Seth Fisher. May he rest in peace.

I haven't seen the new Batman film yet. Looks like it borrows from Batman Year One. Give me a  couple of days or so. David Mazzucchelli doesn't appear to have a website.

 

 

 

That's jazz rock hero John McLaughlin.

 

PHIL'S ONLINE MUSIC EMPORIUM

 

Today's Interspersed Theme: Girl with the Beautiful Tone
 

Esthero "That Girl" (only vid I could find)

 

 

Mahavishnu Orchestra Covers by Gregg Bendian's Mahavishnu Project
Try "You Know You Know" and "Meeting of the Spirits" (Real Actual Jazz Rock That's Downloadable!)
Massive Attack's "Protection", featuring Everything But the Girl vocalist
Only Goldfrapp tune I like "Pilots"
Try All The Superior Koop Vids but "Summer Sun" makes you want to live, even if they have stolen your vote.

Trail of Dead's "Caterwaul" (rips off Led Zep's "Black Dog" but in a good way...)
NERD's "Maybe"
Portishead's "Glory Box"
Terranova's "Chase the Blues Away"
Eighty Mile Beach's "Red Helicopters" (need more clarinet in acid jazz)
Zero 7 "Destiny Live"
And I Gotta Have More Cowbell! "Little Sister"
Broadcast's "Papercuts" (I am amazed by this band.)

posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:07 PM Comment (0) | Trackback (0)

 

I haven't seen Sin City yet, but I've heard the reviews have been sen-sational. Update:

Let me add my praises. Sin City rocked. It's just a gorgeous film. I can't say I was that impressed with the writing--it really felt like Pulp Fiction two in its narrative vibe and Tarantino even directs a scene. I also know Frank Miller is capable of better writing. In fact, for the record, I think Ronin, Martha Liberty, all of his Batman books and his stunning Electra (Why didn't the people who were doing that awful Electra film just follow his adaptation?) were more interesting than his Sin City books.

On the other hand, it was visually stunning. You just haven't seen anything like this before. Hookers with uzis and swords are cool. And I don't mean stunning but cold like that World of Tomorrow movie, but a tech that felt organic and stylized, even warm. In fact, because the scenes were so drained of color, every hint of baby blue or bloody red felt special and rewarding. And, of course, unlike those inept people who have ruined the Electra franchise, these producers were smart enough not only to bring in Frank Miller, but to let him co-direct as well. And they didn't radically rewrite his hard boiled strip. They felt no need to add Tom Sawyer apparently. Smart. Now, if we could just get Alan Moore to go to Hollywood. Give him an Ozymandius-style Big Wall of tv screens to direct from Northampton.

 

And famous pulp fiction painter James Avati, whose work and style you've seen even if you never knew his name (like me), passed away recently. So, whenever an artist shucks off this mortal coil I will honor him here by showing his work. I'm sure someone will do the same for me. ("Ack! Phil's resistance cell has been blow'd up! So, check out Phil's computer art pieces here.....")

Both books by my Cyborg Democracy pals are recommended by Scientific American. How's that Morrisey tune go...Don't you hate it when your friends become successful? And out of a jealous raging spite, I'm permalinking Ramez Naam. His book is called "More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement." Not to be confused with this excellent Theodore Sturgeon graphic novel, which I used to own, until I gave it away like an idiot...

Invincible, the comic, is being made into a movie. And unlike a lot of properties being made into movies this makes sense. It features kind of a father and son supermen, but, good lord, there's a shocking twist. Let's put it this way: You wouldn't like it if Krypton decided to "liberate" you. You wouldn't like it. Trust me.

 

This is a band called Kudu. I found them over at Velour records. Here's a list of what I think are the best online sounds I've been able to find.

 

Best Online Music Sites

Adrian Belew (prog rock)

He has the right attitude. All of his personal vids are available for download. My fave is the duet with David Bowie. Pretty Pink Rose.

www.adrianbelew.net/download.htm



And You Will Know Us By Our Trail of Dead (alt rock)

Actually, I don't like all of their tunes, but I think "Relative Ways" and "Early Morning Stoner" are some of the best rock vids I've seen over the last 10 years. I also like what I 've heard of their new album.
www.trailofdead.com/media/



Broadcast (alt trip hoppy acidy jazzie)

I can't get enough of this band
. If you're a fan of Portishead or Esthero, then you'll probably like Broadcast. I also highly recommend City in Progress, Come Let's Go, and the World Backwards, when you buy them legally at your fave online music downloader, or from Emule, which would be wrong, probably....

www.broadcast.uk.net/index8.html



Patricia Barber (out jazz singer)

She has one vid online and it'a a good one. I first saw this on BEt on Jazz. Catch her great screaming at the end of the tune...
www.patriciabarber.com/av/index.html



Buckyball records (jazz rock)

The only place on line that I've seen actual real life jazz rock music. Buckyball seems to be made up of the remnants of the great Brit fusion band Brand X, most notably sinewy Jaco-like bassist Percy Jones and flashy guitarist John Goodsall.

audio here
www.buckyballmusic.com/music/index.html




vids here
www.buckyballmusic.com/video/index.html




Cat Power (alt rock)

I've always liked Cat Power. I think her best vids are:

He War
Nude as the News

www.matadorrecords.com/cat_power/music.html



You can also find two of her better protest tunes over at
 

www.protest-records.com/mp3/index.html



Click on Volume 1. And try "Rockets" and "Maybe Not"



Stanley Clarke (jazz rock living legend)
I'm still checking these out..

www.stanleyclarke.com/aud-vid_pg.htm



Helium (alt rock)
I just caught this at Matador. I give it a B.
www.matadorrecords.com/helium/music.html



Kaki King (jazzy acoustic guitar virtuoso)

Looks like they're putting all of her first album out there for free at her first label. You can't download it. But you could tape and then record it as an Mp3, if you had the proper equipment and hated America I guess..


www.velourmusic.com/2003/site.html



You have to scroll around.


She moved up to the big label Sony of course and she now has a video, which you can actually see on vh1 megahits between the mostly garbage that they play... (I'm never going to purchase anything from the Killers. Not gonna happen.)

www.kakiking.com/



You can get her new vid plus live performances at the above URL.



Kudu (acid jazz)

I was sniffing around Kaki's old label and I ran into this incredibly acid jazzy band called Kudu. Nice stuff. I'm an acid jazz junkie. I don't do the drugs but I sure love the drug music. Bitches Brew forever....Neo soul at its finest. I don't think I'll be hearing this on WAMO anytime soon.

www.velourmusic.com/2003/site.html



Read her profile here:

www.arielpublicity.com/kudu/press_2001.html



www.velourmusic.com/2003/site.html





Christian McBride (jazz bassist)

There's just one cover of a Weather Report tune on the Internet. I think this is it...
Boogie Woogie waltz


http://christianmcbride.com/multi.html

Brad Melhdau (jazz piano)

The return of Bill Evans, just a wondrous supple sound. He's scary tech wise too, but he doesn't show it off all the time...

www.bradmehldau.com/mehldau/media/index.html



Sonic Youth (alt tuned alt rock gods)

All of their vids are online, plus all kinds of live cuts. I have yet to try this out..

www.sonicyouth.com/archives/vidselect/index.html

 

 

March 2, 2005

The European artist Zdzislaw Beksinski who I had never heard of and whose first name I can't pronounce, (although he reminds me of Jacek Yerka), was found murdered in his home. I like his dark style. I wonder if he would have preferred his gruesome demise...? (Probably not...)

And here's a site that catalogs other surrealists like the late Zdzislaw. Here's one of those pieces:

 

 

 

 

 

Dec. 28, 2004

The Sin City Trailer looks good. It feels like the comic  and Rourke as Marv (below) is an inspired bit of casting. He's played ugly men before. I still think that Ronin or Martha Liberty or even his Batman books would have been better as films but I can see the gritty appeal that Sin City would offer. If I remember the bespectacled character correctly, then Elijah Wood plays a very cool corporate assassin.

 

For those of us who long for another Portishead record or keep on wondering what happened to that gorgeous vocalist who headed Esthero (Update: Esthero just put out a new album and the first song is here. Kinda of a rockin' tune where she says Britney and rapists of little girls (R. Kelly I think but that seemed consensual, urine notwithstanding...) get way too much vid time. Mentions MTV mediocrity by name. I guess I won't be seeing her video too soon..), Ilya might just fill your need for cinematic grooves and beautiful soulful lyrics. If you don't believe me, then watch the incredible video for Bellissomo. It's stunning. Trust me. You can watch it either here at Soundgenerator (A great online site for videos by the way in case you're sick of MTV. They do this relational thing where they point out that if you like Portishead, you might like Ilya. And they were right.) or at the band's site. And here's an interview with the band. The new album, blaring in my personal background, is called They Died for Beauty.

If you're looking for more of this kind of music, I highly recommend Soma online, which actually plays about several different brands of Acid Jazz. I usually have the Secret Agent stuff in the background...

All Hail the Return of the King: And speaking of stunning artists you won't be seeing on the MTV countdown anytime soon--or anywhere on MTV for that matter--Kaki King has a new album out. You might remember I declared Kaki the best female guitarist that I had ever seen, just narrowly beating out Joe Pass Protege Mimi Fox, also incredibly gifted. At her website, she has about three video downloads where you can check out her incredible Stanley Jordanesque tapping style. You can also find a Kaki King NPR interview, which features another video and four of her tunes.

Her compositions are just as mind-blowing as her technique. You're watching a living legend, once in a generation kind of artist. Now, if they would only play her on the radio. All Hail the King.

November 4th

Obviously, I'm disappointed about the election results. I'm also genuinely frightened for the future of my country and I'm starting to be a little frightened by at least a slight majority of half the people in my country. 

