Friday, December 31, 2010

NASA Angel Links?

NASA is currently working working on a rail launcher that should be familiar to all sf fans and anybody who has seen George Pal's 1951 big screen adaptation of Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer's 1933 novel, When Worlds Collide.

And otaku will recognize the rail launcher from it's more recent use in the Outlaw Star spin-off, Angel Links. In that show they even add a clever innovation in that they first launch an "advanced flying unit" which creates a supersonic shockwave that the ship flies up in.

Skip to the 7:50 mark to see the launch sequence.

Since NASA now has to rent spaceships from taxpayer funded "commercial" rocket makers I suppose it's just a matter of time before the agency will be forced to rent rail launcher time, too.

[via Technovelgy]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DJ Spock

While I find it disturbing that Google is constantly peering over my shoulder at the videos I watch, I have to admit this "Recommended for You" vid isn't half bad.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Meanwhile, on planet Earth...

Nick Fury insists the best way to fight rampaging giants is to shoot randomly into the air.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gulliver's Travels (1939)

Max Fleischer's animated version of Gulliver's Travels from 1939. It should actually be called Gulliver's Travel since it only covers his trip to Lilliput and not his later voyages to Brobdingnag, Laputa, and elsewhere, but it's still fun. It's a loose interpretation, and most of the social satire of the original is missing, but you can tell WWII was looming when this cartoon was made.

via the Internet Archive

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Krampus Christmas

Christmas time is Krampus time!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BSTF - Tommy's Christmas Surprise

Rev. Susie the Floozie's present for us this Yuletide is Jim Ratts' crazy audiocollage "Tommy's Christmas Surprise".

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Tower of Oblivion

The Tower of Oblivion (1921) by Oliver Onions

A novel about a man who is growing progressively younger.

Produced by David Clarke, Pat McCoy and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Connecting the Notes - Captain Beefheart

"Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band are the focus of this special 2-part edition of Connecting the Notes. We are joined by 2 former Magic Band members: John French & Gary Lucas. They talk with us about Beefheart’s approach to songwriting, the making of the album “Trout Mask Replica” and the struggles and rewards of working with him."

Part 01   Part 02

via WXOJ-LP Northampton, MA & A-Infos Radio Project

Friday, December 17, 2010

Conan Gets Animated pt. 2

Conan heads back to the WB animation studios and takes along his friend Pierre who shows off his ecchi drawings of some DC heroines.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Faun sees Snow for the First Time

by Richard Aldington

Cloud-whirler, son-of-Kronos,
Send vengeance on these Oreads
Who strew
White frozen flecks of mist and cloud
Over the brown trees and the tufted grass
Of the meadows, where the stream
Runs black through shining banks
Of bluish white.

Are the halls of heaven broken up
That you flake down upon me
Feather-strips of marble?

Dis and Styx!
When I stamp my hoof
The frozen-cloud-specks jam into the cleft
So that I reel upon two slippery points....

Fool, to stand here cursing
When I might be running!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friction - Crazy Dream

"Crazy Dream" by Friction, because I had a crazy dream.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Voice of Middle Earth

"An Unexpected Party" by The Brothers Hildebrandt

The Voice of Middle Earth "Music and discussion inspired by the writings of JRR Tolkien, along with ecological, mythological music and musings." Hosted by Greenman Took and Mungo Bunce.

[via A-Infos Radio Project]

Friday, December 10, 2010

The New Myths

Yesterday was superhero Thursday. On Conan O'Brien's show he visited the WB studios and did a rundown of the worst DC Comics, Inc. characters. Then he had no less than Bruce Timm design his own superhero alter-ego.

Before that, on NPR's Talk of the Nation, Neil Gaiman was the guest and discussed comics. In the course of the interview he emphasized two points. The first was that comic books have become the new mythology, something that by now is general knowledge. The other point that he insisted on was that comics are an inherently democratic art form. I think in this he's being a Pollyanna. It ignores the simple fact that that the inhabitants of this new mythology are not common property but the private property of major corporations. The dominance of comic book mythology in the popular mind represents not democracy but rather an extension of capitalist enclosure to the very heart of our imagination. (If you don't believe me just try writing and selling your own copies of The Sandman and see how quickly you get sued.) That's a far cry from democracy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It was 30 years ago today...

