Monday, September 29, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.0

I haven't been posting like I should, partly because I'm working on other writing projects and partly because I get lazy on my days off after a ten-day stretch in the field. However, on this, my last day off, I'm just about to head out the door to the library to get some books to help me finish an essay for the blog. Really.

Also, I haven't been posting because I'm captivated by Season 2.0 of Battlestar Galactica. I said before that I liked the first season, and then I offered up a round of criticism, but I love the second season. This show is amazing!

Back in grad school when I was catching about every other episode of Season One, I was saying that I really thought the show wasn't living up to its potential. I wanted to see riots. I wanted to see desperate soldiers shooting rioters. I wanted to see lots of gun battles. I wanted to see the fleet getting angry at the military. I wanted to see stress piled on stress until characters started totally freaking out. I wanted to see mutinies and political conniving. I wanted to see Starbuck doing a dual-wield with machine pistols. All of that seemed to me the stuff the basic premise was made out of, something the original show never managed, and which I thought the new show wasn't managing either because it was trying to hard to be West Wing In Space.

That's all changed. The second season has all the stuff I said I wanted to see when I first watched the first season, all the tension and melodrama. Now instead of watching Miss Happy President being popular, we get to watch Adama (Edward James Olmos) painting his boat while talking in his gravelly voice about The Rage. Heck yeah! We get to see Adama choking Boomer, Colonel Tigh (Michael Hogan) power-tripping while hitting the bottle, Cali flipping out with a gun, the president claiming to be a prophet and dividing the fleet...even Number Six (Tricia Helfer) is almost tolerable this season. If she'd just lose that damnably ugly dress, I might even be able to stand looking at her.

Admittedly, the show has some fixation on seductresses--besides Number Six, we have Boomer, who's having Helo's (Tahmoh Penikett) baby, and we have Tigh's social-climbing, weak-husband-manipulating wife (Kate Vernon). But since two out of three of those aren't annoying, I'll give this a pass. Also, I have a slight schoolboy crush on the character of Cally (Nicki Clyne). I guess I go for the sweet, cute, innocent type who can bite your ear off, slug you in the face, or maybe gun you down if you try to mess with her.

My only remaining complaints are that that those CGI Cylons still look fake, and Boxey is still absent, apparently because most of his scenes got cut. Curses!

The religious content of the series is still ambiguous at the point I'm at. The humans are still polytheists and the Cylons are still monotheists; the nature of the Lords of Kobol, whether they are gods, superhumans, an alien species that lived with humans, or something else, is still up in the air. Number Six tells us that humans practiced human sacrifice on Kobol, indicating, if she's telling the truth, that everything wasn't as peachy as the humans generally believe. There is indication that the Cylons are quite familiar with human history and know something of the Lords of Kobol, though the relationship between the polytheistic human religion and the Cylon monotheistic one is still unclear.

What's really great, though, is that we've learned the Cylons are an organ-harvesting cult bent on creating human-Cylon hybrids. This appears to be another use of the old "V'ger must evolve" trope, the artificial intelligence that can only get so far in improving itself before it needs to mesh with a human. The series is certainly handling the old idea well, with just the right amount of grostequeness. The question of whether or not robots are people, though one that's been practically done to death in sf of late, is also getting a good, if not especially sophisticated, treatment.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Dragon

I'm back from the field...with a new dragon. There will now be a moratorium on dragon purchases.

But check this guy out!

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The old ball and chain--not only does he have a big black pearl with which to make thunder and rain, but he also has a big chain with which to knock you around if he has to.


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S and more different S.


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And here we have a nice view of those glorious wings, with which he rules that messy corner of my desk.


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A detail in which you can see that his eyes glow with infinite evil! Buahahahaha!!!


So there he is. He doesn't have a name yet, but since he's my second crystal dragon (the first being a Christmas tree ornament), I'm considering calling him Crystal Dragon Jesus, because, well, you know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

TV Review: Knight Rider Series Premier

I want that hour back.

