Posted by Sari
I continued with the idea of setting myself the target of 52 books a year. It worked well last year and did so again this year. I have ended up with 62 finished books outside work literature. The fact that I binge read post-apocalyptic novels for NeNoReMo helped to drive the figure up.
That was a very good thing, because I used the beginning of the year re-reading Dorothy Dunnett’s House of Niccolo -series: eight denser than dense historical novels about trade and power in 15th-century Europe, Africa and Near-East. It took some time. It has wickedly convoluted plot and a cast of hundreds, but the best thing about it is how Dunnett is able to transport you to Trebizond, Timbuktu, Iceland or Venice. I am not quite sure if I even now wholly get all the twists and turns of the plot, but that just means I have a reason to do another re-read in near future. There really is nothing like Dorothy Dunnett in historical fiction.
The most interesting SF I read this year were Dave Hutchinson’s Europe in Winter and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit. Europe in Winter is the third part of Hutchinson’s fractured Europe -series and like its predecessors it is excellent and – with Brexit and Catalonia – really uncanny. He really should have won every possible award with this series. Ninefox Gambit was shortlisted for Hugo and would not have been a bad winner. Its science fiction is high-concept and uncompromising and the book works on every level.
I read surpisingly litte fantasy this year, the best of the lot were Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric-novellas (Penric’s Mission, Mira’s Last Dance and Prisoner of Limnos), and Megan Whalen Turner’s King of Attolia, which I re-read again. It still is among my absolute favourite fantasies.
I did read more non-fiction this year than previously. Quite a lot of it was about Great Siege of Malta as we were on Malta on a holiday. Of that lot, Roger Crawley’s narrative history of the Mediterranean warfare in the 16th-century The Empires of the Sea, is a good introduction to the subject, and has a little more perspective than books concentrating just on the siege. Other non-fiction I found interesting were China Miéville’s unapologetically Marxist but riveting retelling of the October Revolution in Russia and Bill Hayes’ touchingly beautiful tribute to New York and Oliver Sacks, The Insomniac City.
This year, there were no books I bounced off as hard as I did last year with Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. I was kind of “meh” with Charlie Jane Andrews’ All the Birds in the Sky, which I found predictable and surprisingly stereotypical in its gender roles.
So there you are. I’ll continue with setting the target at 52 books next year, lets hope I make it!
Tässä luvattu toinen osa potentiaalisia Hugo-ehdokkaita romaanikategoriassa - yhtä poikkeusta lukuunottamatta. Vaikka luettavaa vieläkin riittäisi ihan omassa kirjahyllyssä, ja Hugo-kategorioiden hämäryys välillä rassaa niin eiköhän esiteltyjen joukosta ne viisi ehdokasta jollain tavalla siivilöidy.
Nicole Kornher-Stace: Archivist Wasp
Wasp metsästää haamuja apokalyptisessä maailmassa, yrittää saada niiltä tietoja menneisyydestä, ja joutuu kerran vuodessa taistelemaan nousukkaiden kanssa pitääkseen työnsä ja henkensä. Hän haluaa myös paeta. Mahdollisuus aukeaa kun hän tapaa haamun jonka kanssa pystyy kommunikoimaan ja joka puolestaan haluaa löytää kadonneen taistelutoverinsa. Takakannessa suosituksensa antavat Cat Valente ja Jeff VanderMeer, ja jos tykkäät heidän kamastaan, tykkäät melko varmasti tästäkin. Kauniisti kirjoitettu kasvutarina ja katabasis.
Natasha Pulley: The Watchmaker of the Filigree Street
Miksiköhän tätä nyt oikein sanoisi? Viktoriaanista kellopelipunkkia? Thaniel Steepleson jäljittää hänen henkensä feeniläisten pommilta pelastanutta salaperäistä kelloa japanilaisen kellosepän luo. Kelloseppä Keita Mori ja Thaniel ystävystyvät, mutta Morilla on paitsi ihastuttava kellopelimustekala, myös salaisuuksia. Tämä oli aivan ihana, yllättävä ja jotenkin melankolinen fantasiakirja ystävyydestä.
Neal Stevenson: Seveneves
”The Moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” Aika hyvä eka virke. Stevensonin romaanissa Kuun hajoaminen seitsemään kappaleeseen antaa maapallolle puoli vuotta aikaa kehitellä selviytymiskeinoja ennen kuin toisiinsa törmäävät kappaleet jauhautuvat pienemmiksi ja alkavat sataa maahan nostaen planeetan lämpötilan elinkelvottomaksi. Kirjan ensimmäinen osa käsittelee kuinka ihmiskunta pyrkii selviämään tulevasta katastrofista lähettämällä ihmisiä avaruuteen pakoon maapallon tuhoa. Toinen osa taas kertoo kuinka avaruudessa asiat eivät mene ihan niin kuin Strömsössä ja kolmas osa hyppää 5000 vuotta eteenpäin katsomaan kuinka ihmiskunta selviytyi. Paitsi että ei voi kuin pitää kirjasta jonka nimi on palindromi, tämä on aika taattua Stevensonia: Juonenkuljetusta katkovat parin sivun tieteelliset ja filosofiset pohdiskelut ja kaikki on nörtähtävää ja isoa. Minä tykkäsin.
