Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doctor Who Marathon today....

I know I'm a little bit late sharing this's been going on for several hours. It's in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who, way back in November 1963, "An Uneartlhy Child," starring William Hartnell as the Doctor.

I actually haven't been watching the Doctor Who marathon today as its the newer Doctors, David Tennant and Matt Smith, and I"m more a Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker kind of girl....

But I am DVD-r-ing them, as I do intend to watch them at some point, because I've got an idea for a Doctor Who book.... if there are any new ideas out there for Doctor Who books....

a non-fiction one, obviously...I won't share too much, just in case I do actually decide to do something with it.

But, just for all those writers out there, December 1 2013 marks the digital launch of Freelance Writer Magazine. is the link.

And check out the blog at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This Android game mashes up geolocation and science fiction

From the Washington Post:  This Android game mashes up geolocation and science fiction

In a million places around the globe, a strange form of energy is coming through from what seems like another dimension. We don’t know anything about it — only that it appears to make some people more creative and intelligent. Those people are called The Enlightened, and their goal is to blow those portals wide open. But working against them are the members of The Resistance, people who believe this new energy can’t be trusted.
That’s the lore behind Ingress, an emerging augmented-reality game from Niantic Labs, a startup within Google. The portals are real-world landmarks and points of interest that fall under the control of either in-game faction when nearby players power them up. The idea is to get people out and exploring parts of their own city they may never have been to before, said John Hanke, who oversees the game’s development.
“We wrapped it in a science fiction game that borrows from the spirit of J.J. Abrams,” said Hanke. “There’s a little bit of World of Warcraft in that it’s a massively multiplayer game and everybody is in the same environment, and it’s a little bit like geocaching in that it involves visiting real world locations.”
Depending on your attitude toward technology, you might find yourself gravitating toward either The Enlightened or The Resistance. Hanke insists otherwise, but it’s striking as a kind of metaphor for our shifting conversation about tech and how it might be transforming us. You’ve got, on the one hand, tech skeptics who think society is being eroded by what we haven’t fully grasped. Then on the other hand you’ve got enthusiasts who think embracing new advances could yield vast benefits. It’s ironic that by getting people outside and joining with others in huge meet-ups to play the game, the simulation itself is an argument for the latter.
Hundreds of people descended on Washington last weekend for one such meet-up on the Mall, to “bring the Capitol under alien influence.” It’s part of a worldwide series of events for Ingress players — other participating cities include Boston, Chicago, Tokyo and Dusseldorf.
The game is still in closed beta and for Android phones only.


Monday, August 05, 2013

Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor Who

Here's the video of the announcement and a bit of an interview with Peter Capaldi, the new Doctor Who.

Quite a big deal was made of who Matt Smith's successor would be - doubtless because this year is the 50th anniversary of the show.

25 years ago, I was at the Chicago Hyatt for the 25th anniversary, in which all the surviving Doctors were there...I got the autographs of Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton and Jon was up to Colin Baker at that time...

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Coldest Equations: The Labyinth Makers - now expanded!

The Labyrinth Makers, the first in the near-science fiction series The Coldest Equations, by Caroline Miniscule, is now available in expanded form on the Kindle, Nook, and various other e-readers via Smashwords.

Here's the cover:

Here's the plot
In the year 2050, civilian space corporations race against each other to build manned space stations on the moon, on the asteroids and on other planets. Each corporation has spies which they send out to acquire technology from other corporations, and counter-intelligence teams to prevent such spying.

Miranda Rainbird and her espionage team from the Capablanca Corporation are tasked with acquiring widowed scientist Craig Valdemar from the Philidor Corporation, based in Canberra, Australia. Three years ago he'd been a highly-touted new PhD and the creator of AC Fission, which was to revolutionize space travel. His wife has just died when he goes to work for Philidor.

Unbeknownst to the Capablanca Corporation, Valdemar has been a bust. But, when he meets Miranda Rainbird (in her guise as journalist Marguerite Zelle, he suddenly begins to produce again (because she resembles his deceased wife). And Philidor's counter-espionage agent Charlie De Wolf is given his instructions - Marguerite Zelle must never leave Canberra.

And here are the links to purchase it.
Amazon Kindle:

Barnes & Noble Nook:

Smashwords - for various other e-readers

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Restored Star Trek ship Galileo arrives in Houston

From Yahoo News : Restored Star Trek ship Galileo arrives in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) — When the smoke cleared and the music died down, Candy Torres could no longer contain herself. Looking at the shiny, restored Star Trek Galileo shuttlecraft sitting in Houston in all its TV glory, she broke down.
"All of a sudden I was just crying. I was in tears. I couldn't believe it," Torres said, donning a brown tourist engineer hat and a NASA mission operations shirt. "It meant something."
And Torres wasn't alone. Trekkies of all stripes arrived in Houston Wednesday for the momentous unveiling of the shuttlecraft that crash-landed on a hostile planet in the 1967 "Star Trek" episode called "The Galileo Seven." Some wore Scotty's Repair Shop T-shirts, others full-blown spandex outfits worn by Mr. Spock and his peers in the famous TV show and movies that have garnered a following so large and so devoted it is almost cult-like.
Adam Schneider paid $61,000 for the battered shuttlecraft in an auction and spent about a year restoring the fiberglass ship and making it look nearly as it did on that episode. He flew in from New York to mark the unveiling at the Space Center Houston, where it will be permanently displayed not far from NASA's Mission Control.
"Unbelievably proud," he said, beaming alongside the white shuttle. "Like sending your kid to college and having them get a job to build a successful life, because this was under our care for a year and we grew very attached.
Jeff Langston, 45, drove more than 160 miles from Austin with his two sons to see the moment. He and his 12-year-old son, Pearce, wore matching red Scotty's Repair Shop T-shirts. His 10-year-old son, Neo, couldn't find his shirt, but that didn't put a damper on the moment.
"It was very exciting," Neo said, bouncing on his feet. "When they filmed Star Trek the Galileo was cool and now that they remade it, it's cool to see a new version of the Galileo. And it's beautiful."
Richard Allen, the space center's 63-year-old CEO and president, hopes that just as the Star Trek movies and others like it inspired Torres to pursue a career in science and engineering, that today's generation will be similarly inspired when they see the Galileo.
"It's fantastic," he said of the shuttlecraft. "We're all about exciting and educating ... and I'm convinced that space is one of the best, if not the best, way of creating inquiry in young minds."

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Showdown over NASA funding likely

From USA Today: Showdown over NASA funding likely

WASHINGTON — A Senate panel Tuesday narrowly approved a bill reauthorizing NASA, setting up a showdown with the House over how much money the nation's space program should get.

The three-year bill, which now heads to the full Senate, would give the space agency $18.1 billion in fiscal year 2014, $18.4 billion in 2015 and $18.8 billion in 2016 -- $2 billion more per year than the U.S. House is considering. NASA received $17.7 billion in fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed the bill 13-12 along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

"While it's not as much as we'd like NASA to have, it's certainly a step in the right direction," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said after the vote. Nelson chairs the Science and Space Subcommittee that helped shape and steer the legislation.

