Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Notes and notes

And, as promised, some thoughts on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #35 are online. Likely not to be the only things I ever think of — nor to answer every burning question — but there it is.

A further update: This weekend is the first DaishoCon, run by the local fans of Stevens Point, Wis. I will be there on Saturday — presuming my cold does not completely floor me — and I believe I have a panel at 1. Stand a good ways back, lest you take home a souvenir cold.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

KOTOR #35: The End of the Beginning!

I can't even begin to get into how busy I am this week, but it would be impossible not to note the release of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #35, the final chapter of "Vindication"! The adventure begun in "Commencement" three years ago concludes — with surprises and fireworks and a step into a new future for our heroes. The origin story ends here!

Even with the schedule as it is, I expect to have some notes online this week, a little faster than has been the custom recently. A lot of threads finish coming together here — we had to print on transdimensional paper to get it all to fit!

So the first meta-arc concludes — but we're just getting started. The next batch of issues has already been announced, including #38, drawn by Dean Zachary, one of my fellow regulars at Midsouthcon (and we'll both be there promoting that issue, along with my old college pal John Hudgens of Sith Apprentice fame, who's attending for the first time as a media guest). And knowing what we have in the works further ahead than that, I can say we'll definitely be broadening the horizons of the Old Republic and taking Star Wars readers to places they've never seen before. (Or in a really, really long time!)

Anyway, enjoy the read. And more soon...

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Snivvian Week

And I am informed that The Gryph is this week's Featured Article over on Wookieepedia. Mama Glomkettle would be proud...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Springboard looking for a series

As of 3:30 Alaska time today, Senator Stevens' challenger had gone into the lead by a total of three votes.

No political observation here (and of course they're still counting) — but my first instinct was, "Man, there's a Northern Exposure episode in here somewhere." Maurice and Chris canvassing the town, looking for converts for either side! (In reality, Janine Turner was on the air a few times, campaigning for McCain — though I'm not sure who Maggie O'Connell would be rooting for...)

Trivial note: I have in-laws living in Roslyn, Wash., which served as Cicely. The Brick is there and operating, but last time I was through I don't think the KBHR studio display was there any more.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Most scientifically plausible SF movies

Newsarama has a piece up on Yahoo (!) on the "five most scientifically plausible science fiction movies." First off, props to Matt and Mike for getting Newsarama syndicated out to Yahoo — should be some great exposure for them there. (My Comichron column runs monthly there, as well.)

And, of course, the list itself — which is intended to inspire debate, and almost certainly will. Off the bat, I would drop Iron Man, adding Contact, where they got much of the earth-based science right and the speculative element in possible doubt is the wormhole business. And I'd probably drop in 2010 and The Andromeda Strain — though I'm not sure what else I'd leave off. I think even Crichton would have said Andromeda is more plausible than Jurassic Park, so that might be one.

The Truman Show
seems an odd choice — I'm not arguing that it belongs somewhere on the list, but we get into some weird dividing lines here. Something like Children of Men has a speculative springboard and is very possible — but somehow I have the feeling that you want to recognize the films where there are multiple brushes with science which the filmmakers have to navigate. That's where I like 2010 — where they get everything from the physics of rotational motion to aerobreaking right as often as they can.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remembering Michael Crichton

I was very sorry to learn this morning of the passing of Michael Crichton.

The first movie that ever gave me nightmares was the original Andromeda Strain, which I saw on TV at age eight — it's still the better of the two adaptations, I think. I read both The Andromeda Strain and The Terminal Man in junior high, one summer working (or when I should have been working) in my mother's library — and I really dug the style they were writtten in — sort of a scientific procedural, with some nice storytelling devices playing up the feeling that you were reading secret reports about things that officially never happened. I liked them enough that in high school I named a cyborg character "Crichton" in a short story (I imagine the robot in Buck Rogers' second season was named for him, too).

