Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ep 32 - War of the Worlds - Reports from the Frontlines

I'm doing something a bit different in this episode: instead of the usual interviews with authors, editors, performers, artists, fans and others, I'm posting a short radio play I've put together with some friends.


As some of you know, I'm currently taking a Bachelor of Education degree, and one of my course assignments is to write something and publish it. Last summer, a friend and I were kicking around the possibility of doing a radio play. We talked about doing a take on HG Wells' The War of the Worlds, except from the Martian perspective. And, since we're both former newspeople, we talked about presenting it as a nightly newscast on Mars, updating its citizens on the progress of the invasion. When I had to start thinking about the assignment for my course, I decided to see what I could do with the radio play idea, and since I've got this podcast channel already, I have a place to post it.

Admittedly, I was a little pressed for time in putting the radio play together, so the editing isn't quite as tight as I'd like it in places, and a couple of the music beds could use some fading here and there, and a little more production for theatre of the mind effect would help. But, all things considered, I think it's a reasonably good production.

If you enjoy the show, be sure to leave a comment below this post, send an email, or get in touch via social media and let me know. Maybe I'll look into producing a full series from start to finish if enough people are interested.

Finally, a huge thank-you to my friends who helped with the voice acting:

Mark Karjaluoto as Kram the reporter.

Maya Gal as Political Pundit #1.

Chris Shunamon as Political Pundit #2.

Kienan Burrage as Political Pundit #3.

To listen to Invaders From Planet 3, or to subscribe, visit Libsyn, iTunes, or your other favourite podcatching service. Be sure to rate and review us while you're there!

Let the Invasion begin!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ep 31 - Dublin Worldcon Voice of the Fans 1

Season 4 of Invaders From Planet 3 launches with an all-new "Voice of the Fans" episode, recorded at the Dublin Worldcon this summer. In fact, there were so many fans who came out to share their stories about their first loves in science fiction, fantasy, comics and all points in between, that I had to expand it to three "Voice of the Fans" episodes!

In this first instalment, we'll hear from Ed Beecher, Dr. Wanda Kurtcu, Scott "Kludge" Dorsey, and Octocon co-chair Janet O'Sullivan.

Stay tuned for more "Voice of the Fans" episodes in the weeks ahead, as well as our regular, full-length interviews!

To listen to Invaders From Planet 3, or subscribe, visit LibsyniTunes, StitcherOvercast and Spotify. Be sure to rate and review the show while you're there!

Let the Invasion begin!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Interview on Story In Mind Podcast

This is  coming a little late because I've been so busy lately, but Moss Whelan recently interviewed me on his podcast, Story In Mind, and I wanted to pass along the link. We talk about what's good in speculative fiction these days — especially stories from Canadian authors — as well as podcasts we like, and the state of VCon (the annual Vancouver Science Fiction, Fantasy and Gaming Convention).

Moss is a fun, intelligent and engaging interviewer, and I hope you have as much fun listening to the episode as we did sitting down for a chat one drizzly evening out at UBC. But forget my blathering, you should be listening to Story In Mind anyway!

Friday, September 06, 2019

Prisoners of Gravity Doc from Radio Free Krypton Now Online as a Single Feature

Good news for fans of the late, great Prisoners of Gravity: the intrepid reporters and producers at the Radio Free Krypton podcast have combined the four parts of their documentary about PoG into a single episode!

Running from the late 1980s into the early 90s, Canadian-produced PoG featured interviews with real-world science fiction and fantasy authors, editors, comic writers, filmmakers and others, conducted by host Commander Rick, a fictional character played by actor Rick Green. The Commander’s backstory (presented as a sequence of comic pages during the show’s intro) was that he was an ordinary, if nerdy and kind of nutty guy, fed-up with a world seemingly gone mad, who built a rocket in his garage and launched himself (along with all his geeky treasures) into orbit, where he crashed into an abandoned government satellite and used it to hack into a weekly nature documentary to broadcast his sf interview show. It was smart and funny and was one of the inspirations for me to launch this blog and the Invaders From Planet 3 podcast.

