Five Faves: SF/F/M Movies or Shows I Love Because of My Grandma

A little over a year ago, we lost my grandmother, Merle Crawford. She was a quirky and jovial lady. The kind of person who could meet anyone at a grocery store and turn a chance encounter into a meeting between old friends. You can read a bit more about her life in the obituary I wrote for her in the Mountain Democrat, the local newspaper for Placerville, California. One thing that I often mention about my grandmother is the impact she had on me as a geek. While I certainly watched a lot of genre programming as a kid,[1. Let's be real. A lot of programming for kids is genre TV by default. G.I. Joe and TMNT are both SF/F. Dinosaurs is fantasy. Winnie the Pooh is fantasy. Most Disney films are fantasy. DuckTales is SF/F. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and The Secret World of Alex Mac and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are SF/F. A lot of programming for kids also falls under the mystery umbrella. I just don't think I ever thought about genre when I was a kid. Looking back? It almost seems inevitable that kids born in the 80s and 90s would turn out to be unintentional SF/F nerds in the 2010s.] there are two things that led to my passion for SF/F (and related genres):
  1. My mother giving me VHS tapes of Star Wars. The ones with Leonard Maltin's interviews with George Lucas at the front.
  2. My grandmother's insistence that I watch certain programs.
So to celebrate the massive influence my grandmother had on my life in a very specific way, here's a list of 5 SF/F/M (for mystery) movies and TV shows I love because of my grandma: Read More

Five Faves: 80s Action Movies

Action movies! Yeah! I love them, and if you're reading this, you probably have some vague interest in them, too. To continue my Five Faves trend, I decided to turn my eye to the almighty 1980s action movie. In my mind of anachronisms, the 80s were the decade that defined the classic action movie. They also were full of some of the most ridiculous nonsense one could dream up. Who thought 9,000 slow motion shots of Jean-Claude Van Damme screaming "eeyah" like an orgasmic donkey would be a good idea? The director of Bloodsport, that's who. For this list, I'm making an arbitrary separation between "action" and "adventure." While both usually contain action, the latter is focused on the journey to discovery; action movies, by contrast, are more focused on the spectacle of the action itself and are somewhat more contained. An alternative argument might hold that action is the big umbrella term, with different forms of action -- i.e., adventure -- underneath. I'm fine with that definition, too, but I desperately needed a way to put Indiana Jones in its own category for a different list. Like I said:  arbitrary. So here goes -- my Five Faves list of 1980s action movies: Read More

Five Faves: 80s Science Fiction Movies

The 80s were great.[note]They were also damn terrible. The horrible treatment of LGBTQ+ people, the AIDs crisis, Reagan, the Cold War, Reagan, and so on and so forth. I just like the art...[/note] Great music. Great movies. Great books. Great fashion. Yeah, I said it. Fashion. I love 80s fashion, and I don't care what you think about that! Anywho. For today's Five Faves post, I thought I'd take a stab at listing 80s science fiction movies. I know that the second I click the publish button on this post, I'm going to change my mind about the movies selected below. Oh well... Here goes: Read More

Why I Will Never Give Up My Terrible Movies

Bad movies. Some of us love to hate them. Some of us just hate them. And then there are people like me. I have a fondness for a few films that practically everyone would agree are terrible. My seemingly illogical love of 1988's absurd McDonald's-funded E.T. rip-off, Mac & Me, has earned me a rotating sequence of callbacks on my podcast, The Skiffy and Fanty Show.[note]I'm only half teasing...[/note] It's a sickness to some, but for me, it's a product of experience.[note]This topic was suggested by wabbit89 on Twitter. Thanks![/note] To be fair, I almost deserve it. I will jump at the flip of a hat to defend that movie against almost any criticism, not because I believe it's high quality cinema but because there is a deeper connection to that movie for me, as there is for so many of the trashfire films that occupy my DVD rack. Read More

Five Faves: Disaster Films (Guest Post by Lauren Griffin)

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a sociologist and communications researcher who studies climate change, misinformation, and environmental attitudes. One of my research areas is climate fiction (“cli-fi”). More specifically, I study disaster films and how these films impact how we think about climate change. As a result, I’ve seen a lot of disaster films. I’ve given more hours of my life to this genre than is probably healthy, but even after all that I still love these movies, and not just as the subject of research. They have their own silly, adventurous appeal, and when approached with the right mind-set, they can give quite a few laughs and provide a fun distraction from the darkness in the world today. Disaster films overwhelmingly fall into two categories: big-budget blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow and San Andreas and low-budget productions like Sharknado. Both types have their charms, but most people have heard of the major productions. This post is going to focus on some delightful examples that you might have overlooked. Read More

Shaun’s Rambles 015: Spoilers vs. Content Warnings

Don't spoil me with your content warnings, they say! In this episode, I take a crack at the confusion between content warnings and spoilers. What is the difference? Why are content warnings important? What value do content warnings provide? Take a listen to hear my take! Let me know what you think about content warnings and spoilers in the comments below! Read More

2017 WISB Awards Long List

The long list returns! Last year, I introduced the first ever WISB Awards Long list, which represents all the things I loved in 2015 and, more or less, my Hugo Awards Ballot (some items are obviously not eligible). This year, I'm at it again. Shortly, I'll release the winners of the 2017 WISB Awards. Presumably, there will be thunderous applause or something. As always, I do not include my own work on the long list. If you're interested in nominating me for something, feel free to do so for the following:
  • Best Fancast
    • The Skiffy and Fanty Show (Shaun Duke, Julia Rios, Paul Weimer, Mike Underwood, Rachael Acks, David Annandale, Jen Zink, and Trish Matson)
    • Totally Pretentious (Shaun Duke and David Annandale)
Now here's the official 2017 WISB Awards Long List: (IMPORTANT:  I am in the process of filling out the categories. New updates will go up periodically throughout the day.) Read More

2017 Hugo Awards Recommendations: What should I read/watch?

2017 is here, and that means it's time to ask for recommendations for the Hugo Awards. Sadly, I have not been able to read nearly as much from 2016 as I would have liked, so I expect this to be one hell of a reading session for me! So, suggest some things! I'm looking for fiction and non-fiction in every category, pro and amateur artists, films, television shows, and anything else that fits! Use the form below to send your suggestions! Read More