Tag Archives: Science Fiction

#25. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — A Shoot the WISB Subcast (w/ fixed audio file)

18 Oct

Space rodents, emo fanatics, and dancing Groots, oh my!  In her first episode as an official member of the crew, Rachael Acks joins Shaun, Paul, and David to discuss the smash hit, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).

We hope you enjoy the episode!

(Note:  a previous version of this post contained two different mp3 files:  one for Sherlock and one for Guardians of the Galaxy.  That has been corrected.)

Spoiler Alert:  the following podcast contains spoilers for the film being reviewed; if you wish to see the film without having it ruined for you, download this podcast and save it for later.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Download the episode here.

Show notes (info about our contributors can be found on the about page):

Comment away!

Z Nation and “A Chick Thing”

17 Oct Z Nation

While I was counting down the hours before the return of The Walking Dead, I took the opportunity to write down some thoughts about Z Nation. Sure, it’s no Walking Dead, but it does have its moments.

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Last weekend, my sister visited, and, among other activities, she took a break from her TV-less lifestyle. After I got to show her the wonderful “Manhattan,” she found that SyFy was starting a four-episode marathon of “Z Nation.”

I had previously caught the last 20 minutes of that show’s premiere, been annoyed by a stupid decision to needlessly pursue a zombie into a clutter-filled deathtrap, and decided just to wait a few weeks for TWD. But my sister wanted to try Z Nation, so we watched for a couple of episodes, and I kept it on after she went to bed. Continue reading

Book Review: Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction edited by Isiah Lavender III

16 Oct Black and Brown Planets edited by Isiah Lavender

In his introduction to this collection of essays, Isiah Lavender III explains that Black and Brown Planets continues a conversation started in the science fiction community with Elisabeth Leonard’s 1997 anthology, Into Darkness Peering: Race and Color in the Fantastic. The cultural and literary criticism found here in looking at works of the recent past become particularly significant as we comprehend a future where, as Lavender III puts it, “the Western world ceases to be dominated by the white majority”:

SF has charted a few of the alternatives for this unknown territory, and the change presents both opportunities and challenges for society to establish new values. In short, skin color matters in our visions of the future…[To] transcend various repetitions of the color line – black, red, and brown – we must be conscious of these repetitions. Continue reading

227. The Omega Man (1971) — A Torture Cinema “Adventure”

15 Oct

Cultists, motorcycles, and Jesus metaphors, oh my!  The crew joins forces to take a stab at The Omega Man, the second adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic, I Am Legend.  Needless to say, this episode went in some really strange places, including a long discussion about cadavers.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 227 — Download (MP3)

The Omega Man (1971)

 

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).  Additional music from “Black Vortex” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Diversity in SF Film: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

15 Oct The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

I thought I’d seen this film before, but apparently not. For a film made in the early ’50s — the era when post WW2 women were told to return to their “feminine roles” — it’s pretty inclusive. From the beginning, we see PoCs as part of the world’s population — even as part of the American population. They may not always have lines, and they may not be a big part of the action, but they exist in the background. Watch an American film today and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Not only do non-model-worthy people not exist, but neither do PoCs. Mind you, the British newscasters say things like “Throughout the Empire and the rest of the world,” and we see shots of these colonials in their colonial-ness — but hey, they EXIST. Wooo. Continue reading

My Superpower: David Colby

13 Oct Debris Dreams by David Colby

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome David Colby to talk about how the power of Realism relates to Debris Dreams.

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So, I once tried to read Game of Thrones, and I got fifty pages in before I threw my Kindle across the room. The first thing that came to mind was:  Oh god, that was a hundred bucks and my Mom’s, I’m so screwed. The second thing that came to mind was:  Man! Everyone in that book was a gigantic A-hole.

But it is realistic. Feudalism, by and large, was a social system that did little more than create self-entitled jerks by separating the ruling class from the ruled and telling them from birth that they were chosen by God to run everything forever, which (as we can see from today’s spate of “affluenza” news stories) is a great way raise sociopaths like Joffrey. Continue reading

“Dying is easy. It’s comedy that’s hard” — Willful Child by Steven Erikson

9 Oct Willful-Child-Steven-Erikson

The A.S.F. Willful Child is the pride and joy of the Terran space fleet. It’s a pity, then, for Earth, and the rest of the universe, that Hadrian Sawback has been named as  its Captain. For all of his brilliance in passing tests and getting through the academy — and obtaining a captaincy at the age of 27 — Hadrian Sawback is a rather rough sort, the perfect product of his species and his culture.  Too bad the rest of the universe — and, for that matter, the rest of his own government — is not prepared for the consequences of giving Captain Sawback a spaceship of his own. Not prepared by half.

The Willful Child by Steven Erikson, best known for the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, is his first space opera novel, with an explicitly comedic bent and purpose. Talking about Willful Child, then, requires an interrogation of the idea of comedy — in fiction and, particularly, in genre fiction.  Comedy is a many-headed hydra of a literary form, with a plethora of styles, modes and varieties.  The physical slapstick of a Jackie Chan film, the comedy of manners of Much Ado About Nothing, the absurdity of the “Romans Go Home” skit of Life of Brian. All of these are forms of comedy, but are extremely different formsof comedy.  To determine if Willful Child is successful as a comedy, then, requires determining what sort of a comedy it is and if it is a successful exemplar of that sub-type of comedy. Continue reading

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