newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Prisoners of Gravity to start off with again.

Writers' Workshops/Clarion - November 10, 1993
More advice for writers, this time on how to become a better writer and focusing on the various Writer's Workshops.

Part One: Damon Knight (on how Clarion is set up), Kate Wilhelm (on what Clarion/other writer workshops does for a writer, and the 'writer's apprenticeship' period), Kristine Katheryn-Rusch (on what Clarion instructors do to encourage), Connie Willis (on how critiquing other people's work is what makes you a better writer), Geoff Ryman (on the training your own editor),
Part Two: Connie Willis (on her approach to teaching writing, and the importance of plotting as a skill), Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Clarion graduate, reading a bit of a story she did at Clarion, and giving her reaction to turning it in), Kim Antieu (on why Clarion tends to lead to getting successfully published), James Alan Gardner (on advice he got at Clarion that didn't particularly work for him, a Frost quote about writing vs talking about the stories), Kate Wilhelm (on how there's multiple ways to write), story about Harlan Ellison being kicked out of a writing class, Harlan Ellison (on inspiring fear in his Clarion students, and how everyone thinks they can write),
Part Three: Harlan Ellison continued (breaking the spirit of dilettantism, and giving The Great Secret of Writing), William F. Wu (about how something Harlan Ellison said inspired him for the story he's best known for), Geoff Ryman (on what Clarion gives participants than what they did before), Connie Willis (on the Clarion Slump, and learning to write in very small bits when you have very limited time), general advice, More on Nina Kiriki Hoffman's story reading.

Games: November 3, 1993
SF Authors using games people play for story fodder.

Part One: Terry Pratchett (reading from Small Gods), Lynda Barry (on her comic character Marlys who creates her own games, and why kids like inventing their own games), Poul Anderson (on "The Immortal Game", a story about a chess game from the point of a chessman), John Brunner (on adapting a real chess game and disguising it as a novel), Greg Bear (on Anvil of Stars, in which he has characters introducing chess, a zero sum game, to a pacifist alien race),
Part Two: Kristine Kathryn-Rusch (on poker playing a big role in her DS9 novel The Big Game and how poker reflects how people think), David Brin (on why the 'Game of Life' is important in Glory Season), Nancy Kress (on her story Touchdown which involves a game centered around the ruined planet Earth), Iain M. Banks (on the importance of Play, and how we use games much like animals use play, just on a different level, and the growing importance of games to simplify the complexity of life, and designing the game of Azad in The Player of Games),
Part Three: Steven Barnes (on real role playing games vs Dream Park, and why he doesn't game), Sean Stewart (on Dreamquest, a LARP, and how the difference between fantasy novel writing), Pierre Savoie (RPgamer, on how reading Ringworld the novel improves the experience of Ringworld the RPG, and how RPG can give insights to a novel universe its based on), David Pringle (on editing novels/short stories for Games Workshop based on Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, etc, and one particular book set in Near Future Earth)

Awards: January 28, 1993
Awards and what they mean to the creators who get them.
Part One: Kristine Kathryn-Rusch (on how important different awards are to SF writers), list of dfifferent awards, Samuel R. Delany (on the impact of winning many Hugos and Nebula awards), Jerry pournelle (on the benefit of awards giving a good break), John Brunner (on how awards don't transform your career instantly, but improves your long-term sales), Sharyn McCrumb (on how publishers work and how awards alter your treatment, and how sometimes they can be meaningless based on who's giving the awards), Joe Haldeman (on how the Forever War winning the Hugo, Nebula, and Ditmar, affected him, and the political aspects to awards)
Part Two: Nancy Kress (on her first Nebula award having no visible effect on her), James Morrow (on Nebula winning having a big psychological impact and getting him on the map, and the role of politics in the Nebula), Lisa Tuttle (on declining the Nebula Award for 1981), Gibson (on winning the triple award for Neuromancer, and how the location of the Worldcon might have helped him win the Hugo)
Part Three: Story about Neil Gaiman winning a World Fantasy Award and them rewriting the rules so comics can't be nominated, Neil Gaiman (on the effect of his awards being mainly to terrify him), Dave Gibbons (on winning the special Hugo Award for Watchmen), Harlan Ellison (on how him winning awards pisses people off, his thoughts about his award winning short story, Jeffty is Five, his disdain for awards, awards being detrimental to the writer), PoG itself winning an Aurora Award.

That's the last of the PoGs posted to Youtube at the moment, so next week I probably won't be doing any more.
In PoG related news, I think Neil Gaiman may be cyberstalking me. Well, not really, but it's more fun to say it that way. It's just that last week, right after I posted about the PoG episodes I watched (including two with him in it), he posted on twitter a link to the same ep. About 2 hours after. That might just be a weird coincidence, but it's the second time something like that's happened with him where I post something fairly obscure involving him that's been around for a while, and he posts about it elsewhere within hours. (Of course, more likely either there's an intermediate step of sharing from people I know, or he's got a Google Alert out on himself. If the latter's true, Hi there!).

In other TV news, lets see... not really much to talk about, actually. SGU was a not bad episode, but (spoilers ahead, and more unanswered questions) Read more... )

And, finally had Thanskgiving, since family was working last week. And actually some was working this week too, so it was a bit of a small affair with lots of leftovers. Was good... turkey, roast potatoes, ham, carrots, greek rice, french stick bread, pretty awesome gravy, pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Was quite good, and ofcourse nice to see family that I haven't seen in a while.

TV roundup

Oct. 11th, 2009 10:32 am
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Starting as usual with PoG links.

Advice: Advice from SF/Comic Creators to people starting out in the field... (April 16, 1992)
Part One: Nancy Kress (read as much as you can, and persist, and don't write only when you're in the mood), Candas Jane Dorsey (what makes bad SF, the "Rod and Don Dialogue"), Lewis Shiner (don't start, it's a tremendously discouraging business, and if you're going to, get a day job), Kathy Gale (UK Editor, always submit in a professional way),
Part Two: Kim Stanley Robinson (responding on OSC's advice of "Primacy of Event over Character" and Card not following his own advice, kind of rips on Card a bit too), Tanya Huff (on the pros and cons on writer's groups), Ed Bryant (on Writer's Workshops like Clarion), Dan Simmons (on how the Milford Writer's Workshop helped him), Neil Gaiman (on his experience at a Milford and learning nothing about writing but learning about reading), shift in focus to comics. Frank Miller (know what you want)
Part Three: Fabian Nicieza (take writing courses, plan to have another career, work through independents/small press), M.W. Kaluta (on how he got his first full professional gig on The Shadow, and his advice), Gene Colan (you have to love it, don't do it for the fame), Sergio Aragones (practice, and think ahead at how the world may change). Summary from the host, and a closing clip from Dan Piraro (stay away, I don't want the comptetition)

Farewell (Season 1 finale)
Assorted promotions, Dick Tracy (movie and the then-recent comics), TMNT (in advance of the first live action movie), Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, Archie news, Incredible Hulk comic, 1990 Earth Day, interviews with Max Collins, Rob Salem, artist Dale Keown... very disjointed and none of it terribly interesting so I won't do the full clip-by-clip summary. Part One: Part Two: Part Three:

Memory (December 8, 1993)

How we're defined by our memories, in SF and Fantasy and comics
Part One: Lynda Barry (on what bring childhood memories for her, a trick for remembering things in a different way that you wouldn't normally, triggering other people's memories in writing), Neil Gaiman (on converting his memories into a comic and being replaced by it), Dave McKean (on using collages to represent memory), Neil Gaiman (on suddenly realizing something about your childhood memories as an adult because as child you don't know what's significant), Michael Moorcock (on his childhood memories of WWII shaping the landscapes of his fiction)
Part Two: Harlan Ellison (on what triggers memories for him, and exorcising hurtful memories with writing, and gives a couple of his favorite quotes about memories), Howard Hendrix (on the memory of his brother shaping one of his stories, and the difference of how memory in fiction compared to real life), Harry Harrison (on how memory works, short term vs long term memory, and the disadvantages to a linear memory of computers)
Part Three: William Gibson (on Agrippa, and Cyberspace as a metaphor for memory), Iain M. Banks (on his fascination with memory and the links between identity and memory), Brian Aldiss (on writing his own autobiography, and a story of a memory he'd written when he was 16), Edward Bryant (on how our memory shapes us and lack of memory also influences us)

Medicine and Nanotechnology (December 1, 1993)
Part One: Frederick Pohl (on people selling off organs to finance their trip to Gateway, and the real black market for organs), Nancy Kress (on writing "The Mountain to Mohammed", and her growing concern about health insurance, and the tough choices involved in controlling medical costs, and worries about gene scanning to mark people as uninsurable), Joel Davis (on the Human Genome Project changing the way medicine is practiced)
Part Two: Joel Davis again (on who owns the rights to the drugs created by using human DNA), Nancy Kress (on relaxing the controls of testing drugs on the dying), John Clute (on nanotechnology as a trend in SF), William Gibson (on including nanotech in Virtual Light, and finding it creepy), Tony Daniel (on Nano as the 'new magic' of SF), Stven Barnes (on linking Nanotech and Dinosaurs in The Barsoom Project, and where he researched it), Ian McDonald (on including nanotech in Necroville and his ideas of what resurrecting the dead might mean)
Part Three: Michael Skeet (on his story Relics, and whether writers get carried away with nanotech), Dave Smeds (on the practical obstacles to reaching nanotech), Greg Bear (on writing Blood Music before nanotechnology really became well-known, and why he use it, and his own sins of treating nanotech as 'magic', and the legacy of the Frankenstein image, and his own feeling that we need to know as much as possible)

Next Week, Writer's Workshops, Games, and Awards, the last set of PoG links until the person posting them posts some more, I guess.

