Entries Tagged 'Science-Fiction' ↓

It’s What the Fashionable, Well-Dressed, Battle-Hardened Woman Is Wearing This Fall.


Ever seen this movie?: An angry couple is in their humid apartment’s living room, screeching at each other. The man, in a fit of passion, loudly slaps the woman.

Instead of cowering, though, she becomes enraged. “YOU FILTHY MOTHER$%&@#%!!” she curses, holding her bruised cheek in pain and shock. He tries to apologize. “Baby, I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened!” She’s done, though. Her eyes go cold. “Oh, I got somethin’ for you…you dirty MOTHER$%&@#%!!” she screams, as she disappears into the darkened bedroom.

Typically, she returns with a gun. But wouldn’t it be cool if the next thing you heard were servomotors…then the sound of a smashing bedroom door frame as she emerged from the dark, not with a .38, but piloting one of these, above: A Super Armored Fighting Suit (S.A.F.S.), from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion?

900575_press16-001Marketed by the unstoppable Sideshow Collectibles, this Medicom Toy piece, marketed in collaboration with Toys McCoy, is fully 1:6 scale. The eight-pound, 16″ tall, finely detailed unit

combines vinyl, PVC, and metal to bring you this articulated fighting suit, complete with fully realized 12-inch figure pilot. The Super Armored Figure Suit features opening hatch and arms, articulated shoulders and waist, and a manipulator on the right arm. The interior details of the machine are perfectly realized with lights and the 47mm Prg. 56 Examiner razor revolves for added authenticity. Driving this detailed super suit, the female pilot features a headset inspire by U.S. and German models, comes with switch-out gloved and bare hands, and comes clothed in an authentic figure uniform.

The mecha opens out and can completely encase the pilot inside, above. Plus the driver’s got what every guy collector wants on his toy girl warriors: Fully erect nipples, engorged, no doubt, from the adrenalized rush of battle. Hey, no one should ever put their hands on anyone else in aggression, and no man, especially, should ever do so to a woman. But when you’ve gotta fight back, girls, go robotic. Out 1st Qtr 2010, limited to 600 pieces. MEDICOM TOY Super Armored Fighting Suit (S.A.F.S.), $1,249.99.

Syd Mead’s Cutting Edge Universe.


For years, conceptual designer Syd Mead has been the man to whom companies go when they need to advance an audacious vision of the impending future.

Sydney Jay Mead was born in 1933, in Saint Paul, MN, to a Baptist minister and his wife. After graduating from the Art Center in Los Angeles in 1959, he worked at Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Center in Dearborn, MI for two years. He then spent part of the next decade rendering now legendary concept illustration for U.S. Steel, above. “He painted,” one Mead fan site notes, “using a slick, detailed method that made the future seem fresh, clean, and thrilling.” He started Syd Mead, Inc. in 1970.

2214587372_f2ac688e8eat-at005Soon, Hollywood came calling with movies that required his ultra-hard, visually authentic and tactile designs. (Mead lists his favorite metal as “chrome,” and his favorite color is, gulp, “Cherenkov radiation blue.”) His indelible technological notions were then emblazoned on sci-fi like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Aliens, and Tron. (Indeed, some would argue that his US Steel snow walker, above right, obviously influenced another one in a galaxy far, far away, below right.)

bladerunner_spinner_billboardblade-runner1syd-mead-blade-runnerBut it was Blade Runner, right, Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, on which Mead’s dystopic gigalopolis, both below right, most sears every frame. “In essence,” says author Paul Sammon (Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner), “what you’re seeing in many shots are almost three-dimensional representations of Syd Mead’s art.”

Sammon, Mead, director Steven Lisberger (Tron) and other industry vets testify in director Joaquin Montalvan’s 2005 documentary, Visual Futurist: The Art & Life of Syd Mead. The film tells Mead’s story from his own perspective, as well as from that of the people with whom he’s worked. It’s a rich document about a little-known man, but one whose whose ideas are deeply and widely embedded in American popular culture.

Joaquin Montalvan is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, August 21, at 2 pm ET.

But first we’ll speak to Jason Del Gandio, author of Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century Activist, a guide for the ultra-political on how to effectively communicate. “Here’s the underlying logic” of his book, Del Gandio says:

• Change the rhetoric and you change the communication.

• Change the communication and you change the experience.

• Change the experience and you change a person’s orientation to the world.

• Change that orientation and you create conditions for profound social change.

You can hear Jason Del Gandio’s and Joaquin Montalvan’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!! There’s a Life-Sized Lost In Space Robot Standing in Your Living Room!!


An anonymous collector has decided to part with his certainly much-beloved, actual-size B-9, as the Lost In Space robot’s model number is well known to aficionados of the 1960s sci-fi series. He’s selling it on Ebay, and the retailer managing the sale describes the toy this way:

Continue reading →

Lando Calrissian is a Nazi?

