In case you hadn't noticed, I haven't been updating this blog. I'm doing all my movie & book reviews on my Vox blog, A Trifle One-Sided, and I'll be bringing over the reviews from here and posting them there over time. Hope to see you over there!

Subterranean for free - Jiggle The Handle

Issue #4 of Subterranean, edited by prolific blogger and accopmplished sci-fi author John Scalzi, was just released on the web for a free download. Lots of short stories, all with a twist to a "cliche". Check it out!

Subterranean Press � Blog Archive � Subterranean #4 — Completely FREE

Yet another list, this time the 100 sci-fi books you have to read. The original is here. I've read a few of these, mostly the older ones. Makes me want to go back and try some of them, like Triton, Zanzibar, and, especially Canticle.

  Index of the 100 science fiction books you just have to read
1.  
Childhood's End Written by Arthur C. Clarke
2.  
Foundation Written by Isaac Asimov
3.  
Dune Written by Frank Herbert
4.  
Man in the High Castle Written by Philip K. Dick
5.  
Starship Troopers Written by Robert A. Heinlein
6.  
Valis Written by Philip K. Dick
7.  
Frankenstein Written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
8.  
Gateway Written by Frederick Pohl
9.  
Space Merchants Written by C.M. Kornbluth & Frederick Pohl
10.  
Earth Abides Written by George R. Stewart
11.  
Cuckoo's Egg Written by C.J. Cherryh
12.  
Star Surgeon Written by James White
13.  
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Written by Philip K. Dick
14.  
Radix Written by A.A. Attanasio
15.  
2001: A Space Odyssey Written by Arthur C. Clarke
16.  
Ringworld Written by Larry Niven
17.  
A Case of Conscience Written by James Blish
18.  
Last and First Man Written by Olaf Stapledon
19.  
The Day of the Triffids Written by John Wyndham
20.  
Way Station Written by Clifford Simak
21.  
More Than Human Written by Theodore Sturgeon
22.  
Gray Lensman Written by E. E. "Doc" Smith
23.  
The Gods Themselves Written by Isaac Asimov
24.  
The Left Hand of Darkness Written by Ursula K. Le Guin
25.  
Behold the Man Written by Michael Moorcock
26.  
Star Maker Written by Olaf Stapledon
27.  
The War of the Worlds Written by H.G. Wells
28.  
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Written by Jules Verne
29.  
Heritage of Hastur Written by Marion Zimmer Bradley
30.  
The Time Machine Written by H.G. Wells
31.  
The Stars My Destination Written by Alfred Bester
32.  
Slan Written by A.E. Van Vogt
33.  
Neuromancer Written by William Gibson
34.  
Ender's Game Written by Orson Scott Card
35.  
In Conquest Born Written by C.S. Friedman
36.  
Lord of Light Written by Roger Zelazny
37.  
Eon Written by Greg Bear
38.  
Dragonflight Written by Anne McCaffrey
39.  
Journey to the Center of the Earth Written by Jules Verne
40.  
Stranger in a Strange Land Written by Robert Heinlein
41.  
Cosm Written by Gregory Benford
42.  
The Voyage of the Space Beagle Written by A.E. Van Vogt
43.  
Blood Music Written by Greg Bear
44.  
Beggars in Spain Written by Nancy Kress
45.  
Omnivore Written by Piers Anthony
46.  
I, Robot Written by Isaac Asimov
47.  
Mission of Gravity Written by Hal Clement
48.  
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Written by Philip Jose Farmer
49.  
Brave New World Written by Aldous Huxley
50.  
The Man Who Folded Himself Written by David Gerrold
51.  
1984 Written by George Orwell
52.  
The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl And Mr. Hyde Written by Robert Louis Stevenson
53.  
Snow Crash Written by Neal Stephenson
54.  
Flesh Written by Philip Jose Farmer
55.  
Cities in Flight Written by James Blish
56.  
Shadow of the Torturer Written by Gene Wolfe
57.  
Startide Rising Written by David Brin
58.  
Triton Written by Samuel R. Delany
59.  
Stand on Zanzibar Written by John Brunner
60.  
A Clockwork Orange Written by Anthony Burgess
61.  
Fahrenheit 451 Written by Ray Bradbury
62.  
A Canticle For Leibowitz Written by Walter Miller
63.  
Flowers for Algernon Written by Daniel Keyes
64.  
No Blade of Grass Written by John Christopher
65.  
The Postman Written by David Brin
66.  
Dhalgren Written by Samuel Delany
67.  
Berserker Written by Fred Saberhagen
68.  
Flatland Written by Edwin Abbot
69.  
Planiverse Written by A.K. Dewdney
70.  
Dragon's Egg Written by Robert L. Forward
71.  
Downbelow Station Written by C.J. Cherryh
72.  
Dawn Written by Octavia E. Butler
73.  
Puppet Masters Written by Robert Heinlein
74.  
The Doomsday Book Written by Connie Willis
75.  
Forever War Written by Joe Haldeman
76.  
Deathbird Stories Written by Harlan Ellison
77.  
Roadside Picnic Written by Boris Strugatsky & Arkady Strugatsky
78.  
The Snow Queen Written by Joan Vinge
79.  
The Martian Chronicles Written by Ray Bradbury
80.  
Drowned World Written by J.G. Ballard
81.  
Cat's Cradle Written by Kurt Vonnegut
82.  
Red Mars Written by Kim Stanley Robinson
83.  
Upanishads Written by Various
84.  
Alice in Wonderland Written by Lewis Carroll
85.  
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Written by Douglas Adams
86.  
The Lathe of Heaven Written by Ursula K. Le Guin
87.  
The Midwich Cuckoos Written by John Wyndham
88.  
Mutant Written by Henry Kuttner
89.  
Solaris Written by Stanislaw Lem
90.  
Ralph 124C41+ Written by Hugo Gernsback
91.  
I Am Legend Written by Richard Matheson
92.  
Timescape Written by Gregory Benford
93.  
The Demolished Man Written by Alfred Bester
94.  
War with the Newts Written by Karl Kapek
95.  
Mars Written by Ben Bova
96.  
Brain Wave Written by Poul Anderson
97.  
Hyperion Written by Dan Simmons
98.  
The Andromeda Strain Written by Michael Crichton
99.  
Camp Concentration Written by Thomas Disch
100.  
A Princess of Mars Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room *** (dvd) : It was an okay documentary about an incredibly grotesque subject - the overarching greed of the "smartest guys". The book I read (not this one) was better, and I thought the visuals were too flashy for the story it was trying to tell.
Out of Sight (1998) *** (cable) : Steven Soderbergh does Elmore Leonard with some very good looking actors. Fun movie, very light but both Clooney and Lopez pulled off their rolls with aplomb.
King Kong (2005) *** (dvd) : Solid if overlong adaptation of the classic. If I did half stars, this would go to 3 1/2. It was good, Jack Black was great and the special effects marvelous.
Valiant (2005) *** (cable) : A solid kids animated film about a small pigeon become a hero in the RAF Homing Pigeon Service. Great voice acting and the girls really had a grand time with it.