I am, however, proud of the fact that I worked hard at ACT. ACT and MoveOn and ACORN and others in the America Votes coalition did a great job of winning states that Kerry probably would have lost without us, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  IN fact, Pittsburgh was thinking about closing up shop on the 15th. I hope they reconsider. I'd certainly be happy to stay on board.

And yes I really wanted to take down that upside flag in the lefthand corner of the site. I guess I should just make it bigger.

Here's the two best Post Mortems I read that speak for me. Here's one from Eric Alterman:

Let’s face it.  It’s not Kerry’s fault.  It’s not Nader’s fault (this time).  It’s not the media’s fault (though they do bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It’s not “our” fault either. The problem is just this:  Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the “reality-based community” say or believe about anything.

 They don’t care that Iraq is turning into murderous quicksand and a killing field for our children.  They don’t care that the Bush presidency has made us less safe by creating more terrorists, inspiring more anti-American hatred and refusing to engage in the hard work that would be necessary to make a meaningful dent in our myriad vulnerabilities at home.  They don’t care that he has mortgaged our children’s future to give trillions to the wealthiest among us.  They don’t care that the economy continues to hemorrhage well-paying jobs and replace them with Wal-Mart; that the number without health insurance is over forty million and rising.  They don’t care that Medicare premiums are rising to fund the coffers of pharmaceutical companies.  They don’t care that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being slowly poisoned and though they call themselves conservatives, they even don’t care that the size of the government and its share of our national income has increased by roughly a quarter in just four years.  This is not a world of rational debate and issue preference.

It’s one of “them” and “us.”  He’s one of “them” and not one of “us” and that’s all they care about.  True it’s an illusion.  After all, Bush is a millionaire’s son who went to Yale and Harvard and sat out Vietnam, not even bothering to show up for his cushy National Guard duty, and succeeded only in trading on his father’s name and connections in adult life.  But somehow, they feel he understands them.  He speaks their language.  Our guys don’t.  And unless they learn it, we will continue to condemn this country and those parts of the world it affects to a regime of malign neglect at best—malignant and malicious assault at worse. 

Given the media’s talent for pandering to their lowest common denominator, the things that have driven us crazy about their past pathetic performance are bound to get a lot worse.  Most of us—readers and writers of this web log and peoplelikeus-- derive an awful lot of benefit from being Americans.  We owe it to our better selves, and though it sounds horribly clichéd, to our children-- not to walk away from this battle.  I will admit, however, it’s pretty damn hard to see through this fog just where to turn before we

And there's Tbogg quoted from Tom Tomorrow:

TBogg is not sounding like an optimist this morning:

Four more years of American soldiers being used as cannon fodder.

Four more years of scientific decisions being made by people who believe in a ghost in the clouds.

Four more years of debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

Four more years of racists and lunatics for judicial appointments

Four more years of looting the treasury and squandering it on corporate cronies.

Four more years of making enemies faster than we can kill them.

Four more years of fear and darkness and racism and hatred and stupidity and guns and bad country music.

I look at the big map and all of the red in flyover country and I feel like I've been locked in a room with the slow learners. We have become the country that pulls a dry cleaning bag over its head to play astronaut.

May 7th

This is actually what I placed on Three River Tech Review a week ago. I probably should have put this stuff here.

 

This picture is trademarked (® or TM) and copyrighted (©) by Paul Gulacy and DC Comics

Oh what the Hell, here's a Gullacy pinup. And no  Mike Grell gravity lens guy! He's like a Neal Adams who died. There's no emotion in his work and he never grew, unlike Kyle Baker or Bill Sienk.

And here's a preview of the new Catwoman movie with Halle Berry. Meow.

 

and more comics geek stuff. A Watchmen movie poster.

Mel Gibson as the Comedian sounds good. I still think that Julian Sands or Christian Bale are more Ozymandius like. Of course, now that Moore seems to care about what happens to his film properties: Ask Terry Gilliam to exec produce a 12 parter for HBO. Let it be so. I'm always thought a Sopranos casting might be cool. Gandolfini as either the Nite Owl or the Comedian...still like Hopper as Rorshack. Ed Harris as Dr. Manhatten seems like an inspired  choice though, but the beautiful Mind guy would be good too, if he would do it...

Here's some nice Steranko art that I copped from that acursed Gravity Lens guy again. Boy, does Paul Gullacy owe this guy royalties for his style or what?

 

 

Week of February 22

Well that was a long and terrifying sabbatical.  I'm still working on that  online paper and restarting my comics reviews. In fact, I hope to review this soon:

Cool movie promos news:

The promo for Hellboy looks pretty good. I also think that Ron Perlman is the best non-good looking actor around. I also thought the trailer for the Incredibles looked pretty good. Notice the cool ripoff of the theme from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

 

Week of September 28th

(Sorry I haven't posted in so long. Keep in mind that I always post at Three River and I also post stuff at both Warblogger Watch and American Samizdat from time to time. I'm also seriously considering starting an online Pittsburgh paper. IN fact, I'll probably buy the domain this week..)

 

 

Stunningly sad story about one of the greatest comics artists who ever lived: Jeffrey Jones. He got sick and lost everything (someone should take a look at our health care system and how it kills artists. I still think Effinger would still be walking around if we had nationalized health care even though I have heard he didn't take good care of himself...)and, worse, he's not well enough to draw anymore. Horrific. Please get well Jeff. He's definitely in the Frazetta class. He's a great artist who just happens to do comics.

I posted these pieces over at Technoccult, which I should have dumped over here earlier.

Moore Dominates Harveys
Posted by Philip Shropshire at 4 Aug 03 @ 09:22 PM

Speaking of Alan Moore, it looks like he took home a bunch of Harveys. He won for best writer of Promethea. I have mixed feelings about that because I don't think much of the occult and a lot of those issues were thinly disguised explorations of his own mystic philosophy, something that he's already explored in some of those performance art comics of his. Still, there were some wondrous moments. I've gone back to enjoying the series again now that Promethea has returned to Earth so to speak...The latest issue features a guest appearance by the Tom Strong crew, or an alt universe Tom Strong considering how they jump around realities so much.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen also won two awards: one for best single issue (the first issue of Volume II with that incredible Martian Warrior cover) and for best continuing series. Certainly, these are well deserved. I still can't believe one guy can do this many quality comics. I've always thought Steve Gerber could hang with him--like Moore he knows a lot about the Dark Arts as well as physics--but he couldn't produce such a quantity of ambitious stuff. I suppose Gerber gets his revenge with Howard the Duck, where he makes fun of both Moore and a thinly disguised Warren Ellis.
 

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Free Energy Might Be Free
Posted by Philip Shropshire at 14 Aug 03 @ 06:49 PM

There's a website that claims that all of those free energy devices out there just might work. The website is produced by the Vasant corporation. From the website, you get to learn all about the cool idea of Spintronics. There's even an online powerpoint presentation.

The concept is explained here:

It is this sea of standing waves rather than quantum probability waves that best account for the wave like nature of matter. Particles move to quantized states because of electromagnetic forces that keep particle motions synchronized with this sea of standing waves.

This is an interaction among all matter that Ernst Mach alluded to as necessary to cause matter's characteristic of inertia. Einstein called this Mach's Principle. Einstein studied Mach's ideas while developing his theory of General Relativity.

Using common sense and classical electrodynamics, Bugh explains how these particle spin interactions are possible even among compensating spins. Technology advancements are possible based on these particle spin interactions.

I have no idea if this is real or not. Sounds like a job for David Appell...Oh, and if you think this weird science is cool then definitely check out American Antigravity.com., where you can learn how to build your own Lifter (looks like anti-grav) and read an interview with noted science fiction writer Ben Bova.

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I'm Not Dead Yet!
Posted by Philip Shropshire at 31 Aug 03 @ 04:23 PM

I actually wanted to say a few things before being booted off, then again I guess I haven't been booted off because I'm writing this stuff. Think of me as the houseguest who just doesn't have the sense to leave...

Earlier, I mentioned other blogs that were in Technoccult's karass. But I forgot the fifth Beatle: Warren Ellis' "Die Puny Humans". What's really thrilling about reading Warren's blog is that it answers quite vividly "Where do you crazy writers get your ideas from?" Today, for example, he's praising Hunter Thompson, who I've always thought Spider Jerusalem was based on. I've also been reading every thrilling issue of Global Frequency and it's clear that the phonecam photos and videos are not accidents. He's also been putting in a lot of the weird science stuff. My favorite was a recent episode which featured this machine:

Also check out his online fiction novel. Some of the best online prose that I've ever read. Here's a snippet:

I necked a dexidrene and watched the morning fester.

Jarrow wanted me to come into his office to talk the job over. Having to talk to Jarrow in person is almost the worst part, as he has possibly the most punchable face I've ever seen.

It was getting hot outside. I dug out an old pair of combat pants I picked up from one of the US Army clearance sales, years and years ago. White and black and grey, urban camouflage, baggy and lightweight - probably what the well-dressed soldier was wearing when shooting city-gooks a decade back. Black and silver streetsocks, with the rubberised soles. A sleeveless black t-shirt I got given last year by a nullpunkt band from Hamburg called Biss. The only shades I could find were some crappy plastic CamoCam things I got on the way out of Narita Airport, first time I was in Japan. They have little cameras in the back of the headstrap that pick up what's behind you and stream it on the shades lenses, so it looks like you have two big round holes in your head. But it was these or a sunlight headache, and I was in shitty enough condition as it was.

