what kind of blog to put up. This fantasy site wasn't my first. I put one up that was oriented toward comparing different news outlets--newspapers, print, TV -- and comparing the various biases that I saw in each one. But that blog was a lot of friggin' work! Especially if I was looking at the daily news. Plus, I had no traffic right away and that was too discouraging for a job that didn't pay. So then I threw this blog up. The Fantasy & Sci-fi Lovin' thing wasn't actually intended to be a permanent name. But like a lot of stuff we do purely for the enjoyment of it, I had visitors here sooner than expected. So I kept the name. And I've enjoyed it a lot. I can't always think of topics to post and some days I put up video as filler, but mostly it's fun. But then I started telling family and friends that I had a blog and boy, I couldn't believe the looks I got. You'd have thought I grew a second head. And I can't say I really "get" the reactions I get. I mean, what's the big deal about a blog? Why is it looked at as an oddity? Though I must say, ever since I started getting books from publishers for reviews, my blogging has gained some legitimacy as far as my family is concerned. It's like they think now, oh it's like a real job, or she's actually doing something. *shrug* But we have kind of created our own culture haven't we? The way I see it, this is a normal evolution. We don't live in a world where people really socialize with their neighbors anymore. At least my neighborhood doesn't have any block parties. And I don't feel safe letting my kids run up and down the street unsupervised so much of my life is spent driving my kids to and fro. So, if I want any kind of social life, I don't have that many options-- unless I want to join the crochet group at our local Borders. So tell me, have you become the resident weirdos in your family for having a blog? I hope not. I'd like to think more and more people are going to "get" blogging. Maybe I'll meet another real live person who blogs. I'd like that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gotta Admit, This Looks Good

I got an email about this video, Appleseed Ex Machina, which is a sci-fi/anime film being released to video by Warner Bros. It looks like I will have a copy to give away in a couple of weeks, so take a look and see if you might be interested. I don't personally know much about anime, but I thought this looked pretty amazing. In the year 2133, a war killed off half the population of Earth, plunging the world into chaos and despair. In OLYMPUS, a utopian city-state and the last true bastion of culture and civilization, the ESWAT police force holds the peace. The two star members of this Special Ops team are Deunan Knute and her cyborg partner Briareos. Their relationship is threatened when the government reveals a prototype combat clone, named Tereus, who is a clone of Briareos. However, a strange electronic virus begins turning citizens into violent zombies and the trio must team up to track down the terrorists behind this brutal attack before it tears the peaceful utopia apart.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's no BSG, but it's Bound to Make Lots of Little Boys Want to Drive Mustangs

I finished watching the new "Knight Rider" this evening all I can say is wow. Did they bring on the cheese factor or what? Granted, the original "Knight Rider" was pretty cheesy, we are talking David Hasselhoff, right? But I'm sorry, I thought this show was bad. Really bad. I did watch the original "Knight Rider" as a kid, but in my defense, I was twelve when it came out. I kind of lumped it into shows like "The Dukes of Hazzard," where there isn't really any acting or plot to speak of, just lots of stunts. And that's kind of where the new "Knight Rider" ends up, only with worse acting. I don't know, am I being too hard on the show? For those who didn't watch it, the basic plot is this: The inventor of the Knight Industries 2000 (the original KITT) has created a new KITT called the Knight Industries 3000. Some bad guys come along and want some "codes," and accidentally kill a man they think is KITT's creator and so run off and try to find his daughter who also has the mysterious codes. KITT (having fled the scene of the original crime) tracks down the daughter and tells her she must find a man named Mike Tracer (who not-so-surprisingly turns out to be the son of Michael Knight) for help. Blah blah blah predictable. Throw in some titillating scenes with a lesbian cop, Michael in bed with two women and lots and lots of Ford ads and you have the idea. I kind of kept hoping for something that would make the show interesting. I hoped the car would be really cool, but basically the most distinguishing feature is that it changes color. Um, hello. Shouldn't it fly or something? Even KITT's voice failed to excite me even though it was voiced by Val Kilmer. It just seemed flat and boring. Again, maybe I'm being to hard on the show. But with shows like BSG that show us that you can take and old formula and re-work it into something special with good writing, direction and acting; and frankly "Knight Rider" has none of these. They even tried to bring in the Hoff to spice things up, but I have to say the father-son reunion just seemed...weird. I guess it's obvious, but this show didn't work for me. At all.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Winner! Tickets to see The Signal on February 22nd

