Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Everything Old is New Again

It’s this kind of news that makes me believe a Quark reboot is only a matter of time.

Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod has struck a deal with Imagine Television to develop a series based on The Questor Tapes.

“The Questor Tapes” was originally conceived as a television series pilot about an android with incomplete memory tapes who searches for his creator and his purpose. The pilot ultimately aired as a 1974 television movie.

“My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away,” said Rod Roddenberry. “He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek.”

I’m having a little trouble buying that last bit, but I expect the huge success of the recent Star Trek reboot is what’s rekindled interest in the Questor franchise.

(via The Website at the End of the Universe)

Posted in Movies & TV January 29th, 2010 by Chip
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Well Put

Warren Ellis Tweet

Posted in Space January 28th, 2010 by Chip
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My Neighbor Robocop

RobocopLore Sjöberg (of Slumbering Lungfish and Brunching Shuttlecocks fame) recently saw My Neighbor Totoro for the first time and claims that the movie put this in his head.

I don’t necessarily want to explore the thought process that led from one to the other, but I have to admit that I’m terribly fond of this version.

Here’s a link to the full image, where you can also download a version suitable for desktop wallpaper.

Posted in Humor, Movies & TV January 27th, 2010 by Chip
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A Scene I’d Like to See

Dirty Harry

(From xkcd, natch)

Posted in Humor January 26th, 2010 by Chip
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The SF-Reading Toolkit

BoingBoing pointed to this essay by Jo Walton, discussing the mindset required to read and enjoy science fiction. She talks about the necessity of knowing what it’s acceptable to skim, such as not needing to know how a tachyon drive works, just that its ability to move you faster than light is important to the plot. This in particular caught my eye:

This tachyon drive guy, who has stuck in my mind for years and years, got hung up on that detail because he didn’t know how to take in what was and what wasn’t important. How do I know it wasn’t important? The way it was signalled in the story. How did I learn how to recognise that? By reading half a ton of SF. How did I read half a ton of SF before I knew how to do it? I was twelve years old and used to a lot of stuff going over my head, I picked it up as I went along. That’s how we all did it. Why couldn’t this guy do that? He could have, but it would have been work, not fun.

I wonder if picking up SF as a child–when you expect things to go over your head occasionally–is important for developing a love of the genre. We occasionally discuss our first experiences with SF in chat, and our members seem to have overwhelmingly embraced science fiction as children or young adults. Are the necessary mental gymnastics too hard for most adults to find SF attractive?

Posted in Books & Authors January 25th, 2010 by Chip
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Mooving Out

O*W*C member Joy V. Smith has a “flash fiction” piece up at Every Day Fiction.

“Here’s the family’s file, Ken. Elmer Boardoff has a small dairy farm.” Jeff passed the file to his colleague. “His wife, Elsie, however, got their milk from the famous E line cows — the regular ones; apparently the chocolate flavor suppresses the ESP talent — at that experimental farm near them. That’s how it happened. At first no one believed the boy when he said he could talk to animals, but when they started doing tricks for him, people noticed.”

I’m enormously taken with the idea of psychic cows.

Posted in Books & Authors January 22nd, 2010 by Chip
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Nightly Chat Reminder

It’s time for the annual reminder about our nightly SF chats!

Our hosted chats begin at 10:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) and run until midnight. You can view the chat schedule here and find the chat room here. We have an upgraded chat engine, friendly hosts, and regular chatters who would love to discuss all things science-fictiony with you.

Come…join us!

Posted in Computers & Internet, Conventions & Fandom January 21st, 2010 by Chip
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Link Dump

How to Tell if You’re a Superhero – “For someone with several billion dollars who can sleep with anyone they desire you’re kind of a doleful son of a bitch.”

Klingon Fairy Tales – “Goldilocks Dies With Honor at the Hands of the Three Bears.”

Web Services as Vintage Paperback Covers – These are quirkily wonderful, and prints are available for purchase.

Name That Alien – Quiz from SciFi Scanner.

Batgirl is Now Prince – Superheroes reimagined as record cover art.

Down on the Farm – Another “Laundry Files” story by Charles Stross.

Nic Cage as Everyone – This is…exactly what it says it is. Weird. Eerie.

Predator Motorcycle – This motorcycle mod is all kinds of awesome.

Tom Riddler’s (sic) Magical Diary – Pandora chatbot that mimics the diary in Harry Potter.

Lovecraft Online – Extensive collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s works in electronic format.

Stephen Hawking’s Twitter Feed – Surely fake, but funny.

Posted in Ephemera January 20th, 2010 by Chip
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Book Review: BSG Official Companion Season Four

Book CoverFollowing is a guest review by our resident BSG fanatic, John DiPalermo. The book is Battlestar Galactica The Official Companion Season Four and a review copy was provided to us by the publisher.