Brick - Incredible Brightness of Seeing

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Brick (2005) **** (dvd) : Very interesting film noir set in a California high school. Murder, drugs, loozers and winners all clash. Much like a British crime film, I strained to understand some of the lingo, but I enjoyed the ride.

Rififi - Incredible Brightness of Seeing

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Rififi is an archetypical heist film, where many of the forms of the movie were created. Other heist films that come to mind include Rififi's own director, Jules Dassin's Topkapi (in which Peter Ustinov won an Academy Award), and several of the Pink Panther movies. The most interesting part of these movies is the actual robbery, and here it was, for the first time, film sans dialog or music. A full 28 minutes go by during the heist without either, and believe me, you don't notice them missing for a second! It is an incredible piece of moviemaking, and even without a solid film backing it up, would make this movie a must see.

Tony le Stéphanois, played with a gruff weariness by Jean Servais, has just been released from prison after serving 5 years, taking the fall for his substitute son, Jo le Suedois, played by the prototypical Aryan, Carl Möhner. His girl stolen, no prospects, and a haggard face to reflect the losses, but his old partners are planning a new heist and want him aboard. After a run-in with his old girlfriend, he decides to take them up on it - the robbery of a fortress-like corner jewelry store. Much planning follows, and then they pull the heist off. But the ex-girlfriend's new beau, a gangster leader, tries to horn in, with tragic results for everyone.

It was interesting to note that one of the 4 robbers was played by the director Dassin - the Italian dandy safe cracker. One of the extras with the DVD is an extensive set of production notes as well as an interview with Dassin, where he explained that the original actor backed out at the last minute so he had to step in, and he did a wonderful job. Also, the black and white filming of Paris is beautiful, and the acting is all around top notch.

As I mentioned before, it is the actual robbery that is breathtaking. In fact, until I read about it later, I didn't even notice the lack of dialog or music, that's how involved you get with the job. And the terrible repercussions don't feel like some kind of Hayes Code demanded retribution, but rather it somehow seemed pre-ordained and how it would work out for these guys.

Jean Servais was perfect for the part. He plays Tony with a real weathered outlook, both internal and external. He seems revived by the new "job" and gives it his all. But his eyes show no surprise in how badly it all turns out, and he uses all his cunning to get the kidnapped boy back. I really liked this movie and have added Topkapi and the Italian Big Deal on Madonna Street to my list of movies on Netflix, as this genre really showed its stuff.

Next Stop Wonderland (1998) *** (cable) : Really nice romantic comedy, filmed locally. Nice acting, funny story, solid all around.

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