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June 29th thru July 5th

(Pic of the great John McLaughlin)

 

I went over to my evil friend's house, again. He lives on the dark side of town. Once, I think I saw him shoot a man just to watch him die. He thinks the Sopranos is a light comedy. (He keeps worshipful online profiles of prominent Russian mobsters or what he calls "real criminals".) He abuses his cat with overtly aggressive hand wrestling and general annoyances (putting the cat in high places to watch him jump for example). He is a bad man and he downloads music. I brought a gun this time. If provoked, during one of our discussions where I take the Pro-RIAA Hilary Rosen, quite forcefully I might note, then I will shoot him where he stands. I'm sure the RIAA will get Johnnie Cochran on the phone and I'll walk. Dead file-traders and whores. Who gives a fuck. I'll walk. Unfortunately, before I could reach for the semi-automatic thrust into my belt, shoot him, and  thereby Fight Crime, he showed me several Mahavishnu Orchestra clips. I was in awe, even though I knew the evil of his Emule downloading pathology. I had simply and still do worship that band and follow John McLaughlin to this day. He had gotten 10 minutes (full of vile downloaded evil) of a BBC recording with the original quintet, with a youthful Billy Cobham on drums. I kept on looking for tension between John and Jan "Miami Vice theme" Hammer. They had a big Rock n Roll fallout and I understand that's where the tension was. This evil man, whom on a ethical and moral level I completely loathe, also had the second Big Band incarnation of the Orchestra, featuring Jon Luc Ponty, Micheal Narada Walton (who was fierce by the way) and Chick Corea's high pitched vocalist wife Gayle Moran. I never liked her voice. Think of Joan Baez singing jazz rock and you see the problem. Yet I can see why people liked Gayle. She was getting into the Miles Davis groove and offered a seriously sensuous radiant smile throughout. These are concerts I would have never seen of bands and hero musicians, thanks to Emule and the criminal element that uses it. I couldn't shoot the evil one. Not this time. But there will be another. And one day I'll end our discussion about piracy and the rights of artists, with a gun. With a gun.

Scott McCloud, tired of waiting for the future to catch up with him, is putting his micropayment theories into action. It also has some very cool bits of animation and the storytelling method is completely different. You just haven't seen anything like this before, even though I sense that McCloud is a better critic than an artist. Go support this effort, especially if you would like to make money doing this online stuff one day. It's easy to do if you have either Paypal or a credit card, which I think is every person on Earth. I threw in my quarter with pride. Here's to our self-sufficient future.

June 15 through June 21

I've been looking for a good excuse to post this Jaco Pastorius (one of the world's great bassists and tragic stories) pic for a long time and now I've found one. As you may know if you visit Three River Tech Review, where I do most of my posting on my four blogs here, I know a person that Orrin Hatch wouldn't like who is using a new service called Emule which allows you to quietly download larger video files, in the 100 to 500 mb range and beyond. And let me tell you at Emule there are several Weather Report videos. Teen Town, with the original Heavy Weather lineup, was from the Midnight Special. There's also a version of Black Market that my evil friend is downloading, which I probably won't watch, because it's just wrong and the corporate media channels are just saturated with progressive jazz rock.  I was watching the computer screen of my evil friend and I couldn't believe my eyes. Jaco was one of the coolest cats ever. Zawinul synth chords sound just so, so cool. Then I thought I should probably turn him in for prosecution but I thought better of it...so if you have broadband and you're looking for live video footage of Allan Holdsworth, Weather Report and Pat Metheny then you should  probably have your eyes plucked out and your computers destroyed because you are just bad and wrong and don't even know it...

 

Week of May 18 thru May 24th

(By putting a date on here I'm committing myself to more posts...we'll see.)

 

I thought the Matrix was decent, but not great. I have to confess that I enjoyed X2 a lot more. I just felt that its mutant politics hit a lot closer to home for me. And how could you have Roy Jones in a movie and not have him in a decent fight scene? Now that's criminal (perhaps he does some stuff in the video game...) Yet there were some grand moments in the film. I thought the speech by Morpheus was especially effective. It was terribly sad watching the Oracle and knowing that the actress who played her had passed away. I thought the Ghosts were kinda cool. I feel like I just won't know entirely how I feel until I see the second half...

 

Over at the official Sonic Youth website you can find protest songs. I actually think that they aren't very good (and no Sonic Youth tunes? C'mon...)...

But there are two really good professional tunes by this lovely lass:

Chan (pronounced "Shawn") Marshall strikes again. Catpower's  two protest tunes "Rockets" and "Maybe Not", are very good, sung in that eternally somber sad voice of hers, yet one of the tunes sounds vaguely anthemic. And there's also a video for He War, which they played during the last seven minutes of 120 minutes last Sunday, the corporate swine...And here's a good fan site, where I downloaded the new video.

 

 

 

The New Animatrix Film Rocks: The two anime films that have been released have been impressive. I've always liked the visual poetry of anime but felt that the writing was always a bit lacking. Not in these cases. Both of the free downloaded anime shorts are stunning. They look good and they answer some uncomfortable questions. The first one makes you think that the machines, much like the tortured AIs in the film "AI", were simply victims who tried to protect themselves. The second one answers kind of an awkward question: What security precautions do you take in light of what happened in the first Matrix film? Simulations, like life itself, can be decisively unpleasant...

 

This is a book written by a local Pittsburgh freelancer and I just haven't had time to read it! But my good friend Bill Boichel has posted a fairly praiseworthy review. Mark Best wrote a  good,  literary analysis of the book. I would never have gotten the King Arthur stuff anyway. (God, who I don't really believe in, why won't Bill blog?):

"Despite Wise's skill at adapting Arthurian legend, if that were all King of Summer had going for it, the novel would run the risk of being just quaint pastiche. Fortunately, Wise proves to be equally adept at portraying contemporary American adolescence. He offers us a wide range of varied and well-developed characters, often using minor details to add depth to each one. One girl's fingernails, described early in the novel as "chewed and covered in chipped bubblegum pink polish," hint at her status as a "bad" girl from the poor part of town and give us insight into the hopelessness that comes with it (not to mention  providing the basis for one of the novel's most striking images at its conclusion). Similarly, Wise hints that Artie's older sister Wren, who loosely corresponds to Morgan le Fey, has an eating disorder. However, he chooses never to address this problem directly or resolve it. Instead, this information serves to add depth to our understanding of the almost paralyzing anxieties that plague her throughout the novel. Such details add texture to King of Summer that makes reading it much more pleasurable than just following the plot.

Alienation is a normal quality in these kids' lives. The teenagers who confronted the Winter King 70 years earlier already shared the common bond of their baseball team. In the present, Artie's task of uniting his friends seems almost more difficult than dealing with the novels supernatural evil. Indeed, this is a key theme of the novel, and each moment of divisiveness is a victory for the Winter King. While occasionally characters receive a supernatural nudge from the presence in the lake, more often their own differences, fears, or self-absorption is sufficient to further the advance of evil in the world. For example, a birthday party put on for Artie by his sister provides the perfect opportunity for these friends to come together around Artie and confirm his status as their "leader." Instead, Wise shows us small cliques drifting into different rooms or focusing only on the videogame in front of them. The result of this moment of disunity is sudden and tragic disaster."

All of the Lush Videos Can Be Found Here: (Don't know how long they'll be up so get 'em while they're hot...)

I always thought that Lush, at their best, was a female U2. The two women wrote and sang mostly ethereal ambient tunes, with intrinsic aural highs. They were produced by the Cocteau Twins so you can triangulate the vibe from that, but try to imagine just stellar harmonies and unusual dissonant jangly chord progressions. I recommend "Superblast" (It might be their best tune and I had never heard of it before...) both versions of "Deluxe" and "Nothing Natural". Probably won't be a reunion anytime soon. The guy drummer on the left hand side passed Spinal Tap style  recently. But we do have these cool vid memories...and downloads fast even on dialup. Try 'em out.

There's something Freudian Cool about petite women strumming their big electric phallic guitars...

 

Incredible Alan Moore Tribute Site Here: I've been emailing this guy, José Carlos Neves, off and on for the last year or so. He's Brazilian (I think) and he's probably one of the biggest Alan Moore fans alive.

His tribute site is up and features some of his tribute art and rare photos. (I didn't know Alan used a computer. I thought he wrote in longhand with blood or something...) Very cool with some scans of Big Numbers pages...! Be forewarned: You will need Babelfish.

 

 

 

 

First, does this Quick Topic link work?

Second, I thought the animatrix toon that I saw was very very intense. It had kind of a Ralph Bakshi adult feel to it. It was well written, well crafted. The most unusual thing about it is how it turns around the moral high ground of the series. The bots look a lot like persecuted slaves who were simply trying to defend themselves. I look forward to seeing the rest of the shorts.

Teenie8.jpeg (125921 bytes)

You can now get this on a tshirt and it's about time.

 

 

(Tip of The Hat to Porn Blogstress Reverse Cowgirl)

Sorry For The Long Wait Between Updates. I'm seriously thinking of turning this into an advertising vehicle. I'm feeling reckless and dangerous.

On With The Show:

Catpower

 

Photo of Catpower Lead Vocalist Chan Marshall: You must check out this MP3. It's beautiful. It's called He War. Note the Haunting "Hey Hey Heys" near the middle of the piece...Perhaps I should try out the other songs when I have more time. Meanwhile, during my search for cool and meaningful music that's free:

 

Dave Cross, of Mr. Show fame,  has put out a political and funny comedy album. He openly asks why he has to get all his news about the United States from the Guardian. You can get a listen if you click right here, I mean, right here.

 

Some Other Cool Music Sites: It looks like one old young lion is reaching into none other than...fusion! Check out Christian McBride doing a Weather Report tune! It's very cool. Weather Report tunes just go very interesting places. I also happened to stumble upon a cool Frank Zappa site, while searching in vain for the video for "Peaches En Regalia". I highly recommend the guitar solo by the late great Mike Hedges. He does a Zappa tune called "Sofa". Now, while looking for a video to download I kind of fell into a record company called Buckyball Records, which, as you might have guessed, does fusion. And not only do they do fusion they showcase the tattered yet talented remnants of Brand X (!), or the European version of Weather Report for the ill-informed. There's lots and lots of audio clips to check out.


