“Robocop” reboot surpasses original

I avoided the Robocop reboot when it appeared in theaters earlier this year. Most reboots in my experience fail to live up to the originals. But I was pleasantly surprised when I finally gave this movie a chance when I streamed it this weekend. This one surpasses the original in every way.

Available from Amazon Instant Video via streaming and Unbox, and probably from Hulu and other sources. Also available in Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon, Redbox, and video stores.

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Superheroine movie “Lucy” opening

Friday, July 25th, the sci-fi superheroine movie Lucy opens in the U. S. with rollouts internationally over the next few weeks.  Scarlett Johansson stars as student in Taiwan who accidentally receives a drug overdose which turns her into a superhuman.

UPDATE: Saw it, enjoyed it immensely, even the silly parts. Box office was $44 million over the weekend, putting it ahead of Hercules.

Click image for preview.

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The Shadow Universe Revealed

Here is a fascinating visualization of how dark matter interacted with visible matter as the universe evolved from the Big Bang.  It’s part of a series of videos created by The New York Times.

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The US to return to space in a big way

The US is now completely dependent upon Russia for the launch of payloads large enough to carry people. NASA has now taken an important step to change that: finalizing a contract for the heavy-duty Space Launch System.

The two-stage vehicle is scheduled to fly first in 2017. But this is a test flight and optimistic, from my experience working for NASA and main-contractor Boeing. Schedules always creep long. Also, it is only the first of several (or more likely many) test flights. Even after it is cargo-rated the SLS is likely to require further flights before we will risk humans.

Still, we are on the way now to returning to space in a big way.

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Alizée, phenomenal French songstress

My favorite female singer is a French woman named Alizée (AH-LEE-ZAY, said quickly and with equal emphasis on each syllable).

Born and raised on the French island of Corsica, she very early began to take lessons in dancing and singing. At 16 she won a contest and was signed by a producer team. She made two albums which were runaway hits in Europe. She became an independent producer and has since made four more.

Alizée’s early publicity portrayed her as a teen sex symbol. Since then she’s relied less upon sex appeal and more upon talent, though without abandoning that advantage. Smart, talented, hard-working, she has been steadily extending her musical range while still remaining commercial. I’ve not been disappointed by any of her albums though the first two are still my favorites.

Her CDs can be gotten through Amazon, iTunes, and other retailers. I much recommend her concert DVD, Alizee En Concert. News is available in English at AlizeeArt.com. Videos of her appearances on the 9-week French version of Dance with the Stars (which she and her partner won) can also be seen there.

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The Science Fiction MEGAPACK series

I recently discovered an ebook series called the Science Fiction Megapack. Each anthology costs $.99 and contains two or three dozen works of shorter fiction.

Many of the stories are not to my taste, especially the older works by “classic” SF writers. But for $.99 the stories I do like are very much worth what I spend.

Here is what I’ve bought so far.  Click the image to preview the book.

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“Omens” by Kelley Armstrong

I just finished reading Omens by Kelley Armstrong, whom some people may recognize as the bestselling author of The Otherworld and several other series.

It is the first book in the combination fantasy and mystery Cainsville series. I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to the next book, Visions, available Sept. 19th of this year.

Available through independent book stores, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon in print and ebook formats. Click the image to read a preview of the book.

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“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” available

I did not get interested in the TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles when it came out. But these last few weeks I’ve been watching it and enjoying it immensely. Though I must say this. I felt some episodes were not as interesting as others. And it bothered me that good guys got killed fairly often. (But then it IS a war story.)

The character I find most interesting is Cameron, the “good” terminator. The paradoxes of her nature continue to fascinate me. I’d write a novel based on the idea—except that Joel Shepherd has done what I consider the best take on it that I’ve ever seen in his Cassandra Kresnov series. (Five books with a sixth coming out the first Monday the upcoming January.)

Available on Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video, and likely elsewhere.

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“What Boys Really Want”: funny & true YA book

I usually blog about stuff closely or remotely about sci-fi. And this post started that way, about an interesting SF book, The Obsidian Blade, which I saw in the bookstore. After reading a few pages, I was interested, but I wanted to read something written earlier the author, Pete Hautman.

I checked out a young adult novel by him: What boys Really Want. Within a few pages I was laughing out loud. Literally, not the LOL we put in email and blogs when we really mean smiled or chuckled. I kept laughing every few pages.

But beyond being funny, it is also about characters who feel true and interesting and likable. And about subjects important to adults as well as teens. I suggest you free up a few hours to read the book in one sitting. I suspect you’ll need the time.

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Wil Wheaton now on SyFy

Every Tuesday on Syfy Wil Wheaton will summarize and make fun of the previous week’s nerdtastic events.  If you miss episodes you can download from the Syfy web site and maybe other sources.

On the second episode on June 3rd: hottie nerd Felicia Day is a guest.

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