Friday, May 27, 2011

Leonard Nimoy Says Phoenix Comicon May be Among his Last Public Appearances, Talks Today's Science Fiction Films Leonard Nimoy Says Phoenix Comicon May be Among his Last Public Appearances, Talks Today's Science Fiction Films

Phoenix Comicon may be one of Leonard Nimoy's last public appearances before he goes into retirement, according to Spock himself.

The actor and science-fiction legend says he just doesn't feel the need for it anymore, emotionally or financially, and that he would rather focus more on his photography.

"Several museums now hold my work around the country," he says. "But the most important [reason] is my family. I have a great family life, with wonderful people that I love dearly. I've had a great, great run and I'm a very grateful guy."

College Times caught up with Nimoy in advance of this year's Phoenix Comicon, in which he'll unveil a presentation full of photos and stories of his time working in the industry, including his time on "Star Trek."

College Times: You started as Spock in 1966. What are your thoughts on the evolution science fiction through the years?

Nimoy: Science fiction has replaced the western that we used to do. Western is one of the frontier stories, and science fiction deals with those frontier issues. The way Indians used to be portrayed as the bad people, now we have Vulcans and other aliens as bad people. It has become the new final frontier, because of conflict between the nasty people there. Technology, of course, has evolved exponentially. It's just exploded and that has changed science fiction drastically. The first science fiction work I did was in 1960, I did a project called "Zombies of the Stratosphere." It's really funny to look back on it now, because it is so limited in special effects. The bombast and the gigantic creatures and explosions of today are just extraordinary. It's all about post-production these days.

Is technology one of the elements of a good science fiction story?

Well, the question is what's the story? To me, that's always important, because if you take away all the bombast and the crashes and fires and explosions, I'm interested in the story. Is there something intriguing? Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Where did the Vulcan gesture come from?

That came from when I was a child, and I would attend holiday services with my family. When the congregation is blessed by members of the priestly tribe of the Hebrew congregation, they say "May the Lord bless you, may the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you, may the Lord turn his graces upon you and grant you peace." They were doing this in a way where they were shouting, and they held their hands out to the audiences with that gesture; the split fingers. I learned how to do it afterward and learned what it was all about; it is the shape of the letter in Hebrew that begins the word for God. They were evoking God's name as they bless the congregation.

You also introduced Spock's Vulcan Death Grip, the famous pinch on the neck, correct?

I did, because I didn't want to be punching people or have a weapon.

Because you injected some of yourself into Spock, do you find yourself more similar or different to him?

I've been told I take on his stoic characteristic. But on the other hand, my training as an actor was to use my emotions, and to express emotional responses in specific situations. Spock called for the opposite – he called for ultimate control of his emotions. I had to find a way to do that. It was my job in portraying this particular character, so I dug into my tool kit and I went to work. It took a little time to find my footing and make sure I could do that without being boring.

Spock has become a true pop culture icon. Why do you think this is?

I think people can really identify with him. At times, his wit is very clever. He's also very loyal and helpful. It's interesting – over the years, as much as we talk about Spock being a Vulcan and an alien and all that, if you really stop to think about it, he's really a human character. He's dealing with his own personal issues which are very human issues, because there's the conflict of logic and emotion in his life. And people get that and they understand that and relate to it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Putting South African science fiction on the map Books Blog: Putting South African science fiction on the map
Last month, Lauren Beukes scooped one of the science fiction world's major literary awards - and in doing so, heralded something of a coming of age for South African speculative fiction.

Beukes - who describes herself as "an author, scriptwriter and recovering journalist" - won the prestigious Arthur C Clarke award for her second novel, Zoo City. The previous weekend the novel was on the five-strong shortlist for the British Science Fiction Association awards, missing out to Ian McDonald's The Dervish House at the major genre gathering Eastercon in Birmingham. But the Arthur C Clarke award – which saw Beukes beat McDonald – will be more than compensation, as will the news at the weekend that she has been shortlisted in the John W Campbell award for best new writer, to be revealed alongside the Hugo nominations in the US in August.

