Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Look what else washed up on the beach - more Battlestar photos

Since I posted “Beach Blanket Battlestar – or- Battlestar Photographica” a little while ago, featuring photos from the set of “Battlestar Galactica” on Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen just prior to the writers’ strike, there’s been some interest in more shots from that day. Joe asked for high-res versions of the pix; I wish I could oblige, but unfortunately, what you see is all that was sent to me. I do have one more nice shot of the ruins though, as you’ll see below. Chrome Toaster recently asked for some of the set and sign shots I’d alluded to, and luckily, I do have a few of those to pass along for those who are interested. (And for those who are interested in props, wardrobe, etc from Battlestar, make sure you check out Chrome Toaster’s site: www.future-past.com) So, without further ado, here are the last of the Battlestar set photos to wash up on bloginhood’s shores:

Another pretty picture of the ruins.

A really wide shot of the cast and crew doing… well… they’re too far away to actually make out what they’re doing. I’m assuming they’re feeling guilty about having no marshmallows to roast.

Really grainy shot of shooting by the water’s edge. Not sure who’s on camera.

And now, just for Chrome Toaster: Signs!

Signage with Raptor-y goodness in the background.

Signage with no Raptor-y goodness in the background.

Who needs signs when you’ve got set trucks? Go, you majestic transporters of all things technical and prop-like! (How can you tell I've been watching reruns of "The Tick"?)

That’s it for the Battlestar photos, folks. I wish I had more. Let’s hope the studios will come to their senses, realize the writers just want what’s fair and ink a deal so they can all get back to doing what they do best.

Stay tuned for an in-depth reflection on “Razor”, frequently promised, but definitely coming in the next day or two.

Friday, January 25, 2008

If it's not Scottish, it's craaaaaap! A speculative fiction tribute to Robbie Burns Day

Around the world, Scots and those who want to be Scots, at least for a day, are celebrating Robbie Burns Day. (Being part Scottish, like many Canadian mutts, I once attended a Burns Day dinner and chatted with the host, who proceeded to rattle off the names of about two dozen countries where the day was honored. Locally, here in Vancouver, in addition to the more traditional Burns Day suppers, we also have events marrying the classic celebration to other cultures, such as Gung Haggis Fat Choy – uniting the Chinese with the Scots. But I digress.) On this day devoted to celebrating Scotland’s National Poet and, by extension, all things Scottish, we see plenty of scotch go down (and sometimes, if enough scotch has gone down, sometimes the kilts do too). So, while downing a glass myself earlier this evening, I thought it fitting to do a salute to the Top 5 Scots of SF film and television.

5) Robbie Coltrane – For those who haven’t followed his hilarious stand-up comedy routine and comedic acting (not to mention his solid dramatic talent and his superb “Coltrane in a Cadillac” documentary), Coltrane is popularly known these days for his role as Haggrid the half-giant in the Harry Potter movie series. He makes the top 5, edging out some on the honorable mentions list, on the basis of bonus points for having made it through the movie “Krull” (a poor flick indeed) with his self-respect intact, most especially since he was sporting one of the worst-looking buzz cuts in cinematic history throughout the film.

4) Ewan McGregor – Say what you will about the Star Wars prequel trilogy, McGregor did one hell of a job of breathing life into Obi Wan Kenobi. At times, his impression of Sir Alec Guinness was so spot on it was eerie.

3) Dennis Lawson – In playing Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy, Lawson presented the face many a fanboy could identify with – and one that was living a fanboy’s dream – the geeky lookin’ guy who became top gun and a galactic hero when he jumped into the cockpit of an X-Wing starfighter. Oh sure, Ewan McGregor’s uncle may have played a character who was a bit cautious about hitting a target as small as two metres in the Death Star’s trench, and sure he may have been made to look like a bit of a dweeb by that sword-wielding, wamprat-splattering farmboy during the mission briefing, but there was no better pilot in the Rebel Alliance than Red 2 – later Red Leader. And he didn’t let his hotshot status get in the way of handing out complements to his gunner on Hoth for a job well done. Classy guy.

2) David Tennant – The best Doctor since Tom Baker. ‘Nuff said.

1) Sean Connery – What can you say? I mean, he’s friggin Connery. The Bond films alone get him the top spot. Add to that great performances in “Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade”, “Dragonheart”, “Robin & Marian”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (a one minute performance by Connery makes a 90 minute performance by Kevin Costner look soooooo bad), “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (say what you will about the movie, Connery represented himself well), “Time Bandits”,” Outland” and you have to admit the man has excellent SF credentials. Okay, he may lose a few points for “Zardoz”, “First Knight”, “The Avengers”, Disney’s “Darby O’Gill & The Little People” (eesh) and the truly awful “Highlander II” (okay, he may lose a lotta points for that steaming pile), but that’s the law of averages – you make a lot of movies and some are going to suck. That being said, he more than makes up for the losses with bonus points for “Highlander”, where not only did he give a good performance, he also showed great tolerance as a Scotsman playing an Egyptian-Spaniard opposite Christopher Lambert – a mumbling French actor who could hardly speak English playing a Scot. (how convoluted is that?!)

Honorable mentions:

-Billy Connolly (who only lost out to Coltrane for the number 5 slog because Coltrane kept his head high despite that buzz cut)
-Gerard Butler (a great job in “Beowulf & Grendal” and a competent enough presence in a number of other films wasn’t enough to outweigh the cheese factor of the entire production of “300” or the downright bad “Dracula 2000”)

And let’s give a hand to some honorary Scots in TV and the Movies:

-James Doohan (originally from Vancouver, BC and lived near Seattle, Washington) – Scotty. Again, ‘nuff said.

-Mike Myers (Toronto, Ontario’s own) – Shrek, Fat Bastard, and let’s not forget Stewart from the SNL “All things Scottish” sketch (not SF-related, but pretty damn funny)

-John Cleese (about as English as they come) – forget the explosions, Tim the Enchanter was enough of a bad-ass that he reduced Arthur and his cronies to nervous, self-conscious wrecks with an impatient glare in “Monty Python’s The Holy Grail”

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Cloverfield" Review

WARNING: SPOILERS (spoilage factor: about the same as a package of sliced ham left in the back of your meat tray a few days too long until it develops a nice coating of slime)

Just got home from watching “Cloverfield”. Still waiting for my stomach to settle down.

Overall, “Cloverfield” was a good movie. Not a great film. But a good movie.

The story has us riding along second person (bordering on first person perspective) with a group of New York yuppies, who are partying it up, bidding farewell to their buddy Rob who’s about to leave for a job in Japan, when suddenly all hell breaks loose. We see things from the perspective of the video camera being held by Hud, Rob’s buddy who’s amiable, a Chatty Kathy and kind of an idiot. There are explosions, the power flickers, and the statue of Liberty’s head does a pinball impression down their street, sending our partygoers and other residents stampeding out of Manhattan. There’s something in the city, but it sure ain’t sex. After tragedy strikes the group at the Brooklyn Bridge, Rob gets a call from his sometime lover Beth, who’s trapped in her building, and against all logic, he goes back in after her, followed by faithful Hud, Lily and Marlena, as the city collapses around them and the military wage a losing battle against a giant rampaging beast.

I’ll get my bias out of the way right off the top here: I’m a fan of giant monster movies. Not an uber-fan with every episode of the Godzilla franchise on DVD, mind you, but I enjoy watching the old city-stompers once in a while (and have been greatly appreciative of CBC running the Godzilla movies late on Saturday nights for the past couple of weeks) and I’m always interested when they evolve along different lines. I’m probably one of the few people who will admit to finding the late 90’s Godzilla remake with Matthew Broderick somewhat entertaining (Jean Renaud stole the show). And the recent Korean film “The Host” was absolute genius. So, when “Cloverfield” came along, redefining the monster movie by showing us not the big picture that we’d get with wide shots of a monster running amok through a city with cutaways to scientists and military guys to explain everything (in fact, the best we get in terms of explanations are the babbled theories of Hud on the run – guessing everything from prehistoric deep sea leviathan to alien invader to government experiment gone wrong), rather, we saw it as the average citizens would live through it (or not) on the ground. Which, in many ways, made it all the more absorbing and frightening. In some ways it reminded me vaguely of a short story I read a while ago (the title and author’s name escape me, and it’s too late at night to be combing through all of the short story anthologies and issues of On Spec on my shelves) about a man in a tour group chartering a tour through a city’s ground zero during a giant monster attack.

At any rate, using the home video style of shooting the movie (like “The Blair Witch Project”) was an excellent device to really put the audience into the shoes of the characters. It did a great job (with one or two exceptions) of drawing me in as Rob , Hud, Lily, Marlena (and later, Beth) tried to survive amidst the devastation. The thunder of the tank-fire, the rampaging monster and the falling buildings weren’t something you could watch in a detached way as it was happening all around you. I normally don’t have much patience with first or immediate second person styles of shooting (that old episode of MASH where you see the entire episode through the eyes of a patient annoyed me after about 10 minutes), but this time, in “Cloverfield”, it really worked for some reason.

The down side, as many have pointed out, was that the earthquakey jerking of the camera did make me feel a little nauseous. And that’s no small feat! I’ve got a pretty strong stomach to begin with. Rollercoasters don’t tend to phase me. As a former broadcaster, I’ve had to sit through plenty of shakey amateur footage (some of which was my own, back in school) to look for details. And as a reporter on Vancouver Island, I once covered the annual SARTech (Search And Rescue Technician) games, where I rode along with a crew aboard a Hercules aircraft for a 3 hour, low-level, competition flight where the plane was constantly rising, diving and banking over the rough terrain and bucking in the air currents like a surly bronco – I made it through most of that experience before my stomach finally had enough. But, despite my gastro-intestinal hardiness, “Cloverdale” and its earthquake-prone shooting had my stomach doing flips after about 30 or 45 minutes. I kept control by looking at the seatback in front of me when the scenes were just running in the dark with not much to see, but I was glad I didn’t get my usual bucket of popcorn for this flick. Gladder still that my wife didn’t come, because she has a tendency to get really, really motion sick.

Another aspect of this movie that impressed me was its level of humanity. I knew a bit about the plot before I went in, and I wasn’t expecting to feel much sympathy for these people – I don’t have the same lifestyle they do, they’re not the sort of people I usually associate with on a personal basis or through work, and they live in a different city and country than I do. And some of the personalities are ones that I wouldn’t get along with in real life. This is an important note, because we are presented with diverse personalities, some of which are easier to like and identify with than others, and yet, as in any disaster, we have to put up with them regardless of whether we like them or not, because everyone’s in the same boat of trying to get through the experience alive. And, as the movie progressed, I did feel myself becoming concerned for these characters and fearing for their safety – even Marlena, who I found to be fairly cold and unpleasant. Marlena’s half-seen and rather gruesome end was upsetting, not merely because the other characters who I did like were upset, but because she was part of the group that I, as a member of the audience experiencing this at their level, was also a member of. There wasn’t much in the writing that made these characters as real as they were – part of the credit goes to the actors for being able to find real faces and resisting the urge to make this into a comic book, and part of the credit, again, goes to that in-your-face, street level, right-over-your-shoulder second person home camcorder style of presenting the movie.

The monster itself was different than what we’re used to. No giant lizard or insect this. This critter was pretty hard to identify (on the few occasions where we got to see the full thing) and was definitely scary. I will break from the pack of other reviewers though, and say it’s look was not unique. As a moviegoer, I’ve seen monsters similar to this one before – just not on a titanic scale. At first, coming out of the theatre, I thought it was vaguely reminiscent of Pumpkinhead. Then I thought it reminded me a bit of the hybrid alien (the Ripley clone’s sort-of grandchild) in “Alien: Resurrection”. Finally I was able to put my finger on it: this monster looks a whole lot like that weird ghost thing at the top of the stairs at the end of “Poltergeist” that tries to take a bite of the mother when she tries to free the kids who are trapped in the bedroom/hellmouth. It looked a lot like that ghost/demon. A whole lot. Except really big and grey. And of course, this beasty had friends – creepy little spidery-monkeyish lice (or were they offspring?) things that dropped off it periodically to change the tone of the film from people avoiding large-scale disaster to people fleeing from ravenous monsters. The monster worked as well as it did by the old Spielberg trick of concealing it through most of the movie, but also because the special effects were grade-A. Kudos for great sound engineering too – very important in a film with no soundtrack.

I also thought the periodic cut-aways to the bleed-through of Coney Island footage worked well. It helped to underscore the relationship between Rob and Beth, cementing their humanity and bring emotions to the forefront to an audience at risk of becoming desensitized amidst the extensive destruction. It also helped shift the movie’s gears downward too, giving us a short level to recover from the heart-pounding action before cutting back to the attack and another drop down the roller-coaster’s track. And, of course, if you pay attention to the final Coney Island bit that provides the end bracket to the film, as much as it’s out of place with “the perfect day”, there’s an oh-so-quick shot that gives you some hint at the monster’s origin.

Which brings us to the end (super spoiler territory here). Where after witnessing abrupt endings to many lives of people in the disaster, both those who we don’t know, and those we do (like Marlena and Jason), we experience the footage being cut-off as the lives of our characters get cut-off both by man and the beast. After managing to survive the hell of the night, after managing to rescue Beth from impossible odds, after surviving a helicopter crash, Rob, Hud and Beth step into a sunny morning in Central Park only to have Hud come face to face with the creature and get killed, and Rob & Beth huddle under a bridge to say their goodbyes until the military attach against the monster brings the structure down on top of them. Their deaths are sudden, shocking and sad. Their deaths were typical of the ending of lives in disaster. And thus their endings were real and all the more powerful. They didn’t get a happy ending (aside from Rob & Beth getting to say goodbye to one-another). They didn’t get any answers. And they didn’t get any tribute (at least none that we, the audience are privy to) beyond being entered into a military records archive. It’s questionable as to whether they got any dignity. In seeing their lives get cut-off abruptly in the closeness and the darkness and the noise and the fear, in failing to see the bigger picture, we too, as an audience got cut off (perhaps there’s even the possibility we’re meant to think we too got killed in the bridge collapse – somewhat like one theory about the recent end to “The Sopranos” that the sudden cut to a black screen meant the audience was whacked after a series which saw pretty much everyone else get bumped off) – at the mercy of larger and more powerful forces, like the little people we are. In doing so, this movie made a bigger impression on me than other disaster films where we see the wrap-up, where we see the monster go down in gouts of flame and blood, or the flood waters recede or the asteroid get blowed-up-real-good. This ending, for having the courage to be so abrupt, was perfect.

Despite liking “Cloverfield” as much as I did, I’m only recommending it for video purchase. The super-shakey shooting was just too much on my stomach and I think I would have enjoyed it even more watching it at home on TV where it wouldn’t be in my face quite as much. But then, maybe I’ll be missing out on what was possibly very much intended to be part of the experience – experiencing it on a more extensive, and literally gut-wrenching level than merely viewing it could give.

Check out former “Star Trek – The Next Generation” star Will Wheaton’s review (courtesy of a link through SF Signal) for some interesting thoughts on “Cloverfield”.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Shallow Cut with a Razor

WARNING: SPOILERS (spoilage factor: about the same as a cow mutilated by aliens and left undiscovered in a field for a couple of weeks)

First of all, sorry for the lateness of this post. I know I’d promised something for last weekend, but things got too busy. That being said, I’m glad some of you enjoyed the post with the photos from the set on Centennial Beach. Anyway, here’s a quick review of “Battlestar Galactica – Razor”.

It’s been a few weeks since “Razor” made its appearance – a sidebar story to the main BSG plotline (though it did drop a couple of hints about what might be expected in the upcoming season) detailing the events involving the Pegasus, as seen through the eyes of one of its officers, Kendra Shaw.

Pretty much half of the story is told through Shaw’s flashbacks: her arrival, the attack on the Colonies, the murder of the ship’s first X-O, the discovery of the Cylon traitor and the slaughter of the civilian refugees, to name a few. The rest of the tale takes place in “the present” - sometime late in Season 2 after Lee Adama has been given command of the Pegasus, but before the debacle on New Caprica – a time where a sullen Kendra has been busted in rank and is spending her days on KP duty before Apollo promotes her to second-in-command.

While “Razor” is a good, solid, compelling piece of television (certainly better than most of the stuff on the boob tube prior to the writers’ strike and light years beyond the filler running now), it’s not without its flaws. In some respects, I think the story would have been much stronger had it simply been a self-contained movie focusing entirely on the tragedy of the Pegasus, up to its encounter with Galactica and the fleet.

Certainly, retooling the feature to be a continuous story line rather than jumping back and forth between the present and the past would have been a lot less jarring. A more steady rhythm to the plot would probably have given us more time to see the development ( or is it devolution?) of Shaw’s character, as well as that of Admiral Cain and the others aboard Pegasus. And in so doing, a conventional linear timeline would have allowed the writers to steadily ratchet-up the tension, perhaps giving the story’s resolution and Shaw’s death a bigger emotional payoff.

And yet… and yet… maybe that was the whole point of the constant flashbacks - to keep us, the viewers, as off-balance as Kendra was, to really put us in her boots. And in so doing, maybe it was a test to see if we too would develop a cold mask, would try to become desensitized to all the trauma we were seeing, just as Shaw did, or, if we would be able to elude that trap and retain our feelings (the fear and revulsion and helplessness) and so our humanity through the experience.

Regardless, the jerky jumps between memory and present create a more serious concern about the story: the timeline jumps gave me the feeling that the writers were flinching from probing the extent of the darkness closing in upon the crew of Pegasus. It felt as though the writes only wanted to hint at the frightening and depressing depths to which things had sunk as Cain realigned her focus along a dreadful course. Granted, sometimes it’s more effective for a story to hint at horrors rather than put them fully in the spotlight. But in this case, when it’s an emotional plummet off of a precipice, when ends-justify-the-means morality becomes a dehumanizing road to madness and destruction, it might have made a more absorbing story. Now, in saying that allowing the camera to stay in the past amidst Cain’s conversion from Colonial fleet admiral to vicious pirate queen, I am certainly not saying the story would have benefitted from seeing gore or witnessing Lieutenant Thorne’s sickening brutality towards the Cylon captive – not at all, far from it. I’m wondering if they’d given more time for dialogue between the crew, to see if they were debating among themselves, to see how Shaw managed to put up with her own company on the cold solitary nights in her bunk with nothing but her guilt and fear, to see how the Colonial conscripts/captives adapted to their new life aboard Pegasus, I’m wondering if seeing that evolution of character would have made a more powerful story. Would that have made a movie too dark for the audience to bear with? Possibly. But BSG is a dark story by nature. It is a tale of genocide and refugees and civil infighting and being hunted, of suicide and loneliness and hopelessness and the unknown and failed dreams. BSG has explored all of these kinds of darkness and more over the three seasons we’ve seen so far, and viewers have been forced to cope with all of it and reflect on what it says about our lives.

That being said, “Razor” certainly wasn’t a bad or even mediocre movie. There are many things to like about it.

On the surface, I loved the look of the old-model Cylons and their Raiders – fighting and flying the way they were meant to. They were more than a tribute to the designs of the original series; these Cylons looked and acted the part of a serious threat to the human race – they were not the gladius-waving, half-hearted extras of old staggering to their knees after just one shot. It was a treat to watch “Razor” if for no other reason than to see the Cylon centurions in action.

And you can’t help but be in awe of the sheer magnitude of the attack on the Colonial shipyard and Adama’s memories of the final engagement of the first Cylon war. Sure, as SF fans, we’ve seen plenty of big space battles before, with titanic ships lumbering across the screen slugging it out with each other as swarms of fighters dive between picking away at each other. But the special effects crew of BSG worked hard to craft a more tangible realism into these scenes than the Lucas team has – the shot of the Battlestar Columbia breaking up and tumbling into the ice planet’s atmosphere (an ice planet with an ultimate weapon no less – nice updated allusion to the old series episode “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero”) seemed more suited to something closer to home like “Memphis Belle” than a traditional SF movie like “Return of the Jedi” that felt alien in its distance (never mind because of its aliens). And best of all, these huge SFX shots didn’t take away from the humanity of the vignettes, they enhanced them – the scenes were still about the people in them. You also have to love how Bear McCreary worked the original BSG theme into the score for the Adama flashback.

I also got a kick out of some of the nice little pop culture allusions scattered throughout the story. Laughed my ass off when Starbuck, Shaw and the marines are floating in space, having just tricked their Cylon pursuers and Kara Thrace gets that smarmy grin on and says “Ain’t it grand when a plan comes together?” (for those of you who don’t remember TV of the 70’s & 80’s, the Starbuck of the original series was Dirk Benedict, who later went on to become Templeton “Faceman” Peck on “The A-Team” – the signature line of the mercenary crew’s leader Hannibal was “I love it when a plan comes together.”). And, though I didn’t catch them until my second viewing – on the extended edition – there are a couple of lines from James Cameron’s “Aliens” dropped in here and there where the sergeant gets on the case of a marine named Hudson.

All in all, “Razor” is certainly worth watching on the merits of these surface points.

But there’s definitely something deeper going on with this movie, something I’ll explore in my next post in a day or two. (Hopefully it won’t be as late as this installment!) Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

And Speaking of Awards...

The nomination process is now open for this year’s Aurora Awards. And this year marks the point where this particular SF award catches up with technology: it’s the first year fans can fill out and submit a nomination form online (PDFs are available for print-out, and at various SF bookstores across Canada for those who prefer snailmail).

The Auroras are the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards. They’re presented to authors of long and short fiction in English and French. Awards are also given to editors and to SF artists and for achievements in fandom. They’ve been presented since 1980 (with the exception of 1984). This year’s awards will be presented at Keycon 25 in Winnipeg, Manitoba in May.

