Thursday, August 31, 2006

8/31: Sci fi on radio

Not much there today except a doc on Jose Luis Borges, and The Inexplicable World of Lionel Nimrod. Tom Baker does a 30 second voice over for this show which is rather amusing.

Nothing else to report today. Busy busy busy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

8/30 Five Jam-Packed Days

I'm angling for the September issue of The Thunder Child to go live on September 5.

This will give me time to format any reviews I get from my one soon-to-be-ex reviewer, my children's book reviewer who has promised me 4 reviews, and my own work.

I just finished laying out the illustrations for the synopsis of The Thief of Bagdad, a fantasy film from 1940 starring one of my favorite actors, Conrad Veidt. I have often toyed with the idea of writing a novel about this man, who was extremely heroic in his own way (not Jewish, he married a Jewish woman and took her with him when he left Germany in 1936, and upon arrival in England promptly made 2 pro-Jewish movies which culminated in his having all his films banned from Germany byJoesph Goebbels.)

No sf today on BBC 7 - although there's still stuff available from previous days, but I've been lisatening to other, comedy shows which are hilarious.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

8/29: The Unforgiving Minutes

Well, it' s Tuesday and I'm feeling better, but I've got a lot of work to do.

One, I have to find a new reviewer. My current reviewer - who writes very good stuff - is not that great when it comes to communication. He had five books sent to him from a new publisher last month, and didn't review a single one. Now it's 3 days until the end of this month, and I haven't heard from him since the beginning of this month...and frankly I've had enough. I really dislike it when I send several emails to people requesting nothing more than a time frame for work completed, and am ignored. I expect he'll send me a few reviews at the very end of the month, but he won't be getting any more material from me, and I can only hope my relationship with the marketing person of this publisher has'nt been/won't be damaged by the late arrival of the reviews.

So if there's anyone reading this who has a wide-ranging knowledge of science fiction and would care to start reviewing books, games, soundtracks, etc - email us!

I myself am tardy on some of my interviews...ill health sucks! - but now I shall get my girdle in gear and go to work.

One thing I've missed over the last 3 months is the movies...I have yet to see Monster I'll be scanning the papers to see if there's still any sci fi around that I can go see...

Monday, August 28, 2006

8/28: Home is the hunter

Well, I got back yesterday, I guess...feeling extremely ill, and I went to bed and slept until this morning. Still not feeling very well so I doubt if I'll get anything done today.

I *think* I caught the stomach flu from my little nephew. he never seems to get sick for more than half a day...but whatever he gets he passed on to me and I get it for 3 or 4 days.

Anyway...the september issue of the Thunder Child will be delayed for at least a week. But now that I'm back I've got big plans so soon it'll be bigger and better than ever.

Friday, August 25, 2006

8/25 Quite a fright

A few minutes ago I tried to log onto my site and was unable to do so. I waited a few minutes and tried again - usually I can *then* get in. This time I couldn't. Nothing was showing up. But instead of saying "This site temporarily unavailable," I wasn't getting anyting except a list of my sites from an AOL search engine. I waited a few more minutes and tried again. Same result.

So frankly I thought my site had been shut down because some psycho had accused me of spamming. (I *don't* spam, but there are at least two psycho women who think posting the URL of a sci fi-devoted webzine, on a sci fi-devoted newsgroup, is spamming. This despite the fact that it says clearly in the FAQ that such posts are allowed.)

Anyway, just tried again and the site seems to be back up. So I am heartily relieved because I was just boiling with anger.

But, now I have to spend the rest of the day packing so I can return home to the States tomorrow. It's a dreary day outside, raining...but all of a sudden my mood has gone bright!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

8/24 : Jon Pertwee on Listen Again!

Jon Pertwee

(Also see Radio Drama)

For years fans have hoped that Universal would finally release some more of their golden age 50s science fiction films, especially Jack Arnold’s 1955 classic, Tarantula. The wait is finally coming to an end as Universal Home entertainment just unveiled The Classic SciFi Ultimate Collection which will be released on September 19.

The DVD set will contain “Tarantula, The Mole People, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Monolith Monsters and Monster On The Campus. Universal has not yet revealed exact details about each of the films, such as special features, but with a low $19.98 sticker price, I would not expect too much in terms of extras.