Patrick S Tomlinson: The Ark
Toinen sukupolviavaruusalusromaani tällä listalla. Tällä kertaa ollaan vähän kevyemmin liikenteessä kuin Auroran kanssa. Tomlinsonin romaanissa sukupolvialuksen entinen urheilutähti Bryan Benson on saanut lokoisan paikan aluksen poliisina. Ihmiskunnan parhaita mustan aukon kitaan ajautuvalta maa-planeetalta tähtiin kiihdyttävällä aluksella ei kontrollin myötä kauheasti rikoksia tapahdu joten kun katoamistapaus muutuukin mahdolliseksi murhaksi, joutuu Benson poikkeukselliseen tilanteeseen. The Ark on kovahkoa scifiä ja toimintaa yksissä kansissa, hyvää suoraviivaisesti kirjoitettua viihdettä jossa niin sukupolviavaruusaluksen yhteiskunnalle kuin teknisillekin spekseille on annettu hyvin tilaa. Eli tässä minusta olisi surumielisille koiraeläimillekin sopiva ehdokas.
Lois McMasters Bujold: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Koska WSFS:n säännöt on jännittävät, ei Hugo administraattori voi tehdä päätöstä siitä, täyttääkö tämän romaanin maksullisen e-ARCin julkaisu 2015 Hugo-ehdokkuuden säännöt vai ei ennen kuin ehdokasasettelu on päättynyt. Ei siis voi tietää onko Bujoldin uusin Vorkosigan-romaani käypä ehdokas tänä vuonna vai ei. Nebula-ehdokkaaksi se on hyväksytty. Bujold on useammassa Vorkosigan kirjassa sitonut langanpäitä ja antanut hahmoilleen onnellisia loppuja. Tällä kertaa vuorossa on Cordelia, ja kirjan tapahtumat sijoittuvat kolme vuotta Aralin kuoleman jälkeen. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen vaatii minusta aika lailla koko Vorkosigan-kaanonin lukemista jotta sen pointti ja ydin aukeaa. Se on rauhallinen romaani, vanhenevien ihmisten mahdollisuudesta uuteen elämään ja pidennetyn elinkaaren aiheuttamista muutoksista yksilön ja vähän yhteiskunnankin tasolla. Minä fanitan Bujoldia valtavasti ja pidin tästä kovasti. Toisaalta ymmärrän hyvin ihmisiä joihin romaani ei iske lainkaan.
N.K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season
En itse ollut erityisen otettu Nora Jemisinin ensimmäisestä kehutusta trilogiasta, itse asiassa luin vain ensimmäisen osan, jonka vanhahtavat romanssin troopit hautasivat alleen kaiken muun kiinnostavan. Fifth Season sen sijaan oli niin hyvä, että edes aivan uskomattoman ärsyttävä pelleily toisen persoonan kertojalla ei saanut lopettamaan kesken. Miljöö – vulkaanisesti äärimmäisen aktiivinen maailma, jossa kulttuureilla ellei peräti ihmiskunnalla on suuri vaara tuhoutua äkillisten purkausten seurauksena – on mahtava, rakenne toimiva ja jatko-osan haluan juurihetinyt. Loppu lässähti pikkaisen, mutta ehkä se johtui siitä että minä halusin lukea eri tarinan kuin Jemisin kertoa.
Kai Ashante Wilson: Sorcerer of the Wildeeps
Wilsonin novella/romaani on Bujoldin ohella romaanien ehdollepanon ongelmatapaus. Teknisesti se on romaani. WSFS:n Hugo-säännöt määrittävät novellan maksimipituudeksi 40 000 sanaa ja Sorcerer of Wildeeps on 43 000 sanaa. Hugo administraattorilla on kuitenkin sääntöjen puitteissa mahdollisuus valita kategoria johon näin lähellä sanarajaa oleva teos sijoitetaan, eli mikäli administraattori kokee, että Wilsonin teos on hengeltään novella, tai jos enemmistö ehdottaneista on asettanut sen novella-kategoriaan hän voi halutessaan siirtää sen sinne. Tai sitten ei. Mutta taas kerran päätöstä ei suinkaan tehdä etukäteen, vaan jälkikäteen. Itse aion esittää kirjaa Novella-kategoriaan koska sitä on sellaisena markkinoitu.
