Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Supergods by Grant Morrison

December 30, 2014

supergods“Before it was a bomb, The Bomb was an idea. But Superman, however was a faster, stronger, better idea. It’s not that I needed Superman to be real; I just needed him to be more real than the The Bomb that ravaged my dreams.”

 

Grant Morrison is one of today’s top comic writers. He’s responsible for some of the modern incarnations of Superman, Batman and The X-Men, among others. In Supergods he bounces back and forth between a general history of the evolution of hero comics and his own personal story. One part how we got to where we are, the other part how I got to where I am. This approach brings an often-missing perspective to these parallel stories. He doesn’t just write about how he appreciates his favorite comic artists and writers, but about how they influenced him and helped him – and the rest of the field – to grow.

But while the story is engaging, the prose is nothing short of elegant (especially as read by John Lee on the Audible audiobook). It’s as if the whole book was written with William Gibson’s first sentences. It’s an engaging story and beautiful writing. This book is simply outstanding. Even if you’re not a hardcore comic fan, if as much of your comic knowledge comes from movie adaptations as from print comics, you will enjoy this book.

Mission Log & Treknologic Podcasts

November 23, 2014

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Though the universe does not suffer from a shortage of Star Trek themed podcasts, I’ve found two that I think are definitely worth a listen. Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast features hosts John Champion and Ken Ray reviewing every Trek episode and movie in broadcast order (As I write, they are midway through TNG season 1). They specifically look at the morals, messages and meanings of the episodes and talk about how well they hold up over the years. It’s the podcast to listen to if you want to hear how The Corbomite Maneuver is really an examination of the 5 stages of grief. The show is produced by Rod Roddenberry, Gene Roddenberry’s son, and so has access to many “discovered documents” from the Roddenberry archives. But don’t be dissuaded by the “official” stamp! They are often quite critical and have no qualms about pointing out when things don’t work.

For a lighter, more irreverent, often silly look at the world of Trek, check out Treknologic: A Star Trek Podcast. Helmed by a large, occasionally rotating crew, Treknologic discusses Trek episodes out of order. Often one of the casters will chose an episode to review because he/she knows some of the others will not like it. After discussing each episode and rating it on a 1-10 scale, they move on to a fun Trek trivia game. They also post “Listening Post” episodes, in which they play voicemails, and read emails from listeners.

 

DragonCon 2014 Cosplay Photo Gallery

September 5, 2014

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I’ve tried to avoid repeats of people I recognized in the same costumes from past years. I’ve identified the ones I can easily. Please post ID’s I missed and corrections in the comments.

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DragonCon last day :(

September 1, 2014

 Attended panels featuring cast members of Falling Skies, Jeri Ryan and Jonathan Del Arco (Voyager & TNG), and a panel featuring Amy Acker, Ron Glass and J August Richards. I also attended a screening of a few short horror/comedy films. Finally, ended the Con with the biggest costume (“cosplay” in the nerd vernacular) party you’ve ever seen!

Award winning cosplay artist YaYa Han showed up with an amazingly elaborate and detailed costume. The quick phone-pic below does not convey the meticulous detail (the random guy in the picture is actually very tall; Ms Han was on high platform shoes, making the entire outfit 7 feet tall). I’ll post some better pictures in the full gallery later this week.

DragonCon 2014 – Saturday 8/30 update

August 31, 2014

 I’ve attended panels featuring Walter Koenig (Chekov, from the original Star Trek), cast members from Farscape, Defiance and Stargate. I also attended screenings of short action an animation films.

Some fans at the Farscape panel

Dragon Con 2014 ongoing report

August 29, 2014

Dragon Con got off to a slamming start! The convention hasn’t even really started yet and the hotel bars and common areas were packed last night.

Phil Plait: Excerpts from DragonCon 2013

September 8, 2013

Astronomer Phil Plait talks about a few of the things he finds interesting about some of the planets. These videos were taken from a talk he gave at DragonCon 2013. The presentation was made with a very low light level in the room. I did what I could to enhance the contrast and color, but… At least the sound is clear.

On Venus:

 

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Dragon*con 2013 Cosplay After Dark Video

September 5, 2013

Short video of some of the cosplay seen in the bars at Dragon*con.

We’re Alive: The Zombie Podcast

December 28, 2012

We’re Alive is a weekly serial drama podcast that tells the story of a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles. It’s done in the style of the old radio serial dramas with character performances and sound effects. Having just finished it’s 3rd season, it has been named an iTunes “Best of 2012.” Though a number of story elements will sound a little familiar to zombie fans, the performances and production are good enough that I’ll give them a pass. It’s well worth a listen. Highly recommended!

Musings on Generational Sci Fi and the Need for FTL

December 28, 2012

On the recommendation of my cousin I recently read (well, listened to, actually) several books by Alastair Reynolds. A former astronomer with the ESA, Reynolds writes space science fiction. Many of his novels take place within the same “universe,” and all take place in similar universes, one feature of which is that faster-than-light (FTL) travel is, essentially, impossible. This of course is in complete compliance with the laws of physics, and Reynolds primary mode of interstellar travel is via “Lighthugger,” a class of spacecraft that is able to come close to, but not exceed the speed of light. So travel between stars still takes years or decades. I refer to this type of story as “generational science fiction,” as in a story typically takes a twenty years or more to play out.

Reynolds is a competent writer and the reader quickly becomes accustomed to the casual use of “decade,” and “century.” In a few of his books, at least some of the humans have developed hyper-longevity or immortality treatments in order to navigate the stretching of time that comes from societies and economies spread over such vast distances; and the  sci-fi fallback of cryogenic hibernation is invoked for many humans on long space flights.
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