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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)

He's enjoyable, but I don't think I can call him one of my favorites. He can be a bit randomly abraisive and pompous, sometimes more than others. I can see why others like him, and I certainly like him much more than Three, but Two and even curmudgeonly One still top him. Probably around tied with Ten, towards but not at the bottom of the Docs I've seen so far. However, he did have a very good set of companions, perhaps better than any other Doctor I've seen (Two's Zoe and Jamie might be my favorite set of companions, but otherwise his weren't especially interesting, whereas Four had several interesting ones).

I did like that Adric called him on essentially 'making stuff up' for explanations, which is one of the things I had to, for my own sanity, decide applied to Ten as well, since he explains so much in ways that doesn't make any rational sense. The only thing that makes sense is that he's not really trying to explain, he's just trying to baffle the people around him with technobabble because he really likes SOUNDing smart, but (perhaps) knows that if he actually explains it in a way that approaches the reality of the situation, he'll just sound like a babbling madman (or the Time Cube guy). Or maybe he just wants to find somebody really smart who'll call him on his crap. So he makes stuff up.

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) The premise is a bit too much like Atlantis at first (trapped in another galaxy with no help from home and first mission is just survival), with the change being most of them weren't expecting to go on a big expedition they might never return from, and they're on a ship with a special mobile Stargate instead of a base).

Some differences from the normal Stargate formula - apparently they'll have a time limit they can spend on a given world before the ship moves on (although presumably, if they had a way of knowing where the ship was going, or could make an educated guess, anyone left behind could probably gate to another world furthur along the schedule and meet up later, but they probably won't). The mobile cameras could be cool, and the potential ongoing connection with Earth (due to the ancient communication device) is at least a nice twist - where they can communicate but not get direct help. Plus a load of secrets. (When I first heard they had them, I already came up with a plot based on them).

It does feel like we've only seen the first 2 hours of a 3 or 4 hour episode though. To really get a feel for it I'll have to see how the show is when "We're going to die in the next day if we don't get what we need!" isn't the primary focus for the stories (and I hope it's not for long, because that gets old quick). We haven't even met any enemies.

Date: 2009-10-04 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In an indirect way, we did "meet" some enemies. I'm fairly certain the mysterious attackers of the base are going to be the main baddie. When they aren't, well, trying to survive on an Ancient ship. I'd have to suspect they didn't want them to get the Gate working, found out they had the right solution and thus showed up to shut them down. They didn't directly confront the ships in orbit, but focused their attacks on the planet. If that's really addressed in the first half of the season or in the first season at all, who knows? I rather hope so. Because I've lived through this we're barely surviving out here schtick for three years watching the old Lost In Space and it's not particularly interesting to me.

Date: 2009-10-04 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I doubt the base attackers will be the main enemy. They were in Goa'uld ships, and the dialog suggested they were presumed to be the Lucian Alliance (the criminal organization of humans who picked up the pieces when the Goa'ulds fell apart). I think they were just a MacGuffin to get everybody onto the Ancient Ship in an emergency situation - they needed an attack otherwise they'd have arrived all better prepared and without all the people who aren't entirely qualified. So they just say the Lucian Alliance heard there was something cool and rare and super-awesome there, they launched a raid, and they accidentally destroyed the planet because they didn't understand how unstable it was. I doubt their role in the story is important beyond that, since they'd have to have a way to get several galaxies away, and if they aren't the Lucien Alliance but somebody else, then they have to be pretty sophisticated to pull off a ruse like that. _Unless_ they do something where, say, some big player with Baal like craftiness organized the raid when it looked like they were getting close to opening it, in the hopes to sneak somebody through the 9th Chevron location, when they was little chance they'd be chosen for a planned expedition. But it would take an awful lot of planning and luckiness to pull off.

