Thursday, December 31, 2009

Battlestar Rhapsody

Hey I found this on SF Signals blog. Pretty much speaks for itself, but it is pretty frakin funny.

Be kind to your local viruses -You don't want them mad at you!

Now here is something that is really whacked!!!

Ron Huber asks me in a recent email:
  • Ever wonder how far the viruses on our planet would stretch if they were lined up end-to-end?
I am thinking, well there are plenty, so I would not be surprised at say maybe all the way across the country.... ahhhhhhhhhhh nope, off by a little bit

He continues:
  • Answer: 100 times the diameter of our galaxy!

ok there goes the neighborhood!

What's more he sources his facts!!!! Check it out! Source: an article in Nature magazine

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Russians considering rocket to move asteroid off course!

Recently, in a move that has left other space capable countries a bit bemused, Russia is considering sending a space-craft to the Apophis asteroid in hopes of changing its' course and preventing a collision with Earth, a collision that NASA has deemed highly unlikely.

Apophis is an 885-foot asteroid that was first discovered in 2004. Astronomers at one point thought the chances of hitting Earth on one of its' flybys as low as 1 in 37, however the lowest estimate of a collision is now set at 1 in 45,000 for the 2036 pass. What is a bit disconcerting about the 2036 estimate is that it was once 1 in 250,000, so the chances are much higher in 2036 even though they are still stacked well against the asteroid striking Earth even then.

The head of Russia's space agency, Anatoly Perminov disagrees with NASSA's assessment saying, that he heard from a scientist that Apophis is getting closer and may hit the planet.

From the article:
  • Perminov wouldn't disclose any details of the project, saying they still need to be worked out. But he said the mission wouldn't require any nuclear explosions.

New Horizons spacecraft sets new milestone

From Wired is a report on the status of the New Horizons probe. The craft is now closer to Pluto than it is to Earth, plus it reached that historic point in less than four years.

New Horizons is the fastest space-craft ever built. At present it is traveling at 31,000 miles an hour and is located about 1.527 billion miles from Earth.

From the article:
  • The spacecraft will be the first to flyby Pluto and on to the other objects lurking in the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system.
New Horizons is not an orbiter. It will do a flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015. In the nine day period as the probe approaches, flies by and continues on, it is planned to acquire almost 5 gigabytes of data that will take months to transmit back to Earth. Due to the extreme distances it takes a signal over four hours to reach Earth from Pluto.

read complete Wired article here

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Scientific Achievement We Are Waiting For

Here is a post sent in by Xnewsman from the Listverse blog. They are calling it the "top" ten scientific achievements that we are waiting for. Top 10 might be arguable but the list itself pretty much covers advancements I would like to see.

Here is the high points on the list, but really, go check out the article, it will get you thinking.
  • 10: DNA computer - Just one milligram of DNA is capable of holding all the printed material in the world.
  • 9: Permanent Moon Base - NASA currently has plans to have one constructed by 2024. The ESA also has plans to construct a moon base by 2025. Japan and India also each have plans to have a base by 2030.
  • 8: Head Transplant - need I say anymore? (can't say this would be high on my list! pac)
  • 7: Clean Energy - 85% of all energy comes from fossil fuels. Current methods of clean energy include wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, hydro-power, nuclear, bio-fuel.
  • 6: Cure for Cancer - one of the deadliest diseases of the modern era - currently over seven million deaths per year can be attributed to various forms of the disease.
  • 5: Manned Mission to Mars - NASA currently has plans to have a man on Mars sometime in the 2030s, while the ESA plans to do so also around the same time frame. Russia has plans to launch a manned Mars mission by 2020.
  • 4: Space Elevator - Because of its' vast size, a very strong material needs to be developed. At present, one made from carbon nanotubes is a strong possibility, however methods still need to be developed that will make it possible to make the material in large quantities.
  • 3: The Theory of Everything - joining the four fundamental forces: electromagnetic, weak nuclear, strong nuclear, and gravity into one unified theory.
  • 2: Nanomedicine - Nanotechnology has the potential in medicine to treat cancer, perform ultra delicate surgeries, to repair damaged tissues, or to hunt down and destroy certain cells.
  • 1: Journey to the center of the Earth - Currently the deepest man-made hole is less than 0.2% as deep as it needs to be. The deepest hole drilled by man on Earth is located on the Kola Peninsula. currently is "only" 7 miles (12.262 km) deep. That's 40,230 feet.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chris Davies wins UK's Countdown

Now here is something you just have to appreciate! It seems Colin Davies son has been doing quite well for himself in other venues. And who better to bring us up to speed is Colin himself in a recent note to me:
  • My son Chris (the one who composed and played the Pestworld theme) has been taking part in a TV quiz show called Countdown, which is hugely popular in the UK. It's a game of math skill and word knowledge on Channel 4.
  • The news is that Chris won the current series on 18th December and became champion. The win carries quite a lot of status and has attracted the interest of our local and one national paper.
  • Although the show is available online from C4, it is blocked in the US. However a number of clips are available on youtube at:
  • and the whole final can be seen at:
Congrats Chris and excellent news Colin...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation
Director McG
John Connor (Christian Bale)
Marcus (Sam Worthington)
rated pg13 116 minutes

This is the fourth movie in the Terminator series. This time we have a very radical departure for the Terminator franchise. This time we move into the future and meet the adult John Connor as organized military resistance to Skynet is failing and it becomes clear to John that he must make a push to organize and guide what is left of human resistance to the machines.

Curiously the movie doesn't start with Connor in the future, but the mysterious Marcus in present day, who is scheduled for some unknown reason for lethal injection - donates his body for medical research. Marcus wakes up to a world in chaos. In his efforts to discover what happened, saves and befriends not Connor but a teenage Kyle Reese.

After Reese is captured by Skynet, Marcus befriends a downed resistance pilot in hopes of finding Connor and aid in rescuing Reese. For those that may not have seen the movie, I am not going to give away some crucial elements in the movie. Needless to say there are more plot twists than a murder mystery.

The first thing I can pleasantly say about the film is that it is the best movie in the series since the first. With the first Terminator, we were always guessing and never quite sure what was really going on. Reese was great for clearing up some problems, but often causing more questions to arise than he cleared up. The follow on movies played it very safe and really didn't introduce anything new. Sure a new terminator here or there but it was still bad old Skynet sending back bad ole Terminators to get Sarah or later John. Now we are treated to a whole new piece of the Skynet/Terminator time-line. Terminator fans will really find this fascinating.

