He invented or popularized a startling array of the fundamental elements of film: the dissolve, the fade-in and fade-out, slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, double exposures and multiple exposures, miniatures, the in-camera matte, time-lapse photography, color film (albeit hand-painted), artificial film lighting, production sketches and storyboards, and the whole idea of narrative film.
By 1897, in a studio of his own design and construction – the first complete movie studio – his hand forged virtually everything on his screen. Norman McLaren writes, "He was not only his own producer, ideas man, script writer, but he was his own set-builder, scene painter, choreographer, deviser of mechanical contrivances, special effects man, costume designer, model maker, actor, multiple actor, editor and distributor." Also, his own cinematographer, and the inventor of cameras to suit his special conceptions. Not even auteur directors such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick would personally author so many aspects of their films."Inside: 57 films by Georges Méliès, the Grandfather of Visual Effects. [more inside]
Neil Blomkamp’s TED Talk starts with the question of does he feel his aliens in his film District 9 are a realistic depiction of what extraterrestrial life might actually be like... (SLYT)
Dan Abnett, writer for 2000ad, DC Comics and some of the more well regarded Warhammer 40k novels, has been guest blogging this week at the Borders Sci-Fi blog Babel Clash. Topics have include working with other peoples characters and writing within the Warhammer 40k universe. Fellow Black Library writer Graham McNeill is now taking up the reigns.
"2044 starts where George Orwell’s 1984 left off. The problem isn’t Big Brother and the leviathan government. The problem is Big Brother, Inc., and the all-powerful marketplace." [more inside]
Neill Blomkamp talks to the LA Times Hero Complex blog about what's next after District 9, making science fiction films and why he is turning down big budgets to make better movies: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The Things - The Thing from the point of view of the thing, by Peter Watts (previously, previously, previously)
Over the Christmas holidays the BBC is showing a double episode of the television series Doctor Who... [more inside]
SffMeta - Metacritic for Science Fiction.
Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, probably best known for his work on Alien, as well numerous other science fiction films, has passed away age 63.
The Physics of Space Battles "I had a discussion recently with friends about the various depictions of space combat in science fiction movies, TV shows, and books. We have the fighter-plane engagements of Star Wars, the subdued, two-dimensional naval combat in Star Trek, the Newtonian planes of Battlestar Galactica, the staggeringly furious energy exchanges of the combat wasps in Peter Hamilton's books, and the use of antimatter rocket engines themselves as weapons in other sci-fi. But suppose we get out there, go terraform Mars, and the Martian colonists actually revolt. Or suppose we encounter hostile aliens. How would space combat actually go?"
Oceansize is a short monster movie created by four animation students. Here's a version with English subtitles (although it's hardly necessary). [via]
Famous Monsters of Filmland, the legendary genre magazine edited by the late Forrest J Ackerman (previously), will be resurrected by comic publisher IDW.
"Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright."
In order to promote their upcoming remake of The Wolf Man, Universal has launched Universal Monster Legacy (Flash with auto-playing audio), featuring music, posters, video clips and still galleries from the classic Universal Monster films. (via)
Chris Foss concept art for Dune, with bonus Nostromo. The images were produced for Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1974 attempt at filming the story, with other artists involved including Moebius and HR Giger. Though the project failed Jodorowsky collaborated further with Moebius to lay the groundwork for his own Dune-like comicbook universe (and a trailer for an animated version of it was even created). More visions of Arrakis can be seen on this page of Dune cover artwork through the ages, with bonus midi Toto.
The Apex Book of World SF gathers stories from around the globe, giving Science Fiction a global aspect not always seen. Charles Tan interviews the writers who contributed.
The 21 Scariest Doctor Who Moments Ever, according to SFX magazine. Waters of Mars, which aired in the UK this weekend and airs in the US on December 20th, may add to that list. Meanwhile, in other formats, Michael Moorcock is writing a Doctor Who novel.
Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
Totality - 'The Vance Vocabulary Search Tool' - As in [Sean Connery] ''Vance, Jack Vance...[/Sean Connery]
...chotz: that music with which an Eisel surrounds himself, to project his mood, or to present an ideal version of his personality... The 'personal music' is produced by an ingenious mechanism programmed, not by musicians, but by musicologists--so, the word chotz appears ten times. As in ..Jubal, becoming aware of the now irrelevant chotz, in irritation switched to Far Clouds in Stately Formation. The chotz setting Far Clouds in Stately Formation appears but once. Mordant appears 23 times, Cognomen, eight. Put in Emphyrio and one finds that it appears 70 times and thus--Too many results (more than 50). Your question is nuncupatory. Please refine your query... while amber appears 65 times to the same response.
Totality - 'The Vance Vocabulary Search Tool'
You will be given 500 sols to begin with--use them wisely. [more inside]
Totality - 'The Vance Vocabulary Search Tool'
You will be given 500 sols to begin with--use them wisely. [more inside]
"Captain, the tech is overteching" - Ron Moore confirms everything you suspected about the Star Trek TNG approach to writing.
'I ask you to keep the images and albums with the numerous drawings and models that I created for you humans.'
