The summer of 1989 was a strange one for me.

Read more... )
I'm delighted to announce that in the July 2016 issue of Apex Magazine, released today, I have an interview with Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy, about his new book "Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages." If you follow the first link above you can find out the rest of the contents and buy the issue for the incredibly low price of only $2.99.

(And you want this issue. I've already read some of the stories in here and they're most excellent.)

Superman

Mar. 25th, 2016 11:39 am
Many years ago, there was a teacher named Tim Lynch who was a big Star Trek fan. I got to know him through the Star Trek newsgroups on Usenet, where he would review every episode of each new Star Trek series with respectful and insightful criticism.


I remember the day when he announced in the middle of the show's run that he would not be watching Star Trek: Voyager anymore. He cited a lot of issues with the show, such as how they were supposedly low on resources and yet kept running through shuttlecraft, that made no sense. (From what I understand, one of the show's own writers had his own, similar, objections to the show as they were making it, and so went on to create other shows that acknowledged reality better.)


Now, personally, in retrospect, I think Voyager was a good show, but what you need to understand was that Tim Lynch's words sent shockwaves through the Usenet Star Trek community. The idea that such a dedicated and intelligent fan would make the decision to stop watching Star Trek was unthinkable to many of us. It pointed out to a lot of us how deeply flawed aspects of the franchise had seemed to become by that time.


[Pause]


I have been a fan of Superman since before I can remember. Yes, I'm a fan of many characters and stories from popular culture, but Superman is the first one I remember and the one that has stayed with me for my whole life. Except for a short period of about six years, my whole life I have been an avid collector and reader of Superman comics. I went to the three Christopher Reeve movies when they came out (yes, I said three), and I've always been eager for any new Superman TV show or movie.


Today, the new "Supeman" movie comes out, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's exactly the sort of movie that should make me want to drop everything and see it the first chance I have. I should be moving heaven and earth to try to see a new Superman movie, in the way I did to see the new Star Wars movie last year.


But I find I have no enthusiasm for it. I was on the edge of my set for the release of Man of Steel, and the film disappointed me. For this new film, I have heard mixed reviews from all quarters. Perhaps I would find it entertaining. At the very least, I'd be delighted to see Wonder Woman up on the big screen. But this Superman, whoever he is, is not *my* Superman, and so I shrug off this opening weekend and wonder if I'll even bother to seek out the movie when it is finally released to DVD and streaming.

Perhaps this is not as significant to the rest of the world as I think it might be; I'm not someone who has been writing about Superman for years for websites, nor am I someone who has even written the character for DC Comics and then pointed out the flaws in the first new film. I'm just a fan, someone who has loved Superman and what he has stood for my entire life. But I'm sad to say that *my* Superman is not the one on the big screen today.


Maybe one day, he will be again. For now, I will let the movie pass me by, and instead continue to enjoy and share the character in the other media in which he is still who he should be.

mabfan: (book-cover)
Take Me To Your Reader #36: I Remember the Future (Interview With Michael A. Burstein)

So, if you'd like to spend an hour and a half listening to me talk about the KAS Creations Film & Media production of "I Remember the Future" here's your chance! The folks at the podcast were really cool, and I had a blast doing the interview. Here's some of what I talked about, as noted on their website:


• Michael’s history as a writer and a science fiction fan
• The history of the I Remember the Future collection of Michael’s award-nominated fiction (featuring, naturally “I Remember the Future”)
• How to best preserve the legacy of the Big Three (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein)
• High Energy Physics! (yes, we’re nerds)
• The vagaries of forgetting one’s had a story optioned for a film.

(That last one is actually amusing. I had forgotten that I had licensed the film to KAS Creations until [livejournal.com profile] 530nm330hz called me up and asked if I had granted a license to an Australian filmmaker. At first I said no, and then said, "Wait a minute! Yes!" And I'm very glad I did grant the license.)

If you do listen, enjoy.
A few years ago, when Disney announced their acquisition of Lucasfilm, buried deep in the press release was the announcement that there would be new Star Wars movies. This month, the culmination of that announcement is with us, as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be released in theatres later this week.

Back in 1999, when "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace" came out, the hype for Palpatine was so palpable you could cut it with a knife. While the hype for "The Force Awakens" has seemed somewhat more subdued, the excitement among the loyal fan base is unprecedented. People are anticipating once more visiting the Star Wars universe, and asking themselves yet again, will the film deliver?

