2010/42 Science Fiction

Challenge runs 1/1/2010 to 12/31/2010

Read, watch or listen to 42 items composed of or relating to Sci-Fi.

1) Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks – An early 600+ space opera in the grand style written in 1993.  Shows Bank’s potential as a master of Science Fiction.  Could have used some editing, not as fine as the “Culture” novels. – 1/2/2010.

2) Fyrefly the  Series by Joss Whedon – The pilot, in which we meet the crew and passengers of the Firefly class spaceship “Serenity”.  This series indicates how really stupid broadcast TV executives can be.  Why was this show canceled?  Maybe Joss Whedon really pissed somebody off.  I love it, my friends love it.  We will be watching the rest of the series over the next couple of weeks. 1/2/2010.

3) The Unit by Ninni Hlmqvist – Dystopian fiction from Sweden.  Holmqvist writing style, very cold and clinical, make this frightening and quite plausible. 1/9/2010

4)Dr Who – The Second Season with Rose and the Doctor.  I love this show even if the theme music gets stuck in my head.  The introduction of Torchwood is fun, as is the multi-dimensional element.  I will miss Rose!

5)The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe – The first part of The Book of the New Sun.  I’ve been meaning to read this again for some time.  Will probably write a review of the whole thing when I get done with all four parts.

6) District 9 – My second viewing, the first was in the theater.  An amazing film, both for its science fiction and its social and political story line.  I am very pleased it was nominated for an Oscar.

7) The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe. The second part of The Book of the New Sun.  Wolfe’s writing in dense and rich, his world and time and universe amazing.  I am having a problem with the female characters and Severian’s views of women.  I don’t remember that from my first reading but then that was 25 years ago.  I am getting much more detail of the world history and of Severian’s universe.

8)Dr Who – Third Season – with the Doctor and Martha Jones.  Interesting, the reintroduction of Captain Jack and the revival of Torchwood.  I guess that’s another series to add to the list.

9)Fringe – The First Season – Very interesting premise and an homage to many other shows – mainly X Files.  Walter is a trip.

10) Dr Who – Fourth Season – Ok, now I am officially addicted. This year there was an infusion of money into the production.   It shows in the care with the sets and the CGI effects.  David Tennant and the writers have added new dimensions to the Doctor, he is deeper and darker.  I loved the Doctor/Donna  Noble team and may actually have to purchase the revived series One thru Four, just to be able to watch them when I feel like it.  I’m looking forward to the specials.

11) Torchwood – First Season – Wasn’t sure I would like this but am finding the characters, dramatic structure and emotional dilemmas intriguing.  So far the humans are much more interesting than the aliens!

12) The Apex Book of World Science Fiction – Edited by Lavie Tidhar – A very cool mix of stories from all over.  My favorites – The Bird Catcher, S.P. Somtow, Thailand – Wizard World, Yang Ping, China – The Kite of Stars, Dean Francis Alfar, Philippines.

13) Avatar – James Cameron, a cast of many and $300,000,000+ – Wow, I avoided seeing this in the theater because of all the hype.  If it comes around again we see on the big screen.  Technically it is beautiful, I loved the premise and the message, beside being anti-corporate, is also anti-military.  Great stuff, but 300+ million dollars?

14) Torchwood – Second Season – Liking this a lot, it is the characters that draw you in.  Gwen blows Captain Jack out of the water!

15) Torchwood – The Children of Men – Very, very creepy.  The Brits tend to kill off characters more easily then American shows (except maybe The Wire).  Now we have to wait for Season Four!

16) The City & The City by China Mieville.  Is this cheating?  Is this wonderful book science fiction?  No one will say, but it won the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award so it must count!  Read it.

17) The Calcutta Chromosome – Amitav Ghosh – Another Clarke Award winner.  A man sits in his apartment looking at images on a computer.  When he see something he thinks he recognizes it opens the door to his past, to Colonial India and to a possible medical conspiracy.

18)The Next Doctor – The fourth Xmas special with David Tennant. Features the return of the cybermen.

19) The Planet of the Dead – The first Doctor Who special with David Tennant.  A wild bus ride into another world with nasty alien lifeforms.

20) Inception – Christopher Nolan’s dreamscape.  Even though the fight scenes and chase scenes went on too long I loved it.

21) The Waters of Mars – The second 2009 Doctor Who special. Bowie Base One, trouble with the water and a Doctor who is becoming unhinged.  This series is getting darker and darker.

22) Ship Breaker – Paulo Bacigalupi – His first YA novel, set in an all too possible future of peak oil and great wealth disparity all over the globe.  Dark and violent with a core of heart.

23) The End of Time – The last Doctor Who special for David Tennant featuring the return of the Time Lords.   I’m not sure how I will take to Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor.

24) Animals – Don LePan – Speculative fiction about the outcome of factory farming, the “great die-off” and marginalized humans as chattel and food.

25) The Passage – Justin Cronin – An apocalyptic dystopian monster of a book, great is places, not so great in others, but fun to read.

26) The Chains That You Refuse – Elizabeth Bear – Great short story collection by the author of Tideline, winner of the 2008 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.  I need to read more of her work.

27) The Dervish House – Ian McDonald – I don’t know what to say.  I liked River of Gods and Brasyl.  I love The Dervish House.  I am going to try and write a review.

28) Kraken – China Mieville – Another winner from one of my favorite authors.  My review is here.

29) Fringe – Season 2 – Love it, love the characters, love and am completely creeped out by Walter.

30) Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury – A classic, more dark fantasy than science fiction but I must include it here.  My review is here.

31) Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness – The third book in the Chaos Walking series.  My review is here.

32) How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe – Charles Yu.  My review is here.

33) The Algebraist – Iain M. Banks – One of my favorite books of the year.  I have not reviewed it, don’t know if I can!

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