Well, I did it. Being in a motel room with cable and nothing else to do, I caught the series premier of Knight Rider. I can sum this up on the quick-make: the best part of the show is the part where President Bush comes on to tell us the economy has gone down the tubes and we need to shell out a few million.

After the end of Bush's undoubtedly controversial cameo, everything stops making sense. Whoa, did I just write that? Let me check that again...yes, that's when things stop making sense. Definitely not a good sign.

I'm made to understand this series premier is actually a followup to some made-for-TV movie, and I readily believe it, because it's clear I was supposed to watch and/or read something before trying to watch this. The plot starts in the middle and the characters get no introduction: There's this dude Michael (Justin Bruening), a man severely lacking in David Hasselhoffness, who has this cool car (voice of Val Kilmer) severely lacking in Cylon-eyeishness, though it rates very high in the fake-looking Transformers rip-off* department, being able to change smoothly from a sports car to a pickup truck in order to ensure that Ford gets maximum product placement. Anyway, this dude, and this girl (Deanna Russo), are both after some "package" or other, the contents of which are so secret, we don't know what they are. The package turns out to be not a package per se but another dude who encoded something in his DNA, and at this point a writer must have recognized a problem, because Michael says, "Do you know how stupid that is?"

Yeah, we know. Or rather, we don't know. We don't know anything because you haven't explained it!

So, I might talk about the show, but I can't follow it. Instead, I'll just note that I can't hear half the dialogue because of the over-loud soundtrack. That's probably for the best, though, because much of the dialogue is fake-sounding technogibberish about a car's exterior changing into a new material because it gets hit with napalm. I don't get it either, but a little checking tells me the car is now made out of nanoprobes (lame!), so that probably has something to do with it. Also, incendiary missiles apparently travel at a leisurely twenty miles per hour, giving the people on the business end plenty of time to discuss what they're going to do about their predicament when the missile finally hits.

I'll also note that the cinematographer should maybe take a few tranquilizers before doing whatever it is cinematographers do, because this show has way too many fancy CSI shots--you know, the kind where the camera suddenly zooms in on something. Of course, in CSI those zooms are actually onto things relevant to the plot, rather than onto the insides of computer-generated car engines.

Furthermore...wait a minute, did I read that right? Val Kilmer is the voice of K.I.T.T.? Huh. Talk about under-utilizing an actor. Is Val Kilmer the only guy around who can do a smooth, emotionless voice, or what?

So there you go. I give it one season. And I take back what I said before: It can be worse than Knight Rider 2000.

(Ouch, just look at that pan; this must be why I don't review television shows. It must be day nine of a ten-day archaeological field session or something.)

And incidentally, the last time I was at Universal Studios, which was when I was about eight years old, they had K.I.T.T. there and you could actually climb in and talk to him. Assuming the car is still there, it is my new goal for this blog to go there, treat the car like a confessional, see how the poor minimum-wage voice actor responds, and capture it all on video.

*Now that I think about it, this more closely resembles an Inspector Gadget ripoff, though the hideous live-action film adaptation of that cartoon is arguably a Knight Rider ripoff, so things have come full-circle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knight Rider?

Sooner or later, they mess with your childhood, but I never figured they'd mess with mine so dang soon. What with Transformers, Battlestar Galactica, and the Terminator TV series, I'm wondering if anything from my childhood will remain sacred and untouched. The answer is apparently no: Now there's a new Knight Rider series.

At the very least, we can be sure it will be better than Knight Rider 2000. Oh man was that bad. (Though I do want one of those ultrasound guns.)

Am eagerly awaiting the remakes of The A-Team, Airwolf, and MacGyver.

The season premier of the new series, which appears on TV tomorrow, is available right now on the Internet. I will not be attempting to watch it via my sluggish motel room connection.

September Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour

This month, the tour is featuring Marcher Lord Press, a new publishing house for Christian sf, founded by the energetic and innovative Jeff Gerke (a.k.a. Jefferson Scott). Sadly, Marcher Lord doesn't launch until October, so there isn't a great deal to say yet.

Gerke is also the proprietor of the Christian sf resource clearinghouse, Where the Map Ends. Readers here may also remember that I attempted a review of his character creation system, for which I received some criticism from skeptical readers.