In other TV news, what's been new... Heroes, meh. I think it's the last year anyway, so its not really worth getting worked up about, but the developments in the latest ep do not particularly interest me. Flashforward is still entertaining in terms of its normal plot and it's done a good job of keeping me interested with some of the twists they've introduced, although some sloppiness with how the visions work still annoys me.

Glee's still okay, but I'm finding the main characters less and less likable with each ep, with a few exceptions (I liked the Quinn/Rachel scene in this week's episodes) and they really need to start focusing on the minor characters.

Supernatural had a solid MOTW episode.

The big TV story for me was that Stargate Universe had the third part of its premiere, and again, not bad. There's a couple spoilery elements I want to talk about behind the cut (including a possible "I CALLED IT" moment), and some speculation/wonderings for the future: Read more... )


I think that's it for this week. It's Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada, so to all the Canucks on my list, Happy Thanksgiving. Except, not for me. Apparently most of my immediate family is working this weekend, including tomorrow, so we won't be doing anything until sometime a little later. So no big meal for me, alas. Oh well.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Projects: (October 3, 1991) - Isolated upcoming projects in comics, animation, and SF.
Part One: Mike Carlin (on The Psycho), George Pratt (on a comic project about the Blues), Neil Adams (on Bucky O'Hare the animated series based on a comic)
Part Two: James Morrow (on his upcoming novel Towing Jehovah), Michael Swanwick (on Stations of the Tide), William Gibson (on Virtual Light), Dan Simmons (on doing a movie treatment for Carrion Comfort, and co-writing a SF mystery involving fractals and chaos theory)
Part Three: Simmons continued (a bit specifically on the problems of combining SF and mystery), Michael Dorn (on a storyline he'd like to see in ST:TNG, connecting Worf to Cyrano de Bergerac, and his role in Star Trek 6), fandom rumors about ST6 from Toronto Trek, Walter Koenig (on writing a treatment for a ST movie that got rejected, and a suggestion he made for ST6 involving the death of a main character), a viewer letter about the 'death of Star Trek'.

Utopia: March 18, 1993
Utopias in comics and SF

Part One: Bruce Sterling (on Utopias being Bogus), Clive Barker (on Plato's horrible definition of Utopia), Alan Moore (on exploring Utopia in Miracleman, and Utopia as a verb, and the superhero dream being antihuman), Neil Gaiman (agreeing with Utopia as a verb, but disagreeing with the idea that Miracleman actually dealt with a Utopia, and the problem with Utopia is that once you've got it, you fill it with people), Mark Buckingham (on avoiding dealing with Miracleman himself and looking at the rest of the world), Neil Gaiman again (on pulling focus back away from Miracleman himself), Samuel R. Delany (on Triton as a 'sexual utopia', differences from SF thinking and Utopian thinking)
Part Two: Clive Barker (on why fantastic fiction is the perfect place for Utopias), James Morrow (on a 'Utopia' city based on complete honesty in City of Truth and a pacifist utopia in The Wine of Violence), Geoff Ryman (on the Child Garden being an ambiguous utopia, and why utopias often focus on a particular person against the society), Ian M. Banks (on using a protagonist opposed to the Culture in Consider Phlebas, and writing along the outskirts of a Utopia)
Part Three: Sean Stewart (on Passion Play, which involves a dystopia evolving out of an attempt to create a Christian Utopia, and the need for Faith for a society to work), Kim Stanley Robinson (on his utopia novel, Pacific Edge and the question of "Utopia: Can we get there from here?", and the problem of multinational corporations being the biggest threat to a 'better world', and ending his book on a sad note)

Ecology in comics and SF: April 22, 1993
Part One: Frederick Pohl (on Our Angry Earth, a non-fiction book on ecology with Isaac Asimov, and why he doesn't think Zero Population Growth is the most urgent need), Paul Chadwick (creator of Concrete, on what he sees as the biggest Ecological Problem facing us, OverPopulation, and whether/how politics should play a role), Kim Stanley Robinson (on the importance of population control)
Part Two: Paul Chadwick (discussing the religious "be fruitful and multiply" and reading a speech from Concrete about current population expansion), Kim Stanley Robinson (on the Earth's maximum sustainable population), Jerry Pournelle (on solutions to population growth by producing wealth), Joe Haldeman (on tackling overpopulation in The Forever War, and his personal choice not to contribute to it, compared to people in third world countries who sometimes have no choice)
Part Three: Barry B. Longyear (on why Zero Population Growth became 'uncool' and the problems of enacting it in reality), David Brin (on legislating legal population limits in his novel Earth, and the US "growing up", and protecting your greatgreatgreatgrandchildren as a 'genetic investment', and visiting Easter Island)

Next week I'll do Advice (which I thought I'd do this week but got a bit behind on time), Memory, and maybe Medicine & Nanotechnology.

Continuing on TV, I finally finished Tom Baker's run on Doctor Who. Watched the first Davison episode too. Might watch one more to get a sense of him since he spent most of this one in regeneration madness. Overall, my thoughts on the Fourth Doctor (and a bit that he sheds light on Ten) Read more... )
Do like the new team of companions so far. Tegan, Adric, and Nyssa give me a little bit of the old Jamie/Zoe vibe. Nice to have a set of companions with skills that mesh together well, instead of one companion having to either be superman/woman to compete with the Doctor, or be all but useless in the face of his genius except for legwork.

Otherwise, FlashForward's still in the 'not bad, but we'll see' territory. Heroes is still marginally better. I can't help but think that if they ditched almost all of the 2nd or 3rd season entirely, and just attached this season directly to this one with maybe a tiny bit of connective plot, many of the elements would be workable, even interesting (the current status of Sylar with respect to Matt would be an entertaining way of keeping the actor but not having the problems of the uberpowerful character) but I can't completely forget the past.

The only big new series premiere of the week is Stargate: Universe. Overall, I enjoyed it, although at present I think it's below both SG1 and Atlantis in quality. The early worries/complaints (usually based solely on casting) of it being "Stargate: 90210" seem to be wholly without merit, but there is a strong taste of the new BSG in terms of style. In fact, it looks almost as though... you know in 200 where they did parodies of other SF shows (and a few non-SF shows)? It looks almost as though somebody said, "Hey, let's copy BSG's style for one of those", except instead of being a parody, they did it completely seriously. Very similar. A bit disorienting, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. (a bit more spoilery stuff behind the cut) Read more... )

TV and PoG

Sep. 27th, 2009 10:10 am
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Prisoners of Gravity links first:

Women
Women in SF, Fantasy, and Comics

Part One: Trina Robbins (on how she first got hooked on comics), June Brigman (on why women don't get into comics, and trying to change it using Barbie comics), Louise Simonson (on lack of things in conventional superhero comics for women to relate to), Kate Worley of Omaha, the Cat Dancer (on whether she's bothered by being in one of the few prominent female comics creators), Elaine Lee (on the difficulty of breaking into comics and the 'boys club'), Chris Claremont (on why he was renowned for good female characters and how it became a cliche for him)
Part Two: Steve Bissett (on why comics are so slow to recognize women, and some of the key roles women played in comics). Shift of focus to SF. Lois McMaster Bujold (on whether SF is a good platform for a treatment of women's issues, and her most 'feminist' book), Veronica Hollinger (professor on SF) (on who are the landmark female figures in SF and male writers who are most 'feminist'), Candace Jane Dorsey (on leaving out gender pronouns in her stories), Pamela Argent (on 'strong female characters' who are just men in women bodies), Gregory Benford (on the tension between the sexes as being a good thing and some of the difficulties on juggling everything in SF compared to toher fields)
Part Three: Leona Gom (on creating a 'last man' in an all female world), a story about James Tiptree Jr. (actually a woman under a pen name) being asked to leave a summit on feminism in SF. Lois McMaster Bujold (on if there are difficulties in writing male viewpoints). Switch in focus to Fantasy: Karen Wehrstein (on her own challenges in writing women characters), Tanya Huff (on whether fantasy has improved in terms of the women, and info about something she changed about her own work on realizing it was somewhat sexist), Terence M. Green (on how men and women are different), Trina Robbins (on the complaint about things that interest women being 'banal')