Today is the day I promised I'd pick the winner for ticket to the premier of The Signal. I did the old pull-a-name-from-a-hat trick and came up with Jhianna! Congratulations Jhianna. Send me your snail mail address and I will make sure the tickets get sent off to you asap. Thanks to everyone that entered. With any luck, I'll be able to come up with some other good stuff in the near future. In the meantime, Fantasy Debut has copies of David Keck's "In the Eye of Heaven" and "In a Time of Treason" up for giveaway. And Pat's Fantasy Hotlist has 5 copies of Raymond Feist's "Wrath of a Mad God" up for grabs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana Jones Trailer

Please Bear With Me a Bit

I don't know how many of you have had problems loading my blog page, but it has been awful lately. I think the problem is because I use blogrolling. I took it off one of my blog pages and that one seems to be less frozen. Because I have tons of blogs linked here switching the blogroll back to old format is going to be tedious. If you see the blogroll down (as you're looking to see if your blog is linked) don't freak out if it's down. I'm going to try to clean up the page so it loads better and faster. Btw, this sucks for me. While my blogroll is down, I can't just click on my handy-dandy links to visit my favorite blogs. Ugh!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Giveaway Goodness

Wow! It seems like there is a ton of great stuff out there right now. Robert over at Fantasy Book Critic has a WHOLE SET of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series! I am a huge fan of these books and I would enter if I didn't own all of them already. Get on over there and check out all of his contests; there are a bunch! Pat at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist has S.L. Farrell's "A Magic of Twilight" up for grabs and George R.R. Martin's "Fevre Dream." And last, but not least, this humble blogger has a copy of Mark Henry's "Happy Hour of the Damned" up for giveaway on my book review blog. Good luck everyone!

Giveaway! Movie Tickets to see "The Signal"

Anyone like scary movies? The Signal is opening in limited release and I have tickets for the opening weekend. If you live, or are within easy distance to THESE THEATRES I can offer two tickets for opening night on February 22nd. If you would like a chance to win, leave a comment here or email me at SQT1969(at)gmail(dot)com. Please make sure that I have an easy way to get in touch with you so I can get the tickets mailed off quickly. If I don't hear back from the winner within 24 hours the tickets will go to someone else. Remember, it's limited release, for the first weekend (it goes national after that) so be sure to check the release schedule to see if it's playing in your area. Contest ends Sunday February 17th. Good luck!

Monday, February 11, 2008

FYI

Check out my interview with Mark Henry, author of "Happy Hour of the Damned." I'm going to be giving away a copy of his book, so head on over and read the interview and my review to see if it sounds like something you'd be interested in.