So there isn't a lot to say about Marcher Lord Press, at least not yet. I suggest looking at the launch list, which shows you the three books they'll be coming out with next month. I'm rather interested in Summa Elvetica by Theodore Beale, which depicts a Catholic Church in an alternate universe struggling with the question of whether elves have souls. The central character of the novel is apparently a priest who has a turgid love story, because of course all fictional Catholic priests have turgid love stories.

(By the way, I'm pretty sure our theologians would be forced to conclude that a being created by God and endowed with will and reason must have a rational soul, so unless Beale has something up his sleeve, I doubt the theological problem of the book will make for a pageturner.)

Update: I did Beale a disservice up above, as some readers have pointed out; the question of whether or not elves have souls will depend on what kind of elves he's using. If they're elves as in Tolkien's novels (as I rashly assumed), then the answer to the question of whether or not they have souls is necessarily yes, but those aren't necessarily the kind of elves Beale is using. In my defense, however, I'll note that the sample chapters do suggest that it is physical beings with will and reason that Beale has in mind, in which case the necessary conclusion of Catholic theology is still yes, they have souls. Now that I've wronged the author, I suppose should feel obligated to pick up his book and review it.

The tour:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Courtney
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Kameron M. Franklin
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Kait
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Margaret
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Greg Slade
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Update

I'm currently in the field, and in some of my spare time I'm preparing an essay that should go up on the blog this next weekend. That's why the posting has been slight lately.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mecha Manga Bible Heroes #1 at Holy Heroes!!



I have just posted a review of issue #1 of the comic book series Mecha Manga Bible Heroes over at the Holy Heroes!! blog.

After reading this first issue, I'm still asking the same question I was asking when I first heard of this project: "Why?" This issue, "David vs. Goliath," follows 1 Samuel 17.1-58 faithfully except for the additions of the aforementioned sf flourishes, which as a result look like intrusions. Truth be told, I don't get it; it would make better sense to me to create a comic that not only tells the Bible stories faithfully but also attempts to faithfully depict the world in which those stories took place, or else to create sf stories that use the Bible as starting points but take greater liberties with the text. [more...]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

News from the Fish Bowl: Museum of Bad Art Leading Ig Nobel Winners

I realize I haven't posted news lately, but I just found out that the Museum of Bad Art, renowned for displaying artworks that went horribly wrong either in conception or execution, will be parading bad art into the Sanders Theater at Harvard as part of the annual Ig Nobel Prizes, which honor bizarre scientific studies. The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will take place on October 2nd.

Last year's Ig Nobels include an award in medicine to Brian Witcombe of Gloucester, UK, and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, for "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects." This year's will presumably feature equally odd projects.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Slight Delay

The review of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has taken me off on some research I hadn't originally planned to do, so the article will be bigger, more in depth, and later than I originally intended.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fight the Future

Here's what's coming up in the very near future:

I have just received and read the first issue of the comic book series Mecha Manga Bible Heroes, which I have previously discussed here, and which Lucky, of all people, discussed here. I'll let you know what I think.

I have just finished watching the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the second season of which, I believe, just started. This is fine, fine TV, but then again, anything with Johnny Cash in its soundtrack is likely to get a pass from me.

The Latest Acquisition

Here's an image of our latest draconic acquisition. Like many of my dragons, this one is hand-painted by my mom (and her hand-painting of statuettes is the entire reason I have a dragon collection in the first place), so nobody's allowed to, you know, criticize it or anything. Oh, and when I say "my mom" here, I of course mean my birth mother and not the dragoness who raised me in the Fairy Woods. She sent this as a birthday present, though my birthday is not for some time yet, but it's okay that I opened it now because I had to make sure it survived shipment. Really.

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This guy, like, owns that castle, man. He's probably got a princess locked up in there right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Return Again

Just this evening I got back from another nine-day stint in the field; my return coincides with finishing a novel and finding a reviewer's copy in the mail, so we should have a few more reviews for you in the near future.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: Season 1


Frequent readers know we don't talk much about television here, reason being we don't have cable or satellite TV, don't want it, and have better things to do, thank you very much. So of course, you've all watched this already, but it's new to me.

