eldritchhobbit: (Default)
Hello, everybody!

I haven't "moved in" here quite properly yet, but I will be doing so soon.

For right now, I wanted to rec a thoughtful and thought-provoking Star Trek article on Strange Horizons: "Freshly Remember'd: Kirk Drift" by Erin Horáková. Very much worth reading!
eldritchhobbit: (Dr. Horrible/Coming Along)
The Hocus Pocus Comics Kickstarter has begun! Please check out this fundraiser for Houdini's Silver Dollar Misfits, a graphic novel for all ages! Gravity Falls meets Harry Potter in this magical action-adventure mystery created by Harvey-nominated writer Dwight L. MacPherson.

All pledge tiers come with rewards, and the first begins at just $1. Thanks for considering supporting us!

In other news, my latest "Looking Back on Genre History" segment, which reviews five 2016 documentaries on Star Trek and Star Wars history, is up now on the latest episode of StarShipSofa. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!
eldritchhobbit: (Trek Reboot/Chekov)
I'm still broken up about the loss of Anton Yelchin. Art, when it's done well, transcends its time and the artificial boundaries we place between each other, and it helps us reflect on our humanity in the long term. Yelchin was one of those rare artists whose restraint, subtlety, and fierce intelligence made his performances stand apart and speak volumes. (Remember that at the age of twelve he not only held his own opposite but also stole many scenes away from Anthony Hopkins in the adaptation of Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis in 2001.) He died just weeks before he was scheduled to direct his first film (which he also wrote), and beyond feeling very badly for his family and friends in their loss (which I certainly do), I feel sorry for all of us, because I can't help thinking that the world might have had the pleasure of enjoying another fifty years or more of his talent if tragedy hadn't struck.

But this post is meant to be a celebration, so let's get on with it.

If I had to recommend a starting place for a Yelchin movie marathon, I'd have to go with Rudderless (2014), which may in fact be as close to a perfect film as I've seen in the last decade or more. This marks William H. Macy's directorial debut, and it showcases Yelchin's acting, singing, and skill with several musical instruments. But while it's a dark drama in many ways, I wouldn't exactly call it Halloween viewing. Ditto for the dark-but-not-Halloween-dark Fierce People (2005), which is a "must see" for Yelchin's performance. And regardless of one's opinion of the reboot idea as a concept (I know this is up for debate in certain circles), I don't see how anyone could fail to be won over by his interpretation of Ensign Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot films (2009-2016), but that series is not exactly Halloween viewing, either. Yelchin also shines in several thrillers, perhaps the most intense of which -- yes, even more intense than Green Room (2015) to me -- is Broken Horses (2015). Not quite Halloween-esque, but getting much warmer.

(Note: His voice work in Guillermo del Toro's Trollhunters promises to be list-worthy, so be watching for that this December.)


So here is my list of the most Halloween-friendly Anton Yelchin films, ranked in ascending order of recommendation. I hope you watch, enjoy, and celebrate.

#5 Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
This moody, impressionistic, highly visual film (what else do you expect from Jim Jarmusch?) follows Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, vampires and lovers who share a long history but now live half a world apart. Really it's a study of entropy, as everything eventually falls apart, and the spookiest character by far is the crumbling ruin-in-progress of Detroit, which serves as the backdrop for much of the film. Shakespeare aficionados may or may not like the film's argument about the Bard's identity. Yelchin portrays practically the only human character in the movie and connects with viewers in a poignant and subtle way the other characters do not, and he shares some crucial scenes with Hiddleston, in particular. I couldn't take parts of it too terribly seriously -- especially because Hiddleston's character is like a vampiric Forrest Gump who apparently knew everyone who was ever interesting anywhere and anytime throughout history -- but certain scenes were dark magic, and I'm glad I watched it.

#4 Burying the Ex (2014)
This is a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the horror genre. Yelchin's character works at a horror shop called Bloody Mary's, and his new love interest works at a Halloween-themed ice cream parlor called I Scream, and if only his deceased ex-girlfriend weren't undead and more than a little territorial, the hero and heroine could share real romance. The movie makes nods to everything from the original The Twilight Zone series to Shaun of the Dead, and if you're going to have a make-out scene in a film, this is how to do it: that is, in a graveyard at an open-air showing of Night of the Living Dead. Yes, that's my aesthetic exactly. It's crass and bawdy and the easily offended will be, but it's also exuberantly self-indulgent in its embrace of genre. If you watch it, be sure to note all the details of each set: the posters on the wall, the items on the shelves, etc. Jolly Halloween goodness.

