Tags: sf

Silly - Dirty Face

Martian Memories

"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one - but still they come!"

How many of you remember Jeff Wayne's: War of the Worlds album? It featured Richard Burton speaking as the protagonist and was captivating to me when I was a boy.

I remember it being pretty huge when I was a boy, sort of eerily captivating and felt like a throwback to the days of radio broadcasts, where we waited eagerly for the next bit of narration to come along. It came up a couple of days ago and I was surprised that I'd not really heard anything from it in a very long time.
Silly - Dirty Face

How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr kept Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek

Many of you already know the emotional and poignant story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr kept Lieutenant Uhura from leaving Star Trek. It is a great story and the impact can be measured. I remember Whoopi Goldberg telling the story of how, as a young girl, after seeing Uhura on TV, ran through to the kitchen and excitedly told her mother, "Momma! There's a black lady on TV... and she ain't no maid!" Goldberg became a life-long Trek fan, who would eventually accept a recurring guest-starring role as the bartender Guinan in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Others have told similar stories. It seemed a small thing, but it mattered.

The actress who played Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, said, "For some reason, no one has ever gotten this story right," and so they decided to quote her verbatim in this ever so cool interview. Well worth a read.

I've always wondered whether SF in South Africa would be more popular now if more people in SA had been able to see Trek, back in the day.
Scene - Robot anim

Swimming upstream on the new Trek movie.

I both loved and hated the new Trek movie. Visually it is a feast and there are a lot of fun elements, but there were too many times that the writer in me cringed. In some ways this movie is more like fan-fic than a new idea, and I'm fine with that. In fact, I think this is why so many old-school fans love it. But it's still a Hollywood movie. Logic and good storytelling are all too often replaced by CGI and schmaltz. SPOILER ALERT!: Collapse )
Silly - Dirty Face

(no subject)

Phillip Jose Farmer's web site reports that he has died. I loved his books as a boy & read many of them. Riverworld remains a favorite of mine, particularly To Your Scattered Bodies Go. The Stone God Awakens showed me that many writers have the same ideas, as I'd had a similar storyline myself, and I enjoyed that book too. My mother found The Lovers to be one of those books that changed the genre. He was not the best writer I have read, but I could live in his worlds. I'm glad I found his books and I'm glad he wrote them. His vivid imagination is a beacon for how to approach some of my own writing. He'll be missed.
Silly - Dirty Face

Distressing news

Carp and fork shoot. It seems Realms of Fantasy are going out of business. A shrinking market shrinks further. We're all saving our money and we should be, but we may lose things we don't want to lose.

I remember once when I was a contractor, doing really good work and my contract came up for renewal. My boss wanted me to stay, the clients wanted me to stay, the team wanted me to stay, their managers wanted me to stay, their managers' managers wanted me to stay. The decision landed on the director's desk, an ignorant f*ck of the type found all to often in senior management. He decided he wanted to save money and said I should come back in 3 or 4 months. There were other ways to get money and other ways to save, but he was an old-style boss and he had decided. This the day before my contract ended. Of course this is not the way things work. Contractors don't wait around. They look for new work, especially in a good economy. I had 3 interviews the next day (a Friday) and started a new contract on the Monday. Naturally I never went back. The user team were very upset. Some months later they approached my company about a return and I declined. I was settled in at a new place. And anyway, why put myself back into an unpredictable situation like that?

Sometimes the opportunity to keep something of value is just here for the moment, and then it's gone forever. You may have a reprieve, you likely will not. We're making that same kind of financial decision, one where we really ought to be thinking more about the future. Many of us are choosing collectively to buy fewer magazines of quality short-stories and instead to save our money... or more likely to focus it elsewhere. I'm betting we still have full cable, a nice DVD collection and so on. It's not just the economy, that's just the last straw.

Short stories are kind of magical. There is so much packed into a small space. And writing! It should never cease to amaze us that little black marks on paper can turn into living, vibrant universes in our minds, more alive than even on a screen. And yet we're selecting them out of our world, and the world of readers has shrunk still further.

It's sad.
Silly - Dirty Face


Arthur C. Clarke , one of the great SF authors, died today. There are too few left. The news is all over my f-list. My mother loved his books and she was the one who introduced me to SF. While it is undoubtedly a sad affair, I do find it quite charming that he died on Wednesday and yet most of us are talking about it on Tuesday - the day before. If you're a great science fiction author and you're going to die, well then you may as well die in the future. (Well, at least what is the future for most of those who read his stories.)

Tell my mom hi when you reach the big con in the sky (hey, it's just as likely an afterlife idea as any other).
Silly - Dirty Face

(no subject)

Yesterday two morons on the user team made the assumption that because I'm a science fiction fan and I go to conventions that I'm automatically one of those nuts who waits in line for days on end, dressed as a Jedi, to see the new Star Wars movie. I'm "one of those" apparently. My retort was quite scathing.

In that vein, comes this meme:
NerdTests.com User Test: The Trekkie Test.

Of the 3416 unique test takers...
For: trekkiness: 67% scored higher, and 32% scored lower.
The average Raw Score is: 97.1, yours was: 86.
I think that's pretty healthy, for TV watching that is. I liked the series, flaws and all, but it's not worth getting all worked up about. It's not a religion for Pete's frigging sake, and you know, even if it were, I feel that fanaticism is always unhealthy. And I don’t think any movie is worth standing in line for an hour, let alone making it into an impromptu overly-commercial, mostly-unsocial**, outdoor, nuttiness convention. But then that's just me, the guy who refused to wait in line at Graceland, or the Whitehouse, but who will occasionally wait in line at Six Flags, but only occasionally.

** You can't lose your place in line so interactions are limited.