Beukes's novel is published in the UK by the relatively young imprint Angry Robot, which also published her debut, Moxyland. Both novels are genre-busting, fast-moving affairs that offer something comfortingly familiar yet excitingly exotic – a novel that springs, obviously, from a foreign culture, yet which is written in English, and with British and European reference points as well as home-grown ones.

Zoo City
, the novel which has brought Beukes so much attention (godfather of cyberpunk William Gibson is one high-profile fan) is a mash-up of near-future SF and urban paranormal fantasy, a noirish clash of sub-genres that is refreshing for its Johannesburg locales. Zinzi is one of the "animalled" – people with some kind of stain on their conscience who magically acquire an animal familiar which follows them around and amplifies their psychic talents. Think Pinocchio or Philip Pullman written by Raymond Chandler and you're maybe a quarter of the way there.

Of course, if Beukes's success in the awards were isolated, that wouldn't constitute anything like a "scene". But since 2009, when Neill Blomkamp's District 9 shocked Hollywood by being a thoughtful, intelligent, action-filled science fiction movie that came from South Africa, of all places, there seems to have been a growing spec fiction movement.

Around the same time Zoo City landed on my doormat, so did a proof of The Mall by SL Grey, to be published on 1 June by Corvus Books. Despite the fact that this novel is described as a cross between Fight Club and the Saw movies – a marketing move that might well get the torture-porn crowd interested but didn't tempt me – I've been impressed by Corvus's speculative fiction output so far (such as Jeff Vandermeer's Finch and Chris Becket's Holy Machine) so gave it a go.

And when I finished it, pretty much in a couple of sittings, I found myself creeped out to an extent that no horror story had achieved for a long time. I put it down next to Zoo City and realised that there was something very special coming out of South Africa. I contacted Louis Greenberg - one half of the writing team SL Grey, along with Sarah Lotz, who also writes zombie novels as Lily Herne – and he confirmed that what had been a feisty, small-press community scene was now moving determinedly centre stage.

The leading lights among the SA scene seem to include horror writer Joan De La Haye, fantasy author Craig Smith, and Andrew Saloman, who has just made yet another shortlist with his novel Lun – this time, for Terry Pratchett's Between the Lines award, which looks for debut speculative fiction authors.

As you might expect, a lot of South African writing is informed by the country's own recent history – how could it fail to be? Apartheid rears its head in one form or another both in Zoo City, where the animalled are segregated, and in The Mall, where the "browns" find their way from our world to the book's nightmarish mirror-world. And that, perhaps, is part of the attraction: speculative fiction works best when it refracts real life through a fantastical lens, and magnifies, and perhaps tries to make sense of, the mundane. South Africa has had a lot of real life in the past few decades.

Beukes is certainly doing her bit to put South African SF on the map. With SL Grey coming up next and their fellow authors grabbing a lot of attention, it might well be that South African spec fiction is going to be this year's Scandinavian crime novel scene for British readers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Coldest Equations, by Caroline Miniscule

My latest book published for the Kindle is now available for purchase. (And within a couple of days, should be available for Barnes&Nobles Nook as well.)

It's science fiction.

Tracy Karlovassi, actress, is the star of the science fiction TV series The Coldest Equations, in which she plays Miranda Rainbird, security team leader for a corporation that deals in space travel. It is the near future, and these civilian corporations devoted to space travel have become little worlds of their own, with security agents protecting their own engineers and scientists from kidnap or spying, while at the same time spying on other corporations and attempting to kidnap their scientists and engineers.

Whenever a TV series on our earth is committed to celluloid, it is immediately created as an alternate earth, that exists just as much as our own does. And there are watchers -out there- who have devised a way to transport the actors from the TV series to their real life counterparts on the alternate earth, and vice versa.

In the TV series (and on the alternate earth) Miranda Rainbird has been framed for a crime she did not commit, and is on the run from both friend and foe. If it *were* Miranda Rainbird on the run, she could doubtless solve all her problems, skilled agent that she is. But Tracy Karlovassi has been transferred into her body...and what can a mere actress do?