#3 Fright Night (2011)
This is a horror-heavy reinterpretation of a humor-heavy camp film, and if you take its origins into account, you can have quite a good time with this movie. In many ways it is much smarter and more stylish than the original. Colin Farrell is Jerry Dandridge, the vampire who just moved into the neighborhood; David Tennant is Peter Vincent, the over-the-top Vegas showman and self-styled vampire expert; and Yelchin is Charley Brewster, the teenager who has to step up, step in, and save his town from evil almost single-handedly. Some very good actors (including Toni Collette as Charley's mother) had some very good fun making this movie, and the cat-and-mouse back-and-forth between Farrell and Yelchin, in particular, is simply delicious to watch.

#2 Odd Thomas (2013)
No warnings or caveats here: I recommend this to everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming film about Odd Thomas (an absolutely perfectly cast Yelchin), an unimposing and self-effacing young Everyman who just happens to be psychic. ("I see dead people, but then, by God, I do something about it.") It's based on the Dean Koontz novel of the same name, which I readily admit I haven't read (please don't throw rotten tomatoes... or, you know, anything else), but I understand from those who have that the movie stays quite true to the dry wit and unexpected poignancy of the book. Odd Thomas heroically helps both the living and the lingering dead, and this film has it all: horror, mystery, action, romance, humor, heartbreak, and hope. I don't see how you can go wrong with this kind-hearted gem.

#1 The Driftless Area (2015)
Wow. Just wow. This film is based on the "neo-noir" novel of the same name by Tom Drury (which I have read, thank you very much), and it's dreamlike and haunting and very powerful. Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel lead a remarkable, pitch-perfect cast (including John Hawkes, Alia Shawkat, Aubrey Plaza, Frank Langella, and Ciarán Hinds) in unfolding a narrative that's part coming-of-age tale, part love story, part mystery and revenge saga and murder drama, and part study of life in a small town. The real heart of The Driftless Area is the question of whether we simply drift along and let life happen to us (as it often seems) or if there is meaning and quite possibly destiny involved in our stories and choices, as well. I put it on this list because it's also a ghost story of the most literal (and also the most figurative) kind. True confession: I found both the film and the book to be gutting, personally, but in the best possible way. This is the sort of art I was talking about above, and Yelchin's quietly intense and invested performance is one of its highlights and revelations. This isn't a jump-in-your-seat kind of Halloween spine-tingler; instead it's the kind of film that insists you connect the dots and work on it (during and after the viewing), but if you're looking for haunting, well, this is it.

Here is the trailer.

(Note: The above is also the subject of my latest "Looking Back into Genre History" segment on the StarShipSofa podcast, which is available here.)
eldritchhobbit: (DS9/Weyoun)
Because I'm bursting with Star Trek love today on the franchise's 50th birthday, and just in case you're looking for some free Star Trek discussion, I thought I'd repost these Trek-related "Looking Back in Genre History" StarShipSofa podcast segments of mine. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

First, my tribute to the weird and wonderful multi-crossover Ishmael by Barbara Hambly, a most unusual Star Trek novel, and one of my very favorite ones: here it is!

Second, inspired by my essay "The Sword in the Starship: Arthuriana in Four Incarnations of Star Trek" (published in Winedark Sea), here is my two-part discussion of Arthuriana and Star Trek.
- Part 1
- Part 2

Third, inspired by my essay "If This Is the (Final) Frontier, Where Are the Natives?" (published in Star Trek and History), here is my three-part discussion of Native America and Star Trek.
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3

Thanks for letting me share these with you.

And last, just for nostalgia and laughs, here is the most fangirlish photo I think I have. This is me with the wonderful Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "baddie" triumvirate of Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun), Casey Biggs (Damar), and Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat). That was a very fun day!

eldritchhobbit: (TOS/Banned from Argo)
Happy 50th birthday to Star Trek!

This is the franchise that taught me to love science fiction before I could read (and, in fact, it greatly inspired my reading), before Star Wars, before school. Its characters, lessons, and fandom have had a major and ongoing impact on my life, my family, and my work.

