Saturday, December 29, 2007

Kristin Kreuk is the new Chun-Li

Smallville's "Lana Lang" has just been cast as Chung-Li in the upcoming Street Fighter movie. According to IMDB.com the story will revolve around Kreuk's character as she "embarks on a quest for justice".

Could they be anymore vague? That pretty much leaves the door open for anything to happen. I'm not sure what to expect but considering the first movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme this version has nowhere to go but up. (Not that I didn't enjoy its cheesiness).

Ming-Na did a really good portrayal of Chin-Li so I'm hoping that Kreuk can take the the character to a new level and give her a fresh depth.

Either way, come 2009 I'll definitely be seeing this movie in theaters. What about you???

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hellboy 2 Trailer

Sorry for the lack of posts-- hopefully this will make up for it! "Hellboy" and "The Dark Knight" in summer of '08? Woo Hoo!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Favorite Christmas Movie Quotes

--One more Christmas post...... George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary. Mary: I'll take it. Then what? George Bailey: Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair... am I talking too much? ~It's a Wonderful Life Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor - heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. Life Buoy, on the other hand... YECCHH! ~A Christmas Story Fred Holywell: [on his Uncle Ebenezer] ... His wealth is quite useless to him, really. He doesn't do any good with it; he doesn't even make HIMSELF comfortable with it. Ebenezer Scrooge: [whom nobody else can see or hear] I haven't SQUANDERED it, if that's what you mean by "making myself comfortable!" Ghost of Christmas Present: You mustn't argue with those in the right. It's pointless, and even tactless. Ebenezer Scrooge: Tact is a quality I despise. Ghost of Christmas Present: *That* I can see. ~A Christmas Carol Frank Cross: I want to see her nipples. Censor Lady: But this is a CHRISTMAS show. Frank Cross: Well, I'm sure Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples. Guy who works on set: You can barely see them nipples. Frank Cross: See? And these guys are REALLY looking. ~Scrooged Kevin McCallister: I took a shower washing every body part with actual soap; including all my major crevices; including in between my toes and in my belly button which I never did before but sort of enjoyed. I washed my hair with adult formula shampoo and used cream rinse for that just-washed shine. I can't seem to find my toothbrush, so I'll pick one up when I go out today. Other than that, I'm in good shape. ~Home Alone Clark Griswold: Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. ~Christmas Vacation Santa: That's another thing... Buddy you should know that your father... he's on the naughty list. Buddy: Nooooo! ~Elf John McClane: Merry Christmas, Argyle. Argyle: Merry Christmas. Argyle: [Argyle shuts the limo door] Argyle: Man, if this is their idea of Christmas, I *gotta* be here for New Year's. ~Die Hard (Yippie-kay-yay, motherfucker is really my favorite, but I was trying for a holiday quote.... ) Have a great holiday everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bloggers' Night Before Christmas

Okay, it's not exactly the night before Christmas, but it's close enough. I put this post up awhile back but didn't give it the proper attribution. Since it is now Christmas time, it's certainly appropriate to reprint it and give credit where credit is due. Bloggers' Night Before Christmas by OMNI 'Twas the night before Christmas, and inside each house Was a blogger quite busy with keyboard and mouse. A post each one published on Blogger with care; Then viewed the results with a horrified stare. They wistfully thought of their comfortable beds While dealing with problems that each blogger dreads: The bloggers on Beta are caught in a trap They cannot revert though their blogs turned to cr*p. Blogger has always got something the matter Both versions have problems, not just the latter: Our lengthiest posts disappear in a flash To see our file uploads we must delete cache The style sheet's gone crazy, but why we don't know The sidebar's no longer beside, it's below Your blog skin and link list may soon disappear Along with your archives for most of the year Unless you go back up your template, and QUICK You might lose it all with just one ill-timed click. And if all of that is too much of a pain You'd better ask Santa for your own domain. Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pirated 6 Minute Clip from The Dark Knight

You don't care that this was filmed by a shaky hand-held camera in a crowded movie theatre right? It's 6 minutes from "The Dark Knight!" Watch it HERE!!! I'm so excited!

Futurama is back... from the future!

I always liked Futurama. The Simpsons have been one of my favorite shows since it hit the air and when Fox started running ads for Matt Groenig and David X. Cohen’s new show, I was excited to see it.

Futurama had a lot of the goofy cartoony humor that the Simpsons were already known for, but the show was also able to establish its own voice. In addition to poking fun at the well-used devices of science fiction and intricacies of the world today, the show effectively used dramatic moments between the characters in a way that the Simpsons did not. Some of the storylines between Fry and Leela as well as Wong and Kiff was touching and credible in ways that some live actions shows couldn’t come close to.

The show was never really able to stand on its feet though. Fox first put it in Sundays, then shuffled it around and eventually dropped it entirely halfway through its fourth season. Fan support kept it from dying though, and it survived on Cartoon Network and Comedy Central in reruns.

All Hail Hypnotoad!

Now jump ahead to two weeks ago in my local video store. Futurama: Bender’s Big Score was sitting on the shelves; I remembered reading that Futurama was coming back as a straight-to-DVD movie, but I didn’t know anything beyond that. Of course I rented it.

The movie is definitely worth seeing by anyone who liked the show (if you really really liked the show, go ahead and buy it) and it is even jam packed with winks and nods and dangling plot threads from the series for fans to remember fondly. Because of this, there’s a lot going on. Hang on and enjoy the ride nonetheless.

The Planet Express crew makes a delivery to a nude beach planet and a tattoo is discovered on Fry’s rear end. The crew is then tricked by nudist scammer aliens who take over Planet Express and use the code on the tattoo to send Bender through time to steal treasures from the past. Meanwhile, Hermes’ body is destroyed and his head is placed in a jar until it can be replaced. Additionally, Leela meets and is romanced by another man and because of this, Fry decides to go back to the past to live out his life. Deciding to keep Fry out of the picture permanently, the nudist aliens send Bender back to kill him and all kinds of wackiness ensues.

There is a lot of time travel going on in this movie and I am very surprised how the writers kept track of everything. They seriously must have had a giant flow chart on the wall where they could graph out all the comings and goings. It all works though and everything that is used is wrapped up at some point in the story.

There was one plot point that I figured out, though I have to admit that I thought of it, then dismissed it, then said “aha” when it was revealed at the end of the movie. Though common decency prevents me from spoiling it here, I’ll let you know that it involves Leela’s handsome suitor.

Bender’s Big Score is definitely worth a look, fans of the series will see just about everything they liked in the show and newcomers should enjoy it as well as long as they can keep track of everything that’s going on. So come for the story, but stay for Fry, Bender, Nibbler, Leela, Amy, Nudar, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Hypnotoad, the Harlem Globetrotter Scientists, two narwhals, gratuitous nudity, Al Gore, golden Death Stars, Torgo’s powder, Mark Hamill, Zapp Brannigan, Richard Nixon’s head in a jar, Seymour, Barbados Slim, the Box Network, Elzar, owls, suicide booths, hellacious space battles, Scruffy, sewer mutants, pizza deliveries, robot gangsters, Olympic-class limbo, Robot Santa, and everything else you loved from Futurama.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Evidence that Geek Chic is In!