It's fun, it's suspenseful, if you like classic science fiction TV and books, you'll like it. And best of all, it's only $2.99!

Available now. Go to the Kindle store via your kindle and search for The Coldest Equations, or follow this link:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trips to the moon in classical antiquity? British exhibit finds sci-fi in unexpected places

Washington Post Entertainment: Trips to the moon in classical antiquity? British exhibit finds sci-fi in unexpected places
( Sang Tan / Associated Press ) - British Library in London: The exhibition explores science fiction through literature, film, illustration and sound and display the Library’s earliest science fiction manuscripts to the latest best-selling novels.

It’s science fiction, but not as we know it.

A genre usually associated with sinister aliens and rampaging robots is getting a makeover at the British Library, which uses 17th-century manuscripts, feminist literature, and even an advertisement for liquid beef to showcase the unexpected ways in which science fiction has influenced our world.

Exhibit organizers said Thursday that one of their goals was to show that sci-fi wasn’t just “The War of the Worlds” or “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

“It’s much, much wider than that,” said co-curator Katya Rogatchevskaia. “H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, they are fantastic influences, but it’s a very diverse genre.”

It’s in service to that diversity that Soviet, Chinese, and Bangladeshi writers feature prominently, as do female authors, such as “Frankenstein” creator Mary Shelley and Jane Loudon, whose 1827 book, “The Mummy,” is set in a futuristic Britain complete with weather control and steam-powered houses.

There’s a healthy helping of the obligatory pulp — “action-packed” tales featuring busty damsels being pursued by slimy beings — but there’s a host of lesser-known material too, such as 1914 postcards showing a futuristic Moscow dominated by soaring elevated trams, or a British satirical piece from the 1820s that features a massive vacuum tube sucking people and merchandise “direct to Bengal.”

One of the most striking pieces is the second century tale by Lucian of Samosata, whose story has a group of traveling adventurers being whipped into the air by a whirlwind and dropped onto the surface of the moon.

Lucian’s story was meant as a riff on travelers’ tall tales, but the British Library said some considered it one of the world’s first works of science fiction.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Endeavour crew recreates 'Star Trek' movie poster

The only problem is the poster is from the "relaunch" of Star Trek, not the original, best series!

MSNBC: Endeavour crew recreates 'Star Trek' movie poster
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The six astronauts flying on NASA's final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour are a serious bunch, but they've got a fun streak too. Case in point: The astronauts apparently like the science fiction franchise "Star Trek" enough to re-enact its most recent movie poster.

Creating custom mission posters based on popular movies has long been a tradition for NASA shuttle and space station crews. [Gallery: NASA's Most Offbeat Mission Posters]

But while past mission posters have recreated the film versions of "Ocean's Eleven" or the Matrix and Harry Potter movies, the six-man STS-134 crew of Endeavour chose something a bit more space-y: the 2009 reboot of "Star Trek," directed by J.J. Abrams.

"That was my idea!" Endeavour mission specialist Drew Feustel told

Feustel said he had seen the movie during a previous spaceflight, when he launched on Atlantis in May 2009 to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

"That movie came out basically the day we launched and we were fortunate to have that movie uplinked to us on orbit," Feustel said. "I really liked the movie. I thought it was pretty neat."

Endeavour's STS-134 astronauts are slated to launch aboard shuttle Endeavour from here at Kennedy Space Center on Monday at 8:56 a.m. EDT (1256 GMT). It will be the last voyage for Endeavour before the orbiter is retired. [Photos: Endeavour's Final Mission]

Advertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoicesSpace, the real final frontier
Feustel said he suggested the latest "Star Trek" film as the theme for the STS-134 poster, and the rest of the crew agreed.

But Feustel's crewmate Greg Chamitoff remembered it differently.

"I kept trying to remember whose idea that was, and I think it might have been mine," Chamitoff said in an interview.

Regardless of the origin of the poster idea, the crew seemed to unite behind the concept.

