Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Retconning

A retcon is retroactive continuity, the deliberate changing of previously established facts in a work of serial fiction. (Like Bobby Ewing showing up in the shower after being “dead” for a whole season, or Sherlock Holmes surviving the waterfall.) It’s popular in comic books, much to the dismay of long-time fans. Websnark has posted a passionate-to-the-point-of-frothing dissection of the practice, including a discussion of the various types of retcon.

Then Dev-Em had his history retconned twice and then he blew up the moon. Because time had to… Superman could have stopped it but he couldn’t be allowed to because… look, at this stage they were clearly huffing paint, okay?

Link (via Wil Wheaton)

(This Wikipedia article gives lots more examples, many having to do with science fiction.)

Posted in Books & Authors January 31st, 2008 by Chip
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io9: New SF Blog

The Gawker Media juggernaut has seen fit to visit a new blog upon our little niche. io9 has the drink-from-the-firehose posting frequency seen on many of the other blogs in their stable, and the staff is well-versed in the subject matter.

Here’s part of their manifesto:

Earth is full of people who want to sell you cheap ways of seeing the future. They tell you tomorrow will be more of the same, with shinier toys. Or that work as we know it is about to end. io9 is the visionary watchdog who calls those charlatans on their shit. We’re going to show you a new world that’s shockingly different from what you’re used to. And it’s not always going to be a shiny happy place.

io9 is addicted to science fiction because it’s the storytelling branch of prophesy. We’ll be writing obsessively about scifi in every format: books, movies, TV, Web, comics, games, art, music, and fashion.

I’m not sure how soon Gawker’s make-it-shiny-and-squeeze-it-for-cash methods will get tiresome, but at least there’ll be lots of content.

Posted in News January 30th, 2008 by Chip
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Goodbye Holocene, Hello Anthropocene

A movement to declare the 10,000-year-old Holocene Epoch as finished is gaining steam amongst scientists. Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen suggested in 2000 that human activity was altering the planet sufficiently to rate a new epoch, and a couple of recent papers are giving the idea momentum.

Among the major changes heralding this two-century-old man-made epoch:

  • Vastly altered sediment erosion and deposition patterns.

  • Major disturbances to the carbon cycle and global temperature.

  • Wholesale changes in biology, from altered flowering times to new migration patterns.

  • Acidification of the ocean, which threatens tiny marine life that forms the bottom of the food chain.


Posted in News, Science January 29th, 2008 by Chip
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Coraline Movie Footage

Neil Gaiman’s Hugo-award winning novella Coraline (beware, spoilers) is currently being made into an animated movie due out next January. Gaiman recently released some not-quite-final footage of the film. It looks suitably atmospheric. Weird voice credits, though: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, and that guy who plays PC in the Apple commercials.

(via Neatorama)

Posted in Books & Authors, Movies & TV January 28th, 2008 by Chip
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This Should be Entertaining

The Church of Scientology’s recent attempt to censor the Internet by trying to force sites to take down a creepy Tom Cruise Scientology video has roused the ire of a group of hackers, who are responding with extreme prejudice.

A wiki set up for the project directs Anonymous members to download and use denial of service software, make prank calls, host Scientology documents the Church considers proprietary, and fax endless loops of black pages to the Church’s fax machines to waste ink.

Let’s see how Xenu fares against a gaggle of geeks who have nothing better to do with their time.


Posted in Computers & Internet January 25th, 2008 by Chip
1 comment

Remember This?

AutomanFor those of you who had better things to do in 1983 than watch execrably bad SFTV, Automan was a short-lived series inspired (unofficially) by TRON. Produced by Glen A. Larson*, starring a perpetually-bewildered Desi Arnaz Jr. and Chuck Wagner’s hair, it did nothing to enhance the reputation of computer programmers.

I’d completely forgotten about it until The Website at the End of the Universe pointed out that the entire pilot episode is available online.

(I’m somewhat hesitant to admit that I actually watched this dumb thing when it first aired, but in my defense I was too young to have anything better to do than watch execrably bad SFTV, plus I wanted a pet Cursor.)

*Y’know, the thing about Glen A. Larson is, for every Battlestar Galactica there’s a Manimal.

Posted in Movies & TV January 24th, 2008 by Chip
1 comment

The Star Wars Guide to the Candidates

Having a hard time figuring out the U.S. presidential candidates’ positions? Star Wars to the rescue! From Boba Fredtt to Hillando Clintrissian, this page lays it all out clearly.

Making a “come over to the Dark Side” joke at this point would be entirely too easy.

Link (via The Website at the End of the Universe)

Posted in Humor January 23rd, 2008 by Chip
1 comment

50 Ways to Kill a Redshirt

50 Ways to Kill an Ensign
(to the tune of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover)

The problem is something ’bout your clothes, she said to me
The red shirt and the stripeless sleeves yell, “I’m Security!”
And when you get down planet-side with Kirk, you’ll get to see
There must be fifty ways to kill an ensign
He takes a landing party down to find what’s going on
A couple of the bridge crew, and some extras come along
And then before you know it – the ‘expendable’ are gone
There must be fifty ways to kill an ensign
Fifty ways to kill an ensign

Just step on a rock, Jock
Get thorns from some plants, Lance
A Horta can spray, Ray
Just listen to me
Clouds drink up your blood, Bud
Computers can kill, Bill
You could lose all your salt, Walt
Kirk gets away free…

She said it grieves me so to see you with such nerves
Not ev’ryone who goes with Kirk will suffer from this curse
But then of course, you must recall – they sometimes suffer worse
There must be fifty ways to kill an ensign
Just tell him, “I’m not stupid and I’m not expendable
I’m not going!” Tell him that he’s a Denebian slime devil
And he’s overbearing, swaggering, and dictatorial
He’ll find a new way to kill an ensign
Fifty-one ways to kill an ensign

(via Miss Cellania)

Posted in Humor January 22nd, 2008 by Chip
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Starship Dimensions

Jeff Russell has put together a collection of science fiction objects, from aliens to Dyson Spheres, each in their proper scale. How much taller than Yoda is E.T.? Now we have a definitive answer!

Link (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Posted in Ephemera January 21st, 2008 by Chip

Nanohazard Warning Sign Competition

Nanohazard WarningThe ETC Group is “dedicated to the conservation and sustainable advancement of cultural and ecological diversity and human rights.” They’re currently holding a competition to design an international warning sign for nanotechnology hazards.

Great. Something else to worry about.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Science January 18th, 2008 by Chip
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