Today I raise my glass in loving memory of and lasting gratitude to those who made Star Trek and who have walked on to that Undiscovered Country, including (but most certainly not limited to)
Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry,
DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, and James Doohan,
Grace Lee Whitney, Mark Lenard, Jane Wyatt, Ricardo Montelban, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Michael Ansara, and Brock Peters,
Gene L. Coon, Alexander Courage, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wise, Harve Bennett, Samuel A. Peeples, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Adrian Spies, S. Bar-David, Jerry Sohl, Paul Schneider, Theodore Sturgeon, Oliver Crawford, Fredric Brown, Don Mankiewicz, Gilbert Ralston, John Meredyth Lucas, Jerome Bixby, Margaret Armen, John M. Ford, James Blish, Jack B. Sowards, and Joan Winston,
and, gone far too soon,
Anton Yelchin.

So... favorites.

My husband and I got to talking about our Trek favorites (several of which we rewatched for our recent Trek-athon), and I thought I'd share. I'm not saying these below are the very best, but they are my very favorites.

(Disclaimer: I left a lot of favorites off this list in the interest of brevity. If you ask me on another day, some of my choices therefore might change.)

Favorite Star Trek Primary Character: Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy
Dr. McCoy is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, full stop. He's been a very real inspiration to me throughout my life. I lay much of the credit for my love of this "H.L. Mencken in Space" at the feet of the brilliant DeForest Kelley, whose deeply humane performance gave McCoy great life and great heart. Karl Urban's remarkably gifted (re)interpretation of the good old country doctor remains one of my favorite aspects of the new film series.

Favorite Star Trek Recurring Character: This must be a tie between Deep Space Nine's Elim Garak and Weyoun

Star Trek: The Original Series
Favorite Episode: "The Empath"
Runners Up: "City on the Edge of Forever," "Space Seed," and I'm stopping there because this list could go on and on...

Star Trek: The Animated Series
Favorite Episode: "How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth"

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Favorite Episode: "The Inner Light"
Runner Up: "Ship in a Bottle"

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Favorite Episode: "Far Beyond the Stars"
Runners Up: Favorite Episode: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River," "The Wire"

Star Trek: Voyager
Favorite Episode: "The Chute"
Runners Up: "Deadlock," "The Year of Hell," Parts 1 & 2

Star Trek: Enterprise
Favorite Episode: "Twilight"
Runners Up: "In A Mirror, Darkly" Parts 1 & 2, "The Andorian Incident"

Favorite Star Trek Film: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Favorite Star Trek Novel (The Original Series): Ishmael by Barbara Hambly
Runners Up: The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane, Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan, How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (novelization) by Vonda N. McIntyre

So that's me. What are some of your Trek favorites?
eldritchhobbit: (DS9/Science Fiction)
I'm very excited about heading off shortly to a convention that never fails to be great fun, ConCarolinas.

This year's planned events look great!

I intend to post updates from the con on my Twitter feed.

Here is the schedule of my events at the con:

3pm: "Star Wars Literature: New Canon and Legends" (I'm moderating this panel.)
5:30pm: "Star Trek and Diversity" (I'm moderating this panel.)

12:30pm: "Fifty Years of Star Trek"
2:00pm: "Where's Rey?"
6:30pm: "We Are SHERLOCKed!" (I'm moderating this panel.)

1pm: "Disney-Era Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One" (I'm moderating this panel.)
eldritchhobbit: (Excalibur/Arthur)
Today the second part of my two-part "Looking Back on Genre History" discussion of the intersection between Star Trek and Arthurian literature is up on StarShipSofa.
- Here is Part 1 (on Episode 431).
- Here is Part 2 (on Episode 436).

If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

Image from Book of Prophecy by Gloria Fry (referenced in my "Looking Back on Genre History" segment), MJ Press, 1995, artwork by Maggie Symon
eldritchhobbit: (Sherlock/John and tea)
I'm very excited about heading off shortly to a truly fantastic convention, RavenCon. This year's schedule looks terrific! I'm looking forward to seeing some of you there.

I plan to post updates from the con on my Twitter feed.

Here is the schedule of my events at the con:

5pm: "Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction" (This is my solo presentation.)
7pm: Opening Ceremonies

11am: "Star Wars Literature: New Canon and Legends" (I'm moderating this panel.)
2pm: "Going Where No Man Has Gone Before: Roddenberry's Star Trek vs. Abrams' Star Trek" (I'm moderating this panel.)
5pm: "Podcasting"
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/McCoy/Fascinating)
Here are a few calls for papers that I thought might be of interest.
* The Comics Work of Neil Gaiman
* The Female Science Fiction Western
* Future Humans (in literature, film, TV, history, & pop culture)

In other news, my most recent "Looking Back on Genre History" segment on StarShipSofa discusses the relationship between Star Trek and Arthurian literature. It's here on Episode 431. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!