"A lot of us are ["Star Trek" fans]," Chamitoff said of the Endeavour astronauts.

The poster features the six astronauts looking stoically ahead, their faces each in half shadow, with a dark background and "STS-134" in Star Trek font underneath. Leading the crew, in the James T. Kirk position, is Endeavour commander Mark Kelly.

"It's a pretty close approximation," Feustel said of the finished product. "It looks pretty cool; we like it."

NASA and "Star Trek"
The poster is not the STS-134 crew's only connection to the famous science fiction TV and movie franchise.

In May 2005, mission specialist Mike Fincke appeared as an extra during the final episode of the show "Star Trek: Enterprise." He visited the set during vacation, along with fellow astronaut Terry Virts, who also appeared in the episode. Fincke played an NX-01 engineer on the fictional starship.

The International Space Station's Expedition 21 crew (the current crew is Expedition 27) also donned Star Trek uniforms for their mission poster in 2009.

On Endeavour's last mission before the orbiter is retired, the space shuttle will visit the International Space Station to deliver spare hardware and a new $2 billion astrophysics experiment to search for exotic particles.

In an odd side-note, Kelly and Chamitoff also have another movie-themed poster under their belt. Both astronauts were on the crew of NASA's STS-124 flight to the space station in 2008. That crew's choice of a film to emulate: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Kelly commanded that mission on the shuttle Discovery.

The mission's new name, according to the poster? "STS-124 and the Order of Discovery."

Wonderfest Attracts Thousands To Louisville Wonderfest Attracts Thousands To Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Hundreds of science fiction and horror movie buffs turned out for a blockbuster of an expo this weekend.

The 22nd Annual "Wonderfest" gave movie and TV geeks a plethora of pieces of media history to check out.

The expo feature movie memorabilia and pop culture merchandise that spanned several genres and decades.

"It covers everything. If it's science fiction, fantasy -- it's here. You can find stuff here you wouldn't even believe exists," Sci-Fi fan David Hodge said.

The event had a life-size replica of the "Lost in Space" robot and full size heads from characters from popular horror films.

It even had two former "Bond" girls.

Actors Caroline Munroe and Martine Beswick starred in three James Bond movies between the two of them. They were among the featured guests from Hollywood.

The behind-the-scenes crowd got some exposure, too. Special effects legend Lorne Peterson enthralled the crowds with his work on all the Star Wars films.

"It's pretty amazing to have that effect on the world. To have the things you did, people talk about when they grow up and they're inspired by that type of thing. For a model maker, I don't know if there's any equivalent," Peterson said.

Visitors to the expo came from as far away as New Zealand and Japan.

One of the show's biggest attractions was the model contest. More than 500 entries were on display for visitors to admire.

Friday, May 13, 2011

No, you are not losing your mind.

If there were posts here yesterday that you read, which are not here today, it's because...they're not here., the platform that hosts this blog, was down for much of yesterday afternoon and all night...just coming up now (11 am mountain time.) And all posts made yesterday have disappeared.

Supposedly, those posts will be restored. I'll give them a day to do so, and if not, will re-post them tomorrow.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's the 4th Annual Fantastic Plastic "I Can't Go to WonderFest" Sale!

I received a press release from Fantastic Plastic, and share it here:

It's the 4th Annual Fantastic Plastic "I Can't Go to WonderFest" Sale!
Every year, hundreds of fantastic modeling enthusiasts descend on Louisville, Kentucky for WonderFest, a weekend long extravaganza of science-fiction, movie, TV and fantasy modeling.

And every year, thousands more fantastic modelers bemoan our inability to travel to Louisville to join in the festivities -- and maybe score some great new model kits.

To provide a quantum of solace to those unable to make this annual pilgrimage, Fantastic Plastic presents its 4th Annual "I Can't Go to WonderFest" Sale.

For the next two weeks, you can enjoy deep discounts throughout the Fantastic Plastic Virtual Museum Store On-Line Catalog. Savings are as much as 30% on many of our most popular kits, while supplies last.

