Tag Archives: space

For All Mankind

Unknown.jpegI’ll be honest, it was an image like this that made me very keen to watch this Apple Original tv show. Women in space!

And then I discovered it was the creation of Ronald D Moore, aka the dude who brought back Battlestar Galactica.

And then I discovered that it was an alt-history version of the space race.

… and really that’s all I want to say about the show above the cut, because if you haven’t heard about what the opening thing that makes it alt-history, I really firmly believe it’s best to go in unspoiled. Just know that the show is in many ways deeply grounded in history – to my eye, the costuming and sets are wonderfully historical, and the background politics etc are largely on point. But there is one, and then a resultant cascade, of changes that make this show a magnificent what-if. I genuinely held my breath at key moments in the narrative, and I was horrified and delighted and shocked and joyful. It’s well worth watching.

Spoilers ahead…

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Galactic Suburbia 81

436x700xGoT-Coverflip.jpg.pagespeed.ic.39huRTcZn2In which we chew over shortlists, awards winners, book covers and gender issues, all of which pales in comparison to the FIRST QUILT IN SPACE. You can get us from iTunes or Galactic Suburbia.

Hugo Packet! What are YOU going to read? Would password protected freebie novels put you off reading them?

Locus Award finalists

Sturgeon finalists

Campbell Memorial Award finalists

Mythopoeic Award finalists

Nebula winners

Aurealis Awards winners

Comments: Tansy on “winning too many awards” & Keith Stevenson on why the awards are just fine and don’t need to be ‘sorted out’. To add some positivity (which more accurately reflects most people’s experience of this awards night!) check out Sean’s Storify of the AA’s night and Tehani’s post on attending at the last minute with lovely frockage pics. For even more gorgeous pictures, Cat Sparks’ Flickr feed is the way to go!

The coverflip experiment, started by Maureen Johnson’s piece on Huffington Post.

The artist behind the Georgette RR Martin cover discusses her imaginary brief.

Hawkeye Initiative Coda – using humour & art to get the gender point across in the workplace.

THE FIRST QUILT IN SPACE! Frontier craft for the final frontier.

Also, bye bye Commander Hadfield – thanks for bringing back the sense of wonder

The most significant futurists of the past 50 years

Tansy’s Melbourne public appearances:
Sisters in Crime 14 June http://www.liviaday.com/wordpress/2013/05/20/something-rotten-in-the-apple-isle-sisters-in-crime/
Splendid Chaps 15 June – details tba, keep an eye on the Splendid Chaps website for booking details after the 23rd May.

Culture Consumed

ALISA: Star Trek Into Darkness

TANSY: Iron Man 3 FINISHED GAME OF THRONES BOOKS; Queers Dig Time Lords, 2 Minute Time Lord discussion with editors/contributors of QDTL

ALEX: Alanna, Tamora Pierce; The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Call yourself a space fan?

If you do, and haven’t either seen In the Shadow of the Moon or made plans to do so – hang your head in shame!

Seriously, one of the best things I’ve seen at the cinema in ages. Ages and ages.

Take as many of the Apollo astronauts as are still alive (as far as I can tell; except Armstrong, who has apparently been basically a recluse almost since we got back to terra cognita), and make them talk about what it was like becoming an astronaut, flying in space and to the moon, and being home again. Splice this with genuine, rarely-seen before footage, and you have a spellbinding nearly-two-hour movie.

There’s no interviewer shown, so it’s just the blokes in their own words (and it is, by its nature, very blokey – there’s maybe two women who speak in the whole thing, and they’re in interviews from the sixties). All the men are given identical, nondescript backgrounds behind them – and they’re all only shown from the torso up. It’s almost like they’re floating in space, or outside of real time – which sounds daft, but bear with me: they’re utterly divorced from now – they only exist with relation to the space programme; they don’t interact with anyone except the viewer; and there’s nothing to date the film, except their clothes which are utterly nondescript as well. It was a fascinating way of compiling them.

The footage shown… well, I had to watch until the end of the credits to make sure it was all genuine NASA footage, with no CGI, because I’ve got a bit cynical in my old age. But, apparently, it was all real – and it was awesome. And so much that I, at least, had never seen! Views looking out as the stages separate – the moon buggies – that Earth-rise… I got goosebumps at several points, it was all just so beautiful. And there’s real audio too – Armstrong’s famous bit, of course, but also stuff from inside the command module (footage from there, too): it was almost funny listening to Jim Lovell’s voice, because I could almost recite his words along with him c/o Apollo 13. And I really did get goosebumps when they showed the first men who went around the moon – Apollo 8 maybe? – and they read from Genesis: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day.[1]

Probably the person who was most interesting to listen to was Michael Collins – the poor sucker who got stuck in the Command Module, while Neil and Buzz went walking. He was fascinating, and a great speaker. Eugene Cernan, too, was also great… actually they all were, pretty much.

I cannot stress it enough: if you like this sort of thing, you really should try to see it on the big screen. Yes, it will be OK on DVD – but some of that footage just looks so much more impressive when it’s huge![2]

[1] And then to hear that some woman sued them, when they got back to Earth, for mixing church and state… hilarious!
[2] We sat in the second row, in a tiny little cinema… it was insane, but very cool.

Fly me to the moon

Space Cowboys was on last night. I love it! All four of the main actors are playing basically the characters they’ve been playing for the last 30 or 40 years, in some cases: it’s a beautiful tribute. I don’t think any of them have played astronauts before this, although I could be wrong about that, and I’ll bet they’ve all wanted to at some point, so it’s wish fulfillment on several levels.

It could easily have gone horribly wrong – turned into a pastiche that made fun of them, or turned boringly sentimental, or just seemed ridiculous. Instead, there’s a bit of sentiment – but it doesn’t get in the way of the story; they are poked fun at, which is only appropriate because they’re old codgers proposing something crazy – but they overcome it, and it’s made to seem feasible. The bits in space are hilarious: I can just imagine an exec ordering the props guys: “Buttons! and toggles! And more flashing lights, too! Doesn’t matter what they do, just add them!” I’m sure there are lots of those things on spacecraft in real life, just that I’m not convinced all of those shown in the movie correspond…

Anyway, I think the movie has the right amount of romance, understated heroism, lurking skullduggery, and funny lines to please a lot of people. I could have stood for a bit more action, but I realise that wasn’t the point of the movie. It really is very good!

George Takei

So, apparently George Takei – who played Sulu in Star Trek and, unbeknownst to me, also had a part in Heroes – has had an asteroid named after him. That’s very nice, and appropriate and all. But what I really want to know is whether there is a lump of rock out there with the sobriquet Shatner? How about Nimoy? or Kelley? (Bones is one of my very favouritest characters, if I as a non-Trekie had favourite Trek characters…). I’ll bet there’s not a Koenig (Chekov), and would bet an even greater sum that there is no Nichols (Uhura – the girl, remember?).

Anyway, this post is brought to you courtesy of my viewing yesterday of Star Trek V, in my ongoing quest to see all of the old Star Trek movies, which is quickly approaching completion. I’ll post more on numero 5 later… since I really ought to be writing reports at this precise moment.

(It started off lovely and warm today, is getting cooler with approaching rain; I have music and the cricket on – which I notice has just been stopped for rain, in  sunny Hobart – so if I have to be writing reports, it’s a pleasant way to do it).


…and her head are being re-attached.