Night Vale Presents: “Welcome to Night Vale – Ghost Stories”
Performance Date: April 16, 2016
Location: State Theater in Minneapolis, MN
Created By: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Starring: Cecil Baldwin and Meg Bashwinner
Guest Starring: Symphony Sanders and Molly Quinn
Musical Guest Starring: Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin
Coming as late as I did to the “Welcome to Night Vale” party train, a solid year or so of binge-listening has made me a fervent fan. Described by many as “The Prairie Home Companion” crossed with “The Twilight Zone,” the twice-monthly podcast added a live show element a year after its debut. I had never had the chance to see one of the live shows before, but even without that extra preparation I was super-excited to see the show last night at the State Theater in Minneapolis, Minn.
This doesn’t mean that someone who has never heard any episode of “Welcome to Night Vale” before won’t enjoy the live show. Writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s script for the “Ghost Stories” tour is light on the in-jokes while still being true to the characters who appear. But first, let’s talk about “the weather.” Read the rest of this post »
In: Reviews · Tagged with: Carrie Elkin, Cecil Baldwin, Danny Schmidt, Disparition, live events, Meg Bashwinner, Molly Quinn, Symphony Sanders, Welcome to Night Vale
After a bit of a real life invasion and the fourth episode of “Jessica Jones” as an appetizer, I’m ready to settle in for my next episode of “Daredevil,” and judging from the preview image of Punisher chatting with a bound Daredevil alone, I hope I’m in for a real treat.
- As a further bit of an appetizer, the thought that Marvel Studios is co-opting the “superhero team-up” name which is normally reserved for times when Batman meets Superman (and some of these are also available on Netflix) fills me with a bit of glee. I can only hope that this is as well scripted as the DCU animated adventures were.
- Interesting insight as to what Daredevil dreams about and his super-hearing is on the fritz, where someone pouring water out of a thermos is likened to nuns wringing out a towel.
- Also, yay for Claire! Dare I hope for a Claire/Foggy team-up?
- Also, yay for Matt using his brain and not his fists!
- What’s this new thing that Claire helped with? I’m assuming it’s something in a Jessica Jones episode, but I’m afraid to spoil myself and check. <checks anyway> Okay, nine episodes until I get to see her in JJ. I can wait.
- You’d think I’d have more to say about Daredevil and Frank’s conversation, but I’m feeling very underwhelmed by it.
- Daaaaang. That nameless poor D.A. is good. But nameless. Blake Tower (and your actor, Stephen Rider) you deserve better than that. (And I think I inadvertently spoiled myself on your story arc, too.)
- I kinda want a Foggy spin-off now where he gets to be all awesome and lay the verbal smackdowns. But I think that this spin-off would only be for people like me who enjoy it when lawyers kick verbal ass.
- Also, Karen? One moment of horror, and then she gets to work? Yeah, all the non-powered folks are really hitting my competency porn buttons.
- Okay, so this hallway/stairwell fight is hitting my competency porn buttons, too.
Big talking heads scenes aside, I really don’t think that a lot changed for Matt in this episode. It doesn’t feel like he’s any closer to clarifying his stances as a hero and/or how that’s going to define his life and his friendships. Also, whatever inheritance he got from his father isn’t going to last forever, so he does need to get back to being an attorney and rustle up some real paying clients.
Sometimes I feel like there are two shows in this one, the superhero beat-em up that one half of my brain likes and the really intelligent law procedural that I enjoy as well. Let’s hope that my entire brain will be happy once I’m done watching this series.
