Friday, May 25, 2007

Towel Day '07

I pondered a few ways to mark this occasion in my little corner of the blogosphere. I could watch and review the Hitch-hikers movie, but it still won't be that good a review, so I'll try something more positive. I could review the TV series, only I haven't watched that for a while. I could lament the fact that I ditched my old VHS copies of the TV series when I got it on DVD, before I realised that not all the VHS content was on the new version. Ah, little animated Babel Fish, you will be missed. A bit.

I should really review the CDs of the last 3 radio series, because they were actually good, but that would entail sitting through them again. Which would take longer than remains of Towel Day in this time zone.

Instead I'm going to cop out royally and post a slightly edited review I wrote when the Quandary Phase aired a couple of years ago.

Even though I was introduced to Hitchhikers through the TV series, the first time I heard the original radio series (on a mid-90s repeat airing) I knew I was experiencing something special. This was, after all, the medium Hitchhikers was created for, and it shows. The Secondary Phase, with a plot wildly different from any other Hitchhiker variant, remains my favourite part of the canon, perhaps because it remains the least well-known.

There are those who think the current crop of radio shows don't compare to the original late 70s episodes; the Tertiary Phase suffered mainly from poor source material - Life, the Universe and Everything, itself recycled from a rejected Doctor Who story, is the weakest of the five novels for my money. But So Long and Thanks for all the Fish was a love story, a change of pace from the all out action of it's predecessor. Hearing some of the same characters with different voices (Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, Slartibartfast, and of course the Book) took a bit of getting used to, but the main characters sounded just the way I remembered them.

Overall Dirk Maggs made an excellent job with the new adaptations, modernising the source material much more successfully than the movie (mankind's early 80s fascination with digital watches being replaced with a 2005 fascination with cellphones, for instance), and it still sounds like Douglas could have written it.

The Tertiary, Quandary and Quintesential Phases are a far better reflection of the true genius of Adams' original than the movie, and for my money should be this generation's tribute to him.

Long live Douglas Adams.

Towel Day :: A tribute to Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: Speculative fiction

Given the option, I would have just brought up a list of all the science fiction at The Sword Review, and pointed out a few stories that appealed to me. That way, though, I would have missed the fact that, as well as Fantasy and Science fiction, there is a third sub-genre at TSR: the slightly woolly-sounding 'Speculative' fiction.

Instead, I opted for the 'pick a back issue at random and see what it gives me' approach. Not that it was that random; Issue 14 just seemed to be nicely in the middle of the run. Not much science fiction in that ish, mind; although that should make it a bit easier for even a slacker like me to read it and post a brief comment on the stories. There was, though, that other word: Speculative, attached to a story called The Short Bus. Which I read first, intrigued by the Speculative tag.

And true enough, it's not really fantasy. It's certainly not science fiction. It is... well, it's a slice of life - the life of a schoolboy with Downs Syndrome - straight out of the Twilight Zone.

There are two sci-fi stories in Issue 14: Of Protectors by C Michale, and The Ponce de Leon Project by George Duncan. Judged purely on the opening few paras provided by TSR before opening the whole story, I thought Of Protectors seemed a bit serious for my current mood, and read the George Duncan story, which started off with a car called Agnes kidnapping the protag and taking him to some automatic punching machines. Well, that ticks enough boxes for me.

In The Ponce de Leon Project, Clint Devlin, along with Agnes, is looking for a missing person, and leads us through an action filled tale that ends up finding the latest quest for eternal life, and the quite disturbing experiments that are being carried out to find it. An engaging and thought-provoking story, bundling cloning and genetic engineering with plenty of guns and gadgets. Maybe not the most original combination, but the Christian faith is a thread that runs through the story, adding a refreshing twist to the many Hollywood variations on the theme.

Oh dear, I think I may need to visit TSR regularly to make sure I don't miss anything else like that...

Incidentally, before you all jump in and try to educate me, I have since figured out how to bring up all the science fiction!

Don't forget to visit some of the other blogs on the tour, listed in yesterdays post.

Monday, May 21, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: Intro

Well, since something vaguely resembling normality has returned here, I will make the effort and join in with me blog tour buddies again. This month we will be sampling the goodies on offer at The Sword Review, a webzine which aims 'to provide quality fiction, poertry[sic], valuable reviews, and meaningful exposition, all in a means that respects traditional values and Christian principles'. Obviously, their fiction focus is primarily on fantasy and science fiction.

So I'm off now to root around for some quality sci-fi, and maybe some meaningful exposition. I will report back tomorrow with what I find.

And, this being a tour and all, please drop by some of my fellow tourists over the next three days and see what they thought...

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
April Erwin
Kameron M. Franklin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver

Is it me, or does that list get longer every month?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Normal service will resume shortly... the meantime, here's a few things I've missed, just in case you have too.

Jesus loves Sci-fi. Well, we knew that, but it's always good to find someone else who knows it.

And from there I followed the linky goodness to The Gospel According to Buffy. Well, who could resist that, eh?

And for those with time to listen to podcasts, The Sci Phi Show has a little series on Science and Religion that may be of interest. I haven't got round to listening myself. (I've been pre-occupied, remember?)

Oh yes, and the Lost Genre Guild have meandered off in a podcastwardly direction too. (I haven't listened to that either!)

Um, anyway, we now return you to your regular scheduled blogging.