Some Activity in August.

Here is a bit about my activity in August.

I finished watching season 1 of “The Man in the High Castle”

This did not catch on strongly with me, but I may still do some more, but it is not high priority.

Rating 6/10.

On the recommendation from a participant of the Fantasticon this year, and another friend I watched season 1 (until now) of “Station Eleven”

While it was interesting enough to finish the season, it did not catch me as much as I have the impression from the recommendations. There was a lot of time jumping (not time travel), and it took some time to get used to.

Rating 7/10

Having liked “Game of Thrones” very well, I started watching the spin-off “House of Dragons”. The first two episodes aired in August, and I like it enough to continue watching. A rating will have to wait until the season is done.

 

Then there is “The Sandman” (season 1) on Netflix. This is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic/graphic novel of the same name.

I have not read the source material, but I have read some Neil Gaiman stuff (and liked it), and seen some TV with him involved in the writing, and I always liked it.

First of all, from the very beginning this feels very much like Neil’s writing. I love the acting and cinematography of this. Episode 6 is a solid highlight of the season.

I am definitely hoping for a continuation, but hopes are moderate, given the tendency of Netflix to cancel shows after a season or two.

Having said that, this first season stands very well on its own.

Rating 10/10

I finished re-listening to the audio book “Moreta, Dragon Lady of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey. I enjoyed it very well as late evening listening, as well as listening to it while driving.

Rating 8/10.

The progress in reading The Expanse novels is slow, as there are some other summer activities going on.

Non scifi activities:

Due to the heat wave I have not done a massive lot, but now it seems to cool down, and I should continue building my system for partial coverage of my electricity needs with solar power. More about this in another post.

A Little July Activity.

This is summer time, so not too much indoor scifi activity.

I got to watch a single film in the Harry Potter franchise:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. This film is not bad, but it does not quite measure up to the “original” films from the books..

I started re-reading (well listening to the audio book version) another book in the Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series:

The Skies of Pern. I did not quite get to finish it, as this is done near bed time, and sometimes the evening activities stretched a bit longer than planned. But that is fine, it is a good finalization of the main story. There are several more books in the series, and I want to do at least a few of them after finishing this one.

Activities, May and June, 2022.

I did get to do a little bit more in May and June this year. I am still building some more solar power setup, and some ham radio in the summer season, but here is the list:

Finished season 3 of Batwoman. A. OK series.

I finished the rewatch of Fringe. A very enjoyable thing to see again.

During May and June, mostly when traveling, I have been re-listening to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, as I have organised the series. The listening has continued a bit in the late evenings. At the moment the main series, as I perceive it:

  1. Dragonflight
  2. Dragonquest
  3. The White Dragon
  4. The Renegades of Pern

Also got started with some reading again:

I started The Expanse series, after finishing the TV series. I am now reading the first book: Leviathan Wakes.

I will be going through that slowly, but the intention is still to get to read them all. I have them available on my Kindle e-reader.

Of course, in May and June there were two conventions that I have already mentioned in previous posts, the Fedcon 30 in Bonn and the Fantasticon 2022 in Copenhagen.

A strictly non scifi, but a bit related project:

I will start building a small solar power system for the bedroom. This should provide the following:

  1. Night lighting, a bit of reading lighting
  2. Charging facility for my phone, e-readers, tablet etc.
  3. Power supply for a small audio player system, for audio books and the like

This will likely be made with 100W solar panels, a battery with a capacity of 20 – 25 Ampere-hours and a charge controller. Even in the deep of winter I would expect this system to provide sufficient power. If this is not the case the system can be expanded with higher solar panel power and bigger batteries.

I have just made the calculations for this system in my head, so I may have underestimated the power consumption. We shall see.

The Expanse TV Show Is Over.

Today I watched the series finale of the TV series.

I have not (yet) read the book series by James S.A. Corey, so I cannot compare the two.

I like the series, even if the final (6th) season was too short. Lots of threads were closed, but some are still open, should the series get a continuation at some stage.

I cannot fully recall the first seasons, so at some stage a re-watch of the series is in order I think getting and reading the book series may be a good idea.

Watching Activity January to April, 2020

This year has been crazy.

I managed to go to a single convention before our lives were turned upside-down by the COVID-19 pandemic. I expect to be more or less isolated, at least until the end of this year, as I am in the group with higher risk of complications if I catch the virus.

During the isolation I had expected to watch more films and TV series, but following the news and building some electronics projects has taken more time than I expected. Here is the list for January to April 2020:

TV series:

Re-watch of Sense8. As always, excellent.