WOW...20 Whole People Plan on Boycotting the New Star Trek

I stole this from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist but it's just too good not to mention. Apparently a few trekkies decided to boycott the opening week of Star Trek XI. That's right, they just say the opening weekend. This just makes me giggle. So far they have 20 people signed up, including Darth V. To: JJ Abrams, Brad Grey (Chairman and CEO of Paramount), Frederick D. Huntsberry (COO of Paramount), Mark Badagliacca (EVP and CFO of Paramount), Majel Barrett, and the cast and crew of Star Trek XI In 1966 Gene Roddenberry gave us his optimistic vision of the future with Star Trek, and millions of people fell in love with his vision. To say that the impact of Roddenberry's vision is profound, is no exaggeration. Designers, engineers, astronauts, scientists, and doctors by the thousands all have stated that Star Trek was the spark which set them on their career path. And Paramount has benefited greatly from our love of the franchise. When it looked like the original series was going to be canceled early on, it was a letter writing campaign from the fans which saved the series and enabled it to have enough episodes to be considered viable for syndication. From there, things really took off. Five spin-off TV series, ten (soon to be eleven movies), novels and comic books by the hundreds and other merchandising tie-ins by the thousands, if not tens of thousands. The profits from Roddenberry's original seed now measure in the billions. Yet, it's not simply in monetary gains that Paramount has benefited from Star Trek. The technology which Paramount uses every day to run it's business, owes at least a portion of it's existence to those who were inspired by Star Trek. Indeed, the terms “computer programmer” and “Star Trek fan” might as well be one-in-the-same in most cases. One could argue that technology is only considered to be “sexy” because of it's association with one Captain James T. Kirk. We fans happily gave our money to Paramount for these things because we believed in Gene and his vision. We very much wanted to be the characters Gene created and have similar adventures ourselves. When Star Trek began, the Space Race was busy gearing up for it's greatest achievement, and it seemed to all of us that soon, we'd be “boldly going where no man has gone before.” That wasn't to be, however. The Space Race fizzled out and Star Trek was canceled. Still, we fans kept the fires going. It was the fans who organized the first convention, and who launched letter writing campaigns to name the space shuttle in honor of the Enterprise, and it was the technology spun off from the space program which enabled Paramount to expand upon Gene's visions in ways which were undreamed of when Star Trek first premiered. All of these things were insanely profitable for Paramount. On December 25th, 2008 Paramount is offering us a new vision of the original Star Trek series. Paramount's hoping that we will continue to flock to this latest incarnation as we have to the others. Well, enough is enough. If Paramount's going to expect us to pony up money for this, then we want something in return: We want Paramount or J. J. Abrams to agree to donate at least a portion of the box office receipts for opening weekend to one of the various non-profit (and Paramount will get a nice, healthy tax deduction for this) organizations dedicated to the exploration of space. Be it the X-Prize Foundation, the Planetary Society or other group. This is an investment in Paramount's future. Their artists will use the images beamed back from space as basis for future film scenes, the technology spun-off from those missions will enable Paramount to make bigger (and hopefully better) films of all types, and we know that shortly after commercial spaceflight becomes possible, someone at Paramount will hit upon the idea of shooting a film in space. They'll do it because they know people will go see it. We're asking Paramount to make an investment in it's future, since we know that they'll benefit from what is discovered. After all, it was Star Trek which showed us that. If, however, Paramount decides that they'd rather continue to simply take our money and give us nothing more than a pale shadow of what Star Trek once was (as they have done with some of the spin-offs and movies in recent years), then we, the undersigned fans will simply stay away from the theaters on the opening weekend for Star Trek XI. Since it is the opening weekend results that drive so much of Hollywood's thinking, our staying away will hurt Paramount's bottom line and not the theater chains. If the film's a good one, then the subsequent weekend earnings as well as the DVD and related merchandising sales will more than make up for the loss. Our point, however, will be made: We're tired of Captain Kirk having all the fun. It's time for the rest of us to get “a piece of the action” and that will only happen if more money is poured into research and development. If Paramount issues a large press release about their donation, it'll attract attention to the new Star Trek film (and hype is always good in Hollywood), as well as raising awareness of the matter (thus attracting more funding as well as more ticket goers). It's a win-win for Paramount, if they're willing to take it. If they don't, then we, the undersigned will not be there on opening weekend. Sincerely, The Undersigned Go HERE to see the official site and signatures.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Iron Man Trailer

I'm moderately excited about this. Though I'm not sure about the use of Black Sabbath in this trailer.......