I wasn't as big into Jurassic Park — and honestly, the only ER episodes I've ever seen were of the identically-named backdoor spinoff from The Jeffersons in 1984 (which, strangely, also starred George Clooney!).

On the other hand, I'm know I'm one of the bigger fans of Looker, a sometimes maligned film he wrote and directed which includes some pretty imaginative ideas — including the insertion of computer-generated characters into video (which seems to have more or less happened last night with CNN's "holograms"). Took a long time for the DVD of it to come out, but it might be worth a second (or first) look, if only for the cool light gun and some of the interesting pre-Max Headroom views in there about the power of the media.

I need to get back and read some of the books I missed. There is not nearly enough science in science fiction, but Crichton did his part to change that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Panini's Vector Volume 1

I just received (from the kindly UPS man) the German version of what will be stateside the first Star Wars: Vector trade paperback: It's actually Star Wars Sonderband #46 in Panini's numbering system, but I would suspect it looks a bit like the final version will on this side of the drink. It's "Vector 1: Der Muur-Talisman," which I suspect means the subtitle of the first volume is (natch) "The Muur Talisman." All covers are reprinted, either inside or outside.

Always an education looking at these translations. I assume "Kleinkriminelle" refers to Gryph!

You can preorder the Vector trade from Amazon, Things from Another World, Barnes & Noble, or your local comics shop.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Grassroots, pizza, and the fear of clip-on ties

Just a few more hours until the election is in the history books — and it looks like people are still busy on both sides of the metaphorical aisle, at least in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

The GOP headquarters seemed busy when I drove past it after dark Saturday night — I couldn't see inside from the road, but it was really lit up and there were cars out front, so I assume it was active there. So was the Democratic headquarters, which I got a closer look at while waiting for my pizza at the place across the street (note to travelers: when downtown, don't miss Bill's Pizza Shop). At about 7 p.m. the place was very busy with people "phone-banking" and moving a variety of promotional items. (I even saw "Authors for Obama" buttons on the giveaway table, which struck me as taking target-marketing to a rather odd extreme. I mean, how many professions do you have to go through to get to that one? That's a lotta buttons...)

Anyway, they told me I'd just missed Jill Biden, the Senator's wife, earlier in the day. That reminded me that I'd promised to post a clearer version of my interview with Joe Biden that I'd conducted as a college student nearly two decades ago. Through the miracle of OCR scanning, here 'tis — and amazingly, Blogger let me accurately backdate the post.

I cringe a bit at the style — I was still in J-school, and worse, I was editing myself. I churned out a lot of copy before I became managing editor; the Sunday that I wrote these three articles, I also had to lay out a front page and coordinate the rest of the issue. The two pieces from the interview itself are pretty much a laundry list of everything I'd researched to ask about, and the transitions are non-existent. Being a Soviet Studies guy, I threw in questions about Mikhail Gorbachev. And divestment from South Africa was a big campus issue at the University of Tennessee during my time on the paper, so I got questions in there on that, as well.

(I'll leave it to others to grade his prognostication skills. He was correct that Anthony Kennedy would turn out to be the swing vote on abortion, and that Bush 41 wouldn't get a balanced budget amendment through — though nobody else did, either. There was an attempt at a line-item veto, although that was struck down.)

Going back to my glance at the grassroots, I remembered that my first presidential election I could vote in was that one back in 1988 (coincidentally, the other time Biden ran). But while I was interested in politics then, I was never active — and I never really have been. I never ran for anything at all in school (apart from President of the Dungeons & Dragons Club, which the parents group crushed) and I never campaigned for anyone. I liked the behind-the scenes stuff, but I was only ever interested in watching the game, reporting on it — and, as a grad student, analyzing it. Probably, it was the nascent storyteller in me: I've never acted in any plays, either, for some of the same reasons. (And I hated wearing a tie! How many people have been kept from public life, for fear of being caught with a clip-on...)

Anyway, three days to go. I don't know what the heck they'll talk about on TV after this. Do they still play football?
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