Farscape Friday Podcast - Eps 35 and 36

Friday, January 20th, 2017 04:59 pm
tassosss: Oh, Mine Eyes! (mine eyes)
[personal profile] tassosss

Episode 35: Look at the Princess Part 3: The Maltese Crichton

Kay and Taz break down the last episode of Farscape's first 3 parter. Aeryn deals with a desert vacation that takes a dangerous turn, Scorpius faces off with the Scarren spy and Clavor gets what he deserves.

Listen to episode 35 streaming on Simplecast

Episode 36: Beware of Dog

The crew brings aboard a new pet to deal with parasites and then has to deal with a mysterious creature, a dying D'argo and John seeing Scorpius in every shadow. Farscape follows the intensity of the Look at the Princess trilogy with a more mellow episode. Kay and Taz have feels over the Vorc and are intrigued by Scorpy around every corner.

Listen to episode 36 streaming on Simplecast



Picture goes to our Simplecast website where you can listen streaming or download all aired episodes.

[That passed over, this can too]

Friday, January 20th, 2017 04:07 pm
watersword: Allison Janney as CJ Cregg wearing a T-shirt that reads Rock the Vote (West Wing: CJ Cregg)
[personal profile] watersword
Emailed my State Senator to support his bill for universal health care in New York and ask what I can do as a constituent to help get it enacted into law (this last cribbed from [personal profile] ellen_fremedon's letter about climate change). Emailed my House rep, who refused to attend the inauguration, to thank him for that decision and support his rejection of bigoted rhetoric. Tonight will be making signs with [personal profile] zopyrus and cider.

The world feels unreal, like a bad, illogical dream. My department went out for lunch (which I'm less than thrilled about, that was sixteen dollars I could've given to the ACLU), and I carefully didn't order a drink because I'm on the edge of tears anyway, I don't need a systemic depressant.

Seamus Heaney, Deor )

(no subject)

Friday, January 20th, 2017 09:49 pm
lurkingcat: (Default)
[personal profile] lurkingcat
[personal profile] battlehamster headed off to the last 1318 LRP this morning, leaving Kheldar in charge of the house and me in charge of food provision. In years gone past this has meant that Kheldar's gooshy food has been served very, very late on a Friday night as I've hit classroom setup problems followed by public transport problems.

But with my new and improved working hours and commute I got home at pretty much the same time I have every night this week. So Kheldar's gooshy food was around about ten minutes late in arriving.

This is Kheldar's opinion of the matter:

2017-01-20_05-39-52

There is just no pleasing some cats...

Uggg, When Thursday?!?

Friday, January 20th, 2017 09:12 pm
davidgillon: Text: You can take a heroic last stand against the forces of darkness. Or you can not die. It's entirely up to you" (Heroic Last Stand)
[personal profile] davidgillon

That annoying thing when you wake up pre-dawn and two hours later it's still pre-dawn and you realise you're 12 hours out.

And then two hours later realise it's not the day you thought it was either.

I had to check the modification date on a file I knew I saved earlier to confirm I haven't entirely missed Friday, which means I was so tired Thursday and Friday have merged together in my head. I can vaguely remember thinking I must check Friday's webcomics, which is more confirmation, but I don't think I managed to actually do that. It also explains why there was one less helping of soup in the fridge than I expected at lunchtime.

I can sort of piece it together, Thurday night's sleep was more two or three hours trying to doze followed by eventually giving up and going downstairs, rather than actual sleep, but that led to a crash-dive onto the couch sometime late-afternoon, and staggering to bed sometime after dark. When I woke up and the alarm said 6:30 I definitely thought that was AM, not PM, so at this point I'm really, really glad I rolled over and slept another hour.

But that still means I may only have had 4 hours sleep in the last 56(?) hours.

I'm not sure I'll manage to get back into a proper sleeping rhythm, and at this point I'd even settle for nocturnally awake, until I'm rid of this damned cold, which is clinging on by the claws in the back of my throat and proving annoyingly difficult to get rid of. It's really not much more than sniffles and a cough, but just enough to disturb you as you drift towards sleep.

Meh!!!
 

Seeking

Friday, January 20th, 2017 04:37 pm
jadelennox: Sleepy cat (c-cat)
[personal profile] jadelennox
On the one hand, Donald Trump.

