The blog of a Sci-Fi Geek

Wed 26 May , 10

Science Fiction Rules

Filed under: Geek, Internet — Tags: , , , , , — SFG @ 07:59

That is, the rules of science fiction.

In a totally shameless theft, I stole the majority of this entry from Fearsome Pirate over at metalutheran.blogspot.com but please don’t hold that against me, as I’ve added a few extra links and text to try and make my offering a little more educational and relevant to myself. (8+)

I am frequently insulted by the stupidity of Hollywood but I totally understand that what it does it does in the name of ‘entertainment’, as such I can (more or less) forgive such inaccuries as those listed below.

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Sun 23 May , 10

Robin Hood … In Space

Filed under: Internet, TV — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 16:00

I recently came across a very timely article by Dean Newman comparing Blake’s 7 to Robin Hood.
Some of the points he makes are wonderful observations.

As some of my more regular readers will know, Blake’s 7 is my favourite science fiction TV show. It has been since pretty much the first time I saw it during it’s original broadcast in the UK.
This hasn’t ever changed despite the numerous new and remake shows that have hit our screens in the intervening years.

Anyway, here’s the article.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thu 20 May , 10

TRON Legacy

Filed under: Film — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 17:54

So I’ve known about this for some time, but with the release date being so far off I haven’t really felt the need to post about it.
That being said, more and more news appears to be hitting the ‘net about it and so I thought it was time to mention it myself.
I’ve tried to stay away from specific plot/story spoilers, but I haven’t really been able to miss the images that have been doing the rounds.
I know that Jeff Bridges is in it, as well as Bruce Boxleitner, both of whom reprise their roles from the original film.
If the film turns out as well as the images below promise then it’ll be excellent.

I’ve made my feelings known regarding 3D cinema recently and I am a little disheartened to hear that TRON will be a 3D release but hopefully it’ll be being filmed that way and not have to go through some sort of 3D-ification (like Alice in Wonderland did) which should help with its realisation.

Anyway, images after the jump.

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Mon 17 May , 10

Pumzi

Filed under: Film — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 17:50

Pumzi, allegedly Kenya’s first science fiction film, imagines a dystopian future 35 years after water wars have torn the world apart. East African survivors of the ecological devastation remain locked away in contained communities, but a young woman in possession of a germinating seed struggles against the governing council to bring the plant to Earth’s ruined surface.
I’d love to see this in the cinema but there’s fat chance of that ever happening.

Sat 17 April , 10

What’s in a Name?

Quite a lot it would seem.

In 1991 Mitch Rubenstein, Laurie Silvers and Isaac Asimov pitched an idea to a room full of SF writers at the Science Fiction Writers of America annual meeting.
The idea was a simple one; a 24-hour cable TV network dedicated to science fiction. The channel would be called Sci Fi Channel.
The idea apparently didn’t go down too well, with some of the writers in the room arguing that the term “Sci Fi” is derogatory to the SF genre. It was pointed out to the room that if the channel was called SF Channel people would think it was a channel about San Francisco.
Mitch Rubenstein was booed off-stage.
Isaac Asimov then started to speak and explained that the channel had to be called Sci Fi in order to “be in a financial position to acquire and produce the best programming. That’s really what counts, right?”.
Isaac spoke, and the room full of writers agreed.

Fast forward to now and we have a name change from ‘Sci Fi’ so SyFy.
What the what?!?
Yes, the Sci Fi Channel is no more, to be replaced with a new name that apparently makes no sense to anyone (well, apart from perhaps some misguided few from within Sci F… sorry, SyFy).

The new name (say it out loud) is phonetically identical to the old name, so why the change? Well, apparently it “positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.“.

I think the key phrase in the above is “Creating an ownable trademark”, but that’s just the cynic in me.
Personally I don’t like the name change. It’s almost as if the channel is now wanting to distance itself from that which made it so popular in the first place.
I’ve come to refer to the channel as *sigh*fi.

Sources for this post :
Sci Fi Channel
Slice of SciFi
Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood.com

Mon 5 April , 10

Doctor Who : The Eleventh Hour [REVIEW]

Filed under: TV, TV Review — Tags: , , — SFG @ 18:50

This review contains spoilers

A resurrection at Easter?

Dangling precariously from the architrave of his TARDIS whilst being erratically hurtled towardsthe St. Stephen’s Tower, we are finally formally introduced to the 11th Doctor.
In what is rapidly becoming typical Doctor Who fashion the world was in peril and it was down to the Time Lord to save it from destruction. I liked this story, but for me this was about introducing new characters and new actors playing old, familiar characters. That being said, this is an entirely new Doctor, and as such the writing and story should be at its very best, and whilst I enjoyed the episode, I feel it could have been so much better if a little more attention to detail had been paid.

