Planet Generator

The Planet Generator is a goldilocks of procedural generation: not too detailed, not too abstract, but just right. [via MeFi] Read the rest

The Orville is better than Star Trek: Discovery

Critics hate The Orville, Seth McFarlane's uncanny love letter to Star Trek and The Next Generation, but they love the gloomy, ultra-2017 Star Trek: Discovery. Viewers love The Orville, though, while remaining divided on and indifferent to the new official series.

The critics are mistaken; the viewers are right. I was surprised at how intimately Seth McFarlane -- Seth McFarlane! -- is tuned into Gene Roddenberry's sense of humanity's future potential and why it's OK to have a shipful of lovers. It's TNG with dick jokes! And, let's face it, the time is right for some happy technocommie utopian SF. Read the rest

New Dune movie will take no cues from Lynch's version

David Lynch's Dune, though unsuccessful in theaters, has gained a more positive reputation over the years for its spectacular visuals and memorable one-liners. But Denis Villeneuve, directing a new movie of Frank Herbert's SF classic, says he'll be taking pains not to let it influence his own vision.

From an interview with Yahoo:

“David Lynch did an adaptation in the ’80s that has some very strong qualities, I mean David Lynch is one of the best filmmakers alive, I have massive respect for him. But when I saw his adaptation I was impressed, but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I’m trying to make the adaptation of my dreams. ...

“It will not have any link with the David Lynch movie,” added Villeneuve, who said he fell in love with the classic novel when he was a teen. “I’m going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it.”

This is certainly for the best. Lynch's Dune would have been more thoroughly forgotten but for a series of unambiguously excellent 1990s video games which were fastidiously imitative of his vision. Movies have some power to fix how people see a book, but media derived from movies has an uncanny power to set it in stone, shunting the source material a degree of separation away. I think those games are a big part of why younger Gen-Xers and Millenials appreciate Lynch's Dune, which is a bad film.

The blind spots of the 1982 movie's staging also correspond to things from the book that are most relevant and interesting now. Read the rest

Watch Rakka, Neill Blomkamp's short science fiction film

The first short film from Neill Blomkamp, starring Sigourney Weaver, is online free of charge. Amazing to see such a big director work so forcefully outside the system. I hope it does well!

Want to get involved or support this project? We've made film assets for Rakka available on Steam and will be adding more later. Join the discussion and support this experiment on Steam or our official web page: www.oatsstudios.com

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5 things you know about pulp science fiction are wrong, or at least not always true

Vintage Geek offers a list of miscconceptions people have about pulp-era science fiction, whose legacy has warped in the public imagination moreso even than Captain James T. Kirk's. [via MeFi]

“Pulp-Era Science Fiction was about optimistic futures.” “Pulp scifi often featured muscular, large-chinned, womanizing main characters.” “Pulp Era Scifi were mainly action/adventure stories with good vs. evil.” “Racism was endemic to the pulps.” “Pulp scifi writers in the early days were indifferent to scientific reality and played fast and loose with science.”

All these things are true, of course, but what better time to search for counterexamples than now?

To be fair, science fiction was not a monolith on this. One of the earliest division in science fiction was between the Astounding Science Fiction writers based in New York, who often had engineering and scientific backgrounds and had left-wing (in some cases, literally Communist) politics, and the Amazing Stories writers based in the Midwest, who were usually self taught, and had right-wing, heartland politics. Because the Midwestern writers in Amazing Stories were often self-taught, they had a huge authority problem with science and played as fast and loose as you could get. While this is true, it’s worth noting science fiction fandom absolutely turned on Amazing Stories for this, especially when the writers started dabbling with spiritualism and other weirdness like the Shaver Mystery. And to this day, it’s impossible to find many Amazing Stories tales published elsewhere.

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Trailer for Black Mirror season 3

Charlie Brooker's back, and so are six of his stories: "The Twilight Zone for the digital age," as The New Yorker put it. (Previously) Read the rest

EFF announces the 2015 Pioneer Award winners

Caspar Bowden, Citizen Lab, Anriette Esterhuysen and the Association for Progressive Communications, and Kathy Sierra will be awarded the EFF's prestigious prize recognizing the leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. Read the rest

Soylent's new liquid form is kind of spermy, and the guy behind it is sort of creepy

“The first space colonies will have no coal power plants,” says Rob Rhinehart. “I am ready.”

Doctor Who stars enjoy adorable Comic Con rivalry

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What's right with Hermione

14-year-old Naomi Horn says the heroine of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series remains a depressingly rare example of a fictional female respected for her education and intelligence. In Hermione’s world, being smart is what makes her important.

Gregory Benford on Philip K. Dick

SF author/physicist Gregory Benford reminisces about his friend Philip K. Dick: Read the rest

Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

Long Hidden: re-telling colonialization from the point of view of the colonized

Read Rose Fox and Daniel José Older's introduction to The Long Hidden, a new anthology of historical fiction.

RIP, H.R. Giger, 1940-2014

The famous Swiss surrealist leaves behind some of the twentieth century's most impressive and startling artwork. Here are our favorite biomechanical wonders.

MK Wren's Shadow of the Swan

Enjoy the second part of MK Wren's new ebook, offered exclusively by Boing Boing

San Francisco police beat up and detain Good Samaritans who call 911 and perform first aid on accident victim

Peretz Partensky and her his friend had just had a dinner at a restaurant in San Francisco's SOMA district when they happened on an injured woman who had fallen off her bicycle. They called 911 and performed first aid while they waited for emergency services. When the police got there, they beat up Partensky's friend and detained him, and when Partensky objected, they cuffed, brutalized and arrested him. Injured and in an holding cell, she asked to see a doctor, and the SFPD deputies on duty at the jail stripped him naked and threw him in solitary confinement and marked him as a candidate for psychiatric evaluation.

Partensky complained to the SF Office of Citizen Complaints, documenting him plight in eye-watering detail (Partensky works for a company that supplies software to the restaurant on whose doorstep the entire incident took place, and they were happy to hand him CCTV footage of the incident). The entire procedure then went dark, because in San Francisco, you aren't allowed to know what happens to police officers who beat you up, thanks to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights.

One of the officers who harassed, beat, and wrongfully arrested Partensky, Paramjit Kaur, is already the subject of a civil rights suit. The other SFPD personnel who attacked and arrested the Good Samaritans are Officers Gerrans and Andreott.

For Partensky, the take-away message is clear: if you see someone who needs medical assistance, don't call 911, because the police might come and beat you up. Read the rest

Classic British sci-fi show Blake's 7 returns ... to Xbox

Blake's 7, the classic BBC science fiction show, is coming back.

A Microsoft-funded reprise of the 1978-1981 series is headed to the Xbox Live service, according to The Financial Times (paywall), replacing earlier plans to revive the show on the SyFy channel. SyFy's choice of director, Martin Campbell, will still helm the new production. Read the rest

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