Designer Marc Ecko has come out with an official line of Star Wars clothes. Just the thing to get for Christmas for the Sci-fi freak in your family. No, I have not been paid for this post, or otherwise approached in any way. I just thought a beaded Storm Trooper was worth noticing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Guest Review: "I Am Legend"

Top Abbott, one of the winners of the premier tickets to see "I Am Legend" has written a most excellent review of the film, and sent pictures from the premier. I am so pleased to have such quick feedback and a review! I AM LEGEND NYC Premiere Review By Top Abbott On December 11th at 1900 hrs my son and I attended the NYC premiere of I AM LEGEND. The head of Warner Bros., the director, the screenwriter and Will Smith were all in attendance. Also showing up were Mary K. Blige, Russel Simmons, LL, Bow Wow, Ty Diggs (I heard, but didn’t see him), David Blain (which could explain why my watch is missing), Tom Cruise and I BELIEVE the really pretty woman that I didn’t get a picture of was Alice Braga, co-star of the film. I AM LEGEND is a Warner Bros. Film. It’s apparently a remake of The Omega Man, also a Warner Bros film which starred Charlton Heston. See the trailer here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-MosmUseSY and wonder how movies in the 70’s made any money considering the effects. Richard Matheson wrote the book on which both movies are based and it was titled, I AM LEGEND. There was another incantation of this book. First to film was Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price. The plot; a plague started by a vaccine virtually wipes out humanity. The story; The survivors fall into two camps: immune and infected. The infected are vampires. In the latest version there is no reference to vampires, the word is not even said. The movie starts with a newscast, then breaks into action. There are action sequences scattered throughout the film, and Will Smith is a machine gun carrying hero who feels the weight of finding a cure for those infected. The story movies quickly, and if you enjoy vampire flix and think there should be more, overall this one should satisfy. Cool action, strong cinematography, and Will Smith is in form (seriously, he’s does some pulls w/o a shirt and he’s one buff dude!) I’m a fan of Will Smith’s. I think he’s a very talented actor. This movie gives him some great acting opportunities. He’s actually scared, which hasn’t been seen by him at all in action movies previously. He’s upset, frustrated, angry, funny, driven and boarding on insanity. But why his character is so driven is never explained or answered. The character feels it’s completely his responsibility to “fix” this situation, but we all know it did not come about because of him. I think that would have been a great plotline, where he feels the weight of responsibility because he IS responsible. There’s plenty of scenes that made the audience jump with fright. The bad guys are intimidating, and there is some suspense, but overall it felt like this movie was trying to be something else. I think very much it was an attempt to be Children of Men but with heavy action and vampires. The movie is being tagged as a sci-fi, but other than the premise that this is a few years in the future and the inciting problem is biological in nature, I don’t see the science in this fiction. There’s not enough action to call it an action movie, and not enough horror to call it a horror movie. Will Smith is great to watch, but I don’t think this movie lives up to the hype. In the Omega Man I’ve read that the head of the bad guys wants to kill the protagonist because that character represents science and that’s what’s caused them to become these monsters. The bad guys here are just really fast strong bad guys seemingly only motivated by the desire for blood. The main bad guy, who is not given any type of name, starts to show intelligence and a desire to get at Smith’s character personally, but that’s as far as we get. The bad guy is intimidating, and really starts to become scary as we realize he’s showing that he’s making plans! But that’s as far as we get. There’s no dialogue from the bad guys. Again, they’re just really fast, strong vampires. How are they so fast and strong? Because. That’s what I took from this movie, it’s good because. It’s fun because. It’s scary because. I believe the because it’s Will Smith is supposed to be what followers, but when Smith announced that he had the project for 10 years, I was hoping for more than because, but what we get is a fun little action pick sure to rake in tens of millions of dollars, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with paying the bills while having some fun too. One last note; the “experience” of seeing this film was great! My son came in on the bus. It was dark and rainy and we were running late. Literally running because we were late. The movie started at 7 pm and we were 10 New York City blocks from the theater at 6:50. We ran there, got squished into a huge crowd and struggled to find seats in a room not designed as a theater but a basketball arena. The ushers were struggling as well, since this event was apparently way over booked. My son and I decided to go up front and we were three rows back and to the side of the screen. Terrible seating for watching a movie, but great seating to watch my son get star struck as the celebrities filed by. I am very thankful for this experience to SQT for having her contact at Warner Bros send me tickets! A great night overall!

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Knight Rider, and now This?!

It had to happen. With the popularity of "reality" television over the last several years, it was only a matter of time until "American Gladiators" made it back to television in an attempt to out-muscle the original. At first glance, I thought there was no way I was going to watch this. But now I admit I'm kind of curious. I'm sure no one besides myself has failed to notice that we, as a country, have become..rather..er...portly. But "reality" TV never fails to portray the image of the average American as supremely buffed and surgically enhanced. Needless to say I'm interested in seeing what the competitors look like, but I'm dying to see what 21st Century gladiators look like. This should be interesting. OH, and the names! Anyone remember Zap? How about Malibu? OMG! I have to watch this just to see what the names are going to be.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Guest Review: Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Texas Boy Blue did me a huge favor and read & reviewed "Let Me In" for me. Be sure to CHECK IT OUT. Also, the book giveaway for "Darwin's Paradox" ends on Tuesday, so be sure to get your entries in! Oh, and Robert at the "Fantasy Book Critic" has another awesome giveaway going on. This time it's a set of Robin Hobb's "Soldier Son" trilogy. Sign up now! (you know I do)

Winners! Tickets to see "I Am Legend" Premier

Joseph Pernice and Cary Abbott Are the lucky winners. I have sent your addresses to my contact who will mail them off immediately. I hope you have a great time at the premier, and be sure to tell all of us how it was!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Movie Premier Tickets to "I Am Legend" at Madison Square Garden Up For Grabs!

Okay, this is kind of short notice, but I was just told that I could offer 2 tickets (1 ticket admits 2 people) to the premier of "I Am Legend" at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 11th! Isn't that great?! I'm in California and I can't go but this is a great opportunity for all you New Yorkers (or those willing/able to travel to New York on short notice...) to glam it up for an evening and maybe meet a few movie stars. To enter, send me an email with your name and address so I can pick a winner by Friday before 1:00 Eastern Time (that way the tickets can get to the winners on time) and I'll randomly draw names and announce the winners on Friday December 7th. *NOTE- It's really important that I get contact info by tomorrow morning so the tickets can go out on time. I am going to pick the winners early since so many people don't want to leave their address prior to winning the contest. If I don't receive addresses promptly, I will pass the ticket(s) on to someone else. GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm Already All Atwitter

(book givaways listed at end of post too!) It's really hard to find any information on the forthcoming Batman movie, "The Dark Knight." I kind of keep a constant eye out on YouTube and the official sites, but there isn't much out there yet. Maybe I'm jumping the gun a bit since the movie won't be out until Summer of '08, but I loved "Batman Begins" so much it's hard to wait. Movie Web does have some images (that I obviously have posted here) to tide us over until the movie comes out. I am especially fascinated by Heath Ledger as The Joker. The only thing I liked about the original Batman movie was Jack Nicholson as The Joker but, as in everything he does, he was so quinticentially Jack that I am interested to see how Ledger does in the role.

