Topic “Science Fiction”

North Vancouver Canada Day Costume Party 2010 (aka Parade)

Last year I wrote about North Vancouver Canada Day Parade, this year I marched in it! A collection of Metro Vancouver science fiction/fantasy fans once again marched in the parade, and when Spacepug offered me the use of a BSG Viper mechanic costume I decided to join them. Unfortunately, my "freshly" charged camera batteries weren't, so I don't have pictures of my own this year.

SciFi/Fantasy Fans at North Vancouver Canada Day Parade

Science Fiction/Fantasy Fans Group Shot
North Vancouver Canada Day Parade 2010

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Rated: 3/5

The Last Mimzy

The Last Mimzy is charming little picture about children finding a box of toys and saving the world. Unlike many studio products of this type (Disney, I'm looking at you) this is a smart script that doesn't rely on stupid adults and silly action-oriented plot devices to move the story forward (not that there's anything wrong with silly action . . . every once in a while). Though smart, the story lacked the kind of dramatic tension and sophistication that would make it a must see.

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North Vancouver Canada Day Parade 2009

Vancouver Sci-Fi FansIt's been a long time since I've watched a parade. A bunch of friends, under the banner of Vancouver Science Fiction Fans, donned costumes and entered this year's North Vancouver Canada Day parade. There's a lot of common membership among the different groups, so coming together for something like this is a natural. I believe it's the 3rd year the groups have done it. Since I wasn't motivated enough to make a costume of my own I thought it was past time to show up and cheer them on.

The Stargate fans made an actual Stargate! Very cool. Among the characters escorting the Stargate were Princess Leah, some Battlestar Galactica crew, Men in Black featuring Grga as Zed, and Rorschach (from Watchmen). North Vancouver's very own Spacepug, marching in the oh-so-glamorous orange BSG crew coveralls, inhaled some nasty paint fumes making a nice parade banner. Well done, everyone!

I couldn't believe how big the parade was, clocking in around 2 1/2 hours. I might be biased, but based on creativity and effort the Sci-Fi fans had one of the better entries. There were some local businesses that simply stuck a sign on a vehicle and drove. Boring. Other businesses were more innovative, like the North Shore News who sponsored cheerleaders, er, a spirit squad, and a few who used vintage or novelty cars.

My favourite entry — because of the great band memories it brought back — was the Freddy Fuddpucker marching band. They were having a ball, and the dude leading them could spin and toss his floor-mop baton like no one's business. I wanted to grab my trombone and join them! I also liked the floats with high energy music. Kudos to Mayors Richard Walton and Darrell Mussatto for riding bicycles in the parade while the Federal politicos used cars (though I'm told MP Andrew Saxton was actually walking behind his car). The other great costume of the day was the dude dressed up as Gene Simmon's Demon from KISS.

Here's the pictures I shot of the parade. Clicking on a thumbnail will bring up a full size picture.

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Rated: 3.5/5

Moon

Moon is the story of Sam Bell, the lone worker on a lunar mining base. Not only is he getting ready to go home after working in isolation for 3 years, he may be going crazy. Moon is a solid sci-fi psycho-thriller and I enjoyed watching the story, with all its mysteries, unfold. Sam Rockwell puts in a great performance. Unfortunately, the dramatic tension never seemed to increase and I found the story a bit flat. Even with its lack of high-tension I enjoyed Moon, and recommend it to sci-fi fans.

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A Evening with William Gibson

William Gibson at UBC

Last Saturday a bunch of us heard William Gibson speak at the Vancouver Institute's Spring 2008 Series lecture: A Evening with William Gibson. Gibson is credited with coining the phrase "cyberspace" and bringing the cyberpunk genre to mainstream attention with his book Neuromancer.

Gibson read three different works he'd written for various reasons. Sadly, he doesn't have the reading voice of a Jack Whyte. Though there were some interesting anecdotes here and there, I found myself drifting off during the reading. Fortunately the question and answer session was considerably more interesting.

Gibson has a droll sense of humour and a depth of perspective. I enjoyed his answers and insights. Unfortunately, there was this weird dynamic where people seemed to expect him to be this profound futurist guru. Though he answered the questions of this bent graciously I got the impression this was a pedestal he didn't want to be on - like he's a story teller looking for an appreciative audience, not a sage looking for a following.

The funniest moment of the evening for me was Gibson commenting on what a contemporary teenager would think when reading Neuromancer: Why don't any of the characters have cell phones?

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Blade Runner: Final Cut

Blade Runner PosterWhen word came of a 25th anniversary limited theatrical release for Blade Runner, me and the Mad About Movies crowd were pretty excited. Then we couldn't find any Canadian locations, and we were pissed! Then lo and behold, Empire Cinemas are advertising showings. Plans were quickly made.

I didn't see the original release in 1982. My first viewing was on television and it didn't go well. I caught it somewhere in the middle and in addition to being a bit lost the visuals turned me off. Sometime well after that I caught it from the beginning and greatly enjoyed it. Actually, I found it breath taking.

This release is Blade Runner: The Final Cut. There's been seven of them! The wrangling around cuts is something of a soap opera. This version is apparently the one director Ridley Scott had complete control of. If you're interested in Blade Runner's full back story I recommend the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_runner.

Of the actual movie, it's not perfect. The love story is between Deckard and Rachael doesn't feel natural. However, this is more than offset by how smart the rest of the story is, and great job it does exploring humanity. It was wonderful seeing it in a theatre. The Vangelis score and sweeping visuals are meant for a big screen with big sound.

Blade Runner on theatre marquee

Babylon 5

Babylon 5 CoverA local outlet (Costco) has/had the Babylon 5 box sets on for $29 a session. Given the prices around Vancouver are more than double that, I jumped. I'm now the happy owner of Seasons 1 through 5 and the movie set.

If Babylon 5 was before your time, check out Wikipedia Babylon 5 entry. It was groundbreaking in many ways.

During the first run Babylon 5 became the bastard child of the network owning the Canadian broadcast rights. The first couple seasons were in regular spots, then they started moving it all over the place. The last seasons wound up in a Sunday night/Monday morning midnight time slot! I missed quite a few episodes. For some reason Babylon 5 has never been in syndication on the West Coast so there's been no opportunity to catch up.

For over ten years I've wanted to fill in some blanks and now finally have.

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