If the Democratic-led Senate passes the bill as expected, lawmakers likely will have to reconcile it with a House bill that promises NASA much less. Earlier this month, lawmakers on the GOP-led House Science, Space and Technology Committee settled on a funding figure closer to $16.8 billion for fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. A vote on the House floor is expected later this year.

The partisan conflict over NASA funding largely involves each party's view of how much money is available to spend on most federal programs, such as space and science.

Republicans are unwilling to go beyond the overall allocations spelled out in the budget they approved earlier this year. Those levels assume the government-wide budget cuts Congress agreed to in 2011 -- known as sequestration -- will remain in effect.

Democrats on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee argued Tuesday that NASA reauthorization should be based on how much money the agency realistically needs, not on what might be available in the next budget cycle.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., called a Republican amendment to reduce the bill's funding levels "a misguided attempt to really turn the committee into nothing but the Appropriations (Committee)."

"And I think we have very important technology-mission oversight that we have to focus on," she said.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the top Republican on the panel, sounded optimistic that lawmakers can compromise.

The NASA bill "will likely need even more work before (it) reflects the kind of consensus that has characterized our committee's enacted legislation," he told panel members. "With additional effort, however, I am hopeful that we can get there in the weeks and months ahead."

The difference is not just about money. It's also about NASA's overall direction and whether the agency should be allowed — or trusted — to pursue the course it's laid out for the next few years.
Both the House and Senate measures would provide money to continue developing NASA's top priorities: a deep-space mission to Mars, a joint venture with aerospace firms to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, and completion of the James Webb Space Telescope.

But while the Senate bill would permit an asteroid retrieval mission the agency wants to undertake as part of its stepping-stone approach to Mars, the House measure strictly prohibits it.

"I don't think that is the position of a committee to be telling the scientists and the NASA experts of what we should be doing," Nelson said Tuesday.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I placed 11th at the 2013 AARP Cheyenne Spelling Bee

Scored 85 out of 100 in the written rounds (4 rounds of 25 words each), and got 1 word right out of 3 during the oral rounds, being bumped out in round 3.

11th place wouldn't be bad...except there were only 25 participants in the bee - down 15 from last  year (when I did not make the oral rounds, by 3 words). 16 of us were on stage for the oral round. If you missed 2 words you were done.

First word I got was NESS, a rocky promontory, which I spelled NESSE.

Second word I got was some kind of a fish, and I got that right by guessing, TOGUE.

Can't remember the 3rd word, some Chinese thing.

Considering the fact that I had only studied for 2 weeks (way back after last year's spelling bee ended) I did pretty well. Though, again, I don't think it really counts because I could always spell better than 16 out of 25 people.... 16 out of 40 might have been a different story!

My enthusiasm is rekindled to try again next year...I hope they'll have it again next year...but with only 25 participants...someone heard they might not have it again or might move it to a different state. (One indication is normally the oral rounds are webcast - this year they weren't, which seems to show not a lot of people are interested in it anymore.)

Well...if it is moved to a different state I can put on my travelling shoes, I suppose.

But it is rather sad that in a city of 50,000 people (which is how many folks Cheyenne had) only 3 people over the age of 50 from Cheyenne bothered to participate.

But then I don't think there was a lot of publicity for it.  Of course I haven't had a chance to pay attention to the media much these days, as I've been working very hard for a client of mine for the past several months...but a couple of the other Cheyenne-ites I talked to said they hadn't seen anything about it, either.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. Lunch was good and I sat next to some interesting people, so that was fun.

I intend to start studying - really, I do - and make it past more than the 3rd round of the orals next year.  If they have it next year.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Who gets hurt by a boycott of Ender's Game?

It isn't Orson Scott Card - he's already made his money. He's been paid so that other folks could make the movie.

I'm all for gay marriage, but there are better ways to fight for it then to pick a fight with an author who, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter at all to gay marriage!

It's like the Asians who protest against all the movies of the 30s and 40s in which Caucasian actors appeared in "yellow face". Don't forget that there were plenty of Asian supporting players in those movies whose performances deserve to be seen, and the "yellow face" thing was just a product of the times, for goodness sake! (I love the Charlie Chan movies of Warner Oland, and the Mr. Moto films of Peter Lorre. They are classics, and their characters are heroes!)

Anyway, back to Ender's Game.

Orson Scott Card maintains that his classic novel Ender's Game is set more than 100 years into the future and "has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984."

Henceforth, there's no reason not to see the movie adaptation coming out in November!

But speaking of coming out...

Card has garnered himself a reputation for being outspokenly against the justice system getting involved with the legalization of same-sex marriage, and his long-time stance came back to bite him (and, possibly, Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate) recently when the gay-rights-meets-pop-culture-appreciation group Geeks OUT called for a boycott of the film.

"Do NOT see this movie! Do not buy a ticket at the theater, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand," group officials wrote in their online campaign. "Ignore all merchandise and toys. However much you may have admired his books, keep your money out of Orson Scott Card's pockets."

The author has written voluminously on the subject, including a February 2004 essay in which he opined: "Regardless of their opinion of homosexual 'marriage,' every American who believes in democracy should be outraged that any court should take it upon itself to dictate such a social innovation without recourse to democratic process."

In 2009, he joined the National Organization of Marriage, a strict opponent of legalizing gay marriage, and wrote in the Mormon Times that year: "Marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down."

Card's stance today, meanwhile, is that no one should hold his views against Ender's Game—especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and allowing Prop 8 to fall by the wayside in California.

"With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot," Card said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."

Ender's Game, about a gifted boy drafted into military school in an apocalyptic future where the first order of business is defending the planet against a coming alien invasion, boasts an all-star cast that includes Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield (as Ender), Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin. Gavin Hood directed and adapted Card's novel for the screen.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Richard Matheson Tribute at Somewhere in Time INSITE ezine

From Somewhere in Time Website: Richard Matheson Passes Away at Age 87

Somewhere in Time Family Joins Matheson Family in Mourning the Loss of this Marvelous Man

We have lost our beloved Creator of Somewhere in Time (both novel and screenplay), Richard Matheson. He has been battling health issues for several years. He died at home, surrounded by the people and things he loved, at 87.

Richard was not only a highly respected, gifted writer, but a kind, loving, wise, funny, thoughtful, mellow and unassuming man. And by all constant reports for decades, he was also an exceptional father. In fact, rarely have adult children expressed such overt love and affection toward their father as the Matheson children always have…and this is perhaps the most wondrous tribute to him of all. Richard Matheson joined us for two Somewhere in Time Weekends at Grand Hotel and both Los Angeles Somewhere in Time events, for 15th and 20th Anniversaries. (SIT Event DVD #4)


There are many tributes flowing about this legendary writer of science-fiction, horror and of course, the love story we all hold dear…most of the stories about his passing did not include mention of Somewhere in Time, but these two do:

Somewhere in Time Musical producer Ken Davenport wrote this moving remembrance:

I include here a marvelous tribute written by Steve Vertlieb, who was one of the only 'critics' to write a Positive review of Somewhere in Time, back in 1980:

"Richard Matheson was one of a small handful of science fiction/fantasy writers whose profound, subtle prose elevated the genre to sublime eloquence. He was one of my very favorite writers from childhood until the present. Along with Lovecraft, Bloch, Bradbury, Clarke and, more recently, James Herbert, these writers influenced my life more significantly than I will ever be able to adequately impart. He was a poet who was blessed with the gift of imagination. I had the honor of meeting him once very briefly in Crystal City, Virginia, at Forry Ackerman's 1993 Famous Monsters convention. We both shared a long friendship with Robert Bloch. One of my proudest possessions is a photograph taken of the three of us at that wonderful convention. His sensitivity and grace dwelt in the ethereal, as evidenced by the haunting vocal soliloquy voiced by Robert Scott Carey during the unforgettable final moments of "The Incredible Shrinking Man..."