The answer to that is a definitive yes. For anyone who was a child when they saw any of the other Star Wars films, and for anyone who felt that sense of wonder with the original trilogy or the prequels, "The Force Awakens" delivers. You will feel like that kid again, enjoying a story set in a universe of limitless possibilities.

And if somehow you never managed to see any of the other Star Wars movies, "The Force Awakens" serves as an introduction to a world you will want to visit again and again. If you are familiar with Star Wars already, it will be like coming home; but if you are not, it will be like discovering what your home actually was all along.

(For those of you asking yourselves how I am managing to post this review on the Sunday before its US release, when it hasn't even been screened for professional film critics yet, read the review again and ask yourself that question again.)

(Edited to Add: I may have been too subtle. There is nothing in this review that requires me to have seen the film already. That is, as long as I have faith that I will feel like a kid again. And frankly, that's how Episode I made me feel, even if I did realize in retrospect that it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.)
Today, for Back to the Future Day, I am... well, it's a regular Wednesday for me. I have to get the kids to school, work, and run errands. And tonight there's a Brookline Reads event at the library.

But somewhere in there I plan to invent time travel. So there's that.
mabfan: (book-cover)

I am delighted to announce that the Sasquan the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention Business Meeting voted to extend the Hugo eligibility for the KAS Creations film "I Remember the Future" for one more year. Thanks to Chris Barkley who spoke in favor and everyone else who voted to support the extension. (The category, as I'm sure I'll be reminding people again, is Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.)

If you're on site at Worldcon, the film is being shown TONIGHT at 7 pm local time. Enjoy.

mabfan: (book-cover)
As many of you should already be aware, in 2014 a short film of my story "I Remember the Future" was released and shown at a handful of film festivals. The film has won a few awards, and I suspect that many folks (beyond myself) would like the opportunity to consider it for the Hugo Award. Alas, due presumably in part to its limited release (and possible other factors) it did not make it onto the Hugo ballot in 2015. However, Wordcon does allow for a work's elegibility to be extended should the Business Meeting pass a motion to that effect.

Although I will not be present at Sasquan, the Business Meeting will be considering the motion below. I'd like to be able to show that the motion has support by listing members who are willing to sign onto this proposal. If you would like to see the film given a second chance at earning a Hugo nomination and you are a member of Worldcon who is willing to have your name attached to this motion, please let me know and I will add your name. And if you plan to attend Sasquan, if all goes according to plan, you'll have the chance to screen the film there.

You can find out more about the film and watch the trailer here:

I Remember the Future (KAS Creations)

MOTION:

Short Title: I Remember the Future

Moved, to extend the Hugo eligibility for the movie “I Remember the Future” due to extremely limited distribution, as provided for in Section 3.4.3 of the WSFS Constitution.

Proposed by:

[list of names here]

This motion extends eligibility for the Hugo Award and requires a 2/3 vote.

Commentary:

The film “I Remember the Future” (KAS Creations) is a short student film that was directed by Klayton Stainer, an Australian filmmaker. It premiered at the 2014 Worldfest-Houston on April 6, 2014, and in the rest of the calendar year it was screened at only two other venues: the San Jose Short Film Festival (October 12, 2014) and a special meeting of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (November 15, 2014). Because of its limited release, very few members of Sasquan were actually able to screen the film before the deadline for nominating in the 2015 Hugo Awards. The film won a Grand Remi Award at Worldfest-Houston and has received other accolades since, which serve as testimony to the idea that the film would actually be worthy to be considered for a Hugo nomination.

In 2015, the film was screened at three science-fiction conventions (Arisia, Boskone, and Minicon) and more film festivals, thus giving it more exposure.

Furthermore, as of this writing the film has been submitted to Sasquan for the media program. We would like to give this film the chance it deserves to be considered by the members of MidAmericon II for the Hugo in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

Disclosure: The initial proponent of this motion is the writer whose Nebula-nominated short story served as the basis for this film.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Great news for folks in the Baltimore, Maryland, USA area who are interested in seeing the "I Remember the Future" film! By special arrangement with KAS Creations, it will be screened at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society in November.


Details:
Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 7 pm
3310 E Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
Preceded by coming attractions and Balticon film festival items of interest.
Snacks and beverages. BYOB.


For more information, call (410) 563-2737


I'd like to thank KAS Creations for making this special screening available for fans in the Baltimore area.