DC: Arrow, seasons 6 and 7. Pretty good. 8/10

DC: Titans, season 2. 7/10

Forbrydelsen (English title: The Killing, Danish crime drama) Season 1. 8/10

DC: Crisis on Infinite Earths, This year’s cross over mini series. I liked it. 8/10

Matador (Danish drama series from the late 70s, early 80s) (English title: Monopoly (as the board game)) Very good. 9/10

DC: Black Lightning, Season 3. I like it a lot. 8/10

Kingdom (Korean SF/Netflix) season 2. Good story. 8/10

Re-watch of Babylon 5, seasons 1, 2 and 3. As always excellent. 9/10

Film:

Marvel: Venom

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 8/10

That’s it. Maybe I will get to read/watch etc some Hugo Award nominees.

I am glad that J. Michael Straczynski’s autobiography “Becoming Superman” was nominated. It was a stunning read, even if I knew some details.

Gotham, Seasons 1 – 4 Impressions.

I have now watched 4 seasons of Gotham, available on Netflix here. I have heard that there is a season 5, but it is not available, at least not now.

Gotham covers the development of Bruce Wayne and other characters from the time of the murder of his parents.

The series is quite fun to watch, the proto-villains are outrageously over-the-top. All are absolutely mad in a very cartoon-ish way. I wonder if a title like “City of Lunatics” should be considered for the series.

The development of Jim Gordon is probably the most well covered aspect of the series, I have considered if the series should have been called the “Jim Gordon” show.

While I have no plans for re-watching this series (there is far too much good stuff out there), I did enjoy watching it.

Rating of seasons 1 – 4: 7/10

Watched, Read and Listened To: July – October 2019:

A little less because of travels and other planned activities. This came out a bit late, but I shall endeavour to continue this type of posts, maybe monthly, maybe covering a few months at a time.

Here is the list with quick ratings:

TV:
Finishing The 100, season 4 re-watch 7/10
Finishing season 5 of “The 100”. Good show Final 2 episodes 8/10, all over 7/10
Finishing The Americans, season 6, with a friend8/10
Jeremiah, S1 continue/DVD with a friend
Finishing Scorpion, season 2 7/10
Chernobyl mini series 10/10
Sense8 re-watch, whole series. still 10/10
Krypton Season 2 finished 8/10
Into the Badlands: finished 2nd half of season 3, average 7/10
Scorpion: Season 3: 7/10
Scorpion: Season 4: (it went down hill) 6/10
Scorpion as a whole: Average 7/10
The Flash, season 5 a solid 7/10

Film:
Spiderman: Homecoming 8/10
Gravity with a friend 8/10
I Am Legend, a solid 7/10
The Dark Crystal 7/10

Read:
Becoming Superman – JMS 10/10

Babylon 5: Technomage trilogy – Jeanne Cavelos:
“The Passing of the Technomages”
1) Casting Shadows
2) Summoning Light
3) Invoking Darkness

I like this trilogy a lot
9/10

Graphic novels:
Superman: New Krypton, vols 1 – 4:
Enjoyable, interesting take on Zod’s character
8/10

Yoko Tsuno: vols 2,3 and a few more.
#29 arrived at Fantasticon – “Engle og Falke” (Danish title, Eng.: Angels and Falcons)
7/10

 

Watched and Read, March to June.

The watching and reading has been reduced a bit due to other activities, so here are 3 months worth:

Finished:

Supergirl, season 4, 8/10

Berlin Station (spy thriller), season 1, 5/10 with a friend

Black Lightning, season 2, 8/10

Star Trek Discovery, season 2, 8/10

Shadow Hunters, season 4 (aka. 3a), 7/10

Magicians, season 4, 8/10

Highlander, season 2, 7/10

Sense8 re-watch, except final episode, 10/10

Game of Thrones, season 8, 8/10

The Scorpion, season 1, 7/10

The OA, part 2 8/10

Films:

The Matrix (re-watch), 8/10

Matrix Reloaded, 7/10

Matrix Revolutions, 7/10,

as part of me watching more by the Wachowskis

Partly watched:

Jeremiah, season 1, with a friend (the show disappeared from HBO Nordic, but I managed to find both seasons on a DVD set (Rather expensive, but I wanted it anyway))

The Americans, season 6, with a friend

Legends of Tomorrow (not yet finished)

Started Cloak & Dagger, season 2

Started Roswell, New Mexico (2019 version), but did not get very far. It did not catch on too well in the first few episodes

 

Read: Finished “The Broken Earth” trilogy by N.K. Jemisin I like that very much, 9/10

 

New : Watched and Read, January 2019

I am going to try something new on the blog :

Making a few notes on what I have watched, read and/or listened to, month by month, mostly with personal ratings.