But on the other hand, there's a kitten sleeping on a pillow on my desk.

Jon Hamm is Becoming a Hologram–Literally

Friday, January 20th, 2017 09:00 pm
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Posted by Natalie Zutter

Jon Hamm hologram #Holohamm Marjorie Prime

In his new science fiction dramedy Marjorie Prime, Jon Hamm plays a hologram… and he’s really getting into character. In a neat bit of tie-in promotion, Passage Pictures has partnered with technology startup 8i to turn Hamm into an actual, lifelike, three-dimensional hologram for Sundance Film Festival attendees to interact with. With the #Holohamm (hee) possessing the actual volume and depth of Hamm, visitors to Sundance’s virtual reality and augmented reality will feel as if they’re actually interacting with the actor. Or at least, with his character, Walter Prime.

In Michael Almaryeda’s adaptation of Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prime-winning play, the elderly Marjorie resurrects her late husband Walter in order to spend her final days with him. But their interactions are not so simple as wandering down memory lane, not when Walter must draw from Marjorie—and her children—for information on his identity and his place in Marjorie’s life.

“It is amazing to experience the future in the here and now,” producer Uri Singer said in the press release. “When we first started working on the movie, the script dictated that the holograms would be portrayed as a futuristic reality. Making an actual hologram, not only on film but one that can be experienced with VR/AR attests to how present the future has become.”

Here’s an official still of Walter and his son-in-law (played by Tim Robbins), plus the official synopsis:

Marjorie Prime movie Jon Hamm hologram

Courtesy of Fortitude International

Marjorie Prime follows eighty-six-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith) who spends her final, ailing days with a computerized version of her deceased husband, Walter (Hamm). With the intent to recount their life together, Marjorie’s “Prime” relies on the information from her and her kin to develop a more complex understanding of his history. As their interactions deepen, the family begins to develop ever diverging recounts of their lives, drawn into the chance to reconstruct the often painful past. Geena Davis and Tim Robbins round out the all-star cast.

Built around exceptional performances from a veteran cast, Marjorie Prime shines a light on an often-obscured corner in the world of artificial intelligence and its interactions with mortality. Bringing us robustly into the future, Michael Almaryeda’s poetic film forces us to face the question—If we had the opportunity, how would we choose to rebuild the past, and what would we decide to forget?

The film will premiere at Sundance. Here’s a short teaser, plus a trailer from the stage production at Playwrights Horizons (in which Smith also starred):

Marjorie Prime comes to theaters January 23.

Dear Wintersend Creator!

Friday, January 20th, 2017 10:17 pm
hibernate: ([dragon age] masks)
[personal profile] hibernate
There will be a letter here very soon.

More Joy Day!

Friday, January 20th, 2017 01:03 pm
gwyn: (pete sdwolfpup)
[personal profile] gwyn
I don't have a lot of joy today, much as I'm trying to feel the spirit. But I do have something to share that I think a lot of people will enjoy--I'm fostering a litter of four-week-old chihuahua puppies and their mum for Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, the group I sometimes foster dogs with. This is the first time as an adult I've been around puppies full time and let me tell you, it is…not as much fun as it seems. :-D There's the wonderful stuff: snuggling little babies as big as you palm and that have that delish puppy smell, and having them mouthing on your fingers and hands is a trip. But there is also a lot of pee and tons of poop now that they're eating puppy mush, and they are indiscriminate about where they go.

So is mum, to a certain degree, as she isn't really housetrained and has a lot of issues, which is typical for rescue dogs. She's been through a lot--emergency c-section, shelter, and may have come from a hoarder so of course has a skin condition and other serious problems. She's terrified of me because I had to give her a medicated bath first thing. And I need to bathe the pups too, but haven't yet.

Still--there is cuteness! And it might give you Joy!

