Reflections on fantasy, SF, writing, music, technology, life…

So now we have ‘book trailers’

I never thought I would see a book trailer but this one – brought to my attention courtesy of the OWW Forum – is a hoot. It publicises a collection of short stories by B J Novak, the American actor and comedian who co-produced and acted in the US version of “The Office”.

I love the way this short video pokes fun at the French literary scene. Living in France a lot of the time I have felt embarrassed by the looks I have have received when I have been asked what I do and have responded “I write science fiction”. (Imagine a somewhat similar stare to the look one might receive in the UK to saying “I write hardcore pornography”.)

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What an iPad can’t do…

For those of us obsessed with new technology, such as tablets and e-readers, this 40 second French TV advert is a useful reminder that there is still a place for paper in our lives. (BTW, you don’t need to understand French to enjoy this!)

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Flying through the HD 100546 system

Another astronomy post turned up by my search for information on nebulae. This time, a great video simulation from the European Southern Observatory (whose website, incidentally, has a stunning colection of other videos and images).

ESO’s Very Large Telescope has obtained what is probably the first direct observation of a forming planet still embedded in a thick disc of gas and dust. (A proto-planetary dust cloud is not what I needed for my current story but this “fly-past” is just too good to pass on. It may be inspiration for someone writing a future deep space SF story!)

Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

The full ESO article on the planet is here.

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Merry Christmas? Not for Jack Bauer

Don’t you just hate those cute-sy Christmas videos?
Here’s a slightly different Christmas video (for fans of “24”). Jack Bauer interogates Santa for the names of the reindeer:

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The only “air safety” briefing worth watching all the way through!

Air New Zealand’s “Middle Earth” air safety briefing is inspired. Using “Middle Earth” imagery and special effects from WETA Workshop, it is the only air safety video I actually WANTED to watch all the way through.

Best bit for me? The demo of the floor lighting to the emergency exit.

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Support the right to parody!

The UK Government held a public consultation over copyright earlier this year. I heard about it via Open Rights Group who were concerned, among other issues, about the impact of excessive control over copyright impacting comedy and the ability to parody popular works. Putting on my “Concerned Citizen” hat I gave my two pennies worth in defence of the right to parody and also to relax the constraints on sharing music and film within the family unit. (Technically, it seems I can’t rip a CD I paid for to MP3 or let my daughter use those MP3s on her iPod.)

The Government report has now been produced IPO Hargreaves Review and they only received “471 responses from representative bodies, large companies, SMEs, independent media professionals, the legal profession and interested individuals”. So few that they could list the individual respondees, so there is my name, in among the “usual suspects” and “vested interests”!

Was it worth the effort? Absolutely. Otherwise you will not be able to watch gems like ‘The Star Wars That I Used To Know’ based on Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ while also parodying Star Wars and George Lucas. Enjoy!

Hat tip to Eben Mishkin for drawing my attention to this.

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