Monday, April 27, 2009

Planet of the Dead

OK, so, as a nod towards science fiction, there's just time tonight for a quick look back at the Easter Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead.

It's gonna be quick, because, well, it wasn't particularly deep. There won't be any big life issues commented on or spiritual truths dug out of this one. Not by me, at least.

That's not to say it wasn't good, because, well, ok, maybe I'm just a bit biased because it's Doctor Who, but it was a fun stuck-on-a-distant-planet-with-the-monster-of-the-week romp. It had Lee Evans as a UNIT scientist with a Doctor Who fetish (although the whole Unit-as-simpering-fanboys thing does run the risk of wearing thin if they overdo it). It had Michelle Ryan playing a sidekick who seemed vaguely familiar. It even had a London bus stuck on the far side of the galaxy, where the good Doctor borrowed a deus ex machina from some giant flies and flew the whole thing through a wormhole. I know, it all just sounds too mad to work, and I don't suppose it would outside of Doctor Who.

And that, simply, is why Doctor Who is the best thing on TV, ever. Well, it is today anyway.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Tunes vs CSFF Blog Tour: Blaggard's Top Ten Moon Tunes

Eagle-eyed readers will already have noted that the CSFF blog tour is this month featuring Blaggard's Moon, a pirate fantasy novel by George Bryan Polivka. And as is customary at this point in the tour, it's time for a Top Ten; a pirate top ten would no doubt be fun, I couldn't resist the excuse to do a lunar top ten (as opposed to the usual looney top ten).

So here it is, the Top Ten Moon Tunes, as selected by a hardy crew of musically inclined pirates:

10. Belinda Carlisle - La Luna
Inoffensive pop music, provided you're not the sort of person who finds 80s power pop offensive.

9. The Blue Aeroplanes - Bad Moon Rising
Obscure cover version ahoy! This one is featured on the obscure cover version compilation Ruby Trax, which, frankly, everyone should own.

8. Jean Michel Jarre - Moon Machine
This is not Jarre at his best, and features R2-D2 on guest vocals. True.

7. The Waterboys - The Whole of the Moon
I spoke about wings; you just flew! Edinburgh folk rock rules, ok?

6. R.E.M. - Man on the Moon
Automatic for the People. Brilliant album. Odd songs about how the Apollo moon landings were faked...

5. Thin Lizzy - Dancin' in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me In Its Spotlight)
Nothing to do with Toploader or Jamie Oliver.

4. The Kinks - Full Moon
Sleepwalker. Also a brilliant album. Odd songs about madness and loss of identity.

3. Brian Eno - anything from the Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks album
Which, if anyone didn't know, was written as a soundtrack to Al Reinert's film of the Apollo moon missions, and is complete genius.

2. Porcupine Tree - The Moon Touches Your Shoulder
Epic Porcupines track, starts out like a quiet little acoustic number, but then someone plugs the amp in and they completely lose control... so awesome, it almost made number one.

1. The B-52s - There's a Moon in the Sky (Called The Moon)
There's a thin line between genius and insanity, and the B-52s eponymous debut album definitely had one foot either side. A mad, crazy genius tune from a mad, crazy genius band.

So now you have your soundtrack sorted, the blog tour awaits, with something more relevant to the subject... the treasure map is on the last post.

Monday, April 20, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour: Blaggard's Moon

Much as I would like to tell you how good the new Doctor Who and Red Dwarf eps were, my return from the Easter hols coincides nicely with a CSFF Blog Tour, so instead I have to write something about pirates, of all things. Somebody really ought to write some good Biblical science fiction, then maybe I can get the good ship Old Testament Space Opera sailing in the right direction again. Pirates, honestly, what do I know about pirates? (Rough, tough, little girl pirates excluded, at least.)

Oh well... this month the blog tour is featuring the adult pirate fantasy Blaggard’s Moon, by George Bryan Polivka.

That's all I've got on the subject... not even any of my trademark bonkers Brit humour on the subject... shall I just walk the plank now?

Well, while I do that, you all just set sail for these blogs. Matey.

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Melissa Carswell
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespack
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I look like a dog with a caramel toffee

Yes, I am feeling ambivalent about the imminent return of Red Dwarf. Yes, I'm excited; I mean, this is Red Dwarf we're talking about, and we haven't seen a new episode for 10 years, as hard as that is for me to believe. Lister, Kryten and the Cat are back; Rimmer has an 'H' on his head, and Kochanski is nowhere to be seen. All would seem to be good in the Dwarfiverse. Well, except for the absence of Holly, but we'll get along without him (or her), I'm sure.

At the same time though, I live in fear that sombody is going to ruin my fond memories. I mean, this is Red Dwarf we're talking about here. I remember rushing home the night it debuted, just to see if it was any good (comedy sf up to that time pretty much consisted of Hitchhiker's and Spaceballs, as I recall). That was a couple of weeks before I turned 14; the last season aired the year I got married, so Red Dwarf covers a pretty important and character defining part of my life. (That's not to say Dave Lister is any more important than Mrs UKSteve, oh, no!)

But messing with important stuff like that is bad. It's like reinventing a motoring icon and turning it into a ridiculous overweight parody of the original. Please, Dave, don't let that happen to the Dwarf!

And returning to Earth - this is a departure from everything the series was meant to be - one man, stuck at the far side of the galaxy with a senile computer and a hologram of his dead bunkmate...

On the other hand, Series 8 was about as far removed from that as it's possible to get, what with the entire crew coming back, Rimmer not being a hologram, and Holly still having the same IQ as 6000 PE teachers... it can't get much worse than that, surely?

And of course, Doctor Who turned out alright, didn't it? Even (especially?) after the all new Doc quit after one season. And if Red Dwarf goes pear-shaped, at least I know the good Doctor will be waiting on a desert planet with nothing but the Bionic Woman and a London bus for company.

Who knew Easter would turn out to be about sci-fi?