I can never figure out how to put anything up on DW (this is still my biggest grrrr about the site), so I'm linking here:

Minute long video of no-holds-barred puppy fight at 3:30 a.m. : http://teatotally.tumblr.com/post/156135774205/for-more-joy-day-i-give-you-a-minute-of-wild

Short video of snuggles plus Mom: http://teatotally.tumblr.com/post/156056355785/im-fostering-a-litter-of-four-week-old-puppies

Sleepytimes pic: http://teatotally.tumblr.com/post/156103318125/post-prandial-sleepytimes-puppies-pupsters

My instagram and my tumblr are both under "teatotally" and I'm sure I will be posting more puppy and mom related joy in the near future. I am going to try to avoid the pics of me having poo and barf and pee related meltdowns or things like my pounding headaches and severe lack of sleep. Oh, wait…I guess I did. :-D

If you're in the Seattle area and would like to meet them, they will need socializing. I can't let them come in contact with other dogs until they get their vaccines in a couple weeks, but they are snugglable and need the socialization!

ETA: I keep forgetting to add: the best part of this is that it's the Supergirl litter! Mum is Cat Grant, and the babies are "Males = Tan male (Winn Schott) and black male (James Olsen) Females = Tan female (Kara Danvers), black and white female (Lucy Lane), black female with little white (Lena Luthor)"

Ultimates^2 #2 - "And to All a Good Night"

Saturday, January 21st, 2017 05:11 am
laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily


"We’ve seen cosmic science, issue #2 of ULTIMATES SQUARED deals with cosmic parapsychology. If there’s something strange in your universe, who you gonna call?" -- Al Ewing

Read more... )

Fantastic Four #570

Friday, January 20th, 2017 03:44 pm

postcard joy

Friday, January 20th, 2017 08:17 pm
wychwood: You are very mad. I like it. Please carry on. (gen - very mad)
[personal profile] wychwood
It's More Joy Day, and I feel in need of More Joy. Also, I have recently come into possession of a large number of postcards, most of them of Japanese bullet trains.

To combine all of these things, I offer to send a postcard to anyone who would like one. I don't have to be following you, but you do (obvs) have to be willing to give me a postal address. And because I suck at thinking of things to write on postcards even when they're real postcards from places I'm actually visiting, you should suggest some topics or ideas. I am full of useless facts on many topics, or I could put bits of poetry, or recs for fanworks, or suggestions for books you might like; pick some ideas or make up your own topic, and I will do my best.

Then you get a bullet train card in the post, and everyone (maybe?) wins.

I have something like fifty postcards, so, uh, don't be shy. If no one wants a card I might be a bit sad!

I Have a Request

Friday, January 20th, 2017 03:31 pm
amarie24: (Tudor Princess)
[personal profile] amarie24
See, ever since we got our wittle Dante about four and a half years ago? Mommy's always been his valentine, y'know? I ask her, but apparently Dante's always already gotten to ask her first and she's always accepted.

And I'm left out in the dust. It is so unfair. I mean, Dante ain't even got thumbs to make and write her a card!

So my request is this: will someone please be my valentine? You ain't gotta fill out an application, buy me a card, flowers, or a box of chocolates. Ain't gotta do none of that.

Just lemme know if you can be my valentine, pretty please with a bright red cherry on top.


--Amarie, who's once again overshadowed by her cat

The Staid Side of Money

Friday, January 20th, 2017 07:12 pm
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Posted by Sonya Mann

I interviewed my Twitter friend Marc Hochstein, who is the editor-in-chief at American Banker, about finance and technology. (He didn’t speak with me in a professional capacity, but I think his workplace is helpful context.)

Hochstein started his career as a wire service reporter at Dow Jones. He called it a “character-building experience” that involved a lot of cold-calling day traders. The upshot is that Hochstein has been reporting on banks and finance for decades, so his perspective on recent industry developments is interesting.

(Why you should care about this: Our world runs on money. The financial-services industry is hyper-entwined with government, and together they’re the base-level system that everything else is built on top of. That’s actually a simplification since “everything else” and “finance” developed concurrently, but you get the idea.)

I think this quote sums up a lot:

In the last two years — maybe three or four years — there’s been a lot more interest in technology as a potentially transformational force, than there has been in a very long time. You could argue that banking was always, in a way, a technological industry, or always a data industry. There’s a quote from Walter Wriston, who was the chairman of Citicorp back in the ’80s and ’90s. I forget the exact verbatim quote, but it’s something like, “A bank is nothing but a data warehouse, that’s always what it’s been.”

But the banks — financial institutions in general — have been slow to upgrade their core technology, and for some understandable reasons. Changing the core of the bank is a hard thing to do. […] When times are good, when they’re making a lot of money, there’s no real impetus to change anything. And then when times are bad, they don’t have the resources to do anything. Or resources are scarce, I should say.

