Archive for the ‘Sci-fi’ Category

Stuff about science fiction.

Moon trailer is out.

April 10th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

The trailer for Duncan Jones‘ upcoming scifi thriller Moon is finally out. The trailer took quite long to come out since the film has already premiered on film festivals to some very good reviews and is coming to limited release in the summer.

What is especially awesome in this day and age is the effects – with actual models instead of CGI. As much as we love the computer stuff for all it can do – both in terms of cost-effectiveness and freedom of creation – there’s certain feeling of “being there” you get with stuff that, well, really physically exists.

Re-inventing IRC – come and join us on Twitter.

April 6th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Baby Bird

Baby bird by Allie’s.Dad on Flickr. (CC by-nc-nd)

Back in 2007 Twitter seemed like it was the next big thing, so naturally we joined as well. What’s suprising is that now it’s been two years and if it seemed like a big thing then now it’s becoming mainstream. Since Timo got his own profile it’s been mostly me blabbering on the @energia profile with the occasional wisdoms from Antti.

What’s changed in the two years is that what first seemed kind of like a blog lite for little stupid things and links is turning into a chatroom. Since @sumppi recommended Twitterfon for the iPhone I’ve taken upon myself the quest of being more active at the Twitterverse – after all there are some awesomely awesome movie people there to follow like Stephen Fry, Wil Wheaton and Duncan Jones.

What keeps bugging me is that the more I use Twitter the more it feels like re-inventing IRC. Everyone is going gaga how celebs are using the service like “normal peopl”, meaning that for the first time in the mainstream media they are actually there talking with people themselves – instead of having some PR drone occasionally posting adverts to buy stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a Good Thing – however it hardly seems like a big deal from the Finnish perspective. We’re used to finding every new reality tv celeb on IRC-Galleria and back in the day before geek was cool many superstars of the tech world were on the actual IRC chatting like “normal people”.

Now this is going to sound like the cat lifting it’s own tail – and honestly speaking it is. Our lovely little IRC channel (#starwreck on IRCnet) has been active for almost a decade. Sure nobody knew who were when the channel started but that’s kind of the point. It never was a marketing tool, it was a place where we talked about making the film and where people who were interested in the project could come and follow the progress, ask questions and make suggestions. To simplify the function even more the channel was a place for people with similar interests to talk to eachother.

And that’s what Twitter is becoming. @wilw talks about playing D&D at a roleplaying convention. @warrenellis is being strange and @stephenfry is being a real sport and tweeting about his travels and talking to people. What’s different to what we’ve been doing is the scale. These people can have hundreds of thousands of followers with maybe thousands or tens of thousands actually actively online at any given time. That’s one huge-ass IRC channel. Especially when it’s all mostly centered around the profile of one person. People are using #hashtags as kind of channels, but currently this approach is very unflexible. With a client that works better than the actual Twitter website and a “#channel” that’s not too popular it kind of works. I had fun talking about the oscars on #aa09 – the alternative channel since #oscars was completely unfollowable.

So that’s awesome. We’ve been doing it for a decade and while our channel’s 100 or so users pale in comparison to the number of the Twitter followers of your average “social media guru” it’s been up for 10 years and the people there are just awesome. Many have become real friends of ours and we the people have helped eachother out on many occasions. In my opinion seeing such longevity translate into a social media site would be phenomenal. However there is a snake in the garden. What has in part protected IRC is that’s it’s not quite mainstream – while it might have been used to report on the first Gulf War on CNN Britney Spears has never had a precense there.

So – and I know I’ve made this point before – Twitter is very much re-inventing IRC on the web. And that’s great – because it’s one more tool for people to talk to each other. It’s also easy enough that it has attracted people who usually don’t bother with these kind of things. But it’s still very much a flawed system. The popularity of the superstars is so overwhelming that they can not keep up using it as they do for long.

Our Twitter is still nice and quiet with the occasional interesting discussion and I recommend you follow @energia and @LeonBlank if you’ve got an account. I also think it’ll stay nice and managable for a long time still. But since so much of the activity is centered around the superstars can Twitter survive becoming any more popular? Will it become impossible to be a famous person and actually talk to people? And will that lead to the downfall of the whole service?

p.s. Also to take a page of the Warren Ellis book of public relations I just have to mention I finally got called “penis freak” by some random person on the internets.

Watchmen (second opinion)

March 8th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Just got back from the theater and I don’t think there’s really a need for another review – this is one of those movies you should go and see.