Leisure - May 2, 1991
How we will spend out leisure time in the future, according to SF
Part One: Lois McMaster Bujold (on mandatory zero-gee workouts and the physiological adaptations of zero-g), Andrew Weiner (on some of his leisure-centered short stories, in particular one about filling time in a permanent unemployment), Christopher Hinz (on the idea of recreational space colonies), Jack Womack (on leisure time, or lack thereof, in his Draco books), Gregord Benford (on the management of leisure, and passive leisure), William Gibson (on dismissing 'television' as 'empty calories' leisure, and the mystery of TV and media and what it's doing to us)
Part Two: Alberto Manguel (editor) (on television in the future according to Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451, and how it's somewhat come true, Terence M. Green (on children raised on TV and creating a video literate world), Bruce Sterling (on what he thinks of TV and his 1991 view of future of TV, and Virtual Reality), Douglas Adams (about Virtual Reality and using it to save the world, and creating virtual reality IN reality). Candace Jane Dorsey (on a baseball story on Mars in a collection she edits), Mark Chiarello (on baseball's imagery, and drawing a baseball card collection on the Negro League), Todd McFarlane (on how Spider-Man hangs out when not working), Walt Simonson (on how Thor spends his leisure time)
Part Three: Neil Gaiman (on how Miracle Man recharges), Louise Simonson (on Superhuman not having any leisure time, except for being Clark Kent), Ty Templeton (on his theory on how Superman kicks back), a clip of Superman Song by the Crash Test Dummies, Fabian Nicieza (on whether he'll show Alpha Flight in their leisure time, and what leisure time says about us), Steve Bissett (on the 24 Hour Comic, as a sort of 'game' for comic creators, and other games of artists (the surreal corpse)).

Censorship - October 25, 1990
Part One: Comics facing obsenity charges. Interviews with Harlan Ellison (on the good messages in a lot of SF), Kevin Eastman (on how his characterss influenced a kid to hurt himself), Harlan Ellison (on how the censors are exposed to the 'corrupting material' constantly, and standing up to censors), Steve Bissett (on the Comic Code Authority and the congressional hearings that led to it), Frank Miller (on him feeling relatively free from censorship lately), Steve Bissett (on temporarily dropping the comic code for the Spidey drug issue, and Swamp Thing deciding to do away with the CCA permanently)
Part Two: Spider and Jeanne Robinson (on the problems with censorship of sex in SF, and a particular unsavory reference that an author slipped past the censors), Jack Vance (on some of the censorship he faced), Spider Robinson (on Callahan's Lady, taking place in a brothel, and not being get the stories in the same magazine as the rest of the Callahan stories), Jack Vance (on the basic choices of censorship), Maryanne Neilsen (on whether, as an editor, she's a censor), David Lloyd (on creative choice to leave our detailed of violence and sex in V for Vendetta), Denys Cowan (on being uncomfortable with drawing a lynching scene)
Part Three: Elaine Lee (on handling violence in Starstruck), Elaine Lee and Charles Vess (on a particular censorship blowup around a comic back-up story about a young witch that includes her first period, when the first story had so much violence), Harlan Ellison (about the comic Taboo, and how art should unsettle you), Clive Barker (on worrying about a backlash, another Dr. Werthem).

Next week: Utopia, Ecology, and Advice for wannabe creators.

Now that that's out of the way, TV wrapup for the week. Doctor Who... well, I've met Adric. For some reason, in my head, I always pictured him older, from the name. Seems nice enough so far, although probably not one of my favorites. Only a few episodes left before I can say goodbye to Four and get to Five.

What premiered this week? House... it was okay, but I thought it dragged on too long focusing on House, and I wanted to see the others. And the ending annoyed me. (spoilers) Read more... )

Heroes also premiered and... well, I suppose, objectively speaking, it's probably a little better than last year. But it's still hard to watch and take seriously. The Trust has not just been lost, it's been thoroughly shattered and the pieces each taken on a separate boat ride in a different ocean by a different man who dumps it into the ocean at some random time not in sight of land. It's hard to take anything seriously after the stuff they pulled last year, because there's the feeling at at any moment, they could decide to ignore some plot point they've already established. Slightly more spoilery behind cut Read more... )

Dollhouse also premiered, and it wasn't bad, although they seem to be slightly unskeevying one of the characters at the expense of extra-skeevying one of the relatively unskeevy ones. We'll see how it goes, though, the revelations towards the end could be interesting to go on.

FlashForward... it's okay. Needs time to find it's footing to judge for sure. Not sure the premise really works as a basis for a series, but it's got my attention for a few episodes at least.

Fringe: Okay... the second episode of the second season of X-Files was about a genetic mutant Flukeman. Is it just some wacky coincidence or intentional homage that the Second episode of Fringe's Second Season feels like almost the same thing, only, you know, less interesting (because Fringe is mostly a less interesting version of X-files)?

Otherwise, not much. This week: Stargate Universe, the last thing for... oh, about a month or so probably that I'm looking forward to.
newnumber6: (lasers)
First up, Violence. Guess I was wrong about Brian Stableford being on this one. I know he was on one talking about it, maybe it was a special pacifism episode. Alas. Oh well.

Violence: March 7, 1991
The role of violence in comics and SF. Bit of a poor video/audio quality unfortunately, but not horrible-bad.

Part One: Todd McFarlane (complaining about parents complaining about too much violence nowadays), Ty Templeton (on why comics are full of violence), Walt Simonson (on the type of violence in his comics), Neil Gaiman (on how superhero comics portray an attractive portrait of violence, and taking out subtext and philosophy and such to write Batman), Bill Sienkiewicz (on his views of violence in comics and how it contrasts to the real world), Ty Templeton again (on why superhero comics dominate the form)
Part Two: Steve Bissett (on how the violence in Swamp Thing was different than most superhero comics), Lewis Shiner (on avoiding glorifying violence in fiction), Terry Beatty (on the violence in Ms. Tree and how he tries to emphasize the consequences), Peter Straub (on "the only way to understand violence is to wrap it in imagination", and whether he fears he's glorifying violence), Walter Hill (director of Warriors, Aliens 3, on how drama depends on violence
Part Three: Fantasy author Charles de Lint (on how he handles violence in his stories), SF author Jack Womack (on why he uses violence in his work), S.M. Stirling and Shirley Meier (on their novel the Cage and how much violence is in it, and how they approach violence), Lewis Shiner (on how first hand experience with violence changes people, and the attitudes that lead to violence), Neil Gaiman (on Punch and Judy).

Behind the cut: three old, not terribly good, from the first season, before it found its groove, eps, one focusing on some miscellaneous comics and anime, a Star Wars: TOS focused ep, and another Miscellaneous ep focusing a bit more on Dystopian visions)
Read more... )

And sticking with old TV, just finished Meglos, which means I'm almost done with the Fourth Doctor. Next ep I believe introduces a new companion, Adric, one of the ones I've never seen anything of. Edit: And wow, I totally did not notice, until reading the wiki for the episode, that the religious leader was played by Jacquelline Hill, who played Barbara, one of the first batch of Companions).

More modern TVwise, Supernatural was okay, with a couple eye-rolling moments. Only really new thing was Frige. And Man, I'd forgotten how much that show bored me! Well, okay, that's a little harsh, but I keep wanting the show to be so much better. And it looked towards the end of last season it was picking up, but it took a bit of a step back with this episode.

Next week, though, things really ramp up. The two hour premiere of House, 2 hour premiere of Heroes (yeah, still watching, more out of masochism and lack of TV channels than anything else), Dollhouse, and I believe Flash Forward gets its premiere.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
First up,
Form (March 22nd, 1991)
Discussions on the various forms, novella vs short story, trilogy vs series, in comics and speculative fiction.

