Kings

Kings, an NBC seriesbased on the Book of Kings from the Bible, debuted on Sunday night.
It’s an alternate history/world, that much is clear immediately. Kings is set in the fictional country of Gilboa, and its capital of Shiloh. Gilboa is a country that was unified in bloodshed, and quickly established, still beset by the bordering country of Gath. Technology, skylines and the like look modern.
Gilboa is a monarchy headed by King Silas (Ian McShane, the best actor of the bunch, hands down). Chris Egan from Eragon is David Shepherd (get it), who manages to save the King’s son by facing down Goliath…a tank, that is. This propels him into the inner doings of the Palace and the Royal Family. The loving, devoted wife. The activist Princess daughter. The conflicted son saved by David.
Lots of stock (TOO much such) characters fill out the cast, ranging from a Reverend who seems to be able to give and take the Mandate of Heaven, to friendly helpful guards, to pugnacious warmaker generals.
The show is really a soap opera in an alternate universe rather than science fictiony, although there is something in the final moments of the premiere episode which makes me wonder if this is going to be strictly human drama.
As far as the acting, I think McShane did a great job at the King. Egan, though, as David, did as well as he did with Eragon. That is to say, not very. If the center, him, doesn’t hold, this show will be toast.
And that would be a shame. For its flaws and weaknesses, the show IS trying to do something different, Thank $Deity. It’s not another reality show, another sitcom, another paint by the numbers CSI/Law and Order clone. I will watch the next few episodes, and hope that David grows up in a hurry.
Given the cutthroat politics of the Court glimpsed in the pilot, if he doesn’t grow up quick, he’ll be shark bait.

The idiocy of the Syfy Channel

Via Jeff Vandermeer and the Tor.com blog
In some universe, the name “Syfy” is less geeky than the name “Sci Fi.” Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel, is betting it’s this one.
To that end, the 16-year-old network–owned by NBC Universal–plans to announce that Syfy is its new name March 16 at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
[…]
“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.

http://scifiwire.com/2009/03/sci-fi-channel-to-become.php
So, the executives of the Sci Fi Channel are stupid *and* sexist? I happen to not only know a wide swath of female science fiction fans (and proud of that fact), but I have friendly relationships with a number of female SF *writers*.
A channel which openly mocks and denigrates its fan base is a channel that I am not so inclined to watch. Why should I, really, when they clearly think so little of me?
And while I am on this rant, let’s look at the top box office drawing movies of all time and see the power of “geeks and dysfunctional antisocial types” that the Sci Fi Syfy channel thinks I am.
Worldwide Box Office
1. Titanic (1997) $1,835,300,000
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) $1,129,219,252
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) $1,060,332,628
4. The Dark Knight (2008) $997,316,061
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) $968,657,891
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) $958,404,152
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) $937,000,866
8. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) $922,379,000
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) $921,600,000
10. Jurassic Park (1993) $919,700,000
And really, I am being somewhat generous in NOT labelling Jurassic Park or the Pirates movies as geek movies, despite the SF elements of the former and the fantasy aspects of the latter. So, really, the only movie on that list which has no real F/SF elements at all is Titanic.
Dear Syfy channel: You might get better ratings if you had more things like BSG and Tin Man, and less of “Mansquito”. Your ratings have nothing to do with being branded as a channel for dysfunctional geeks.

Prim Perfect Issue 16 Out Now!

Prim Perfect now has its St. Patrick’s Day issue out!
Spring is coming and St Patrick’s Day is here! So where but Dublin could we go this month?
Dublin in Second Life has a fascinating story to tell – one of the oldest and strongest communities in Second Life, it reflects not just so many people’s love of the Irish past and culture, it also reflects the leading European capital that Dublin has become, at the forefront of technology and business opportunities. Join us as we explore the different layers of Dublin, encounter some of the people who make up its enthusiastic community – and meet the man behind the city, the phenomenal Ham Rambler.
My contribution this issue is a tour of things to see in SL Dublin. What did I like? Read the issue and find out!
And don’t miss our Dublin Townhouse, designed by Dellybean North. Our reporter Ceejay Writer interviewed Dellybean and also took a look at the gorgeous townhouse she has furnished. And you will have a chance to win a month’s free accommodation there – if you enter our Star Competition – this month’s Treasure Hunt. You can also learn how our last month’s winner has found a beautiful home for a month in the lovely Dans Les Montagnes sim.
So how can I get Prim Perfect?
If you prefer to read the magazine online but not inworld, there are choices. Firstly, there’s the wonderful Calaméo system, which allows you to moves smoothly through the pages, giving you the feeling of reading a real magazine. You’ll find Issue 16 here – and please do leave a comment!
But, if you like to download your magazines to read as you commute to work, or in the bath, or wherever, you can also obtain a standard pdf for downloading and printing.
It is also available through XStreet (just search on either site for Prim Perfect). This will deliver you a copy in the form of a Thinc book that you can rez and read inworld.
Another inworld option is to buy from our inworld vendors (located at various stores). Sometimes we have had problems with these, but you can help! If you see a vendor still selling an earlier issue, contact primperfect@gmail.com, and we’ll send someone to update it.
We also have subscribe-o-matic kiosks throughout Second Life (these are taking over from our older vendors) – so you can just click to subscribe. You’ll be sent a copy of the latest issue, and then you’ll receive your issues regularly!
Or you can have it delivered to you each month as a Thinc Book, by joining the Prim Perfect Readers group inworld. It costs nothing to join and, apart from delivering the magazine each month, we won’t overload you with chat or messages!
In addition to delivering the Thinc Book version of the magazine, you’ll also get a link to the online Calaméo version of the magazine, so you’ll be able to access that too.
How to Join Prim Perfect Readers
Inworld, open Search.
Search Groups for Prim Perfect Readers.
Click to join
So … enjoy! And let us know what you think of our new edition!

Last to know about Jonathan Coulton

Sometimes I am cutting edge and discover stuff for all of you to share and enjoy.
And, sometimes, I am the *last* to know.
From what I have gathered, I must be the last person in my social song to discover the geek-filled songs of Jonathan Coulton.
But, then, I don’t have very many ranks in Knowledge: Music.
“The Future Soon” is particularly good. I am going to have to spend some time listening to more of his music and buying some.

The Ides of March


CAESAR
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.
Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR
What man is that?
BRUTUS
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
CAESAR
Set him before me; let me see his face.
CASSIUS
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.
CAESAR
What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.
Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.
CAESAR
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.
Julius Ceasar, Act I Scene II

In Ancient Rome, the 15th of March, the Ides of March, was a feast day of the God of War, Mars, and a day devoted to military parades and celebrations.
On the ides of March, in 44 BC, Gaius Julius Ceasar, Dictator of Rome, was stabbed and killed by a conspiracy led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and his brother-in-law Marcus Junius Brutus, in a failed attempt to restore the Roman Republic.
If you have seen the HBO Series Rome, or seen the Shakespeare play, you are familiar with the basic details of the plot and its results. No matter how noble the intentions of the conspirators were (and that is extremely arguable), in the end, what the conspirators were trying to prevent by killing Gaius Julius Ceasar, they instead hastened and made manifest.

I am *not* Harriet Klausner

Harriet Klausner is an infamous Amazon.com reviewer. She reads an improbable number of books per year, and her reviews are uniformly glowing, effusive and high rated. Its rare to find a review of hers that is below 4 stars. Her reviews are not really models of review and criticism (not that I am suggesting that mine are either) and really are useless in determining if you like a book.
I am no Harriet Klausner. The author of a book I recently reviewed here seemed unhappy with my mostly negative review. Readers of the reviews in this space will recall other novels that I have not liked, as well as novels that I have been effusive about. I try to be honest and straightforward with what I like or don’t like about a movie or a book.
You may think I am blowing smoke, am misinformed, or even nyeh kuturni**. What I intend to be, and strive to be, is honest, good or bad.
**nyeh kuturni is Russian for “uncultured”, a Russian insult that I first encountered in the writings of Robert Heinlein. Strangely enough, as of the writing of this entry, the phrase “nyeh kuturni” has as its top search result my blog, since I’ve used it before. It might mean that I am anglicizing the Russian wrong, more than anything. In any event, I’ve used the phrase ever since learning it from Heinlein.
I have recently been told by a commenter on my LJ that it might be better transliterated as nyekulturny or nyeh kulturny.

Happy Pi Day

Today is March 14th, which in certain geeky circles that I at least can see from my window if not fully a part of, is Pi day.
Why?
Well, Pi, the ratio of every circle’s circumference to its diameter. It’s an irrational and transcendental number that begins 3.14.
When I was younger, for the fun of it, I memorized about the first twenty digits of Pi.
3.1415926535897932384626.
I think I first encountered Pi in one of the essays in Isaac Asimov’s Asimov on Numbers, the book other than The Math Book which helped crystallize my interest in Mathematics.
You’ll remember that I read a little book on the history of Pi, The Joy of Pi, back in 2007.
Happy Pi Day!

Morena Baccarin and the new V

Via Sf Signal, a link to Sci Fi Wire reveals:

In other major pilot castings news, Morena Baccarin will play a lead in the ABC drama V, while Eliza Coupe has been tapped for a lead in ABC’s comedy No Heroics.
V is a re-imagining of the 1980s miniseries about an invasion of aliens known as Visitors and the resistance against them. Baccarin will play Anna, the leader of the Visitors who is remarkably knowledgeable about human culture and media manipulation.

Morena Baccarin as one of the Visitors? This takes the phrase “take me to your Leader” a whole new dimension!
I wasn’t that enthused about the idea of remaking V but this *certainly* perks up my interest.