The Leonardo of Wermsdorf: technical illustrations by Karl Hans (Joachim) Janke
Stargate Universe ("SGU") premieres this evening in the US and Canada, on 10/6 in the UK and Ireland and in Australia on 10/9. Billed as "military scifi," the series is reportedly less campy than its predecessors and uses thematic elements which will seem familiar to Battlestar Galactica fans. Preview trailer. For US viewers, Hulu will be streaming the show a day after it airs. Reviews are mixed. Wikipedia.
King of an Endless Sky is a new graphic story by Teetering Bulb, AKA Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon. A new page every Thursday, published at Tor.com. [more inside]
StarShipSofa (previously) celebrates it's 100th issue as a podcast science fiction magazine with StarShipSofa Stories volume 1, an anthology of stories previously podcasted by StarShipSofa, available either as a POD book from Lulu or as a free e-book download, featuring the likes of Michael Moorcock, Peter Watts, Gene Wolfe, Joe R Lansdale, Alastair Reynolds, and Elizabeth Bear.
Timelines: Time Travel in Popular Film and TV is a beautiful visualization of that most favored science fiction gimmick. For a more thorough, but less pretty, view of science fiction that messes with history, there is a chronology of when 1,800 different alternate history stories deviate from our own time line. Also, a brief look at the logic of time travel in science fiction, and how it should work.
Who Goes There - the John W. Campbell short story which inspired the movies The Thing from Another World and, closer to the original, The Thing (which, apparently, was horribly critically mauled upon release but has since become as much as a classic as the 50s film). The story is now being reprinted alongside a treatment by Logan's Run author William F. Nolan for an unmade 1978 screen version.
District 9 has generated some discussion here and elsewhere. But, what do South African viewers of the film think about it?.
When the future was 2000AD by Garth Ennis. Thrill-power invested illustrative examples courtesy of Simon Gurr.
Welcome to District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg" into a full-length feature film - examining xenophobia in an allegory of Apartheid, set in a slum recalling District 6 of Cape Town in South Africa.
Star Trek... the first 29 episodes. These are the findings of the website tor.com. Its several week mission: to watch every episode; to summarize, rate and analyze; to watch with fresh eyes what many geeks have watched before.
A superhero in a fez (video link) gets an organic artificial hand and fights a pinball sarcophagus in a world reminiscent of Heavy Metal and La Planète sauvage. Music by Birdy Nam Nam. Video animation directed by Steve Scott.
Concept Art World - For example: Michael Kutsche, Marek Okoń, 25 Inspiring Examples of Spaceships and Aircraft, Star Trek XI Concept Art by Ryan Church plus lots more.
John Anealio records songs inspired by science fiction and fantasy. Sing along about Cylons, Summer Glau (Firefly/Serenity), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and about how "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch" (previously).
The 2009 Hugo awards have been announced at Worldcon. Winners include Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book for best novel, Ted Chiang getting best short story and Elizabeth Bear getting best novelette. Best Related Book was snagged by MeFi's own jscalzi. The award for best semiprozine, which was to be scrapped, has been saved, this year being won by Weird Tales - a surprise upsets as it's main problem was that it had essentially become the Locus magazine award for best Locus Magazine. As well as the Hugos other awards such as the Prix Aurora award for best Canadian SF and the Chesley Awards for SF art have been announced, and Cory Doctorow accepted the Prometheus award for Libertarian SF. Convention reporter provides continuing coverage (the convention still has another day to run) and Starshipsofa spin-off Sofanauts has an excellent series of podcasts with regular Amy H. Sturgis and others reporting from the con.
Where I Write 'Fantasy & Science Fiction authors in their creative spaces' Photography by Kyle Cassidy
"Science Fiction Fandom: your shortlists aren’t very good." Writer, critic and literary academic Adam Roberts has a problem with the shortlists for the 2009 Hugo Awards: in his view, they're unimaginative, conservative and profoundly lazy. Are his concerns valid? And even if they are, should anyone expect more from a popular nominated award voted on by people eligible only through having joined the current or previous World Science Fiction Convention? Given the existence of jury-selected awards such as the Nebula and Clarke, what's wrong with the Hugo letting ordinary readers and fans having the chance to vote for what they liked?
The New York Times profiles Jack Vance (but fails to mention Vancian Magic. (Curse you Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition!)
28 years ago they came to Earth. Explore the world of District 9. Consider a career with Multi-National United. Find out about enhancing your math skills with DNA from outer space. Play the game. And learn the truth behind the lies.
In the wake of Torchwood: Children of the Earth (screening on BBC America on the 20th for those in the US not inclined to muck about with the internets) critic Patrick West declares the British incapable of making decent television science fiction. (via)
Alien Nation is being revived for the SyFy channel by Tim Minear, whose previous credits include Firefly and Angel. [more inside]
On The Outside It Looked Like An Old- Fashioned Police Box - Mark Gatiss presents a Radio 4 documentary on the Target novelisations of Doctor Who stories. Free Doctor Who eBooks.
Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1, part 2, part 3), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame - a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.