Radio Drama
Meanwhile, Part 3 of The Destruction Factor is airing on BBC7. It's a good story. I won't bother to post the plot blurb here, however, because it's a generic one that doesnt' mean anything!
Beginning with the Sept issue of The Thunder Child I'll be posting synopses of all these BritSciFi episodes, with cast lists, etc.

Journey Home
Two more full days here...on Saturday I leave for home. I got accomplished about 1/10th of what I wanted to do. There are extenuating circumstances, nevertheless I'm disappointed. I've had a great time here...but it should have been so much more.

Life lesson for the day
Your time is precious. Even if you feel healthy as a horse now...illness and/or old age has a way of creeping up on you. Better to accomplish as many things as you can when you're young...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

8/23: James Follett and Medford College of Technology

James Follett is a rather well-known science fiction writer - although probably better known in England than the States. I'm enjoying his The Destruction Factor - just listened to the 2nd episode at BBC7:

The Destruction Factor
The Devil's Harvest: How can a pot plant be two feet tall when it was only six inches high a few hours previously?
Episode 2 of 6.

First broadcast in 1978. 1978. 38 years ago. And yet the subject it addresses - famine in Africa - is still very real. I sometimes wonder why scientists can't just get together and solve one problem...then another and another...instead of having 'em all scattered around pursuing their own individual agendas. Sure - lots of good stuff gets invented/found, etc. but if there were only a concerted effort ....

I'm busy watching The Absent Minded Professor - the original starring Fred McMurry. It's pleasant fare...I'm going to do a series of articles on the Medford Quatrain...some classy title like that - the 60s Disney sci fi epics The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Strongest Man in the World...and how scientists and scientific discoveries were treated in these films.

Of course being Disney they're all formulaic...but there are interesting themes to be delved in...such as the end justifies the means (using flubber during a basketball game so that an outclassed team can defeat its's still cheating, even if in a good cause!)

And of course considering what's going on in college athletics - any athletics - today, when cheaters abound and good sportsmanship is practically non-existent...undoubtedly due to the fact that there is so much money - including gambling money - to be made out of these sports and the people who participate in them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

8/22: 4 days and Counting

Four more days before my return flight to the US of A.

Trying to get in a lot of work in a short amount of time - much of it on the BBC radio offerings. A few articles that I have plans for are beginning to gell into shape.

Got a wonderful interview from Steve Vertlieb, one of Cooper's King Kong experts...and Joe Moe expects to have Forry Ackerman finish his interview questions by next week. Apparently he's at World Con right now.

A new sci fi drama has started on BBC7, called The Destruction Factor.

For fans of Tom Baker, here's a site. Apparently many years ago Baker was the voice for BBC telecom, and they recorded syllables and phrases for every sound in the English language. So now there's a collection of his voice (not him!) saying all kinds of things. Some of it is risque, some of it is crude, some of it is funny.

Monday, August 21, 2006

8/21: Last episode of SHADA

Well, the last episode of Shada is on this 'Sunday', which means you've got 6 days to listen to it.

The Doctor of course saves the's too bad Salyavin didn't have much to do...but it was the Doctor's show after all...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

8/20 Books and Radio

I may be off on my's kind of hard as I'm in Germany, and I think midnight came 3 hours ago in the time zone where the dates for this blog are set (it's 10 am here in Germany.)

Anyway, lots of Saturday sci fi;

Also, don't forget to check out Distributed Proofreaders for science fiction offerings. Right now there's Galaxy Primes by E.E. Doc Smith (written in the 50s, verrrrry sexist and just makes me want to slap Smith silly), and a book by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Each 'round' (Proofreading 1 and 2, Formatting, etc.) offers some science fiction.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

8/19 New search feature added to The Thunder Child

I added a Google search feature to the front page of The Thunder Child, and I'm really pleased with it. Visitors can search both the web, *and* the Thunder Child site from it, so that should make it easier for people to find things of interest on the site.

Other than that, I'm still working on Professor Challenger, dinosaurs...and I'm about to do a review of The Absent-Minded Professor!

7 more days before I leave for home....while I regret it in one way, I will certainly be able to expand The Thunder Child more quickly once I'm back in the States and able to contact potential writers and interviewers face to face.

