J Michael Straczynski did the best SF TV series ever *, Babylon5. He has now taken on another epic story; he is bringing Lensman to the Big Screen. The brainchild of E.E. “Doc” Smith, Lensman is a huge and complex story, and it couldn’t be in better hands. Besides the many books, part of it has been done as an anime, and of course there are audio book versions available. If you didn’t already know, Lensman is the original Space Opera, inventing the sub-genre. Some claim it was also the very first science fiction series ever written, but with a first story publish date of January 1934, I think Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars** series beat it to print with the February 1912 story Under the Moons of Mars. Which everyone remembers is also being made into a movie now, right?
*: Possibly now eclipsed by the new Battlestar Galactica, but maybe not: I’m going to re-watch both before I decide. You should do the same.
**: Notice how I avoided the whole science-fiction-vs-fantasy category argument for both book series by pretending it didn’t exist. Which it doesn’t when comparing these two works, since both of them would end up on the same side of the argument as voiced by any given debater; which side they ended up on would depend on who was doing the debating.
Sky Saxon, lead singer of The Seeds (one of the best garage bands of all time), died in Austin today. All the national attention is on a pop singer who also died today, so I had to speak up about the band that Muddy Waters called “America’s own Rolling Stones”. This punk/blues/psychedelic group were blazing trails; RIP, Sky, you will be missed. I couldn’t find a live video version of Up In Her Room, so their hit will have to stand in for it…
The trailer for Twilight: New Moon hit the web shortly ago, and it looks like the franchise might be good for another movie or two. Although I am not sure you can use the word franchise when speaking of a body of work one film deep so far. Now that Barry Sonnenfeld is no longer making Pushing Daisy’s episodes, his new project looks to be the iconic Tom Swift. If done right, that could be a fun movie, particularly for anyone addicted to the books as a kid (even more so for us budding mad scientist youngsters).
Visit the Spark Museum for some Steampunk vintage radio/electronics fun. It includes a picture on one page of a device I actually own, bought for 5 dollars at an estate sale from people who didn’t have a clue what the weird stuff in the back of their grandfather’s attic was. I figured it was a prize for the brass rotary voltage adjuster in the oak box, the ingenious wiring harness that allowed it to add another battery for each step you turned it up, and the full set of original 1924 RCA batteries (none leaking, and a few that could still hold a charge). It wasn’t until I got it home and did some research that I discovered what it was actually supposed to be. A word of caution if you find one of your own; it can get slightly painful if you crank it up beyond eight batteries in the circuit (You didn’t think I skipped the refurb and test part of the process, did you? What fun would that be? One should always get the full experience).