In: Reviews · Tagged with: 13 Days of Daredevil, Claire Temple, competency porn, Marvel's Daredevil
I know I skipped a day yesterday, but after the long day at the office, the last thing I wanted to do was to turn on a computer so that I could blog about a Netflix show. Perhaps this could be the only downside to not binge-watching a series, but hey! some of us nerds and geeks have day jobs now… Read the rest of this post »
In: Reviews · Tagged with: 13 Days of Daredevil, Marvel's Daredevil, Netflix
As every Marvel Cinematic Universe fan knows, the second season of Daredevil hit Netflix on Friday, driving many superhero fans indoors over the weekend. I really enjoyed watching the first season at a clip of one episode a day, so rather than binge-watching like many of my friends have decided to do, I’m going to go through these episodes one at a time and let you know my thoughts. And yes, there will definitely be spoilers, but there will also be some caveats as well.
Given that I still haven’t seen “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” Season 3 of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” or either season of “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” I’d appreciate it if any responses to rhetorical questions I have that can be answered by those shows be limited to a simple, “That’s answered elsewhere.” I am caught up on all the Marvel movies, but I haven’t read any of the corresponding comic books; same deal applies.
Enough with the blather, on with the show! Read the rest of this post »
In: Reviews · Tagged with: 13 Days of Daredevil, Marvel's Daredevil, MCU, Netflix
Fight the Future
Hosted by: Dan Saunders and Paul Saunders
First Published: March 30, 2015
Rating: For teens, with light swearing; one episode has a trigger warning
Update Schedule: Fortnightly
Current Status: Final episode airs March 29, 2016 [Updated with new details]
Not long after I published my list of what kinds of works should receive the Geeking Out About… seal of approval for celebrating inclusivity and diversity, I read a notice on the message board for this podcast that it was going to be going to be ending this year. This prompted me to fire off an email to Paul Saunders asking him if I could include the podcast as one of my platform planks because even though I was an infrequent listener (due to my not having read or seen all of the works they were reviewing), I really enjoyed the premise of the podcast and what it was attempting to achieve. His response was to be flattered but wonder if they were even eligible, something about which I was quick to reassure them. And yet, I am totally not surprised to know that was the first reaction from him, seeing as he is a member of my favorite Internet sketch comedy troupe Loading Ready Run.
In: Reviews · Tagged with: Dan Saunders, Fight the Future, Hugo Awards, Loading Ready Run, Paul Saunders, Podcasts, science fiction, YA dystopia fiction
Continuing to go through the Best Fancast Hugo Award eligibility list on this Google Spreadsheet, there’s something I noticed which I thought was interesting: For a category called “Best Fancast,” there are an awful lot of “professionals” on it.
This is not to say that someone who gets paid to write and/or edit and/or create science fiction and/or fantasy works by another company can’t be a fan and talk about the industry, the genre, and/or the people who are involved in it. It does set up a potentially unrealistic expectation about the quality of said works, and/or that the hosts have access to better equipment and a higher caliber of guests or material.
As a result, there’s a chance that as I review these “Best Fancasts” further, I may be a bit more critical of certain shows than others; I certainly hope that’s not the case. So here’s round two of my reviews of Hugo Award-eligible works for “Best Fancast”:
In: Reviews · Tagged with: Hugo Awards, Matt Wallace, Max Temkin, Mur Lafferty, original Doctor Who, Patrick Rothfuss, Podcasts, Toby Hadoke
Finding the time to listen to hour-long episodes of podcasts which are eligible for the 2016 Hugo Awards wasn’t easy for me, but that’s what today’s article is about. The eligibility requirements state that the podcast must be a “non-professional” production—that is, no other company paid the podcaster(s) to make it—and at least one episode has to have been produced during the calendar year in question.
As such, then, I decided to pick one episode from a currently eligible podcast whose description interested me the most and I’ll be basing my recommendations on just the one episode. Unlike the “three episode rule” which I’m borrowing from former GOA contributor Kara Dennison, I think that I’d be able to tell what’s going to be on my nomination and/or platform lists before March 31 from just one episode.