Part One: Short Stories: Dave Duncan (on why he thinks SF works best in short stories), Crawford Kilian (on the short story as 'training ground' and area of experimentation), Jim Baen (on the strength of short stories/novellas in SF), Marianne Nelson (on why if you want to get into SF you should start with short stories). Novella/Novellette: Judith Merril (on why the Novella's almost unique to SF), a bit of history. The Serial: Neil Gaiman (on the problems and advantages of writing serial fiction, like his comic the Sandman, and the "Is Little Nell Dead Yet" phenomenon), Chris Claremont (differences on writing a novel and writing an ongoing series, and the why the book and the audience don't have to keep going together)
Part Two: Neil Gaiman (on benefits of writing Good Omens, compared to comic writing). Alternative Comics: Black and White. Gilbert Hernandez (on why Love and Rockets is Black and White), Ty Templeton (on why he enjoys black and white), Kevin Eastman (on problems he encountered in getting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles published). Novels: Jim Baen (on the benefits of the novel in SF). The Trilogy (and other variations): Guy Gavriel Kay (on the mundane reasons the trilogy has become a standard form in fantasy fiction, on the danger of writers going back to the well), Tanya Huff (on writing a Duology, and the repeated questions about the third book despite the (big spoilers)), a bit of a clip from Misery, Tanya Huff again (on why trilogy and series are so popular), George Zebrowski (on the problems of writing long term series fiction and how they're not artistic)
Part Three: The Graphic Novel: David Lloyd (artist on on V for Vendetta, and whether it benefitted from being repackaged as a Graphic novel), Will Eisner (on why he left serial comics for the Graphic Novel, and pioneering the form with A Contract With God). Conclusion: Dan Piraro (Bizarro, experimenting with animation based on his cartoon panels)

Chaos: (March 14th, 1991)
Chaos theory. A bit more heavy on the science (popularist science reporting that is), side with only a bit of discussion on its use in art/fiction/SF.

Part One James Gleick (explaining Chaos Theory itself, Fractals, the Butterfly Effect and why it took so long to reach the public consciousness), Caleb Howard (computer hacker, on impact of fractals on computer animation)
Part Two: CGi short film Panspermia, Jeff Evans (on sterility and unnatural perfection in computer graphics being corrected by fractals and chaos theory), James Gleick (on the fractalness of Ferns, and to be wary of the human tendency to pattern-recognize). Here's the slow switching over to Chaos theory in art and fiction: Bill Sienkiewicz (on using Fractals in Big Numbers, with Alan Moore, theological/philosophical implications on chaos theory and fractals), Jeff Evans (on that last topic), James Gleick (on misunderstanding of theory in general to extend to social/philosophical problems), the host talks about the tendency of SF writers to misunderstand science or to just use it as gobledegook to base their stories around
Part Three: George Zebrowski (on his reaction to James Gleick book about Chaos Theory), Garfield Reeve-Stevens (on his reaction to the book, and whether he plans to use Chaos theory in his work), Gregory Benford (on using Chaos Theory in SF), Douglas Adams (on his reaction after reading Chaos on how everything seems to fit in with it), James Gleick (on the idea catching fire in the culture at large).

Fear: October 31, 1991

Horror, the use of Fear itself as a theme in fiction, and what scares creators

Part One: Archie Goodwin (on role of fear in storytelling, the "safe scare", Stephen Jones (horror anthologist on the two basic emotions being Fear and Love, and how the best stories combine both, and the best use of fear he's read, the "show or don't show the monster" debate), Tanya Huff (on why we like to be scared, fear being like sex). Some examples of SF that uses Fear in them. Bob Shaw (on why he's so intrigued by fear, and his own phobia, and science as 'pushing away darkness to make us feel better')Part Two: Louis Shiner (on his use of Tesla and his phobias in his story White City), Brian Stableford (on why Fear's begun to play such a large role in his work, particularly his vampire novel the Empire of Fear, the current popularity of Horror, a nice scientific look at the connection between fear and arousal), Neil Gaiman (the role of Fear in Sandman, the difference between Fear and Horror), Pete Milligan and Grant Morrison (on exploring Fear and Dread in their comics, fear as dislocating the mind and the startings of religion)
Part Three: Clive Barker (on different types of fears, and all his personal fears, and why he's using less fear in his book Imajica, and how he doesn't think his early stories really evoked fear, or why fear's not especially interesting on its own, on what medium fear works best in), Jeff Ryman (and the role of Fear in the Wizard of Oz, fear as social control)

And Profiles, an episode where he profiles 3 specific creators, Daniel Clowes (independent comic 8Ball), Peter Straub (horror author), and Marv Newland (animator), but none of them especially interest me so no detailed breakdown (however, Part 2 does contain the complete short film "Bambi Meets Godzilla", done by Newland, and the third part is mostly Straub talking about horror so it works as a nice companion to the Fear ep).
Part One Part Two Part Three

Looking forward to next week, Violence, which I believe has interview bits with Brian Stableford about his pacifist space opera hero, Star Pilot Grainger, the first time I've seen it since I actually read (and loved) the books. PoG was one of the reasons for me trying them, too.

In other news, been having a bit of headaches lately, think it's probably eye strain. Which is annoying, cause I only have one left working and so many things I enjoy doing involve using it. Need perfect cyber-eyes to get invented now. And to become rich and handsome, and not at all socially awkward, so long as I'm dreaming.

TVwise... Glee's 2nd episode wasn't bad, not quite as fun as the first, but okay. Supernatural had its premiere, and, well, it was okay, a few fun bits, a few meh bits, but Bobby is awesome as usual.

Been watching old school Who as usual. I'll probably finish Four's run and then take a break for a while. Not because I specifically want to, but once regular TV starts up again I find I have less time for it since I have more I need to download (often legally, thanks to TV channel websites) that I missed during the regular week. I can pick up with Five in the summer or during the rerun-gaps that crop up every once in a while in the regular season. Just finished Shada, and the season's been reasonably fun. Think the Nightmare of Eden was one of my favorites of the recent batch. As for the big "Which Romana is better" debate? Right now I'm still putting them about even. I don't have a particular preference one way or the other. II has a slightly more friendly chemistry with the Doctor, true, but I kind of liked the slight standoffishness of I. So, again, they're about even, just II had a longer time to shine and slightly better stories, I think, but that's not the actress' fault so I can hardly hold it against that version.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
That time again...

Februray 14th, 1991 - Projects: (Highlighting a few specific projects by creators in SF, Fantasy, and Comics, in 1991)

Part One: Interviews with Todd McFarlane (on changing the look of Spider-Man and how he writes), Charles Vess (on a Spider-Man story and illustrating a Sandman story about A Midsummer Night's Dream), Neil Gaiman (plans for the Sandman story Seasons of Mists and how he uses overly long chapter titles), George Pratt (on Enemy Ace and using it to make a statement on Vietnam),
Part Two: Interview with Will Eisner (on To The Heart of the Storm), bit of a rant on how SF and comics are disrespected in culture, Interviews with Frank Miller (on Elektra Lives Again and how Lynn Varley's coloring made some big differences), Jack Womack (on the Draco Corporation novels, specifically the 4th novel, Elvissey and the last books), Fabian Nicieza (on editing Barbie comics)
Part Three: Interview with Neil Gaiman (on The Books of Magic), a bit of 'cartoons for adults' but this ep cuts off abruptly before the interview with the creator.

Sci-Fi's True North (February 12, 1990)

Early ep (overuse of cheesy effects, longer interviews on more wide ranging topics), on the Canadian Identity in SF. Kind of a lame ep too.

Part One: Interviews With Lorna Toolis (on Toronto's library SF collection, on whether there's a Canadian style in SF, themes that crop up a lot in Canadian SF compared to US, top Canadian Writers, the Tesseracts collection (of Canadian SF), various magazines and the Canadian SF community), communications with other SF libraries)
Part Two: Bernie Finklestein (Rock & Roll guy and SF fan, on his earliest SF memories, the intersection of Rock & Roll and SF, the 50s paranoia about nuclear annihilation)
Part Three: Kent Burles (Canadian
comic artist, on his Planet of the Apes project, how he works with an American writer long-distance), Dave Ross (Canadian artist, about drawing Wolverine, problems with being a Canadian artist working in an American field, missing deadlines), viewer mail

Will Eisner and the Spirit - October 18th, 1990.
50th anniversary of the Spirit. Just links here, no summaries, because although I respect his contributions, I'm just not personally terribly interested in an ep all about him and the Spirit.

Part One Part Two Part Three

M-Space: Moebius and Merril, Spotlight on comic creator Moebius and SF Author Judith Merril, December 13th, 1990)
Part One: Mail, Interviews with Frank Miller (on Moebius' work), Jean Giraud (Moebius himself, on why he chose to work in comics, how he got started with drawing, why he still does it), Steve Leialoha (on why he likes Moebius' work), Moebius (on his collaborationals with filmmaker Alexandro Jodorowsky), Sergio Aragones (on Jodorowsky), Steve Bissette (on Moebius and Jodorowsky's comic colaboration Eyes of the Cat)
Part Two: Moebius (on The Incal, how he got into Science Fiction, Trina Robbins (raving about Moebius and why they have small audiences), Moebius (on how he sees himself). Switch in topic to Merril. Interviews with Judith Merrill (on how she got into writing Science Fiction, nice story about Ted (Theordore Sturgeon?)convinced her to try writing Science Fiction), Guy Gavriel Kay (on Merril's importance in improving the quality of the actual writing in science fiction), Merril (on being one of the very few women writers over her time, on her derivative novels she co-wrote super quickly, that became the most popular thing she's written)
Part Three: Merril's influence on an editor, introducing the New Wave, Interviews with Merril (on producing an anthology, producing Tesseracts Canadian SF anthology, why she left the US permanently for Canada during the Vietnam War, the Roshdale experiment, bringing her huge SF collection with her and so starting the Spaced Out Library, the SF Library in Toronto (now known as the Merril Collection))

(Next week's should be better, Form, Chaos, and Fear)


---

Now that that's done, what else is new? Long weekend technically, but not for me, cause I still work. But yay, extra money. And yay for September, because it means the dry season for TV is nearing a close. I think most things I watch or am interesting in starting to watch start NEXT week, but there's a trickle here and there.

