Well I just got back from the Norwescon science fiction convention in Seattle, WA. I had a lot of fun, as usual. This time even more of my friends attended, and we all got together and had a great time. Highlights of the event were the panels with Jim and Shannon Butcher. Great people to listen to and funny. The best writing panel that I attended was “Outline a novel in an hour and a half.” This was a two-hour long panel, totally packed with great advice and guidance on creating an outline. I also attended two writing panels where Mary Rosenblum gave excellent advice. The masquerade and film trailers were great fun as always. DJ’s for the dances were much improved over previous years. All in all, I learned a lot, drank plenty of alcohol, got my picture taken with Darth Vader, and even danced some. If you have never gone to a scifi convention, you should definitely try one.
Here are my notes from the “Outline a Novel” panel.
Here are my notes from the “Good Dialog” panel.
The First Men in the Moon. I was afraid that this was going to suck bad, but was pleasantly surprised. They did a great job recreating this H.G. Wells classic. Mark Gattis was awesome as the quirky professor, Cavor, who walks around making strange growling sounds when he is deep in thought. He runs into Bedford who is busy writing plays to make ends meet.
It’s then that the professor reveals the secret of his mysterious substance Cavorite, which defies gravity. The explanation about how the substance works was very well done, despite how far out the idea was, and I was quite able to suspend my belief long enough to really enjoy the whole movie.
Cavor is blinded by his absolute pursuit of science to the commercial value of his new find, and Bedford immediately comes up with a thousand ideas of how they can both become incredibly rich. But Cavor comes up with just one more—going to the moon. Beford is not too crazy about the idea but is eventually persuaded and they both shoot up into space inside a capsule that they have made, which is coated with the substance.
They reach the moon where creepy, not cheesy, looking moon people find and capture them. Cavor is certain that they can communicate with them and become friends, but Bedford is fearful and will have none of it. He goes wild, punching one of the moon men, and accidentally killing him with his superior earth strength. They run from the moon men, and Cavor decides to stay put, providing a distraction while Bedford goes to the capsule to escape.
The ending is satisfying, but mysterious, and I will again leave it to the viewer to find out for themselves. All and all, a real fun movie with lots of humor, thanks to the slightly strange professor, and a great tribute to a father of the science fiction genre.
The Flying Saucer. Sounds pretty exciting doesn’t it? This movie is not. I couldn’t even finish watching it; it was so boring. I got about halfway through and gave up. I know that sounds as if I just don’t care, and that’s probably about fifty percent correct, but it was too painful to watch. I’ll detail as much as I can remember though, which isn’t much because I lost interest within the first ten minutes of the film.
The movie begins with about thirty seconds of exciting footage of a very crappy flying saucer being seen by dozens of people, and it makes extremely annoying sounds. If that happened here in my small town we’d probably just shoot it down because it would bug the crap out of us. The rest of the movie that I made it through was entirely devoid of flying saucers, despite the very indicative title of “The Flying Saucer.”
Our puffy haired hero is sent off to Alaska by the CIA to investigate sightings of a flying saucer, and watch out for dreaded evil Soviet spies. Apparently Alaska is rife with Russian spies, because, well you know, they can see Alaska from their house. Fluffy head guy is accompanied by his beautiful accomplice who poses as his private nurse. It’s a lame facade, as he’s constantly kissing her and rolling around in the Alaskan grass. The next twenty minutes of the movie consists of them boating around Alaska and wandering to and fro, abandoned completely by any signs of flying saucers, or anything at all resembling science fiction. They have a freaky looking servant dude with ears the size of flying saucers though, and we start to suspect that he is indeed part of the Soviet scourge, although his accent changes in every scene.
The first indication that something is up with Bigears is when he abandons the fake nurse to be possibly eaten by a bear, and then tries to stab her in the back but is scared off by the sound of a boat horn. At this point, I couldn’t stand anymore and was just hoping that he’d kill everyone and himself, and then I would see “THE END” in big white letters on the screen. No such luck.
Next we follow Poofy hair guy on a whirlwind trip to Juneau where he visits every bar looking for old friends. This is depicted by still shots of neon lights with the names of bars and small talk in the background of him asking whether anyone knows where they are. I kept thinking he should be looking for a place to get a hair cut, but that never happened. By then my yawning attack had hit a maximum high and I just had to pull the plug on the whole thing. I’m sorry, I know that’s lame. I’m a huge lover of old SciFi and it pains me to admit it, but this was so bad that I couldn’t even enjoy making fun of it. If you ever watch the whole thing, you have more guts than I do.