Hochstein pointed out that the “Uber narrative” hasn’t played out in finance like it has in other industries. He told me, “The barriers to entry are higher. The stakes are higher, because you’re talking about people’s money.” Fintech startups can’t afford to beg forgiveness instead of asking permission. Regulators don’t take kindly to that, and users don’t either.

Technology hasn’t shaken up finance as much as people in Silicon Valley might have expected. Over the last few years, Hochstein explained, “The rhetoric changed from ‘fintech is going to eat the banks’ lunch’ to ‘fintech is going to make banking better at what they do’.” Still, “it’s a little early to say” whether fintech is actually improving banking, or what the degree of change will be. “I wouldn’t say it’s been a profound effect, but it’s there.”

On the bright side, “Transferring money is slowly getting faster.” The Automated Clearing House is finally moving to same-day settlement. “Part of the reason why they did that, why they finally had an impetus to go there,” Hochstein said, “is because of things like Ripple, and bitcoin, and cryptocurrency, as well as real-time payment systems that you see in a lot of other countries.” Hochstein noted that regulators and the Fed have also been pushing in this direction.

I find this slightly mind-boggling. It’s a big deal that ACH is moving to same-day settlement — not real-time, just same-day. In the year 2017.

I asked Hochstein which issues are going to dominate a lot of attention going forward, and he mentioned “open banking” and data portability. Basically, banks have a tremendous amount of lock-in because of all the information they’ve collected and stored about your identity and your account activity.

There’s some talk of forcing banks to provide this information to competitors — or whoever else might be authorized by individuals, e.g. money-management apps like Mint — via API. Guess whether the banks want to do that!

In conclusion, finance gonna finance. Big companies gonna rent-seek. They change when they’re forced to, either by regulation (Dodd-Frank Act, for example) or by the competitive environment. In general, these institutions move slowly. On balance that’s actually a good thing, considering how much havoc they could potentially wreak.


Thank you to Marc Hochstein for talking to me — follow him on Twitter or read his articles.

Photo of the Wall Street bull by Sam Valadi.

The post The Staid Side of Money appeared first on Exolymph.

Vid: Brighter Than The Sun (Star Trek)

Friday, January 20th, 2017 08:01 pm
shinyjenni: Close up of Jaylah from Star Trek Beyond (jaylah)
[personal profile] shinyjenni posting in [community profile] vidding
Title: Brighter Than The Sun
Fandom: Star Trek
Music: Colbie Caillat
Content notes: A few bright flashes
Summary: "Lightning strikes the heart", or, me/Star Trek OTP

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Posted by Keith DeCandido

batman-surf01

“Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episode 10
Production code 1714
Original air dates: November 16, 1967

The Bat-signal: The World Surfing Championship is coming up, and it’s going to be held at Gotham Point. Barbara’s old friend Skip Parker is a favorite to win the championship, and she watches him ride a wave and compliments him on his form. The Joker shows up in his Jokermobile with two henchmen, Wipeout and Riptide, and he radios his moll, Undine, at the Hang Five, a surfin’ hangout run by Hot Dog Harrigan. (The radios actually are in the shapes of hot dogs, for whatever reason.) Riptide and Wipeout put Hot Dog in a bag and then send Undine to tell Skip there’s a phone call for him. Skip enters the Hang Five and Joker gasses him and takes him off to his secret HQ.

However, Barbara sees Skip being kidnapped, and calls her father, who calls Batman. The Dynamic Duo take the Bat-copter to Pelican Cove and then walk from there to Gotham Point just like normal people. (Landing the copter on the beach is dangerous and ostentatious. Also, they don’t have footage from the movie of the copter landing on a beach.)

Joker has Skip tied up and hooked up to a Surfing Experience And Ability Transferometer, which will transfer all of Skip’s surfing knowledge to Joker.

After an hour of useless surveillance of the Hang Five, Batman and Robin return to the Batcave and consult the Bat-computer, which points them at the Ten-Toe Surf Shop, which is long abandoned, as being Joker’s new hideout.

batman-surf02

But Joker’s ready for them, and he, Riptide, Wipeout, and Undine all throw sea-urchin spines at them, leaving them vulnerable to Joker, who ties them down and leaves Riptide and Wipeout to turn them into surfboards. They escape that trap and chase the henchmen off, then rescue Skip, only to discover that Joker stole his surfing mojo.