RFK’s doc involves interviews with PoG insiders, authors who were guests, and fans who were influenced by the show (including me!) exploring its evolution, the initial response when it went to air, and its legacy. The doc originally aired in the summer of 2018. My own inane babblings aside, the production’s interviews offer a fascinating view into a show that was very much ahead of its time, and one that is still highly relevant to the speculative fiction community today.

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to “Inside the Orbit of Prisoners of Gravity” last year, be sure to listen to it on the Radio Free Krypton site or the show’s channel on your favourite podcatching service.

Thanks to Everyone Who Joined the Invasion at Worldcon

It’s been a couple of weeks since Dublin’s Worldcon wrapped, and I’ve been too busy to post final thoughts about the experience (hell, I was too busy at the time to post my usual day-by-day, blow-by-blow con logs!) but I wanted to post a quick thank-you to everyone who came to join the Invasion!

Attending Worldcon has always been a good opportunity to interview people for the Invaders From Planet 3 podcast. These can be long conversations focusing on one individual, or shorter chats for the “Voice of the Fans” episodes. And these “Voice of the Fans” installments have been an important part of every season right from the start. Because one of the things that makes the science fiction and fantasy (and comic, and video game, and anime, and tabletop game, and every other corner of the nerdiverse) community great is that whether a person is a professional, an up-and-comer, or someone who just enjoys the genre, we’re all fans, and we can all come to cons and talk with each other on an equal basis. To that end, all of our stories are important. And so I’ve wanted to capture as many voices as possible. And that’s where “Voice of the Fans” comes in: this is the chance for me to meet other fans from all kinds of backgrounds and invite them to share their stories about how they got turned on to the genre, and why they love it so much.

Several weeks before the geeky world descended on Dublin, I put the word out on Worldcon’s Facebook group inviting people to get together one day to join the Invasion and record an episode. And the response was phenomenal! Right away, members of the sf&f community from around the world who were coming to Dublin started expressing interest. So many, in fact, that I started to think that maybe one day wouldn’t do it. I started to wonder if I should spread the interview times out over a couple of days — after all, everyone would have different schedules of panels and activities they wanted to attend, and some folks were scheduled to be on some of those panels, and if the goal is to try to give members of the community a voice, then it’s only fair to create a few opportunities for them to speak.

By the time the convention arrived, I’d decided to have recording times on three days. And once things actually got rolling, that turned into four! At one point, I was telling a friend about this, and they asked me if it wasn’t too much work on my part — if all the recording sessions were going to take up so much time that they’d get in the way of me enjoying the con. I responded that it was exactly the opposite: that all of these conversations were going to be what made the con great! Listening to panel discussions, wandering through art displays, attending activities, and having the dealers’ room denizens pillage one’s bank account are always fun, but to my mind, it’s always been the conversations with other fans (whether they’re friends you’re reuniting with, or strangers met just once in passing) that make a con great. For me, all of these interview sessions would amount to a con within a con!

And the interviews were great! Writers (both veterans and up-and-comers), academics, performers, and people who just enjoy sf&f, from around the world and from all kinds of different backgrounds,  came out every day to share their stories. In fact, they all get bonus points for being able to find my impromptu recording studio in the first place! The challenge at any con is finding a (relatively) quiet corner, and thirst time around the lair of bloginhood was hidden behind a huge dividing wall at the back of the atrium up on Level 4. Funnily enough, I had a couple of people tell me that once I’d given directions to the spot, they’d scouted it out ahead of time and liked it so much they’d used it themselves occasionally as a quiet retreat during the con. At any rate, we had a lot of fun and everyone offered different perspectives. I could not have asked for a better series of conversations, and I’ll bet listeners will enjoy them almost as much as I did. And with such a bounty of stories, this season we’ll be able to feature at least two “Voice of the Fans” episodes — maybe more!

So, once again, a very big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to join the Invasion last month in Dublin! And for all the other Invaders out there who listen to the show, stay tuned: Invaders From Planet 3 will be returning for another season this fall!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Who Wants to Be in a Podcast Episode?

Who wants to be a guest on a podcast episode?