8/19 No sci fi on Radio Spirits until September

Thank goodness for BBC Radio 7's Listen Again for a daily dose of sci fi, because there's not going to be anything on When Radio Was (hosted by Stan Frieberg at the Radio Spirits website) until:

Thursday 9-14
X-Minus One
A Wind is Rising

Admittedly every Wednesday there's an installment of Superman, but that's hardly the same thing.

Friday, August 18, 2006

8/18 The Shadow Knows

There's a doc on The Shadow on a series called The Radio Detectives on the BBC 7 channel today - and of course it'll be there for the next 6 days.

Part 4 of Voice of God is there...Shada part 4 will be there for 2 more days...

I'm into a dinosaur research jag right now, hope to have a lot of stuff for the next issue of The Thunder Child.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

8/15 Slloooooowwwwww days

I'm working on an article about Professor Challenger - Arthur Conan Doyle's creation, who starred in The Lost World, a novel, The Poison Belt, a novella, and a couple of short stories.

Trying to do research into the relationship between John W. Campbell and EE Doc Smith, but not getting much done there.

Other than that....I've still got 11 days here in Germany before I leave for home and so I'm kind of torn betwee anticipation of getting home (away from the very loud kids that live around this house) and regret that I have to leave. And suspense as I wonder if my plane will leave on time and with a minimum of fuss - considering the news coming out.

Supposedly the terrorist plot at Heathrow was sprung a week early due to pressure from the White House...and so everyone in the States had to suffer for something that was going on in England - except that none of the terrorists were even ready to spring the plot on the day they clamped down!

Frankly I have zip-zero-nada confidence in any politician - democrat or republican. They are, unfortunately, all crooks.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

8/13: This and that

Episode 4 of Journey Into Space is now online at BBC Radio 7.

They're going to re-run The Voice of God next week, but a few 'new' sci fi shows seem to be in the offing.

I'm working on an article for The Thunder Child listing all of British radio's sci fi offerings. It'll be a work in progresss, as I'll be compiling it from BBC Radio 7 website, etc. The difference between this article and what's already on the net will be I'll provide reviews, better listings of actors and creative people, etc.

Lots of sci fi in the offerings at Designated Proofreaders, but it's in the limbo stage...I'm still waiting for it to be released so I can get my little eyes on 'em.

Turns out John W. Campbell's letters - some of 'em, anyway, have been collected into book form. When I get back to the States I'll order it from

Saturday, August 12, 2006

8/12: Brit sci fi

Listened to the last episode of Deep Station Emerald. I'd have to give it a 4 out of 10....worth listening to once but not that great. The actions of the criminal don't really make sense, and aren't really explained, and the science sucks. If you cut off someone's hand, they're going to bleed to death immediately, or if they don't die they won't have the strength to move after about 5 minutes....

Also it ends in the middle...two 'pissed-off women' rising up in a nuclear powered sub to take vengeance on the big business people who were behind the massacre...

Superman still airing every Wednesday on Radio Spirits. Lots of mystery programs there, but no other science fiction.

Friday, August 11, 2006

8/11: Interviews and Good sites

The interview with Joe Moe, personal assistant to Forry Ackerman, is complete - although Joe is still looking for photos to accompany the interview. It's not about Forry - it's about Joe's work as a theme park designer. Not a lot of sci fi content there, but heck, I publish what I think is interesting!

Joe and Forry are still working on Forry's interview questions.

Steve Vertlieb, one of the King Kong (1933) mavens, is also doing an interview.

Sci Fi site of the day

I've been listening to Deep Station Emerald at BBC Radio 7 and it is disappointing. Made in 1996...and they've got military men flushing guns out of an airlock so that no one on the station - where murders are taking place - can have a gun. Stupid stupd stupid. Oh well, I'll listen to the final episode tomorrow because I do want to know 'whodunit' but it is a disappointment.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

8/10: Science education and entertainment on Radio 4

is the URL for BBC Radio 4's science channel - there's some interesting stuff there right now, for example Arthur C Clarke: the Science and the Fiction, and The Arctic Meltdown.