Official trailer http://vimeo.com/84752786
Interview on File 770  http://file770.com/?p=16563

Let's go through the week! Here are links.

On Sunday, the family attended the Boston Comic Con. We had a blast. I posted a photo album called Boston Comic Con 2014. It includes pictures of Squeaker posing with cosplayers, me and the kids emerging from a TARDIS, me meeting some of my favorite comic creators, and more. Go on and take a look.

We also got a TARDIS and Dalek salt and pepper shaker set.

On Monday night came the news of the death of Robin Williams, and I posted something I call Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society, and My Teaching on Facebook. I decided to post it on LiveJournal as well, and for what it's worth, I got a lot of response to it on Facebook and none (as of this writing) on LJ. Moving on...

Tuesday I linked to a post by David Mack on the need for diversity in science fiction. Here's his post on LJ, as [livejournal.com profile] infinitydog.

I also reminded people about the Kickstarter for Chronosphere. Come on, folks, I want to play this game!

And I took these pictures and posted them: Robin Williams Bench, Boston Public Garden, 2014-08-12.

Wednesday night we showed the kids the move Aladdin.

Thursday I ate lunch.

And today I posted a link to our new The Brookline Parent column, Adventuring Through Comic Con. But if you keep up with my LiveJournal, you already know that...




So what was I up to this past week?

On Sunday we took the kids to the Boston Children's Museum, to play there with friends of ours who were visiting from Canada with their own twin daughters (and their baby son). Both of our kids said funny things later on that night.

On Monday I noted the 69th anniversary of the B-25 bomber crashing into the Empire State Building.

On Wednesday I linked to a Boston Globe column about a former professor of mine, Paul Horowitz, and his involvement in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). I also waxed enthusiastic about Sharknado 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy:

"Guardians of the Galaxy: You'll believe a raccoon can fly."

"Sharknado 2: I don't think a movie has made me this proud to have been born and raised in New York City since Ghostbusters."

And then today I posted a link to our new The Brookline Parent column, "Let It Go, Let It Be," but my guess is you already knew about that.

I guess it was sort of a quiet week on the home front, even if the news from the rest of the world was chaotic and sometimes bleak.
So, this week's The Brookline Parent column, "Let It Go, Let It Be," might require a little explanation. Or it might not. But I shall explain here anyway. Consider this the DVD extras, as it were.

As anyone with kids is probably aware, and even many of us without kids, one of the biggest songs to hit the preschool and elementary school set is "Let It Go" from the Disney movie Frozen. I know I've heard Muffin and Squeaker singing it a lot, along with their friends, even though they haven't seen the movie enough times to have memorized the lyrics. Apparently, they hear it from their friends a lot, who then hear it from them…it's a cycle.

Anyway, I've been sometimes singing along, or at least the title, and I kept getting it mixed up with the tune for "Let It Be." I'd sing "Let it go" over and over to the tune for "Let It Be." Well, one thing led to another, and...

I committed parody.

So. Go click on The Brookline Parent: Let It Go, Let It Be. Enjoy the ear worm.
mabfan: (book-cover)
So, although I wasn't able to attend the screening of I Remember the Future this past weekend at Worldfest Houston, [livejournal.com profile] amysisson did! She has posted a review along with reviews of the four other films that constituted the Sci-Fi Shorts.

I am very glad to say that she liked the film:


...I'm not sure which surprised me more: the "Australian" part or the "student" part, because I can definitely say that there was nothing "student" about this film...

I Remember the Future is the reason I became aware of the festival in the first place, and the reason I went. This one film was worth making the trip across town for just by itself; the fact that I got to see a couple of other really good short films too was icing on the cake.


You can read more of her thoughts about the film and the other films here:

Sci-Fi Shorts at Worldfest-Houston 2014

#SFWApro
mabfan: (book-cover)
This Sunday marks the US premiere of the KAS Creations short film based on my story "I Remember the Future."

As you can see from the Worldfest Houston schedule, the film will be shown twice, at 1 pm as part of the SCI-FI SHORTS MATINEE SHOW #7 and at 3 pm as part of the WORLD SHORTS MATINEE SHOW #10. From the schedule, you can click on the link to purchase tickets.

If you happen to be in Houston, I hope you'll check it out.

And as always, to learn more about the book, check out the Burstein Books website, and to read the story, check it out on the Apex Blog.


#SFWApro
I don't think I remembered to note this here, so...