I think they're planning on building the enemies slowly.. I wouldn't be surprised if we have half a season of just basic exploring (and meeting some individual episode threats) before they reach anything that could be considered an ongoing enemy like the Goa'uld or the Wraith. I've heard some that they're going to be trying to move away from 'humans in different clothes who all speak English' for aliens at least, and some very vague rumors on the setup of the galaxy itself that suggests some (extremely general) types of foes they might face, but I heard it very early in the production cycle so it could easily have changed.

And of course, Stargate's major enemies tend to be Horror Enemies repurposed (Goauld = Body Snatchers, Wraith = Vampires, Replicators = Bugs and Frankenstein's Monster (for the humanforms, Ori = Demons), so next up is probably either Sci-Fi versions of Zombies, Ghosts, or Werewolves! ;) Well, probably not, but you never know.

But agreed, just "we have to survive" is not a good basis for a series 'threat' and source of tension long term. I'm sure that'll continue to pop up, but I'll be really disappointed if they don't get to at least a state of "okay, we're going to need regular food and equipment replacements but we probably can survive here" before that same first half-of-the-season-point. Especially since, as they said at the end of the first episode, if the ship is really as bad as all that, then it makes much more sense to just settle everybody on a planet.

(Heh, when I saw you'd commented I first figured it'd be about Tegan since I recall you're one of her biggest fans)

Date: 2009-10-05 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, that shows how much I was paying attention to the show at the beginning. And I'd forgotten about the Alliance, because I wasn't particularly impressed with them on the other SG shows. Or did they just appear on one? I watched the last three seasons of SG1 and all of SGA so close together, some of those details merge together.

Just based on the stuff I've heard from the creators, it seems like the general baddies we've seen on the previous SG shows won't be as prominent on SGU. In a way, that's good. In a way, it's not. I just really don't want to see LIS all over again. The entire first season was spent stranded on an alien planet. While it was good for a while, by the mid-point you were just ready for them to get the Jupiter 2 working again so they could actually be lost in space. From what little I managed to make it through with Voyager, at least they didn't have to deal with that kind of stuff very often. Same goes with BSG - the old series, since I never could get into the revamped version.

(Heh, when I saw you'd commented I first figured it'd be about Tegan since I recall you're one of her biggest fans)

I hadn't even noticed you'd mentioned her until now. I'll say this, though, it's alway nice to read positive comments about her from a new viewer. Or new to Tegan as a viewer. Nine times out of ten all I ever see is "JESUS, SHE'S SO ANNOYING."

Date: 2009-10-05 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think the Lucian Alliance only appeared on SG1, although it's possibly they made a brief appearance on an Earth-centered Atlantis ep and I'd forgotten. I don't think so, though.

I know the producers have been hinting the enemies won't be the same type, but I do hope there's at least some kind of ongoing antagonist, or at the very least someone to relate to (even if it's a society that they are sometimes at odds with and sometimes can work with, depending on their needs at a given moment), outside of the interpersonal stuff. The '12 hour time limit' (although that may not be a fixed time limit, it could be slightly different at each stop) lends itself to being able to do "visit once, forget ever after" type stories. But the whole galaxy does have a stargate network, so somebody's probably using them on a regular basis. Maybe they're using it as an opportunity to sort of find their way as they go, though.. you know, throw a few concepts out there, see if they really take fire with both their own imaginations and viewers (though in this case it would probably have to wait till season 2), and evolve them into an ongoing storyline. If they do, exploit them, if not, well, they're not going back to that planet again anytime soon.

I hadn't even noticed you'd mentioned her until now. I'll say this, though, it's alway nice to read positive comments about her from a new viewer. Or new to Tegan as a viewer. Nine times out of ten all I ever see is "JESUS, SHE'S SO ANNOYING."

Well, I'm still only two stories in to her run, so I reserve the right to find her annoying later, but not right now. Even among the 'standard human companion girl' type (probably my least favorite type, I like the aliens or not-from-the-present people), she's at least less bland than some.


newnumber6: Ghostly being (Default)

November 2009


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