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

400th Post!...Movies That Rocked My World

First, let me just say, I do not claim to have particularly good taste. I don't tend to watch artsy films or heavy drama. I'm big on escapist fare that is there solely for entertainments sake. Yes, I am a shallow movie goer. But like a lot of people, I love a good movie. Sometime they make me think (maybe against my will....) and if they're really good, they stay with me awhile. Here are some movies that rocked my little world--it's not a purely sci-fi list, more of just a reason to make a list and say, yeah, that was a good one..... Star Wars Well, since this is a sci-fi oriented blog, I should try to make a small attempt to stick the theme. "Star Wars" is one of the first movies I can actually remember seeing in the movie theatre. It was a big deal too. I remember there was a huge line and we ended up sitting in one of the front rows. This was the first sci-fi film I ever saw, and obviously it made a huge impact. As a kid I loved R2-D2 and C3PO but as an adult my heart belongs to Han Solo. To this day I am still impressed at how well crafted this movie is, from its special effects to its coming-of-age story. Rocky This is another movie I saw in the theatre when it came out and even though I was very young I couldn't help but be inspired by this wonderful underdog story. Whether you like Sylvester Stallone or not you have to admit he created an iconic character with Rocky Balboa. There is just something so earnest about the character that I'm still touched to this day when I watch the movie. As a kid I loved the fact that Rocky fought the big fight but as an adult I'm struck by the surprising complexity of the story-- from Rocky's simple logic to the love story between Rocky and Adrian. Truly one of my favorites. Indiana Jones We saw this movie when we got rained out during a camping trip when I was about 11; best camping trip ever. I think this movie is what made me love action films. Harrison Ford plays Indiana with such humor and charisma that I think I am always looking for that same kind of character every time I go to the movies-- sadly, most of the time I don't find it. And Harrison Ford wasn't the only great thing about this movie. It was adventurous and intelligent and I wish more films were made like this. I can't wait for the new one... Pulp Fiction I was going to college in Japan when this movie came out and a friend of mine went to see it. I remember him telling me about it and saying, you've got to see this movie! It's not like anything you've ever seen before. And he was right, it blew me away. Quentin Tarantino films are not for the faint-of-heart as I learned when I saw "Pulp Fiction," but there is something captivating about his style nonetheless. I am not a particular fan of bloody-violence but I couldn't help but find this movie fascinating. The way it alternated between rapid-fire dialogue and sudden violence made some of the casual brutality all that more shocking. I found this movie so intriguing that I took my mom to see it-- though I told her when not to look. (She liked it too...)There are so many scenes in this movie I could quote from too.... Jules: Now Yolanda, we're not gonna do anything stupid, are we? Yolanda: You don't hurt him. Jules: Nobody's gonna hurt anybody. We're gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda what's Fonzie like? Yolanda: Cool? Jules: What? Yolanda: He's cool. Jules: Correctamundo. And that's what we're gonna be. We're gonna be cool. Now Ringo, I'm gonna count to three, and when I count three, you let go of your gun, and sit your ass down. But when you do it, you do it cool. Ready? One... two... three. [Ringo sits down opposite Jules] Yolanda: All right, now you let him go. Jules: Yolanda, I thought you said you were gonna be cool. Now when you yell at me, it makes me nervous. And when I get nervous, I get scared. And when mother*****rs get scared, that's when mother*****rs accidentally get shot. Yolanda: You just know, you touch him, you die. Jules: Well, that seems to be the situation. But I don't want that. And you don't want that. And Ringo here *definitely* doesn't want that. The Matrix I loooooved this movie when it came out. This movie has it all, great special effects (so much so that I think it's become one of the most parodied movies ever) and an intelligent plot. I love to mock Keanu Reeves and his wooden acting but I still think "The Matrix" is fantastic. I love Trinity and her leather pants and Morpheus with his glasses that defy gravity just by staying on his face. The special effects are dazzling and the shoot-outs are the best ever. One of my favorite movie lines of all time....Trinity: "Dodge this." Batman Begins Director Christopher Nolan will forever be my hero for resurrecting a franchise that could have easily died with George Clooney. This is Batman as it was meant to be. It has all the great things we love in a comic book movie: super-villains, gadgets and a larger-than-life hero. Christian Bale is the perfect Batman in my opinion. I love the determination and menace he brings to the role. The only thing that takes away my enjoyment of this franchise is the untimely death of Heath Ledger. He looks to have been amazing in the role of the Joker and I'm sad we won't be seeing more of him. The Silence of the Lambs This movie impressed the heck out of me. I am fascinated by serial-killer thrillers in a weird kind of way and I think Hannibal Lecter had a lot to do with that. I read the book before I saw the movie and usually that's a bad idea since movie adaptations rarely hold up to the book. But Johnathan Demme did a terrific job of sticking to the original story. Anthony Hopkins was outstanding as the erudite Lecter and Jodie Foster hit just the right note as Clarice Starling. Terminator & T2 I didn't see the original "Terminator" until after it had been out for several years. I remember hearing people talking about it but honestly wasn't that interested at first. Then I happened to catch it on TV one day and I couldn't believe what I had been missing. The first "Terminator" was obviously done on a budget and it just goes to show that you don't need a high gloss on an action film to deliver something special. James Cameron somehow managed to find just the right role for Arnold Schwarzenegger and his accent. Who knew? I also love the evolution of Sarah Connor from the first movie to the second. Blade Runner Hmmm, another Harrison Ford film. "Blade Runner" is one of those movies that you might underestimate if you don't really sit down and watch it. My husband just isn't into it but I don't think he's ever given it a proper chance. It's dark and depressing on the surface but when you allow yourself to sit and take it in it's captivating. This movie takes one of the most intelligent looks at artificial intelligence and the world as it could be one day. I watch this one every now and then and I always discover new layers to it. Casino Royale I always liked James Bond movies but this one made me a true believer in the character. I was really doubtful when they first cast Daniel Craig as Bond but he brought a tough-guy edge to the role that taught me to never, ever question that he was made for the role. I am so glad that the producers of the Bond franchise have decided to do away with the sillier aspect of old Bond movies and let the character shine as a gritty, flawed man. The next Bond film is waaaay high on my "most anticipated" list. Okay, I think I'm done indulging myself for one day. :) These are the movies that I go back to often and never get tired of. Maybe they're not exactly classics, but they are to me I suppose. So what makes your "must-see" list?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Oh Oh Oh! This is a Good One!