Instead some observations (with very little spoilers, so no need to worry unless you’re allergic):

The Big Blue Penis, yes it was there. And it’s rather suprising seeing a anatomically correct cgi creation. I can only imagine what the days must have been like at the sfx company. What’s even better is just adding a little bit of virtual flesh you, um, inspire people to write things like this this ½ star review of the film from Flixter:

I was so very disapointed because after all I am an huge Marvel/DC fan! There was so much nudity and the violence itself was one of the grosses violence to have been seen in a movie. The fighting scenes were excellent and I love the story-line! I just don’t need to see all the blood, arms falling off, seeing a full-body nudity and of course the Lord-s name in vain.

And that brings us to bit of good old ulta-violence. There really was quite a bit of it and it was pretty brutal. It’s not something I really care about in a film, I’m not a gorehound and it doesn’t really bother me either. However used right it is one more tool for the filmmaker to use and Pan’s Labyrinth is one film where the violence was both disgusting (even for me) and added something to the film. On the other end of the spectrum is Hostel II with violence that’s “innocent” in the same twisted way as sex in porn movies is innocent. It’s there just for kicks, it’s not something that’s happening to real people with real emotions.

However the violence in Watchmen kind of missed the point – pretty much like a buckshot from 5 meters away misses the bullseye. I can’t really tell if I was supposed to feel bad for the people getting hurt or if I should have been cheering the effects team. But it was more or less effective making the stakes seem higher and the world feeling more real – but it was kind of misplaced, with mostly bystanders and random baddies getting ripped to pieces while the main characters are thrown trough walls in the best comic book fashion.

And then there was one more thing. And I know noticing this makes me a complete geek, but I think it was rather cool twist on product placement. On one occasion you can see the 1984 advertisement for Apple Macintosh playing on a tv screen, but it’s just a bit so you won’t know what ad it is unless you already know the ad. If you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s this one:

Johanna Sinisalo nominated for Nebula Award!

February 28th, 2009 by Timo Vuorensola

Johanna Sinisalo

Iron Sky‘s scriptwriter Johanna Sinisalo has been nominated for the internationally highly respected Nebula Award with her novellette Baby Doll. The Nebula Award is an award given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the two previous years.

Way to go, Johanna! Let’s hope we’ll see her again there in 2011, nominated for the best script!

Here’s the complete ballot for the nominees of 2008 Nebula Awards.

Little Brother – Doctorow, Cory (Tor, Apr08)
Powers – Le Guin, Ursula K. (Harcourt, Sep07)
Cauldron – McDevitt, Jack (Ace, Nov07)
Brasyl – McDonald, Ian (Pyr, May07)
Making Money – Pratchett, Terry (Harper, Sep07)
Superpowers – Schwartz, David J. (Three Rivers Press, Jun08)

“The Spacetime Pool” – Asaro, Catherine (Analog, Mar08)
“Dark Heaven” – Benford, Gregory (Alien Crimes, ed. Mike Resnick, SFBC, Jan07)
“Dangerous Space” – Eskridge, Kelley (Dangerous Space, Aqueduct Press, Jun07)
“The Political Prisoner” – Finlay, Charles Coleman (F&SF, Aug08)
“The Duke in His Castle” – Nazarian, Vera (Norilana Books, Jun08)

“If Angels Fight” – Bowes, Richard (F&SF, Feb08)
“Dark Rooms” – Goldstein, Lisa (Asimov’s, Oct/Nov 07)
“Pride and Prometheus” – Kessel, John (F&SF, Jan08)
“Night Wind” – Rosenblum, Mary (Lace and Blade, ed. Deborah J. Ross, Norilana Books, Feb08)
“Baby Doll” – Sinisalo, Johanna (The SFWA European Hall of Fame, ed. James Morrow & Kathryn Morrow, Tor, Jun07 )
“Kaleidoscope” – Wentworth, K.D. (F&SF, May07)

Short Stories
“The Button Bin” – Allen, Mike (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Oct07)
“The Dreaming Wind” – Ford, Jeffrey (The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Viking, Jul07)
“Trophy Wives” – Hoffman, Nina Kiriki (Fellowship Fantastic, ed. Martin H. Greenburg and Kerrie Hughes, DAW Books Jan08)
“26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” – Johnson, Kij (Asimov’s, Jul08)
“The Tomb Wife” – Jones, Gwyneth (F&SF, Aug07)
“Don’t Stop” – Kelly, James Patrick (Asimov’s, Jun07)


The Dark Knight – Nolan, Jonathan; Nolan, Christopher, Goyer, David S. (Warner Bros., Jul08)
WALL-E Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter (Walt Disney June 2008)
The Shrine – Wright, Brad (Stargate Atlantis, Aug08)

Graceling – Cashore, Kristin (Harcourt, Oct08)
Lamplighter – Cornish, D.M. (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 2, Putnam Juvenile, May08))
Savvy – Law, Ingrid (Dial, May08)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Pearson, Mary E. (Henry Holt and Company, Apr08)
Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room) – Wilce, Ysabeau S. (Harcourt, Sep08)