Tag Archive: Science Fiction


Okay, just when you think you know where Universal Dead is heading, director Vernon Mortensen and writer Kelly Parks rip the steering wheel out of your (trembling) hands and makes a sharp left turn into the unknown, most likely a cornfield.

After this episode, I’m left wondering where the hell we’re going to end up? The only guarantee I have is that the ride to is going to be anything but predictable.

Did I see what I thought I saw at the end of episode?

The series just keeps on getting better and better. And for once, someone is addressing some of the burning questions that I’ve had since I saw Night of the Living Dead – does a zombie poop? (give me a break, I was twelve). But, from a biological perspective, if the circulatory system doesn’t work, why would the digestive system? How does a zombie derive nutrients from the flesh it consumes? Why does it have to be human flesh? Can a zombie become constipated?

These are subjects that I don’t think George Romero has ever dealt with.

To use thermodynamics and physics as a whole to answer these questions is bloody brilliant! My physicist husband was practically salivating. Not only did the writers use plausible science to drive the story, they actually got it *right*!  If it wasn’t for the cannibalism and the profanity, he could use this episode of Universal Dead to teach a senior Physics class.

The flatland theory described by Dr. Vataber (Doug Jones) has been around for at least 100 years – Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions was written in1884 by Edwin Abbott Abbott and was described by Isaac Asimov as being “The best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions.” It’s been made into several short movies over the years, but it’s nice to see the theory taking front and center in a horror film.

This has me wondering what exactly is the training regimen for the U.S Navy?

Kudos go to Vernon, Kelly and the rest of the crew. The series keeps on getting better and better. Viewers are definitely kept on their toes. Special hat’s off also to Doug Jones for some great comedic timing and especially to Valerie Perez for eating that leg with such gusto. I’m not sure I want to know what it was made out of, but she seemed to enjoy mowing down on it a bit too much.

I can’t wait for the next chapter.

Advertisements

Sir Patrick StewartCongratulations Sir Patrick Stewart!

Actor Sir Patrick Stewart is knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture at Buckingham Palace in London, Wednesday June 2, 2010. The Queen is reported to be a fan of the star, who has enjoyed a 50-year career in movies, TV and the theatre including 16 years with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Via: The Associated Press

Wil Wheaton riding a unicorn kitty, hunting Orc-John Scazi down with a vengeanceOkay, gang, stop scratching your head. You’re about to draw blood. All will be explained.

For those of you wondering, yes, that’s Wil Wheaton. And yes, he’s riding a wing-ed unicorn kitten whilst wearing his favorite sweater (which seems so much more bad-ass here).  And yes, for some reason he’s going medieval on poor John Scazi who seems to have suffered a tragic telepod accident involving himself and Shrek.

Why? Well that’s up to you. I’ll let John explain:

You write a 400 to 2,000 word fanfic about the picture above. Come at it from any angle you like to explain, illuminate or otherwise bring to life what’s going on in the picture above. Our only request is NO slash fanfic (please). But other than that, knock yourself out.

When you’re finished with the story, in addition to whatever else you do with it (hey, it’s your fanfic, we hold no claim to it), send a copy of the story to fanfic@scalzi.com by 11:59pm Eastern, June 30, 2010 (one entry per person), with the text of the story in the e-mail (no attachments, please). When you do, you’ll enter your fan fiction into a contest.

If your fanfic of the picture is chosen by our Jury of Awesomeness, your story will appear in a special electronic chapbook about the picture, with other stories written by me, by Wil, by Norton Award winner and Best Novel Hugo Award nominee Catherynne Valente and by Patrick Rothfuss, best selling author of The Name of the Wind. You will be paid for your story at the rate of ten cents a word (twice the SFWA minimum professional rate), and you’ll receive a special prize pack of books from Subterranean Press, which will publish the electronic chapbook later in the year.

We have plans for the chapbook: We’re going to sell it online, and the proceeds of the chapbook will go to benefit the Lupus Alliance of America, an organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus and providing support, services and hope to all people affected by lupus. As folks who know and love people affected by this disease, this a cause and foundation we believe in and want to help. The donation will go through the Alliance’s Michigan/Indiana affiliate.

Awesome.

Good luck! If you enter, be sure to send me a copy so I can publish it on the blog.