Dec. 23rd, 2015 01:23 pm
eldritchhobbit: (Mediaeval face)
Some of my friends (who also happen to be former graduate students) have been doing some fantastic things online:

* from Curtis Weyant (on Star Wars and Star Trek): "The Force is not magic."

* from Emily Strand: "Kylo Snape? Is The Force Awakens the Eighth Harry Potter Story?"

* and also from Emily Strand via Mugglenet Academia: "The Second War was Won on the Quidditch Pitch of Hogwarts: Quidditch as a Symbol Set in the Harry Potter Narrative."

And here are a couple more links for your enjoyment:

* from The British Library: "Medieval Star Wars."

* from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere: "Celebrating Christmas on Baker Street."
eldritchhobbit: (Coffee)
* From the Edgar Allan Poe Museum: Are you a writer who has been inspired by Poe? Send us your poetry and flash fiction that demonstrate his influence, whether you’ve been inspired by Poe’s use of the grotesque, his theory of the unified effect, or his pioneering work in science fiction and the detective story. No matter what he wrote, Poe imbued his work with a relentless creative spirit—that’s what we’re hoping to find in your submissions. Learn more here.

* From Simon & Schuster: In celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary in 2016, publisher Simon & Schuster is bringing back the popular fan fiction writing contest, Strange New Worlds! Here is your unique opportunity to present to this world and beyond that special Star Trek story that has never been told. Learn more here.

* From Apex Publications: Announcing the open call for submissions for the upcoming Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling anthology. This collection is edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates, and will be coming in 2016 from Apex Publications. There have been quite a few discussions in science fiction and fantasy addressing the idea of tropes and cliches, from whether they’re good or bad to how they change over time. Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is a collection of stories that aims to subvert many of the popular tropes and cliches to show them in a new light. Each story in our collection will be an author’s creative examination of a specific trope that is prevalent in science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Examples of tropes include some well-defined character tropes, but also storytelling tropes that lazily incorporate race, gender, religion, etc. Learn more here.

* Also from Apex Publications: Apex Publications seeks submissions for Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More. Editors Bianca Lynne Spriggs (Apex Magazine’s poetry editor) and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer welcome your specters, apparitions, zombies, wraiths, phantoms, thought forms and anything (or anyone) animate but no longer living. Learn more here.
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/IDIC)
R.I.P., Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015).

I have no words.
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/Banned from Argo)
My resistance was futile!

ConCarolinas is coming up this weekend! George R.R. Martin is the guest of honor, and the organizers are expecting quite a crowd. I understand registration for Saturday is completely sold out!

I'll be an author-scholar guest on the following panels:

9am: Breakfast and Books
10am: I Am SHERLocked (I'm also moderating this panel.)

12pm: The Hobbit Movies
1:30pm: The Hunger Games

I hope to see some of you there!

And speaking of parties, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] gondoriangirl, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] vivien529, [livejournal.com profile] senket, [livejournal.com profile] chorale, [livejournal.com profile] nakeisha, [livejournal.com profile] poenari, [livejournal.com profile] ebonange, [livejournal.com profile] primroseburrows, [livejournal.com profile] gbsteve, [livejournal.com profile] eowynmaiar, [livejournal.com profile] sally_maria, [livejournal.com profile] magicwondershow, [livejournal.com profile] groovekittie, [livejournal.com profile] eveningblue, [livejournal.com profile] peadarog, [livejournal.com profile] thehornedgod, [livejournal.com profile] baylorsr, [livejournal.com profile] lin4gondor, [livejournal.com profile] caitri, [livejournal.com profile] belleferret, [livejournal.com profile] valancourtbooks, [livejournal.com profile] potboy, [livejournal.com profile] alex_beecroft, [livejournal.com profile] nurdbunny, [livejournal.com profile] lisa_marli, [livejournal.com profile] graashoppa, [livejournal.com profile] toddlyles, and [livejournal.com profile] pktheater. May you enjoy many happy returns of the day, my friends!
eldritchhobbit: (Ripper/suspicion)
Happy birthday to Robert Bloch (5 April, 1917 – 23 September, 1994), one of the youngest members of the Lovecraft Circle.