"I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. That existence begins and ends is man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away, and in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And, then, I meant something too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist."

In your vast majesty of creation, Mr. Matheson, you still exist. Your words shall continue to breathe life into this often drab, mortal plane of creative thought and energy for as long as meaning and beauty endure. To God, there is no zero. You shall ever continue to our hearts, and in our thoughts. Rest well, for true existence has only just begun...Somewhere In Time. --Steve Vertlieb"

And this other one, beautifully expressed:

"Sometime last year while channel surfing I flipped to a repeat of FAMILY GUY just in time to see the credit flash onscreen 'based on a story by Richard Matheson'. I think I scared the neighbors with my joyful shout of disbelief. Even FAMILY GUY knows! This one hurts, really hurts. 1950s, '60s, '70s, '80s, all through what I guess you could call the Best Times for Monster Kids, Matheson was there. You saw his name, you knew. You smiled. Maybe your heart even beat a little faster. And you watched. I loved his short stories and novels, but his name on a movie, or a TV episode, that was really something. Once you realized his name kept showing up on your favorite movies, TV episodes, you wanted to shout that name to the heavens-- you wanted to let your friends know that he was the guy who wrote that TWILIGHT ZONE or STAR TREK or DUEL, or... For Richard Matheson you wanted to be an apostle." Many more are here (where those above, appeared):

…in going to the above link, you will be very moved to see how profoundly Matheson's works touched people, for decades. His works thrilled, chilled and made audiences think.

What I think is totally beautiful is that Richard is probably the ONLY writer ever to bridge, with the gamut of his writing, the worlds of science fiction, horror and love/romance/fantasy (--and now a stage Musical--) in such a way as to inspire Passion for his works. Though many of his novels, short stories, TV programs and movies are beloved by fans everywhere, Somewhere in Time is the only one that has inspired a Fan Society, and annual events to honor and celebrate it.

Our sympathies and condolences are sent to his wife Ruth, and the entire Matheson family.

It is very sad that Richard did not get to see the Somewhere in Time Musical, in its World Premiere in Portland. But it hopefully will become yet another revival of his creations, that will live on into the distant future.

Farewell, Dear Richard…we will miss you, but continue to cherish and laud your works.

Friends -- You are invited to send me posts of your feelings on Matheson's passing:

for possible inclusion in the INSITE fan society publication. 1st Quarter 2013 INSITE issue will include a tribute article to him. This information is now on the News section of the Somewhere in Time Web Site.

Yours in time,
Jo Addie
INSITE President/Editor

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's with the Transporter Effect,anyway?

One thing I forgot to say in my review of Star Trek Into Darkness yesterday is that the transporter effect sucked. It looked ridiculous.

Bring back the transporter effect from Star Trek TOS which at least made visual sense.

And back to Star Trek Into Darkness, where Dr. Marcus is being beamed off the Enterprise...once she started being beamed up she shouldn't have been able to move!

Original Star Trek. The "beam up" occurs within their bodies
The new version. What in the world?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness - a review with spoilers

Star Trek: The Original Series is one of my favorite TV series...and the only one of the franchise that I cared for. (I had wanted to like Star Trek: TNG, but in the second episode, a kind of take off on Journey To Babel, Picard is kidnapped from the ship. While he's gone, two groups of alien diplomats hunt each other with intent to kill. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that one alien has succeeded in killing the other and eating him! This would be a disastrous thing if it were to happen in real life! But here it was treated as comic relief. Picard returns to the ship, finds out what happened, and tells Ryker casually to deal with it.)  So I stopped watching it after that.) [edit: Title was "The Lonely Among Us." 7th ep filmed...but I'm sure I saw it right after the first ep aired]

So, Kirk, to me, is William Shatner, and Spock is Leonard Nimoy, and Scotty is James Doohan, and so on and so on.

When the first Star Trek "reboot" movie came out, I didn't go to see it. I didn't really want to see Into Darkness, either, but my mom wanted to see it and I took her.

And I actually enjoyed it, for the most part. Chris Pine looks like a young William Shatner, except with blue instead of hazel eyes (in fact, most of the actors had brilliant blue eyes...I wonder if they were wearing contacts). The back-and-forth between Kirk and Spock was great and had perfect timing.

Uhuru being turned into Spock's girlfriend?  Um...Spock...with no emotions until Pon-farr?

The one scene that really irritated me was when Uhuru, Spock and Kirk are heading down to Kronos. Uhuru is upset with Spock because when he goes down into the volcano at the beginning of the movie to set off a cryo-bomb to freeze the lava and save a planet, he had dared to not think about her! (He's trying to save a planet, but he's supposed to stop and tell her he loves her and he's sorry if he dies because he knows how upset she'll be?)

Of course the scene is important because Spock talks about not fearing death, which is mirrored at the end of the movie - or rather the penultimate scenes, where Kirk is dying and he asks Spock how to not be afraid.  (I can't imagine WIlliam Shatner's Kirk ever confessing to being afraid of dying...but Pine did it well.)

Some of the movie was silly...things set up just to make it easy to cause problems.

In the "teaser" at the beginning of the movie, the Enterprise crew is investigating a primitive planet. So why why why does the Enterprise have to be under the ocean to avoid detection????  Made no sense. Although I suppose it was to show that yes the Enterprise could enter a planet's atmosphere without being burned to a cinder... (it would have made sense if it was just the saucer portion, I suppose - which is detachable...but the whole ship????)

Another example, it would take more than a day to get from Earth to Kronos, the Klingon home world. At the end of the movie, Kahn's ship has been decimated by torpedoes, yet it's apparently functional enough to get him back to earth - and able to withstand an entry into Earth's atmosphere!!!!!

And all of a sudden the Enterprise is there too, apparently having following Kahn's ship.

So that was a bit of a puzzlement.

But it gives Zachary Quinto's Spock a chance to kick butt. (And for Uhuru to beam down - and for another blooper - Scotty is able to stun Kahn when they are on the ship, but Uhuru shoots him four times and he's hardly effected?)

Cumberbatch makes a delightful villain - loved the voice - but he overacts a couple of times. And what is it with a Britisher playing Noonien Singh? Shouldn't it have been an Oriental of some kind, or at least a Mexican actor in homage to Ricardo Montalban?

Simon Pegg as Scotty was okay...but didn't really suit the role. They actually had an actual Russian playing Checkov...but since when does Checkov know anything about engines? Of course it was necessary for Scotty to be off the ship so that he could do.. well, I won't spoil what he does...

Loved the guy playing Dr. McCoy, too. Did a very good DeForest Kelly.

Sulu also gets a few scenes, but of course most of the film is given over to Kirk and Spock.