If anyone likes paranormal, chic-lit type fiction and wants to check out Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan (The Hollows) books, go to Fantasy Book Critic and enter the giveaway to win the whole set!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Trivia Question

I got an email from a reader who was hoping to track down an animated movie that came out several years ago. I don't know the answer to the question, but I thought maybe someone who frequents this blog might remember it. The description I received is this: Way back when I was a kid there was a cartoon movie that came out around the same time the hobbit movie came out...it was kinda strange ..it used multiple film formatting like the kind used in heavy metal...I think it used British animators and it had a villain that was half human with his arms as exposed bone. The story line was about a villain that was getting weapons and soldiers from several time eras and was going to take over the world.... Any ideas????

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sweet Emotion

Charles over at Razored Zen wrote a cool post about emotion. He wrote it from a writer's perspective and how hard it can be to find the emotion and convey it to the reader. This post really spoke to me and it's a topic that has stayed with me. At first I connected to the subject because I have struggled with the same thing in my own writing. But on further consideration I realized how important the emotional component is to virtually every form of entertainment that I love. Music is actually the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of emotion and entertainment. I like pop music some of the time but none of that really touches the soul. It took me a long time to appreciate how a song that is sung with feeling is so much more than words on a page. Whenever I hear a Janis Joplin song I am always struck by how much of her heart she poured into her music and I amazed at the bravery inherent in her performances. Obviously I am not the only one who remembers her remarkable talent, but I think it's the outpouring of emotion that makes her timeless. When I look at movies that I have loved since childhood I am also struck by how much I love them because of the way they made me feel. Being a Sci-fi fan, there is no movie that stands out as much as "Star Wars," but I have never connected with the later movies that George Lucas made to go with the original trio. I have written posts on this blog about that before and I usually site the wooden acting as a big part of the problem, but it struck me as I was thinking about the topic of emotion in entertainment that it was the feeling, the passion, that was missing from "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." (I have yet to see "Revenge of the Sith") People have often said that George Lucas focused entirely too much on the special effects in his later films and I think that's an obvious point. But truly, the biggest flaw was that he didn't focus enough on what the audience needed to feel in order to connect with the characters. The original "Star Wars" was brilliant on so many levels, but in the end I think I loved it because I could relate to the characters no matter how extraordinary their circumstances. Who hasn't felt the uncertainty and earnestness of Luke Skywalker? And maybe even the occasional arrogance of Han Solo? (Though we love Han the best don't we?) Even the villains had more depth in the original mostly due to the fact that we saw their anger and ambition. But there really isn't a whole lot in the later series' to connect to is there? I can't say I ever really felt anything from Amidala and let's face it, the youngest Anakin just came across as a kid who was acting in a movie. On reflection, I think the movies' could have kept all the CGI and still been very good if only Lucas had remembered that it was what we felt when we watched the earlier films that made them great. And I think the difference between the two Lucas trilogies really demonstrates the fact that emotion isn't only important in high drama. Films like "Rocky" touched a nerve with the underdog in all of us and made us want to cheer when the music swelled at the end of a big fight. Or what about the end of "Se7en" when Brad Pitt asks "what's in the box?" God, I shudder just thinking about it. Good movies make us feel. And I think that holds true of any great sci-fi/fantasy film I have ever seen. "Alien" made us feel terror at the prospect of alien contact just as "E.T." made us feel hope. Dystopian movies like "The Terminator" make us feel dread at a world we don't understand while comic book movies like "Batman Begins" and "Spiderman" allow us to step into the role of the hero for a little while. But in the end we go to theatre, listen to our favorite music or read our favorite books (again and again in my case) because of the emotional cord they strike. If I can, just once, create something that finds emotional resonance with the rest of the world, then I would be a happy woman indeed.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Quick Note

This is one of those moments when I am so tempted to keep this to myself. But at the same time I love to pass on good little tidbits of info. I told you that Pat over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist was going to have some good contests and I was right. He put up a giveaway for Joe Abercrombie's "Last Argument of Kings". I looooooved "The Blade Itself" and I am eager to read "Before They are Hanged" so you'll have to trust me that this giveaway is hard to share. Though I doubt it's much of a secret to begin with.... *Update Graeme over at Graeme's Fantasy Book Review also has a copy of "Dark Wraith of Shannara up for grabs. I know there are tons of Terry Brooks fans lurking about, so head on over and enter! Sorry about the bland posts lately. I have some ideas swimming around in my noggin, so I'll try to get something interesting up soon.