So far there's just one show that's hit my attention index, and it's a bit of a surprising one. Glee. Apparently it aired the first ep last year after American Idol, but since I don't care about that I never even heard about it, and just saw commercials and, last Wednesday, when it was on and nothing else was, decided to give it a try. ANd, y'know, I liked it. Which is odd, because I don't listen to music, so that it's set around a new Glee Club full of social rejects doing musical numbers doesn't do anything for me. And the show is a bit predictable and obvious in some ways. But it's also had a bit of a quirkyness to it that I liked. I think I like it in part because it hits on a couple of my squeepoints (like squickpoints, but opposite). (more behind cut). Read more... ) I'm not 100% sold on it, but I liked it enough to give it a couple episodes to try out.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
February 28, 1991 - Marketing & Merchandising.

Not an especially interesting episode to me, but for completeness' sake, and there's a bit of interest here.

Part One: Spider and Jeanne Robinson on Marketing of SF and what audience to target, Jack Vance on how Dune had trouble getting published and how it gained its appeal and sequels, Spider Robinson on an autograph session and a particularly stupid distributor, Guy Gavriel Kay on the prevelance of fantasy and its commercial success and how success attracts hacks, Jim Baen on the crowded marketplace and the sales life-cycles of books, Terry Brooks on how he explains his sales.
Part Two: George R. R. Martin on whether he considers himself a "science fiction" writer and the difficulty of marketting writers who don't fit into boxes, Peter Straub on readers expectations of writers can cause problems, Bob Kane on the Batman marketting machine growing from the 80s movie, and the danger of overexposure, Kevin Eastman on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and how marketting made it a megabrand, James L. Brooks on the merchandising of the Simpsons, Sam Simon on whether think the merchandising is overwhelming the show
Part Three: Matt Groening on why the Simpsons show itself is popular, Fabian Nicieza on marketting of concepts and why certain comics (Todd McFarlane) get super marketting gimmicks). Bill Marks on the marketting of Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man and his invention of sealed bagged comics, and marketting to try to direct people to the good, and stangnation of the comic industry and trying to diversify the industry (in 1991)


April 11, 1991 - Villains in SF, comics, and fantasy:
Part One: General introduction and a quote about Villains by Mary Wollstoncraft, Comics first. Interviews with Max Allan Collins (on Dick Tracy's Villains), Montage of comic creators on what makes good villains and favorite villains (Archie Goodwin, Louise Simonson, Mike Mignola), Fabian Nicieza (on what makes a good supervillain and well-motivated villains, the remotivating of Lex Luthor), Gregory Benford (If the 'idea' in a SF novel is the hero, what's the villain), Nancy Kress (on creating villains in SF with complexity)
Part Two: Jack Womack (on the lack of real villains in his Draco books), Charles de Lint (on what makes a great fantasy villain), Tanya Huff (same topic), Ty Templeton (on favorite comic book villain, Luthor, and why, and also on how the Joker complements Batman so well), Kate Worley (on the lack of individual villains in Omaha, the Cat Dancer as opposed to corporate or systemized evil)
Part Three: Steve Bissett (on the more recent nuanced view of evil in comics, and his feelings on what caused it for him - Watergate), Neil Gaiman (the problem of villains, and how they're just people, with good and bad in them), and moving on to the Serial Killer as the last bastion of pure evil, with Peter Straub (on the fascination with serial killers in fiction compared with the almost mundanity of the real facts of them), Garfield Reeve-Stevens (on the power and appeal of the Joker)

January 31, 1991 - Voice/American Artform

Whether comic books and SF are international artforms or there's a strong 'American' voice to them, and a look at some other country voices.
Part One: Some extended jokes about a Canadian-voice Star Trek, Interviews with Nancy Kress (on how classic SF started as British, even if they weren't always marketted as SF, whereas American SF was ghettoized), Candas Jane Dorsey (on the origins of US SF and being extremely formulaic, and various phases of SF), Gregory Benford (on the US not being great on the traditional forms, and how the strength was in their 'invented' genres, and why good SF elsewhere in the world isn't widely popular), Jim Baen (whether there's still an American voice in SF, and what it is, and how the experience of Vietnam altered American SF's voice),

Part Two: Nancy Kress (on one of the persistant theme of American SF), Jean Giraud/Moebius (on whether SF is an American form, or an English-language form, and the differences in his (French) outlook and how it influences his work, and whether he feels comics are an American artform or European), Harlan Ellison (on comic books as one of the 5 native US artforms even though it's exploded wildly elsewhere), Will Eisner (on greater respect in Europe for comic artists than in the US), Denys Cowan (the view of American comics, in America, as 'trash'), Bill Sienkiewicz (on the new energy of comics in US and England, in the early 90s), Chester Brown (on his Canadian autobiographical comic Yummy Fur, and how much Canada influences his work and what Canadian readers get out of his story), some speculation on whether a canadian setting is enough to make something Canadian, and how Americans often write Canadian settings incomics like Alpha Flight.
Part Three: Editor of Canadian short SF Anthology "On Spec", Marianne Nelson (on the 'Canadian voice in Science Fiction'), Judith Merril (on how the looming presence of the environment in Canadian lives makes us more inclined towards SF even in mainstream works), Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens (on whether there's a particular Canadian voice in SF, and their view of no), Candas Jane Dorsey (on Canadian SF, and why it's so hard to recognize the Canadian SF community), Dave Duncan (the lack of the size of Canadian market making it hard to create a market for Canadian SF, but they do well across the border), Tanya Huff (about how Canadian settings are being a bit trendy), Spider Robinson (on his belief that Canadians are coming out of the closet), Guy Gabriel Kay (on it being okay to be a Canadian writer now, in general), Tanya Huff (on how we're between US and British styles)

April 18, 1991 - Ecology
Part One: Douglas Adams (on his non-fiction book about endangered species and how he came to write it, and some stuff about Madagascar), Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens (on why SF and Ecology are nothing new to SF, even if they're especially popular lately), Spider Robinson (about David Brin's novel Earth), Robert J. Sawyer (on Face of God, and a sort of eco-conscious aliens), Julian Grant on ecological themes in SF movies being as early as the 50s
Part Two: Steve Bissette (on Swamp Thing and how it evolved ecologically, and how DC lost interest in the ecological message after they left), Ty Templeton (on Clorophyll Kid and designing a terminally-ill Raccoon mascot for the Canadian government that wasn't looked upon too kindly), Gregory Benford (on whether technology and its waste byproducts will destroy us and why technology itself isn't a bad thing), Spider Robinson (on what he hopes from future technology and nanotechnology), Lewis Shiner and Larry Niven (on two competing ideas, why looking for technological solutions are a little wrongheaded, vs terraforming the Earth), Nancy Kress (on how the contradictory reports make it hard for the layman to really get a sense of how much, if any, danger there is)
Part Three: James Trefil (on how much science you need to know to understand the environmental issues), Gregory Benford (on why he feels people opposed to Nuclear Power usually aren't thinking things through). Pamela Sargent (on Terraforming, specifically terraforming Venus, and the moral issues behind it), Lois McMaster Bujold (on terraforming in Barrayar novels, and whether she thinks its too dangerous to try, and views on Nature, and whether smart is actually a survival characteristic long term), Douglas Adams (on sliding towards the edge of disaster, and whether humanity will go extinct, and his lack of despair at the idea)
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Wow, over the last week or so a whole lot of Prisoners of Gravity eps have appeared on Youtube. So, I'll do my usual link thing. Probably a couple/few a week till I catch up. I know my flist doesn't care about it, but I love this stuff and the interviews with SF authors on SF topics, so nyah.

