Monday, March 31, 2008

The Blob podcast

Just got news that the B-Movie has done a podcast about the classic Steve McQueen movie, The Blob.

Check it out at the URL below. is a pretty interesting site, for other movies as well. Other podcasts there are on The Illustrated Man (starring Rod Steiger) and I Am Legend - the various versions.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Brian Aldiss' Song of the Silencer

At BBC Radio 7:

Song of the Silencer
Man plays God, causing galactic disaster, in this chilling sci-fi tale by master storyteller Brian Aldiss.

The Adventures of Tintin
The Red Sea Sharks, Part 1: Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowy try to avert a coup d'etat in Khemed. Episode 5 of 6

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Slipstream pt 2

Simon Bovey's "Slipstream" pt 2 "rockets" along (I hope that's a pun...mebbe "slips along" would be better?), after the slow-starting episode 1 where everyone had to be introduced and the "set-up" explained.

It's the Tuesday episode, but really, anyone in the States can now listen to eps 1, 2, 3 and 4 - just type in the next day in the URL line and it'll show it to you.

I tried to listen to H.G. Wells' A Dream of Armageddon (1901), pt 1, yesterday, read by Robert Bathurst, but it was a bit too grim for my taste. However, I've recorded both it and pt 2 and will listen to it when I'm in a better mood, and review it in due course.

After Tuesday's Part 2 of "A Dream of Armageddon", there's about a 3- minute interview with Simon Bovey and producer Mark Beebe, about "Slipstream", so you can fast forward to the end of it to listen to that!

Also on Tuesday

The Adventures of Tintin
The Prisoners of the Sun: Professor Calculus is in grave danger. Who better than Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowy to lead a rescue? Episode 2 of 6.

A Dream of Armageddon
War is declared and the hero of HG Wells' anti-war story escapes with his wife in an attempt to shield her from the horrors. Episode 2 of 2.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Simon Bovey's Slipstream

Simon Bovey's new 5-part radio serial, a WWII science fiction adventure, has begun on BBC Radio 7.

I have just listened to the first episode...and... it's okay. A bit formulaic to start with.

It's nearing the end of the War, the Allies are assured of a win, then one night a British bombing raid suddenly loses over a hundred planes - destroyed by a single, silver, shimmering saucer-shaped aircraft. The British decide that they want to find this technology before the Americans and Russians do, and send a team of men - and one woman - into the heart of Germany to make off with the craft.

The head man in charge, Barton, is an unsympathetic character, the half-German/half-English pilot they bring along with them to fly the craft out is sympathetic, and the female scientist whom they bring along - for no real reason established, in my mind, except that there's going to be some kind of love interest perhaps... - is also sympathetic.

Although the personal relationships seem to be formulaic, knowing Bovey's work, the action itself is going to veer into the unexpected...

Here's the cast:
Major Barton: Tim McMullan
Jurgen (the pilot): Rory Kinnear
Kate Richie: Joanna Tincey
Teazle: Sam Pantalon
Dundas: Ben Crowe
Brigadier Erskine: Peter Marinko
Other parts played by: Simon Bovey, Alex Lanney-Peckin, Simon Treves, Lloyd Thomas
Directed by Mark Beebe

Into the Wolf's Lair: It's 1945. The Allies are certain to win the war. Then a strange aircraft is spotted. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Episode 1 of 5.

The Eagle's Nest: Barton and his team head deep behind German lines, to track down a terrifying new weapon. But things aren't going as planned. Episode 2 of 5.

The Tomorrow World: Barton and the team have found what they've been looking for. But no-one has ever seen anything like it before. Episode 3 of 5.

This Island Earth: With the Slipstream disabled and the Americans approaching, things can't get much worse for Barton and his team. Or can they? Episode 4 of 5.

Fight for the Future: Jurgen and Kate are desperate to get the Slipstream away before all is lost. But there are surprises in store for everyone. Episode 5 of 5.

Also on Monday
The Adventures of Tintin
The Seven Crystal Balls: When an expedition returns from Peru and all the participants fall mysteriously ill, there's only one person to call.
Episode 1 of 6.

