SFTV 101
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stephen_dedman

SFTV 101: 1952 to 1980


For anyone interested in the history of science fiction, fantasy and horror on television, here is a list of episodes recommended as an introduction to the most significant series of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Feel free to use it to plan a video stream at an sf convention, a class on science fiction, or just a marathon to satisfy your own curiosity.

Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century

The Twilight Zone: ‘The Monsters are Due on Maple Street’, ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’, ‘To Serve Man’.

Doctor Who: ‘The Pilot’ *

The Outer Limits: ‘The Zanti Misfits’

Jonny Quest: ‘The Robot Spy’

The Addams Family: ‘The Addams Family meets a Beatnik’

Lost in Space: ‘Island in the Sky’

Star Trek: ‘Balance of Terror’, ‘Errand of Mercy’

The Avengers: ‘Return of the Cybernauts’

The Prisoner: ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’, ‘Hammer Into Anvil’

Doomwatch: ‘The Plastic Eater’

The Night Gallery: Pilot episode

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: ‘The Heart of New York’

Star Trek: The Animated Series: ‘Yesteryear’

UFO: ‘A Question of Priorities’

Kolchak, The Night Stalker: ‘Horror in the Heights’

Land of the Lost: ‘The Stranger’

The Six Million Dollar Man: ‘The Last Kamikaze’

The Survivors: ‘Law and Order’

Wonder Woman: ‘Spaced Out’

The Tomorrow People: ‘Hitler’s Last Secret’

Planet of the Apes: ‘The Trap’

Sapphire and Steel: ‘Assignment 1’, episode 1

The Incredible Hulk: ‘Married’

Battlestar Galactica: ‘Saga of a Star World’

The Omega Factor: ‘Visitations’

Salvage (pilot)

Blake’s 7: ‘Orac’


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E-books, Part II
groove, by martinlivings
stephen_dedman

Here are the 42 stories I'm planning to include in my new collection(s). Please feel free to suggest additions, deletions, running order, etc.


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E-books
by chaosmanor, Bathrobe
stephen_dedman

Ok, time for me to get serious about self-publishing some e-books.


I need a cover for my crime novel Immunity: thinking of a photo of a petri dish (probably with a germ culture) on a black background with some handgun ammunition (9mm parabellum, by preference). Anyone able to help, please let me know, and we can talk payment.


Also, I'm thinking of compiling a collection of my short stories - mostly reprints of my sf and fantasy, with a few horror stories that I've written since my collection Never Seen by Waking Eyes was published, and a couple of new works. That comes to 42 pieces and 193k words, so I may split it into two volumes. Working title is Mass, Strangeness, Charm and Spin. I'll post a list of the stories shortly, and am interested any feedback on how to organize them.


Movie Quotes Acrostic
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stephen_dedman

Partly to let me know whether anyone still reads my dw or lj accounts, but mostly just for fun, a collection of movie quotes. Guess the titles: the first letter of each will spell out another movie title.

1 “Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril.”

2 “Your work is puerile and under-dramatized. You lack any sense of structure, character and the Aristotelian unities.” 

3 “It’s a good job I’m in the Navy and you’re in the Army.”

4 “But I didn't. I only knew that you'd know that I knew. Did you know THAT?” 

5 “I thought maybe we could hang out, you know, do some stuff back home like... like regular stuff, get to know each other a little bit better, and *then* I'd see you pee.” 

6 “Well, at least we can all agree the third one’s always the worst.”

7 “You’re darn right I am. And you should have caught me before my operation!”

8 “I heard that one myself, Bob. Hell, I even thought I was dead 'til I found out it was just that I was in Nebraska.” 

9 “As it turns out, he really was being given daily doses of LSD for 11 years.” 

10 “Abby someone. Abby who?”

11 “Dick, I’m very disappointed.”

12 “Sir, I accept your general rule, that every poet is a fool, but you yourself may serve to show it, that every fool is not a poet.” 

13 “Do you suppose Stanley Kubrick ever gets depressed?”

14 “Sal, Wyoming's not a country.” 


My predictions for this week in US politics
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stephen_dedman

Wayne LaPierre will blame the audience at the concert in Vegas for not carrying high-powered sniper rifles. A congressman voting to allow everyone to buy silencers will say that if Paddock had used a silencer, people would have been able to listen to at least one more song before evacuating. And the President will meet with the families of the victims, then fire one of his staff because the crowd was too small.


The future of Australian higher education
disturbing
stephen_dedman
From GetUp!