The music was pretty good...especially at the very end where they reprised the original Star Trek theme...although without the female vocalist's ululating voice which I think they should have had.

So, I think I'll have to get the first film....

This is an interesting take on the movie from the blog, Soul of Star Trek, which I found pretty interesting.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Experience the Enterprise: IndieGoGo Fund Raising

Here's the link:

Here's the details:
(I share only a portion of the info on the page below.  Go to the page to read the entire thing and make a donation if you wish to.)

For generations fans have seen Star Trek on television and film. They've watched as heroes battled on an epic and galactic scale; fighting for the Federation's very survival against such unrelenting foes as the Romulans, Klingons and the Borg. But that’s all they've done.
Audiences sat back in their living rooms or an overpriced seat at the movies and watched; with essentially nothing more than a view from a window. They were left wanting… yearning for something personal to experience the final frontier. Dreaming of walking onto the bridge and sitting in the big chair. With your help that very experience may come true!
Huston Huddleston’s New Starship Project want to bring the next generation to the very heart of Trekdom at this year’s Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. For the first time anywhere, all six pieces of the restored USS Enterprise-D bridge will be available to the fans. Put on your Starfleet best, sit in the Captains chair, and let yourself boldly go where you've always wanted to go before.
Live the final frontier... Experience the Enterprise!
We need your help to make it so. We are starting up an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money necessary to transport this piece of living history to the dealer floor of the Rio Hotel for the Official Las Vegas Convention on August 8-11, 2013.
We simply can’t do this without you. One of the great things that set Star Trek fans apart from other science fiction and fantasy lovers is their sense of community. We share, we love, we live, and we embolden ourselves to share our passion with those we care about or the random passerby on the street ‘cause everyone needs to be aware of this incredible franchise! THIS is your chance to share the living Star Trek experience with a few thousand family members.
If warm fuzzies and a sincere pat on the back for a job well done are not enough to keep your warp engines humming then thank "Q" for all that motivation Perkslisted over there on the right. For as little as $10 "Hailing Frequencies Open!" as we blast your name (if provided) across our websites, on live radio, and partnering podcasts. For gaming fans, team up with your favorite crew members of STOked Radio and Priority One podcasts to go On Screen! for an Elite Special Task Force run through the popular game Star Trek Online. For convention attendees, there’s even a chance to play from the bridge itself. The real meets the surreal for some Trek on Trek action… only in Las Vegas!
You Have the Conn! is one of the fan-favorite perks as you become our VIP for your very own photo-op in the big chair. Skip to the front of the line, hear your name praised as you set foot onto the iconic 1701-D bridge and slink down into the captain’s seat. We’re pretty sure we won’t need to remind you to smile for your picture. That’s right, the smiles are all free. Have a burning question to ask? Contributors to this level can record their question in person or over the internet.
If that’s not enough and you still wish to boldly go a little bit more we start making you famous. You’re important, you have things to say, fandom to express… and we are happy to help you get the word out. We offer on-air packages ranging from a guest spot on your favorite podcast in I’d Pay $60 for That! to a full hour appearance as a special guest DJ live on air in Bless You Scotty, Go Sulu! - Your playlists, your opinions, and your show!
Your security clearance has been upgraded to Captain. Command Codes Verified! for another Infected Conduit run through Star Trek Online. On this level gamers also get 50 Cryptic Master Keys or 5000 Zen (choose only one option). Additionally, you will receive a personalized isolinear chip courtesy of New Starship to commemorate the occasion. A picture of the isolinear chip can be viewed in the gallery section of the campaign.
For those truly dedicated to bringing the Enterprise experience to life, the entire transmission booth crew will take you and a guest out to dinner as part of your Admiral on the Bridge! contribution. Additionally, you will receive a beautiful, laser-etched bridge plaque straight from New Starship to commemorate the occasion. A picture of the wall plaque can be viewed in the gallery section of the campaign.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Steve Vertlieb's Tribute to Ray Harryhausen

New at The Thunder Child, check it out!

Steve Vertlieb knew Harryhausen for several decades.

Included in the article are three never-before-seen photos of Harryhausen, courtesy of producer Arnold Kunert.

It's time to SEO The Thunder Child

My sf & f webzine, The Thunder Child, has been languishing in readership for about a year.

I haven't had time to do anything about it, let alone find out *what* to do about it, until I heard all the brouhaha about Google's Penguin 2.0 update from a couple of weeks ago.

That brought the subject back to my mind and I figured I'd better start taking some active steps to get The Thunder Child (the name of the ironclad ram that sacrificed itself to rescue some refugees from the Martians in HG Wells' War of the Worlds, for anybody who does not immediately recognize the reference!) back on top of Google.

So I was browsing Amazon and came across M.R. Vullhorst's book, On Page SEO. I figured I'd better get my site up to snuff before I do anything else. So, I bought it. And I thought it was pretty good. Brought home to me what I'd suspected - it doesn't matter how much content you've got on your site, if you're not always adding new stuff, search engines tend to penalize you.

(On that note, stay tuned for a new article from Steve Vertlieb on his friendship with the late, great Ray Harryhausen, which will be available later tonight.)

Anyway, if you've got a website, check out On Page SEO (from 0 to Page 1). (Oh, should I say I was influenced in my purchase by that cool cover? I love cherry red Ferraris!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Want to learn how to SEO your own website?

These guys look pretty interesting. They say they offer the best SEO training course on the web. is their blog...I like what they had to say about Google's recent Penguin update!

Folks who only used white hat SEO had no need to worry!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

'After Earth' offers up dark future for humanity

From NBC Science: 'After Earth' offers up dark future for humanity

The Earth is a pretty bleak place for humans in the new science fiction movie, "After Earth."
Set 1,000 years in the future, "After Earth" depicts a future in which humanity is forced to abandon Earth in search of a new home. The remnants of the human race travel to and resettle on Nova Prime — a fictional planet located light-years away from Earth.

Although the film makers do take plenty of liberties with the science of the movie, the plot is more possible than ever before, Gary Whitta, one of the film's screenwriters, says.

"There are increasingly alarming reports in the news where we're getting closer and closer to this tipping point," Whitta told "It seems more and more real. … Apocalyptic fantasies like this that would have seemed very, very extreme and unbelievable even 20 years ago are starting to seem worryingly plausible now."

In "After Earth," the Earth starts to transform itself into a place where humanity can no longer live. The planet basically becomes toxic to mankind, Whitta said. The Earth protects itself by removing humanity from the equation, Whitta added.

The screenwriter's solution for the issues humanity faces on Earth in the film hinge upon becoming a two planet species by traveling to Nova Prime. It's possible that in the in the distant future, that science fiction could become a reality, Whitta added.

"I certainly think that in the long term there's going to have to be some sort of colonial future for humanity," Whitta said.

Years before the beginning of the movie — which focuses on Will Smith and Jaden Smith as a father and son who crash-landed back on Earth — humanity built "generation ships" that delivered the descendants of the original space-traveling earthlings to Nova Prime.

"It's set a little bit in the future so that we are at a point in our technological evolution where we can leave, we don't have to stay here and die and so we construct these arks and we go off into space to try someplace else to live," Whitta said.