As listeners of the Invaders From Planet 3 podcast know, every season, in addition to interviews with authors, editors, performers and artists, I like to include a "Voice of the Fans" episode featuring regular folks talking about their first loves in science fiction, fantasy, and all points in between. I'm currently in the middle of producing season 4 of the show, and I thought that since I'm headed to Dublin for Worldcon this year, I'd see if anyone else attending would like to be a part of this season's VOTF episode. With fans of all kinds of nerdiness coming from all around the world, what better  opportunity is there to showcase what got people hooked on genre stuff?

To that end, at some point during Worldcon, I'll be announcing a date, time and a public location at/near the convention centre where anyone who's interested can meet, and we'll record a quick interview where you get to share what first made you fall in love with speculative fiction. It can be a book, TV show, short story, comic, movie, video game, radio play, collectable, or anything — whatever was the spark that made you say "I love this stuff and I need more of it!"

If you're going to Worldcon in Dublin and you're interested in doing a quick interview, let me know in the Comments section below, and keep an eye out for my announcement on the Dublin 2019 Irish WorldCon Community Group on Facebook.

More details soon on how you can be a part of the Invasion!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Godzilla: King of Monsters; Deuce of Dialogue

Fire. Mayhem. Destruction. Monsters. Death. No, this isn't the lineup at your local dive bar's amateur heavy metal battle of the bands night. It's the successful formula for a kickass kaiju movie — in particular, a Godzilla movie. Much to the glee of giant monster movie fans like me, the newest instalment in Hollywood's reboot of the franchise, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, smashes through expectations. Mostly.

I've blathered on about my lifelong relationship with the big guy before, so I won't rehash it here. Follow this link if you want to find out why I have such high hopes every time someone takes a crack at Godzilla. So, looking at the ups and downs of the past, I was hopeful, but wary when the first trailers for GKOTM started to stomp around the net. 2014's Godzilla was abominable: boring, with uninteresting human characters, and very little screen time for the titular star of the movie. But 2017's Kong: Skull Island was damn near perfect for a monster movie: a great cast who looked like they were having fun and doing a great job, a story that made sense within the world it set up, reasonably good dialogue, nice worldbuilding in the teaser during the credits to set up GKOTM, plenty of loving allusions to pretty much every previous incarnation of the big ape, and special effects and action sequences that kicked ass and set up Kong as a force to be reckoned with in Warner Brothers' unfolding kaiju universe. So the question was, would this new addition live up to the standards of KSI, or would Godzilla still be stumbling under the weight of the bad writing of the first movie?

Luckily, this time, the big guy seems to have found his stride. For fans of science fictional action flicks, monster movies, kaiju, and Godzilla in particular — or even those just looking for some big, dumb, smash-some-shit-up, drive-in movie fun — this movie hits just about every target. The colossal battles between Godzilla, King Ghidora, Mothra and Rodan are unapologetically frequent, destructive, prolonged, and vicious, and the humans underfoot are by no means spared. The writers and director keep up the good job of worldbuilding for the franchise, with more monsters added; a beautiful-looking sequence in the drowned city of a lost, ancient civilization; and news headlines that allude to Kong and his home of Skull Island (important, since the word is that the next movie is set to slam these legends into each other). And I loved the fact that the film's MacGuffin is a transmitter box that's used to summon Godzilla (and the other monsters) — someone on the creative team was clearly a fan of Hanna Barbera's old Godzilla cartoon! The radio scenes could only have been better if they'd taken place on a ship named Calico crewed by Majors, Brock, Quinn and Pete (But not Godzooky. That's one blast from the past we don't need.).

Where the movie stumbles is its dialogue, which is cheesy, and with the overall story of the human characters. Yes, I know, it's a big, dumb monster movie. We're not watching it for dialogue and human story. Except we can. I don't think that good writing for human characters is too much to expect in a monster movie. Peter Jackson's King Kong remake, Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim, and the aforementioned KSI are eminently watchable for their human stories, and their dialogue isn't cringeworthy. Good writing shouldn't just be a surprising bonus in a kaiju movie, and it's a pity that with the budget Warner was working with for this flick that they couldn't have insisted on a little quality.

But while the human story is a deuce, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is at least a prince in the court of this summer's popcorn action movies and is worth seeing in the theatre, at least on a cheap Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sunburst Award Long List Announced

The Sunburst Award Society has released its 2019 long list:

Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated!