Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mystery Science Radio Bonus Show

A follow-up to the Holiday 2011 show. "This is intended to be the final episode of Mystery Science Radio for now ..." I guess DJ Frederick wants to focus on his other show, Radio Thrift Shop.

Holiday Show Lost Tapes

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Biggest Freak Band in the Galaxy

"It was like Star Trek with long hair and drugs." -- Lemmy

Tim Cumming's documentary about the anarchic collaborative that is Hawkind is full of great moments. Not only the unglamorous origins of the band's name - it basically means "loogie fart" - but also the night Michael Moorcock introduced Arthur C. Clarke to William S. Burroughs and they "got on like a house on fire." So even though Dave Brock refused to take part you'll want to watch it, and hear about the time Mick Farren helped tear down the fence at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, because music should be free for all the people. Right on!

[via Dangerous Minds, again]

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mystery Science Radio Holiday 2011 Show

A Dalek Christmas, in search of The Shaggs, Ed Wood, and of course an off-beat cover of "Stairway to Heaven" that's what I call holiday cheer.

#21 - Holiday 2011 Show part one (59 mins)
#21 - Holiday 2011 Show part two (30 mins)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Farewell, Anne McCaffrey

Popular sf Grand Master Anne McCaffrey died a few days ago. She's gave us such books as The Ship Who Sang (1961), Decision at Doona (1969), and Dinosaur Planet (1978).

(Cover by Michael Whelan)

Her most famous work is of course her award winning Dragonriders of Pern series, which skillfully blends the tropes of high fantasy with a believable science fiction setting. Although she continued to add to the saga throughout her career my favorites will always be the first three books, Dragonflight (1968), Dragonquest (1971), and The White Dragon (1978). The vividly imagined world of Pern is a remarkable achievement that ensures her legacy in the sf pantheon and one for which fans like me will always be grateful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Humanoid Typhoon

Today, some gratuitous Trigun. The movie, Trigun: Badlands Rumble, has been out for a month, but I haven't watched it yet. Maybe this weekend. But it's nice to have the whole TV series about everybody's favorite quirky, pacifist gunslinger available online. So here's the first episode of Madhouse's adaptation of Yasuhiro Nightow's Seiun Award winning manga.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What a Good Way to Go...

Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters in action.

mr. atavist lays some Robert Calvert, Hawkwind, and other groovy tracks on us.

What a Good Way to Go... (2hrs)

Friday, November 18, 2011

PKD interview from 1979

(Art by R. Crumb)

An in-depth interview of Horselover Fat by fellow sf author Charles Platt from the psychedelic days of 1979. PKD was also recently featured on the Science Channel's show, Prophets of Science Fiction. The show's pattern is to offer a potted history of an sf author's life and then interject segments tying their work to current scientific research. One of the better things about it is the commentary by Kim Stanley Robinson and, in the case of the PKD episode, David Brin. No mention of the Exegesis in that episode, though.

[via Dangerous Minds]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The World Masters

The World Masters (1903) by George Griffith

When a device capable of controlling all the electricity on the planet falls into a young engineer's hands can he keep it safe from French and Russian imperialists and use it to bring about world peace? Bleiler comments, "An invention, exploitation, plots, peace vigilantes, and extended romances. More romance and less action than in the earlier works."

Produced by Malcolm Farmer and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Side Effects of 6 Fictional Drugs

Since at least the days of H. G. Wells' "The New Accelerator", sf has been prescribing fictional pharmaceuticals for literary purposes. Cordrazine, kalocin, kerasine - just of few of the many imaginary medicines that can have undesirable side effects. Gabe Habash of Publishers Weekly gives a rundown of 6 Fictional Drugs with Unintended Side Effects.

[via Disinfo]

Monday, November 14, 2011


(Cover by Jan Toorop)

Psyche (1898, trans. by B. S. Berrington, 1908) by Louis Couperus

A fairy tale like Maeterlinck's later play The Blue Bird, based on the ancient story of Psyche.

Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

As a follow-up to my last post, here's The Last Man on Earth (1964) starring Vincent Price. Although the antagonists here are vampires this film is the direct inspiration for today's "zombie apocalypse" movies.

From The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:
L'ultimo uomo della terra

Film (1964; vt The Last Man on Earth). La Regina/Alta Vista. Directed by Sidney Salkow, Ubaldo Ragona, starring Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia. Screenplay Logan Swanson (pseudonym of Richard Matheson, who disliked the rewrite), William P Leicester, based on Matheson's I Am Legend (1954). 86 minutes. Black and white.

This Italian/US coproduction was the first film version of Matheson's novel about the lone survivor of a plague whose victims become vampires, a metamorphosis for which the novel, unlike the film, provides an ingenious medical explanation. Each night the survivor is besieged in his house by "vampires", and each day he kills as many as he can while they sleep. Finally, however, they succeed in trapping and killing him. The film has a reputation as being dreadful, but arguably it captures the brutalization of its hero in the human world's last gasp better than the remake, The Omega Man (1971), and it is certainly truer to the novel. The film truest to the novel's spirit, though with a different plot, is Night of the Living Dead (1968). [PN/JB]

Friday, November 11, 2011

Panic in Year Zombie!

Despite not being a huge fan of the carnivorous undead sub-genre that's all the rage right now I've been enjoying AMC's TV adaptation of Kirkman, Moore, and Adlard's The Walking Dead.

Along with being an obvious pastiche of George A. Romero's Dead movies, I'm also struck by the affinities to the broader post-holocaust genre. Not only obvious works like Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend (1954), which got the whole ball rolling, but also with the more numerous fictions about the aftermath of nuclear war.

While the threat of nuclear annihilation has been replace by the menace of a plague of undead hordes the stories and the characters are otherwise surprisingly similar. The ruthlessness of otherwise civilized people in their quest for survival is a dominant theme, and was foregrounded in Ray Milland's Panic in Year Zero! (1962).

Even the "zombies" have their parallels in the mutants that threatened the survivors of the nuclear wasteland, as in Roger Corman's first film, The Day the World Ended (1956).

As the series progresses it will be interesting to see how it treats the tropes of post-holocaust fiction. Will it compose a new arrangement or simply play a familiar refrain?

Monday, November 7, 2011

2012 Isaac Asimov Science Award

Congratulations to NPR’s Ira Flatow for winning The American Humanist Association's 2012 Isaac Asimov Science Award.

(Pic via UCTV)
"Ira Flatow is best known as the host of National Public Radio’s popular Science Friday and past host of Newton’s Apple, a television science program for kids. Science Friday hosts a lively , informative discussion on science, technology, health, space, and the environment. Flatow is also founder and president of Talking Science, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating radio, TV, and Internet projects that make science “user friendly.” He’s appeared on the Today Show, Oprah, and Charlie Rose, and he’s received numerous awards including the National Science Teachers Association Science Faraday Communicator Award. In 2009 he made a cameo appearance on the popular television show, The Big Bang Theory. In addition to Flatow, the AHA will be honoring the prolific journalist and activist Gloria Steinem with the 2012 Humanist of the Year award. Other awardees include actor George Takei, best known for his role on the television series Star Trek, and Debra Sweet, national director of the peace organization World Can’t Wait."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mystery Science Radio - Post Halloween Bonus Show

"The strange pirate radio adventures of the crew of the Jefferson Airship ... "

Daleks, MacArthur Park, and Torgo is taken to a play.

Post Halloween Bonus Show