BTW, the painting was created by concept designer Jeff Zugale (V), who himself is also AWESOME!

Via: Wil Wheaton, John Scazi

Iron Man 2 - Tony Stark

Iron Man 2 - Chick Flick?

Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote an excellent article about the studio’s surprise that Iron Man 2 is playing so well to female audiences. According to Indie Wire, the report upon which Schwartzbaum’s article is based:

“What you’ll see on Sunday is people taking their moms to see Iron Man,” says Paramount distribution executive vp Don Harris. “You can’t make a statistic like that up.” In tracking, the female figures for Iron Man 2 were so high, adds Harris, “you would expect such numbers from a film like Sex and the City 2.”

Why? Why is it, that in this day and age that it’s surprising for women to enjoy science fiction/comic books/action movies?

There has always been a strong fan base among women for the nerdy and the geeky. How many little girls grew up playing Princess Leia or Wonder Woman or Jamie Summers? Take a look at Science Fiction literature; some of the greatest authors of the genre are women. Mary Shelley, Andre Norton, Ursula K. LeGuin, Sheri Tepper have all created iconic tales of speculative fiction. As a mater of fact, the concept of the secret identity was originated by a woman, Baroness Emma Orczy, author of the Scarlet Pimpernel published in 1903.

Ursula K. LeGuin - Left Hand of DarknessIf women write the stuff, it would follow that women would read it, right?

The simple fact of the matter is that comic books and Spec-Fic is rife with themes that interest women and draw them in. It may not be the same things that interest men, but they are there just the same. For example, the Xmen comic deals with lots of masculine themes, but there are also the relationships that interest  women readers – Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, Jean and Scott, Storm and T’Challa all have a strong appeal to female readers. We may not care so much about the bang bang shoot’em ups, but the outcomes and the consequences are far more rewarding for a woman reader than for a man.

This obviously translates to the big screen and television. Buffy, Ripley, Trinity and most recently Avatar’s Neytiri have all drawn in female audiences. These are our role models. We don’t see many iconic female characters outside of Science Fiction/Fantasy movies that as girls we look up to. So of course we’re going to go see films in these genres to find more of the same. And we’re going to bring our daughters with us, growing the audience.

It just makes sense.

A few years ago, Hollywood was hot for female action movies. They were going to revolutionize the genre. What did we get? Catwoman and Elektra, two of the worst superhero movies ever made. The suits didn’t understand it at the time. There was a huge demand for women in more heroic roles, why did these films fail? Why didn’t they get the audience that they expected?

Buffy the Vampire SlayerProbably because the writing was crap. All there was to these movies were women in skimpy clothes prancing around. There was no human interactions, no relationships that women could be invest in. The stories were practically non-existent, the acting was wooden and the premise was ridiculous. As a result Hollywood has pretty much turned it’s back on the prospect. The Wonder Woman movie has been sitting in pre-production hell for 3 years because the studios can’t wrap their head around the fact that what women want are great characters, strong stories and compelling relationships. Having a female centric film is icing on the cake.

It was my mother who sat down and watched Wonder Woman and Doctor Who with me. She’s the one who introduced Sprout to Star Trek – another show with some amazingly strong women characters. Women have always been interested in Science Fiction and related works. The reason why Iron Man 2 works with women is because the main character is charming, his struggles are compelling and relationships are believable. Yes, we do enjoy the special effects and the explosions just as much as the guys, being a FX-geek I can say that. But they aren’t what brings us in. If the studios can keep making movies of Iron Man’s caliber, women audiences are going to keep coming and the numbers are going to grow.

Maybe this is the start of Hollywood actually getting it and start handing off these fantastic properties with strong women characters to great writers and directors. It’s in their best interest, but we fangirls have to demand it.

Via: Entertainment Weekly, Indie Wire.

The new Inception poster is out!

Christopher Nolan's InceptionI love it! It’s Escher meets Hitchcock!

The concept for Inception reads like Duplicity meets The Matrix. What happens when corporate espionage is able to occur at the level of the unconscious? When thieves are able to enter the dreams of their targets, and extract valuable information:

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved.

Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossibleinception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime.

The power house cast includes Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine.  I can’t imagine anyone giving a poor performance out of these actors.