While Will Smith — who stars in the movie with his son Jaden Smith — developed the general idea for the film, Whitta was called in to help him bring it to life. The screenwriter added a science fiction element to the movie that was missing from Smith's basic idea.

Although it might seem like a depressing fantasy, Whitta thinks that people are drawn to these kinds of apocalyptic movies for a reason.

"It's just kind of a strangely masochistic part of human nature where we seem to enjoy fantasizing about our own destruction," Whitta said.

"After Earth" is set for release in the United States on May 31.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Musique Fantastique

Creature Features published  the wholly rewritten, revised and expanded 2nd edition of Musique Fantastique: 100 Years of Fantasy, Science Fiction & Horror Film Music by noted film music writer, Randall D. Larson. The first book (of four separate books) that make up the new edition was released in September as a limited edition trade paperback and an ebook. The remaining three volumes will be released later in 2013.

When it was published in 1985 by Scarecrow Press, Randall D. Larson’s Musique Fantastique: A Survey of Film Music in the Fantastic Cinema was the first book-length analytical commentary of these genres of film music. Out of print, elusive, and sought after for many years, Musique Fantastique has been regarded as a unique and important reference work for students and enthusiasts of both film music and fantastic films.

The first extensive analysis of music in science fiction, fantasy an horror films, Larson’s exhaustive commentary covered the use and techniques of music in these genre films from the silent era and the groundbreaking Golden Age of the 30s, and 40s, through the rise of electronics and the resurgence of symphonic film music in the late 70s and early 80s. Taking the approach that film music has an especially unique responsibility in these genre films and has achieved significant advances in musical style and form in these genres, Larson examined in detail how music has been used to intensify the film-going experience in these types of movies.

In this 2nd edition, Randall has significantly expanded his in-depth coverage of the subject, from the silent era through the summer blockbusters of 2012. Featuring a new introduction by film composer Christopher Young, Musique Fantastique, 2nd edition, is a massive, four-book comprehensive examination of music for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror films and television worldwide.

Author Larson said, “The explosion in genre product in cinema and television over the last two decades has demanded an extension of my original discussion to see where film music in these genres has gone since 1985. I’ve also got a much better opportunity to write about these films, having written about film music for more than a quarter century. I’m not a musicologist and you won’t find a lot of discussion about musical theory and technique in Musique Fantastique II. What you will find is analysis about music’s dramatic function and purpose and what has been and remains unique about music for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films.

Table of Contents of Volume 1
Introduction by Christopher Young
1. Overture
2. Beginnings
3. Universal's Monsters & Other Old Friends
4. Time AFter Timer: The Fantastic Voyages of Miklos Rosza
5. Fantasy Film Music of the 30s and 40s
6. The Quiet Horror Muic of RoyWebb
7. The Music From Another World: Whimsy and Invasion in Dimitri Tiomkin's Film Music
8. Big Bugs & Outer Space: Sci-Fi Music in the Explosive 1950s
9. Giant Invasions: Monster Music in the Land of the Rising Sun, 1954-1985
10. Amazing Stories from the Twilight Zone: Fantasy & Sci Fi Music for TElevision, part 1
11. Appendix: Classical Music in Fantastic Film Scores
Index of Film Titles
Index of Names

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

5-4-3-2-1: Thunderbirds take Gerry Anderson skyword

From Wikipedia

Gerry Anderson, MBE (born Gerald Alexander Abrahams; 14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) was an English publisher, producer, director, and writer, famous for his futuristic television programmes, particularly those involving supermarionation, working with modified marionettes.
Anderson's first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children's series The Adventures of Twizzle. Supercar (1961 – 62) and Fireball XL5 (1962) followed later, both series breaking into the large U. S. television market in the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s Anderson produced his most famous and successful series, Thunderbirds. Other television productions of the 1960s include Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. His production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed Century 21 Productions, was originally formed with partners Arthur Provis, Reg Hill and John Read.
Anderson also wrote and produced several feature films, although these did not perform as well as expected at the box office. Following a successful shift towards live action productions in the 1970s, his long and highly successful association with Lew Grade's ITC (Incorporated Television Company) ended with the second series of Space: 1999. After a career lull when a number of new series concepts failed to get off the ground, his career began a new phase in the early 1980s when audience nostalgia for his earlier Supermarionation series (prompted by Saturday morning re-runs in Britain) led to new Anderson productions being commissioned. Later projects include a 2005 CGI remake of Captain Scarlet entitled Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet.
Anderson had no involvement in the film Thunderbirds (2004), a live-action adaptation of his TV series. His ex-wife Sylvia Anderson served as a consultant on the project. Over the years, various British comics have featured strips based on Anderson's creations. These started with TV Comic during the early 1960s, followed by TV Century 21 and its various sister publications: Lady Penelope, TV Tornado, Solo and Joe 90. In the 1970s there was Countdown (later renamed TV Action). There were also tie-in annuals that were produced each year featuring Anderson's TV productions.

Life and work

Early life

Gerald Alexander Abrahams was born in the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Obstetric Hospital in Bloomsbury, London, and spent the early years of his life in Kilburn,[1] and Neasden,[2] London. He was educated at Kingsgate infants school in Kilburn and Braintcroft junior and senior schools in Neasden.
Anderson won a scholarship to Willesden County Grammar School.[3] His parents were Deborah (née Leonoff) and Joseph Abrahams.
Anderson's Jewish paternal grandfather had the surname of Bieloglovski. He fled from an area near the Russian-Polish border and then settled in London, England. His name was changed by a British immigration official to "Abrahams" when he arrived in 1895. Anderson's mother Deborah changed their name to "Anderson" in 1939 because she liked the sound of this name.
When World War II broke out, Gerry Anderson's older brother Lionel volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force, and he was stationed in the United States of America for advanced training. Lionel often wrote letters to his family, and in one letter he described a U.S. Army Air Forces air base called Thunderbird Field, the name of which stuck in his younger brother's memory.
Gerry Anderson began his career in photography, and after the war he earned a traineeship with the British Colonial Film Unit. He developed an interest in film editing and moved on to Gainsborough Pictures, where he gained further experience.
In 1947, he was conscripted for national service with the RAF. After completing his military service, he returned to Gainsborough, where he worked until the studio folded in 1950. He worked freelance on a succession of feature films.[4]

Marriage and family

During this period he married Betty Wrightman, and they had two children, Joy and Linda.[4]
During the production of Twizzle, Anderson began an affair with the secretary Sylvia Thamm and eventually left his wife and children. Following their divorce, Anderson married Thamm in November 1960, while he was working on Four Feather Falls.

