February 5th, 2011

MST3K/Plot device

Close Encounters of the SFnal Kind

I've been thrilled at the response my last "History of the Genre" segment on StarShipSofa has received. (It was a survey of some of the authors of Native American descent who have contributed to the genre of speculative fiction, including Vine Deloria, Jr., Sherman Alexie, Gerald Vizenor, Drew Hayden Taylor, Daniel Heath Justice, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and William Sanders.) Thanks so much to all of you who've been listening!

My newest segment, which discusses the classic Winston Science Fiction series for juveniles, is now available in the latest episode of the podcast. You can download it or listen to it here. If you check it out, I hope you enjoy. (A full list of my past podcast segments, with links, is available here.)

And now, a smile for your day (thanks to agentxpndble):

In other news...
  • Happy early birthday wishes to akaihyo, vonjunzt, and wiredwizard. May all three of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

  • The latest issue of Innsmouth Free Press is out, and February is the fundraiser month for this eldritch publication. Read about the I Heart Innsmouth campaign here.

  • It's official: I'll be an author guest this spring at both StellarCon 35 and ConCarolinas 2011.

  • From Financial Times, a discussion with playwright Nick Dear on his new stage adaptation of Frankenstein (for more on this, see here and here).

  • Based on recent viewing, I have three quick film recommendations to share:

    -- Population 436 (2006) is a clever indie work of SF/horror that owes a debt both to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. It views like a mix between an episode of The X-Files and The Twilight Zone, and I mean that as a compliment. It's definitely worth watching, especially if you like your horror to be gothic, psychological, paranoid, and light on gore. Fred Durst actually does quite a nice job with his supporting but key role, as well.

    -- The Last Enemy (2008) is a BBC miniseries depicting a new-future dystopian UK. It gets off to a slow start but soon becomes utterly captivating with its chilling depiction of the surveillance state and its abuses. (We'll be discussion sections of this miniseries in my graduate university course on the dystopian tradition.) Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Carlyle, unsurprisingly, give understated but quite powerful performances. I highly recommend this thought-provoking work.

    -- Monsters (2010) is a refreshing work of SF/horror set six years after an alien invasion. It follows the trek of a reporter and a tourist as they pass through an "infected zone" in Mexico to try to reach the United States. I'm not sure what I expected, but I was surprised and impressed by the fact this film focused on the characters' journey through the post-apocalyptic landscape, relying on good writing, big ideas, and solid cinematography rather than special effects or stunts. We need more genre movies like this.

Holmes: "I followed you."
Sterndale: "I saw no one."
Holmes: "That is what you may expect to see when I follow you."
- Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot"