Tuesday, 28 January 2014

What makes a movie "so bad it's good," instead of just bad?



Midnight movies. Guilty pleasures. Cult classics. We have lots of terms for films that are so bad, they're good. But why do we really love terrible films, sometimes more than good movies? And why aren't all bad movies wonderfully bad? January is the "guilty pleasure" paradise.

Read the full article: What makes a movie "so bad it's good," instead of just bad?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God



Nietzsche is famous for saying that God is dead, but news of The Almighty's demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Here are some of the most fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God. To be clear, these are philosophical arguments.

Read the full article: The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God

8 upcoming tv shows based on movies



While movies have pilfered from the small screen for as long as we can remember, it's often less common for things to work the other way around. Sure, there have been examples paved along the way but this year promises to be a stellar year for the "TV shows based on films" Wikipedia page.

Read the full article: 8 upcoming tv shows based on movies

The monstrous Sky Whale could be the future of air travel



This concept plane is called the AWWA Sky Whale and it's the brainchild of Spanish designer Oscar Viñals. Should it ever leave the ground, the three-floor aircraft would hold 755 passengers and be powered by four large hybrid engines.

Read the full article: The monstrous Sky Whale could be the future of air travel

Saturday, 25 January 2014

I, Frankenstein will be your new favorite midnight movie



Its premise is badass-simple, like a great first-person shooter, and its cast is mysteriously awesome. Get ready for demonic mad science, an army of Gargoyle angels, and Aaron Eckhart as the Batman-voiced Frankenstein monster who makes his enemies explode.

Read the full article: I, Frankenstein will be your new favorite midnight movie

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Why Net Neutrality’s Demise Hurts the Poor Most



Here’s something you probably didn’t know: The recent ruling striking down network neutrality doesn’t just affect websites and internet service providers — it affects libraries, too. By striking down the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Open Internet Order this week, the D.C.

Read the full article: Why Net Neutrality’s Demise Hurts the Poor Most

15 Movies We're Dying to See This Spring, From 'Noah' to 'Divergent'



“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Muppets Most Wanted” top our list of most anticipated films Hollywood used to dump some of its worst movies early each year. No more.

Read the full article: 15 Movies We're Dying to See This Spring, From 'Noah' to 'Divergent'

The best, weirdest and wildest comics coming in 2014



Telling you it's a good time to be a comic book fan is like telling you oxygen is a helpful thing to inhale. You know this already. It's just a fact.

Read the full article: The best, weirdest and wildest comics coming in 2014

Is The Future Of Reading Not Reading At All?



Slate recently stumbled upon an infographic that mapped the civil war. And it’s 100 years old. (See below.)

Read the full article: Is The Future Of Reading Not Reading At All?

HELLBOY DAY! in 2014



Well the seeds of destruction were sewn almost 20 years ago. That’s right Maniacs, Hellboy, Mike Mignola’s groundbreaking creation will celebrate his 20th year this March. Check out the press release from Dark Horse Comics on Hellboy Day!

Read the full article: HELLBOY DAY! in 2014

Makerspaces in libraries



The survey was conducted during October and November 2013 by John Burke. This is John's survey summary in full: 43 librarians responded to the survey. 41% of the respondents currently provide makerspaces in their libraries (or provide maker activities through their libraries).

Read the full article: Makerspaces in libraries

A model programme for public libraries



The toolkit and supporting articles are designed to analyse the challenges and illustrate best practice, and provide inspiration for the interplay of space and functionality. This is done in a visual format where brief texts are supported by photos, figures and basic design principles.

Read the full article: A model programme for public libraries

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Librarian: 8th Least Stressful Job of 2014!

Rupert Giles: Watcher, Hero, Librarian. Not free from stress.

CareerCast.com is a job search website, and according to this post on The Wall Street Journal blog, they post a yearly ranking of the 10 Most Stressful and 10 Least Stressful jobs.

And according to this years rankings, Librarian comes in as the 8th Least Stressful job, with a stress score of 10.58.

(Though for the record, this is not the reason I've chosen to switch careers to become a Librarian, but it is a nice bonus. The real reason I want to be a librarian is so I can wear tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows!)

Knights of Badassdom Finally Getting a Release


http://knightsofbadassdom-movie.com/#

Filming began on Knights of Badassdom waaay back in 2010, so it's been a long time coming. And when you consider some of the god-awful movies that have been released in the meantime (think Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Battleship, After Earth), while this potentially awesome movie has been left to languish, well it's just saddening.

I first saw the trailer for this at least two years ago and I've been hanging out to see it ever since. It's unlikely we'll see a theatrical release in Australia (or rather, absolutely won't happen), but it's getting a limited run in the US ahead of an On Demand and Digital release on Feb 11, so at the very least we should to get it on disc out here sometime after that.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Frozen Niagara Falls

As we recover from a record Heatwave here in Melbourne, a reminder that parts of the northern hemisphere have been suffering through extreme cold with images of Niagara Falls almost completely frozen.

Frozen Falls by Magda Bognar (Jan 10, 2014)


Niagara Falls. Winter by Andy Zav (Feb 25, 2008)

See more amazing images of a frozen Niagara Falls on this 500px posting by Diana Tula.

All the Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in 2014


Must read post over on io9 by Charlie Jane featuring a huge list of Sci-Fan books due to come out in the year ahead - time to update the ol' Goodreads list! And, an noted below, David Cronenberg!
There's a ton of ambition on display in this year's science fiction and fantasy books. Bestselling authors are stretching out of their comfort zones, and our favorite authors are pushing the boundaries. Plus David Cronenberg has written a book about sex and weird diseases. Here's the ultimate guide to this year's can't-miss books.

See the full list @ All the Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in 2014

The 86th Annual Academy Awards Nominations

The Nominations have been announced! It's a pretty underwhelming affair this year and I have to admit to having seen none of the "Best" nominated movies; didn't even manage to get out for Gravity. On the "Achievement" side of things, I did see The Croods, The Hobbit: DoS, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, so surely that qualifies me as an Oscars expert!

The big hitters: American Hustle & Gravity with 10 each. 12 Years a Slave gets 9.
Expected: Hobbit only gets 3 "technical" nods - Sound Mixing & Editing and Visual Effects
Most Likely to Win: Meryl Streep
Least Likely to Win: Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
Criminally unrepresented: Riddick

See the full list after  the jump.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Simon451: New Sci-fi & Fantasy Imprint @ Simon & Schuster


Exciting News, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Readers!

Simon & Schuster have announced a new imprint, Simon451, "...dedicated to publishing literary and commercial speculative fiction across categories such as science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, apocalyptic and the supernatural". And Gillian Anderson, a.k.a. Scully from The X-Files, has been announced as one of the launch authors with her book (co-authored with Jeff Rovin) due for release in October 2014.

Check out the links (though not much to see just yet):

http://pages.simonandschuster.com/simon451/    https://twitter.com/Simon_451    https://twitter.com/Simon_451    http://instagram.com/simon451books

Read on after the jump to see the press release.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Star Wars at Dark Horse No More

This is sad news indeed for the good folk over at Dark Horse comics and perhaps for both Star Wars and comics fans in general.


Disney has made the decision to bring the comics publishing license for Star Wars inhouse, moving it from Dark Horse to Marvel. This is an entirely understandable move; now that they own LucasArts, there's no reason for a third party publisher to be making money off what will no doubt end up being one of Disney's most profitable licenses, so it makes perfect business sense to hand the license over to Marvel. But I can't help feeling sorry for the Dark Horse crew; they've done bucket-loads for the industry over the course of their almost 30 year history, helping bring manga to western audiences and effectively creating the comics crossover; they've produced some excellent movies through Dark Horse Entertainment (and some best not mentioned); given us the continuing stories of Whedon's Buffy & Firefly that TV execs refused to; and they're the publisher my all-time favourite comic character Hellboy!

And, lest we forget, they also gave us the excellent The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia.

Long Live Dark Horse!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

TOP 10 libraries of 2013



TOP 10 libraries of 2013 designboom’s TOP 10 libraries of 2013 includes a diverse range of projects, featuring works from renowned offices alongside young and emerging practices.

Read the full article: TOP 10 libraries of 2013

BibiloTech, America's First "Bookless" Public Library, Opens in Texas

A computer screen displays books available at BiblioTech
No doubt we'll be seeing many more of these cropping up all over the world in the years to come as libraries continue to adapt and reinvent themselves to keep pace with our ever changing world.

Read the full article @ news.com.au

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

io9's Ultimate Guide to 2014's Science Fiction and Fantasy TV

Much excitement for the year ahead in TV Land; truly we are living in a Golden Age of small screen plenty!

The shows, new and returning, I'm most looking forward to:

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.



Admittedly, this took some time to get going, and the much-publicised tie-in with Thor 2 was little more than a throw away scene, but the mid-season cliffhanger has certainly set up exciting possibilities for the second half of the season so I'm keen to stick with the show. And it has the brothers Whedon at the helm, which gives me confidence that my hopes won't be dashed.

Sleepy Hollow



I'm loving this show; it's truly as bonkers as you'd expect a show in which the headless horseman is actually Death of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to be. But for the love of God, please give Ichabod a change of wardrobe!

The Walking Dead




Without a doubt my most anticipated series return for the year. The mid-season finale was an outstanding, gut-wrenching, tour de force and I am desperate to discover what's happened to the surviving characters.

Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey



A follow-up to Carl Sagan's 1980 series Cosmos, this will hopefully prove to be both entertaining and informative. FOX has this to say about the show:
More than three decades after the debut of “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” Carl Sagan’s stunning and iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY sets off on a new voyage for the stars. Seth MacFarlane (FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD) and Sagan’s original creative collaborators – writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and astronomer Steven Soter – have teamed to conceive a 13-part docu-series that will serve as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series.