Um, (pointing to left side of face....) you have a little lipstick smeared right around here.... That's not a Harley is it? Mmmm, Christian Bale. I thought purple suits went out with Prince.... Robert over at Fantasy Book Critic has THREE awesome book giveaways going on right now. He's giving away three sets of Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt series, one set of David Gemmell's "Troy" trilogy and three copies of Anne McCaffrey/Todd McCaffrey's "Dragon Harper." I am also giving away a copy of "Darwin's Paradox" on my Book Review Blog, so check that one out as well!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Will the real nerd girls please stand up, please stand up, please STAND up!

This parody of a nerd girl dating line is hilarious. 1-900-NERD-GIRL I've kinda been on an Underworld marathon for the past few days, I own all but two seasons of Smallville (plus some other sci-fi shows) and I actually played little men with a guy friend when he showed me his extensive Dragonball action figure collection. But I don't dress up in silly costumes. Does that make me a real-life nerd girl??? And if so, will all my fellow nerd girls please stand up?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Forgive me....

.....for my absence. I've had some family drama going on. It's mostly settled now and I can get back to my normal life. I have a book to giveaway and I'll try to get that up ASAP-- along with some current posts. Thanks for understanding.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Alive.......barely

Well, we've finished moving, sort of. That is, we've moved our stuff from one place to the next and have the TV, computer and phone hooked-up. We have not, however, unpacked. Need I mention that I am glad I didn't attempt NaNoWriMo? Ugh. I promise to think sci-fi-like thoughts tomorrow. The good news is that Aaron over at The Soulless Machine Review did a book review for me on my book review blog. AND Shaun from The World in the Satin Bag has a couple of reviews up as well. CHECK THEM OUT!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

News

Hello all. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. I'm busy busy busy. I'm going to be moving over the next couple of days and part of the move involves my Internet access. The company I'm using now doesn't service the area I'm moving to so my email address will change. I have a Gmail address that I am using right now, posted right below my avatar. I won't be able to post for at least a few days-- not that I think it'll matter much right now since it seems so many people are on vacation for Thanksgiving weekend. Anyway, wish me luck on a smooth move! And I'll let you all know when I'm back.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy............Turkey? Day Everyone

Blood: The Last Vampire Movie

It looks like Blade can add another sword-toting half-breed vampire to the club. A live-action version of Blood: The Last Vampire is coming to theaters next year and courtesy of Angry Asian Man here's a kick-butt still: Anyone else hoping that Gianna Jun is as cool as Kate Beckinsale was in Underworld???

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Sexiest Sci-Fi Men Alive

People magazine recently published its 2007 Sexiest Men Alive edition, so I decided to spotlight some of the ones that have Sci-Fi/Fantasy roots.

-Ryan Reynolds: He's had guest appearances on The Outer Limits, The X-Files and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. But we best remember his sarcastic charm and rock hard body in Blade: Trinity. Here's to hoping he sinks his teeth into another juicy SF role.

-Brad Pitt: Who can forget Pitt's portrayal of Louis de Pointe du Lacthe in Interview With The Vampire? And back then, before Brangelina, his kiss with a young Kirsten Dunst was the talk of the town.

-James McAvoy: He brought to life C.S. Lewis' beloved Mr. Tummus, the faun, in the film adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. So that makes him our favorite mythological stud.

-Johnny Depp: He's been Ichabod Crane, Edward Scissorhands, Captain Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka. What's not to enjoy about Depp's quirky characters?

-Will Smith: How many times has Will Smith saved the world? I've lost count. He's the actor we turn to when our planet is in big trouble. Next up on the save the universe tour is I AM LEGEND.

-Shemar Moore: He was that hunky guy on the short-lived WB series Birds of Prey. And he's my personal favorite on the list.

-Ben Affleck: He's no Spiderman. But this Daredevil had enough charm to catch Jennifer Garner. And the only thing cooler than their onscreen chemistry is the soundtrack which gave us Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life".

-Will Yun Lee: This season Lee's doing best to make The Bionic Woman live long enough to get picked up next year but he's no stranger to SF/Fantasy. Earlier this year he was a kick-butt angel in the ABC Family mini-series Fallen. And you if actually saw Elektra, then you're remember him from that. He's a good actor, I just hope he gets better SF roles.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Super Powers I Need This Week

Wow, moving day is almost here. This last month has gone by thisfast and I am boggled. We get the keys on Tuesday and we'll be trying to move in over the course of the week, despite the Thanksgiving holiday. I really wish I had super powers to help with this move. No, I don't want them so I can save humanity, I want them so I can move my couch darnit! Super Human Strength Who needs to fly when you have an armoire to lug up the stairs? I think of all the super powers that have ever been dreamt up, super strength would be the most useful for moving furniture, don't you? If I had super strength I wouldn't need to ask 3 or 4 burly men to come over and help me move. Not only would the whole strength thing be useful, I'd end up with happier friends. Faster-Than-Light Speed Anyone who has ever had to pay for a rental truck will know why speed is so important. Also, we need to paint a couple of rooms before we move in, so speed is essential. Anyone have a time machine handy? Magical Ability to Conjure Beer and Pizza Since I do not have super human strength, my husband has had to find some burly friends to help us out. I'm pretty sure men can be fueled up regularly on beer and pizza and if I could conjure some on a regular basis, I bet I could talk those guys into helping us for a whole extra day! Ha, who needs a time machine now? Super Human Organizational Skills Okay, I'm sure this never came up on Superfriends, but I never saw them moving the Hall of Justice. I have literally got boxes up to the ceiling and I have to figure out where they heck they're all going. Oh sure, they're labeled "kitchen" and "bedroom" but you know they're going to end up in the dining room. Then I have to unpack and figure out which cupboard to put the glasses into. It's a nightmare I tell you. Conjuring Money You know, now that I think about it, this is the only skill I really need. If I could pull money out of thin air, I could hire someone to do all of this for me. Heck, if I had that kind of money, I could buy a furnished house and not have to mess around with any of this. Yeah, that's what I want to be. The Super Money Conjuring Woman. Of course, then I'd really need a secret identity-- to hide from my relatives.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Maybe it's a Sign

