Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Someone Amongst Us Here is Under the Control of the Weed

It's a quote from The Second Doctor in 'Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep' episode 5, from 1968. And I think even Victoria knows THAT can be taken TWO ways.

While seeking ways to waste time and avoid reading 'Shades of Grey' by Jasper Fforde, let me tell you how I devoted many hours in recent months to watching shades of grey 'telesnaps' and surviving footage from the Patrick Troughton episodes of Missing Doctor Who which no longer exist in video form. Why? Shut up.

'The Space Pirates' may scorch the ears with terrible American accents, but the spaceship model work was probably top-notch, plus a cracking good Robert Holmes script and one cliffhanger that had me laughing out loud. (Hint: don't carry tacks in your pants, Doctor!)

'The Web of Fear' has one surviving episode, and it looked Hammer-horror good. Maybe the Yetis weren't THAT goofy after all...? The Doctor and the Brigadier in their first appearance together... and it's missing, damn it!

'The Moonbase' sounded lame, maybe the dullest of the bunch, but 'The Macra Terror' with its giant crabs sounded like so much fun I don't CARE if it WAS lame: make a cartoon of it, somebody!

Make cartoons of ALL of them! What, do you have LIVES or JOBS or something? Give me back 'The Enemy of the World' or give me DEATH!

Sorry, sounds like priggish balderdash now I say it.

Thanks to Graham Strong and others, devoted young nerds who preserved the audio by tape recording it for their own enjoyment at home instead of finding human friends. Thanks to Mark Ayers and the Doctor Who Restoration team, the original actors who recorded descriptive narration, and all the folks who posted their ramshackle recreations on youtube. Thanks to you guys I've met cocky Ben & dolly Polly, heard madmen shrieking, heard Atlantis crumble once more, and grown mightily sick of the sound of a chirping control sphere. Worth it.

When I heard the final episode of 'The Faceless Ones', that was the reality of it. Thanks, for giving me my last new sounds of Patrick Troughton's wonderful Doctor, silenced forever.

You've done a great service to fandom that I, at least, cannot possibly repay.

As a cosmic hobo myself, can I offer you the bits of fluff that I have in my pockets?

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Hugos: Startide Rising

Oh, you guys and gals and uplifted mammals, it's so good!

This a Hugo winner (and Locus and Nebula) I really liked.

Startide Rising won in 1984, and this reading project gave me the chance to get around to reading the first three books in David Brin's Uplift Saga. They take place nearly 500 years in the future, while the people of Earth are newcomers to a rigidly codified galactic culture where status is based on your sapience lineage.

Every other space culture knows who engineered, taught, and otherwise cajoled them into the world of thought. Not humans. Their foundling status is in dispute: who uplifted them? No one claims credit or blame- is humankind the first since the Progenitors to smarten themselves up? Who made who? Who made YOU?
(Heh. AC/DC'd!)

Whatever the case, humans are not the popular kids, but they have a couple of 'kids' of their own: genetically engineered intelligent apes, dolphins, and dogs have become Earth races on their own quest for rights and respect in a wider community.

Startide Rising is the tale of the Streaker, the first dolphin crewed starship, and the startling discovery they stumble upon that makes them the most wanted fugitives in space.

Intrigue, mutiny, moon-sized derelict ships, and a talking chimp. What's not to love? Why did the movie fail to happen, I ask you? I'd go see that. Is it because dolphins are well-known 'slappers'? Couldn't keep their fins off themselves long enough to make a serious movie?

I've got a bunch of unread Brin on my shelves I'd like to get back to.
Also, check out David Brin's blog under his name highlight above: he had much to say about the recent Rapture Fail.

Seems like a cool guy. I'm glad he didn't vanish up to heaven yet. In fact, everybody I like is still here: I guess we'd better get used to uplifting each other.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: The Colour of Magic

"When I think I might die without seeing a hundredth of all there is to see it makes me feel... well, humble, I suppose. And very angry, of course."- Twoflower

1983 brought us Terry Pratchett's "first" Discworld novel (if you don't count 'Strata' which was SORT of the same deal only more sci-fi parody than fantasy parody). Strata was really good, too, actually, and it had more spaceships. Of course, there's an anachronistic spaceship in Krull at the edge of the Discworld, too. Sort of...

Anyway, 'The Colour of Magic' is a hoot and I remain intrigued to read the rest of the series: so thanks a million, bookmonkey!

The tale concerns a flat, magical earth-like world on the back of four elephants on the back of an utterly humongous turtle. The turtle is not on anything- unlike Pratchett.
Oh, I kid! (Seriously, how can the guy be so creative without medicinal aid?)

The spoofs are far-ranging, with emphasis on fantasy quests by the likes of Fritz Leiber and Anne McCaffrey.

Our characters are Rincewind: a wizard whose most effective 'spell' is kicking people in the groin, and Twoflower: a wealthy naif from parts unknown with a flair for photography and an enchanted Luggage devoted enough to pursue him into the very afterlife.

Also: Death, Lady Luck, the unspeakable demon Bel-Shamharoth, Hrun the Barbarian, Liessa of Wyrmberg, and some imaginary dragons. Among an unwashed cast of thousands.
Who started the great fire in the city of Ankh-Morepork? Will Twoflower survive once it becomes widely known that he is rich beyond the dreams of avarice and as helpless as a very tiny kitten? Will Rincewind survive a swordfight he has been forced into by a gung-ho enchanted sword? What terrifying fate is in store for Hrun in Liessa's clutches? What sex is the giant turtle?

These questions and many more can be found within the hilarious pages of this and many other fine DISCWORLD novels! Very recommended.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Space Chimps 2: It's Just Not Worth It

Don't watch "Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back".

Just don't.

I don't care if, like me, you moderately enjoyed the first one ('Space Chimps', as I believe it was called).

I don't care if, spiraling into madness, you thought: "So the voices are different and the art's not as slick- it's got cute, funny monkeys!!!"

And it's still got the delightful voices of Patrick Warburton and John Dimaggio... but they can't save this. Land sakes alive, but that was a dumb movie.

Normal people- weigh in on this for me: did I need to make this post?

Sane people- you wouldn't have watched this anyway, would you?


I hear 'Thor' is awesome.