Sunday SciFi: Stargate Atlantis – Vegas

I’ve got one episode to go in order to finish all five seasons of Stargate Atlantis.

I have already watched all ten seasons of Stargate SG1. Just two seasons of Stargate Universe and I’ll have caught up on all the movies and TV series for this franchise. Except for Stargate Origins, which is worth it’s own post.

The last episode I watched (second to last in season 5), entitled Vegas, is one of my favorites from the Stargate Atlantis series.  It’s one of their alternate universe stories (SG1 had some good ones).  In this universe, John Sheppard made a really bad decision while on a combat tour, which ended his military career.  He ends up as a police detective in Las Vegas. He’s working a serial killer case, where the victims are shriveled up corpses with a handprint in the chest.  It’s a Wraith, crash landed on Earth after Rodney Mckay’s team from Atlantis destroyed the Hive ship attacking Earth.  The show is shot in CSI style, I think.  I’ve only seen one CSI episode, and that was the one written by the writers of Two and Half Men.  (Which is owrth checking out. It’s funny and clearly some wish fulfillment by the series creator from another series he worked on.)  In this episode, Rodney tells John Sheppard was is really going on. Aliens, space travel,  and the time he met another  John Sheppard in another universe.  One where Sheppard was a planet saving hero.  Rodney is betting that fundamentally, the two John Sheppards are the same.

Throw in some cool Johnny Cash songs and you have one fine episode.  If you have been paying attention, John Sheppard is a Johnny Cash fan.  The same poster hangs in the dective’s office as another John Sheppard has in his quarters in Atlantis.

 

Sunday SciFi: Jim Baen and Baen Books

JC Carlton has a really nice Jim Baen tribute article.   Well worth the read.

I’m a fan of Baen Books.  I like hard SciFi and adventure.  Andrew Liptak notes in his article on Jim Baen, that “the type of fiction that Baen was most interested in: adventurous, escapist, and fun.”   I pay my money to be entertained.  I don’t need lectures on social justice, and the evils of capitalism. I get more than enough of that just from living in New England.

Thomas Disch, author of The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered The World, doesn’t share my opinion.  I read his book, which I liked. Mr. Disch however didn’t like any Science Fiction with the slightest politically conservative leaning.  He also wasn’t too fond of female authors either.  He targeted Baen specifically for catering stories for conservative fans.  I think a more accurate description would be that Jim Baen didn’t discriminate against authors with a politically conservative viewpoint, as other publishing companies did. There are authors who only deal with Baen, because of the open hostility shown at some other publishing houses to any author who didn’t toe the progressive leftist line. Jim Baen didn’t care about your politics, he cared if you could write good adventure stories.  Case in point, Eric Flint.  Eric Flint is one of the top selling authors at Baen, both in number of books, and number of books sold.  He was also an editor at Baen for a while.  He as also worked for the Socialist Workers Party. Mr. Flint is a well educated historian, who paid for grad school by working as a longshoreman.  He has also co-authored books with Charles E. Gannon, David Weber, and Tom Kratman.

Baen was also an early pioneer in using the Internet as a way to reach their readers.  The Baen Bar forums were up and running before most publishing houses knew there was an Internet.  Baen also was one of the first publishing houses to sell ebooks.  They also bucked the trend, by refusing to put DRM (“copy protection”) on their ebooks.  Jim Baen went by  the novel notion that his customers were not crooks, and actually wanted the authors of the books they read to be successful, and write more books.    Jim Baen went as far to put out CDs (included with hardcover purchases, as well as available online), with a complete catalog of an given author’s work.  All without any encryption, and in multiple e-reader formats.

I did some research into the e-book market, and the Baen approach, for a graduate marketing class.  The problem, as stated by Eric Flint, wasn’t people stealing your books. The problem was that people don’t know about your books.   Baen Books found that when they put out an e-book as a free download on their site, sales rose.  Not only for that book, but for the entire author’s catalog that was still in print.

Jim Baen loved his work, and knew that if you gave the fans a good ripping yarn of high adventure, and didn’t consider them criminals, he could spend more time working on content than running the business.

Sunday SciFi: Stargate SG:1

It’s taken a few years, but I’ve finally finished all ten seasons of Stargate SG:1.  That, along with two movies, and seven seasons of two different spinoff series, make it one of the longest running and successful Science Fiction series of all times. Don’t forget the movie that the series was based on.

Over ten seasons, the series had time to do rich character development, story arcs, and even took the time to poke fun at themselves.

Overall, it is a good action series where the bad guys are truly bad.