NOTE: Discounts apply to Fantastic Plastic Models products only. Unicraft and Masterpiece Models kits are not included.

The 4th Annual Fantastic Plastic "I Can't Go to WonderFest" Sale runs from Monday, May 9 through Sunday, May 22.

This is our one and only sale of the year. Don't miss out on these "fantastic" savings!

And for those attending WonderFest -- have a great time! (Oh, and you can buy at these discount prices, too!)


- Allen B. Ury

Monday, May 09, 2011

Why The End Of Stargate Universe Means Bad Things For Syfy

Sharing a sample post from a website called Spin Off Online:

SpinOffOnline: Why The End Of Stargate Universe Means Bad Things For Syfy
Saturday, May 7th, 2011 at 6:30am
by A moment of silence, please, for Syfy’s SGU: Stargate Universe, which finishes its run with Monday’s episode, “Gauntlet.” Not only am I personally sad about the show’s cancellation, I also think that it’s bad news for Syfy overall. After all: Where are the network’s science fiction shows now?

Sure, I like Being Human, Warehouse 13 and Haven as much as the next man – Well, unless the “next man” happens to be my wife, who really loves Haven – but I’m not sure how much claim to being science fiction either show has, with all three shows (Being Human and Haven especially, Warehouse 13 slightly less so) being more supernatural than science fiction. With the cancellations this year of both SGU and, earlier, Caprica, the network formerly known as SciFi finds itself leaning on Eureka and Sanctuary as its sole science fiction dramas. How did that happen?

(And don’t get me started on the prevalence of the network’s “reality” shows like Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth or Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen. For all the flack that the network gets for its wrestling coverage – and, admittedly, I’m not sure that it gets enough – I feel as if the increasing amount of reality shows goes relatively unchecked. When obvious rip-offs of existing, non-genre-related shows – Hollywood Treasure or Face-Off, say – make it on the network, I feel like something’s gone wrong with the commissioning process.)

It’s all about ratings, of course; SGU gets less bang for its buck than Sanctuary (It doesn’t help that it’s a more costly show to produce), and so the network has to go where the money is. But losing SGU – a show that I’ll admit didn’t really find its footing until the second season, even though I think there’s a lot to like in the first – feels like a mistake that could have been avoided had the network tried to wait out another year, despite ratings. It’s not just the “The show was getting better!” thing (Although it was, he whines, hopelessly), but also… Syfy doesn’t have a space opera show anymore. Is it just me that that feels… wrong to, somehow? Shouldn’t a science fiction network make a point of having a show set in space, just because?

I know, I know, I’m old fashioned: Science fiction doesn’t just mean space, and there’s more to Syfy than sci-fi, anyway (Hence the name change, after all). But even as I look forward to the new shows that Syfy has coming up – particularly Alphas, which I’m hoping will end up being Heroes done right – I feel as if something is missing without that essential outer space element, and Blood and Chrome is still some distance away. Maybe someone can shoot Myka and Pete into orbit in the next season of Warehouse 13 for an episode, just to stave off my hunger for orbital action.

Graeme McMillan

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Sam Moskowitz's The Immortal Storm

Sam Moskowitz's book The Immortal Storm, a history of science fiction fandom, was published in 1954.