"The Turnbull Government is inviting students, parents, employers, higher education providers and peak bodies to consult on its proposed changes to higher education – including slashing federal funding and fee deregulation for flagship courses.

"Let's leave no doubt in the committee's mind what the community thinks about the Coalition's privatisation agenda for public education. Will you make a submission before the deadline this coming Monday 25 July?"

I have written the following email, but not yet pressed send. I'm hoping it's sufficiently polite as well as adequately forceful. While I doubt submissions that aren't accompanied by large sums of money will sway anyone on the committee, Feedback would be appreciated - and please, if you care about this issue, please follow the link above and make a submission of your own by Monday. Thank you.

***

To the members of the Government Inquiry into Higher Education Funding,
I am a lecturer and tutor at the University of Western Australia and Murdoch University, and I have first hand experience of what has already been done to the universities by making them increasingly dependent on up-front fees. Classes are nearly twice the size they were a mere four years ago, and the number of tutorials per semester has been reduced, purely for budgetary reasons. Rather than pay tutors for the hours needed to mark twice as many assignments, assessment has been reduced from two assignments per semester to one - meaning that students no longer have a concrete indication of their progress in a course until the end of semester, a week before the exam. Tutorials are being replaced by lectures, meaning that students receive less individual attention. Administrative staff have been downsized, and the academic staff have had to shoulder the burden of the extra administrative work on top of the demands of teaching and grading the increased number of students. The current system is already unfair to both students and teaching staff, and the proposed short-sighted changes would make it far worse.
Australia's economy can not afford to rely on mining booms and the demand for its non-renewable resources. As automation reduces the need for human labour, leading to a decrease in job security and rising underemployment, this country will need a greater proportion of educated, innovative people to ensure our future.
Yours sincerely,
Stephen Dedman PhD

Ratfan's Book Blog: North of the Dragonlands; by Stephen Dedman
metatron
stephen_dedman
Originally posted by ratfan at Book Blog: <i>North of the Dragonlands</i> by Stephen Dedman
This book is YA, probably fine for reasonably literate children from around 10 or so through teens, but also readable for an adult. It's very well and clearly written. On one level, Dragonlands is a fantasy novel where a civilization that has domesticated various kinds of dragons tries to take over the territory of another people. These people take slaves as just another valuable commodity for trade, which is how the main character comes into play. She’s a child from a primitive village who finds herself in the wrong place at about the worst possible time.

This is an alternate world to ours, a world where a small population of dinosaurs and pterosaurs survived in sub-Saharan Africa. When people came from Britain to colonise Africa, they domesticated the “dragons’ they found and created a new mythology based on the Dragon as god. The society of the Dragonlords is medieval in nature and there is a lot of ignorance about different races, leading to the belief that golden skinned people with epicanthic folds to their eyes are really elves who can do magic.

Although the young slave girl Zuri experiences some terrible events, the book faces these without dwelling on elements which would not be suitable for young readers. There are several strands of the story, each showing the point of view of characters crucial to events. The first is Zuri herself. The second is the Dragonlords King, and also his identical twin brother, who is in the uneviable position of being born second. That close to being King! It’s got to hurt. The third strand is the samurai Dhan, who has come seeking his son, taken as a slave by the Dragonlords.

These strands come together when the Dragonlord army moves across northern Europe and holds the town of Cavalis , where Zuri is now a slave attached to a scriptorium, to siege. I felt the pace of the story really picked up here, where for perfectly logical reasons, a small group of teenagers are the only people with a chance to get through the siege for help. I’ve read so many YA stories where it doesn’t really make sense that the POV teenager is somehow the “chosen” one with special powers no one else possesses.

Magic, in the real world, is literacy, and here this is a rare talent indeed. Zuri can read and write because her trader grandfather taught her and this power will be what saves her. It also leads to my favourite line in the book:

"He [Brother Dantius, Zuri’s supervisor] says people who love books never have any
money."

So true. Painful, but true! While the story does have a definite ending, there are enough loose threads to be woven into another book. I hope that happens.

Trip Report: Japanorama
groove, by martinlivings
stephen_dedman
Hiroshima, Himeji, Miyajima and TokyoCollapse )

Trip Report, Fit the Fourth
groove, by martinlivings
stephen_dedman
Hiroshima, Mon Amour

The flight from San Francisco to Tokyo on Philippine Airlines was reasonably pleasant, and the stopover in Ninoy Aquino Airport in Manila was mercifully brief. I caught a train from Narita to Tokyo, then two more trains to Hiroshima. Finding the Reino Inn wasn't quite as easy, but after one bum steer, a helpful local guided me to the right street, and the hostel was well signposted. Better still, my room had everything I needed, and there was late night place two doors away that made a pretty good tonkatsu, and two blocks from Hiroshima Peace Park (it was also only a few metres from a tram stop on a direct line to the train station, but I didn't realize that until later).