Battlestar Galactica The Official Companion Season Four by Sharon Gosling

Reviewed by John “Battlestar New York” DiPalermo

I need to start this review with the following preamble: I am a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica television series, and was very vocal against the new Battlestar Galactica reimaging on the Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy Channel). I was one of the most vocal opponents of the new Galactica on many Internet message boards and one of the loudest “Boo-ers” during Ron Moore’s panel at Galacticon 2003. I created the Yahoo Group “Ron Moore Sucks” and was even interviewed for the New York Times, which is still online, and I am the one who first coined the term “The MooreRon” on those message boards years ago as well. I have even financially supported movements to have Glen Larson bring back the original Galactica to the big screen. I needed to mention these facts because I liked the Battlestar Galactica The Official Companion Season Four by Sharon Gosling. The following review and comments are coming from a person who didn’t like the series, but as a fan of Science Fiction in general, I can honestly say I enjoyed reading the book.

The introduction by Edward James Olmos was nicely dedicated to the fans. As much as I dislike Ron Moore, I have always respected EJO. He saw the backlash from the very beginning, and unlike Ron Moore and other cast members, EJO publically stated on his website that the new Galactica was NOT for fans of the original series, and that those fans shouldn’t watch the new series. From that day, I was a big fan of EJO, and enjoyed his introduction in Battlestar Galactica The Official Companion Season Four.

The next section, There Must be Some Way Out Of Here… discusses the thought processes that went into ending Galactica after 4 seasons, the process of coming up with the 5 Cylons by reviewing back stories to make sure no contradictions arose. We know how finicky Sci Fi fans are, I kept picturing William Shatner’s famous “Get A Life!” at this point. There is even a discussion of how the writer’s strike affected production. I was particularly moved about the discussion about how serious Michael Trucco (Samuel Anders) car accident really was.

Battlestar Galactica The Official Companion Season Four neatly recaps the movie Razor, where Lee Adama takes command of the Pegasus. For those of us that didn’t see Razor, the book summarizes the movie nicely, and from what I’ve read, that isn’t always an easy task to neatly describe an episode of Galactica. If you already saw the Razor movie, don’t skip this section because I am sure there are details mentioned that you probably missed during your viewing of the movie.

The next, and most important part of the book, of course is the episode synopsis for season 4. One of the things that most impressed me was the attention to detail, which any science fiction fan knows is rule number 1. The photos spread throughout the book are first rate, almost as if they were created specifically for the book, and not just images from the series. I will admit when reading the episode synopsis, my mind always called up Lorne Greene when talking about Adama, and of course Dirk Benedict with every Starbuck reference, so the photos were a good reminder that I was reading about the new series.

My favorite part of Battlestar Galactica The Official Companion Season Four are the “Surveillance: Additional” which are little tidbits of information that accompany every episode synopsis. The extras alone are worth getting the book for! I admit I am a trivia junkie, so I really enjoyed the extra information included in the book. Not only do you get additional in depth details about various references in the series, you also get information on scenes that were cut before being shot and information of drafts that also never made it to film! I would enjoy a book that only contained these extra tidbits, and I bet there is enough extra stuff out there that a book can be done just on that topic alone. (NOTE: you read that here first, so I want royalties if someone does indeed do a book just on the extras!!!)

I am not going to review each episode synopsis because that is what the book is for. I will say that the synopsis’ are all well written and you can tell that a lot of research went into each and every synopsis. The details are very specific, without getting boring. Without seeing the episodes, I was really able to fully understand everything that happened during the 4th season. I know it is hard writing these kinds of books because you have to summarize what other people have written, but then again, that is exactly what a book reviewer does. You have to comment on what the other person does, but it is easier for us, because we can say what we like and don’t like about a book. In the Battlestar Galactica companion to series 4, you have to describe the episode without really commenting on what you like or dislike because you don’t want to prejudice your readers. It isn’t easy to describe in detail what’s going on without saying why it isn’t working, but it is done here. If you missed an episode of season 4, of just didn’t understand what the frak happened in an episode, pick up this book and go directly to that episode’s page and you will be rewarded with great information and trivia.

The book concludes with a great set of color photos of the cast, along with props from the show. The Character BIOs at the end are also well researched and provide great background for each character.

Whether or not you are a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica or the new Galactica, this book is a must! Well thought out, well researched, and pleasing to the eyes, the companion to season 4.0 is worth it. I only hope they would do the same kind of book for Sanctuary and Warehouse 13!

Posted in Books & Authors January 19th, 2010 by Chip
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Patrick is Awesome

Star Dorks

From Lamebook (via Miss Doxie)

Posted in Humor January 18th, 2010 by Chip
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