I, like many others, have been waiting for news about the long anticipated X-Files movie sequel. There seem to be little bits of information coming out tidbit by tidbit and then I got an email announcing the release of a 61 disc DVD collection of all things X-Files. I guess it has every season, the movie and all kinds of extras. Cool. But mostly, when I saw that little goody, I was wondering, does that mean the movie is actually being made?? I think so. X-Files movie sequel to be shot in Vancouver The X-Files is back and will be seeking out paranormal activity once again in Vancouver. The second movie based on the TV series that ran from 1993 to 2002 will be shot in Vancouver beginning Dec. 10. It continues the story of special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, played by the original stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Chris Carter, the original creator, is on board to write and direct the as-yet-untitled movie. About 100 B.C. crew members are expected to find work on the film. The first X-Files movie came out in 1998 and there has been buzz about a sequel for years, but it was held up by legal wrangling between Carter and 20th Century Fox. Fox announced Thursday that the new movie is slated for release in June 2008. The first five seasons of the TV series were shot in Vancouver, but the later seasons were filmed out of Los Angeles. Duchovny had given interviews in the 1990s in which he complained about the wet weather in Vancouver and was also reported to want to spend more time with his wife, actress Tea Leoni. The first X-Files movie was shot in California, New Jersey, London and British Columbia on a budget of about $65 million. It went on to gross $187 million worldwide and set up the continuing tension between Mulder and Scully for a sequel. The X-Files and two other paranormal shows of that era, The Outer Limits and Poltergeist: The Legacy helped establish Vancouver as the place to film science fiction. Finally! So I guess I can now go watch all 61 DVD's while I wait for the movie to come out. You know, just to refresh my memory and all that. I'm not a freak or anything. Mostly. For the rest of you freaks I'll put a link up on my sidebar if you want to get more info on the box set.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And the Winners Are.....


The winners of "The Cipher" giveaway are:

Charles Gramlich of Abita Springs Louisiana

and

Melissa Markham of Virginia

Congratulations Charles and Melissa! Send me your addresses and I make sure the books are on their way to you soon.

Sorry I don't have copies for everyone, but I am going to have another giveaway tomorrow-- so come back and see what's up for grabs then!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Help Me, I'm Drowning!

We're moving in two weeks and yet I still have a pile of books to review. There isn't a single one in the pile I don't want to read and review personally, but I just can't do them all justice right now. So I NEED volunteers to read AND review a few books for me. Just a few paragraphs for a free book. It's fairly painless, I promise. :D The first one I have is The Charon Covenant by Brenda Munday Gifford. This is the only straightforward sci-fi book I have at the moment. It's small at 175 pages but has an interesting premise: In The Charon Covenant, society has been forced to relocate to the moon (known as Earth II). The story's heroine, Dara Drew, discovers that not only can she not trust the government in this new society, she can't trust her neighbors, or her own brother as she accidentally discovers the ugly truth that turns their world upside down. The next book I have is Master of Shadows by Janet Lorimer. This one falls more into the "chick lit" category-- but hey, I love that too. As a child, Ariel McPherson was warned about a ferocious creature that allegedly stalked the forest near her family's summer cottage during the full moon. But surely those were merely stories meant to warn a little girl of dangers that lurk in any wood? When her adult world collapses, Ariel takes refuge in the cottage. Forced to go on an errand of mercy during a night of the full moon, Ariel finds legend crashing into reality. She meets a mysterious stranger, Louvel, in the forest. He will not allow her to see his face, but still strangely captures her heart. Then Ariel's life is shattered by a mysterious death; secrets are revealed and suspicions raised. Ariel's search for answers endangers her own life. Louvel may possess powers that can protect and help her...or he may a beast more fearsome than any found in a fairy tale. And lastly I have Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. This one pains me the most to get rid of. I have read about 70 pages and it's very good. It definitely falls more into the category of horror fiction and Lindqvist has a wonderful, lyrical quality to his writing. I want to read this one a lot, but I have a lot of other books I'm obligated to read first and I hate to let this one languish on the shelf. Please only take this one if you really can do a review of this book. Swedish TV and stage writer Lindqvist's first novel is set in a commonplace suburb of Stockholm, where 12-year-old Oskar lives with his mother, is bullied at school, shoplifts, and keeps a scrapbook of notes and clippings about gruesome murders. Eli, apparently about his age, moves in next door but doesn't go to school, leaving the flat only at night. Shortly after, the killings start. At first more fascinated than sorry, since one victim had bullied him, Oskar eventually discovers that Eli is a vampire, stuck permanently in childhood. What should Oskar do, especially when Eli is his friend as much as anyone is? Lindqvist develops the plot in rich detail. The characters, adult and child, are quite convincingly the sort that one would probably cross the street to avoid in any city. Lindqvist also realistically depicts the aftermath of brutal homicide on the nearby: shock and horror, some sleepless nights and bad dreams, despite which you must go to work and get the groceries; eventually, the police leave the neighborhood. Leave a comment or email me if you're interested in reviewing any of these books. If I get multiple request, I'll do my standard pick-a-name-out-of-a-hat method of picking who to send the book to. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christ Figures in Sci-Fi

SF Girl put up a post on her blog a couple of weeks ago about Christ-like figures in Science fiction and fantasy. What a great topic! So like I so often do, I'm going to steal the idea. :) I am, however, not going to go back and re-read Nina's post because I'll just end up copying it and I try not to be that much of a plagiarist. I'm kind of amazed I haven't really thought about this before. I'm sure it's something that has been commented on but I haven't seen it spoken of much. When I think of Sci-fi I often think of it as being non-religious because science is so often thought of as the voice of proof against faith. But when you look at popular sci-fi and fantasy, it's littered with Christ like figures. The one that comes to my mind most readily is that of Neo from The Matrix. I mean, can a character be more Christ-like when being referred to as "The one?" I suppose on a subconscious level I realized that Neo was being patterned after Jesus, though who God is supposed to be in that particular fairy tale, I don't know. But Neo has everything it takes to be like Christ. He can perform miracles and gather the faithful. Though I have to admit, I barely finished the third Matrix movie, so I'm not entirely sure if faith was required for man to be saved. Keanu Reeves just wasn't charismatic enough to overcome the script and the CGI of that last one. But you get my point I'm sure. Neo, despite the science of the film, is still kind of a mythic-- almost religious figure. I wonder why. It seems as if we still need something intangible to hold onto, faith in the face of science. But it's not just science that gets the Christ-like treatment in sci-fi and fantasy. Superman, especially in the latest version of the Superman myth--"Superman Returns"--is IMO deliberately crafted into a Christ figure. There is science behind Superman. He draws power from the Sun and comes from a planet of different gravity. But he is a man separated from his God-like ancestors and though he could be self-serving if he wanted to, he fights for mankind, putting his life between that of mortal man and that which would destroy us. I found the scene in "Superman Returns" in which Superman sits over his son and says "The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son," especially telling. I'm not entirely sure what the point of the scene was meant to be, but I can't help but think the God-like Superman was looking upon his son as a Jesus-figure (half-human Son of God/Son of Superman) that would take his place as the savior of mortal man. And what about resurrection? I can't begin to think of how many times I have seen my favorite sci-fi characters resurrected after we assume they're dead. In fact, this has happened so many times that I am surprised when the hero isn't brought back from the dead. C.S. Lewis openly used Christian themes when he created "The Chronicles of Narnia," but a lot of sci-fi also taps into the Christian theme of resurrection. Spock came back from the dead for crying out loud. So I guess I'm just wondering why. Why is it that science fiction, that is often supposed to be more about the rational mind, falls back on our religious superstitions? Is it simply that the creators of our favorite fiction find themselves going back to their childhood traditions? Even unconsciously? Or is science simply not enough to fill our need to know why we are here? Something to think about, no?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What's Old is New Again....Again

Well, they're doing it. They're really doing it. They're remaking Knight Rider. Knight Rider Star Cast All My Children hunk Justin Bruening is set as the lead in NBC's two-hour backdoor pilot Knight Rider, a Transformers-inspired sequel to the 1980s series, which is slated to air as a movie later in the season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Bruening will play the son of Michael Knight, the character played by David Hasselhoff in the original series. And like father, like son; the choice of Bruening closely resembles Hasselhoff's casting a quarter-century ago. Like Bruening, Hasselhoff was a soap star (The Young & the Restless) with few other credits when he landed Knight Rider. He was almost the same age as Bruening, who is 28. Steve Shill is set to direct and co-executive-produce Rider, which was penned by Dave Andron. Doug Liman and Dave Bartis are executive-producing for Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven Productions. Andron serves as supervising producer. (NBC and Universal Media Studios are both owned by NBC Universal, which also owns SCIFI.COM.) I'm speechless. And what the heck do they mean by "Transformer inspired?"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Book Giveaway! The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis


I am so happy! Diana Pharaoh Francis has graciously offered two copies of her book The Cipher to giveaway. Read my review of "The Cipher" for more information on the book, and then enter to win!

Just leave a comment here, or email me to enter. I will pick two winners by Tuesday November 13th.

Good Luck!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New Review

On my book review blog. CHECK IT OUT I expect to have a couple of books up for grabs for any interested guest reviewers soon. I need some help. But remember, this isn't just a free book, you gotta offer a basic summary and opinion. I'll let you know what I've got soon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Smallville Action Figures

I'm not one of those people who collect toys, but I am so buying these:



Look for them in May 2008, wherever it is that people get these kind of toys from.

(Hat tip to Kryptonsite)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Free Books Aplenty!

Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh! There are some gooood giveaways going on right now. Pat's Fantasy Hotlist is giving away a FULL SET of K. J. Parker's Engineer Trilogy. I am so tempted to keep this to myself because I am dying to get my hands on this. But I'm weirdly superstitious and afraid of bad karma. The Fantasy Book Critic has THREE FULL SET of books to give away. He's got Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov series. I'm not familiar with this one, but it looks good. Graeme had a copy of the Twilight Herald to give away. This one would be a good one to enter because it's not an easy book to find. If I run across anymore giveaways I'll add them to this list. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Geek Chic

Sometimes I am so slow to catch up on new trends. Apparently nerddom is the new cool. My friend Franki found this article that says the new hot thing among the dress-up-as-your-favorite-character crowd is emulating your favorite nerd-du-jour from the TV show "The Office." Wow. Weirdly, I kind of get dressing up as a Star Fleet officer, or a Klingon--though I don't get the whole Furry thing, but I digress. Yet worshiping the nerd culture seems kind of strange to me since it's an easily fulfilled dream in everyday life. But nerds are hot. Just look at some of our favorite movies. Peter Parker anyone? Spiderman is a geek under that spider suit and we love him for it. Or what about the new TV show Chuck? Instead of Best Buy's Geek Squad they have the "Nerd Herd," and Chuck, the main character, gets to use his less-than-muscular computer skills to save the day. And, not to be left out, is "Dr. Who's" David Tennant who makes "Geek Chic" look rather good. I wonder why our culture has decided to start idolizing the nerd? Not that there's anything wrong with that. We seem to be a schizophrenic culture in so many ways don't we? We say we like our women to have curves and but can't get enough of stick thin, vapid--- er, I'm digressing again. Moving on. I mentioned in my post about Power in the Modern World that despite the fact that money is probably this biggest yardstick of power in society, many of us still find physical power attractive. But there does seem to be this dichotomy developing. We like to look at men (and women) with muscular bodies, but maybe, just maybe, we respect the power of the mind a little more. I think we've certainly come to the point where we can at least acknowledge that the biggest advances in society were not accomplished by the guy with the biggest biceps. But dressing up as an office worker? Really?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Swear!


Ah profanity. I'm having a bit of an issue with it these days. My three-year-old son has decided that the word s**t is an essential part of his vocabulary these days and I'm having a heck of a time getting him to understand that it's not exactly an appropriate word for him. We may be moving on to soap very soon.

My son's recent fascination with four letter words has had profanity on my mind recently, and then I stumbled across this most excellent post on Joe Abercrombie's blog. For those who don't know who Joe is, I have a review of Joe's book, "The Blade Itself" on my book-review blog. One thing "The Blade Itself" had kind of become known for is the prolific use of profanity in the book. Joe addresses part of the issue in this way:

There was an interesting discussion of this very issue (which again started with a reading of The Blade Itself , blast my potty-mouth again) over at SFFWorld a while back. Some of the objections raised to swearing there were: that these are 'modern' swear-words out of context in a 'ye olde' fantasy setting, that you're better off making up a culture-specific oath like 'by the holy orb of Zalxoz I will destroy thee!', that you can just make up your own non-offensive word to substitute for the evil English creations (like BSGs frel, for example). ((it was noted by readers of Joe's blog that BSG's swear word of choice is frak))

So allow me to viciously destroy this straw-man I have myself created, by repeating parts of the post I made there:

The notion that 'folks all spoke nice in them old days' is entirely a Victorian invention. The three words that I believe we are chiefly talking about here (F**K, S**T, and C**T, forgive my euphemisms) are all words with long and proud traditions in the English language, going back hundreds of years.

Of course, fantasy is not history. Fantasies can include all kinds of different elements corresponding to different time periods. Furthermore, even if we are describing a pseudo-medieval setting, no-one could pretend that we are writing for a medieval audience. As I see it, an author has to select the mode of expression which he feels best communicates his meaning, or the meaning of his characters, to a reader of modern English. It's a question of judgement, and, as with the explicitness of sex or violence in a book, every author will find his own way, and different readers will have their own unique response.

For me, as a reader, I find complicated oaths (by the holy beard of Swarfega etc.) to be unconvincing (and often truly risible) unless very well integrated into some specific element of a fantasy culture, and even then they are rarely a good substitute for a simple S**T in times of high excitement. When I stub my toe I very rarely reach for a culture-specific mouthful such as, "by the golden boots of David Beckham!" or some such.


Isn't that great? There is more to the post, just click on the link to read more of what Abercrombie has to say.