 

Sunday SciFi: Doc Savage

I read my first Doc Savage novel, The Land of Terror, somewhere between mid 1970 and mid 1972.  I was living in Curundu at the time, and I remember buying it in Panama City.  Since then I’ve read most of the original 181 novels, PJF’s Escape From Loki, and a number of the newer ones written by Will Murry. I have two well read copies of Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalypic Life. I have comics from both the Marvel and DC series.  I also own the George Pal “Man of Bronze” movie in glorious VHS.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a well done Doc Savage movie.  Shane Black, of Iron Man 3 fame, has obtained a green light for a Doc Savage movie.  So, high hopes for a really cool movie here. Have to say, I’m more interested in who he is going to cast as Doc’s cousin Patrica than Doc at this point.

Update: According to IMDB, Chris Hemsworth is rumored to play Clark Savage, Jr.   This would be fornicating awesome.

Update: IMDB now lists Dwayne Johnson as playing Doc Savage.  Which is also fornicating awesome.

Sunday Sci-Fi: The Office

The Office is a small branch of the Environmental Protection Agency that deals with Mad Scientists and other Evildoers that want to harm the environment, and/or large chunks of the human beings in said Environment.

The Office is another “Men in Black” group that likes dark suits, sunglasses and large black American made sedans.  They deal with the government bureaucracy, mad scientists, and wacko cultists.

You can read about the Office in two (so far), short stories by Leslie Bates.  The first is Weekend, followed by Tuesday.

In Weekend, you meet an agent of the Office who’s most common alias is John Flanders.   Agent Flanders spends his weekend dealing with some not so nice people wanting to ‘immanentize the eschaton.’  Oh, and he fills out all the relevant paperwork.  The Office is part of the EPA after all.

The second Office short story, takes place on a Tuesday.  The Office has a new politically appointed head, who has been placed there as a punishment detail for annoying the President.  This does put her in better standing with the non-politically appointed Office Staff.  The action once again takes place in what many people politically to the Left of Agent Flanders refer to as one of the “flyover states.”  This time is a cult founded by a hack writer of pulp fiction.  Ya, it’s a thinly disguised version of that cult.  Once again, Agent Flanders deals with Evil, and fills out the paperwork, in this case a lot of paperwork.  There are events the EPA frowns upon.  Agent Flanders doesn’t manage to stop the event, but he does save the damsel in distress and his boss.

The Office stories are short bits of fun filled with movie and SciFi tropes, 80’s and 90’s pop culture and some not so thinly veiled political commentary.  Oh, and Mr. Bates is not above Rocky Horror Picture Show references, so be warned.

 

 

Sunday SciFi: Ringoverse/Warehouse 13 crossover

John Ringo has slipped a non-subtle Warehouse 13 reference in his latest book, Queen of Wands.

OK, it’s more of a ‘guest appearance’ than a reference.  Artie and Claudia show up to bag and tag an artifact after Barbara Everette, and an Opus Dei strike team, finish wiping out the nest of evil people who wanted to use it to raise a demon. If you have read the first Special Circumstances book, the only spoiler there concerned Artie and Claudia.

Apparently, John Ringo is a fan of the show.

Sunday SciFi: Buckaroo Banzai

I’ve been a Buckaroo Banzai fan since I saw it, twice, during the opening week back in 1984.  Saw it at the old Juliet Theater in Poughkeepsie.

Got the paperback and the long sleeved Jet Car t-shirt.

Now there is a Buckaroo Banzai RPG.

This is not Doctor Banzai’s first appearance in an RPG. Team Banzai was an official part of the Battletech universe.

This is the first official RPG focused on the Banzai Institute though.

Bottom line, Buckaroo Banzai was a fun movie, a good read, and it’s a damn shame a sequel was never made.

Check it out.

Sunday SciFi: Top Ten Red Shirts who weren’t wearing Red Shirts

Tor publishing has created a list of The 10 Most Memorable Trek Redshirts Not Dressed in Red

10.) Crewman Green (Uniform Color: Gold), “The Man Trap”

9.) Joe (Uniform Color: Blue), “The Naked Time”

8.) Robert Tomlinson (Uniform Color: Gold), “Balance of Terror”

7.) Lee Kelso (Uniform Color: Beige?), “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

6.) Karen Tracy (Uniform Color: Blue), “Wolf in the Fold”

5.) Latimer (Uniform Color: Gold), “The Galileo Seven”

4.) Sam (Uniform Color: Pink Bathrobe), “Charlie X”

3.) D’Amato (Uniform Color: Blue), “That Which Survives”

2.) Arlene Galway (Uniform Color: Blue), “The Deadly Years”

1.) Sam Kirk (Uniform Color: Civilian Orange Colored thing), “Operation—Annihilate!”