bloch ripper

“I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times.”
― Robert Bloch, Psycho (1959)

"In the strict scientific sense, Doctor, we all feed on death. Even vegetarians."
― Mr. Spock to Dr. McCoy in Robert Bloch's episode "The Wolf in the Fold," Star Trek (1967)

“So much for modern science and its wonderful discoveries that just about everything can kill you. Life is only a bedtime story before a long, long sleep.”
― Robert Bloch, Lori (1989)
eldritchhobbit: (Millennium/textless)
I hope all is well with you, my friends!

A few quick notes:

1. If you missed my "Sherlock, Science, and Ratiocination" seminar, you can now purchase all 36 hours of lecture (in both video and audio formats) for a reduced price from Mythgard Institute at Signum University. (The shop also includes course packs for my past classes, including "Science Fiction, Parts 1 & 2," "The Dystopian Tradition," and "Taking Harry Potter Seriously.") Go here for more details.

2. This week's episode of StarShipSofa includes my latest "Looking Back into Genre History" segment, which celebrates Chris Carter's Millennium TV series and the current Back to Frank Black Campaign related to it. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

3. The Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University has created a YouTube Channel for my LL videos.

I'll leave you with a touch of holiday cheer...

eldritchhobbit: (Holmes/Impudence)
Fresh from Wildside Press, the new Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #10 includes my essay "Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction."

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #10 (October 2013)
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/emblem)
* If you missed any of my past courses for the Mythgard Institute at Signum University, you can still catch the lectures (24 for each class): Mythgard is making the downloads of my past lectures available for purchase as "class packs." Among those courses now available are "The History of Science Fiction" Parts 1 and 2, "Taking Harry Potter Seriously," and "The Dystopian Tradition." You can find the class packs for these and other Mythgard courses here.

* R.I.P., Michael Ansara (April 15, 1922 – July 31, 2013), who portrayed (among many characters) Commander Kang in three different incarnations of Star Trek. He has joined Kahless in the Black Fleet in Sto-Vo-Kor, but he will not be forgotten.

* Lovers of YA dystopian fiction have two reasons to be excited over the next month. Susan Beth Pfeffer's compelling Last Survivors series gets a fourth installment, The Shade of the Moon, and Nancy Farmer's brilliant The House of the Scorpion gets a sequel, The King of Opium. I'm looking forward to both.

Le Horla, Guy de Paupassant

Last but not least, happy birthday to Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (August 5, 1850 – July 6, 1893).

I go to bed, and I wait for sleep as a man might wait for the executioner. I wait for its coming with dread, and my heart beats and my legs tremble, while my whole body shivers beneath the warmth of the bedclothes, until the moment when I suddenly fall asleep, as a man throws himself into a pool of stagnant water in order to drown. I do not feel this perfidious sleep coming over me as I used to, but a sleep which is close to me and watching me, which is going to seize me by the head, to close my eyes and annihilate me.
- Guy de Maupassant, "The Horla"
eldritchhobbit: (4400/place in time)
I have lots of links to share today!

First and foremost, various ways you can donate/help the efforts in Oklahoma are listed here.


But wait: there's more! Literati Literature Lovers Blog is holding a fundraiser for the Red Cross to benefit communities affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Donate and enter to win signed books by a variety of different authors. This is a win-win-win scenario. Please check it out!

Science Fiction News

  • I have breaking news to report from SofaCON, the forthcoming international, online science fiction convention sponsored by StarShipSofa. As part of the programming, I will be conducting a one-on-one interview with the brilliant Hugo and Nebula winning author Lois McMaster Bujold! Ms. Bujold will also be taking live questions from con attendees at the end of our conversation. Mark your calendars for 28 July, 2013!

  • I recently was a guest of the fabulous Gary Mitchel and Deanna Toxopeus for Roundtable 197 of the RevCast podcast from Revolution SF, in which we discussed young adult dystopian fiction. This episode is now live and available via iTunes and here. If you listen, I hope you enjoy! It was great fun.

  • Are you a fan of Doctor Who? How about the works of Joss Whedon? You'll want to check out the brand new, coming soon and sure-to-be-brilliant Kat and Curt's TV Re-View podcast here. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes now! Look for the first episode next month It promises to be both shiny and fantastic. :)

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