Game of Thrones




Almost, but just not quite, as anticipated as The Walking Dead, I'm still extremely keen to see the next season in this awesome series, especially if the promise of more White Walker action is fulfilled. But on the other hand, I've now read the first book in the series (my review is in Goodreads), so I'm all in a quandry as to whether I should continue to read and get ahead of the show or save all the surprises that are store.

Under The Dome




Easily the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel to come out in years, but a large part of me wishes they'd've stuck to a single season and wrapped everything up. Still, could well be entertaining to see another season of fishbowl antics.

Penny Dreadful

Some of literature's most famously terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula. become embroiled in Victorian London. 

Awesome sounding premise, excellent cast, and Sam Mendes. I'm in!

Believe



Sounds quite intriguing, but the real draw card is .

The Strain



At last the universe will be set-to-rights with vampires once again being depicted as monstrous, bloodthirsty creatures of terror and nightmare. Begone ye lustful, sex-crazed pretender of recent shows, and may all vegetarian vampires wither into sparkly dust, for with The Strain, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan shall show us what a true vampire is!

The Leftovers



Love the premise for this series which takes place after "The Rapture" has taken the Chosen from Earth (presumably off to Heaven, although whether the event is the Biblical rapture remains a mystery) leaving those left behind to try to move on with their lives.

Having not read the novel of the same name by , I've no idea what form the story takes, but personally I'm hoping for something along the lines of an apocalyptic and vengeful punishing of the wicked type End of Days scenario with Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death, an appearance by the Antichrist and all the plagues & destruction portrayed in the most fantastical interpretations of Revelations. Or at the very least, an intriguing look at the realities of living in a time when the prevailing world view is that God exists, He's taken all the Faithful up to Heaven and those left behind must therefore be irredeemably doomed.

However, caution is advised as is co-creator of the series along with Perrotta. For those not keeping score, Lindeloff's writing credits include Cowboys & Aliens, Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z! Seriously, how is this guy still working as a script writer after churning out that list of turkeys?

The Last Ship



The crew on a naval destroyer are among the last remaining survivors on Earth after a pandemic wipes out most of humanity. The premise gives the series scope for storytelling on a global scale as we witness the demise of most of the human race after which the crew must embark on a search for provisions, fuel and other survivors, as well as the personal, human stories of the crew themselves dealing with the loss of family and friends and trying to come to terms with the fact that they may be the only humans left on the planet. If handled correctly, this could make for very compelling TV. And, it has in it - if we get anything like another Jayne Cobb from him, I'm sold.

Crossbones



Basically, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Series, but without the curses, sea monsters and other magical elements. And in the place of Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, we get as Blackbeard (though, perhaps understandably, not as the lead). Could well turn out to a surprisingly good series, but I'll hold off on any genuine judgements until some more details surface. And on the negative side, this effort loses points for claiming to be the True Legend of Blackbeard yet still casting impossibly good looking actors with perfect teeth to play characters existing in a time when the concept of personal hygiene was largely non-existent.

Gotham



This is not the helmed Gotham that tells the tale of a cop discovering a magical realm existing within present day New York, rather this is the series that will focus on the exploits of a young Jim Gordon as he hits the streets of DC's neo-Gothic New York stand-in to investigate the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne (hence the casting of a 10-year-old Bruce Wayne). For me, though, this is firmly on the "must avoid at all costs" list as it brings to mind all-too-painful memories of the last attempt to realise a show-based-on-Batman-that-doesn't-feature-Batman, the pitiful Birds of Prey.

See the full list on io9 @ The Ultimate Guide to 2014's Science Fiction and Fantasy TV

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin


A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am somewhat astounded at how much I enjoyed reading this book!

I'd put off getting into this series for ages for two main reasons: I was committed to finishing the Wheel of Time books before beginning another epic fantasy with a massive cast of characters and a trusted reader friend had told me of his disappointment in the books. So even getting into the TV series took some persistent coaxing from my brother, but eventually I did start watching and in short order I'd caught up to the second half of series 3 and ended up watching the remainder of the episodes in real time. Needless to say I was pretty much hooked from the get-go, but after the Red Wedding episode, I'd also decided it was time to start reading the novels as well.

So my reading of A Game of Thrones was from the perspective of having already seen all three seasons of the TV series and therefore I had some reservations as to how much I would enjoy the book: either I'd find it too dull given I already knew what was going to happen or I'd be too frustrated at the differences between the two versions of the story.

Happily though, neither of these proved to be the case. I was amazed as I read the book just how closely the producers and writers had stuck to the story, to the point that at times it felt more as though I were re-watching the show rather than reading the book (on several occasions I actually found myself trying to recollect which episode I was up to before remembering I was reading the book), but this never detracted from my enjoyment. Similarly, knowing what was to come as I began each chapter didn't at anytime deter me from wanting to continue to read, and in fact usually acted as an enticement to just one more chapter, and then another, and another...

For me, one of the ultimate guides to one's enjoyment of a book is to ask "Do I regret the time I devoted to reading this story?" and in the case of A Game of Thrones the answer is most definitely a no! I loved the story, the world-building and the characters and despite the occasional opinion I've come across suggesting the subsequent books as not as good, I'm still keen to read more.

View all my reviews