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Showing posts from September, 2010

Stargate: Universe, Season 1

In the eighth episode of Stargate: Universe's first season, "Time," the characters discover, on a planet they've never been to before, one of the recording devices used on their ship, Destiny.  On it are images of themselves experiencing events that never happened, and eventually being killed by aliens.  Eli Wallace (David Blue), a math whiz only recently introduced to the concept of traveling to other planets through the stargate, incredulously asks whether they are looking at images from an alternate universe, but the other characters respond only with derisive silence.  It's a moment that neatly sums up the wrongfooting strangeness of the third Stargate series.  Alternate universes, after all, were commonplace in the two previous installments in the franchise, Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis.  Characters traveled to and from them, whole episodes were set in them, a ship was even constructed to travel between them.  Why then do the other scientists and so…

ICon 2010: My Events

As I may have mentioned here in the past, I've been involved with the planning of ICon TLV, the Israeli science fiction and fantasy convention that will be held at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque over Sukkot week, 25-30 September.  It's been a fun and somewhat exhausting experience, and I've ended up with some interesting events.  If you're in the neighborhood, consider stopping by.

All links go to the official ICon website.  All events are in Hebrew unless otherwise noted.
Interview with author Lavie Tidhar
Sunday, September 26th, 15:00-15:30, at the Tzomet Sfarim booth
Jewish Fantasy: A Panel Discussion
Based on the internet brouhaha of last winter, an Israeli perspective.
Participants: Prof. Ortzion Bartana, Dr. Hagay Dagan, Rabbi Adi Cohen, Shimon Adaf, Abigail Nussbaum (moderator)
Sunday, September 26th, 17:00-19:00, at the Cinematheque veranda tent
A Guide to Biblical Monsters
Paired lectures by Dr. Hagay Dagan and Asaf Asheri, introduced by Abigail Nussbaum
Monday, Septe…

Moonstruck

Over the last few days, the science fiction blogosphere has united in entirely justified outrage over author Elizabeth Moon's LJ post "Citizenship," in which she claims that "When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people."  Smarterandmoreknowledgeablepeoplethanmyselfhavecombedthrough the post, in its comments (now deleted by Moon, though there are screencaps of someofthem) and on their own blogs and LJs, to point out its errors, its thoughtless and erroneous assumptions, and the bigotry that underpins such statements as "many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons" and "Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they've had."  I won't try, therefore, to repeat or belabor their points, but I am struck by the number of otherwise quite critical commenters who have nevertheless praised the first half …

Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2010 Edition

Last year the fall pilot season just went on and on and on and on, so I appreciate that this year the pilots come in two convenient clumps--a small one this week and a tsunami of new TV on the week of the 20th (AMC's The Walking Dead is the outlier at the end of the October, but hell, they know we're all going to watch whenever it airs--did you see the trailer?).  I also appreciate that, with only one exception, nothing I've watched so far has been a punishment to sit through, even if I'm not ready to sign up for any of these shows just yet. 
Hellcats - Television Without Pity has spent the entire summer decrying this series as the worst affront to the television medium since Philo T. Farnsworth dreamed the contraption up, so it was a bit of a surprise to discover a reasonably watchable pilot.  I'm not saying that I'm going to follow the show, which seems intended mainly as an intermediate step for Disney channel starlets and their fans, but that's mainly b…

Recent Reading Roundup 27

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Happy 5771, everyone!  Let the year and its reading end; let the year and its reading begin.
Stone's Fall by Iain Pears - It's been nearly a decade since Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost blew me away, and during that period I experienced some disappointment trying to recreate to experience with his follow-up novels.  You can't help but respect Pears for moving away from such a successful formula and trying new things, but neither the meditative but opaque The Dream of Scipio, nor the brief but overdone The Portrait (some thoughts here) delivered the punch that Fingerpost did--a richly detailed historical mystery that both immersed its readers in its characters' pre-modern viewpoint and encouraged us to question it.  Pears's latest novel, Stone's Fall, suggested a return to form.  Beginning in 1909, its first part is narrated by journalist Matthew Braddock, who is hired by the widow of a just-deceased industrialist, John Stone, to discover the whereabou…

The 2010 Hugo Awards: The Winners

The resultsarealreadyavailablefrommanydifferentsources, for those of you who weren't following Cheryl Morgan and Mur Lafferty's live coverage from Melbourne, which did an excellent job of building up excitement and anticipation for the results.  Some thoughts:
It's almost inevitable for any results to feel like a letdown at first, especially if, like myself, your taste diverges more than a little from that of the Hugo voters, so that even the best results feel like compromise choices.  Nevertheless, once that kneejerk reaction of disappointment wears off, this year's fiction winners are really quite heartening.  The only real disappointment is Doctor Who's win for "The Waters of Mars"--the worst of the three Who specials, none of which were particularly good--in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category, but that's more than made up for by Moon's triumph in Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.  I haven't read most of the nominated n…