A Dream of Armageddon
HG Wells creates a disturbing vision of the future with a powerful anti-war message. Episode 1 of 2.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

David Wayne sings Revenge from It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman

I was surprised to see that there were actually a few clips at YouTube featuring the 1975 TV version of the 1966 stage musical, It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman.

However, none of them featured the man who was, to my mind, the only reason to watch that show, David Wayne as the mad scientist, Abner Sedgewick, driven mad because he lost out on the Nobel Prize 10 times.

The line that isn't in the clip below, but which is my favorite, is "Together, Max, we'll rule the world. But Sweden's mine!"

As far as a review of this show... I can remember seeing it when I was a kid, in 1975, and liking it. Rewatching it last year...I was just cringing. It was a forerunner of the superhero movies of the 90s, where the hero - in this case Superman - was reduced to the background and the villains had center stage. In this case, David Wayne's villain was charming, but Clark Kent/Superman was just too much of a wimp for my taste.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Isaac Asimov speaks - on video - on science fiction

A Literature of SF DVD is available at It's brought to you by AboutSF and the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. For more info, visit

Legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov talks about the history of SF magazines--especially the changes at Astounding Stories during the late 1930s under editor John W. Campbell.

Legendary SF author Isaac Asimov discusses the transformation of science fiction from the 1950's to 1971 (when this interview occurred).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke's last message to Earth

a Youtube video of comments he made at his 90th birthday party.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Simon Bovey's new SF thriller at BBC Radio 7

Simon Bovey is the scriptwriter for previous SF thrillers Cold Blood (Antarctic setting) and The Voice of God (Australia setting), (that'd be radio drama - the best kind!) and I interviewed him for the Thunder Child at Simon Bovey.

Now he's got a new radio series about to be broadcasts at BBC 7 from March 24-28, 2008: Slipstream

1945, the Allies’ victory is a forgone conclusion and everyone is fighting for a piece of the spoils. And then the UFOs are sighted.

On BBC7 - available on DAB or Freeview, Satellite or online.
Form Monday 24th March to Friday 28th.
6pm and repeated at Midnight.

Starring Rory Kinnear and Tim McMullan
Directed by Marc Beeby

Description of Cold Blood:
Cold Blood by Simon Bovey is a five-part sci-fi techno thriller. It was first broadcast on BBC7 in January 2005.

It is 2015 and an Antarctic research station is settling down for another winter - but this will be a winter like no other.

Episode 1 -- Freezerville
Nathaniel Taft is cast into the front line at the Antarctic base in Ellsworth. To survive the horror he must kill a friend.

Episode 2 -- Cold Heart
Taft confronts Bowers and puts him under house arrest, and they discover that their radio equipment has been sabotaged.

Episode 3 -- The Changing Man
Deb makes a frightening discovery in Bowers' journals.

Episode 4 -- Sanctuary No More
Revenge and madness stalk the corridors of Ellsworth base. Taft directs everyone to the garage to defend themselves against Bowers, and orders them to shoot him on sight.

Episode 5 - The Antarctican
The final battle -- and a strange new beginning. Anaya and Taft fight for their lives as Bowers stalks them across the Antarctic, can they stop him?

Description of The Voice of God
Fields Of Thunder --
A series of quakes rocks Australia. When Sam Rideout investigates, she stumbles into a nightmare of biblical proportions.

Silent Roar --
The enigmatic Colonel Walker persuades Sam and Joshua to help him in his deadly project.

Dreamtime Is Over --
Hoping to stop the quakes Sam and Joshua design a new cradle for the weapon. But their chances of success are being undermined.

Blowback --
Southern Australia has been devastated by an earthquake, and now Sam and Joshua have discovered that there is a spy on the base.

Can You Hear That? --
Walker plans to fire the Voice at Pine Gap, risking a global catastrophe. And Sam, Joshua and Nick are locked in the brig.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke has died

Science Fiction Legend Arthur C. Clarke, 90, Dies

Arthur C. Clarke was the last of the "Big Three" - comprising Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and himself, the great authors of the "Golden Age" of science fiction who continued into the 50s and 60s.

Match It For Pratchett

A few months ago, the great Terry Pratchett - author of the Discworld series of fantasy novels, revealed that he had Early Onset Alzheimers - one of the most cruel diseases you can ever hope to have, both for the person suffering from it and for that person's loved ones.