Table of Contents
List of photographs
1. Introduction
2. Gernsback and the first all-science fiction publication
3. The beginning of organized fandom
4. The emergence of the first true fan magazine
5. The Fantasy Fan
6. William H. Crawford aand his contemporaries
7. Secondary fan publications: The TFG and its followers
8. The Science Fiction League
9. The New ISA and The International Observer
10. Other Happenings of 1935
11. The SFL-ISA Showdown
12. The Decline of the SFL and the ISA's Bid for Power
13. The Science Fiction Advancement Association
14. Other local groups of the time
15. The last days of Fantasy Magazine
16. Further clubs and projects of 1936
17. The first convention and the death of the ISA
18. The Dark Ages of Fandom
19. The Rise of British Fandom
20. Renaissance
21. The New Order Progresses
22. The Fantasy Amateur Press Association
23. The Third Convention and Michelism
24. The Aftermath
25. The Wollheim-Moskowitz FEud
26. The Background in Early 1938
27. The Factions Align Themselves
28. The First National Science Fiction Convention
29. The FAPA Elections of 1938
30. The Development of Michelism
31. The Greater New York Science Fiction League
32. Fantasy News and New Fandom
33. New Fandom's Rise to Power
34. The Opposition Crumbles
35. The New Fantasy Magazines and their Influence on Fandom
36. The Role of the Queens SFL
37. Amateur Magazines of the Period
38. Minor Dissensions
39. The Great Drive Toward the Convention
40. The Character of the Opposition
41. The First World Science Fiction Convention
42. Opinion Rallies
43. Breasting the Undertow
44. The Second Philadelphia Conference
45. The Illini Fantasy Fictioneers
46. The Futurian Comeback

Friday, May 06, 2011

A Literary Shape-Shifter

Wall Street Journal - Life and Culture: A Literary Shape-Shifter
Like his genre-bending novels, China Miéville defies easy categorization. With his shaved head, row of earrings and sculpted arms, the 38-year-old British novelist more closely resembles a bodyguard or mixed martial artist than an author who studies linguistic philosophy and holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics.

He leapfrogs between literary categories, playing with the narrative conventions of police procedurals, Westerns, sea adventures, urban fantasy and even romance. His 2000 novel, "Perdido Street Station," won British literary prizes in two separate categories, science fiction and fantasy. "City & the City," his take on classic noir, reads like a mash-up of George Orwell and Raymond Chandler—a murder investigation leads a detective to a secret mirror city that is hidden from ordinary view.

Getty Images

China Miéville leapfrogs between literary genres, from Westerns to science fiction.
"I once said I wanted to write a novel in every genre, and I feel duty bound now to do so," he said.

His latest novel, "Embassytown," marks his first foray into straight science fiction. The novel, due out in the U.S. on May 17, takes place on a distant planet that sits on the edge of the known universe. What starts as an intergalactic space romp turns into a meditation on language. Human colonists have developed tenuous relations with the locals: the Ariekei, a winged, insect-like race with two mouths that speak simultaneously. To communicate with them, humans have bred test-tube clones who can speak the double-layered language. Relations grow complicated when the Ariekei, who are incapable of describing something that does not exist, learn to mimic the human capacity for lying.

Mr. Miéville says he first came up with the idea of an alien race with two mouths when he was 11. He resurrected the concept a few years ago when he decided to write "classic interplanetary science fiction," in the tradition of novelists like Ursula Le Guin. Mr. Miéville invented fragments of the alien language ("suhaish" and "ko," said simultaneously, mean please), and read linguistic theory by philosophers such as Paul Ricoeur and I.A. Richards.

An early draft of "Embassytown" read too much like a doctoral thesis on linguistics, so Mr. Miéville refocused his efforts on what he does best: twisty plots, monsters and "spectacle candy." "Embassytown" is filled with fantastical elements such as "gun-animals" and other creature-machine hybrids, and unappetizing sounding futuristic food, like "nutrient-rich pabulum" and "sheets of meatcloth."

Marketing an author who bounces among genres can be tricky, particularly as Mr. Miéville's publishers seek to promote him as a mainstream writer. "We want an element of whatever genre he's focused on, but more the thinking should be upscale, literary and slick," said Del Rey publisher Scott Shannon of the packaging of Mr. Miéville's books. "There's no big rocket ship on the cover."

Mr. Miéville's U.K. publisher is rereleasing eight of his backlist titles with a "unified" modern look to help rebrand him as an author who might appeal to any reader, not just genre fans. "Now that he's established himself as a name, people recognize that what they're getting is a China Miéville book," says Tor U.K.'s editorial director, Julie Crisp. "It doesn't matter if it's science fiction or fantasy or crime or a Western."