Once again, in no particular order, here are my impressions of podcasts which are currently eligible for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Fancast:
In: Opinion/Editorial, Opinions/Editorials, Reviews · Tagged with: Black Girl Nerds, Hugo Awards, I Don't Even Own a Television, Podcasts
As I’ve mentioned before, I became a sci-fi fan when I was in college. However, even though I was interested in writing sci-fi (and the one short story I’ve had published had been written during this time) I didn’t really get into the world of being a sci-fi writer until I learned who author John Scalzi was, thanks to Wil Wheaton. His writing about what it’s like to be a sci-fi author drew me into wanting to learn more about the fandom and the genre, to the point of where I now actively follow several prominent authors on Twitter and know the names of several more.
When word first broke on how a vocal and reactionary segment of the sci-fi/fantasy fandom managed to rally its supporters over the years into jamming works they liked into the nominations list for the Hugo Awards, culminating in a near-total overrun in 2015, I was amused at how it began, appalled and how it progressed, and ultimately impressed at what they managed to pull off.
Which makes me think that if a group of terrible people can push forwards works they think epitomize the best in science fiction and fantasy, why can’t someone like me who is not completely terrible do the same thing?
Here then are the planks of the first-ever “Geeking Out About…” platform for the 2016 Hugo Awards season: Read the rest of this post »
In: News from the Publisher, Opinions/Editorials · Tagged with: Geeking Out About platform, Hugo Awards
Following up on my last post wherein I said that I’d be reading (or listening to) as many 2016 Hugo Award-eligible works as possible before the nomination deadline, the first thing I did was to set a bookmark for this Google spreadsheet because it seems to be a pretty good place to start when it comes to finding works that were published in 2015 and are eligible to be nominated.
What I like about this spreadsheet is that it’s not curated: If someone read (or listened to, or saw) a piece that was eligible and they think it is a good or great piece, it goes into the spreadsheet. This allows for the most widest possible range of works to be listed and it’s done in a very egalitarian way. There also aren’t any synopses available which means that when you click on a link to a short story, you’re diving right into the work blind without any preconceptions as to what the work is about.
As I started to go through the short stories on the spreadsheet, I soon realized that there’s a vast difference between a piece of work that I like and a piece of work that I think should be nominated for a Hugo Award. It will be pretty easy to tell which stories fall into which categories.
So without further ado and in no particular order, I present to you the first in several reviews of Hugo Award-eligible science fiction short stories:
In: Reviews · Tagged with: Aliette de Bodard, Hugo Awards, Jason Kimble, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Laura Pearlman, nominations, Rhiannon R-S, short stories
As with almost everything genre-related in my life, the reason I became interested this year in reading as many Hugo Award-eligible works as I can before March 28 this year is all thanks to my former college professor Dr. Atara Stein (may you rest in peace).
As a young undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, I had taken her Science Fiction literature class because I’d become interested in learning how other people have written science fiction in the hopes that I would be able to write my own. One of the first things she told us on the first day was that because even the science fiction genre encompassed a wide breadth of topics and themes, we would be focusing on what to her embodied what science fiction was as its very heart: What does it mean to be an intelligent “human”?
Through the clarifying lens of the “artificial intelligence” theme, a partial list of everything I read that school year is as follows: Neuromancer, Frankenstein, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and He, She and It. We also watched the director’s cut versions of Blade Runner and Terminator 2 as well as the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Measure of a Man” (because she was also a secret Trek fanfic writer on the side).
It’s because of her college course that my philosophy about what makes “good” science fiction has to flow from satisfying at least two of these three criteria:
- Does the work examine what it means to be “human” in some extensive way?
- Is a very important part of how the plot and/or setting works tied to the use of technology created by sentient beings?
- It is very improbable that the events in the setting of the book will happen during my lifetime?
This is a rubric which I’ve been following both consciously and sub-consciously my entire life, and it’s the rubric by which I plan to read and critique as many science fiction comics, short stories, novellas, and novels as are eligible for the 2016 Hugo Awards as I can before the nomination deadline of March 31.