Profanity in entertainment fascinates me to some degree. I remember when I watched "Pulp Fiction" for the first time and the use of the "N-word" blew me away. That is a word that has been so taboo in our culture that I just couldn't believe it was thrown out there so casually. But then that's kind of Tarantino's thing isn't it? Shocking the audience through the use of coarse language and extreme violence? I often wonder what the movie would have been like without those elements and whether or not it would have been so good.

The debate over language [as well as violence] in entertainment isn't a new one. I don't believe in censorship for the basic reason that I wouldn't trust anyone to decide what I should see or read. But I do think that over-use of profane language can dull the impact. Abercrombie even said that perhaps he had been a bit liberal with the use of profanity in his book and I have to admit that I agree. Even the N-word in "Pulp Fiction" lost its edge before the movie was even over. At times I even find myself looking for entertainment that is a bit easier on my sensibilities, kind of like a breather, or palate cleanser for my brain.

Maybe I'm just being a bit puritanical. Though it would be nice if my son would stop swearing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Power in the Modern World

My husband made a comment the other day that kind of stuck with me. We were having a conversation about one of my husband's friends who, though a nice guy, is the type who does a lot of physical posturing. You know, always talking about how he's sore from hitting the gym and how he could kick another guy's ass. I'm sure you know the type. My husband shrugs it off most of the time but one day he got kind of annoyed and commented that in today's world it isn't the physically strongest guy who is the most powerful anymore, but the guy who makes the most money. Huh. He's right of course, but it's something I never consciously think about. We haven't lived in a hunter/gatherer society in a long time and providing for ones family hasn't involved hefting a spear in a long time. I think when women are younger we are attracted to physically powerful men, probably a subconscious desire for good breeding material-- yeah I'm sure that's it. But as we get older we do focus more on a man's ability to provide-- even though women are proving more and more capable of bringing home good money. The reason I bring this up is because in most popular entertainment we still seem to revere the physically powerful man. I can understand why, Bill Gates probably wouldn't be that exciting as a superhero, though he does more to benefit mankind in real terms than most superheroes. But if you look at our entertainment, we don't feature the heroics of the average man duking it out in the boardroom. Again, I get it, it's not as entertaining as watching Jet-Li kill someone with his little finger. But it is interesting to me that we find physical prowess to be so attractive still. It doesn't really earn that much to be musclebound anymore. Construction workers can make a decent living but we generally don't think of the guy who's fixing the road as a powerful person. When you go to the gym how often do you look at the bodybuilder admiring himself in the mirror and think, jeez, this guy couldn't possibly have a job if he spends that much time in the gym? Heck, just look at the modern farmer. Here's a guy who provides actual sustenance for the rest of us but in today's world typically leads a meager existence. Sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that. We need the farmer but he needs a government subsidy to avoid going broke. Spiderman is the only comic book hero I can think of that addresses this conundrum well. I don't even know if it's something that comes up in the comic books, but I love the fact that in the movies Peter Parker struggles with his inability to support himself financially and save the day. That's real. Batman kind of sidesteps the issue by making Bruce Wayne incredibly wealthy. By doing so he's able to indulge the boyish fantasy of being the biggest, baddest dude on the block and shower the ladies with lavish gifts. Truthfully, I think Bruce Wayne's financial clout could realistically do as much, if not more, than all of Batman's gadgets to combat evil; but the gadgets are much more fun. And have you noticed that as women gain power financially and politically we're seeing a lot of physically amped-up women in our entertainment as well? I've never seen so many women so well versed in kung-fu in my 15 years of martial arts training. Even the Bionic Woman is a bad-ass version of her old self. It's as if we need to believe that women are physically stronger now that they have proven to be a power in the financial world. I mean, look at my avatar. I picked the image because it was striking, but she is also incredibly strong-- and holding a gun no less. I have no idea what that says about me and I'm not going to think about it too much either. Movies that are futuristic in nature often seem to go back to the idea that the physically strong will be the ones who survive. So many movies are nihilistic in nature with Armageddon scenarios and the guy who wears a suit everyday ends up being superfluous. I don't know if this is because down deep we think this will be the case someday, or if we just can't get rid of the primitive instinct of physical might trumps all. I don't really have a big point to make in this post, it's more in the nature of observations that's all. Power comes in many forms. But money seems to be the biggest source of power in the modern world regardless of what our entertainment tells us. I'm sure my husband's friend could beat Bill Gates at arm wrestling. But really, why would Bill bother? He can just hire someone to do the arm wrestling for him.

Thanks!

Thanks for understanding my flightiness right now. Things are looking good. The house was inspected today and the inspectors said they rarely see a house that's so clean. The appraisal came in $90k above our purchase price and the lender said everything looks good to go. We've been very lucky. I must have some good karma stored up somewhere. I actually had a sci-fi related post to put up today but my husband (who could be described as "high maintenance") was freaking out a little bit over the whole housing purchase thing, (understandably) and commandeered the computer, leaving me very little time to put up a post. Erm. So how about "Reaper?" I love that show.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

More Personal Stuff You Don't Care About

So we got the house. I'm totally boggled. We didn't intend to buy so quick but the deal was too good to pass up. I literally spent the first day sitting in my recliner in a daze. I'm not the jump-up-and-down-get-excited type, I'm more the stare-off-into-space-in-shock type. But it's sinking in and I'm very excited. It's so bizarre though. My parents are losing their house just as I'm buying mine. Not good. Fortunately they're not trying to move in with me. I spent the first day kind of obsessively worrying about that after my dad threw out some broad hints. But I let my mom know that I had no intention of letting that happen and she agreed it would be a disaster. Thank God. So blogging. I have no idea what to post. I'm am all flustered and not at all my normal self. Ideas would be welcome at this point. And if no ideas are forthcoming patience is also good. I have a ton of books to review and I'm going to have to decide which ones I can part with to have guest reviewers. The problem is that my success rate with guest reviewers is about 50% since about half the people who have received books have not come back with a review. So I'm skeptical about continuing the practice. I don't know. I will have to think on that. I'm rambling aren't I? Seriously, I am totally discombobulated right now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Then Again, Maybe Not