Even if you've never listened to the radio before and have no interest in it...check it out anyway. Try it, you might like it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

8/9 Interviews redux

Got an email from Joe Moe, Forry's assistant, and they're busy working on my interview questions...but Forry is in such demand that it's taking a while! He's been at conventions and film festivals non-stop...nice to see his health holding out.

Deep Station Emerald (underwater sci fi)

Wed 9 Aug00:30-01:00
Deep Station Emerald
Five Miles Down: Captain Harris runs an understaffed and overworked seabed research station. Rossi arrives and a series of accidents follow. Episode 1 of 4. [Rpt of Tue 6.30pm]

Thu 10 Aug00:30-01:00
Deep Station Emerald
Conspiracy: Frosty has been killed in a freak accident and whilst trying to retrieve his body, McAndrew's suit is torn. Episode 2 of 4. [Rpt of Wed 6.30pm]

Fri 11 Aug00:30-01:00
Deep Station Emerald
Heat: Higgs has been murdered and the station is on shutdown. Harris and Rossi reach an understanding but how long will it last? Episode 3 of 4. [Rpt of Thu 6.30pm]

Sat 12 Aug00:30-01:00
Deep Station Emerald
And Then There Were Three: Joe Turner's thriller concludes. Only Kettle, Crenshaw and Rossi remain. Each is convinced that one of the others is the killer. Episode 4 of 4. [Rpt of Fri 6.30pm]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

8/8: Interviews

I've got a lot of interviews to do, and don't have the energy to do them. Struggling with a debilitating headache today.

So, since I can't think, I'm surfing the web. I'm also listening to Atomic Tales from BBC7:

Night of the Cicadas: The cicada is a friendly chirruping insect but what if it grew to vast size and hungered for human flesh? Episode 6 of 6.

I've revised my opinion of these episodes - they're farces or satires of American 50s sci fi movies and American culture...they're pretty amusing, actually.

I've always had the intention to have science articles at The Thunder Child, so now I'm working on a Dinosaur section - including bibliographies and book reviews. Also started up a new message list to discuss dinosauria. Started out well - 7 people signed up in one day... but of course they don't post and no one's signed up since. Typical!

Monday, August 07, 2006

8/7: EE Smith's Spacehounds of IPC at Distributed Proofreaders

I do a bit of volunteer work for an organization called Distributed Proofreaders, which scans into OCR and proofs out-of-copyright books for Project Gutenberg.

I've spent the last 30 days proofreading on the first level. Last night I decided to check out Level 2 to see if there was any science fiction there, and found E. E. Doc Smith's Spacehounds of ICD.

So I've read a few pages of that...and it's really amusing. (I'm a fan of the Lensman series, but it must be admitted that the dialog even in that is rather dated.) Currently the two main characters - a man and a woman - are marooned on a planet. The guy is building forges so he can make radios and various other complicated machinery, the girl does the hunting and the cooking and the making of clothes.. after 30 days she tells him she loves him - and he loves her...

"While she was speaking, the grim, strained lines
upon Stevens' face had disappeared, and as she
fell silent he straightened up and gently, tenderly, reverently
he took her lithe body into his arms.

"You're right, sweetheart--everything will check out
on zero, to nineteen decimals." He was a man transfigured.
"I've been fighting windmills and I've been
scared sick--but how was I to think that a wonder-girl
like you could ever love a mutt like me? You certainly
are the gamest little partner a man ever had You're the
world's straightest shooter, ace--you're a square brick if
there ever was one. Your sheer nerve in being willing
to go the whole route makes me love you more than
ever, if such a thing can be possible, and it certainly
puts a new face on the whole cock-eyed Universe for
me. However, I don't believe it will come to that. After
what you've just said, I sure will lick that job, regardless
of how many different factories it takes to make one
armature--I'll show that mess of scrap-iron what kind
of trees make shingles!""

On a side note, since I'm on Level 2 - the work has already gone through round 1 of proofreading - I'm rather surprised to find at least one typo per page. I've done 6 pages so far and each of 'em has had something that a previous proofreader missed. Just one each, though, so that's something.

So, anyway, if you want to read some sci fi that you've probably never seen before, sign up with Distributed Proofreaders. You have to spend 30 days with Level 1 before you can move on to Level 2...but there's some fun stuff to read.