Start of television career

In the mid-1950s, Anderson joined the independent television production company Polytechnic Studios, as a director, where he met cameraman Arthur Provis. After Polytechnic collapsed, Anderson, Provis, Reg Hill and John Read formed Pentagon Films in 1957. Pentagon was wound up soon after and Anderson and Provis formed a new company, AP Films, for Anderson-Provis Films, with Hill and Read as their partners. Anderson continued his freelance directing work to obtain funds to maintain the fledgling company.
AP Films' first television venture was produced for Granada Television. Created by Roberta Leigh, The Adventures of Twizzle (1957–1958) was a series for young children about a doll with the ability to 'twizzle' his arms and legs to greater lengths. It was Anderson's first work with puppets, and the start of his long and successful collaborations with puppeteer Christine Glanville, special effects technician Derek Meddings and composer/arranger Barry Gray. It was Anderson's desire to move into live-action television.[5]
The Adventures of Twizzle was followed by another low budget puppet series with Leigh, Torchy the Battery Boy (1958–1959). Although the APF puppet productions made the Andersons world famous, Gerry Anderson was always unhappy about working with puppets. He used them primarily to get "a foot in the door" with TV networks, hoping to have them serve as a stepping stone to his goal of making live action film and TV drama.
AP Films' third series was the children's western fantasy-adventure series Four Feather Falls (1959 – 60). Provis left the partnership, working once again with Roberta Leigh on Space Patrol, but the company retained the name "AP Films" for several more years. Four Feather Falls was the first Anderson series to use an early version of the so-called Supermarionation process, though this term had yet to be used.
Despite APF's success with Four Feather Falls, Granada did not commission another series from them, so Anderson took up the offer to direct a film for Anglo-Amalgamated Studios. Crossroads to Crime was a low-budget B-grade crime thriller and although Anderson hoped that its success might enable him to move into mainstream film-making, it failed at the box office.
By this time, APF was in financial trouble and the company was struggling to find a buyer for their new puppet series. They were rescued by a fortuitous meeting with Lew Grade, the ATV boss who offered to buy the show. This began a long friendship and a very successful professional association between the two men.

Sylvia Anderson's increased role

AP Films logo
The new series, Supercar, (1960 – 61) was created by Anderson and Reg Hill and marked several important advances for APF. Sylvia Anderson took on a larger role and became a partner in the company. The series was also the official debut of Supermarionation, the electronic system that made the marionettes more lifelike and convincing on screen. The system used the audio signal from the pre-recorded tapes of the actors' voices to trigger solenoids installed in the heads of the puppets, making their lips to move in synchronization with the voices of the actors and actresses.
One of Anderson's most successful ventures was inaugurated during the production of Supercar—the establishment of AP Films (Merchandising) Ltd, a separate company set up to handle the licensing of merchandising rights for APF properties; it was headed by Keith Shackleton (not the wildlife artist and TV presenter of the same name), a long time friend of Anderson's from their National Service days.
APF's innovative merchandising made them a world leader in the field, and they licensed a huge range of toys, books, magazines and related items. The worldwide popularity of their TV shows was coupled with astute marketing, and the combination made APF one of the most successful merchandising ventures of the decade. The die-cast metal toys from series such as Thunderbirds were very popular at the time, and they now number among the most collectible toys of their kind. Models from almost all their series have been produced ever since by companies throughout the world, notably in Japan, where the TV series by Anderson have a dedicated following.
The next series by APF was the futuristic space adventure Fireball XL5 (1962) and it was the company's biggest success yet, becoming the first Anderson series sold to an American TV network, NBC-TV. Around this time Anderson also saw his Supermarionation style attract imitators, most notably Space Patrol which used similar techniques. It was made by several former employees of Anderson. Produced in 1962, the 39-episode series debuted on British television in April 1963, and it was later broadcast in America and Canada.
After the completion of Fireball XL5, Lew Grade offered to buy AP Films. Although Anderson was initially reluctant, the deal eventually went ahead, with Grade becoming the managing director, and the Andersons, Hill, and Read becoming directors of the company.
Shortly after the buy-out, APF began production on a new puppet series, Stingray (1964), the first British children's TV series to be filmed in colour. For the new production APF moved to new studios in Slough, Berkshire. The new and bigger facilities allowed them to make major improvements in special effects, notably in the underwater sequences, as well as advances in puppetry, with the use of a variety of interchangeable heads for each character to convey different expressions.


APF's next project for ATV was inspired by a mining disaster that occurred in West Germany in October 1963. This real-life drama inspired Anderson to create a new programme format about a rescue organisation, which eventually became his most famous and popular series, Thunderbirds (1964–1966). The dramatic title was inspired by the letter Anderson's older brother Lionel had written to his family during World War II.
Grade was very enthusiastic about the concept and agreed to back a series of 25-minute episodes (the same length as Stingray), so the Andersons scripted a pilot episode, "Trapped in the Sky," and began production. Gerry initially wanted actress Fenella Fielding to perform the voice of Lady Penelope, but Sylvia convinced her husband to let her play the role. Thunderbirds also marked the start of a long professional association with actor Shane Rimmer, who voiced Scott Tracy.
Production on Thunderbirds had been underway for several months when Grade saw the completed 25-minute version of "Trapped in the Sky." He was so excited by the result that he insisted that the episodes be extended to fifty minutes. With a substantial increase in budget, the production was restructured to expand episodes already filmed or in pre-production, and create new 50-minute scripts for the remainder. Grade and others were so convinced that Thunderbirds would be a success that a feature-film version of the series was proposed even before the pilot episode went to air. At this approximate time, APF was renamed Century 21 Productions.
After APF was renamed Century 21 Productions, it enjoyed its greatest success with Thunderbirds, and the series made the Andersons world-famous. The 32-episode series was not initially successful in the United States because it was only given a limited release, although it later became hugely successful in syndication. But it was a major hit with young audiences in the UK, Australia and other countries and retains a huge and dedicated international following that spans several generations.
Unfortunately, during the production of Thunderbirds, the Andersons' marriage began to come under increasing strain, and the company also had a setback when the Thunderbirds Are GO feature film flopped. According to interviews published since, Anderson has said that he considered divorce, but this was halted when Sylvia announced that she was pregnant. Their son, Gerry Anderson Jr., was born in July 1967.
By that time, production had started on a new series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967), which saw the advent of more realistic puppet characters which, thanks to improvements in electronics which allowed miniaturisation of the lip-sync mechanisms, could now be built closer to normal human proportions.
Century 21's second feature film, Thunderbird 6, was an even bigger failure than the first, and the problems were compounded by their next (and penultimate) Supermarionation series, Joe 90 (1968). This series returned to more 'kid-friendly' territory, depicting the adventures of a young boy who is also a secret agent and whose scientist father uses a supercomputer called 'BIG RAT' which can 'program' Joe with special knowledge and abilities for his missions. Its relatively poor reception made it the last of the classic Anderson marionette shows.
On 29 August 2008, it was announced by UK Newspaper The Sun that plans had been formed to make a new computer generated series of Thunderbirds. Gerry Anderson started talks with ITV for the rights to the original series.[6]

Live action

Anderson's next project took the special effects expertise built up over previous TV projects and combined it with live action. Century 21's third feature film, Doppelgänger (1969) (aka Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) was a dark, Twilight Zone style sci-fi project about an astronaut who travels to a newly discovered planet on the opposite side of the sun, which proves to be an exact mirror-image of Earth. It starred American actor Roy Thinnes, famed at the time for his role as the protagonist in the American television series The Invaders. Although it was not a major commercial success, Doppelganger was nominated for an Academy Award for its superb special effects.
Century 21's return to television was the abortive series The Secret Service, which this time mixed live action with Supermarionation. The series was inspired by Anderson's love of British comedian Stanley Unwin, who was known for his nonsense language, 'Unwinese', which he created and used on radio, in film and most famously on the 1968 Small Faces LP Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. Despite Anderson's track record and Unwin's popularity, the series was cancelled before its first screening; Lew Grade considered that it would be incomprehensible to American audiences, and thus unsellable.
In 1969 the Andersons began production of a new TV series, UFO, Century 21's first full live-action television series. This sci-fi action-adventure series starred American-born actor George Victor "Edward" Bishop, who had also provided the voice of Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons, as Commander Edward Straker, head of a secret defence organisation set up to counter an alien invasion. UFO was decidedly more adult in tone than any of the previous puppet series, and it mixed the classic Century 21 futuristic action-adventure and special effects with some very serious dramatic elements. UFO was the last series made under the Century 21 Productions banner.

Unfilmed James Bond script

During production of UFO, Gerry Anderson was approached directly by Harry Saltzman (at the time co-producer of the James Bond film series with Albert "Cubby" Broccoli), and was invited to write and produce the next film in the series, which was to be Moonraker.[7] Collaborating with Tony Barwick to provide the characterisation, whilst he himself focused on the action sequences, Anderson wrote and delivered a treatment to Saltzman. Nothing ultimately came of it, and Broccoli and Saltzman proceeded to make Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Live and Let Die (1973) and, after co-producing 1974's Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, the Saltzman-Broccoli partnership dissolved. Offered £20,000 for the treatment, Anderson refused, fearing that if he accepted he would not be at the helm when it was made; the next Bond film to be made was 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. (This film used only the title of the actual Ian Fleming novel.) Anderson started legal proceedings against Broccoli for plagiarism of story elements but withdrew the action shortly after, nervous of the legal might lined up against him.[citation needed] He relinquished the treatment, and received £3,000 in compensation.[citation needed] A film version of Moonraker was eventually produced in 1979, but did not involve any of Anderson's material, although the special effects were supervised by Derek Meddings, who had spent his early years working for Anderson's Supermarionation programmes.

After Century 21

By the time UFO concluded, the relationship between the Andersons had deteriorated. Although produced under the aegis of a new company, Group Three Productions (the three being both of the Andersons and Reg Hill), Gerry decided not to work with his wife on his next project, the ITC action series The Protectors. It was one of Anderson's few non-original projects. Lew Grade himself was heavily involved in the programme, and cast both the lead actors, Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn Porter. The production was difficult for Anderson, who clashed with the famously difficult Vaughn.[8] There were also many logistical problems arising from the Europe-wide filming of the show, but it was very successful in both the UK and America and its theme song "Avenues and Alleyways" became a hit record in the UK for singer Tony Christie. It was also the first live-action series produced by Anderson to survive to a second season.

Space: 1999

Following The Protectors, Anderson worked on several new projects, none of which he was able to take into production. A proposed second series of UFO was not undertaken, and a return to puppetry in the television pilot for a series called The Investigator, failed to find a buyer. Elements of the abandoned second series of UFO were eventually turned into what became the most expensive television series ever made in that era of entertainment, Space: 1999.
Another futuristic science-fiction adventure, it was based on the premise that a huge thermonuclear explosion on the Moon's surface (caused by the storage of nuclear waste there) projected the Moon out of orbit and into interplanetary space. This TV series starred the American husband-and-wife duo of actors Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. These two had gained international fame in the TV series Mission: Impossible. They were cast at the insistence of Grade, and against Sylvia Anderson's strenuous objections.[citation needed]

Separation from Sylvia Anderson

The Andersons' marriage broke down irrevocably during the first series of Space: 1999 in 1975; Gerry announced his intention to separate on the evening of the wrap party.[9][10] Sylvia severed her ties with Group Three, and to alleviate his financial plight, Gerry Anderson sold his share of the profits from the APF/Century 21 shows and their holiday home in Portugal to Lew Grade in return for a one-off payment. It was a decision he later bitterly regretted because he could not have then foreseen the huge value the shows would have when eventually released on home video.
Between making the two series of Space: 1999, Anderson produced a one-off television special, The Day After Tomorrow (also known as Into Infinity), about two spacefaring families en route to Alpha Centauri, for an NBC series of programmes illustrating current scientific theory for popular consumption. While making this project Anderson met Mary Robins, a secretary working at the studios; they began a relationship and were married in April 1981.
Space: 1999 was successful enough that a second series went into production in 1976 with American producer Fred Freiberger brought in to replace Sylvia Anderson. Freiberger was known for producing the final season of the original Star Trek. Under Freiberger the series underwent a number of cast and cosmetic changes which to this day inspire debate as to their merits or lack thereof. According to The Space: 1999 Documentary, produced by Kindred Productions for Fanderson, the second series was successful enough that a third almost happened; however, the documentary features Martin Landau stating that the idea was killed because Lew Grade needed money to help finance and promote his pet feature film project Raise The Titanic. Consequently, the budget that would have paid for the third series was redirected into that movie project (which subsequently flopped at the box office). However, given that Raise The Titanic did not enter production until 1979 (and was not promoted and released until the following year), it is more likely that the money that would otherwise have financed a third season of Space: 1999 instead financed the production of ITC's Return of the Saint series. Space: 1999 marked the end of Anderson's association with ATV.
By the late 1970s, Anderson's life and career was at a low point—he was in financial difficulty, found it hard to get work, and perhaps most devastatingly, became estranged from his young son after receiving a note written by him stating that he did not want to see Gerry any more. Anderson suspected that Sylvia was behind this, but there was little he could do, and he would have no contact with his son for over twenty years.


In 1981, episodes of many of Anderson's Supermarionation series were combined and edited together as films. These aired under the title Super Space Theatre.
In the early 1980s, Anderson formed a new partnership, Anderson Burr Pictures Ltd, with businessman Christopher Burr. The new company's first production was based on an unrealised concept devised by Anderson in the late seventies for a Japanese cartoon series. Terrahawks marked Anderson's return to working with puppets, but rather than marionettes this series used a new system dubbed 'Supermacromation' which used highly sophisticated glove puppets—an approach undoubtedly inspired by the great advances in this form of puppetry made by Jim Henson and his colleagues.
It featured another reuse of the Captain Scarlet/UFO formula of a secret organisation defending against aliens. Terrahawks ran successfully from 1983 to 1986 in the UK and only fell short of a four year American syndication deal by one season when the show was cancelled, scrapping attempts at making it more well known. Terrahawks retains a cult following to this day, regarded by some as being at times a "black comedy" version of many of Anderson's older series in addition to being a straight science fiction series. In equal contrast, however, it is regarded by some fans as an unwise rehash of many of the visual concepts of Thunderbirds, and on only a fraction of the Thunderbirds budget. Anderson has claimed on record that he would rather forget the show.
Anderson hoped to continue his renewed success with a series called Space Police a new show mixing live-action and puppets. The Space Police name had already been registered by another company, so Anderson's programme eventually emerged in 1995 as Space Precinct. A pilot film had previously been made with Shane Rimmer, but it took almost ten years to get the concept to the screen. In the meantime, Anderson and Burr produced the cult stop-motion animated series Dick Spanner, which enjoyed many showings on the British Channel 4 in the late eighties and early nineties. It was the final project completed by Anderson Burr. Anderson then joined the Moving Picture Company as a commercials director, and provided special effects direction for the hit musical comedy Return to the Forbidden Planet.