Recently, he gave 500,000 pounds to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, and I can only hope that that Trust spends that money more wisely than most research places seem to spend the money they get.

Author Terry Pratchett attacks the NHS over Alzheimer's policy

Anyway, there's a movement afoot by Mr. Pratchett's fans around the world to "Match it for Pratchett" - donate as much or as little as you can, so that another 500,000 can be given to organizations researching this terrible disease.

Well, I suggest that all American fans of Pratchett make donations to the Alzheimer's Association.

However, before you give to this OR ANY OTHER CHARITY, make sure you check out that charity at this site:

which will tell you how much of your donation goes to the people who need it, and how much goes to the people at the top, who do the "schmoozing".

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jon Pertwee fans get a treat

If you're a fan of Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor (and I am) you're in for a treat, as BBC Radio 7 is airing a 30 minute doc on Jon Pertwee's early radio work (before the Doctor was even in its first incarnation....)

Radio Roots
Jon Pertwee: Russell Davies traces the actor's early broadcasting career before he was famous, with archive clips and interviews.

Problems of a Tentacular Nature

Another new blog I've started consists of links to external movie reviews of science fiction and fantasy movies, beginning with March 2008. is a combination History of train (and automobile) travel in the US, but a chronicle of my goal to ride around the US on Amtrak.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blogs, blogs, blogs, blogs...marching off to space

I have several blogs, but for various and sundry reasons, I've let several of them slide, some for several months, and I'm rededicating myself to updating them on a regular basis.

I'll mention a few today, and a few tomorrow, so as not to overwelm anyone!

A new blog is The Patrick Barlow Experience
I've recently become a fan of this actor, author and comedian. He doesn't do science fiction, but I'll share the blog here nevertheless.

This is going to be a finite blog, a blog that will just have pages for his radio work, tv work, movie work, books, and photos. Basically how I'd do his website if I had time to do a website for him.
Another new blog, in fact this one is brand-new, replacing my Lacemaking Through the Ages. Basically a blog that will chronicle the rise of technology...the shortcuts, the blind alleys, the this-es and the that-s!

I'm also rededicating myself to updating my Space News and Marine News blogs on a daily basis.

Grocery Store Wars

I posted a link to this video at YouTube a couple of years ago, but since then my sophistication in posting videos has grown tremendously, and so now I'm gonna embed the video here so you can see it!

In many ways its propaganda - organic farming instead of chemical farming...but it is hilarious.

"Darth Tater"
"That's not a moon! It's a melon!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wholesome group activities

I wonder if its possible for people to go into gang-infested areas in various cities and say, hey, instead of going around killing innocent people and reinforcing all the stereotypes, why not learn how to dance, or to sing, or to hold still for 5 minutes at a time, and have competitions that way...

Anyway, just found these on Youtube and they are hilarious.

At New York's Grand Central Station, 207 people remain frozen for 5 minutes - now try to stay still without moving for even one minute - it is not easy to do. And when you're holding a spoonful of icecream almost to your lips - what will power!

This would make such an excellent plot for a science fiction story...

In London, a group of people on a bus get up and perform the choreography to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

The Current Brouhahah - and STDs are rife. Rife!

Well, the Governor of New York was caught hiring a prostitute, and not for the first time. Not only any old prostitute, but one that cost $5,000 an hour! And one that he "transported across state lines" in order to have sex with.

And yet when he appears on stage to aplogize to his family and friends, his wife - a beautiful woman (who looks like Jennifer Aniston!), it must be pointed out - stands by his side.

I've been listening to Rush Limbaugh this morning,and he's been expressing his bewilderment at women who "stand by their man" in this fashion, and I have to say he's right. Spitzer's wife should have stepped up to the podium and told him in public that she wanted a divorce, and he could go make himself feel better by paying for sex with a woman.

That's what I don't understand, really. Athletes who make millions of dollars, surely they don't actually have to pay a woman to have sex with them? Politicans - even balding ones like Spitzer - surely they don't have to pay a woman to have sex with them?