John Lennon (1940–1980)

It was 30 years ago today...A tribute to the music of John Lennon by Dustin Richardson of WRIR.
We take a listen to the recordings of John Winston Ono Lennon, as well as remember that cold December night 30 years ago that marked the end of his incredible life.
It takes 5 mins to get into the show, then there's some recordings of news from the night John was murdered, a caller who remembers the day of the killing, then 17 mins in there's an hour of his early songs including his work with the Beatles followed by an hour of music from his later solo career.

[via A-Infos Radio Project]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dumarest: Eye of the Zodiac (1975)

Dumarest has been working as a security guard on Tradum. There he's met Leon Harvey, a starry-eyed youngster who claims to come from a planet called "Nerth". Obviously this catches Dumarest's attention, but he suspects a Cyclan trap. When Leon is injured he helps him get treatment, then secretly doses him with a hypnotic drug and pumps him for information. The boy's story holds up and Dumarest finds he is one of the Original People, the secretive religious sect that may know the location of Earth. The appearance of a cyber means Dumarest has to make tracks, so after some close scrapes he sets off for Shajok, the planet that Leon came from. There a Hausi merchant, Bhol Kinabalu, arranges for him to enter the service of Iduna and her brother, Jalch Moore, an unhinged individual who is determined to hunt down the legendary Kheld in the dangerous mountains. Dumarest accompanies them hoping to find Leon's settlement and the secrets of the Original People.

This book, like several of the preceding installments, involves extended passages of Dumarest employing his wilderness survival skills. This emphasizes his toughness, and the fact that he's a survivor. His ability to survive in hostile environments thus becomes an implicit justification of his often brutal behavior. In these books it's a hard universe where only a hard man can survive.

There is also a scene in which Dumarest stabs to death a mortally wounded companion to put him out of his misery. This has been a preoccupation of his in previous books. He holds the conviction that that a suffering individual should be swiftly dispatched, and anyone who tries to keep them alive is, as he commented in an earlier volume, exhibiting "unconscious sadism". But given his own violent nature, and his near obsession with the idea of putting people out of their misery it strikes me that the sadism lies somewhere else. Needless to say any talk of mercy killing is quickly forgotten whenever Dumarest himself is mortally wounded, at which point no medical treatment is sparred.

The misogyny is getting pretty thick in these books. The traitor to the Cyclan is a transsexual woman who "would do anything, anything to be a man." "She was insane," opines Dumarest, after having slashed off her cloths with his knife. The psycho-sexual implications of such an act hardly need comment.

And Dumarest has left off slapping faces and gone back to his old carotid pinching ways. At least he's not using it as a hand-to-hand combat technique anymore, just using it to render a subdued opponent unconscious. So it's more plausible than before. No doubt we'll see more pinching in the adventures to come.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

X Minus One - Shocktroop

"Shocktroop" by Daniel F. Galouye (adapted by George Lefferts, November 28, 1957)

Courtesy of Internet Archive and OTRR.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hercules vs. Tarzan

Steve "Hercules" Reeves teams up with Gordon "Tarzan" Scott to reenact the lives of Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of Mars (Ares) who founded Rome. If only they had hired Ray Harryhausen to add a few monsters this movie would be a classic.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Jacket photographs by Jupiterimages.

Makers (2009) by Cory Doctorow

"Perry and Lester invent things: seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems. When Kodak and Duracell are broken up for parts by sharp venture capitalists, Perry and Lester help to invent the “New Work,” a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation, microinvesting in high-tech communal mini-startups. Together, they transform the nation and blogger Andrea Fleeks is there to document it.

Then it slides into collapse. The New Work bust puts the dot-bomb to shame. Perry and Lester build a network of interactive rides in abandoned Walmarts across the land. As their rides gain in popularity, a rogue Disney executive engineers a savage attack on the rides by convincing the police that their 3D printers are being used to make AK-47s.

Lawsuits multiply as venture capitalists take on a new investment strategy: backing litigation against companies like Disney. Lester and Perry’s friendship falls to pieces when Lester gets the fatkins treatment, which turns him into a sybaritic gigolo.

Then things get really interesting." blurb via Tor

Copyright © 2010 by Cory Doctorow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Secret of the League

The Secret of the League: The Story of a Social War (1907) by Ernest Bramah

Also published as What Might Have Been this book is said to have been an influence on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

"According to William White, "a rather weak forecast of England under a Socialist government." Men with mechanical wings are featured.... As a Socialist dystopia, it is apparently highly regarded by Ayn Rand enthusiasts. Originally printed anonymously." -- Mike Berro

Produced by Suzanne Shell, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team