I haven’t made up my mind about who to nominate yet, but I should have an idea shortly. I’ll post something once I’ve submitted my nomination form online.

Award Nominee Congrats

Congratulations to Minister Faust for making the list of nominees for this year’s Philip K. Dick Award. Faust earned the nomination for “From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain”.

Congrats also to Robert J. Sawyer for his nomination for the 2007 Nebula Awards for “Rollback”.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Beach Blanket Battlestar - or - Battlestar Photographica

Got some set photos the other day to share with my fellow Battlestar fans out there…

My sister-in-law was taking my little nephew out for a stroll on Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen (a community in the municipality of Delta, south of Vancouver) a while back – just before the writer’s strike hit, when they came upon the cast and crew of BSG shooting an episode – one of the last episodes before things shut down.

I was proud to hear my nearly-2-year-old nephew wasted no time in charging through the set to get a close-up look at the Raptor squatting on the beach. The crew didn’t mind him touching it either. But, being a toddler, he then went on to more important things in his world – picking up rocks and carrying them here and there. One or two of the crew named him the official rock grip.

In addition to the Raptor and the ruins (the ruins had to be rebuilt after a big windstorm destroyed them – can you ruin ruins? – earlier in the fall), several of the cast were on-set, including Jamie Bamber (Apollo), James Callis (Baltar) and Tricia Helfer (#6). I’m told Bamber and Callis were nice guys.

I wonder what Season 4 has in store for us – aside from drinking coffee on the beach. Didn’t the Colonial fleet manage to save any marshmallows from the Cylon menace? What kind of advanced civilization would have a beach party without marshmallows to nicely blacken? And no bikinis? Come on, Tricia, where’s the love?

In the meantime, I can’t wait to get my hands on the Season 3 DVD collection. Granted, there are many detractors out there who thought it lost its pace and spent too much time on drama and not enough on action, but I thought the drama was warranted and well executed – even when refugees are on the run, not everything is about fighting exterior battles. The human drama within the fleet was a necessary and important part of the story and the scripts and actors were certainly up for the challenge.

Also on the Battlestar front, stay tuned for my review of “Razor” this weekend. Yeah, I know it’s been a while since it had its first airing on TV – I saw it then too, but I wanted to wait to review until I’d had a chance to see the extended version on DVD. Did that over the holidays, so I’m ready to weigh-in – for what little it’s worth.

Welcome to 2008

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays – whatever holidays you had.

Things were pretty busy around our place this year. We spent a lot of time running around seeing friends and family and doing the party circuit, we hosted the relatives for Christmas dinner, we found ourselves spending New Year’s Eve with some friends in an impromptu Wii tournament (where I found out I’m really, really not cut out to be a surgeon in a hospital ER simulation videogame – especially not after a few Heinekens), and somehow I found some time to devour a couple of books and dive into the stack o’ DVDs from Santa. Since then I’ve been getting back into the work groove and we’ve been serving up a couple of episodes of the new Doctor Who every night – we’re now most of the way through Series 3 and I’ve gotta say, it’s been a long marathon, but we still haven’t tired of being Companions of the Doctor & co.

At any rate, I’ve finally taken some time to come up for air and write a long-overdue blog post or two.

Seeing as how it’s the start of the New Year, I may as well jump on the bandwagon and do a quick highlight of the “Best of’s” of 2007. On one hand, I felt a little guilty about doing this because I haven’t read every SF book that came out in ’07, nor did I see every movie or every TV show. How can I say something is the best if the field of comparison isn’t complete? However, I did precisely that when I nominated and voted for the Auroras – acted only on what I’d encountered. Not entirely fair. But there’s nothing wrong with supporting that which you know and like, as long as you’re not opposed to trying the other stuff too. So, here are my top 3’s for 2007:

1) “The Terror” by Dan Simmons
2) “From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain” by Minister Faust
3) “Farewell Summer” by Ray Bradbury
(honourable mentions to “Overclocked” by Cory Doctorow, “Soon I Will Be Invincible” by Austin Grossman, “Bad Monkeys” by Mark Ruff, “Rollback” by Robert J. Sawyer, “The Children of Hurin” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling)

1)”Battlestar Galactica”
2) “Reaper”

3)”I am Legend”

What are your SF highlights for 2007? What would you recommend the rest of us add to our “In” boxes for reading and viewing?