So, how is Salvation as a movie? Well considering the whole franchise is pure action / drama, Salvation holds the course rock steady. But it takes a few chances brings a whole new time-line segment and comes really close to ensemble acting. So for me that was a pleasant departure. Yeah the ending was like telegraphed 3 movies ago, but at least you are not groaning "not another one!?"

Don't get me wrong, its a fan movie and doesn't even pretend to try and stand on its own merit, but the box office showed that no one should have worried...but if you have never seen a Terminator movie (really? were you in a coma?) go watch the first movie...the others are a waste (if for no other reason than you are trying to figure out whats going on...) and you will already know all you need to.

Not even going to bother rating the DVD...I rented the WS version and it should be the ONLY you view, blue ray or regular because the action is non stop corner to corner. The movie is worth watching and dvd worth renting just for the action and with the DVD that's all you get. Do I have any bitches? Surely! Like someone smack the editor please! One of my favorite character actors, Michael Ironside (not the first time he worked with Arnold in a sci-fi flick) had virtually no on screen time. You could say that about Arnold, but that was all CGI. Editing in the beginning at least was chaotic, but seemed to relax in the second half. Oh you could nit pic I suppose, but it really is a pretty well made film.

Overall I would give it an 8 just because it really is not a stand alone film and NO special features. But if your a Terminator fan This is a worthy rental.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Review: Cryptic by Jack McDevitt

Cryptic by Jack McDevitt
Subterranean Press trade 592 pages HC 450 pages

Career spanning collection of 38 short stories, with a forward by Robert J. Sawyer.

Sorry for getting this review out a bit late, however when I started reading Cryptic I knew that nothing but reading the complete volume would do it justice. I know I could have reviewed it just on the merits of the stories I had already used, but how pleasant to find out that those few were hardly a good cross section of the talent between the covers.

Fans of Beam Me Up podcast will be very familiar with portions of this book. Mr. McDevitt had been a great supporter of the audio venue of science fiction so we had the great good luck to read a few of the stories that would later find their way into this excellent book. One of the first stories I read of Jack's was the beautiful and emotionally charged story, Promises to Keep. As with many ofMcDevitt's works, they are written straight from the heart and honed to a fine edge. Promises to Keep is an excellent example to start from. The characters live and breathe for you and writing in the first person, you can not help but become emotionally invested and at the end the sacrifice is enough to leave you stunned. Easily one of the best stories in the book. But hardly the only one.

Another story was Reports from the Rear. Jack's version of wag the dog but you can practically taste the despair! Short fast read belies just how powerful this story is.

Tyger was the first time I had read a story about pocket universes and their ilk. Oh I had read articles on the theory but it was so convoluted that I could not see how someone could write an easily understandable piece. Jack did it with easy and makes it such a personal heart wrenching tale. I really enjoyed reading this one on the podcast. The imagery was so easy to transport into an audio format plus the sense of hopelessness and loss....powerful stuff.

Henry James, This one's for You was a real interesting departure. So unlike the other stories. maybe because the scope is smaller and more personal. Instead of whole universes, or deepness of space, it's one man's acute sense of loss when his own loss is his one true love is brought low, but a most common of means. But where the other stories were bleak and you could almost wear the despair - Henry James is black humor at it's most subtle and then finally laugh out loud but at a totally inappropriate time. And maybe it isn't really funny, but you find yourself in total agreement with the main character and his motivation.

So, those are the stories that appeared on Beam Me Up but I can assure you are not the only stories in Cryptic that are worthy. The balance of the stories are every bit as good and in most cases better than the ones I read for the podcast. It's stories like Ellie a quiet lonely tale, where one is left watching one man deal with a situation that at first blush seems so totally unfair but where honor wins, but mostly it'sMcDevitt's apt handling of the human condition that really makes this an inspired story.

It's the story chosen to close the book that is the most telling. "Time Travelers Never Die" is a truly masterful time travel story. Wonderfully convoluted and quite literally spread across the ages. The real difference with McDevitt's time travel can be explained in one sentence. He never breaks his own time travel rules. Many authors play fast and loose but Jack will say, you know how that comes out that is why you can't go back and change what you just changed. But then he builds one of the biggest paradoxes I have seen and how the main characters react, handle the problem and some of the events that happen along the way are just brilliant.

All in all, this is a book worthy of anyone's library and more-so if you are a Jack McDevitt fan.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

50 Great Movies Every Science Geek Needs to See

Amber Johnson sends in a post on the Online Degree Programs blog, with an interesting theme. Not just the top 50 science fiction films, but a broader list of movies that would appeal to the science geek in all of us.

From the article:
  • The fifty films ... whether documentaries or pure flights of fancy, delve into the often complex issues surrounding scientific discovery, exploration and alteration, educating as they entertain.
Coooooooool! Check it out...movies like
just to name a few of the listed (and ummm ahhhh some of my all time favs)

But its not just science fiction
  • Life Story Watson and Crick’s journey to unraveling DNA
  • A Beautiful Mind brilliant mathematician John Nash struggle with mental illness

and so many more. I love just browsing through the titles....there is a curious lack of some that I feel would have made a great addition to the list:

to name two and that is a conversation I would really like to start. Look through the complete list. Be honest, just because a movie entertained you doesn't make it a great movie. I saw both Transformers and all the Terminator movies...I wouldn't put them on the list however. The two that I did add were a couple of movies that I found extraordinarily upsetting and moving, but not high on action or special effects but movies that you find yourself saying....please...make it stop.

So suggestions for additions? Subtractions?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Astronauts & Spacecraft captured by Amateur Astronomer

Shaun Saunders sends in a link to Wired which documents a site with absolutely amazing space photography. The site is called Telescopic Spaceflight Images and was produced and is hosted by Ralf Vandebergh.

Ralf writes on the web page about the images:
  • Images are obtained by the use of a 25cm (0.25m) Newtonian reflecting telescope. Tracking is accomplished fully manually using a second smaller scope at low magnification. The best results occur mostly at times when lighting angle, viewing angle, distance and other factors for viewing the objects were favorable. But, as the site's author puts it, often it was surprise and happenstance obtaining quality shots.

Whatever the case, I love the results!

Wired article

Friday, December 11, 2009

JP Kelly wins award

From the Science Fiction Awards Watch blog I read:
  • James Patrick Kelly’s collection, The Wreck of the Godspeed, has won the Outstanding Book of Fiction award for 2009, given by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.

Congrats JP!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mars' Methane Levels may Prove That Life Still Thrives on the Red Planet!

As in the earlier article ( many scientists are of the opinion that life on the red planet may have very likely have existed at some point in the past.