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Harrison Ford is a great actor. But I think whoever re-edited the audio on this brief scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was playing on a certain, say, modularity in some of Mr. Ford’s performances.

The Force is Strong with This One.


Saw Star Trek, above, last night. Twice. Needless to say, it completely and totally rocks. Don’t wait for the DVD: This is a theater must-see.

One detail, though: The IMAX format is growing in popularity, but not all the IMAX theaters are those massive five-story ones, like at the Air & Space Museum, in Washington D.C., or at Lincoln Center, here, in NYC.

For example, the one where I saw the movie, at AMC 25 on 42nd St, charges $17.50 for a single, precious IMAX ticket, but the screen is basically the same size as pretty much any of the 25’s big screens. The film was digitally-projected, and the sound was enormous, but if you’re looking for that monster IMAX screen, go elsewhere.

But Star Trek, man: I think the coolest aspect of it, and the reason that the movie, in 10 days, has grossed nearly $150 million domestic—besides those $17.50 tickets—is that producer/director J.J. Abrams truly found the correct way to reboot the series. He brings it up to date, but in a way that draws in people who don’t care about Trek, as well as those who care about nothing else.

This being the movie biz, Abrams’ job was to, especially, cater to the former, which he does courtesy of a good-looking, enthusiastic cast, especially Chris Pine, as Capt. James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Mr. Spock, Zöe Saldana as Lt. Uhura, and Eric Bana as the villainous Nero..

Meanwhile, for those of us who care passionately about such issues as, for example, what a starship sounds like when it goes to warp, the movie is nothing if not a revelation. In-jokes abound, and even in serious moments, of which there are many, the director nods to people who, say, know why, on a critical mission, Kirk and Sulu (John Cho) don’t get the red flightsuit.

Without question, Star Trek is going to be the movie to beat this summer. In fact, when the flick is over, the first thing one asks themself is, “When’s the next one?”

Here’s another question: I can think of at least one other much-beloved  sci-fi series whose name starts with the word Star, and which desperately needs a remix.

J.J. Abrams: You available?

For Them We Unsheath the Blade.


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, when I spoke with Clive Young in March on NONFICTION, my radio show, I referred to a Star Wars fan film I’d seen of whose name I was not sure. I thought it was The Way of the Saber, but had to research it.

As it turns out, I was mostly correct: The 6-minute short, 2002’s Art of the Saber, by brothers Calvin, Clarence, and Cary Ho, employs the basic phoneme of SW fan film language—two men locked in light saber battle—invigorating it with flashy martial arts. But as opposed to then rehashing tales of Darth Vader 497px-sullivan_ballouand Luke Skywalker, the Ho brothers, instead, frame their somber work with the words of Union soldier Captain Sullivan Ballou’s famed 1861 letter to his spouse, Sarah.

One of the most captivating documents to come out of the Civil War, the note is powerful for the beauty of its prose, the depth of its feeling, and that its author, writing in noble contemplation of sure death, never saw his wife and children again. Ballou, above, 32, was cut down at the First Battle of Bull Run within a week of writing the text.

By drawing from Ballou’s pathos, the Ho brothers imbue their piece with the Captain’s sober dread, forging a story that is both new, timeless, and a powerful meditation on the cost of war.

The Santa Ana Wind Massacre.

“Clear Cut” Forest Fire Robot at work

Jordan D. Guelde is designer of the hypothetical Forest Fire Prevention Robot, above, and a man after my own heart. The 24-year-old graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI says he’s “looking for a full-time employment opportunity where I can showcase my passion for design.”

But if you ask me, Jordan, your future is in the movies.

Here’s the scenario:

Continue reading →

“He’s Part of the Force Now, Son.”

Greg Pitelli lingers over Vader’s grave…and the Dark side

Greg Pittelli, with his son, Anakin, sports a No. 77 Darth Vader football jersey (Star Wars was released in 1977) as he reveres the grave of his mentor. His snap is the third place entry in Chronicle Books’ Obsessed with Star Wars competition, promoting their recent eponymous book.

Third place?

Slipping Into Darkness.

“What the…?”

Grand Prize winner in Virgin Media Shorts‘ 2008 competition, The Black Hole was directed by West Londoners Phil Sampson and Olly Williams of Diamond Dogs. A perfectly crafted brief, it tells the story of a bleary-eyed night office worker (Napoleon Ryan), above, who discovers a portal—a shortcut through matter—that gives him an awesome new power…until he starts to abuse it. Let this be a lesson to you, viewers.

The Voyage Begins.

Mr Spock and Captain Kirk, Star Trek (2009)

The new Star Trek trailer, above, is finally out…and it’s kinda bananas.

Continue reading →