This show is yet another example of my movie prophecy skills. I was in graduate school in Toronto, walking down Bloor Street one night, thinking to myself that somebody ought to remake Battlestar Galactica--when I looked up and saw an ad for the remake on one of the big, obnoxious screen advertisements they have in big cities. That may not be exactly how it happened, but it's close.

I barely remember anything about the original series, except that I loved it and that I was too young to differentiate its humans-against-robots plot from the plots of Star Wars and Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. I thought all of those were about humans fighting evil robots who wanted to assimilate or annihilate them (and I guess I got two out of three). And it's probably fitting that I couldn't tell Battlestar Galactica from Star Wars, since the one was riding the coattails of the other.

Campy in the extreme, yes, but even though I can't remember a dang thing about the show except roving red robot eyes, lots of blaster fights, and childhood awe, I know, I sincerely believe in my heart, that the original Galactica was très awesome. Photo stills from the series confirm that belief--I mean, look at that costume design! Jacket snaps that big should be illegal!

Obviously, we can't have the old series back, no matter how much we want it: the seventies are over. Disco is dead, man. But that doesn't mean the old show doesn't have something worth repeating; I certainly think it does, particularly the incredible idea of a mobile, space-borne refugee camp containing the entire remnant of the human race, trying to escape an inexhaustible army of merciless robots. That is such a cool concept, the remake was inevitable.

Previously I was underwhelmed by the remake, partly because I discovered it in the middle of the first season and missed several episodes because of my schooling. Now that I've had the chance to watch the entire first season straight through, my opinion has flip-flopped like an American politician's after the latest poll. I think I like it.

First, let's acknowledge, as I already said, that the original show is what it is and shall not be--probably should not be--repeated. So a new show is going to have to be a twenty-first century kind of show, no matter how much nostalgia and anger this will inevitably create. If we really pine for the original show, we should probably just watch that: after all, it's still there and it's on DVD, even. So rather than compare the new show with the old (which I can't clearly remember anyway, but that part of the Universal Studios ride is awesome), I will simply talk about the new show by itself.

Here's what's cool:
  1. James Callis chewing every bit of scenery as Dr. Baltar. The original character was played by the...oh wait, I said I wouldn't do this. Ah, forget it--the original character was played by John Colicos. Since Colicos could chew scenery simply by being in the scenery, imitating him is impossible,* so Callis does the right thing by bouncing off the walls in his own inimitably sweaty, flustered manner. Great stuff, and he has such good material to work with.
  2. All the production design. Good sets, good costumes, good special effects, good casting, good writing, good pretty much everything. Universal Studios knows how to put on a high-quality television show. I didn't even know the production values for TV could be this high. I miss the goofy costumes of the original, of course, but since I have to give them up, I'll gladly take what the new series has to offer in their place.
  3. Contrary to the opinions of many fans of the original, Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck. Sure, I miss Dirk Benedict as much as anybody, but Sackhoff is a fine replacement, effectively conveying that devil-may-care, tough-girl pilot attitude. Besides, look at it this way: the womanizer Starbuck being reincarnated as a woman is cosmic justice.
  4. Edward James Olmos as Adama. He's no Lorne Greene, but who is? This guy has such incredible screen presence, he could be in the background doing nothing while five hundred other characters are in the foreground, and he would still appear to be the most important thing in the picture. He could loan heavy helpings of screen presence to every other actor in the show and still have enough left over to be totally awesome. When I'm watching this, I honestly believe he's the war-hardened veteran battleship commander. I mean, dang, he's good.
  5. This show almost has three casts. We've got the bridge crew, the fighter pilots and hangar bay crew, and the politicians, and they're all in tension with each other. This should be a no-brainer, but I can't think of another show that does it (not that I watch much TV), and it creates such great tension. Look at the way Star Trek always sends the captain down with the away team. See the difference?