I'd chosen Hiroshima because of its history, its reconstructed castle, and its easy access to the even more impressive castle in Himeji. It's also a singularly beautiful city. The memorials to the victims of the bombing range from haunting to horrific, but many are adorned with fresh chains of brightly coloured origami cranes: the locals do not want anyone to forget what happened here, and that it should never happen again.

I was impressed by the number of Japanese tourists in the Peace Park, on Miyajima and at Himeji Castle - though this was partly because I'd unwittingly timed my visit to coincide with a national holiday and long weekend (at least I didn't make the same mistake as an old friend of mine who tried to visit Hiroshima on August 6th 2005 and wondered why the trains and accommodation were booked out). This meant that I had to return to Tokyo on an unreserved coach and was standing for part of the trip - though if I'd spent the weekend in Tokyo before heading down to Hiroshima, I'm not sure I could have caught a train back to Narita in time to make my flight home.

My minimal grasp of the language wasn't often a problem. I delighted a vendor on Miyajima by knowing the word "ebi", and had to explain that I understood almost no Japanese that wasn't related to food (apart from a few terms I picked up writing for Bushido). When I became slightly lost in Tokyo, it proved awkward when none of the very polite cops in the koban I stopped in spoke any English, but they could read romaji and were able to look up the address of my hostel and assure me that I was on the street I needed to be on.

After Hiroshima, a Monday in Akihabara seemed rather drab, and I wondered whether Tokyo had lost some of its mojo or whether it was just me. Spending Tuesday in Harajuku largely reassured me. But I really should learn some more Japanese before I return.

The flight home on Thai Airways was okay, though after having spent close to ten hours in Bangkok's airport while en route to London last year, I was glad that I was only scheduled for a 90 minute stopover. Unfortunately, because the plane was delayed by a strong headwind, I had barely ten minutes to get through the airport, most of it spent going through security theatre twice! Getting through Perth airport, however, was astonishingly hassle-free, and soon I was home.

Was it worth it? Hell yeah! When will I go back to Japan? I don't know, but I doubt it will be as soon as I'd like.

(Picspam to follow: photobucket playing up)
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Trip Report, Fit the Third
groove, by martinlivings
stephen_dedman
Going to Carolina in my Mind

Atomacon 3 was a small regional con, but it was at the right time and had the right guest, my old friend Robert J. Sawyer (okay, so he's a few months younger than me), so I volunteered for some panels and flew from New Orleans to Charleston, South Carolina (via North Carolina. Go figure).

Let me say upfront that I enjoyed the con. As well as catching up with Rob, his charming wife poet Carolyn Clink, Janny Wurts (who remembers Perth with affection, and would love to come to another Swancon) and Don Maitz, I met science comedian Brian Malow and a lot of local writers and fans, all of them delightful people. The venue was a good size and convenient to the airport (if not to much else), and the staff were very helpful. There was a lot of excellent cosplay, and the program was generally well-organized, with set panel rooms for literary, science, costuming, etc.

It wasn't until after the con that I discovered why the literary panels were so poorly attended. The same weekend in Charleston, there was a Young Adult Book Festival where guests included Brandon Sanderson, Rachel Caine, Gail Carriger, Mercedes Lackey, Richelle Mead, R. L. Stine, Scott Westerfeld and Jane Yolen. And on the Sunday, Bernard Cornwell was in town signing books. No wonder the Diversity in Genre Fiction panel, despite featuring Janny Wurts and four other writers, had an audience of... um... me. The huckster's room, similarly, had tables selling toys but no-one selling books other than one second-hand book dealer, Janny Wurts and Don Maitz selling backstock rescued from a defunct publisher (though self-published authors and small presses were selling books in the hall outside).

Despite this (and despite my making a cringe-inducing gaffe while moderating a panel on Pirates, Rogues and Blackguards), I did enjoy the con, and possibly should have stayed in Charleston a little longer; instead, I flew to San Francisco.

I love San Francisco, but this visit was a little disappointing, because the friends I'd made plans to see were sick or dealing with family emergencies. I did, however, get to do a little shopping at Borderlands Books, Amoeba Music, City Lights Bookshop and in Chinatown, and managed to grab a crab chowder in a sourdough bread bowl from Fisherman's Wharf while avoiding the nastier tourist traps. Then it was back to the airport, and off to Japan.

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