The cult appeal of Thunderbirds and the other Supermarionation series grew steadily over the years and was celebrated by comedy and stage productions such as the hit two-man stage revue Thunderbirds FAB. In the early nineties, ITC began releasing home video versions of the Supermarionation shows, and the profile of the shows was further enhanced by productions such as the Dire Straits music video for their single Calling Elvis, which was made as an affectionate Thunderbirds pastiche (with Anderson co-producing), and by Lady Penelope and Parker appearing in a successful series of UK advertisements for an insurance company.
In 1991 Gerry asked journalist and author Simon Archer to write his biography, following an interview by the latter for a series of articles for Century 21 magazine. In September that year in the UK, BBC2 began a repeat showing of Thunderbirds, which rivalled the success of its original run a generation before. This was also surprisingly the series' network television premiere, having never been shown nationally by ITV. It became so popular in Britain that toy manufacturers Matchbox were unable to keep up with the demand for the Tracy Island playset, leading children's show Blue Peter to broadcast a segment showing children how to construct their own. The fan base for the Anderson shows was now worldwide and growing steadily, and Anderson found himself in demand for personal and media appearances.
In response to this greater demand Anderson performed a successful one-man show in 1992, which Archer had written and constructed. Entitled An Evening with Gerry Anderson, it took the form of an illustrated lecture in which he talked about his career, and his most popular shows. He also made numerous media and personal appearances to tie in with revivals and video cassette releases of Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90.
Anderson was interviewed for the BBC's 1993 Doctor Who documentary, "Thirty Years in the TARDIS". He joked that, despite his career of making children's programming, the "real tragedy of my life" was that his own son Jamie (appearing with him) was a Doctor Who fanatic.
By 1993 Archer published the trivia book "Gerry Anderson's FAB Facts".[11] Archer was killed in a car crash on London's orbital M25 motorway on his way to the publishers to collect one of the first print run to present to Anderson, and the book later had to be withdrawn from sale and thousands of copies destroyed as a result of a copyright dispute with ITC America.[12]
The renewed interest enabled Anderson to return to television production, but several projects including GFI (an animated update of Thunderbirds) did not make it into production. Finally, in 1994, Anderson was able to get the long-shelved Space Police project into production as Space Precinct. It was followed by Lavender Castle, a children's sci-fi fantasy series combining stop-motion animation and computer-generated imagery.
In the meantime, the biography, which had been set aside since Archer's death, had been picked up again and was completed by Stan Nicholls from Archer's original notes and manuscript, finally being published in 1996 shortly before Lavender Castle went into production.
Around this time Anderson was reunited with his elder son, Gerry Jr., at which time it was suggested[by whom?] that Sylvia had been responsible for the enforced estrangement. This reinforced Anderson's already powerful feelings of animosity toward his ex-wife.[13]


By December 1999, Anderson was working on plans for a computer animated sequel to Captain Scarlet, and test reels were displayed by Gerry at a few fan conventions. Some of the test sequences from these reels were later available for a period as elements in publicity reels available on the website of the production company engaged to make them (the Moving Picture Company or MPC in Soho, London,[14] where Gerry had previously worked). These early test reels had the visual design and characters looking very much as they had in the original show, although the vehicle designs had been somewhat modernised. Several years after the initial tests the project evolved into the remake Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, by which time the entire appearance had been very much updated. Gerry Anderson was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2001.
Along with his then business partner John Needham, Anderson created another new series entitled Firestorm which was financed by Japanese investors and featured anime style animation. The project was not a happy one for Gerry and other planned shows with other Japanese backers, including Eternity failed to come to fruition. Firestorm sold throughout S.E.Asia but because of its anime style is unlikely to be shown on UK television. Anderson and Needham parted company in 2003.
Anderson was originally approached to be involved in a live-action feature film adaptation of Thunderbirds as far back as 1996,[15] but he was actually turned away by the producers of the 2004 film Thunderbirds, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes, after first being invited to meet with them.[16] He distanced himself overtly from the project, later turning down an offer of $750,000 simply to write an endorsement of the film shortly before its release; Sylvia Anderson, however, did become involved, and she received a "special thanks" credit in the film. Unfortunately, the film itself received poor critical reviews, and it was a box-office failure in America.
Anderson later[where?] praised the execution of the puppet-based political satire Team America: World Police, produced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, which was produced using supermarionation-style effects.
Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet finally premiered in the UK in February 2005. The show cost £23,000,000 to produce, and was the most expensive children's programme ever to be made in the UK.[citation needed] Although many companies invested in producing toys and merchandise, the lack of exposure given to the series by ITV (episodes were incorporated into an existing children's show and shown in two halves, separated by games and adverts) inevitably failed to produce the excitement that accompanied the original series and disappointing sales followed. The accompanying comic lasted only six editions before being scrapped by its publishers. Anderson's displeasure at ITV's handling of the show was widely reported.[citation needed]. The series was subsequently released on DVD, where it found a new audience who were unlikely to have seen it on first screening and is generally regarded as a very worthy re-imagining of the original concept.[original research?]
The year 2005 also saw the 40th Anniversary of Thunderbirds, and a wide range of merchandise was produced to celebrate the event. In 2006, ITV announced it would re-run the entire series on its fledgling CITV Channel, a digital service available on cable, satellite and the Freeview service.
ITV4, another digital channel, also ran repeats of UFO and Space: 1999 up until the end of 2009.
At the end of 2007, Anderson was believed to be working on a new project entitled Lightspeed, about which very little had become publicly known by that time, and on a possible new edition of the UFO series.[citation needed]


In March 2011, Anderson was working with Annix Studios, Pinewood on a new project named "Christmas Miracle" a children's CGI animated feature. It was revealed in June 2012 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.[17]


Gerry Anderson died on 26 December 2012 at the age of 83 after his diagnosis of dementia.[18] The news was announced on his son Jamie's website, he wrote "I'm very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today (26th December 2012), having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83."[19]
Voice actor Matt Zimmerman who voiced Alan Tracy and supporting characters in Thunderbirds spoke to BBC News about Anderson's death praising his work saying "it's a big part of peoples lives" saying also that "people speak of the shows with such affection, and I held Gerry with that kind of affection as well, I am very pleased to have known him and I feel very sorry for Jamie and his wife Mary".[20] David Graham who voiced both Parker and Brains said it was "a very sad day".[21]
Tributes from across the world of television and radio poured in, among them tv presenter Jonathan Ross, DJ Chris Evans, comedian Eddie Izzard and actors Brian Blessed and John Barrowman. Ross tweeted "For men of my age his work made childhood an incredible place to be.". Blessed who worked with Anderson in Space 1999 and The Day After Tomorrow said "I think a light has gone out in the universe, He had a great sense of humour. He wasn’t childish but child-like and he had a tremendous love of the universe and astronomy and scientists."[22]
Fanderson chairman Nick Williams paid tribute to Anderson by saying “To those who met him Gerry was a quiet, unassuming but determined man. His desire to make the best films he could drove him and his talented teams to innovate, take risks, and do everything necessary to produce quite inspirational works. Gerry’s legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world.