Mr. Miéville says he hopes the more generic look will help his books find a broader audience. "The genre audiences are very, very loyal," he said. "The difficulty is reaching beyond to people who say, 'I never read that sort of thing.' "

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Introducing Koldcast Web TV Network

Here's the URL:

Some of the shows available:

14 Hours to a Championship
88 Hits
A3 Night Life
After Judgement
American Heart
Anarchy For Breakfast
Animation Block
Anyone But Me
Assisted Living
Beverly Hills Salon
Bewildering Life
Blue Movies
Boxtick America
Brooklyn is for Lovers
Bumps in the Night
Bunny Hug
California Kickin
Celeste Bright
Central Division
Copy & Pastry

and dozens more in all genres.


Web TV series Haywire Ep 7 Now Available

About the show:
Monroe, NY. A burst of light. Area-wide power outages and the complete failure of all electronic devices. All within line-of-sight of the burst are affected. Their minds short-circuit. Their thought processes scramble and become a never-ending loop. Accomplish what you were doing when you saw the light. Then do it again. And again. And again. ANd if something gets in your way?

Does Trog Really Deserve Its Poor Reputation?

Trog (1970) was the last movie made by Joan Crawford.

I confess that it's not the type of movie I'd usually watch - but it had Simon Lack in it, an actor whom I've come to like, so I rented it. Like all of Lack's films after WWII, he doesn't have a very big role - about five minutes of screen time and only a few lines. (He plays Colonel Vickers, and shows up at the end of the movie after Trog has kidnapped a girl and hidden in his cave.)

All the reviews of this movie that I've found, trash it. But I think there's a little bit of sexism involved...not to mention hatred of Joan Crawford (who supposedly was not quite all there in the top story when it came to raising her adopted kids was concerned.)

Admittedly Trog is a cliche-fest. Trog is a smaller version of King Kong, or a hairier version of Frankenstein. He lives in a cave, peacefully on his own, until a couple of spelunkers find him. He kills one of them. Then, he is taken from the cave - Joan Crawford's character, Dr. Brockton, stands tall and shoots the charging Trog with her hypo rifle.

Dr. Brockton tries to teach him civilized ways, and is making progress, but evil Michael Gough's character wants him killed. Gough breaks into the lab, trashes it, releases Trog, and then returns to his car, only to be killed by Trog. Trog then kills a few other people - who attack him first - sees a little blond girl whom he takes a liking to (in a strictly non-sexual way, I hasten to add) and takes her to his cave.

Dr. Brockton shows up at the cave with a police officer and the Army. Despite orders not to, she goes into the cave and brings out the little girl, whom Trog gives to her voluntarily. She begs Vickers to let her go back in with her hypo gun, but the military and police will have none of it. They are going to kill Trog.

And they do.

Trog is a sympathetic character, for all that he kills a few people - only those who attacked him first. And Crawford's performance is hardly "stone face". She portrays a woman who is confident in herself and her abilities. She had a nice wardrobe, yes, and she uses it - some critics have slammed her for this. If her character had been played by a male actor one wonders if he would have received quite the same criticism.

So...Trog. Not as bad as we've been led to believe...if you like these types of movies, anyway!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Beware Email Blasts that Request Charity or Provide Warnings

If you're like me, you have friends and relatives who send you, and everyone else on their list, emails about cancer-afflicted children who have written poems that they want forwarded to everyone you know (I received this one yesterday) or warnings that your cellphone number is about to be sold to a gazillion advertisers and there's nothing you can do about it. (Received this one about three weeks ago.)

And of course, they are all frauds.

When you receive an email like this, the thing to do is go to your favorite search engine - I use, and type the topic in and do a search on it. Usually debunks the warning emails - most of those have been floating around for years, and you'll also find these charity requests debunked on a variety of sites.

It's a pity, really, that there are people out there with so much time on their hands that they try to think up these things and then see how long they have an internet shelf life...all too long, apparently.

So just a tip, if you ever receive a request - especially for a charitable donation - do your research on it first - in particular if it comes from Nigeria! They are all frauds.