 

 

The Comics Journal Blog is Truly Superior: As you know, I consider the Journal's position on genre contemptuous and evil but Gary Groth has always represented excellence. And the Comics Journal blog is excellent. Every important thing that I could even imagine of importance happening in the comics field this guy gets, or maybe it's added by the staffers...It's still impressive. Here are some of the more startling entries I've seen: police beating up a Cameroon cartoonist (Ted Rall isn't the only hellraiser apparently),  how Taiwan wants to subsidize its comics industry, and their usual jihad against superheroes, mixed with some interesting stuff about how Fantagraphics is breaking into the books (Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc.). It's become a must read.

ABC Books Update: This is a long interview with the guys who actually produce Alan Moore's incredible ABC books and it gives you invaluable scoops about the Top Ten graphic novel, a special alt universe Tom Strong and there's some news about Promethea.

 

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Tom Strong Characters Are Actually Public Domain (You Too Can Write a Black Terror Story! (And no one will sue you...yet.)):  I found this over at Boing Boing. It turns out that those characters in a recent Tom Strong story arc were public domain. After Top Ten and Promethea, which have dozens of throwaway characters, I had just assumed that Alan Moore had delved into his black warlock soul and just made 'em up. I was wrong. It's a good piece of reporting on comics as well. That's kind of rare.  Here's an excerpt:

For Moore aficionados, his account of later discoveries after creating both Tom Strong and Promethea come as little surprise, and fit into the creators' theories about ideaspace and the fact that he occasionally runs off and prays to a snake god... or... something under his house. "I didn't know there was The Book of Promethea by Hélène Cixous, or things like that," Moore told Previews. "I didn't know John Kendrick Bangs had written a bunch of stories about a place very much like the Immateria when I made Sophie Bangs the secret identity of Promethea. All of these things are delicious coincidences. I even found a character created from about 1910 in a series of novels published by the Boy Scouts of America about this ultimate Boy Scout named Tom Strong. It's just great! If you're hitting the right kind of vein of archetypal stuff then things like this will just happen. I'm just tapping into something. It works out."

In a recent interview with Newsarama, Moore expanded upon his decision to use the characters. "The original idea for the whole thing came when somebody, it may have been Rick Veitch, told me that there had been, back in the '40s, an America's Best Comics which I wasn't aware of," Moore said. "I thought it was a striking coincidence that we had America's Best Comics, and there was a series by the same name in the '40s. I asked [ABC editor] Scott Dunbier to check it out and see if he could find out anything about this comic, and whether there were any interesting characters.

 

Writer Robert Forward Died: I never read any of his science fiction, but I stumbled onto a number of his essays on space. He also wrote his own obituary. It's kind of flattering. I guess there's an advantage to not being squimish about such things.

Here's an excerpt:

The intelligent pattern of protoplasm that had been Robert L. Forward ceased coherent operation on September 21, 2002.

Robert Lull Forward died at home of brain cancer at the age of 70. Forward was born 15 August 1932 in Geneva, New York. After graduation from the University of Maryland in 1954 with a BS degree in Physics and a Second Lieutenant commission in the Air Force, he married Martha Neil Dodson and served two years stateside during the closing years of the Korean War. Upon leaving the service Forward was awarded a Hughes Aircraft Company Graduate Research Fellowship, which he used to obtain a MS in Applied Physics from UCLA in 1958 and a PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland in 1965. Forward was one of the early pioneers in the field of experimental gravitational radiation astronomy. For his PhD thesis he built and operated the first bar antenna for the detection of gravitational radiation under the direction of Profs. Weber and Zipoy. The antenna is now in the Smithsonian Museum.

 

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Save Frellin' Farscape!: I have a thing for Gigi Edgely who plays the lovely blue Chiana. I have dreams about her blue lithe athletic body and none of them are G-Rated. It's also the best show the Sci-Channel has ever produced. I've borrowed this from Tom Tomorrow. Write and call. I know I will.  Yeah, it costs a lot but it shows up on the screen. You can see the difference whenever you watch Andromeda. Here are the numbers from Tom Tomorrow:

Update redux: Here's the latest. And here's contact info for the Sci Fi Channel:

Sci Fi Channel
Address to one of:
Michael Jackson, President and CEO of USA Entertainment (KEY CONTACT)
Bonnie Hammer, Executive Vice President and General Manager
Thomas Vitale, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions, Scheduling, and Program Planning
c/o Sci Fi Channel
1230 Avenue of the Americas, F115
New York, NY 10020-1513
Email: programming@scifi.com
Phone:
Viewer comment line: 212-413-5000
Programming line: 212-413-5821
Comments line: 212-413-5577
General line: 212-413-6531

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Incredible  Art  By Seth Fisher
(Check Out His Online Gallery)

Reviews of John Malloy's "Amnesia", Carla Speed McNeil's "Finder" and NBM Publishing's "Wake"
Essay Entitled "What the Unabomber Wants"

I really enjoyed Wake. The reason I love science fiction is that you can use the form as a prism for social and political exploration. Successful science fiction is also full of cool ideas and Wake has plenty. Just a few that I liked: The steampunk look of the world—with its steam trams, big flame-emitting mechanical droids and dirty industrial feel. I liked the revolutionary group that Navee finds herself thrown in with, a group that senses that all is not right on their world. I liked the idea of genetically mixing the native species—who look like big peaceful sentient polar bears—with human DNA in order to get a new species. I liked the manipulative human geneticist who uses cryonics as a kind of time travel to watch his “experiment” unfold. And finally, l loved the beautiful curvy European look to the book. The city scapes are gorgeous. The coloring and draftsmenship evoke remarkable moods. There's even a hint of Whiteout on an alien world. All in all, it’s highly recommended and worth the $9.95 price. I look forward to more adventures with Navee...More:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spock Does Nude Art and It's Really Really Good: These two photos are from Leonard Nimoy's new book of photographs, which include tastefully done nudes. Over at Three River I make this joke and I'll make it again over here: I understand that he has to do these photos every seven years or he'll start throwing his food and ordering changes in the ship's direction and otherwise act all tense...

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Complete List of Annotations For Alan Moore (This is a public service...): If you're amazed at all of the amazing books being put out by Alan Moore and you're looking for footnotes to explain every little detail, then I highly recommend that you check out this page. The above picture is from Top Ten. I felt like I had gotten every little point. I didn't. Did you know those were Indian symbols on the back of Multi-Girl? That's the price you pay I guess for being an agnostic. Top Stops: The Annotated Top Ten and the Annotated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2, Issue One. (The first issue of the League looks stunning by the way and speaking of the League...)

 

 

Lovely Peta Gets Role For Mina Harker in League Film (Also With Connery): I guess I was rooting for Winona Ryder to get the role of Mina Harker, because she already played her in Coppola's great Dracula film, but Peta is all right with me...In fact, when she was around and Section was doing it's "job" we didn't seem to have so many problems.

Incredible Debate Over Minority Report: I actually liked Minority Report and I agreed with John Shirley's favorable review of it. That's until I read a counterpoint with Jeff VandeMeer.

11) The second precog vision of the murder(s) central to Minority Report's plot does not include the identity of the man who did it. Yet it is clear throughout the movie that the precogs track the scene prior to a murder occurring. Later, the murderer clearly puts on his mask just a few minutes before the murder. Therefore, there is no logical reason why the murderer's identity would not have been known after the second precog vision, rather than only at the end of the movie.
     These are just a few examples — we don't have the patience to go into the stupidity of the Cruise-embedded-in-a-new-car scene, etc.

And then I thought maybe the film wasn't so good. So then heavyweight John Shirley rolls in with a counter counterpoint:

11) I seem to recall that the precog knows the killer but is interfered with before she can express who it is. There’s some technical issue having to do with seeing the event backwards for some reason and having to show it again forward too... All this could’ve been a little clearer in the film but I think it’s all there.

     What worked for me in the film was the world depicted. The overall plot, which worked well enough — despite that annoying drain business and the action — was just a framework for that vision. The lady scientist (you might’ve complained about the rather too convenient info dump she provided, telling Anderton things he should already have known) was a great character and her relationship to her genetically engineered intelligent plants was good science fiction. The scenes in the tenement were great. Some of the car scenes. I had no problem with the eyeball-lock-opening trick. It seems to me it could work and that’s what matters.

So I liked it again. Read all the incredible letters...
    

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Preview of Vertigo Pop and Incredible Art by Seth Fisher: DC doesn't allow you to directly link to their pages so you have to scroll down to take a look at the artwork. Seth Fisher's artwork continues to amaze me.

 

 

 

Interesting Ken Macleod Interviews: I just came across a couple of the links about a writer that was described as a Trotskyite socialist. I haven't read his work but I'm probably going to start digging in. Here's one of his fan pages, one interview and then another.

I've decided to turn Vast Wasteland into a television blog since I'm watching so much television these days. Lately I've been writing about Saturday night live, Enterprise and the music channels.

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Incredible Art By Seth Fisher (Check Review for More info, links)

Revolution Sci Fi: This is actually a pretty good site that I'm going to be checking out more in the future. Actually, I need to revamp the links around here. I could just steal most of the ones at Locus but I'm supposed to have a job afterall. Speaking of Locus, there's a great discussion about science fiction and the mainstream over at their letters section. By the way, Mark Kelly is doing a great job over there and I would feel that way even if he wasn't my editor who was actually paying me to write comic book reviews. In fact, the reason I haven't posted more Locus stuff is that it might seem to really be blatant logrolling in our time stuff, as Bill Boichel might point out.

Long Piece About Egan and Baxter at Kuroshin: It's kind of a nice primer on both writers and how terribly complicated their stories are--at least to me.

Eisner Nominees Announced: Alan Moore didn't get nominated and I'm completely stunned. There is a science fiction comic called Finder that was nominated but I have to admit I haven't read it. I'll have to try and check it out.

Praise for Greg Egan's New Novel: Like most rave reviews for new books this appears at an intense mathematics site. Egan also wrote an interesting political piece. I'm assuming that it appeared at an Aussie paper someplace but I'm not sure.

Incredibly Bizarre Nation Piece on Star Trek: This is just one of the worst pieces on Star Trek that I have ever read. I've always thought that Star Trek was one of the more progressive shows out there. It's so bad that it makes me question my own left wing politics.

Listener PartyMore Tunes: Speaking of Star Trek, I still hate that theme. If you want to listen to a real theme then try this one for Cowboy Bebop. Scroll down and click on Cowboy Bebop's Tank. That theme looks like a film all unto itself. On the jazz front there's a new album by John Scofield. In fact, the last time I checked they were offering the whole album online.

 

authorCarter Scholz Has New Novel Out: He's probably one of the finest craftsmen you've never heard of, or the Allan Holdsworth of science fiction. But trust me: His short stories, usually found in Terry Carr's old Universe anthologies, are like finely crafted jewels. His work is a perfect mix of poetry and storytelling. He's not the fastest writer out there, but he's also heavily into music, as you can probably see from this bibliography. His new novel is called Radiance. I'm actually not sure what it's about, but it seems to be a naturalistic novel about science, or a science fiction novel without the fiction, or a modern day naturalistic novel, which of course if done at all well would certainly feel science fictional. Here's a review here. And here's an essay about his own novel here

Cordwainer Smith Fan Site: I bumped into this at Metafilter. This guy has one of the most unusual styles that I've ever come across. His stories, which featured the usual stuff of science fiction weirdness, felt natural and relaxed. The guy was also a Spy, high level it would appear. I keep on wondering whether his stories (As well as Alice Sheldon's, otherwise known as James Tiptree Jr., who also worked for The Company.) were somehow woven into his experiences with the company. Check out the great tribute quotes at the site, especially one by Frank Zappa. I wasn't aware that Frank was ever a big reader, but if he was a big Cordwainer fan that would explain so  much...

Great Alex Ross Site: Alex Ross has produced some of the most memorable comics art ever.There's just an emotional power that resonates from his work, particularly in the way he shows facial emotion, that few artists, not just in comics, can match. Notice above: The Might and Power (!) of the Ambigiously Gay Duo....

List of Important Science Fiction Books For Leftie, Pinko commie troublemakers: This is must reading and it's composed by Brit socialist candidate China Mieville, who's a great writer (if the critics are right) but who lost his election bid. There are some books on this list that I've never heard of, but I'll try to check them out. I sure learned a few things. I had no idea that Mack Reynolds was a member of the socialist worker's party or that Jack London's best novel, according to the list, was a science fiction novel. It even lists Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" because you should "know the enemy". It also lists a number of obscure works by Russian writers that go back 60 to 100 years. Oh, of course, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy makes the list. 1984 doesn't make the list but I guess that one would be too obvious...

You could do the same for comics...Hmmm

Frank Cho's New Site: Frank Cho has taken his site off of the comics pages and decided to give comics a try. I wish him the best of luck but I can't help but think that he's making a tactical error. On the other hand, he's one of the best artists to arise during the last several years and it would be cool to see him illustrating Alan Moore somewhere down the line.

Billionaire Paul Allen Rocks: Actually, it really does rock. It's actual music, full of tasty guitar licks (That figures. Allen is a big Hendrix fan and it shows)...Definitely not boy band stuff, which is probably why the band is called Grown Men. You could safely characterize it as Garage Pink Floyd. Too bad that it probably won't get any airplay. Being that Paul is a billionaire and that he's one of the few people putting out tunes that happens to be the multibillionaire owner of a cable conglomerate (Actually, I'm pretty sure that he's the only one...) why doesn't he start his own MTV? Can you imagine a music station that showcased virtuoso guitar acts, even occasionally, say three hours a week? Steve Vai, John McLaughlin, Stanley Jordan and Victor Wooten would all thank you...I actually emailed him about this twice, yet so far he's totally ignored my advice! And I'm shocked, totally shocked...Something else cool about the album: The cover is drawn by legendary cartoonist Berke Breathed...! (Imagine: A Billionaire with good taste...)

 

Incredible Pat Metheny Tune: I've never been that impressed with Metheny the player, but as a composer he's first rank, right up there with Zawinul and Shorter. He's written dozens of brilliant, stellar tunes. The link takes you to a cut  from his newest album and it's pretty impressive.

New Warren Ellis Site: Warren Ellis, perhaps in response to the genre hating rigidity of everyone's favorite Comics Journal, has started his own critical comics site. He's very adept at using the web so I expect his site will have some success. It's clear that the writers will be reviewing everything that comes their way. That's the way it should be.

Best Online Comics Sez The Journal: I'd really like to check these out. I'm sure they'll be no spandex allowed but I'll give it a shot anyway.

My New Reviews Are Up, Plus Random Thoughts: I'm definitely getting more fanboy as I get older. I'm reviewing a Star Trek Graphic Novel, the new Frank Miller Batman and an incredibly drawn Green Lantern story.

Look For More Music and Book Links in the Future: I've decided to add more music and book industry links. I'm adding the music just because I think its cool and it gives the reader something else to do. I'm adding the book links because I'm planning to publish soon and I plan to learn as much as I can about the book publishing business. Here are the music links that I've posted over at Three River.

Equally Scary Arpeggio Laced Free Jazz Version of Spain
(By Chick Corea Himself)(Scroll Down)
Check Out Very Alt Rock Pixies-like Cat Power Video
(Tune I Like Is Called Nude of the News)
Music/Vid Clips From
Brad Mehldau, Cyress Chestnut, others

Big LA Weekly Stories About Comics: There were tons of stories here earlier, but now I can only find the Alan Moore, which is quite impressive actually.

Here's My Review of Blowback at Africana.com: And here's my own much more irresponsible, less professionally edited and probably more interesting version on my own site.

Very Well Written Science Fiction Cliches Organized by Bruce Sterling, Others: My own short story would seem to fall into the "Oh Poor Me" Category. Ah well. Every aspiring science fiction writer should memorize this list of dos and do nots.

New Infinite Matrix Site Up: Speaking of Bruce Sterling, he's supposed to be doing a weblog for this site which so far I've found to be extremely unimpressive.. But the site looks good.

Interesting Preview of New Frank Miller Dark Knight Series: I guess I'm looking forward to this as a fanboy. There's a preview of the title with plenty of teaser art at the DC website. It looks like Miller will reinvent the entirety of the DC Line. His Plastic Man not only suggests perverse sexual opportunites but a hardcore science geekiness. His Wonder Woman is definitely black. Here's the Flash animation teaser, which I still think is the future of comics.

Interview With Fearless Boondocks Writer: He's probably been the boldest cartoonist out there. He actually comments about the war and the comment isn't a bit praiseworthy of the seemingly endless bombing.

 

 

 

New Site From Local Pittsburgh Hero/Hippie: Check out this new site from my long time friend and comics dealer Bill Boichel. Bill is a real talented guy and his website kind of shows off Bill’s outrageous ability as both a writer and an artist. His essays on comics are publishable. I’d better not tell Locus about this guy…He also sells comics, books and CDs at his new store in Squirrel Hill. Bill probably ran the coolest comics store in Pittsburgh before closing it down in the early 90s. Apparently, he put his metafictional masterpiece on the site. It kind of feels like a primitive version of the Grammaticon of a few years back. I’ll have to check it out and see what’s there…One of his art pieces is to the left. He's heavily influenced by Kandinsky. No shock there.

 Joffo’s Site: I grew up with this guy and, hey, if I can pitch Stanley Jordan’s site, I can pitch Joffo’s site. He hasn’t had a completely money mad career as a pro drummer, but he’s had a career, and he’s jammed with some heavyhitters like Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I hope that he breaks through one day and some reporter will talk about his overnight success (in reality going on 20 years) as an artist and Joffo will just laugh and laugh…(And yeah I’m the one who named him Joffo so what…?) One word of advice on the music links: Can you give me a whole song, or at least a one minute drum solo? It’s not that I’m not enthralled by seven seconds of music but more is better… 

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About  Mutant X But Was Afraid To Ask: There's a long Howie Chaykin interview about this new show, which could be very very good. I even like the X Men cartoons even though I kind of liked the Fox cartoon better. It struck me as better written...Anyway, this story gives you a lot of background about Howie and the theory behind the show. I've found Howie's work on shows like Earth Final Conflict and the Flash to be mixed. But it looks like he has a lot of creative control here so I look forward to X. You know, these are actually pretty good times for the science fiction fan on television. There's Andromeda, Farscape, Mutant X, Enterprise, Earth Final Conflict and the Outer Limits. That's a lot of shows. Then there are the Trek shows on the Sci Fi channel and TNN (I kind of thought that the Sci Fi channel would be a better place for the Trek shows, but if they're going to create new shows like Farscape and the Outer Limits (I hope that recent OL episode with the Black Gun Totin' Frontier Judge gets picked up as   a series. It was a nice primer on why we need civil liberties and innocent until proven guilty, even for fanged and snarlish purple aliens..) then I like the idea of them spending money on new programming.

Preview of This Year's Science Fiction Shows and Offerings: This is a handy guide to every science fiction show out there. It even has some information about why Earth Final Conflict was pulled from the Science Fiction Channel (low ratings.). Personally, I'm looking forward to Red Mars and the LeGuin adaptations. Here's the second part.

Great Stanley Jordan Site: I was kind of wondering what super two handed tap guitarist Stanley Jordan was doing these days and it turns out you can check him out at Stanley Jordan dotcom. Stanley isn't just a guitar genius, he's an all around genius who's also into computers and general deep thoughts. Check out his links section. Truly impressive. Be amazed by his math and physics links. He also contributes to message boards and we find out that in the future we might be seeing Stanley with an Emmet Chapman stick, which is an instrument that we all think that Stanley would naturally be using. I guess I'll be posting more music stuff here and in the future. I've got to start updating Vast Wasteland again...

Sweet Kevin Smith Cartoon About His Wife (From the New York Times?): This is a nice Kevin Smith cartoon that appears in the New York Times no less. His wife sure is hot. If I ever make it I have to ask someone to draw me Image style! We know Kevin is portly and shlubby lookin' but not here.

Interesting Story About How Art Helps Prison Inmates: In these beat them with a stick times it's nice to see a story about how we can rehabilitate prisoners instead of whipping them silly. But what's interesting about the story is the art by the Post Gazette's Tim Menees. He's not the funniest editorial cartoonist at the PG but he's definitely the best artist. For comics fans, his style resembles that of Ted McKeever's, who used to be an editorial cartoonist surprisingly enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WTC Tragedy Touches Science Fiction Writer Jerry Pournelle: I actually found this over at Ellison Webderland. I live in Pittsburgh and I believe this account. I think it's why that plane never made its target. Those were heroic people. But what a terrible choice to have to make. What a horrible way to die...

Here's what was posted:

Jerry Pournelle posted this earlier tonight in one of the SFF Net newsgroups, and I have no reason to believe it's anything but authentic.

*********

Dear Jerry,

Following is a message which my one of my best friends passed along with permission to distribute to those who might be interested. It fills in the details that I missed in my original conversation with him and attempted to relate to you.

Tom has given me permission to distribute the message - please feel free to post it if you deem it appropriate.

Sincerely,

Art Russell
Major, US Army (Retired)

Message Follows:

Today was a tragedy for all of America and to my family, a very personal one. Lynn and my Niece Liz's husband, Jeremy Glick was on United flight 93 this morning. When the Hijackers took control of flight 93. Jeremy called my niece who in-turn conferenced him to 911. Jeremy relayed to the police what was happening as the hijacking unfolded. As our niece Liz listened, Jeremy told the police there were three Arab terrorists with knives and a large red box that they claimed contained a bomb. Jeremy tracked the second by second details and relayed them to the police by phone. After several minutes of describing the scene, Jeremy and several other passengers decided there was nothing to lose by rushing the hijackers. Although United Flight 93 crashed outside of Pittsburgh, with the loss of all souls. Jeremy and the other patriotic heroes saved the lives of many people on the ground that would have died if the Arab terrorists had been able to complete their heinous mission.

Please offer your prayers for all of those who perished or were injured in this tragic of all days and to our niece Liz Glick and her 2-month-old child, Emerson, who are left without their loving Husband and Father. May we remember Jeremy and the other brave souls as heroes, soldiers and Americans' on United flight 93 whom so gallantry gave their lives to save many others.

Lynn, our four adult children and I are headed to New York to be with our family during this time of great sadness

All of my best,

Tom

Very Well-Done Essays By Jonathon Lethem: Nice essay about Marvel comics where he uses the Item! icon over and over again..

Brand New Scott McCloud Site:   Scott is now doing something daily for his site. I have to say I hate the content I've seen so far. I hope he reads my email and adapts one or both of my stories.  And no I don't believe in Santa Claus.

Incredibly Interesting Pro Drugs Comics: This comic manages to break a number of taboos at once. I don't do drugs myself but I can certainly understand this guy's perspective. Well written.

I Started Harlan Ellison Uncensored: It turns out that I may not have been censored over at Harlan Ellison's Webderland message board. But I really didn't like the attitude of the webmaster anyway. So I started my own where you can good things or bad things about Harlan. That site has received a whopping seven visitors, some anonymous, and no posts. However, when I announced the topic over at wildly popular Warren Ellis (Transmet, City of Silence) Delphi Forum it quickly gained 76 visitors and then it was mysteriously stopped. Ah well...I'll just have to promote from within...

Collection of Online Science Fiction Comics:   I've only looked through a number of these comics and they're very good.

New Reviews of Rall's 2020, Orwell for Beginners and New Promethea: These reviews also appear at Locus Magazine, but I added a detail or two about Promethea.

New Linklater (Slacker Scribe) Work is Animated: Richard Linklator, whose name I'm probably mispelling, is working on a new movie. It's going to be animated and the preview is already on the net. The web site looks very stylish and features one of the better uses of Flash that I've seen. In fact, like the AI sites, these Flash comics can kind of stand on their own.

Lucius Shepard Does Film Reviews: Here's yet another High End Stylist who  is doing film reviews right now for one of the many science-fiction sites out there.

Steve Gerber's Site is Finally Up: Gerber has always been one of my favorite writers, period. Check out some of his early fiction on the site. Nobody sounds like this guy. Now, if he would only bring back Void Indigo....

Big Thinker Cards on the Net: If you like your trading cards to feature artists, writers and philosophers then this site is for you.

Flash Award Winners: If you're as fascinated by Flash as I am, then you might be interested in what judges think are the best efforts out there.

Wolverine Flash Ad: I really think comics in the future should look like this. Flash is just a great medium for comics.

Two, count em' two, stories on comics on Comics: First story deals with the general depressed state of the comics industry and the other deals with Scott McCloud, which makes sense.

Alan Moore Does His Allen Ginsberg Impression: I'm really not into the rhyming poetry that Moore is doing in the latest Prometheas, but lo and behold he did do some beat-like poetry that I was more into. As usual, very impressive stuff from Moore. On a related note: the fan site also links to a long long Alan Moore interview. Face it: Alan is smarter than the average bear although I hate this Majick Wiccan Pagan thing he's into. Sort of like U2 and their roots rock phase.

New Scott McCloud Piece on Micropayments: Sort of an incidental rebuttal to Gary Groth. No doubt though on who's the better artist. Interesting take on Napster and the future potential of micropayments, and a link to the Reinventing Comics message board.

Special Nerve Science-Fiction Issue: Pretty good stuff over at Nerve. It also features a very good interview with Samuel Delany. He must like these guys usually he just interviews himself. Nice profile of Cecilia Tan who also publishes erotic science fiction. I think she's the only one. She didn't like my dirty science fiction story "The Science Fiction Story as Life Metaphor", available on this site somewhere, and I'm deeply embittered about it. I recommend Caryatids by Chris Barzak, although this is nothing new to McAuley or Egan fans (reminds me  a little of Egan's Closer).

Cool Beans Trying to Do New Media Comics Right: I kind of had a hunch that the Stan Lee new media wouldn't go anywhere. Stan hasn't been a vital artistic force for over three decades. These guys at Cool Beans are trying to do it right.  Features Pat Mills, yet another great Brit writer (must grow 'em on trees) and a number of other great artists and writers like Disreali, John Bolton and Clive Barker. I threw in $2.98 for four weeks. I hope its successful. Definitely feels like the future of comics. Something that you could place on a cd disk or would be optimal for broadband.

 

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Check out new Reviews: I actually wrote a critical review of the AI websites. Reviews also include Batman: Outlaws, sort of the Oliver Stone film reinterpreted, Bendis' Fortune and Glory, about his attempts to get his books made into film, Streetwise, picture above and which features comic pros doing their best Harvey Pekar impressions, and 39 reasons to buy Prometheas 6 - 11 and some doubts about 12 - 14. And Brave Old World, a very nice mixture of tech and history by the man behind The Maxx, famously obscure MTV cartoon. Here's the abridged version at Locus...

Web Sites About the Proliferation of Fake AI Web Sites: This isn't really a new idea, the website for the series Andromeda is also pretty involved. I guess this takes it to another level in that they're establishing websites all over the web. The big question is what does this have to do with the artificial kid in AI or is it just interesting backgrounding. The most interesting thing about the number of websites is that it definitely points to a new kind of storytelling. I was thinking about doing a fiction story for the Wild Read section called The North American Man Robot Love Association using snippets and stylings from NAMBLA inspired sites. But how do you make that sequential, or should you even try? Plus, how would I translate those stories to print, or would it even be possible?

Anywho, here are the pertinent AI sites. Your first stop should be the AI sites that compile all the many AI sites, and that figure out word puzzles, hidden source code clues and the many hints scattered on various pages. It has something to do with Evan Chan and a war between pro and anti AI terrorists.

Compilation AI Site One

Compilation AI Site Two

Join the Anti Robot Militia!

Bangalore World University

Photons Be Free (AI Rights Organization)

Spherewatch (AI Watchdog Group)

Murder of Evan Chan

Catskill Dream Center

Harvey Award Winners: No big news here except that Alan Moore finally gets his due for his incredible work on Promethea. He won best writer.

Surprisingly Hostile Review of Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics: Gary Groth doesn't like the new Scott McCloud book. He really doesn't.

Nice Interview with Paul McAuley: I like his definition of radical hard science fiction. I guess this is something that I'm trying to do myself with mixed results.

Interesting Exploration of Andromedean Nietzschean Theory:  If you've been watching Andromeda, which with the season pretty much half over I can proudly announce is uneven, you might be interested in this site, which explores Tyr's philosophy a bit more deeply.

Vernor Vinge Essay on What the Singularity Means: I've always defined the singularity as the Big Change that changes everything, but the man who coined the term has a slightly more complicated viewpoint about it.

Long Chip Delany Interview: Sam Delany is one of the great stylists of our time. This is a very long and involved interview with him. He was actually here in Pittsburgh recently and I had the opportunity to shake his hand. A long time ago he did a comic with Howie Chaykin and I asked him if there were any copies left. He said they were in lost in a factory fire some time ago. I have to admit that I was a little dissappointed in his talk, which was kind of short and abrubt and left no time for questions, but I had heard later that he was a little tired. Also, if you read the interview, you learn that he's a big comics fan and loves all the new Alan Moore titles. I actually had an issue of Promethea on me. I thought about asking him to autograph that but then I thought he might be insulted. Oh well.