Batman sends Robin back to Wayne Manor to change back into Dick, and return with his surfboard. Joker’s prowess has scared off all the other competitors, but Dick enters Batman (on behalf of Bruce, who’s the head of the surfing commission, because of course he is) so that there’s an actual competition.

They surf, and while Joker finishes first, Batman wins on points. Then someone finally notices that Hot Dog is in the trash can, and Joker and his people beat a hasty retreat. However, his attempt to hide in the Hang Five fails, as Dick and Barbara ran into the locker rooms first and changed into costume.

batman-surf03

Fisticuffs ensue, and Joker is wiped out (har har). Skip is restored to his old self and all’s right with the world—although there’s a theft of Her Majesty’s Royal Snuffboxes in Londinium that will likely garner our heroes’ attention…

Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! The Bat-copter makes a triumphant return, while Alfred has reprogrammed the Bat-computer to provide pictures instead of punch-cards. Batman uses a portable ultraviolet Bat-ray to ignite the resin and make his surfboard covering explode. (How he made Robin’s explode is left as an exercise for the viewer.) Best of all, we get the Bat-shark-repellant, as Batman uses it to keep a shark away from the competition.

Holy #@!%$, Batman! When the Bat-computer gives our heroes a picture of two bare feet, Robin mutters, “Holy ten toes!” When Joker and his crew hit them with sea-urchin spines, Robin cries, “Holy pin-cushion!” When they’re turned into human surfboards, Robin on-the-noses, “Holy human surfboards!” When they escape that trap, Robin yells, “Holy detonation!”

Gotham City’s finest. Gordon and O’Hara go undercover as surfers on the beach named Duke and Buzzy, wearing the world’s goofiest sunglasses, and totally miss Hot Dog in a trash can, even though Hot Dog signals them repeatedly.

batman-surf04

Special Guest Villains. Cesar Romero makes his first third-season appearance as the Joker. He’ll return, teamed up with Catwoman, in “The Funny Feline Felonies.”

No sex, please, we’re superheroes. All the extras this week are in bathing suits, as are several of the regulars and guest stars. It’s probably the most exposed flesh on any Batman episode, with a good chunk of it coming from Sivi Aberg as Undine and Yvonne Craig in a very sexy one-piece when she’s Barbara.

Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.

“A funny thing, isn’t it? That I know more than you’ve forgotten.”

–Joker getting all philosophical on Skip after stealing his mojo.

Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 56 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, Dan Greenfield of 13th Dimension.

The surfing footage was all taken from the surfing documentary The Endless Summer.

Johnny Green and the Greenmen appear as themselves as the green-haired band performing on the beach. Green also was one of the musicians who played on the show’s theme song, and the band was still together as of last year (though their web site hasn’t been updated since 2010, they do have a Facebook page).

batman-surf05

Riptide is played by Skip Ward, who was William Dozier’s first choice to play the title role in The Green Hornet, a role that eventually went to Van Williams. Based on his acting here, I’d say that the right choice was made in the end.

Sivi Aberg (Undine) previously appeared as Mimi in “The Devil’s Fingers” / “The Dead Ringers.” John Mitchum (Hot Dog) previously appeared as Rip Snorting in “Come Back, Shame” / “It’s How You Play the Game” (and also had a recurring role as Hoffenmueller in F Troop).

Pow! Biff! Zowie! “Cowabunga! Begorrah!” There are a few things to like about this episode. There’s the hilarious visual of Batman and the Joker wearing their baggies over their costumes. There’s Gordon and O’Hara undercover as elderly beach combers and doing the worst job ever. There’s the Bat-shark repellant. There’s Yvonne Craig and Sivi Aberg in bathing suits.

batman-surf06

Yeah, that’s about it. It’s pretty much the same dumb plot we’ve already gotten in “Ring Around the Riddler,” “The Sport of Penguins” / “A Horse of a Different Color,” and “Louie, the Lilac.” Like Riddler and Penguin, Joker is taking on a sport to master in order to, like Louie, win over the youth of Gotham as a stepping stone to greater power. It’s less clear how, exactly, winning a surfing championship will lead to Joker’s plans for world domination (at least Riddler and Penguin had some cash attached to winning, and Louie actually actively tried to recruit the flower children), but then this is a guy who invents time machines and devices that can transfer someone’s surfing skills and athletic ability, yet hasn’t become incredibly rich selling these things to the highest bidder. Go fig’.