Time Travel (December 1992)
Part One: Host Introductions and brief history of Time Travel in fiction, Interviews with L. Sprague deCamp (on Lest Darkness Fall, and inspirations for writing it, and problems in time travel of dealing with/understanding earlier versions of one's own tongue), Michael Moorcock ("Behold the Man", on why Time Travel's so compelling, and his novella/novel), John Gribbin (on the scientific plausibility of Time Travel)
Part Two: Gregory Benford (on his novel Timescape and time-reversibility of scientific equations, paradoxes), Geoffrey Landis (on drawing on Dirac's theories of time in his story Ripples in the Dirac Sea), Robert Silverberg (Ugly Little Boy/Up the Line, on the narrative choice to not go into much detail on the science, and his favorite time travel stories), Spider Robinson (on Heinlein's story "All You Zombies", full spoilers)
Part Three: Joe Haldeman (on his nebula award winning story The Hemmingway Hoax), Connie Willis (on Firewatch and Doomsday Book, and why her time travellers mess with the past, and on the perspective of future compared to the presence, plus a bit of talking about her not-at-that-point-released book To Say Nothing of the Dog)

Shared Worlds: (December 1992)
Part One: Interviews with James Morrow (on his objections to 'fiction to order' and shared worlds as literature by committee being anti-art, and yet his own contributions), C.J. Cherryh (on the shared world as a new literary form, and how the process tends to work), George R.R. Martin (on Wild Cards, and advantages/disadvantages of shared world setup and how multiple authors points of view can avoid making the author's moral views 'succeed')
Part Two: Neil Gaiman (on pitfalls of shared worlds to avoid, and how Sandman, one of his most famous works, is a shared world character he doesn't own, so how does he protect it), Fabian Nicieza (on how the X-books all fit together into one continuity. he also gets spit on), John Byrne (on keeping characters 'pure' in a shared world and correcting things you don't like in other works "right now" as opposed to waiting till they're gone, and Next Men, benefits of owning your own characters vs working on company characters), Walt Simonson (on playing in others sandboxes in comics)
Part Three: Peter David (on attractions of writing in shared worlds - Marvel, Trek, compared to the problems of being restricted in what you can do with the characters), J.M. Dillard (working on Star Trek novels, and how working with established characters is something of a 'free ride', but also restrictions), Judith and Garfield Reeve-Stevens (on writing Prime Directive, on how you maintain suspense when you know that the characters can't really be in any danger, and how you approach writing 'famous' characters), Harlan Ellison (on how he abhors shared worlds and that anyone who gets involved with them serves the devil)

Medea/Murasaki (Shared Worlds Part II) (December 1992)
Continuation of last episode: A look at two specific shared world concepts, one developed by Harlan Ellison himself, the second designed as Medea's "heir".

Part One: Origins of Medea in 1975, and the worldbuilding specs of the world, designed by the likes of Poul Anderson, Hal Clement, Larry Niven, Frederick Pohl, and others. Interviews with Harlan Ellison (on how it all started), Robert Silverberg (on receiving the specs and discussing them over dinner, and the seminar), notes about the biology of the Fuxes.
Part Two: Frank Kelly Freas (who did paintings and illustrations for the project, on the Fuxes unique life-cycle, Harlan Ellison (on choosing the last two writers after the seminar, and why only one female author was included), Kate Wilhelm (on her story for the book), Jack Williamson (on coming in late), Robert Silverberg (on writing the second-last story in the book, and forcing Harlan to write the last), Harlan Ellison (on what he thinks of Medea increasing the popularity of shared worlds). Introduction to Murasaki, designed as a fundraising effort, and some of the specs (by Pohl and Poul)
Part Three: Interviews with Frederick Pohl (on the different approaches to worldbuilding in Medea and Murasaki), David Brin (on how he got involved), Gregory Benford (on whether Murasaki is different/groundbreaking enough to warrant the effort, his arguments against the 'anti-art' argument, and failures of Murasaki), Nancy Kress (on being the only female author in Murasaki, and working with someone else's aliens), Robert Silverberg (on whether he things Murasaki lived up to Medea, and why Medea's out of print)

(Man, I wish we still had Prisoners of Gravity around).
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
I'll start with TV. SCC was pretty good this week. I'm going to miss the series when it's gone, as I'm feeling is likely (but not officially confirmed yet, so I hope I'm wrong), despite the big, sudden events in this ep. Dollhouse has also been getting better. It's still nowhere near as good as any of Whedon's other shows, but I find myself watching it as opposed to leaving it on in the background while I do something else.

And found another episode of Prisoners of Gravity. I know none of you care but I do, helps me if I want to find a particular interview later.

This one's on Children in SF & Fantasy.

Part 1: General introduction, John Clute on stories about children and adolescents in general in SF and the SF as 'right of passage' (and the actual book by that title). Kristine-Kathryn Rusch on why SF has so few child characters compared to fantasy, the host lists some examples of kids in SF.
Part 2: (mostly) Kids in Fantasy. Mercedes Lackey on how much she draws on her own childhood to write kids, and the life of kids in medieval times. Robert Holdstock (the Bone Forest) on why he likes writing from the child's perspective, Jane Yolen on the difference between writing about children vs writing for children, and rules for writing for kids. Nancy Kress back on the topic of the lack of children in SF.
Part 3: Nancy Kress again on how having kids affected her view of the world. Other SF writers on how kids have affected their writing careers (Gwyneth Jones, Esther Friesner, Pat Cadigan). More general interview with Monica Hughes (of the Isis Trilogy): how she started writing SF for children, inspiration for the Isis Trilogy, and whether she feels she's competing with the more commercialized entertainment for children.

Speaking of children in SF/Fantasy, writing update. Really, it's mostly been slogging it again. I haven't felt particularly inspired about anything recently. However, while I was exhausted of writing one of the things I was writing on last, I still had words to write for the week and went to an old story, one of my longer unfinished novel-like works. Read more... )

Anyay, I think the reason I still have the lack of writing-excitedness is I'm still in my winter depression, despite the fact that it's spring. I don't really feel much like _anything_ except the occasional fancy that strikes me. You're supposed to go away now, thanks! Oh well, at least I seem to have shaken that cold (or series of colds) that've been dogging me for months.

And since this post is going to be using the canadiana tag anyway, just for an idle bit of fun. A number of my friends have mentioned the Law and Order: UK series. So, as is my wont, I began to think about Law and Order: Canada. So a Canadiana Challenge for any Canadians on my flist who want to participate (either in comments or your own journal). Cast a Law and Order Canada. The rules:
Read more... )

Finally, I think I'll talk about the biggest of my recent timesinks lately. As you may remember, I got a new new computer recently. Now, my old new computer was rather old, and so I couldn't really play much in the way of games on it (I still have my old old computer, but it's pretty much just for web browsing my favorite sites, writing, and e-mail). I think the newest (non flash or simple puzzle) game I played on it was Planescape Torment. Or maybe Black and White. Whichever was newest. But now I can actually play new games. And, as it turned out, my brother had a copy of Fallout 3. So, I've been playing that. It's a post apocalyptic semi-RPG, semi-shooter. And it's reasonably fun. I think I'm about halfway through the main quest, but there are so many side quests I keep getting distracted with. I'm playing Good, because, well, I find it hard to play evil. I even started a new character to play evil for a while and whenever I tried to choose the evil conversation options I thought, "I don't want to say that, that's mean!". Not to mention things like blowing up a whole town.
Anyway, the game is fun but there are some annoyances, like characters who you just finished talking to a few seconds ago, asking you if you're back from the assignment they _just_ sent you on. And unrealistic things like where you see something happening, go away, do something else for a few days of game time, come back, and the people you left are all pretty much doing the exact same thing, as though no time had passed for them. Which got me thinking. What if you made a game that made use of that failing as a game mechanic, much like Planescape: Torment did with dying and respawning. And continued thinking and came up with a general plot sketch:
Read more... ) In conclusion, I should totally write for video games!! Anyway, given that games play with time a lot, and how little I'm 'plugged in' to gaming news, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody already did something much like that. But it amused me anyway.

In comics, Marvel's announced Dark X-Men with a lineup of mostly people not usually in X-books, and continuing Marvel beating the adjective Dark into the ground. Personally, I'm waiting for Dark Runaways, with a returned Alex leading Topher (brought back to life for Dracula's war effort), Excavator, Penance/Hollow, and an alternate universe Squirrel Girl where she's a master thief who stole Doctor Doom's universe-travelling gear, her killer giant mutant squirrel Monkey Joe, and Mordred the Magician who's astrally inhabiting the body of Lotus, who accidentally summoned him. Or not. Anyway, although the lineup (of Dark X-Men) is kinda-sorta interesting in parts, I'm not bothering and can't wait until Marvel unDarks everything.

I think that's it for today. I do have a few memes saved up I need to get to but this is getting a bit long so I'll save them for a bit later.

Edit: Weird, while I was looking up the link to my review of Planescape: Torment, I stumbled on this post, from 2006, where (among other things), I relate a dream, that seems to be the general concept of (the most recent) New Warriors, combined with the title of Young X-Men. Marvel, are you reading my journal and stealing my ideas and making them crappier? Or reading my dreams?
newnumber6: (comics)
Another Prisoners of Gravity ep, this time on Myths and Archetypes in comic books and speculative fiction.

