I used to adore reading fiction. Like many of you, I was one of those kids who would gladly sacrifice his eyesight to fill his imagination with one more sprawling story. It’s why I eventually became a writer: novels are jewels in this life, timeless packages of virtual reality. Continue reading Review of 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Star Trek, the original series, recently celebrated its 50th birthday. Star Trek: The Next Generation, is about to celebrate its 30th birthday. In fact, a review of its pilot episode was my very first newspaper article. I was a really bad writer back then, and an even worse reviewer. (Some say I never improved.) I predicted that the show would not last. Clearly, I’m an idiot. In my defence, I was 20 years old. Most people are idiots at 20. Continue reading Star Trek Discovery: the Good, the Bad, and the Ferengi
This is a very very brief review.
Superhero TV shows are all the rage, and I’m certainly a sucker for them. Netflix’s Jessica Jones is one of the finest examples of the genre I’ve ever seen. The Flash has been required weekly viewing for three years now. And season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil caused my draw to literally drop (when the Punisher walked into the courtroom… Oh. My. God… we get to see the trial of the motherfrackin’ Punisher!)
So it was predictable and understandable that the frequency of genre shows would accelerate, despite Spielberg himself saying that superheroes would soon go the way of the Western.
I was with some trepidation that I watched the newest offerings: the pilot episode of FX’s Legion, and the first two episodes of NBC’s sitcom, Powerless. Continue reading Legion and Powerless: Review of Two New Shows
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to totally immerse myself in a novel. You know that feeling –sneaking minutes on the bus, in the toilet, in bed, in between work tasks– anything to get that next little hit of sweet narrative. As I’ve aged, fewer books can draw me in so completely. So it’s been a joy to ravenously consume the latest offering by Kim Stanley Robinson, an epic tale of interstellar travel.
Continue reading Review of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
It’s Labour Day weekend here in Canada, and I am four episodes deep into the Space Network‘s Star Trek marathon. The network is showing the supposed 10 “best” episodes of each of the five canonical Star Trek TV series. For their complete list of episodes click here. Continue reading The Best Star Trek: Next Generation episodes
I will attempt to do the impossible and write a mostly spoiler-free review of season 1 of the Netflix original series, Stranger Things. Continue reading Stranger Things, season 1… or How I Miss The 80s
This article contains spoilers for the movie Suicide Squad. Read at your own peril.
I don’t know anymore. I really don’t. I’m officially middle aged, and am thus, by definition, “out of touch”. This means that I will never again understand what the kids are into, and I will never again have my finger on the pulse of pop culture or on “what’s cool”— if indeed I ever did! The fact that I put quotation marks around “what’s cool” is a sure sign that I’m now an old fuddy-duddy, as is my unironic use of “fuddy-duddy.”
People attend cons for a variety of reasons. Personally, I enjoy soaking in the atmosphere of the entire site – it really is electric – costumes, exploring the exhibition area, commissioning a piece of art from one of the many artists in the artist’s alley and of course, having the opportunity to meet the people behind my favourite movie and television characters. I have been waiting for a year, and the day is finally here! I donned my special “T-Shirt of the Day”, hopped on the 97 and headed out to the EY Centre!
First Up – Celebrity Vehicles
This year, three celebrity vehicles were in attendance:
- Supernatural’s 1967 Chev Impala (OMG what a car)
- Back to the Future’s 1984 Delorean
- Ghostbuster’s Ecto-1 – a 1959 Cadillac Ambulance
Next was a screening of the Canadian Animation Celebration sponsored by the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Did you know the OIF is the longest running animation festival in North America? The show was excellent! Highlights included:
Panel 1 – John De Lancie and René Auberjonois
The first panel of the day followed: 50 Years of Star Trek Q&A with John De Lancie and René Auberjonois. Both were gracious and good-natured with fans who for some reason asked the same question over and over again.
John De Lancie is known for portraying Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. I was surprised to learn he had roles in Charmed, Torchwood, Breaking Bad, Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica (1979), Days of Our Lives, The Twilight Zone, Matlock and MacGyver, among others series. As a voice actor he has appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, Assassin’s Creed (video game) and in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
René Auberjonois is known for portraying Chief of Security Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Col. West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) Clayton Endicott III on the comedy series Benson (1979), and as Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal. Recently he appeared in The Librarians. As a voice actor he has appeared in The Last Unicorn (1980)(The Skull), Superfriends (Desaad), Little Mermaid (1989)(Louis) and the video game Skylanders: Superchargers (Pomfrey).
A short interview with the two actors at the con can be found here.
Geek Universe Concert with the OVMF
Montreal’s L’Orchestre à Vents de Musiques de Films closed Day 1 out with an excellent concert. 50 musicians under the direction of conductor and arranger Jocelyn Leblanc took the audience through the soundtracks of video games, movies and television. The playlist included:
- Star Fox
- Zelda vs Final Fantasy
- Rey’s Theme
- Lando’s Theme (Bespin)
- Doctor Who
- I am the Doctor (11th Doctor)
- All the Strange Strange Creatures (David Tennant)
- Am I a Good Man? (Peter Capaldi)
- Star Trek (new)
- Our Shore (Fellowship of the Ring) Medely
- Zelda a link to the past
- Captain America – The First Avenger
- Game of Thrones
It was a wonderful way to wind up Day 1 of the Ottawa Comiccon – 2016 Edition.
Ottawa Comiccon is a popular culture convention held each May at Ottawa’s EY Centre. Since 2012, it has been a forum where people of all ages can gather to share their passions for science fiction, horror, anime, video games, tabletop games and comic books. Programs are wide ranging and consist of a variety of activities. This year’s event included:
- Celebrity Q & A, autograph, and photo sessions.
- A performance by Montreal’s OVMF Orchestra.
- Movie and documentary screenings.
- Panels on everything from acting and costuming to cultural studies.
- Improv, game shows and musical performances.
- Board game beta-testing and tournaments.
- An exhibition hall for artists, vendors and charity events.
Why is this a thing?
Simply put, it is a place where people go to be themselves. (Even if “themselves” means dressing up as Groot). It is a place for our inner child, and our children. To borrow from Mikey Neumann, these things we like were built into incredibly impactful slices of our lives. They remind us of the time we spent on the couch where we watched or read the very first thing that truly captured our imagination. We are reminded of all the time spent running round the back yard pretending to be characters in films, TV shows, books, games or comics. These things can surprise us and create in us such feelings, feelings that we carry with us in every moment of every day.
Why am I telling you this?
It was my cabbie.
My wife left for a business trip Saturday evening. I had to leave the con a little early to get home to see her off and put the boy to bed. A cab seemed prudent, given the OC Transpo commute time. I emerged from the building with several hundred people – half of whom were in costume of one kind or another. There was a single cab sitting at the taxi-stand out front. I climbed in with my backpack and con-bag, told him where we were headed and gratefully sat back in my seat. As we pulled out of the EY Centre’s driveway the driver asks, “So, what is going on here? Why is everyone dressed like this?” I stammered my way through an explanation. He had never heard of a pop-culture convention. Judging from the look on his face, I’m doubtful my explanation made things any clearer.
A Day in the Life – Ottawa Comiccon 2016
Over the next few days I propose to share a little of my experience at this year’s con. Maybe it will convince someone to attend one – at the very least I hope the photos are enjoyable!