Joker runs away because he’s accused of kidnapping Skip and Hot Dog—but everyone knew he’d kidnapped Skip. So why was he even allowed to enter the race? Why didn’t Gordon and O’Hara—sorry, Buzzy and Duke arrest him right off? Why did Hot Dog finally being let out of the garbage can make the Joker scared when his more well known kidnap victim was standing right there?

And how come the surfboard that Riptide and Wipeout encased Batman and Robin in was thinner than their bodies could possibly have fit? How did Batman’s portable ultraviolet ray affect Robin’s surfboard? Why did nobody fix the left ear on Batman’s cowl that was very obviously falling off after the surfing competition?

batman-surf07

Cesar Romero does the best he can with the material—even when he’s standing around pretending to surf in front of a bluescreen, he’s a delight—but this is just an incomprehensible mess.

Bat-rating: 2

Keith R.A. DeCandido has never gone surfing a day in his life.

Old-Fashioned SciFi: Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn

Friday, January 20th, 2017 07:45 pm
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Posted by Liz Bourke

martiansabroad

Martians Abroad is a new stand-alone novel from Carrie Vaughn, the author most famously responsible for the Kitty Norville, werewolf radio host series. Set in the not-so-far future, it features a solar system where humans have habitats on the moon, colonies on Mars, and habitable stations further out, but Earth is still the wealth-and-culture capital of everything.

Polly Newton is the teenaged daughter of the director of Mars Colony. Her one dream in life is to be a pilot, and she has her future planned out. When her mother decides to send her and her “twin” brother Charles to the exclusive Galileo Academy on Earth, though, Polly’s plans are derailed. Unlike Charles—a genius and a manipulative wee asshole—Polly doesn’t adjust well to the new environment. Isolated and homesick, things aren’t going too well for Polly even before a string of dangerous accidents starts putting her powerful and well-connected classmates at risk. Something is rotten in Galileo Academy, and with their next class trip taking Polly, Charles, and their classmates to the moon, another accident may kill them all.

One of the ways in which I know I’m getting older is that I’m getting pickier. Or possibly crankier—not that I didn’t start out plenty cranky to begin with. And Martians Abroad, for all that it’s readably fun, makes me more cranky the more I consider it.

Let’s start with the voice. Polly recounts her adventures in the first person. And while I’m pretty sure Polly is supposed to be sixteen or older, her voice makes her sound about thirteen. In fact, as far as comparanda go for the tone and voice of the novel, I leap immediately to Sophia McDougall’s middle-grade novel Mars Evacuees—though Mars Evacuees has a lot more whimsy and delight, its voice is similarly naively young and breezy. The difference is, Polly feels unnaturally young and naive for an older adolescent, and her fish-out-of-water experiences with fellow students in Galileo Academy seem apt only for someone who has never experienced human group dynamics on any scale before.

I do like Polly’s natural competence, her growing friendship with the Earther Angelyn, and her thoughtless bravery. And her struggles with living under heavier gravity than she’s been used to her whole life are interesting. It doesn’t change the fact that she seems very young.

And let’s talk about Galileo Academy. A very exclusive boarding school on Earth (perhaps the most exclusive boarding school on Earth, the narrative implies), it offers a three-year programme of studies. It draws its students from the families of the elite, both on Earth and in the rest of the solar system—so presumably even the Earther students come from pretty diverse regional backgrounds and cultures, right?

It’s hard to tell. The general culture of the novel is, for all its effort to make the names sound international (apart from the protagonist and family) pretty solidly American. My suspension of disbelief kept having a weird kind of background bafflement: clearly there are cultural and some physiological differences between the Earthers and the Spacers, but it doesn’t appear that this international (inter-solar-system) boarding school story put much thought into the constraints and cultural differences that intervene when you educate people from different natal cultures together—unless there are no different natal cultures in this future apart from Earther and Spacer, which is a creepy-as-all-hell possibility that the novel doesn’t spend much time exploring. (Where’s the accommodation for religious differences? Dietary restrictions? Cultural norms around clothing?)