Now according to a new article in Physorg online sent in by Shaun Saunders, there is compelling evidence to suggest life still flourishes beneath the surface. The article centers around the levels of Methane on Mars. Many scientists believed that the levels were being maintained through meteor impacts. But recent research shows that the amount of impacts is not sufficient to maintain methane at its current level. Methane is very short lived. In Mars' harsh environment, it is broken down in just a few hundred years. But instead of dissipating, the gas is being replenished and the levels are being maintained higher than can be supplied by meteor impacts.

From the article:
  • This leaves only two plausible theories..... Either there are microorganisms... that are producing methane gas ... or methane is being produced as a by-product of reactions between and water.
Read complete article

Hey....wanna buy a lem?

Hey, check out what 89 large gets ya! Oh yeah, it IS a model. So why does a model cost 89000? It's a 1 to 1 model of the Apollo era Luna Excursion Module all 20.9 feet of it! Available from it comes with or without a complete interior oh and no you can't rent it! lol.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mars Rock May Indeed Contain Signs of Early Life on the Red Planet!

Remember the Mars rock that was discovered in 1996 that was thought to contain signs of fossilized life? Controversy as to the veracity of the findings put the rock quite literally on the back shelf.

According to an article in the Short Sharp Science blog sent in by Shaun Saunders, the original argument against the rock containing fossilized life was that the chemical deposition could have been brought about by heat and pressure over time. Good news though! According to the article:
The article is a bit of a slow read but the gist is that McKay makes a compelling argument for life. Very very exciting!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Probability Angels sequel due out in Spring 2010

Joseph Devon writes:
  • First and foremost, fans of of my last book, Probability Angels, will be happy to know that there is a sequel in the works which should hopefully be released next Spring. There will be more info as that date approaches.
Here is my review of Devon's Probability Angels in Feb. 2009 ***review***

Check out Joseph Devon's web site here

Paper Batteries a very real possibility

Consider this: Paper cell-phones or paper lap-top computers. Electronic paper that doesn't require any batteries or solar cells. Or batteries a mere fraction the weight and size of current technology, but still able to produce enough power to meet the needs of an electric vehicle but have far greater range.

Scientists at Stanford University in California report that regular paper could easily be turned into a super battery.

From the Yahoo news article sent in by Tim Sayill (click link for complete story)
  • ...they have successfully turned paper coated with ink made of silver and carbon nanomaterials into a "paper battery" that holds promise for new types of lightweight, high-performance energy storage.

Monday, December 07, 2009

First Commercial Spacecraft Another Step Closer

Tim Sayell sends in this article from Yahoo News concerning Branson's Virgin Galactic - SpaceshipTwo.

Since Branson won the $10 million Ansari X Prize, we have been getting tantalizing hints as to what Branson and aviation designer Burt Rutan plan for commercial spaceflight.

Virgin unveiled White Knight Two a little over a year ago but only mockups and the shell of SpaceshipTwo has been seen. Now the first public appearance of the commercial passenger spacecraft has been held.

Virgin says that testing of SpaceshipTwo will begin next year with flights to the crafts maximum altitude sometime in 2011.

The first passengers of course will be the families of Branson and Rutan.

For more information - read the complete article here

***update*** here is a series of photos from Boing Boing that are exclusive! Very cool!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

DVD Review: G I Joe

GI Joe

The premise of this movie is that there are secret military organizations and then there is an ultra secret outfit call GI Joe.

Being top top secret -- Joes have access to the coolest hardware and weapons. And since they are so secret, they fight the most ruthless ulta evil villains on the planet.

That is pretty much the movie - two regular field operatives from NATO are thrust into conflict between ultra villains of COBRA and the GI Joes. Cobra is bent on destroying the world's infrastructure by spreading nano-tech that eats any metal. Joes, employing equally cool tech is set on finding and destroying cobra's super secret lair.

So that is the basics for the movie...lets look at the dvd

First despite what the writer and director would have you believe, GI Joe is a film for Joe fans. I count it as science fiction loosely because of the tech and that it is supposed to be set in the "not too distant future". But marketing this movie as a film for the general audience is plain disingenuous. Even in the director's commentaries after they had gone to great pains to try and convince us that its a movie for everyone they go into great detail how this or that would upset the joe fans or this was different or that was. Not being a Joe fan, I couldn't call them on any of that, so who were those comments aimed at? Yep, Joe fans.

Then like the complaints from the fantastic four directors complaining about bad cgi, they bust on their own CGI
Now, first off, there are some damn good action sequences. Plus the tech is techie goodness, but the end effect is ehhhhhhhhhhh. It is a by the numbers action flick dealt to the lowest common denominator right down to that abysmal everyone in a line walking and talking. And what is the director most proud of? Writing the movie on the fly and shooting it all in 82 days! They are proud of making a bad movie!!! And they brag about it! And then complain when some of the movie is junk!!! Is someone really going to hire these geniuses to make a part 2? I mean really, why bother to tell us that it SHOULD had taken the best part of 2 years to write and maybe EIGHT months to shoot properly and brag about how to do it in 82. This is truly one of those times when I wish I had not listened to the special commentary.

So, overall, GI Joe is pretty mindless action written and shot on the fly, mostly green screen cgi. No matter what they say, its a movie for Joe fans. Non fans might get wowed by the action sequences but the plot is so comic book that it will leave the general audience cold. The only dvd special extra is the director's comments that will leave you stunned as to the level of bad movie making and proud of the fact.

Now I will suspect that I will get the well how many Hollywood movies have you made...and I say don't bother. If you are convinced that this is a great movie, we don't have anything to talk about and second I don't have to be a structural engineer to know that eventually the Leaning tower of Pisa is going to fall over some day.

I would give this a 5, for making a good FAN movie

Friday, December 04, 2009

Happy in Paraguay: ST-TNG voice over....

Ok, first off this short contains some some fairly strong language. Nuff said.

Now I think we have all, in a weak moment, supplied somewhat colorful, ummm alternative dialogue. hosted this funny and demented if masterful voice over. The words match the lip movement, but it has to be one of the most warped version of elephant foot I have ever seen!

Attack of the Show

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Man controls Robot Hand with his mind

Tim Sayell sends in an article from Yahoo news that concerns advancements being made in the field of interfacing the human nervous system with robotic hardware.

In an experiment, that set a record for the longest time electrodes had remained connected to a human nervous system, 26-year-old Pierpaolo Petruzziello, for a month, learned to control a robotic arm with thoughts alone, achieving a here-to-fore unheard of accuracy of 95%.

Electrodes were implanted in Petruzziello's stump that not only picked up control signals, but also feedback / sensation inputs, which Petruzziello stated made it much easier to imagine the arm as his own, connected to his body.