And here's what's lame:

  1. A severe lack of Boxley. Where are all the cute kids? Boxley shows up as a troubled boy who follows Starbuck around and lights her stogies for her--that's cool. But then he disappears, and that's lame.
  2. The sex scenes. Honestly. Is that just to annoy the FCC, or what? I've been away from television so long, I didn't even know they could do that on television. And is there some sort of requirement that there be one or two sex scenes an episode? Since the show hinges on the creation of a human-Cylon hybrid, the creation of said hybrid could have had more impact if there weren't something like thirty frackin' sex scenes before the important one. To see the correct way to depict an important conception, go watch The Terminator again: just one sex scene. One.** But on the plus side, since I'm watching this on DVD with no commercials, the sex scenes give ample opportunity to head for the kitchen to get another beer.
  3. Tricia Helfer as Cylon Number Six, apparently stuck permanently in Evil Temptress Mode. At first, she was kind of interesting, but then she got annoying. Fortunately, James Callis's Baltar can play off her even though she's lame. I notice that in the show no man can resist her, but I keep waiting for someone she's trying to seduce to say, "Sorry, I find aggressive, angular bleached blondes to be decidedly unattractive."
  4. War-on-Terror references. The Cylons have more ships, more manpower, and better weapons, and they've already won the war. So what do they do? Suicide bombs, obviously. Relevance--blech.
  5. An extremely popular president tries to gain my sympathies with breast cancer. Arrrgghhh!!! I thought I was watching Battlestar Galactica, not frackin' West Wing Meets ER in a Very Special Episode. At least the president gets moderately tolerable after she stops being Miss Perfect and starts power-tripping.
  6. The flying refugee camp has a democratic government that is both functional and popular. Whoa, my suspension of disbelief is taking a serious hit here, and it only gets worse when they decide to film this episode in a botanical garden.
  7. Shouldn't someone be suffering cabin fever by now?
  8. The lengthy introduction. Unlike the rest of the show, this appears to have been written by a first-grader. So the Cylons "have a Plan," do they? Well, I should hope so, or else a screenwriter is slacking off on the job. Now why is plan capitalized?
  9. Whose dumb idea was it to show scenes from the current episode during the opening credits?
  10. Computer-generated Cylons. Pretty good CGI, admittedly, but they still look fake. The original chrome suits were way cooler.
  11. The word frack. This is an artifact from the original series, the one thing that should have been eliminated immediately. Instead, the characters drop frack-bombs in every other sentence. The f-word generally makes dialogue sound stupid; changing it to frack makes it sound silly as well as stupid. In the old show, silly was okay, but the new show is trying to be serious. It's hard to take a thing seriously when the characters are shouting, "Oh, frack me!" Apparently, the screenwriters can't imagine serious dialogue without f-bombs. They're wrong.
  12. Lots and lots of handheld camera-work. What the frack?

*My defective memory actually places Robert Vaughn in this role, so maybe the original Baltar isn't as cool as I think he was.

**Okay, I admit it, I forgot one, but that was one of those dumb slasher-style fornicators-getting-horribly-killed scenes, so it doesn't count.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Grimm's Fairy Tales

I like to cheat. In particular, I like to drop titles of books I haven't read. It's not like I'm not going to read them, mind you. I just haven't yet. And I still haven't managed to get all the way through A Landscape With Dragons.

But now I can at least say I've gotten all the way through The Complete Brothers Grimm. All the enchanted princesses and princes have been rescued and married off, all the villains have been killed or mutilated, and all the pious children have keeled over. Here is what I've learned:

  1. All elderly women practice magic. Some are evil witches, and some are good fairies; they're impossible to tell apart, but if you don't guess right, you're screwed.
  2. When faced with three impossible tasks, your best bet is to sit back, relax, and wait for a deus ex machina.
  3. When you're setting out on a difficult journey, the very next person you meet will have something you need.
  4. The youngest son is always the most virtuous.
  5. The youngest daughter is always the hottest.
  6. Theft is a harmless and profitable pasttime as long as you're clever about it or the objects you're stealing have magical properties.
  7. Unless the guy you're stealing from is the protagonist, in which case you're screwed.
  8. Selling your soul to the devil is a risk-free way to strike it rich.
  9. If you're wondering where the kidnapped princess has been taken to, your best bet is to look for the nearest mountain made of glass.
  10. Whenever you have a long way to travel, the quickest and easiest means of transportation is the nearest available giant.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of Celebrity Drug Rehab

Previously on The Sci Fi Catholic:

Thanks to a commenter who calls herself (himself?) Sarathi, Snuffles and I have both recognized that we have problems, and so we have entered Christian Drug Rehab. It's time to confront our inner demons.