Talk about timing. I just put up the post about NaNoWriMo thinking I would have the time to put aside in November to write. Um, maybe not. In a totally non-sci-fi related topic....I don't know how many people who come here pay much attention to what's going on in California, but we've been in the middle of a massive boom/bust housing cycle. My husband and I decided to sit the thing out when it reached the manic stage around 2004-2005. Everyone was telling us "you gotta buy in or you'll be priced out forever." But we just couldn't reconcile what the market was doing with common sense. I knew people who were buying homes sight-unseen out of fear of not getting in. I knew people who were taking out loans at 8-9 times income, which just blew my mind. But my husband and I stayed firm. We were not buying in. Anyway, about two years ago the market started stalling. It took awhile before people realized it was going to come down. This boggled my mind because the Fed had been tightening rates for over a year, but some people are a little slow to see the writing on the wall. The fallout has been a lot of foreclosures. A whole lot. I won't go into details but my parents got caught up in the re-fi mania while interest rates were low and now they are losing their home. Oh how fun. The upshot is that a lot of good properties have been popping up and my husband and I decided we were going to start looking for a house. I think the market will go down for awhile longer so I haven't been in a big hurry to buy, but I want to see what's out there, right? So we contact a realtor and look at two houses. Damn if a remarkable deal didn't pop right up. I mean, a sweeeeeeeet deal. A big house that is easily priced $50k below the rest of the market and we might be able to negotiate more off. Right now the thing is priced at 2001 prices and we might be able to take it back a year or two more. It's also remarkable in that it's bank owned and in pristine condition. Spotless. So we're making an offer. If it goes through I will be packing and moving in November. Needless to say, I doubt I'm going to be writing a novel that month. In fact, I'm so boggled right now I can barely write a post. I don't know about everyone else, but to me this is kind of scary-- but cool. Of course, if our offer isn't accepted, I can still write a book.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NaNoWriMo

Do I have that right? Is it the National Novel Writing Month? Or something like that? Anyway, I think I'm going to do it. I'm not sure if I should feel like a dork or not, but honestly, I need to kick myself in the buttocks if I am ever going to get some kind of novel length work on paper. I've had this idea kicking around in the back of my brain for literally 20 years. I've written bits of it from time to time but never made it past 60 pages. For some reason the vision in my head never transfers to the page the way I want it to and I stop writing. So I thought maybe the NaNoWriMo would be a good way to give myself permission to write crap and keep going. Has anyone else ever participated in the NaNoWriMo? Was it worthwhile? And does anyone ever publish a novel written in a mad dash over the course of a month? Hell, if half of what I end up with isn't crap it would be worth it. QUICK NOTE: Tia at Fantasy Debut had a copy of "The Book of Joby" to give away. Sign up! You won't want to miss this book.

Monday, October 15, 2007

World of Warcraft vs. I Am Legend

Asara did a very cool thing for me. She did a video comparison of World of Warcraft and the I Am Legend Survival game. Thank goodness there are other people who know how to do this stuff.
video

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Am Legend Survival


Video games and movies. They seem the perfect fit. Yet, too often as not, games based on film are little more than a bit of fluff advertising. One example? "Fantastic Four" (shudder, shudder...one shudder for the game and one for the movie).

However there have been other games such as "Chronicles of Riddick" and "King Kong" that were probably more engaging and more entertaining than the film. Fortunately, the movie-game tie-in seems to be improving. Some of these games are even released years later than the film, there the goal isn't to pump audiences to slap down money for tickets, but rather to trade in on a filmgoer's memory. Love the "Godfather"? Play the game. Bond? "From Russia With Love" was an amazing experience for gamers and it even featured voice overs from the master himself: Sean Connery.

Enter: "I Am Legend". Warner Brothers has been hyping the heck out of this project. Of course, they desperately want the film version of Richard Matheson's book to hit one out of the ballpark, so one approaches the game with suspicion, especially since it's free and basically a promo for the film.

"I Am Legend" is a flash based online game. That means all you have to do is go to this website to play: http://iamlegendsurvival.com

Of course, you first have to register and get a password. Once you do this you are part of a gaming community and can travel through some pretty impressive renditions of the city, playing versions of capture the flag and causing mayhem wherever you wander. If the name Second Life seems familiar, it's because they are the people who run a fairly successful online environment where people adapt avatars and engage each other. It's sort of like "The Sims" meets......well...people who have little better to do with their lives than experience social interaction through an avatar. Get a life people.

"I am Legend" itself seems a quick diversion, and somewhat addictive. Real gamers, and I mean people who waited with baited breath for "Halo 3" or who understand that "Unreal" and "Gears of War" and the upcoming "Resident Evil 5" are important contributions to a national gaming psyche, will probably steer clear of this. However, I suspect that people looking for a fast gaming experience that isn't totally life consuming will be able to have a good time, keeping in mind, of course, that you are playing a giant commercial.

It ain't "World of Warcraft" and hopefully you won't try marrying another person online , but I'd give it a peek...if only to prep yourself a bit for a film that promises to be worth a second glance.

And besides..the game is free.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Calling All Gamers

I need help. I don't know anything about video games. Are they even called video games anymore? Is there some new fancy name that I am unaware of? I'm bad aren't I? Here's the thing. I got an email from a company that's promoting a new video game that's tied in to the movie "I Am Legend" and they might be offering tickets to New York for a premier in December (whether it's the movie or game premier I am not clear on yet). I know nothing about games. A free trip to New York for the premier of a game would be wasted on me, but maybe not on someone who is really into gaming. Is this something that would be of interest to any of you? If so, leave a comment here so I can give some feedback to company that contacted me. Click HERE to check out the game trailer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

As Long As There's a Free TV Involved...

Because my blog is pretty specific subject-wise, I end up getting a lot of sci-fi/fantasy related email. I get a lot of stuff from TV networks looking to promote their newest shows or online magazines that have articles they think will interest me. And for the most part, that's great. I started this blog as a hobby; something to play with and hopefully find other people who have similar tastes to my own. I really didn't know that blogging would become the new frontier for advertisers. But it seems the world's a marketplace and there is no place on earth that will be overlooked. I've dabbled a bit with tiny amounts of advertising-- to absolutely no profit to me at all. So I moved on to free books in return for reviews; which is a sweet deal as far as I'm concerned. And I keep an eye out for freebies-- as you all know. And I've tried to stay away from too much overt advertising. But one little thing caught my attention. It involves a big screen TV. I got an email advertising the release of the 20th anniversary edition DVD of The Princess Bride. I ignored it. Then I get another email saying they're having a contest and the winner gets a 42" plasma TV and home theatre system. Okay. Now I'm paying a little more attention. Unfortunately this isn't an enter your name and win contest. Nope. You gotta work a little. Frankly, I'm not the type that bothers with competitions in which I actually have to do anything. But the prizes on this one are pretty good and I thought, maybe, there might be some people who frequent this blog who might be a lot more creative than I am. So, if any of you just happen to like dabbling with your video cameras (not like that!) here's a link to the contest. Ode to The Princess Bride Contest The basic idea is that you create an "Ode to The Princess Bride" video for a chance to win a home theatre system. I think there are also autographed scripts as part of the prize package, but really, I'd just want the TV. Anyway, now I've done my bit as a shill for the advertising industry. I hope you still respect me in the morning.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Observing the Obvious