From the Article:
  • During the month he had the electrodes connected, he learned to wiggle the robotic fingers independently, make a fist, grab objects and make other movements.
Read more here

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Short Film "The Passenger" by Chris Jones

I can safely say that there are damn few things, at this stage of my life, that make me laugh out loud. And for a film to do that inside of 5 minutes is just a wee bit short of an event. So trust me when I say, you are going to find this short film, from the fertile mind of Chris Jones, "The Passenger", most likely one of the funniest shorts you have seen this year - maybe ever. I want to thank the blog SF Signal for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And so it ends...

2009, that is. Almost to the end and I swear the year just got started!

There's a whole raft of cool stuff for free sitting on the Abandoned Towers website, just waiting for you to come explore

And 4 print issues now!

What are you waiting for? I've got the sale's records, you know. And it pains me to say that there are very few sales of each print issue.

Everyone wants to be IN print, but no one seems to want to BUY the print issues once they're created.

It's not easy, putting a print issue together, you know. It takes a lot of work. A lot of time. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears! (stop humming, I don't mean the old rock band).

So, how about putting your money where your mouth is?

Wander over to the AT website at and pick up one (or more) of the print issues today. Show the authors that being in print truly isn't a guarantee that their stories won't be read.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Man-Machine Book 2 is online

Royce Lee sends in a note that he is still enjoying the blog and passes on the great news that Man-Machine book two is now online !

I have read through the second installment. Again the graphics are minimalistic almost jarring but if anything, they add to the surreal aspect of the storyline, which I think you will agree is very engaging.

Check book 2 out here

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Could Jupiter's Europa harbor fish-sized life?

According to the latest National Geographic,  the Jovian moon Europa -hundreds of millions of miles from the sun- may host something fishy. Something alive—right now. Below its icy crust Jupiter's moon Europa is believed to host a global ocean up to a hundred miles (160 kilometers) ocean currently being fed more than a hundred times more oxygen than previous models had suggested, according to provocative new research.

That amount of oxygen would be enough to support more than just microscopic life-forms: At least three million tons of fishlike creatures could theoretically live and breathe on Europa, said study author Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona in Tucson. 

""There's nothing saying there is life there now," said Greenberg, who presented his work last month at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society's   Division for Planetary Sciences. "But we do know there are the physical conditions to support it."  Full Article Here.
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona/UColorado

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We Are All Connected music video by Symphony of Science

Here is a neat site. It's called the Symphony of Science. It's a musical project by John Boswell designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form. Here is one that really grabbed me. It is called "We Are All Connected" It contains quotes featuring Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye sampled and mixed in with a musical score. Before you go off saying Nye singing? That's not play, it really is worth it.

For more go to

And thanks to the DIY blog for the heads up!

Monday, November 23, 2009

AntipodeanSF issue #138 sneak peak!

I didn't realize that issue 138 was having a problem, until Ion wrote and gave us the low down.
Here is the gist of his letter:
  • Hi all,
  • Just a short note to remind you that AntipodeanSF Issue 138 is now finally (after some extensive delays getting our broadband functional after a move) online. You'll find AntipodeanSF at the usual URL:

Nuke, Editor of the really entertaining Antipodean online flash fiction magazine has given us a heads up on the upcoming issue 138 and I can just look at this TOC and see this is going to be a great issue, how? well Suzanne Sykora? Shaun Saunders? Jamie Richter?! Yep Nuke... has a winner this issue!

"Apocalypse Hotel" by Marcelo Rinesi
"It Was A Monster" by Giovanni Piccolo
"Let Us Prey" by Suzanne Sykora
"A Matter of Perspective" by Shaun A Saunders
"Taken" by Christopher Elston
"Zombie Picnic" by Scott Wilson
"Forever War" by Timothy Miller
"Dog-E" by Jamie Richter
"A Quarter to Oblivion" by Adi Gibb
"Mirrors" by Kevin J. Phyland

Check it out this weekend on Antipodean SF

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: "The Fountain" DVD movie

The Fountain
Hugh Jackman Rachel Weisz
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Talk about a total departure from the films I have been watching as of late! The Fountain is as far away as you can get from the high octane action science fiction movie as you can get I think. The Fountain is a thoughtful, emotional image laden treat for the senses.

I have heard the film described as one man's trip throughout the ages on a quest to save his true love. And you might be able to get though the film with just that mind set and be fully entertained. But what the Fountain really is, becomes apparent as the film moves along.

Hugh Jackman plays the lead in three distinct story lines. First as a conquistador on a quest to "New Spain" for his queen to find the "tree of life" said to grant the drinker of it's sap, life everlasting. In the second a research scientist bent on finding a cure for his wife's cancer before she dies, stumbles upon an extract from an old growth tree from central America and third a Dalli inspired trip through the universe with a monk and a life giving tree to a dying star called by the ancient Myan's Xibalba, or the Mayan underworld of the dead.

Each story line at some point will reference the other two, giving it a very intertwined feeling and you can see where the feeling of an ongoing tale through time.

The first two story lines (I say first two, but all three story lines are running at the same time) are easy enough to follow, but the third is every bit the last 20 minutes of 2001. What is the bubble that the tree and the monk are traveling in, is the tree THE tree, why does the monk show up in the first two story lines as the main character from time to time? The Wiki describes the third character as an "astronaut" in an "echospheric spacecraft" (whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Were they watching the same movie I was?) But when you watch the movie, I dare anyone to get that from the third storyline. It's mystical, almost hallucinogenic in the images that are shown.

The intertwining of the three storylines becomes almost frenetic. The Myan priest see the "astronaut" of the future, the conquistador finds the tree, dies seeing Xibalba and drops the ring his queen gave him, The doctor loses the ring too and reads a story written by his wife telling about the conquistador and the fire of Xibalba. Her book is called the Fountain...what fountain....fountain of youth? Tree of life? same thing? and then continues his research using the material from the central American "tree" and ends by planting said tree on his wife's grave, just as Xibalba novas - and now the astronaut/monk flies through the cosmos with a tree...the tree? undying because he is eating the bark of the tree, then we see that he has on the queen's ring as the star goes nova.

ok, but if the star novas in the future hundreds of light-years did the two other time lines see it in the past? huh? Oh yeah, if you have seen the ending of 2001 you know my analogy is apt. only I kept thinking that the music from the Disney movie "The Black Hole".

Don't get me wrong, the movie is good. But if you're looking for lots of action...ain't happening. The film is thoughtful, introspective and often visually stunning.

And the DVD is a treat as well! The special features included on the disk show the abortive first try at making the film earlier, the locals. sets, rushes, outakes, makeup....all kinds of short snippets that give you insight into how the film was conceived and executed. Which in my book makes it an excellent addition to your dvd library. I would give it a solid 9

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mainer wins NASA glove competition - Again!