Other stories of note:

Scott McCloud Feature on Micropayments and What It Means

Matt Groehning Feature

William Gibson Feature

 

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Quickie Reviews of Dune, Andromeda, Farscape, and Earth Final Conflict: Welp, I have to say I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen of the first few episodes of Andromeda. True, it has its faults. The show’s look, apart from the now perfunctory cool computer generated space scenes which even Babylon 5 got right those many years ago, is kind of bad. The costumes are terrible. I now appreciate Harlan’s job of coming up with costumes and fashion for Babylon 5 much more now. The actors aren’t that talented or interesting, with the exception of the Rev guy. Then again, they probably don’t have that $1 million per episode budget that Farscape has (click here for more)

 Salon Alan Moore Interview: There was some talk on the newsboards over at the Comics Journal that Moore got a bad review. But it looks like a fairly long winded and favorable piece about what Moore is up to now and why he’s writing so many books. (Apparently, he went broke trying to self produce Big Numbers and lost all of his Watchmen money. Why somebody in Hollywood doesn’t snap up Moore and pay him a lot is beyond me. If ever there was anybody whose whole approach sez "I should direct" it’s Alan Moore. Surely, if they can make essential silliness like Spawn look cool, then shouldn’t Tom Strong or Promethea get a shot. It would immediately approach The Maxx and Aeon Flux as the best cartoons you deserve to see, other than what’s on the WB.)

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The article seems to argue that Alan’s single handed crafting of the aptly named America’s Best Comics is his attempt to restore the superhero genre. Sales are only so so, according to Salon, but as a self-hired critic, I can safely say that the quality of these books is outstanding. He should delegate some though. Hire out some guys for some short pieces. Hey, contact those science fiction writers. I hear they’re as broke as the comics guys. Steve Gerber could always use a meal. Give Lucius Shepard for Tom Strong or George Alec Effinger for Top Ten, if he’s up to it. Alan also takes an offhand shot at Gary Groth saying something to the effect that all his well reviewed Comics Journal stuff doesn’t pay the bills. Ouch. Personally, I take the heretical position that Moore’s genre stuff, particularily Promethea, is as good as anything that he’s ever written. But I would like him to take a shot at espionage and political writing again like in Brought to Light. I’d pay good money to read Vladimar Putin: Secret Agent.

 

More Frightening Proof of Greg Egan’s "Superhuman Mind": Recently, there was a debunking of a story that claimed that the Speed of Light had been exceeded in a lab. Not only did Greg Egan, for my money the best writer in science fiction circles right now, help debunk the story in Locus, but he pointed people toward his site, where he also built one of those cool animated gifs of his (not sure whether its his own code or if just has access to all the cool really expensive software out there) that pulse and move. By the way, the science theory here is way beyond me, but Egan sure has a way of making it look cool.

Impressive Andromeda Website:  It looks to me like the new Roddenberry influenced Andromeda series could be pretty good. I highly recommend the site as it serves as a fairly impressive background bible for the series. It's also clear that the plot will diverge from classic trek. One of the things that  always troubled me about the Trek Universe was their stand on genetic engineering. Namely, a kind of just don't do it approach. To me, it was always clear that even if humans didn't do it, the Klingons and the Cardassians certainly would. I could even imagine the Vulcans dabbling into it. They could simply wipe out their emotional states, or at least modify them. There's a very interesting Andromeda race called the Nietzscheans that turns the Federation theory inside out.

The show also looks to be a much more complex show both thematically and technically. There are some things happening now, primarily with computing, which proves that the old trek just didn't have the evolution of some tech right, not that anybody else did,  but it's clear now that Palm Pilots and the Web just weren't logical future outcomes. From the hints of plotlines that I've heard, Andromeda will include "smart" weapons (Imagine: Photon torpedos that think), not to mention liberal uses of nan and string theory. I look forward to this show, although I'm not sure if it could beat out Farscape.

Great Alan Moore Site for Obsessed Fans Only:  If you've been overwhelmed by the stunning quality of the appropriately named America's Best Comics, then check out this site. It features snippets of news about Moore. Interesting bits I found included: Heather Graham set to star in film version of From Hell, both Tom Strong and Top Ten will probably be discontinued or altered, and Moore will probably stick to ABC for one more year. (Link is apparently down. Pray for it to come back.)

April 18, 2000:

Warren Ellis Enters the Online Comics World: I have to say this story is quite stunning. I couldn't click it off so to speak. It's definitely dark, definitely edgy. (Link down! Link down! Abandon ship!)

Very Cool Site: The site that hosts the Warren Ellis online comic is very cool in itself and should be checked out. They're running a new online comic almost every day. (Link down. What to do.)

Silverberg's Great Piece on the Pathetic State of the Space Program: Fine essay by Robert Silverberg about what went wrong with the space program. (Link also down. Damn Galaxy online.)

New Star Trek To Be Set During the Origins of the Federation: Looks like the new Star Trek could be very very interesting. There are two main links here. The one above is from Slashdot and the other is from Ain't it Cool, which I should create a link for.

March 8, 2000

Arthur Clarke Profiled Over at Salon: Nice piece about the legend. Best quote about the stupidity of organized religion: "...and as the hierarchy of the universe is disclosed to us, we may have to recognize this chilling truth: if there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they cannot be very important gods."

Paul McAuley's Home Page: One of the great younger writers of our time. Site includes Gene Wars, one of the best books ever on biotech as well as several interviews. Soon, hopefully, before the next millenium comes around, I'll have finally written my review of The Invisible Country. An excellent work. State of the art stuff.

 

Galaxy Online: Well, this site is certainly coming along nicely. There are setbacks, however. Even using a cable modem, I wasn't able to see all the video stuff all that clearly. I also wish they would give you the choice between the Microsoft platform and Real Networks. However, while I was at the display computer at Comp USA, I did catch Harlan Ellison's video essay. I thought it was very good. He makes a good point about giving out the Grandmaster award to older writers before they die or grow too old to appreciate it. Then again, with his bad heart, he could have just as easily have been pleading his own case. There's also a good piece by Len Wein about why your friendly neighborhood comics store is an endangered species.

 February 14th, 2000:

Wild Boondocks Creater Spouts off in Yet Another Interview, Plus Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows: The brilliant writer behind the Boondocks spouts off in yet another interview. He's created the best black characters ever seen in a daily strip. This story also features an interview with Frank Cho, who does a great strip called Liberty Meadows. We don't get it here in Pittsburgh, but he puts out his strips in a comic book version. I just read it and its very good. He has a nice humane touch. His women are gorgeous, they look like 50's era Frazetta women. His one male character looks like he stepped out of Eisner. The animals seem to be freshly cloned from Pogo. Just a well-written, well drawn strip.

 

Charles Schultz Appreciation at Ain't It Cool: Two heartfelt obits for the late Charles Schultz. I thought the strip had been in steady decline over the last fifteen years, but when I was younger Peanuts practically taught me not only to read, but to look at reading as an addiction. So, You've Been A Good Man Charlie Brown. By the way, my idea for a more tasteless headline is:
Good Grief! Charles Schultz is Dead! Aaugh! Here's a complete wrap up of stories  that I ripped off from Romensko's Media Watch.

Interesting Read on the Future of Comics at the Journal's Website: The headline says it all. I thought this piece to be a little downbeat, but interesting. On the other hand, as of February 14th, there is no Journal update of either the deaths of Gil Kane or Charles Schultz. Get with it guys. You've done multiple interviews with both. Why not post them?

 

February 4th, 2000:

Wicked Salon Interview with Orson Scott Card: Orson doesn't come off to well in this Salon Interview. He claims he's not a homophobe, but he sure sounds like one. What do you call a guy who dismisses, in so many words, the sexual preferences of a certain group as deviant? And who then bases it on that nutty Mormon dogma of his? Oh well. Love the art not the artist.

Gil Kane Passed Away: He will be missed. One of the most intelligent and outspoken persons in comics.

Augie Reviews and Raves About Moore's ABC Comics: Augie, one of the comics reviewers at Comic Book Resources, asks the question can a Brit really be writing America's Best Comics? Turns out that the answer is yes. My only disagreement is that he likes Top Ten the most when I clearly believe that Promothea is the best book. Here are my fuller feelings that I posted on SFFNET a while back.

Moore Talks about Proposed Big Numbers Series: Big Numbers is the great yet uncompleted series that was written by Alan Moore sometime ago but never finished. Someone at the BBC had the bright idea of turning this into a series. There's a long interview with Moore about this.

January 21, 2000:

Galaxy Online Two: I know I mentioned them earlier, but their debut really wasn't on time. But it's worth the wait. The initial essays are all wonderfully written. They're publishable. But, these are published writers. There's even some fiction by Orson Scott Card, who, while I'm not impressed with him, usually does not allow me to put down anything that he actually writes. However, I'm being put to the test in that I have to go through 10 or more pages before finishing this thing. That's work you know. Still, automatically a must read. I'm going to put it on the left to replace the departed Event Horizon. Check out the initial essays by Gregory Benford and Jack Dann. But they're all of fine quality.

For the Serious Alan Moore Fanatic: Just to prove that there's always somebody on the internet who's more obsessed than you are, please check out this annotated version of the Watchmen. It clued me on to things even I had missed, after reading Watchmen for a dozen times or more.

Good Phil Dick History: I was trolling along the internet and I found this very concise history of Phil Dick. It taught me some things that I just didn't know, for example, how he tried to off himself several times. It makes me rethink the pity I felt for him for dying so young.

Great Delany Piece for the Voice: Delany writes about the Year 3000 and its pretty impressive. I mean, it's kind of impossible to predict more than ten years out, but he's your guy if you want to go a thousand years out. It's also interesting that he's been reading the nantech stuff that's out there. He describes it in two ways: the Majic Foam and the Mites of Destruction, to paraphrase. By the way, on a note of possible vanity, he has a friend who copies everything on the internet he might find of interest. So I suppose he's read my review of that terrible graphic novel he wrote. That's good to know. One of the smartest men on Earth probably hates me. You can link to the voice story above and the amazon reviews here. I started a correspondence with one of the other reviewers who took a look at it. She's pretty interesting and I'll probably post a few of her letters when I get the time.