I would think it would be demeaning for a guy - not being able to get sex unless you pay for it. Perhaps that's why he paid $5,000 for his prostitutes - if you have to spend a lot of money on a woman obviously there's nothing sordid or pathetic about it.

And on a slightly related note:

STDs rife among US teenage girls

How can this be possible? Don't these girls know enough to use condoms? Well...of course not, the use of condoms isn't allowed to be advertised, they're not allowed to be taught in sex education, and guys don't like to use em so of course they mustn't be forced to.

It found that nearly half of the African-American girls surveyed had at least one STD, while the rate was 20% among white and Mexican-American teenagers

And then there's this:
The CDC's Devin Fenton said it was a serious issue because the diseases could lead to infertility and cervical cancer.

Why is it serious that any of these girls should become infertile? Seems to me that that's the best thing that could happen to them - that would bring an end to at least one unwed woman's childbearing and welfare-living.

Now, having vented that, I see that the number of teenage girls who took part in this study is given.

Researchers analysed data from a nationally representative sample of 838 US girls aged 14 to 19.

838 adolescent girls took part in this survey, and from this, the headline is, STDs are rife in teenage girls.

How many teenage girls are in the USA??? Because it's rife in 838 of them, can that really be extrapolated to the rest of th country?

From where were these girls tested? In poor communities? In middle class communities? In wealthy communities?

Whenever a study includes less than 10,000 people - I give absolutely no credence to it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Review: Oneira

BBC 7 is replaying Oneira once again, from Monday through Friday of this week (March 3-7, 2008).

This is fantasy rather than science fiction, and has its characters debating philosophy while trying to solve the mystery of String Theory.

The plot
Oneira is a woman who works in a museum, and wants to take up smoking so she can have a habit to kick, and she lives with her boyfriend Pete who is a very well off banker who treats their relationship strictly on a business footing.

One day she meets Nikolai Van Der Man. Both of them look exactly like two people in a 400-year old painting in the musuem, Nikolai is the artist. He is searching for the Lux Atter (not sure of the spelling) the Book of Black Light - which proves the link between alchemy and string theory.

In this first episode, Nikolai gives Oneira a small shoe-box refrigerator, which she brings home to the pent-house flat she shares with Pete. It cries like a baby to be fed, and Pete falls victim to its powers of mind control, feeding it as it grows larger and larger.

Frankly, I didn't care for this show at all. It's full of "flip" humor and quips, none of the characters act like real human beings, and you don't really care for any of them, as they don't seem to care for each other. There's no sense of connection - Pete disappears at the end of the episode, but I really wouldn't have cared if Oneira had done as well. As for Pete, he's an unpleasant character from beginning to end, so there's certainly no sense of loss when he goes, least of all felt by Oneira!

Written by Robert Easby
Oneira - Lindsay Marshall
Nikolai - Peter Marinka
Pete - Joseph Kloska
Salesman (of refrigerators. "I think, therefore I chill.") - Mark Straker
Vistor - Bethan Walker

The episdodes
The Big Chill: Museum guard Oneira meets a 400 year old Dutchman who invites her on a quest to discover the secrets of the universe.

Sleight of Mind: Oneira is interrogated by a man from the Electrical Company - but is he trying to help her, or is he an alien? Episode 2 of 5.

A String of Time: Oneira ends up in the Texan Desert with a dead American comic and a 13th-century Friar. Episode 3 of 5.

The Thing with Two Cappuccinos: When she forgets to pay for a coffee, Oneira is chased by multiplying android coffee bar staff.

Mind the Gap: Oneira ends up talking to herself, literally, and finds her other self very rude. Episode 5 of 5.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Williamsburg Film Festival: Friday

Today was a busy day at the Williamsburg Film Festival.

Again, I'll be covering everything fully in my article about the festival, soon to come, so today I'll just mention things briefly.

I will start out, however, by saying that it rained ALL DAY today, which was extremely annoying, as I'd hoped to grab some free time in order to wander around Williamsburg and take pics of the various buildings... it's also supposed to rain tomorrow...


Friday happenings:
The afternoon panel featured actress Jacqueline Scott and her playwright husband, Gene Lesser.