NASA has awarded Peter Homer of Southwest Harbor, Maine,  $250,000 for coming up with the winning design concept for more flexible space gloves intended to make it easier for astronauts to perform tasks.

It's the second time Peter Homer has won the so-called "Astronaut Glove Challenge" -- Homer bested the competition in the same contest in 2007.

Homer's design won first place in this year's competition, held yesterday at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida. The second place prize of $100,000 went to Ted Southern of Brooklyn, N.Y.NASA officials say the competitors demonstrated their glove designs by trying out a range of tasks in a pressurized chamber. "It is remarkable that two designers working on their own could create gloves that meet the requirements for spaceflight -- a task that normally requires a large team of experts," says NASA engineer Kate Mitchell in a statement.

In order to qualify for a prize, the gloves had to meet all of the basic requirements of NASA's current spacesuit gloves and exceed their flexibility. The gloves also were tested to ensure they would not leak.
Competitors had to develop a complete glove, including the outer, thermal-micrometeoroid-protection layer and the inner, pressure-restraining layer. In the 2007 competition, only the pressure-restraining layer was required.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Skhizein by Jérémy Clapin

Hey, you have got to check out this short film. It's called Skhizein by Jérémy Clapin. It is about a meteor strike and it's effect on one man. I love the animation. Thanks to SF Signals for the original post.

Skhizein (Jérémy Clapin,2008) from Behemoth on Vimeo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Whedon's Dollhouse canceled

Mark Wilson of the SciFi Fantasy Blog writes:
  • Fox network has decided the Joss Whedon basement-rated drama Dollhouse has had all the breaks it's going to get.
  • Fox has committed to air all 13 episodes starting up again December 4. Four episodes had already aired in September and October, so nine episodes remain to be broadcast. To burn them off as quickly as possible, Fox will be airing two episodes a night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Clone Song

Have you ever see this? Its the Clone Song rumor has it that it was written by the good doctor himself. Found a copy....Wonder if John could voice this? lol

The Clone Song

By: Isaac Asimov

Tune: Home On The Range

Oh, give me a clone

Of my own flesh and bone

With its Y chromosome changed to X.

And after it's grown,

Then my own little clone

Will be of the opposite sex.

Clone, clone of my own,

With its Y chromosome changed to X.

And when I'm alone

With my own little clone

We will both think of nothing but sex.

Oh, give me a clone,

Is my sorrowful moan,

A clone that is wholly my own.

And if she's X-X,

And the feminine sex,

Oh, what fun we will have when we're prone.

Clone, clone of my own,

With its Y chromosome changed to X.

And when I'm alone

With my own little clone

We will both think of nothing but sex.

My heart's not of stone,

As I've frequently shone

When alone with my own little X.

And after we've dined,

I am sure we will find

Better incest then Oedipus Rex.

Clone, clone of my own,

With its Y chromosome changed to X.

And when I'm alone

With my own little clone

We will both think of nothing but sex.

Why should such sex vex,

Or disturb or perplex,

Or induce a disparaging tone?

After all, don't you see,

Since we're both of us me,

When we're having sex, I'm alone.

Clone, clone of my own,

With its Y chromosome changed to X.

And when I'm alone

With my own little clone

We will both think of nothing but sex.

And after I'm done

She will still have her fun,

For I'll clone myself twice ere I die.

And this time without fail,

They'll be both of them male,

And they'll each ravage her by and by.

Clone, clone of my own,

With its Y chromosome changed to X.

And when I'm alone

With my own little clone

We will both think of nothing but sex.

Why Mile Wide Motherships Don't Make Sense!

Finally! Someone agrees with me! I never thought these mega-ship from E-T to Independence Day made any sense what so ever!

so I was reading on the Dvice blog and here was an article giving out some excellent static on these uber mother ships.

First ummm we could see them coming! In V they just appear! Granted sometimes we get a little bit of a warning, but as inefficient as NASA's NEO project is, if it's a kilometer across and inside of Mar's orbit, pretty good chance NASA can see your ass.

Something this big entering the Earth's atmosphere would raise havoc with the weather! According to the article, ships this huge
  • would be enough to cause "mesoscale" weather effects
  • storm systems ... a hundred kilometers across, encompass anything from thunderstorms to tropical cyclones, and have "an equivalent energy of multiple nuclear bombs
And what about the energy needed to keep something that huge in the air. Orbit is one thing, these behemoths are WELL into the gravity well! The author computes that in real world energy output, to keep a 3 kilometer craft in the air would take about 368 quadrillion joules of energy. That's one and a half times the power of the most powerful atom bomb ever built! And that's not total....that's EVERY SECOND!

Oh and remember in some of these movies we manage to shoot some of these things down? umm what would a 3 kilometer asteroid do if it hit the Earth? Exactly...DUH!

Check out the complete article...pretty damn interesting!

Friday, November 13, 2009

No Cheese, but there IS H2O on Luna!

CNN reports that NASA's LCROSS has indeed turned up water on the moon! Preliminary data collected from the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite's October 9th impact, indicates a significant amount of water in the plume thrown up by the impactor.

Project scientist Anthony Colaprete, stated that the amount of water contained in the impact plume was about a dozen, two-gallon bucketfuls. This could be significantly good news for any future long term facilities to be self sufficient - when it comes to fuel and water, two of the most expensive commodities to transport from Earth to orbit and to the Moon.

CNN article

Monday, November 09, 2009

Guess what's going on here!

So again, I am reading my reader postings from the Make Magazine blog. I come to this cool photo from the Science Photo blog (and I start thinking...ummm why is this on Make...and then I began to suspect that their sensibilities may be similar to my own. )

So I study it...could it be coronal solar activity....sure does look like a flare.... could that be a cell wall? Is that some sort of weird microbial invasion of a living cell?

It seems that this photo is a thermogram. It depicts high temputure gas escaping under pressure.

How hot you ask? I suspect somewhere around a blistering 310 Kelvin I suspect.

Science is fun! If you can not make heads of tails from this photo, check out the article link below oh and please leave your conclusions as to the science in the comments.

Complete article...

US Armed Forces Listened for Messages from Mars

Yep, you read that right! Check out the story at IO9! I was reading down and there it was! What am I talking about? Well, from the article:
  • In 1924, ... US Naval and Army stations scanned the skies for extraterrestrial transmissions.
From where? Mars! Why? Well a couple of reasons.... The best reason, was that August 22, 1924, Earth and Mars were only 35 million miles from Mars during what is called in astronomical terms, opposition. This was considered by the military ideal conditions in which to receive radio communications from Martians wanting to get to know us better.... But this is only where the kookiness begins. It seems Amherst College professor David Todd persuaded both the US Army and Navy to listen for messages from Mars, and they agreed!
From the article:
  • Edward W. Eberle, the Chief of US Naval Operations, informed Naval stations of the possibility of Martian communications, and instructs them to report any unusual phenomena...

Check out the original telegram sent by Eberle here

Review: Transformer & Transformers Revenge of the fallen

Transformers 2007
Director Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro

Revenge 2009
Director Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro

Remember the old Saturday morning cartoon about robot that change into cars jets and trucks? Robot in disguise! remember? Well even though I was captivated by animation, I found the whole concept of transforming robots too big of a "suspension of belief" to swallow. And if they were alien robots, why did they have stupid names like Autobots and Decepticons? Decepticons? Hey they all changed into cars and stuff! And Optimus Prime? Who thought of these names? So you can see, I was not a fan of the cartoon, and transferred that to the movies.

I decided to watch both movies back to back just to get an idea of the CGA and see why they movies were so popular. In the first movie, rival autobot (autobots?!!!) try to discover the whereabouts of an ancient cube that will allow the Autobots to once again populate their war devastated world. Their only clue to its location is a pair of glasses etched with the location and belonging to the lead character Sam.

The observation that comes to mind with the first movie is that Bay took himself and the movie way too seriously. Perhaps overcompensating for the fact that he is making a movie about Saturday morning cartoon characters. While the action sequences are spectacular, the dialogue is ponderous as the robots are large and verging on dogmatic. Heavy handed comes to mind quite easily. The only person who seems to be camping their character is Turturro.

Bay telegraphs the movies climax that you are left wondering why he drags it out so long.

The movie is by the numbers geeky guy in high-school, buys car (or whatever) that has weird powers, and is drawn into a conflict way beyond what he ever expected and (I swear I am not giving anything away) becomes the hero in the end. Star Wars anyone? Harry Potter? Back to the Future?

The film is diverting, the action is good, the DVD has bupkus for special features.

So lets talk about Revenge of the Fallen

And Bay loosens his sphincter and quite possibly has fun with Transformers 2. The movie is for all intents a carbon of the first. The hero is tired, dispirited and wants nothing more than to have a normal life, but is pulled back in by the original conflict.

With the last movie, we were lead to believe that the Autobots on Earth were fighting the few Decepticons left but since the cube was destroyed there was little left to fight about. But now there are shards! No Kidding! Who woulda thought! Kidding aside, Revenge is just plain more fun. Nowhere near as heavy handed as the first. Humor and campiness is in ready supply. If anything, Turturro is allowed to run wild with his character and that alone would have been worth the price of the movie. He brings to life this maniacal conspiracy theorist recluse living with his mother in a New York deli. He can deliver a line like "remember the sacrifices I have made for my country" and make that and other one liners something especially funny. The action sequences are if anything even more spectacular. You completely buy into 50 foot robots beating the crap out of each other on busy city streets. The plot is no less formulaist than the first movie, but the humor quite literally ties the move together and keeps the flow going. Scenes like the little demon decepticon that changes into an RC truck? Found that he could switch sides, clings to the girl friend's leg and then pantomime some pretty rude behavior. Sam says..."you do realize what its doing to your leg right?" and the girl friend replies "yeah, but he is so cute!" all done with a falsetto voice saying things like "oh yeah, who's your daddy now?" and "oh you like that don't you!" I know...bathroom humor but it demonstrates a director willing to have fun and be a bit less pendatic with his material. I know I laughed.

So if you have been sitting on the fence with this DVD, the movie is entertaining enough to make at the very least a rental worth it. But forget about any extras. If there were any, I couldn't find them. Which means I guess I am seeing a trend now. No one it seems is bending over backwards to make the DVD value added anymore. It really is a shame because that is how the format was promoted. You could have so much more than what a vhs could offer. The commentaries, deleted scenes, trailers what have you. Perishingly few DVDs seem to be offering anything anymore.

Friday, November 06, 2009

LHC down again!

From Dvice blog I read that the large Hadron Collider is again offline. However this is no magnetic ring losing containment no this time it was caused by something almost beyond comprehension!

Would you believe a piece of bread? I am not making this up, one of the world's most complicated machines was brought low by a bread crumb. Oh and it gets weirder! The crumb did not come from a careless workman, sandwich in one had and a welder in the other, no - said crumb was thought to have been dropped by one of our feathered friends.

From the article:
  • The morsel found its way into the doomsday device's outdoor machinery, sparking a temperature differential that triggered an automatic shutdown sequence....
It shouldn't hurt the schedule too much, but it is going to take a couple of weeks getting the LHC restarted.

What newborn weighs a billion tons a spoonful?

A new born Neutron Star does. Neutron stars, the ultra dense remains of a collapsed super giant star after going super nova. The neutron star is so compacted by immense gravity that all of an atom's components are crushed into the atomic core and those neutrons so dense that a square centimeter weighs millions of tons.

A new neutron star has been observed for the first time. Just 330 years old the star has been located in the supernova nebula Cassiopeia A. It's age isn't the most unusual part either. It's just 12 miles across.

And it gets stranger! From the article:
  • This neutron star was born so hot that nuclear fusion happened on its surface, producing a carbon atmosphere just 10 centimeters thick.

Read more: at Mail online

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wana buy Gareth Powel's The Last Reef? You name your price!

Hey do you remember that great story that Gareth Powel let me read for Beam Me Up called "The Last Reef"? Well if you have forgotten it, let me remind you. It was about a man who goes to Mars to find out what happened to the woman that he loved very much. When he gets there he finds that she was one of a very small group that has "joined" with a computer communications system that has become self aware. What's more she has managed to walk out and remain virtually unaffected.
Anyway, the story evolves to the point where to save the girl, the sentient system and himself, he must join the machine as well. Not everything is as it appears though and I am not going to ruin the ending.

Why I am bringing this up is that this story is in the collection "The Last Reef & Other Stories" that was originally published in hardback and paperback by Elastic Press in August 2008. It contains 15 short stories, and received great reviews from Interzone, Prism, Sci-fi Online, and The Fix. (here is a link to the reviews ) and now if you would like a pdf of this book Gareth tells us that you can go to his page and make an offer!!!

If you're interested or want more information, you can click on this page link here

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Abandoned Towers November Update

Happy November!

Here in Texas the weather has finally decided that summer is almost over. We've actually had a few cool nights and mild days. Wonder how long that'll last?

Texas is a country of extremes it seems, with weather that stays confused. But at least we don't have earthquakes. Yet.

Abandoned Towers #4 is packed full of all sorts of goodies you don't want to miss. The third print issue of 2009 (and the last one for this year) is now available to purchase. We've created a nice flip book preview for you at

Once you finish looking through it, you can scroll on down the page and find previews of all the other issues as well as the first annual Artist's Challenge Anthology. The second challenge'll kick off in Dec... but more on that when it gets here.

Now, here's a taste of what's waiting for you in issue #4:

Starting with the front cover with is a very cool painting by M.D. Jackson based on the featured story, A Warm Welcome By Rob Mancebo. Here's an excerpt:

Looking down the ugly barrels of that bartender's scattergun sort-of made me reassess my craving for a drink.
"Are you planning on going hunting, ol' hoss?" I inquired politely of the whiskered gent with the cellulite collar at the other end of that twelve gauge.
"Naw, I think I done found what I was looking for," he replied with an irritating amount of smugness in his voice.
I looked around the Number One saloon like some sort of an idiot. It was vacant except for him and me, so it was pretty obvious just who he thought he'd found.
"Say now, you couldn't be hunting me." I wasn't overly articulate because the business end of that sawed-off shotgun looked as big as a pair of stove pipes!
I was sure ready to try to talk my way out of getting my head blown off so I added, "I haven't been in town long enough to bruise nobody's feelings."
"We hang thieves in this country!" he informed me with a wave of that shotgun. "Drop them guns and hoist your hands!"
I hadn't a clue as to what he was talking about. I put my hands up, then remembered he'd told me to drop my guns so I began to lower them again, at which point he objected in the crude vernacular such as a body is liable to hear in saloons.
"Well do you want I should drop these Colts or not?" I demanded.
"I'll get them," he came around the bar in a huff and put those cavernous barrels under my nose while he fumbled at my left-hand gunstock. It was something of a tactical error on his part. When he glanced down to find that gun, I dropped my left hand across the action of his shotgun and took hold.

Other fiction pieces include Recall by Shawn Scarber, The Final Wave by TW Williams, Penderfyn's Goal by David M Pitchford and Central Park by Badley H. Sinor.

In issue #4 you'll also find a nice selection of poems such as Forgotten Friendships: A Voice of Arthur Pendragon by Chad Weiss and Goya’s Painted Faces by John William Rice.

Nonfiction articles include a short piece by Lyn McConchie that discusses the creativity of New Zelanders entitled Number Eight Wire and a scrumptious set of recipies that Jaleta Clegg calls Sherezade's Repast.

Remember you will never find anything that's in one of the print issues online, so if you don't want to miss out on all this coolness you gotta buy the issue.

Don't wait. Don't put things off. Get several copies and give a few as gifts. You can purchase AT #4 at

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Issue 137 of AntipodeanSF is online!

Nuke, the editor writes to let us know that issue 137 of AntipodeanSF the online Australian flash fiction magazine is now online. Also the magazine is now available for your mobile phone, pda and other portable devices, not just the laptop or desktop! Which is great news! Here is this month's titles and excerpts.

Filling The Larder By Christopher Miles
  • Suddenly all the cupboards were bare. You watched them come in and take everything.There they were, in the blink of an eye, forming a trail across the freshly swept floorboards of the cottage you've agreed to mind for the summer. Into the pantry they marched. Packets of flour, tins of soup, jars of Vegemite, passed from one to the next, through the kitchen and out the door.

Flood At The Bentham Penitentiary By Wayne Marshall
  • Water licks at my ribcage, and the prison walls groan, but I'm not leaving — not until I lay eyes on him. Surely the water's reached the third level of his observation tower by now? Surely he'll have to make his escape soon? Still, no matter how hard I squint, I see no movement in his window. The blinds are shut tight, as usual.

Negotiation By Simon Petrie
  • "These are my demands," the voice rasped. It was a harsh voice, swarthy; the police communicator didn't do it any favours. "I want a working time machine, a large crate of MREs, no soy no gluten no nuts, and the complete works of Erich von Daniken, in Aramaic, on parchment. And I want it by midnight."

Pest Control By Andrew Girle
  • The advertisement read: We only use the latest in genetically-tailored aerosol pest control toxins with a no-residual guarantee... Haruz, the new owner, continued reading, scrolling through reams of technical information, then, on a hunch, ran a quick search on 'aerosol pest control'.

Puncture Wound By Sean Monaghan
  • Doc Michaels frowned. "Tell me again how this happened." He tapped Grant's helmet with his stylus and watched the bustling nanos. It's very simple," I said. Michaels was an idiot. I'd already told him twice between the airlock and the medroom. As if how made any difference to my dying friend. "A puncture."

Slipping Through The Cracks By Shaun A. Saunders
  • In the cavernous underground parking area of the sprawling Fabcola Home Shopping Centre, a police cruiser flashed its lights, blipped its siren and cut across a nondescript sedan, forcing it to pull over. "Good afternoon, sir," said the officer to the driver as he approached.

Chips By Natalie J.E. Potts
  • Cass stuffed another handful of hot chips into her mouth, adding to the pulverised load already swilling around in there. Her mouth looked like a front-loading washing machine full of fluffy, beige towels. "I didn't even know you had a deep-fryer," Petra said, her lips curled slightly in disgust.

Twenty Six By Gary Hill
  • Ed has been driving for days. Rain slumps on the windscreen like a drunken slut, slurring on the glass until the wipers shove it aside. Wet dog stink claws its way out of the sopping-wet carpet beneath his boots. He nudges the window open a crack and glances in the rearview mirror: darkness.

The Kiss By Houston Dunleavy
  • Oh, but he could kiss! He had just the right combination of strength and softness that made her stomach flip. And tonight, his kiss had meaning and purpose: he'd finally reached the part of her that wanted to give him her entire body and soul — then he pulled away.

Zero Point By Martin Livings
  • There are places mankind hasn't traveled yet, things never seen by human eyes. Luckily for them, they made us. To see in their place.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Batman Tries to give Gordon the slip

I just love these College Humor shorts. lol Thanks to SF Signal for the post.

Complete Metropolis to be seen first time in 80 years

According to this IO9 article, the original full length Metropolis by Fritz Lang will be shown for the first time in 8 decades at next year's Berlin Film Festival.

The original did not do well in it's first release and many people in the government at the time felt that the movie contained too much propaganda so almost 30 minutes were excised from the original film and was afraid lost. That was until the discovery of an uncut 16mm print last year that has since been restored.

The showing next year will be the first time that the film has been view uncut since 1927.

Space Elevator Race still hotly contested

NASA's "space elevator" competition is alive and well. Only three teams still are in competition for the 2 million dollar prize. Here is a short on one of the leading competitors that will have to make a half mile climb up a ribbon using nothing but external power.