It's funny, I put the post up the other day about "War" and I'm kind of amazed that I never really thought about the topic too much before. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm afraid I have to admit to a certain amount of mindlessness when it comes to my entertainment. I've always maintained that I am not a movie/book/whatever snob. And I'm not. But at some point we have to be a little more discerning don't we? Okay, maybe not. But I find that as I get a little older I don't have as much patience for crap as I used to. I look back at some of the movies I watched as a kid and think how did I sit through this tripe? As kids we can be forgiven our lack of taste, right? But what are the rules we're supposed to follow as adults? I know, there aren't any. But when I sit and look at my movie and book collections I'm kind of amazed at how similar so much of it is. I like fantasy, but all the time? How many quest novels can one realistically read? I'll probably never know since it's likely I'll read them 'til I die. Oh wait, what was I talking about? Confused? So am I. No, what I'm trying to get at is that it's amazing how many movies and books are simply recycled ideas. I did a review on a book called "Crystal Rain" recently and the main character suffered amnesia. The book itself was pretty good, and original in most respects. But it was impossible not to notice how common the amnesia storyline was, especially since I watched "The Bourne Ultimatum" the same week I read the book. Then I look at my movies and see "50 First Dates," "Memento," all the "Bourne" movies, "The Long Kiss Goodnight," "Paycheck," "The 6th Day" "Total Recall"-- and I could go on. Man! This is a popular movie topic isn't it? Then I start thinking of all the other movie/literary tropes: the heist, the dorky-guy-gets-the-girl, romantic misunderstandings, youthful rebellion, the underdog story, car chases that don't encounter traffic, if someone shows a picture of their wife or child in a move- the die. You know what I mean. Oh lord, are there any original ideas left? Probably not. And the truth is, there probably aren't any original ideas left; somebody sure as heck thought of it before. All we really have left are original adaptations of old ideas. Take the "Batman" franchise. It was a tired old thing until "Batman Begins" came along and then, Wham! It's good again. (I just watched it again and fell in love all over again) And I find that as I get older I crave better imaginings of old ideas. "Spiderman" had a good start, though the finish wasn't quite what we'd hoped. And what the heck happened with "Fantastic Four?" Are all my hopes being pinned on "Batman" now? Oh, say it isn't so. I still feel characters like "The Punisher" have life in them, if only someone would care enough to put it back together. And please, for the love of God, no more "Ghost Rider(s)." Ever. Well, at least with Nicholas Cage. Please.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Quick Giveaway Updates

I don't have time (again) to do a full post, but I wanted to make sure you guys knew about a couple more giveaways. Aidan over at A Dribble of Ink has a great giveaway going on for signed copies of Steven Erikson's newest book, The Bonehunters. He also has an upcoming interview with Erikson so you'll want to be on the lookout for that. David Anthony Durham is also giving away an audio book of his novel Acacia. I also recommend his blog for aspiring writers. Lots of good advice and interesting posts. Oh, I almost forgot, Scifi Chick has 3 copies of "Once Bitten Twice Shy" by Jennifer Rardin up for grabs too. Don't miss this one! I will try to be more diligent this week and get some actual posts up. My son is feeling better so I expect to have more free time to spend entertaining myself on my blog.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

War

I've always loved fantasy fiction more than any other genre. I like suspense and paranormal fiction (which could qualify as fantasy if I were being picky about it) but traditional fantasy has always been my favorite. And one thing I've noticed is that fantasy fiction focuses a lot on war. War is a part of human nature, no question. There may be sayings that the only inevitable things in life are death and taxes, but you might as well throw war on the list. As long as man has been around we've been fighting each other over one thing or another. But I do wonder why fantasy as a genre in particular so often has martial themes? In fact, when I think about it, I am hard pressed to think of a fantasy novel, especially one set in medieval setting, that doesn't focus on war. I've often heard people lament that fantasy isn't original enough. That J.R.R. Tolkien so firmly set the standard with The Hobbit that most people can't conceive of fantasy without the traditional trappings of elves, sorcerers and, of course, war. J.K. Rowling did manage to do a lot toward bringing fantasy into the modern era with Harry Potter but that's really not what I'm talking about. I'm thinking more about sword and sorcery type fantasy. (Yes, Harry had Griffindor's sword, but still--different type of fantasy) Why is it so much fantasy falls back on medieval trappings? Have we come to some conclusion along the way that fantasy isn't compatible with modern technology? There are books that merge fantasy with the modern world, but have you noticed how many still seem to try to bring old fashioned weaponry back into the story? For some reason I don't see a lot of guns in fantasy fiction. But I'm digressing a bit. I've been lucky enough to get some free books lately from some publishers and it's impossible not to notice how many follow the J.R.R. Tolkien method of world building. First you have your noble classes, then you have some sort of immortal race, a sorcerer of some sort, and a war to fight-- with lots and lots of bloody battles. Now, I don't mean to be a big complainer. A lot of these books are good. Really good. I'm reading Acacia by David Anthony Durham right now and the man can write. I know he has written other war-based fiction and it's clear he has a better idea than most what war would be like. But I'm wondering why I seem to be encountering so much war-themed fiction these days. It could be that I am simply more aware of it now than I used to be. I mean, war-based movies have been around as far back as I can remember. I've sat down and watched everything from Sergent York, Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Black Hawk Down. If there's a war, we manage to make movies about it. But in a way, cinema often seems to reflect the times we live in. Movies like the current war flick, The Kingdom, are obviously based on what's going on in the world now. But fantasy fiction very often looks back to a time that I doubt was more desirable to live in than today. And the heroes always seem to be at war. There are prophesies that predict war, magicians who have been waiting for the hero to be born so they can fight the war, heirs to the throne who crave power and start wars, holy wars-- you get the idea. War war and more war. Is it just such an inevitable part of the human condition that we can't imagine a world, even a fantastical one, in which it doesn't exist? Or are we just endlessly fascinated by the subject? If I were being really optimistic I would suggest that perhaps by exploring the subject we are, in our own little way, trying to find a way to a future without war. But unfortunately, I'm not really that optimistic. I think we obsess about war in our fiction because we can write a neater ending than we ever find in real life. The good guys are easy to find and hero almost always wins. But I guess that's what fiction is for; the ever elusive happy ending.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sooo Busy

Sorry my posts have been lacking lately. My son has had a vicious ear infection and it's affected my ability to blog. You know how it is. So, lacking the ability to think right now, I'm going to just post some links to more giveaways until I have a moment of brilliance-- okay, coherence-- and come up with something better. Fantasy Book Critic has all kinds of great giveaways going on, as usual. He has a copy of Joe Hill's "20th Century Ghosts" and Clive Barker's "Mister B Gone." He also has an excellent interview of Brandon Sanderson. The Fantasy Review has an interview with Michael Moorcock and two copies of "The Metatemporal Detective" to giveaway. Pat has a copy of Patrick Rothfuss' "Name of the Wind" up for grabs. Definitely give this one a shot--highly recommended reading. He also has a copy of J.V. Jones' "A Sword From Red Ice," but you don't need to enter or anything. I'd really like this one. :) The Book Swede has SIX copies of Karen Miller's "The Awakened Mage" to giveaway. I just got this one myself and I'm looking forward to checking it out. That's all I have for now. I may have some giveaways of my own to offer soon, so I'll keep you posted.

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.

and

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?