Category Archives: Sci-Fi

The First (Annual?) Mythgard Institute Webathon

The Mythgard Institute was founded in 2011 to bring rigorous, dynamic and interactive educational experiences to students around the world through the latest online course tools while also boasting challenging and engaging classes taught by world-class teachers and leading scholars of literature and language. The Institute’s courses welcome both auditors and students working towards an M.A. degree. Now, two years after this unexpected journey began, Mythgard’s students would like to give something back to this groundbreaking organization.

On Sunday September 22nd, Tolkien Day, Mythgard will host its first-ever student led webathon to support the Mythgard Academy Indiegogo campaign. The Mythgard Academy offers free content on literature and language to everyone in the form of courses, lectures and podcasts. You know how these things work: The more they raise, the more free stuff we all get! There are great perks for the various donation levels, including votes towards what course topics will be offered.

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The Clock Strikes Twelve…

As per the kind request from  Travis, and because I obviously can’t shut myself up from the subject of Doctor Who, these are my thoughts on the casting of the Twelfth Doctor who will be making his way into the world this Christmas. I’m not sure how cogent an argument or analysis I can make at this point as to his ability, given that it will be a year before we see a full episode featuring him as the new, new, new, new Doctor. However, I do have several thoughts (many of them shared with other Whovians and bloggers) that I’d like to put on record while the news is still fresh.

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Around the Common Room: November 9, 2012

The presidential election may be over, but according to io9, there’s one campaign of ultimate importance still around: Brad Bird for dire

ctor of the next Star Wars film. The campaign video is certainly far more enjoyable than campaign videos are wont to be.

In wonky news of the week, archaeologists have been banned from referring to ancient humanoids as hobbits. Also, Superman’s home planet has been “found”–the news story contains astronomy coordinates. Gilderoy Lockhart–or actor Kenneth Branagh, anyway–was just knighted by Queen Elizabeth, Angry Birds and Star Wars have combined for a game reputed to be ‘ridiculously fun’, and Darth Vader has been telling other Disney characters that he is their father. All right, that last one’s a comic, but it’s adorable.

In various news and other literary items:

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Scattered Notes

  • The Casual Vacancy is just four days away. Are you excited? Nervous? What are your plans for reading the book? I intend to set aside every possible spare moment to get through it as quickly as possible and start posting about it this weekend.
  • I recently wrote an article for a new, amazing, yearly collection called The Molehill. My contribution is called “Jesus and the Dragon Quest.” Tons of amazing stories, poems, and essays in this.
  • Speaking of essays I’ve written, I don’t know if I ever posted on my contribution to Light Shining in a Dark Place. It’s a book on theology in film, and my essay is called “Parable of the Poltergeist.”
  • Yes, the Doctor Who weekly post idea fizzled fast, mostly because it seems to me there wasn’t a lot of energy around the idea, and perhaps fewer Doctor Who fans in the pub right now than I thought. I will post an overall review of the first five episodes, rather than a weekly review of each episode, followed by a review of the Christmas episode.

Calling All Doctor Who Fans

I’m going to blog through Series 7 of Doctor Who. The first episode aired last night, and I’m working up a post on it. But I wanted to start by seeing who the other Doctor Who fans are out there in the pub.

Some random info about my own experience, so you know where I’m coming from as I begin this series of posts: I started watching Doctor Who about a year ago, and I began with the rebooted series which began with the Ninth Doctor in 2005. Yes, you have to get through a few rough episodes at the start, but I ended up being a big fan of the show and of Christopher Eccleston’s doctor. It was a bit jarring, after just one season, to switch over to David Tennant. But after a few episodes, I was hooked again, and Tennant became my favorite of the three. Matt Smith I’m still struggling with.

Quick opinions: Tennant is the best doctor, but Eccleston was good. Smith just can’t pull off the gravity of a serious Time Lord (yet). Amy Pond could have been the best companion ever, but she got buried by Rory, and they rushed her development after a good initial episode. Rose is still the best. Well, Martha is the best but never managed the chemistry with the Doctor that Rose did. So Rose is my favorite. Moffat waffles between total genius (“Blink,” The Silence, and Season 7 episode 1) and craziness (the follow-up Angels episodes were rough, and like I said, I think he lost Amy Pond quickly). I do not like River Song or the entire plot concerning her. The best episodes ever (not in order) are: The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, Blink, and The Doctor’s Wife. The Ood are fantastic. The Silence and the Weeping Angels (from Blink) are the best monsters so far.

And for you purists: I know I need to go back and watch the originals. I will.

Now, your turn, Doctor Who fans. Express your thoughts and opinions! Try not to jump too much into this season, however, as that will be a separate post. And please warn about spoilers if you’re putting them in your comments.

Let the Pub’s Doctor Who discussion begin: Allons-y!

Around the Common Room: August 31, 2012

With summer drawing to a close, the interwebs are quiet and everyone is busy trying to do summer-things. Hence, a short list tonight. If you’re preparing for fall, though, GeekTyrant has a link to something you’ll want for keeping your feet warm in the colder days to come: hairy hobbit-feet slippers. Plush. Second breakfast not included.

Author L.B. Gale has taken to asking geek questions weekly on her blog, and check out the first two: “[Which modern story is the] Heir to Star Wars?” (with Potter, of course, being top contender) and “[Can a Movie Be] Better than the Book?” (she says yes… feel free to have fun in her comments). Also, I had to love her post “10 Fictional Bookworms and What they Imply About Real Bookworms” (Hermione is among them, as is Sawyer from LOST.)

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Around the Common Room: August 17, 2012

It’s that time again–not just for a Common Room linkfest, but for the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Results, where, in honor of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s “It was a dark and stormy ni

ght”, judges have chosen and proclaimed this year’s winning attempts to write the worst possible opening line for a novel.

Much imagination goes into this contest every year. As a big fan of really bad puns, I probably laughed hardest over this one:

Professor Lemieux had anticipated that his latest paper would be received with skepticism within the small, fractious circle of professional cosmologists, few of whom were prepared to accept his hypothesis that our universe had been created in a marijuana-induced industrial accident by insectoid aliens; nevertheless, he was stung when Hawking airily dismissed it as the Bug Bong Theory. — Alan Follett, Hercules, CA

But there are many more to enjoy, all of them works of positively awful brilliance. Have fun.

In other news of literature and imagination:

From SmartPopBooks.com, How Star Trek Liberated Television. This piece contains some interesting thought that may appeal in particular to pub readers used to the marginalization of fantasy and speculative fiction in general:

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