It just feels very… old-fashioned. It feels, in fact, rather like Vaughn set out to write a modern Heinlein juvenile—and the finished product has some of the flaws, as well as the virtues, of the form.

Not that Martians Abroad isn’t fun and entertaining to read. It is. But it’s a shallow and flat sort of entertainment, a stale sugar-rush rather than a delicious meal. I’d hoped for a more substantial read.

Martians Abroad is available from Tor Books
Read an excerpt here on Tor.com

Liz Bourke is a cranky queer person who reads books. She holds a Ph.D in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin. Find her at her blog. Or her Twitter. She supports the work of the Irish Refugee Council and the Abortion Rights Campaign.

Can’t Hardly Bear It: Malachy McCoy’s Kodiak!

Friday, January 20th, 2017 07:00 pm
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Posted by Grady Hendrix

kodiak_tor

Welcome to Freaky Fridays, your fifteen-foot tall, 1,500 pound, fur-covered guide to the dusty old out-of-print paperbacks of yesteryear. We eat our weight in fresh salmon every day.

Bears are the most employable members of the animal kingdom. Kuma is the bodyguard for Heihachi Mishima. Billy Bob Brockali leads the Rock-afire Explosion Band at Showbiz Pizza (his evil cousin, Freddy Fazbear does the same over at the pizza parlor bearing his name). Fozzie Bear is a professional stand-up comedian for the Muppets. And Smokey is the most famous park ranger of all time. Then there are the questionable bears. The illegal immigrant bears (Paddington), the freeloaders (Yogi), the addicts (Winnie the Pooh), and those stupid lazy polar bears who just sit on their butts and drink Coca-Cola all day long.

Far worse, however, are the thug bears.

These bears grew up in neighborhoods so failed there aren’t even buildings to live in, just trees. There are no supermarkets, the public schools are so bad they’re non-existent, there are no fire or emergency services, very little tax base, and life is cheap. It’s a “survival of the fittest” situation where might makes right and baby bears don’t even learn how to read! The list of stone-cold super-predators that come out of these wildernesses reads like a roll call of the damned. There’s Kesagake, the serial killer bear. The Sloth Bear of Mysore. That bear in the Werner Herzog documentary. Even worse, is an ethics free entertainment industry that glorifies bear crimes in motion pictures like Grizzly (1976) and books like Marian Engel’s perverted Bear. Some of these so-called artists say they’re just telling the truth about the gang-banging lifestyles these bears lead on the streets, and that their movies and books have redeeming social value. Tell that to the bears. They see these depictions as glorifications of their lifestyles and after watching them they’re inspired to go out and commit even more bear crimes! Case in point, Kodiak, a disturbing, ultra-violent book that will leave the reader convinced that the time has come to get tough on bears.

Written in 1978 by Malachy McCoy, freely adopted from the original screenplay by Derek Robbins we’re told on the copyright page (but never made into a movie, thank god), Kodiak starts in Glennallen, Alaska as a bunch of fellows go looking for their buddy, Sam. They all work for an oil company, known only as The Company, that has a big refinery up here and the grizzled old timer, Charlie Ostermeyer, is leading the hunt. Well, they find Sam…torn to pieces. Then word comes in that a prostitute’s head and torso have been found 40 miles away. Making it worse, she’s been mutilated in a “sexual frenzy.” Normally, when I’m reading a book and encounter a foreign (Alaska is basically Canada’s appendix) serial-killing pervert bear on the rampage by page 10 I buy all the copies I can find and set them on fire, but for your sake, I’m going to keep reading. If you have any little ones reading along with you, now’s the time to go let them go watch something more wholesome on the internet, like snuff videos or C-SPAN.

According to Johnny Sianook, the suspect is a Kodiak bear, which he’s seen and describes as being 15 feet tall and weighing 1500 pounds. There are a lot of reasons to discount his so-called eyewitness testimony. First of all, he’s an Athabascan, which is a kind of indigenous Alaskan most notable for being hard to pronounce. Second of all, he’s very old and old people are liars. Third of all, he has six wives and fourteen children, which is completely irresponsible unless you’re Strom Thurmond. But then two young hippies, Robert and Betty Reardon, are snowmobiling into town from their commune when they run into the Kodiak with their snowmobile and it promptly bites off Betty’s breast. So, maybe we all should have listened to Johnny Sianook after all.

