The SFF Film Odyssey (2010) List of Reviews is available here.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Update: Wordpress Move on Hold

Just a quick note for folks who were wondering what was going on:

I've put the move to Wordpress on hold for the moment.  It turns out that Wordpress.com does not allow the use of iframes or scripts, which means I'd need to do a self-hosted webpage.  There's a good reason WP doesn't allow these things -- security -- but I personally prefer using easy iframe or script codes for widgets and the like than trying to find complicated workarounds or using static images that link elsewhere.

Since I'm currently in the midst of financial hell as a grad student -- student fees, etc. etc. etc. -- I won't be able to move things to my own hosted page for a little while yet.  Instead, I'm going to see if I can't redirect my Blogger blog to my own domain, which is financially viable in these annoying "student fees" months.

My apologies if you were expecting a move sometime soon.  Wordpress is probably a better option for what I'm trying to do, but without iframes/scripts, it's just shy of what I need.

So...it's on hold until April at the earliest.  And that means I can stop working on this stuff and get back to blogging about things.  Coming up:  a review of Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) and a Retro Nostalgia piece on Equilibrium (2002).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Procrastination: The Evil One

It'll come as no surprise to anyone that I have a procrastination problem.  As you may well know, I'm working on my PhD in English, which requires me to write a 200-250 page dissertation.  My dissertation is mostly pretty awesome:  my first few chapters explore the work of Tobias Buckell, Nalo Hopkinson, and Karen Lord; the last few chapters explore early Caribbean writings in dialogue with contemporary Caribbean science fiction (particularly Michel Maxwell Philip's Emmanuel Appadocca and Mary Seacole's Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands).  Needless to say, I'm actually stoked about the project as a whole, even if I'm having the hardest time actually writing the bloody thing.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reminder: Patreon + Voting Rights

In case you missed out on what is happening with my Patreon page, here are a few fun facts:

  • Being a patron at any level grants you voting rights on the content of this blog (usually two polls a month)
  • Most patron levels let you suggest at least one topic each month, which would then be voted on by everyone
  • There are 5 different levels of support, and each has something special -- the highest tier involves a monthly Google Hangout just with patrons, which should be fun!
$1 gets you the vote; $5 makes you a member of Congress (or some equally amusing analogy -- bring on your laws, darnit!).

I'm also going to change the voting structure soon to make the levels more pronounced and to make distribution of votes a little more interesting.  So stay tuned!

Thanks again to those of you who are currently my patrons.  You rock!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Retro Nostalgia: Silent Running (1972; dir. Douglas Trumbull) and the Heroism of Environmental Madness

Undoubtedly, the 1970s was one of the most important decades for environmental issues.  At the start of the decade, the environmentalist movement had become so influential that the United States government felt compelled to amend the Clean Air Act (in 1970) and the Water Pollution Control Act (1972).  This action expanded the scope of the law and gave the government greater enforcement capabilities.  Not long after, the Environmental Protection Agency was born.  

It should come as no surprise, then, that David Trumbull's Silent Running (1972) appeared in this era.  Praised for its visual effects, Silent Running tells the story of Lowell, one of four crew members aboard the Valley Forge, a commercial spaceship carrying several massive biodomes which house some of the last remaining natural wildlife known to man.  Earth, it turns out, is not so much barren as artificial; its people consume processed cubes of nutrients, and the Earth's surface is devoid of forests or other natural environments.  When the crew of the Valley Forge receive orders to detach the domes and destroy them, Lowell, the lone environmental idealist, murders his crewmates and conspires to flee with the remaining dome and a trio of clunky robots.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Announcement: The Migration to Wordpress

I wanted to let everyone know that I've decided to migrate this blog over to Wordpress.  The reasons are pretty simple:  while Blogger gives me more control over the physical space of the blog, Wordpress' features are more functional (better comments, better "read more" function, etc. etc. etc.).  I can also easily get a domain name for this blog through Wordpress ($26 for hosting and domain registration ain't too shabby).

I've been meaning to do this for a while, to be honest, but a lot of things kept me from doing so.  For one, I worried it would affect my readership numbers and page rankings.  Second, importing Blogger posts into Wordpress used to be fairly limited; they are, thankfully, no longer so.  These mostly seem like trivial things now; the longer I put off switching over, the more difficult it would be.  So...I'm doing it.  Let's get it over with.  Let's get me a proper website and make this site less...buggy.

Doing this will mean some changes for the blog -- layout, colors, design, etc.  If you're an RSS subscriber, you shouldn't have to do anything at all because I still use Feedburner.  If you're not subscribed via RSS, then keep an eye out, because eventually this space will redirect to a completely different one.

Nothing will happen overnight.  I need some time to get things set up over at Wordpress.  I may post a link to ask for opinions in the near future.  Keep an eye out.  Until I've made the switch, blogging will continue as usual around here.

Anywhoodles!

All Your Human Are Belong to Us: Cats, Authors, and Science Fiction and Fantasy

Since I've already talked about cats in SFF in this "top 10 cats" post, I decided to go after this subject from a different angle:  authors.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I conducted an informal survey on the relationship between authors, their cats, and genre.  The results were both familiar and unusual.*

As expected, most of the authors who own cats mentioned that the natural independence of the feline species makes them perfect pets for an otherwise introverted or attention-limited group.  The "cats are not like dogs" sentiment came up several times, though some authors expressed a love of the canine species as well, prompting me to consider whether a "authors who don't own cats" survey would be equally as compelling.  In any case, what we already kind of knew came up in almost every single case:  cats are independent, and authors like having an uncompromising furry creature that is perfectly fine being ignored but won't let you get away with being a neglectful turd (truth).

Monday, February 16, 2015

SFF Reappraisals: Brian Francis Slattery

SFF Reappraisals is a new column on WISB which discusses under-appreciated or lesser known writers in an attempt to explain why they deserve greater recognition.

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Though a winner of the Philip K. Dick Award in 2012, Brian Francis Slattery's literary science fiction has thus far been "under the radar" within wider SF circles.  I think this is a mistake, if not because Slattery is an exceptional writer, then certainly because Slattery's work speaks to our present in a way that so few writers today have shown (or the other way around).  For this reason, I've selected Slattery as the first author in my SFF Reappraisals feature.

So, without further ado...