18673ebbjps53jpgSo as soon as I heard that this book was being made into a television series and then read the description, I went out and bought it. Same cover and everything. I had always been fascinated by Pohl’s books from reading the back cover but have never gotten around to reading one. The ancient alien that has left stuff around for humanity to find and try and figure out isn’t a new idea, but from the praise I have heard from Pohl’s fan, it sounds like Gateway will surely be a fun ride.

18673ebbjps53jpgThis somewhat expands on what I was getting at in my previous post and the fact (or, my opinion) that Hollywood is doing everything it can to ONLY put out mindless movies while an almost endless reservoir or material in the form of books, goes unlooked at. Again, CABLE television is taking the lead and putting into production a tv series based on Frederik Pohl‘s book, Gateway. This is a book that I haven’t read, but one thing that I have felt for a very long time is that there are many, many books in the science fiction realm alone that can be made into either movies or television shows but instead go almost completely ignored. The exception to that statement is The Game of Thrones and now Gateway. But what about other book that I have read, like The West of Eden trilogy by Harry Harrison? And I’m sure that there are many other books that I haven’t read that would be equally as suitable for tv and/or cable television?

The Walking Dead, saison 1More than two years ago now, the Syfy channel canceled one of the best shows, I feel, on TV at the time, Stargate: Universe. Since then, the Syfy channel has partaken in nothing but meaningless drivel in regards to their programming (i.e. Sharknado). Also since that time, Cable television has gone a long way to save the art and quality of the TV age. To see this look no further than The Game of ThronesBlack SailsThe Walking DeadVikingsBreaking Bad, and Dexter, just to name a few. However, even with all these shows and the various cable networks that have produced them, the Syfy channel has been left out and produced nothing, or at the very least, very little, in the way of quality programming (in my opinion, anyways). Looking at cables counterpart, Hollywood, we see an endless stream of crap in the form of Superhero movies and, well, more Superhero movies.Again, just my opinion.

I bring this up because this morning I’m reading that the Syfy channel has put in an order for 13 episodes of a zombie show called Z Nation. From the description is sounds pretty good. This is disturbing for me because I love Zombie and post-Apocalyptic themed movies, books and television shows. With the Syfy channel coming out with this new show it has a fifty-fifty chance of being half way decent, but also almost a 100% of the Syfy canceling the show just as it’s getting good, because that’s what they do. Which leaves me with a delima: do I watch or don’t I? Because, more than likely, in the end I’m probably going to be disappointed one way or the other. All I ask from the Syfy channel is that they give this show at least a chance of being successful. Don’t move around the night and time when the show is on, like they did with Stargate: Universe, that is a show killer! Don’t make it stupid! I’m sorry but Sharknado is stupid! Sure everybody was talking about it and a sequel is even being made, but my God man, talk about brainless television. And lastly, when producing this show, don’t behave like the Syfy channel, because, like I have already said, you have a propensity of producing crap or killing shows altogether when they are good, and simply making bad decisions.

Okay, I’m done ranting.

Cosmos-a-Space-Time-OdysseyI was fortunate enough to grow up in a time and place were the late, great Carl Sagan was still alive and the show Cosmos was filling the next generate, such as myself, with ah and wonder. I remember being in middle school and even high school and coming to class only to find out that the teacher was sick. Most of us geered because many thought this meant we could leave. And sometimes that’s exactly what happened. But every once in awhile, instead a TV monitor would be roled in and an episode of Cosmos would be shown instead. Many complained, saying they would rather ditch class and hang-out with friends. I was exactly the opposite and looked forward to watching Carl explain the mysteries of the universe. That journey continued when I read Carl Sagan‘s Contact and I knew that while I may never be an Astronomer or space explorer, I would always wonder and have a keen interest in space and the universe, an interest whose seeds were planted by Carl Sagan and Cosmos.

Last night Neil deGrasse Tyson rebooted the show Cosmos and with it my interest to explore the wonders of the universe. The most touching part was Tyson’s tribute to Sagan where he retold of a story of about the first time he met the late, great scientist and how he treated him – a nobody high school kid from Brooklyn – like he was the center of the universe.

I never got the chance to thank Carl Sagan for the things he taught and showed me – all of us, really – and how he set me on a path to always want to learn and know more. I do, however, I have the chance to say thank you to Neil. Thank you. Thank you for carring the torch and inspiring a whole new generation.

Many of you may have tuned in last night for the Oscars. As for me, I watched The Walking Dead and then channel surfed for about an hour before I went to bed. The truth is that the Oscars and Hollywood award shows have about as much credit as Richard Nixon trying to give someone political advice. My biggest gripe with Hollywood surrounds The Postman, a movie that came out in 1998, which was based on the book by David Brin. Not only is The Postman one of the best example of a book being made it a movie, it is simply one of the best movies Hollywood has produced in the past twenty-five years. Period! But critics didn’t think so as The Postman won Razzie awards that year for worst picture, actor, director, screenplay, and original score. My response to that: Just more clueless reviews by know nothing film critics. I only bring this up because I’m hearing grumblings over the fact that American Hustle (a film I have not seen) walked away from the Oscars last night with zero awards. All I can say is, who cares? Only a really great movie has any chance of getting anything close to universal acknowledgment of being a decent film. So as far as the Oscars go, I slept right through the ceremony.

One thing that I find truly amusing is the fact that almost every film up for some major award in the Oscars I have not seen. 12 Years a Slave? Haven’t seen it! Gravity? Haven’t seen it! Dallas Buyers Club? Haven’t seen it! Blue Jasmine? Haven’t seen it! Her? Haven’t seen it! Frozen? Haven’t seen it! I haven’t even watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug or Catching Fire, yet, but those are two movies I would like to see. But I’ve watched The Postman at least twice in the last year. As far as this critic is concerned, Hollywood and the Razzies get two thumbs down from me.

Below is a re-posting of something similar I wrote a few years back.


God, I promised myself I wouldn’t go off on any more rants about how Hollywood has lost its way, and I will restrain myself here, instead I will try to focus on what good movies Hollywood has offered in the past.

Despite its less than flattering ratings and cruel reception it received by movie-goers and critics alike, The Postman is a gem among the rock garden of movies that Hollywood has put out since my impressionable High School years. Want good acting? Want a great story? Want action? Want adventure? Want a message of hope and courage? Then watch The Postman.

Everybody has their lists of great movies – a top ten, if you will – and while I would be hard pressed to list my top ten or favorite science fiction or fantasy movies, I do know that The Postman would be on it. Yes, I have read the book and loved it, and sure I am biased because of that, but very rarely in the history of fiction and live action movies, has a single piece of art translated to both medias so well.

I am not going to give you a synapse here of The Postman, instead I offer a challenge: go out and watch the movie for yourself and tell me I am wrong; tell me it is not one of the best movies Hollywood has put forth in recent memory; tell me the critics were right to slam The Postman. My guess if that you can’t, because not only is The Postman inspiring, it is a movie beautifully put together and filmed, a true Hollywood gem that ranks right up there with Gone with the wind or The Wizard of Oz.

Rating (out of 5):

bearers_of_the_black_staffI was lucky enough to get this book on sale. Regardless of whether or not is was on sale, this book was on my list of books to get as I have made it a goal read the original Shannara series. Bearers of the Black Staff is the first part of a dilogy in the Shannara series. The second book being The Measure of the Magic.

Great interview with John Scalzi where he talks about audible books, his rise to becoming a well recognized author, and even about character development in Science Fiction.


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