Charlie Ostermeyer and his boss, Mr. Sneed, want to kill the bear, which makes sense. But also employed by The Company is a pinko liberal college professor, Oscar Langsdorf, and he wants to capture the bear and that’s just crazy. Even crazier, he’s dating a librarian. Not so crazy, he hires Johnny Sianook to help him hunt the bear alongside Johnny’s half-white son, Dan-Jack.

“There are many mysteries with bears,” Johnny says, which is such a typical Athabascan thing to say. Translated into into normal people talk that means: bear hunting is messed up. Right from the get-go, this bear hunt is a line of dominoes made of stupid getting knocked over by a drunk monkey. Betty Reardon is in a coma and probably going to die, which makes her husband go crazy. He shows up with a gun to demand that Johnny Sianook take him bear-hunting so he can beat the Kodiak to death with his outrage, but wife #6 bashes the screaming hippie over the head with a log and knocks him out. Then Johnny goes off bear-hunting alone without even waiting for his professor friend or a plane.

The Kodiak finds Charlie Ostermeyer’s bear-hunting blind and casually tosses it off a 100 foot cliff, then raids a pumping station along the pipeline just for fun and is helping himself to the human buffet when Mr. Sneed tries to ram him to death with a bus, misses, hits the pipeline, and unleashes a 50,000 gallon of crude oil flood that drowns any survivors. The Kodiak heads into town and starts sidling up to bars, setting fires, getting drunk, and not once does someone ask for his ID. The mayhem escalates until a bleak final shitshow of a showdown that involves near-decapitation by plane propeller, a pilot accidentally knocked unconscious at the worst possible moment, combat on a frozen lake that’s cracking apart, an ill-timed sexual fantasy about librarians, and a delusional hippie with a gun.

Cynical, blood-thirsty, and the kind of book that refers to all its characters by their last names, this is basically a Walter Hill movie in novel form, all stripped-down, minimalist action and mean-spirited machismo without an ounce of fat on its sinews (it runs a brisk 141 pages). And that’s a bad thing. Because as long as pop culture insists on glorifying thug bear behavior, we’re going to have thug bears breaking into our picnic baskets, eating our scientists, and taking our jobs.

best-friends-exorcism-thumbnailGrady Hendrix has written for publications ranging from Playboy to World Literature Today; his previous novel was Horrorstör, about a haunted IKEA, and his latest novel, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, is basically Beaches meets The Exorcist.

Interesting

Friday, January 20th, 2017 06:15 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
So there I was in the art supplies shop circa 5pm contemplating foamboard and giant sheets of paper, when I noticed that the person next to me was clutching a handful of markers and assorted sizes of card and contemplating the polyboard.

"Making signs?" I asked.

She was also making signs.

Right. I have foamboard, paper, markers, scissors, duct tape, a candle burning, ginger/lavender tea in a Hope Not Hate mug, my fight music playlist playing, and no plan. This should be fun.

Vid: Brighter Than The Sun (Star Trek)

Friday, January 20th, 2017 07:44 pm
shinyjenni: Close up of Jaylah from Star Trek Beyond (jaylah)
[personal profile] shinyjenni
Title: Brighter Than The Sun
Fandom: Star Trek
Music: Colbie Caillat
Content notes: A few bright flashes
Summary: "Lightning strikes the heart", or, me/Star Trek OTP
Download: here (3:54 minutes, 172MB) | subtitle .srt
Also at: Youtube | AO3 | Tumblr

Notes: For More Joy Day. Thank you to [personal profile] cosmic_llin, [personal profile] purplefringe and [personal profile] anoel for betaing!

As I may have mentioned about two or three hundred times already, I REALLY liked Star Trek Beyond, and the subsequent avalanche of feelings precipitated something of a full scale Star Trek feelings renaissance (A++ would recommend). So this is a vid about that, and about all* the things I love and have loved about Star Trek over the last decade or two. ♥

*well. Not all. They wouldn't all fit. Call it a representative sample?

streaming and lyrics under the cut )

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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