I’ve got nothing bad to say at all about Matt Smith as The Doctor or Karen Gillan as the new Companion (even though she really didn’t have very much to do in this initial story). I have reservations about this being the lead episode of a new season as well as being that of a new Doctor. The pacing was totally wrong for a season opener too – actually, the pacing was just wrong full-stop. You can’t start the episode running then break in to a sprint after 15 minutes and not have any breaks from then on. You have to give the viewer time to catch-up and absorb facts and details without requiring repeat viewings of the episode.

I like the fact that The Doctor has seemingly learned his lesson from the end of his previous incarnation and once again realises that he needs company. As Amy states she thinks this is because he gets lonely but it’s really because he needs a moral compass to stop him from going off at the deep end.
The Doctor also has some bridges to build with Amy too. It seems that their first encounter and subsequent 12 year break has left her somewhat broken.
The producers also decided to break that iconic theme tune, but have counteracted it with an incredible Time Vortex opening sequence. I may have to mute it and watch the opening titles in silence for this season.

Overall, a good – but not great – episode. It did what it needed to do but it could’ve been, and done, so much more.
Every time The Doctor regenerates there’s doubt and uncertainty about the actor stepping in to the TARDIS and on the whole each and every time those doubts have been cast aside after the first couple of episodes. I think it’s the same thing happening here.
DT was an extremely well liked Doctor at the end of his stint in the TARDIS, only time will tell if Matt Smith is as well liked a few years from now.

Sat 3 April , 10

11 Days of The Doctor

Filed under: Fun, Geek, TV — Tags: , , , , , — SFG @ 15:15

I was sent a link by my mate Alex on Flickr of a set of images, some of which are reproduced below (with permission).
The Flickr profile in question isn’t a Pro account, which means they have limited bandwidth so hotlinking to their images really wouldn’t be a good thing.
To view the original images please go to this link : TheBritishBafoon on Flickr.
I’ve added a couple of images after the jump.
All this in in celebration of the return of Doctor Who this evening on BBC1 at 18:20.

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Who’s Back …

Filed under: TV — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 06:26

It’s about time.


Image source

Thu 1 April , 10

Sci-Fi Fans

Filed under: Fun, Geek, Internet — Tags: , , , , , — SFG @ 16:58

Browsing around the net and I happened upon this Sci-Fi Superfan Reference Manual.
Now it’s more of a chart than it is a manual, but it’s still rather a fun diversion for 5 minutes.
The original can be found at MADATOMS.com.

Wed 13 January , 10

Avatar 3D [REVIEW]

Filed under: Film, Film review — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — SFG @ 00:36

Okay, let’s make this clear at the start, Avatar is not a great film.
It is not a film that will surprise you and offer you things you have never seen before. You do not get sucked in to a world of new colours, dimensions and landscapes, what you do get is the same old familiar fantasy stuff just presented a little differently. And that’s the driving force of this film, not what you see but how you see it.
James Cameron is on very familiar ground with many of the story elements  of this film, but it’s the technical advances that seems to be getting all the column inches and blog postings, probably because the story’s so familiar.

It takes great skill in creating a totally believable world in cinema, and at this Cameron excels.
In the years he was waiting for the technology to mature enough to start filming he obviously poured over every aspect of the world of Pandora, and it certainly shows on screen. It’s a lush and very detailed world with a well thought out and realised methodology and ancestry that it could’ve been lifted straight from a documentary of indigenous peoples. Pandora is fully realised and totally believable, at least in concept if not execution. This is where the film started to fall down for me; the CG realisation.

The very first time we see Sam Worthington’s character (Jake Sully) in avatar form, it looks so fake. The whole scene needs proper attention to the blending process to integrate the CG with the live action, because it just looks cheap and well below par for any big budget film these days. The whole sequence is very unnatural in it’s movement and the cartoon skin doesn’t help in the least. This scene isn’t the only one that actually takes you (or me) out of the film and draws your attention to the artifice of the medium, but as it’s the first scene that does it in a very easily recognisable sense then it deserves mention for that. Cameron should look to District 9 as a lesson in how to blend CG and live action seamlessly.
Once emerged in the world of Pandora the CG becomes much more believable but there’s something about the way things move, it’s very unnatural in it’s execution. Again, this takes the viewer out of the film and draws attention away from verisimilitude.

The script is typical Cameron fare. Don’t go expecting anything approaching complex dialogue, because that’s not what he does. What he does do is create spectacle, and in this he certainly hasn’t failed, though some aspects need a little work Avatar is by no means a bad film, but by the same token it’s not great either, and this is where I came in.

So, is 3D going to be the saviour of the film industry? Based on this film I’d have to say “nope”.
While it undeniably adds depth to the image there’s a few problems I have with it (even though it is still very much an emerging technology).
The glasses were a major problem for me. Not being a person that requires any kind of correctional eye facility I found wearing the glasses a distraction. Not only could I constantly feel the pressure of the arms against my head I found the rims of the glasses a constant distraction. The CG movement I’ve already gone in to so I won’t rehash but as a gimmick I can see 3D catching on in a small way, but I certainly don’t think I’ll be going to watch another 3D film at the pictures again any time soon.

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