Among many topics touched on was her time as Roddy McDowall's significant other in the television series version of Planet of the Apes. She commented on how the visitors to the sets would treat the ape actors (while in costume of course) almost like animals, pulling and tugging at them to get their photographs, and said she'd never been able to go to a zoo since, as she knew how the animals there must feel.

The 7 pm session was with Lee Meriwether and her daughter, stunt woman Lesley Aletter.

Meriwether described how she earned the part of Catwoman for the Catwoman movie by walking into the casting room, curling up inthe chair like a cat and licking her hand like a cat and so on.

Much more was discussed in each session, of course, and I'll cover it in my article.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Williamsburg Film Festival: Thursday

Today was the first day of the Williamsburg Film Festival. I'll be writing a complete article about the entire festival, so Ill just share a few things here.

I showed up at 11 am for the first autograph session. Everyone was quite pleasant, chatting with their fans, etc., but the one who stood out most of all was Gregory Walcott - talking to each fan individually and asking questions, like "where are you from", rather than just waiting for the fan to ask a question or what have you. He seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.

Second was Richard Devon - professional bad guy on the screen, but obviously a very sweet guy in real life.

He introduced his Daniel Boone episode "The Plague That Came to Ford's Run." I came back a bit late to hear his end-of-show Q & A, but he shared a few anecdotes on Steve McQueen of Trackdown aka Josh Randall - Bounty Hunter).

At 2 pm was The 4D Man. I was expecting Lee Meriwether to introduce the movie, but she was unavailable. I was only able to watch about 45 minutes, and missed her Q&A, because at 3 pm was the guest panel of Richard Herd and Roger Davis.

That was great - and I'll be sharing that in full in my article.

At 5.30, the Solar Guard began its shows in its room. First they showed a few trailers, then was an episode of Science Fiction Theater, "The Negative Man" starring Dane Clark and Beverly Garland, and then the Amazon Women of the Moon segment of the Amazon Women of the Moon moive, with Steve Forrest, [and oh my goodness, I didn't know Steve Forrest was the brother of Dana Andrews!]

At 7 o'clock was the star panel of Gregory Walcott and Don Kay Reynolds (Little Beaver as an actor, also a horse trainer.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Williamsburg Film Festival Begins March 6, Thursday

For the 3rd year in a row, I'll be attending the Williamsburg Film Festival, which begins on Thursday, March 6 and ends on Saturday, March 8.

In an effort to provide information for anyone who might want to visit the Historic Triangle of Virginia in March, I go into details about accommodation and so forth:

I only live about 40 minutes away, but this year I decided to stay in a motel in Willimasburg for 3 days, instead of driving back and forth. So I'm currently in a Super 8 motel - a large, 3 story motel - , about a mile away from the Holiday Inn Patriot where the film festival is taking place. (There's a Motel 6 right next to the Holiday Inn, with even cheaper rates, but I made my reservations too late to get in there.) This Super 8 is about half the price, on a daily basis, of the Holiday Inn Patriot, and since I'm only going to be spending nights here, why pay more?

Williamsburg is of course the heart of the Historic Triangle - along with Jamestown and Yorktown, so depending on my schedule I'll be doing some other things while I'm here.

Super 8
Back to the Super 8... first time I've ever stayed in one. Smell of disinfectant as you walk in rather strong... but I dont mind it. That's the way hotels and motels should smell! I'm on the second floor, so even though my windows seem to face the street, I'm not too bothered by it. (Especially since the street is a large parking lot away.)

Winter season rates
Inside the room it smells fine - and I have got a huge room - two king size beds in here for $45 a night which includes taxes. There's a small refrigerator - currently cooling 3 Pepsis and a small carton of milk, and a microwave. There's a small round table and two chairs. Ther's a wardrobe. No overhead lights, but lamps everywhere. There's an ironing board and an iron!

There's a large screen tv and it gets cable...70 channels and nothing on worth watching.

(As an aside, it's too bad the Sci Fi channel has gotten so far away from science fiction. There's no classic SF on anymore, it's all the various Stargates and reality series featuring ghost hunters. Boo hiss!)

Anyway, the heater works and I've got it turned up high - I like to be toasty. The room in which the toilet and bathtub reside is rather small - but they both are clean-looking - no chipped paint, etc. so that's good.

And they've got free high speed internet, so I'm happy!