Check out the IO9 article

Monday, October 26, 2009

What kinds of things keep physicists up at night

Shaun Saunders send me this article from NewScientist. Here is the premise:
  • at the Perimeter Institute, in Waterloo, Canada, a panel of physicists was asked: "What keeps you awake at night?"
Those the responses were varied as one would suspect, a pattern of sorts showed up along several lines of interest.
  • What is everything made of?
Ordinary matter, from atoms to galaxies are made of the same stuff. But that "stuff" only accounts for 4% of the total energy/mass of the universe. Physicists are very interested in "dark matter" - hypothetical matter that is undetectable by its emitted radiation, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. And dark matter may account for upwards of 96% of the mass of the universe. Mix in the mind numbing concept of dark energy, which appears to be speeding up the expansion of the universe, and you start to understand what physicists may have stumbled onto, something that could explain the most inner workings of the universe.
  • What is the singularity?
From the article:
  • Conventional theory points back to an infinitely hot and dense state at the beginning of the universe, where the known laws of physics break down.
And that is exactly what is the most disturbing about the original singularity, that there is a point at which scientific theory can no longer explain or predict what the conditions were like in those first few fractions of a second before time and space began to expand at speeds approaching or surpassing that of light.
  • What is reality really?
One of the weirdest occurrences in quantum mechanics is the effect an observer has on an experiment or for that matter the universe as a whole. The ability of an observer to collapse the wave effect has been well documented, But even stranger is this from the article:
The NewScientist article is well worth the read, just the "something ain't quite right here" feeling you get when things aren't quite what you thought they were. There are several more really bent questions that are posited by the article that will certainly get you thinking.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: X-Men Origins Wolverine movie

X-Men Origins Wolverine

Directed by Gavin Hood

Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston,, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Henney

Again, I am questioning renting DVDs let alone buying them....but I am getting ahead of myself

Let's see, X-Men Origins Wolverine is a prequel to the series of X-Men movies. The film attempts to answer all the outstanding questions about Logan's missing past.

Up to this point I would have sworn that he was not a mutant but a medical experiment gone bad. But I was wrong.

As we know Wolverine now, without the benefit of the origins movie, he has no memory, but a likelihood that he had a military past because of the dog tags he wears but don't have any record of. He is the survivor of an experiment to replace all his bones, which leads to some freakish abilities. Other than that Logan has no memory of his family or his past. Origins answers all of them and more, which I don't think is fair to get into if you haven't rented the dvd or wait for tv.

I will say the movie is action packed as you would expect from a Marvel vehicle. I really can't say that there is anything unusual or different about the movie. Honestly this could be a Highlander film for all that it's worth, but Logan is an enigma. We know he can not remember his past, so throughout the whole movie you're constantly holding the movie up to what you already against what he clearly remembers and does.

Only at the very near end do you get the tie-in and now Logan can not recall anything, but up until that moment you almost speculate that they must be rewriting Wolverine's history...nope it all works. Maybe that is what makes this move work as well as it did. First off, it IS an bit of an untidy ending, but you know where it's going now, so its ok. There is plenty of action yes, but every bit is Tempered by Logan's sensibilities. This makes him easier to identify with. Which puts it miles ahead of movies like the Fan 4 series.

I might recommend the movie, but what about the DVD
Picture and sound are excellent, no complaints there. But if you call trailers and a tobacco psa extra're golden, I don't. I am beginning to seriously consider that the studio are shunting all the good stuff onto the Blu-ray disks and leave the dvd renters hanging. And that is patently wrong! A lot of the older generation is making the move away from the defunct vhs and buying DVD players. If the studios are marketing the high end to the 20/30 somethings because of disposable cash, they are so wrong! The retirement age viewer has much more entertainment dollars, what they aren't is bleeding edge tech adopters. What they are not going to buy is a marginal product. I know many retirement age movie fans that are just now or will be migrating from VHS to DVD. For the movie marketing machine to totally drop the ball on a large consumer base is insane! lol

So people that have waited for the dvd...well I am going to suggest you just stream it from an online service because there is nothing here for value added in the DVD unless you are up for paying the long dollar I guess for some special release... I would give the movie an 8 but for value added 0 which as you can see gives a ridiculous average so I will just dock it 1 and call it a 7 which is unfortunate because the movie is better than 7 but I am not about to waste my money buying it...even renting it I feel a bit taken.... You decide.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Review: Astro Boy

Astro Boy (Thanks to Flagship Cinemas for sponsoring this review)

Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Eugene Levy, Kristen Bell, Freddie Highmore, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy and if you watch closely you will see Samuel L. Jackson's name flash past. He isn't mentioned on the official site, but he is the voice of Zog

Directed by David Bowers

Those of us that remember tv in the 60s may well have grown up on Astro Boy. The quirky Japanese Anime classic. The series was originally Japanese with Japanese dialog. Later it was dubbed and shown as a Saturday morning part of children tv schedule. The plots never interested me, I just was mesmerize by the feet with rockets in them. (oh how I wanted that power! ) I got a chance to see some of these old cartoons a short while ago and was struck how oddball the plots were. I guess not much but dubbing went on.. all that big robot, megalomaniacs and such, seems just plain confusing by today's standards...But as a 6 year old..I sucked up every bit of that black and white goodness.

And so what does the 2009 big screen version have to offer? It might depend more on your age.
The new Astro is in full color, still has the oddly spiked hair and the same black jocky shorts!

We have WAY more back story with this offering. Astro is in reality a robot copy of a dead boy that was the son of Dr. Temma. The world of Astro Boy is a city floating above an Earth laid waste by unending consumerism, and that Earth is populated by urchins living off the waste of the city above. Astro escapes to the world below to escape being shut down and dismantled. Ultimately he is discovered and saves the day by destroying a robot powered by "negative" energy.

Despite the hype and the pg13 rating, this film is for children. Even if you are an anime fan (the animation by the way is far from the espected anime style...none evident, we are served up a very standard animation rendering which was a bit disappointing. ) you would be better served by taking along the youngsters (I know, there are those out there that are saying that it IS a kids movie, which I will agree to, but the marketing is aiming a bit higher) Don't get me wrong, its good animation, as good as anything we have seen in the past few years, but it's paired up with a pretty formularistic plot with all the trappings. Good and bad are black and white, the good guy is alteristic way past what you are lead to believe. This could have been a Disney or Pixar offering and no one would be the wiser.

So my conclusion? If you like animation and especially if you were a fan of the old Astro Boy and want to see a new treatment, give it a go but it might not hurt to see if any children want to see it as well.

Astro Boy official site