I am so pumped to see this movie. Nolan is a master of this sort of film noir storytelling, and the concept takes this to a whole new level. The obvious question will be if he can steward a Ledger-esque performance out of one of his actors, and if so, which one? My bet is on either Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Ellen Page knocking it out of the park.

Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine

He’s no longer cast as expendable crewman No. 6.

Sam Rockwell has been cast as saloon owner Doc, in Jon Favreau’s next movie, Cowboys vs. Aliens.

When Favreau learned of Rockwell’s interest in the film, he and writing partners Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof, reworked the script and expanded the role just to bring him on board. They even went so far as to modify the appearance of the character to suit him.

Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde and Harrison Ford also star.

Cowboys vs. Aliens is produced by Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer with Scott Mitchell Rosenberg for Dreamworks. It will bow into theaters on July 29, 2011.

Sam Rockwell’s latest movie is also directed by Jon Favreau. It’s a little film called Iron Man 2. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Via: Reuters

Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. ClarkeMy poor DH has been waiting for the screen adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama for years. He even bought the video game. You should have seen him back in 2003 when it was announced that Morgan Freeman had optioned the movie for his production company Revelation Studios.  He was positively giddy. Over the moon would be how I described him.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that excited for a movie, ever!

The release date was slated for 2009.

Unfortunately, the movie never got off the ground. Director David Fincher confirmed it’s demise back in 2008,

“It looks like it’s not going to happen. There’s no script and as you know, Morgan Freeman’s not in the best of health right now. We’ve been trying to do it but it’s probably not going to happen.”

That didn’t stop an enterprising film student Philip Mahoney from The Vancouver Film School and visual artist Aaron Ross from making their own trailer. Check it out:

Talk about flawless. It is beautiful. I love that you get the vastness of the ship without ever really seeing the whole thing.

Hopefully this will generate a little bit of buzz and maybe something will happen with the project. I would love to see Fincher direct Rendezvous with Rama. I think he has the right vision for the project.

At any rate, cross your fingers and I’ll try to pry DH off the ceiling.

Via: SciFi Wire

IKAROS Solar Sail - JAXAThe idea of space exploration is nothing new. To people of my generation (gods! I sound like my grandmother!) it’s always been a given that someday people would be flying through space in huge metal cans discovering new planets and hopefully new civilizations.  To boldly go…..

For most geeks, space exploration is a staple part of our intellectual diet.

When we think about space travel,we think jet propulsion, fuel cells, dilithium crystals, antimatter engines, etc… All of these are essentially chemical reactions that creates thrust and pushes the space craft where the crew wanted it to go.

But did you know that there’s an alternative to sitting on top of a volatile mix of reactants that could blow you to kingdom-come should something go wrong?

It’s called the solar sail. A thin sheet of essentially plastic which harnesses solar wind to push it through space.

Okay, I can see you scowling from here. Solar Wind? The sun doesn’t produce wind!

Continue reading

The Far Side by Gary Larson

I will not play in God's Domain

Otherwise, Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody would know that the following is a *really* bad idea:

“It’s a mistake.” – ya think?

I’ve mentioned previously that I really enjoy short films.

Short time frame + emotional impact = AWE

It’s also a great way for people with loads of talent and originality to generate some attention for bigger projects.

This latest gem comes from Ricardo de Montreuil, a Latin film maker based out of Peru. He’s been making waves in TV and film with his work for a while now, most notably his film La mujer de mi hermano, which garnered the largest release and the highest opening box-office gross ever for a Latin film in the US.

Summary: Chris Black possesses a power that could lead to the destruction of the current regime, and they will stop at nothing to destroy him.
The chase is on as Chris runs for his life in this sci-fi thriller set in an alternate and futuristic Los Angeles.

The Raven's director: Ricardo de MontreuilA little derivative I’ll grant you, but I get the feeling that there’s more to this than meets the eye.  The buzz  surrounding this film is reminding me a little of the industry noise generated by District 9 this time last year. Oh, guess how much it cost to make it? $5,000 US. That is pretty impressive in and of itself.

I’m hoping that de Montreuil will go the same route as Neil Blomkamp (Alive in Joburg – 2005, District 9, 2009) and Shane Acker (9 – 2005, 9 – 2009) who took their shorts and expanded them into a feature length films.

There are rumors that this is the first in a series of short films, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet.

Keep up to date as to what’s happening with The Raven on Facebook.