Part 1: Charles deLint on including and playing with mythological material, and using obscure mythological names, Robert Sawyer on Golden Fleece and including/adapting certain themes from Greek mythology, Walt Simonson on Thor in Marvel comics, Chris Claremont on superheroes as modern mythology
Part 2: Neil Gaiman on Superman, Dave McKean and Grant Morrison (WITH HAIR!!) on Arkham Asylum and Batman, Clive Barker on whether there's a 'collective unconscious' of horror, Robert Hadji,
'horror expert', on Frankenstein's Monster, Matt Wagner on Grendel (the comic series)
Part 3: Charles deLint on Beowulf, and where fantasy authors get their ideas, Guy Gabriel Kay on Joseph Campbell's "Hero of a Thousand Faces", Candas Jane Dorsey on Star Trek as Modern Myth, Chris Claremont again on how the stories of the past/today become the myths of today/tomorrow (Brother Power: The Geek reference!).

In other news, as everyone probably already knows, [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily was shut down. There's a new one over at InsaneJournal, where I'll be (had to create an account, but that also means I can use lots more icons, since you get 100 free there), and also a [livejournal.com profile] noscans_daily here, but, I can't see myself following that one. End of an era, still.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
COLD. Or maybe that's C-C-C-OLD!

So, when I was on my way to work, it was supposed to be about -29 (C, that's something like -21 F I think) with the wind chill. But hey, I'm a Canadian, I only had to be out for about 2-3 hours walk today since it's a comic day. No biggie.

Then I go to take a shower before work... no hot water.

After an abortive attempt to boil water and use it for a bath (I just didn't have the time to get enough hot enough to make a difference), I said screw it and just did a shower. Of course, I did it the reverse of usual. You know how you usually try to stay as much as possible in the spray because outside it's cold. I had to stay as much outside the spray and just dip my hands and hair in to clean and rinse off. And then, when I was almost done, rinsing my hair and about to step out... the hot water comes back on. Not full force. The hot water tap was turned all the way, the cold not at all (not the smartest plan, probably, just in case it all came on at once, but I'm a good jumper), and still it was only slightly more than body temperature. But still I did a quick rewash (because you can't get everything clean in cold water) and shampoo and soaked in the semi-warm water to warm myself up for an extra minute or two.

Still, fate was not looking good for me. But I spit in the face of Fate! Usually right before it kicks me in the stomach. Then it's time for my countermove. Doubled over, vomit on its shoes. And Fate has some expensive shoes. That, my friends, I consider a win.

Then, out to the frozen Canadian winter. Now, I may have mentioned this before, but what I wear generally only has three areas of variation. Hat, gloves, and jacket. My hat's a toque, relatively warm. My gloves not too bad but still get my hands pretty cold. My jacket is a light windbreaker, with three buttons missing and a broken zipper. These I only wear when the temperature's too cold. Underneath all that, I wear jeans and a t-shirt (and socks and shoes and underwear for all you nitpickers). That's it. Summer or winter. -30 or +30. It is a mark of my Canadian pride to endure, especially the winter. In the ultimate extreme, I'll pull the toque down over my face. I'm used to it, and I've gone walking for hours in the coldest temperatures like that and been relatively comfortable (The main discomfort is that when it gets too cold sometimes I can't read while I'm walking). But, it should tell you that it's was supposed to be a cold day. But I made no change to my routine.

And it wasn't that bad. I didn't have to pull my hat over my face, and for most of the walk, I didn't even have to stop reading (there was a time when I was walking a little more into the wind and my fingers were starting to numb). It was actually rather pleasant. It's the kind of cold that numbs the Weltschmerz and whispers in your ear, the kind of cold that you take to the market on a foggy day and three apples screw driver swallow you whole and spit you out again inflexible and starlight.

It's remotely possible my brain is still dethawing as I'm typing this. The gist of what I'm trying to say is that I endured. I am Canadian! Also, I much prefer really cold to not so cold but very slushy and rainy, as was the case last time I made the big trip.

Anyway, on to New Comic Day!

This week I got two books:

Captain Britain and MI-13 #9 (My pick of the week, but man, Cornell depresses me sometimes!)
NYX: No Way Home #5 (holdover from last week. Okay, will have to see how it all ties together though).

Of minor interest, the Obama covers of Spidey were already sold out when I got there, within an hour of opening. I might have got one if they were cover price and not marked up (I don't know if they did or not but they sometimes mark up the variants).

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

Work was okay. Got there early, and finished quickly.

And just learning sad news. Patrick McGoohan, best known as Number 6 in the TV show The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80. He is the reason number6 is part of my username. RIP, man. Be Seeing You.

Edited to Add: Not just McGoohan, but also Ricardo Mantalban... KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Hope everyone has/had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Rockin' Solstice, Good Eid (yeah, I know I'm a bit late on that), Cheery Festivus, Transcendent First Lunar Orbit, Wonderful Winter, Super Summer (for the S.Hemispherians on the flist), and otherwise generally pleasing time of any other holiday I missed.

Since the holiday season is ideally, for families, I have something family themed. Another Prisoners of Gravity episode! This one deals with the treatment of "family" in SF, Fantasy, and Comics!

Part One: Gregory Benford on the changing nature of families, Spider Robinson, Generation Ships, Robert J. Sawyer about how families survive in Generation Starships in Golden Fleece, Pamela Sargent on the prevelance of dysfunctional families in SF, Christopher Hinz on why most of the families he writes about are broken. Lewis Shiner on autobiographical elements in his own work, Spider Robinson on his story "Serpent's Teeth", and becoming a parent
Part Two: Ken Oppel on The Live-Forever Machine and whether he sees 'broken families' becoming more prevelant, and practical reason to get rid of parents when writing, particularly kid's books, Garfield Reeves-Stevens on Dark Matter's main character's family life, Matt Wagner on the comic Grendel and the importance of family in it, Bill Sienkiewicz on Stray Toasters and the abusive family life in it, Neil Gaiman on abuse in Violent Cases, Fabian Nicieza on the Superhero Team as surrogate family, specificially in his in New Warriors (he also pronounces his own name)!
Part Three: Kevin Eastman on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guy Gavriel Kay on the importance of family in the renaissance and in Tigana, and family members betraying each other, Pamela Sargent on family in her Venus books, Robert J. Sawyer on Golden Fleece

And speaking of Family, I've done my Xmas shopping, finally, this morning after work.
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Another Prisoners of Gravity vid came up over the weekend, so I thought I'd do another pimp-and-post. This one's topic... Dreams!

Part 1: Brian Stableford on literary use of dreams, and his use fo them in Werewolves of London and Angel of Pain, Neil Gaiman on Sandman and how his dreams influence his writing, Inker Mark Buckingham on the Sandman Special, Neil Gaiman on A Game of You arc.
Part 2: Charles de Lint on why dreams are so important in his fiction and the similarity to the rules of faerie, Clive Barker on Imajica and shamanism, Peter Straub on his dreams influencing his writing, particularly in Koko
Part 3: Various writers on whether they keep Dream Diaries and thier usefulness, and particular dreams and dream inspirations they've had (Jack Dann, Dan Simmons, Pat Cadigan, Barrington J. Baley, Michael Moorcock). Brian Aldiss
(some slight sound synch issues on this one, at least for me, but not horribe)


In other TV news I'm actually quite digging the BBC's Survivors show.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
This week I got one book:

Runaways #3 (okay, though not as good as last issue and I'm not sure certain elements of the plot work for me)

Full reviews as usual at my comic reviews site for anyone interested.

Also picked up at the used bookstore: "A For Anything" by Damon Knight.

Work was okay, not bad a load and earlyish. Also got home earlier because I've decided that work is sufficiently late enough consistently enough that I can afford to go for comics before work instead of going after.

Terminator was pretty good this week, and apparently it's been renewed for the full season, which is good news, as I was worried for a while. I still suspect it won't make it to _next_ season, but a confirmed 22 episodes is still good news by my ear. Heroes was... well, it wasn't as bad as it has been recently. I still think they made some awful choices this year, but it's _almost_ looking like they _might_ be able to eventually pull themselves out of it and explain some of the earlier crackheadedness in a not-completely WTFery way. But I'm not holding my breath.

Oh, and someone on my flist already mentioned this, but since I just saw it for myself, much love from this exchange from Corner Gas:

Lacey: Sorry, I guess it'll be one of life's great mysteries, like "Who would win between Spider-Man and..." (trails off)
Davis: ... Sasquatch.
Lacey: Okay, Sasquatch.
Brent: First of all, are you talking about Spider-Man fighting any old Sasquatch, or Sasquatch from Alpha Flight? Two completely different scenarios.