Cool Batman Rumor: The word on the street, or at least Ain't It Cool, is that they're working to draft Paul Dini, who's behind some of those great animated Batman shows, to work on the rumored live action Batman: Beyond live action film. I agree with Harry that this would be a great idea that could restore intellectual integrity to the series.

Cool Star Trek Rumor: They are testing Star Trek ideas in front of focus groups, again according to Harry at Ain't. Turns out that the Section 31 idea, which I wrote about here sometime in the summer and declared "cool", was the favorite. But it looks like its evolving more into Navy Seals in Space as opposed to the CIA in space. That's not quite as interesting. I still want Garak and Doctor Bashir back in recurring roles. Won't that be harder now? Oh well. Now, if they could just get Paul Dini to do it…(Some of this is in blue because it contrasts better with Bat's fae.)

 

December 29, 1999:

Galaxy Online   or The Old Sci Fi Guard Strikes Back: I was wondering when the Old Guard would ever recognize the net and get involved with it in some way. I guess this is my answer. They’ve just been studying it apparently. It reads like a who’s who list of the old Science Fiction Guard: Ben Bova, Harlan Ellison, D.C. Fontana, Greg Benford, David Gerrold, John Varley and others. Some of those writers will be involved in monthly columns. There’s even some new school guys contributing monthly columns such as Rudy Rucker and the sensational stylist Elizabeth Hand. Apparently, they anticipate broadband in a big way and they’re setting up galaxy online as a way to market everything from children’s stories to television shows. I had heard that D.C. Fontana and others were working on something secret and big over the last year or so…This must be it. The network begins Jan. 1st. It has the potential to be vast and something much better than the Sci Fi network. I, for one, look forward to it.

Harlan to help Read, Produce 26 Classic Science Fiction Tales for NPR: If you check out Harlan’s site, then you’ll find out that he’s helping bring 26 classics to the audio format. Harlan may not be the best writer in science fiction, but he certainly is   the genre's most charismatic performer. These acting jobs he gets are no accident.

Greg Egan Site Offers Wild Computer Animations and Hugo Winner Oceanic: If you weren’t already intimidated enough by Egan’s Fiction, then go check out his website. He has illustrations that pulse and move. And each time you touch them it seems to look different. Keep in mind that even though Egan writes about all the sciences really really well, his degree is in computer science. That certainly shows. It’s also terribly designed, so hey, I guess he is a technician. By the way you can also read Oceanic, one of the best stories ever,  here as well.

Warren Ellis is Spider Jerusalem: I’ve always wondered whether Warren Ellis could write as well as Spider Jerusalem, the bald, spider tatooed future journalist in the well written yet horribly drawn Transmetropolitan. Well, wonder no more. He’s actually pretty good. His new column for Comic Book Resources is actually pretty good. Not only does he talk shop, but he passes along great recommendations for reads.

Matrix Site: Need another fix of this groundbreaking film? Check out the site. There are two big news items. One, they’re considering doing the prequel as animation, or anime to be more precise. The brothers who created the Matrix are huge fans of Japanese animation. Personally, if they’re doing both a prequel and a sequel you could probably run both films concurrently. The other story is that there are going to be Matrix comics. I had heard Harlan was going to be involved in this in some way, but I’m not sure. They do show one illustration by John Van Fleet—the artist who did such a spectacular job on The Chalice—and it looks pretty good.

The About Com Comics Page: This is a nice listing of whats out there in comics. As you can see, the place where you can find everything reviewed is kind of sparse. Comics review sites sort of breakdown into either the mainstream or indy camps. In other words, sites either review nothing but Harvey Pekar/Hate or nothing but the X Men/Batman. I have liked both occasionally so I’m attempting to walk a middle ground. This week I’m focusing a lot on the mainstream titles, but these titles are impressive.

December 9, 1999:

Scott McCloud Website: If you were blown away by Understanding Comics as I was, then take a look at McCloud's equally impressive website. You know the weird thing about Scott McCloud is that Understanding Comics is probably the best thing he's ever done. Zot never impressed me that much. Being that he's at the forefront of visual philosophy it only makes sense that he try some different things with the internet. Of the stories that he's put online I highly recommend his piece on Chess. Just stunning stuff. Way better than Zot and you can tell he's really thinking about how to use this new medium.

Godman vs. Blasphemy Boy: The two comics that Salon publishes that I really care about are Tom the Dancing Bug and Tom Tomorrow. This is an excerpt from Tom the Dancing Bug, where Ruben Bolling brings out his superhero Godman. With Godman he not only pokes fun at religion but comics. If you notice its quite clear that Blasphemy Boy is clearly filmmaker Kevin Smith. By the way you can read my Epinions review of Dogma here. I'll be pointing out more strips in the future and also taking a look at what's online. Just give me some time.

Batman: Before Year One: Looks as if they're planning on making a live action show about Bruce Wayne before he became the Batman. That could be pretty good or it could be Lois and Clark, who knows.

The Joy of Shockwave: I discovered some cool shockwave stuff at this very cool site. I'm just getting into it. It's very good animation and there's a lot of potential here. These are all pretty good pieces. I think I also might have seen the future of music video. Try Nut, Bolt and Sparky to see what I mean.

November 14th through 21st:

New Star Trek Ideas Thrown Around: There have been various stories about the proposed new Star Treks. The one that came from Ain't It Cool seems to confirm that it will be The CIA meets Star Trek, something that I and a lot of fans have probably proposed. What the other stories reveal, the ones I've seen at Ain't anyway, is that not only is there a goal of creating the next Trek series, but apparently there is a struggle between Paramount and Trek head honchos Brannon Braga and Rick Berman for the control of the franchise's direction. I have mixed feelings about that. There have been some very good things about the contemporary treks (The music could be better. They should draft people like Portishead or Stewart Copeland to give them a cooler futuristic sound. Never happen though.) Personally, I think they should draft new blood. John Shirley or even Steve Gerber would be nice. They've both got genre connections, are wildly reinventive, and have written at least one Trek episode. One of the rejected ideas by the way was a Trek before Trek. I still think that's a cool idea. How about that disastrous First Contact with the Klingons? How did Earth tech catch up with everybody else's being that we were so far behind?

Norman Spinrad Interviews Woody Allen: I found this interview on the Spinrad website. By the way, I was thinking about calling this website Spinrad. It sounds science fictional and he's a pretty good writer, but I thought there might be some copyright problems. As for the interview, I can't say it was a hard hitting interview. You wouldn't know from this interview that Woody has been involved in some troubles. It's really kind of a dual interview. I also found out that Spinrad is also having one of his screenplays filmed.

Transmetropolitan's Scribe (Warren Ellis) website: Interesting Transmet writer Warren Ellis has his own website and it features some pretty cool writing. I actually think his lead essay is better than anything that Spider Jerusalem has ever written.

Oct 25 though 30:

Comprehensive Salon Story about Trek Problems: Very good, ambitious--obviously written by a fan--survey of current Trek problems. Tired writing, bad direction from the top and botched opportunities. Plus, it features great quotes from Spock. You know, even though Nimoy wrote that book about him not being Spock, there is something noble and intelligent about him. There's also mention of this Spock vs. Q deal that sounds entertaining. Feel free to compare it to my How to Save Trek essay.

Television is only a game: Harsh Realm Cancelled: Well that was quick. I can't believe they didn't give this show time to grow. Chris Carter, who might be a bit overextended, is their best property. Why would they treat him so badly? Virtual reality is coming. Why cancel a show that explores it? Where's Mulder? Now, I really am paranoid. I suppose the sci fi channel could do something nutty and buy it and Crusade. With Farscape, they would have three quality sci fi shows to build around. Nah, that's just a dream.

Salon Features Comics 2 Days in a Row: Salon featured comics twice in one week this week. First, they featured a review of Alan Moore's From Hell. It also features a very funny Dilbert like tech cartoon called User Friendly.

Author C. Clark in America: He's interviewed by the New York Times this time. He's still interesting and lucid.

Oct 17th through  Oct. 24th:

Reviews of Gibson's New Rose Hotel are mixed: Locus, which for a long time had kind of an unimpressive site, is getting better and the main way they're doing it is through having a daily presence. They're doing a good job of finding pertinent info about writers and their projects. They list several reviews of New Rose Hotel and the reviews are mixed. But it has Chris Walken so I'll be happy to look at it when or if it ever gets to my town.

Asaro interviews Neal Stephenson at Sci Fi Site: Interesting interview with Neal Stephenson. I'm curious as to why it wasn't a little longer. After all, in cyberspace there aren't space restrictions.

Carter Scholtz and Barry Malzberg essay in Event Horizon: Embittered dual essay by two great writers. Carter Scholtz is as good as anybody but he's not that prolific or fast. Scholtz is also the only person on Earth that gave a bad review to Watchmen. Malzberg also wrote the most downcast history of science fiction I've  ever read called Engines of the Night. It's what you read when you need to be persuaded to not write science fiction.

Boondocks interviews: Clearly, the most interesting new strip to invade the staid wasteland of daily cartoon strips. Also check out the website, it's full of interesting links that I wasn't aware of.

Ain’t it Cool stuff about possible Batman films: Chubby Harry does it again and gives us news of not just one, but two very interesting Batman projects. One: there is a possibility of Warner's doing Batman Year One and Ben Affleck, who would be perfect, is mentioned. I guess the continuity of the first four films would be thrown out the window but who cares. The second idea is a Batman Beyond version which would be incredible. I love the cartoon and it certainly would be science fiction. How about Sean Connery as the elder Batman?

Comics Journal Interview with Kurt Busiek: The great storyteller behind Astro City gets a long long interview in the print version and a shortened conversation here.

(Background picture by Alex Ross)