eldritchhobbit: (Wild Wild West)
Heads up to my friends in the US who are fans of Westerns! (I know there are several of you out there.) Tomorrow the PBS series Pioneers of Television has a special episode devoted to Westerns, and it will include new interviews with Robert Conrad of The Wild Wild West and Linda Evans from The Big Valley, among others. The episode also will focus on Fess Parker, James Garner, James Arness, and other stars of classic series.

A few other links of possible interest:

* From The Christian Science Monitor: "Sherlock Holmes: He's back! Sherlock Holmes will return to the written page in a new novel authorized by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate."

* Liam Neeson is voicing Qui-Gon Jinn for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which makes me ridiculously happy: here's an exclusive clip from Entertainment Weekly.

* From Book Chick City: "YA Fiction: Category or Genre?"

Since my students are watching this in my course on dystopian thought, it seemed like a good time to share Epic 2015 again here. Note that all of the innovations described through 2004 (including Reason's personalized magazine covers) are true. Check out the 1984 reference...

"Have you guys gone out today? If you haven't gone out today, please go out today. It's an incredible day. Take a look at this."
- Epic 2015
eldritchhobbit: (Wild Wild West)

Happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] gypsyjr. May you have a wonderful day and a terrific year to come!

A few random notes and recommendations...

* Many of you may recall the actor and singer (and Academy Award and Tony Award nominee) Michael Dunn, who is perhaps best remembered today as Dr. Miguelito Loveless from The Wild Wild West, Alexander from Star Trek's "Plato's Stepchildren," and/or Karl Glocken from Ship of Fools. His first cousin, Sherry Kelly, has written a new book about him called The Big Life of a Little Man: Michael Dunn Remembered, using interviews with his friends and associates and her own memories of growing up with Dunn, as well as writings by her aunt (Dunn's mother) and Dunn himself. I've had the pleasure of corresponding some with Kelly, and I just finished reading her book. She offers compelling descriptions of his background, from his time studying to be a Capuchin monk to the mystery surrounding his possible work in espionage for the U.S. government. A number of strange and unanswered questions remain about his unfortunate and early demise, and Kelly sets these out clearly, as well. The book tells a poignant story of the man behind the genius (both intellectual and artistic) and how, with courage and varying levels of success, he fought to overcome his disability with the support of his family. The book will be widely available in February, but it can be ordered now directly from the publisher.

* Last month I completely forgot to celebrate publicly one of my favorite holidays, New Tori Amos Album Day. I'm pleased to say that Midwinter Graces is a fantastic album. Two thumbs way, way up!

* Connie Willis's 1992 Doomsday Book is one of my absolute favorite novels of all time - definitely "Top Ten List" material - and so I am thrilled to see that her long-awaited next work set in its universe, Blackout, will be out in less than two months.

* It occurred to me, after seeing so many "Best Of" lists making their appearances, that some of the most interesting and intriguing science fiction or science fiction-related movies I've watched this year have been independent films. I thought I'd pass along some of those that most pleasantly surprised me: Franklyn, Final, Special, The Burrowers, and Timecrimes.

"I've lived so long with pain, I no longer feel it." - Dr. Miguelito Loveless, The Wild Wild West
eldritchhobbit: (WWW/Steampunk Artie Animated)
Happy Wednesday, everyone! My latest "History of the Genre" segment is up at StarShipSofa: The Audio Science Fiction Magazine, and it's about the first work of modern steampunk: the fantastic television series The Wild Wild West. The episode is available for download or streaming here. If you listen, I hope you enjoy.

With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble, here's a lovely visual to accompany my segment. Ah, the sweet smell of steampunk!

The Wild Wild West: Steampunk!

In other news...

* From Publishers Weekly: "In Defense of Dystopia."

* From Jeff Vandermeer: "The Next Big Punking," which builds on "Make Way for Plaguepunk, Bronzepunk, and Stonepunk" from Wired.

* Speaking of steampunk, here's a list of steampunk audiobooks.

* Last, AMC's new miniseries of The Prisoner is finally over; there goes six hours of my life I will never have again. I was both hopeful and nervous about it. As it turns out, only the anxiety was justified. What a terrible disappointment in execution, in tone, and especially in message. I'll let io9 take it from here. Although my list would be far longer, I appreciate the symbolism: "Six Things the New Prisoner Changed for the Worse." Patrick McGoohan, how I miss you.

"As my Great-Aunt Maude always used to say: 'Artemus, if you can't win the game, the next best thing is to upset the chessboard!'"
- Artemus Gordon, "The Night of the Bogus Bandits," The Wild Wild West
eldritchhobbit: (WWW/Steampunk Artie Animated)

Happy belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] ekeppich, and happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] jinxed_wood and [livejournal.com profile] chickenfried_jo. May all three of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

And R.I.P., Patrick Swayze. *raises a toast in memory* "Wolverines!"

I quite enjoyed my recent visit to the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. I was impressed with the McConnell Scholars and very pleased with the seminars in which I participated. I was also gratified by the attendance at and kind reception of my public lecture. (It was wonderful to see [livejournal.com profile] bouncybabylemur again - thank you for the fantastic bookmarks! - and lovely to meet [livejournal.com profile] raven_moon.) I was interviewed by the Center's podcast while I was there, and I'll soon be recording a new version of my lecture for StarShipSofa. Despite my wheeze, I felt the visit was a success, and I'm grateful for the Center's invitation and hospitality. (Speaking of my breathing, I am still fighting the long-lived asthmatic bronchitis with which H1N1 left me, but I'm beginning to think I actually may survive it, after all!)

I also have a few links to share:

* Cory Doctorow has completed his unabridged narration of his novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. His reading is available for free download here.

* Librivox has added an unabridged reading of its "Short Science Fiction Collection #26, which includes classic stories by the likes of C. M. Kornbluth, Walter M. Miller, Jr., and Fredric Brown, among others.

* io9 has posted its "Guide to 2009's Fall DVD Releases."

* Lastly, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble for the gift of my glorious new icon. At the moment I'm working my way through all the episodes of the pioneering SF-Western steampunk series The Wild, Wild West and loving every moment of it. Artemus Gordon truly is one of the greatest television characters of all time.

"Yes, our nation's history might have turned out quite differently if Jim and Artie hadn't quashed all that evil post-Civil War R&D: steam-powered robots, disintegration force fields, miniaturizing potions, primitive tanks and TVs, paintings that serve as gateways to other dimensions. And don't forget the surgically implanted crystals that drive men to crime. And the special liquid distilled from burning diamonds that generates superhuman speed. And the jars that extract thoughts from disembodied brains.... Long live Jim and Artie, in their train bound for trouble."
- Louis Bayard, "Re-Viewed: The Wild, Wild West," Salon.com


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