I'm so glad they got an Alpha Flight reference in, considering it's Canadian and the main character reads comics.
newnumber6: (rotating2)
Yay, comics weren't delayed this week due to Thanksgiving. Wasn't sure when I left. Anyway, this week I got:

Captain Britain and MI13 #6 (my Pick of the Week, although a bit weaker than normal issues)
NYX: No Way Home #3 (still doesn't feel much like the original NYX, but I'm sticking with it for now)
Uncanny X-Men #503 (this series really isn't doing it for me).

Work was okay, but a bit late and heavier than normal, so meh. Tiring.

So, Canadian election yesterday, Conservative Minority. Not as good as I'd hoped (they made gains), but better than I thought they were heading in the early stages of the election (where it looked like a Conservative Majority was certain). Glad the NDP made some gains, though I wish they were at the expense of the Conservatives rather than the Liberals. I suppose maybe it'll be okay, gives the Liberals time to get a new leader (I really think Dion failed to connect to people and get his message across) and come back next time. On the whole though a big waste of money and we'll probably be back to the polls in 2 years, I'd imagine - Harper has already shown he has trouble playing nice with others in a minority government, even when the majority of Canadians are voting ABC (Anybody BUT Conservatives, for the non-Canadians on the flist) - last minority he should have demonstrated leadership and worked with the other parties to get things done, instead he forced the other parties to either vote his way or trigger another useless expensive election. I figure he'll probably do the same this time. Oh well, at least it's over and I don't have to listen to the stupid attack ads anymore (of course, the Conservatives were willing to run them long before any elections were called)
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
It's Canadian thanksgiving this weekend, but we'll be postponing ours till next week because of evil gnomes. Or scheduling problems. But evil gnomes sound better.

So instead I'll talk about TV.

Atlantis was good this week. I have to admit I didn't see the big revelation coming, and I was rather pleased with it because (spoilers start now) Read more... )

Also, I've been dipping into Nostalgia this week as through... magic, I found an old TV show I enjoyed when I was a kid. It's called The Girl from Tomorrow, and it was Australian-made, about a girl from the Utopian year 3000 who during a time travel experiemnt is taken hostage by a criminal from 2500 and brought to the year 1990, and has to fit in with the world and try to find the missing time capsule. Okay, so it's a kid's show, and although it's reasonably well done for all that, it's probably not worth watching much unless you were a kid or enjoy kid's shows, or are on a nostalgia kick. But I'm 2 of the above 3, so I'm rewatching it - mostly because when it aired here I only caught something like 10 of the 24 episodes and never saw either how it began or how it ended. I really liked it at the time (helped in no small fact as a young teenage boy, I thought the girls in it were cute), and it's enjoyable enough to watch now, despite the cheesy 90s CGI effects. I wonder if anybody else on my flist remembers it.

Wolverine and The X-Men was pretty good this week, although I've never been a fan of Read more... )

Not much else been on that I recall. Terminator was enjoyable this week, for a stand-alone. Heroes was laughable but I already posted on that. Supernatural was okay. I think that's about all there was.

Still haven't finished Avatar, maybe I'll make that my next weekend project (at the almost midpoint for S3 now).
newnumber6: (chase)
More Prisoners of Gravity has shown up on Youtube. One may be particularlly interesting to some on my flist.

Prisoners of Gravity: The All-Watchmen Episode
Part One (Alan Moore on the themes they intended Watchmen to explore, Dave Gibbons on the origins of the characters and the name, Alan Moore on unexpected things they discovered happening in the works, Dave Gibbons on subliminal patterns going through life, repeated motifs)
Part Two (Dave Gibbons on the use of 'the smiley face' and the Comedian, Alan Moore on the Smiley Face, on the use of the 9 panel grid, Gibbons on how to keep the 9 panel grid interesting)
Part Three: (Alan Moore on when everything came together, on his favorite issue, Dave Gibbons on setting it in a 'real world' and Alternate History aspects, Alan Moore on the apocalyptic feeling about the 80s, the legacy of Watchmen (6 years later), and his own recommendations, also some of the host's 1991 thoughts on casting a movie)

War in SF, Horror, and Comics
Part One: Bruce Sterling on the Gulf War as a 'Cyberpunk war' and Islands in the Net, Martha Soukup on the Gulf War as a SF war, Dan Simmons of Hyperion about the Gulf War and how he sees war in his SF series, and his civil war horror novella "Iverson's Pits", and the legacy of the Civil war)
Part Two: Kristine Kathryn Rusch on why War is popular in fiction, Connie Willis on war in her stories Firewatch and Jack, Archie Goodwin on the evolution of 'realistic' War Comics)
Part Three: Dave Gibbons on the Rogue Trooper comic, Joyce Brabner, on "Real War Stories" comics, Peter Straub on the novel Koko and visiting the Vietnam War Memorial)

(And man, the talking about the Gulf War in 1991 sounds so eerily similar to now at times)
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Found a couple more episodes of Prisoners of Gravity on Youtube...

The Jack Kirby Tribute episode
Part One: (Interviews with Jack Kirby on the importance of Alter Egos, storytelling. Interviews with Len Wein, Kevin Eastman on his influence)
Part Two: Interviews with Dave Gibbons about Jack, interview with Jack Kirby on Captain America, the Fantastic Four (and how the Thing is based on himself), Thor, other Gods/Godlike characters, interview with Will Eisner about Kirby facing down the Mafia (sort of), Walt Simonson on Kirby creating the visual language of superheroes)
Part Three: (Non-comics personalities Charles De Lint & Samuel R. Delany share thoughts on Kirby, Jack Kirby on what he thinks his greatest contribution to comics, advice to the young cartoonists, the influence of his family, Scott McCloud on Kirby's influence, Max Allan Collins on playing his song "King Jack" and others for Kirby himself)

And, though it's not as good, it still has some mild interest:
Adaptations:
Part One: Interviews with Bob Kane (on Batman, the TV show, and the 1988 movie and its sequel), Frank Miller (on The Dark Knight Returns), Kevin Eastman (on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its adaptations), Max Allan Collins (on Dick Tracy and adaptation attempts)
Part Two: Interviews with Dave Stevens (The Rocketeer creator, on its adaptation), Commander Rick talks about SF stories adapted to film, Interview with Larry Niven (about the possibility of bringing Ringworld to film, or comicizing), George R.R. Martin on the Wild Cards novels (novel series adapted from a private roleplaying game and it getting adapted into comics and RPG form)
Part Three: Bill Sienkiewicz (on Classics Illustrated), Rick Geary (on what to cut out in comic adaptations), Mike Kaluta (on the comic adaptation of The Abyss), Harlan Ellison (on adaptations of his work)
newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)
Nothing worth getting today, so just went to work and went home. And it was actually a pretty good day. Truck came pretty early and so with no comics, got home early too.

At the grocery store (No Frills) I saw something that struck me as a little odd. Avatar: The Last Airbender Action Figures. Now, it's not odd that they exist, seems a standard enough thing to do. It'd odd that they were at the grocery store. And what's more, they were only $3.00 each (and looked to be fairly standard action figure quality). At that price, I almost considered getting some, but although I like the show I'm not a huge fanboy for it (I haven't even seen the first or newest season), and they didn't seem to have all the main characters in their selection (Just Aang/Momo, Sokka, Spirit-Form Aang, and Fire-Nation-Guy-With-Scarface-Who's-Name-I-Can't-Remember), and unless you can get all of them it's no fun, they'd feel lonely. I just wish they would get Marvel or DC superheroes at that price, I might actually pick some up.

Anyway, temperature was nice, and it would have been great reading weather (not that cold ever really stops me), except for one thing. Just the faintest drizzle. Enough to make me not want to read and get the book wet, but not enough to actually enjoy the rained-on feeling. Since I couldn't read, as is my wont, I thought. Among other things I was thinking of that PoG episode and my recurring desire to see PoG back. I think if I was a bolder person and could speak publicly with any skill, I would actually get a decent webcam and try and produce my own show, soliciting video interviews with various SF/Fantasy/Comics people and putting the clips together in shows. I actually sort of plotted it out in my head a bit, maybe going with, instead of shooting up into space, as the host "uploading" myself into a NANCY like satellite, and use the first episode to talk about the Singularity and Transhumanism/Posthumanism in SF and comics (and then different subsequent episodes talking about all sorts of different topics). Call it Prisoners of Matter? Prisoners of Flesh? I dunno. But in my head it seems like a cool idea. Alas, I'm not bolder.

Oh, and also, I'll be boycotting LJ on Thursday Night/Friday, like others on my list. No posts, comments, or even reading LJ. Here's the details, if interested. But when it's over I'll still read everyone's posts. I suppose I'll take the time off and try to work more on editing rather than constantly refreshing LJ to see if anything new is going on.

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