There is the possibility of making separate posts about particular seasons or books.

Here is my list of genre related activities for January, 2019 :

Finished seasons :
Chronicles of Shannara Seasons 1 and 2 (7/10)
Into The BadlandsTV (seasons 1-3) (7/10)
Riverdale S1 (7/10)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina S1 (including xmas special) (8/10)
Titans S1 (7/10)
The Flash S4 (8/10)
Arrow S3 (re-watch) (7/10)
MarvelRunaways S1 (7/10)
ThePunisher Season 2 (7/10)
Black Lightning Season 2. I realized it continued in February, so deduct it here and I will add it to Watching in Progress

Watching in progress :
StarTrek Discovery S2 1 ep per week
Roswell New Mexico in progress one ep per week

Magicians S4 – weekly episodes

Black Lightning Season 2

Watched with friends :
Highlander S2 in progress (re-watch for me)
Jeremiah S1 in progress (re-watch for me)
Pine Gap S1 (8/10)
Berlin Station (in progress)

 

Reading :
Book 1 of the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K.Jemesin
“The Fifth Season”

 

13 seasons of TV finished, some long, some intermediate, and several short ones in one month, as well as a novel. Quite a bit, but I expect February to have a little less genre activity, due to other activities taking over.

 

50 years of “2001 – A Space Odyssey” – an incomplete review.

Yesterday I went to a 50th anniversary show of the classic “2001 – A Space Odyssey”.
I got the ticket late, on the same day, so the seat was not ideal – 4th row from the screen and to the side, so I had to turn the head to view the centre of the screen. This did not detract from the enjoyment of seeing the film on a big screen for the first time since it had its premiere in Denmark 50 years ago.
Since then I have seen it a few times on DVD, and it is a different experience.
Director Stanley Kubrick is, of course a legendary film maker, and was nominated for several Oscars.
In true Oscar comittee fashion, the only Oscar he received was for 2001. Further, in true Oscar comittee fashion regarding science fiction movies, the Oscar he was awarded was for the special effects, and not for the film per se.
Of course, the film was not entirely created by Kubrick, it was a collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke, a legendary figure in science fiction.
Having a fond memory of my 15 year old self seeing the film when it premiered I could be a bit apprehensive, does it really hold up ?
I find that it does hold up very well. Seeing those iconic images and hearing the music of this classic was very enjoyable.
The film has been said to be very slow, and in comparison with modern films it is true. Kubrick tells the story in a slow, deliberate way, giving you time to digest the beautiful imaging and the accompanying music. I very much like Kubrick’s cinematography in the film.
Occasionally the film does show its age, for example the imaging of the moon, and Jupiter and its moons could be done much better with the images available today. However, we must remember that the film was made before the moon landings and the space probes’ visits to the outer planets, so the astronomical imaging of the film must be forgiven.
The science and technology of the film is, with one notable exception, very realistic in keeping with the concept of hard science fiction. From the floating pen in weightlessness to the silence of space. In some of the space scenes there is not even any music, just eerie silence. Sometimes we hear (the astronaut’s) breath in some of the space scenes. We wre told, and I did not know, that the breath we hear is Kubrick’s own breathing.
Then there is HAL. The massive A.I. computer with excellent speech synthesis, an claiming never to make mistakes. What happens when HAL makes an apparent mistake ? It is probably up to the viewer to decide which is tha case, a mistake by the A.I. or a deliberate misdirection. I would say that this looks like a deliberate “mistake” by HAL, when “he” says that “he” cannot let the astronauts endanger the mission. Also, I see echoes of this kind of A.I. logic in the modern TV series “Person of Interest”, where the A.I. may take steps to eliminate human intervention, because “humans are prone to error”.
The exception to the strict science and technology is, of course the monolith(s), every scene with that has spiritual/religious overtones, in the imagery as well as the music (or sound effects), and it is the important link that binds all aspects of the film together, from the dawn of mankind to the “birth” of the star child.
The sparing use of dialogue is also interesting, not many films (if any) in the modern age would dare to have about 25 minutes of no dialogue in the beginning of the film *and* about 25 minutes without dialogue in the end of the film.
One aspect of going to see this film was n ot the film in and of itself, but the audience. I think that about 80% of the audience was not even born when this film premiered, but they came because of its allure as one of the great classics.
Much more could be said about this re-premiere, but now I will leave you to your own thoughts.
I enjoyed this re-watch very much, and I will say that it passed the test of time.
I rate the film 10/10 strange monoliths.