8/7: Sunday and Monday on BBC7

For some reason, whenever Monday rolls around on the BBC7 website, you can listen to Sunday *and* Monday programs.

So, for Monday there's the last installment of Atomic Tales...a show I haven't listened to because the actors' fake American accents got on my nerves during the one episode I tried to listen to..but maybe I'll give it another chance today.

One of the projects for The Thunder Child is to have plots and cast lists for all BBC radio drama...which I can't provide if I don't grit my teeth and listen to the shows....

Also Part 3 of Journey Into Space, and Part 4 of Shada - on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

8/6: Decompressing

I have a lot to do to get the September issue ready...and I don't feel like doing any of it. Still decompressing from the last issue, I guess.

Also, I've got a headache which isn't doing my creative juices much good.

I've started watching Rocketship XM and am making screencaps.

A few months ago I interviewed Wright King, who starred in a TV show called Johnny Jupiter way back in 1953, and did a few Twilight Zones and other things in the genre. I've been unable to work on this interview for the last 2 months, as my sister doesn't have a cassette player! It only costs $40 to buy one at the BX...but that's $40 I don't want to spend. Anyway, I'll be back in the States on Aug 27, so hope to have the interview transcribed for the September issue.

Also Forry Ackerman.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

8/3 Sci fi on radio on the net

A new Superman serial begins on When Radio Was, the Stan Freberg-hosted show available at www. (Click on Our Radio Show to see the daily schedule).

Superman begins August 8, and will run every Wednesday for 4 episodes.

The Adventures of Superman
Drought in Freeville Part 1
Original Air Date - 1/21/1947

BBC's Listen Again continues to have lots of sci fi - The Atomic Tales will be availabe for 6 more days, Shada is playing, and Journey Into Space: Mission to Mars.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

8/2: A day of rest

I'm relaxing after getting the latest issue "out the door" to use an old-fashioned term. Will get back to work tomorrow - now that I've got the Conventions listings up I want to email every convention organizer under the sun and start getting their press releases.

There *are* other Convention listings....I like mine because everything is right in front of don't have to search for anything..we'll see if anybody else likes it...!

At BBC Radio 7, another episode of Atomic Tales. Remember all these episodes are available to listen to at any time for 6 days before they drop off the map.

Also available is part 2 of Journey Into Space, Mission to Mars and part 3 of Shada.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Journey Into Space on BBC 7

Follow up to Charles Chiltern's first Journey Into Space

The Red Planet: Some years after his celebrated moon mission, Jet Morgan commences a mission to Mars - but is there a saboteur? Episode 1 of 20.

Journey Into Space
Jet leads the first fleet of rocket ships to reach Mars. But right from the beginning the expedition was ill-omened. Episode 2 of 20.

Atomic Tales - on BBC 7 Listen Again

These are spoofs of 1950s American science fiction tales, with the actors putting on American accents.

Atomic Tales
Their Gaze was Green: The first in a new series of classic American 1950s sci-fi. Episode 1 of 5.

Atomic Tales
And Mother Makes Millions: A chilling portrait of a world without children in this classic American fifties sci-fi serial. Episode 2 of 5.

Atomic Tales
I've Got Your Number: Stanford Krank has created a brilliant think piece, where all mankind has a unique number, but what if your number was copied? Episode 3 of 5.

Atomic Tales
Land of Plenty: Humanity lives on tinned food on Mars. Everything seems perfect until the cans start to malfunction. Episode 4 of 5.

Atomic Tales
Unstoppable: A white-knuckle ride of interstellar thrills. A space train is hurtling towards hurth. Episode 5 of 5.

Atomic Tales!
Night of the Cicadas: The cicada is a friendly chirruping insect but what if it grew to vast size and hungered for human flesh? Episode 6 of 6.

8/1: The Thunder Child now live

The latest issue of The Thunder Child is now live and in many ways is the best one to date, as it is chock full of goodies. A bit lacking in the book review department...but, well, ya can't have everything.

I'm only going to take a day off before getting started on the September issue. Waiting for interview responses from Forry Ackerman for next issue, and have to research and formulate questions for a few other people.

The science faction section is woefully inadequate, I intend to remedy that in the next issue.