Temperature during March
Even though it's winter here in Williamsburg, VA, the weather is rather temperate during the day. Should be in the 50s-60s for the next three days - so if you visit here next year - you'll be able to do plenty of outdoor things... the point of this entry, which is the Williamsburg Film Festival.

Williamsburg Film Festival
It's more a Western film festival than anything else, but they've got some sci fi actors in amongst the bunch.

Lesley Aletter - daughter of Lee Merriweather. She's a stuntwoman who has doubled Sigourney Weaver and Lucy Lawless

Roger Davis - Dark Shadows (sorry, Roger, but I prefer Jonathan Frid!)

Richard Devon - various westerns, and as Molack in Space Patrol

Richard Herd - V, Star Trek Voyager

Tom and Ted LeGarde - appeared in I, Mudd as two androids

Gene Lesser - Westerns

Lee Merriweather - Catwoman, Star Trek, The Time Tunnel

Don Kay Reynolds - horse trainer - trained the horses for the Lord of the Rings movies

William Sanderson was supposed to be here, but apparently had to cancel

Jacqueline Scott - she guest-starred on on quite a few SF shows. She played Roddy McDowall's "girlfriend" in the Planet of the Apes TV series, was in a few Outer Limits episodes, a Twilight Zone and in the movie Empire of the Ants with Joan Collins.

Gregory Walcott - Plan 9 From Outer Space

On my first critical note of the evening, I must say that the $7 program sucks. Each actor has their photo in b&W. That would be fine except the photos are very dark - you can hardly see them!

The show gets started tomorrow at 10 am, when all the guest stars will be in the Dealer's Room signing autographs. They'll sign the program for free, but charge for photos and so on.

Thursday events
Thursday 2 pm - a sci fi movie - the 4D Man starring Lee Merriweather and Robert Lansing. She should be giving a brief talk before and a q & a after...

5:30 pm - the Solar Guard academy will be showing episodes of Tom Corbett and Space Patrol

12;45 pm - Twilight Zone ep Spur of the Moment, guest star Roger Davis

5:15 onward - Solar Guard

Panel of stars for Thursday - Richard Herd and Roger Davis at 3 pm, Don Reynolds and Greg Walcott at 7.

So I hope to get a lot done tomorrow...

Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel.

Oneira returns, Perelandra continues

All this week, Oneira is being run, to get people in the mood for a sequel, which I believe starts next week. Below are eps from Mon - Wed of this week. (Fathrland also continues, but the description of each ep is always the same, so I won't bother to put it here.)

The Big Chill: Museum guard Oneira meets a 400 year old Dutchman who invites her on a quest to discover the secrets of the universe.

I've got this recorded and will be reviewing it in due course.

Perelandra started last week, but I haven't listened to it for a while. Anyway, part 4 is on Monday:

Ransom wakes on his island to see a human form, a woman, facing him from a neighbouring island. Episode 4 of 18.

On Tuesday:


Sleight of Mind: Oneira is interrogated by a man from the Electrical Company - but is he trying to help her, or is he an alien? Episode 2 of 5. [Rptd Wed 12.00am].

Ransom swims to the other shore and discovers that the Green Lady is none other than Perelandra herself. Episode 5 of 18.


A String of Time: Oneira ends up in the Texan Desert with a dead American comic and a 13th-century Friar. Episode 3 of 5. [Rptd Thu 12.00am].


The Green Lady tells Ransom of Maleldil's decree; she cannot stay the night on the mountainous island known as the fixed land. Episode 6 of 18.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Radio drama review: Fatherland by Steve Harris

Way back on July 9, 1997, the BBC aired the first of its 4-part adaption of the Robert Harris novel, Fatherland.

It is currently being run on BBC 7 - an episode a day, beginning on Monday March 3.

I read this novel many years ago, and remember much of it. So I tuned in to the first episode, and I have to admit I was disappointed.

It takes place in Germany. Therefore, every bloody actor should be using a German accent! But they don't! They're all English. When they use a German word - like ├╝bergrupenfuhrer, or similar, they say that in a quasi-Germanic way, but that's about it. It's annoying and it detracts from the story, because these are all professional actors who should be able to do a German accent!