The film for "I Remember the Future" now has a website.

This also means that yes, I now have an IMDB page. (Sadly, it doesn't include my work as an extra in "The Front," "The Goodbye Girl," or "Radio Days.")

Also, I'm delighted to announce that the film will have its US premiere at the 47th annual Worldfest-Houston film festival in April 2014.

#SFWApro
So yesterday over on Facebook I asked everyone's opinion of what age would be good to read "The Wizard of Oz" to kids. (I mean the kids' age, not mine.) I had read the original 14 Oz books as a teenager when Ballantine Books brought out a new edition in the 1980s, and I loved them. Most recommendations for the Oz books place the age at a little older than my kids currently are, but I had the feeling that they might be receptive even this young.

Also, I had a rather odd incentive to get them started on these. Muffin discovered that the TV show The Fresh Beat Band apparently did a TV-movie where one of the characters goes to Oz, and she wants to see it. I did NOT want that to be my kids' introduction to the Oz books.

I also didn't want them to start with the movie. Frankly, the movie scared me when I was a kid, and as something of an Oz purist I don't like the fact that the silver shoes aren't in it (I know some of you may be asking, "What silver shoes?" thus making my point) nor the fact that the movie establishes Oz as a dream. The books make it clear that Baum does not intend for Oz to be a dream.

Enough of you who responded seemed to feel that the girls' current age would be appropriate, so I figured I'd give it a try. I asked Nomi to pick up a copy of "The Wizard of Oz" at the library, and by happenstance she picked up the one with the wonderful Michael Hague illustrations. (Denslow's are okay, but I thought the girls might respond better to the more colorful pictures.)

The upshot is that last night I started the book, and for the most part the girls were spellbound. They insisted I keep reading after chapter 1, so I got through chapter 3. Tonight, they made me read all the way through chapter 7 before they would go to bed. And the girls make me stop over and over so they can enjoy the illustrations.

I think we have a winner here.

(By the way, when we got to the part with the Kalidahs threatening Dorothy and company, I turned to Squeaker, who was a little nervous, and said to her, in essence, "She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time.")

#SFWApro
mabfan: (book-cover)
As I mentioned here last week, this week Apex Publications is posting five free stories on the Apex Blog, one each day, in honor of the release of the movie trailer for "I Remember the Future."

Today's free story is my Hugo- and Nebula-nominated story "Kaddish for the Last Survivor" (Analog, November 2000). I continue to be very proud of this story, and hope you'll take the time to read it.

#SFWApro
mabfan: (book-cover)
In honor of the release of the movie trailer for "I Remember the Future" from KAS Creations, Apex Publications will be posting THREE of my stories from the book next week on their blog, for free! Details on their blog today.

http://www.apexbookcompany.com/2014/01/i-remember-the-future-the-film-trailer/

#SFWApro
First of all, I'd like to thank the many, many of you who offered congratulations to me on the "I Remember the Future" film. To tell the truth, I did very little except grant permission to KAS Creations to make the film, and like you, I too am looking forward to seeing the final product.

As I mentioned before, it is technically a student film, even though I think we'd all agree it's professionally done. The film should be debuting at a film festival in the United States sometime this year, and we are beginning to explore the possibility of screening it at other festivals and conventions. I will try to keep you all posted here, but for faster information, I'd strongly suggest "liking" the KAS Creations page if you have a Facebook account.

Finally, a few of you have asked about reading the original story. I have been in touch with Apex Publications, and they are planning to put it up on their website again for folks to read for free. (Between you and me, I'm hoping it'll prompt a few more sales of the book, which is available quite easily and inexpensively as an ebook direct from the publisher and from the usual places.) When the link is available, I will post it.

Thank you all again.

#SFWApro
Every now and then, someone will get in touch with me and ask about the film rights for one of my stories. About a year ago, an Australian student filmmaker named Klayton Stainer inquired about making a short student film of my story "I Remember the Future." (There is also a German student filmmaker who has been working on a version as well.) Mr. Stainer and I came to an agreement, and the resulting trailer has just been posted.

I Remember the Future - Official Trailer

If you know the story, you can see how well Mr. Stainer has brought it to life.

If you don't know the story, well, it's still in print in the book collection of the same name. It's even an ebook, so you can download it immediately and start reading.

As for me, I'm looking forward to seeing what Klayton Stainer does in his own future. This is a filmmaker to watch out for.

#SFWApro

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