The following is an abbreviated transcript from our first session:

Susan*: Welcome back, everybody. Let's introduce our two newest members. Go ahead, new members.

D.G.D.: Hi. My name is the Deej, and, um, I'm a fanboy.

Everybody: Hi, Deej.

Susan: Tell us a little about yourself and your problem, Deej.

D.G.D.: Gosh, I don't know where to begin.... Well, it all started when I was about ten years old and read Roy Rockwood's City Beyond the Clouds. I thought it was so great then, you know? I didn't realize what it was doing to me. I thought I could quit any time I wanted to. I read Ray Bradbury, mostly, but before long I was getting into the harder stuff--Clarke, Asimov, the works. I was reading everything I could. And then I read Dune in middle school, and, and...[begins to sob]...I even...I even read the sequels! [Breaks down completely.] I'm...I'm so sorry....

Susan: Let's all cry for Deej and maybe give him a hug.

D.G.D.: *Snff* Are we...are we re-enacting a scene from Fight Club?

Susan: Maybe we'll role-play later. Right now, let's let your friend introduce himself. Stand up, please.

Snuffles: Hi. My name is Snuffles T. Dragon, esquire.

Everybody: Hi, Snuffles T. Dragon, esquire.

Snuffles: And I have a mecha fetish.

Susan: A what?

D.G.D.: *Snff* Just roll with it. *Snff*

Susan: Okay...Deej, why don't you tell the group how you think your addiction has negatively affected your life?

D.G.D.: Well...this is so embarrassing...it's hurt me in countless ways. Like, one time, I was sitting in a restaurant...b-by myself...and I think the cute waitress was kinda, y'know, hitting on me, but I just--I just stuck my nose back in my copy of John Steakley's Armor and kept reading! I'm so ashamed!

Snuffles: He didn't leave much of a tip, either.

D.G.D.: Hey!

Snuffles: Has he mentioned yet his delusions? The whole waitress thing is all in his mind. Dude couldn't get a date if his life depended on it.

D.G.D.: How do you know? Maybe I just haven't wanted to get a date--

Snuffles: Have I mentioned yet that I, on the other hand, live in a lavishly decorated cave with no less than fourteen virgins?

Well, I won't bore you with the rest of that. To make a long story short, the meeting descended into chaos and they eventually asked us, cordially, to seek help elsewhere and not to come back.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Girl Genius Review at Holy Heroes!!



Well, my long, luxurious weekend is just about over. I haven't posted as much as I intended, mainly because Snuffles the Dragon brought all fourteen of his virgins over for the Labor Day party, which means I spent the day cooking and cleaning up after everybody. It rained most of the day, so everyone was crammed into our tiny apartment, which is too small already. Incidentally, Natasha seems to have perfected her roundhouse kick, but I swear it was an entirely innocent comment that she misconstrued, so I don't think I deserved that kind of response. The doc says my jaw wasn't quite broken, so I'll be okay in a few days.

And speaking of tough young women who don't take no guff off nobody, I have just put up a review of the web comic Girl Genius over at the other blog I sometimes post to, Holy Heroes!!

We've all seen stories that imagine not just superheroes, but worlds positively overrun with superheroes. Shows like The Tick, or some episodes of Darkwing Duck, poke fun at DC and Marvel's overstuffed comic book universes. In Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross treat the idea of heroic overcrowding more seriously. Girl Genius works on a similar idea, but instead of imagining a world overrun with supermen, it imagines one overrun with mad scientists. [more...]