Anton Lesser plays police detective Xavier March. Angeline Ball plays the female reporter Charlie Maguire. Also in the cast were Peter Ellis, Andrew Sachs (Manuel on Fawlty Towers is his most famous role in the States, but he's been in tons of stuff), Amanda Wallace, Ned Sherrine, and Stratford Johns. It was directed by John Dryden. Unfortunately, nowhere in the credits does it tell which role each actor plays - except for the top two, of course, and I don't know these actor's voices well enough to be able to assign role to actor.

Being lazy, I'm just going to share the plot from the copyright free Wikipedia:
The plot follows detective Xavier March, an investigator working for the Kripo (Kriminalpolizei), as he investigates the suspicious death of a high-ranking Nazi (Josef B├╝hler) in the Havel, on the outskirts of Berlin. As March uncovers more details he realises that he is caught up in a political scandal involving senior Nazi party officials, who are apparently being systematically murdered under staged circumstances.

March meets with Charlie Maguire, a female American journalist who works for the New York Times, who is also determined to investigate the case.

As for the rest, it's a full-scale adaption - each character voiced by its own actor, sound effects, etc. etc. If you can get past the fact that the accents are all wrong - which I can't - you'll probably enjoy it!

Audio drama review: Robert Heinlein's Ordeal in Space

For the next week, you can listen to a reading of the Robert Heinlein short story, "Ordeal in Space," on BBC Radio 7, aired to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. (Which actually doesn't make any sense to me, because he was born on July 7, 1907 and died on May 8, 1988. However, BBC Radio 7 has a habit of repeating material over and over and over again - that is their raison d'etre - so presumably this was first aired on July 7, 1907 and is just being repeated now.

The story
The main character, Saunders, was a spaceman who has an accident in space, and develops a dehabilitating fear of falling as a result. This makes it impossible for him to return to his life on board spaceships, so he is doomed to spend the rest of his days on Earth, feeling less than a man. One day he is invited to the home of a new colleague at his place of work. That night, he hears a small kitten crying outside the high-rise building, trapped on a window-ledge. But how can he save it?

A good narrator can save a poor story. A poor narrator can ruin a good story. This story is read by American Adam Sims, and I'm afraid he comes down on the poor side. He doesn't ruin the story, really, but he certainly doesn't augment it. I listened in spite of him.

He has the same kind of voice as Ed Bishop (of UFO fame) - kind of reedy and thin, with little inflection. He also barely varies his voice for each character - similar to William Hootkins who narrated Philip Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" (source for the movie Total Recall). Contrast their voices with those of the Brits who alter their pitches and registers and accents for each and every character....

As for the story - it's predictable. But then, I like predictable. I'm not sure that I believe in the psychology of it, but perhaps a cure for a phobia can happen as easily as seems to occur here...

Heinlein is an excellent writer, and most of his work up until a certain point is very good. So if you like Heinlein, or classic SF, you'll like this.

Adam Sims
He has only one entry at the IMDB, as a lab technician in the Lost in Space movie of 1998. That doesn't necessarily mean anything - IMDB is hardly complete.

I like Robert Heinlein's early work - his "juvenalia" such as Space Cadet and Podkayne of Mars, but don't much care for his later work. Friday, in particular, stank on ice, as far as I'm concerned!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Indiana Jones 4 Trailers

I went to YouTube to see if there were any Indiana Jones trailers, and although there are plenty of them, they are all fan made and are therefore pretty useless.

This one is the best of the lot - although the pomposity of the voice-over gets annoying.

Below is a grainy video that someone made of Harrison Ford and Callista Flockhart eating at an outdoor dining area during the filming of the movie. He's not in costume. The comments at YouTube are hilarious - the more so because the film was obviously made from a long way away, there was nobody pushing their way up to the man asking for autographs, etc., nothing paparazzi like about it.

Nothing really worth watching, either. (Now if it had been 20 years ago when he was in his prime...)

Alternative SF at BBC 7: Fatherland

In a world where Hitler's Germany won World War II:

A five part adaption of Robert Harris novel, starring Anton Lesser

A chilling adaptation of Robert Harris' novel set in an imaginary Hitler-led post war Germany. Episode 1 of 5.