Ja tässä kohtaa tunnustan että ehdolle kyllä päätyy. Tämä tiivis tarina kauppakaravaanin matkasta aavikolta sademetsän lävitse keskeiseen kauppakaupunkiin yhdistää scifiä ja fantasiaa mainiossa suhteessa, on erinomainen miesjoukon dynamiikan kuvaus, koskettava rakkaustarina ja kielellisiltä ratkaisuiltaan kertakaikkisen nerokas.
Posted by jukkahoo
I'm arriving tomorrow, the 18th of August.
I will leave the following Monday, the 24th of August.
Between those days, I shall sit behind various tables: bid, site selection and parties. I may go and see a panel or two. Definitely going to check-out the Huckster's Room and attend the Hugo ceremony.
No actual programming, as you can see. I'm probably not Worldcon-program material. I may, however, do some impromptu quizzes at Helsinki-parties.
And... that's about it. My schedule. At Sasquan.
Posted by jukkahoo
Last weekend the annual Swecon took place in the luvverly medieval city of Linköping. This was my third Confuse (as they like to call their convention) and as the previous ones, this was a very good one. Nice location, good GoHs and pleasant atmosphere.
We took a morning flight to Arlanda on Friday and grouped with almost the whole of Finnish contingency for the train trip. Kennet and Jan came by boat and arrived earlier. Swedish trains are very comfortable and while we almost did jump to a wrong train, we eventually did manage to take the right one and arrive to our destination without losses.
Since we had time to kill before the con started, we decided to stroll the town a bit. It looked more or less the same, except Genghis Khan Mongolian Barbeque was no longer where it had been in 2008. Or 2002. Sad. Later, Sari managed to find the new location, past which we had actually walked when sightseeing. Very non-descriptively Mongolian their new look. I thought it was an upscale barbershop.
We had a lunch at Grekiskt och Gott, and it was Greek and good. Halloumi especially was tasty. Then the tragedy happened.
We went and bought few items of drinky&eaty from Hemköp and while I was marveling the efficiency of their self-service stations and the mechanics of exiting the store, I lost my credit card. My bad, I cannot blame anyone else, I just lost it. Which made he rest of the trip probably a bit less expensive (?) and traditional, as we had to use actual bills in order to pay for stuff. All this when we had actually talked about how easy it is to travel in Sweden, when you don't have to use cash or their equivalent Monopoly money.
Bit of dent this credit card business, and I was somewhat down about it, too. Hence the Friday night was an early one for us, though I did manage to have a nice chat with Britt-Louise and Wennerström and couple of other people at the lobby after I had closed the Bid's table. Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London -novels are really recommended.
All in all, Friday was a relaxed day of meeting old and new friends, having a few beers and chatting about trivial things. And witnessing the Spirit of Swecon - once again! - not-loosened upon the gathered congregation, as it was lost. Again.
Sari woke up at some god-forsaken hour, but somewhat surprisingly, I was also up before 7AM and headed for the brekkie-room, where only elderly Germans were making noises and stuffing their pockets with munchables. As I am not the most morning-person I know, pretty much the opposite, I took my own table, but Carolina had other ideas and brought with her this Ben-person. Nice chap, writes fiction.
Saturday was the big program day for me, four items of various seriousness levels. Before that, however, I went to see Sari's panel on Finding the Fantastic (Where do you find recommendations about what to read/see and information about fantastic literature, movies, tv?). Nice discussion, though I could see the trend of middle-aged men swapping stories, with a female moderator keeping them in some semblance of an order. Perhaps someone younger and of opposite sex might've given the panel a bit of variety.
The first of my own, What to read next? (It is not easy to find the good books) was (again) a nice book recommendation panel with Socialist-Simon leading the hers and Sini, Olov and yours truly telling a bit about the recent books we had read. I think it was a decent and varied selection, maybe a but thin on the SF-side (especially harder stuff), but other wise a very nice group of books.
After some loitering and book browsing (and possibly a beer), I talked about the Bid (A presentation of the work on the bid for a Worldcon in Helsinki 2017 and some thoughts about the politics involved) and how has it been trying to get the Worldcon to Helsinki. Well, tough and not always to my liking. But I hope this will be beginning of something new and interesting, not only for Finnish and Nordic fandom, but for the whole international field. If we win, of course. And even if we don't. That itself will speak volumes about the worldliness of fandom. Dozen people had lost their way and were listening my ranting. Some even asked questions. And chatted afterward!
I believe we went and had some delish sushi before my next program item Hugopanel with Puppygate (Panel discussion on the Hugo-nominated novels. Quality? Which one deserves to win and why? The nominations this year have been intensely discussed since two groups calling themselves the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have succeeded in obtaining many nominations by telling people to nominate from a prepared list). Kisu took the lead, while we, four middle-aged men pontificated about the nominees and the sadness of puppies. Amicable chatter, which covered the bases and managed to talk about the novel nominees fairly thoroughly. Clearly too short a time and too large a topic, unlike at Archipelacon, where these two were given separate panels and more time.
The proper ending for the day was my Kuis?, which I hosted with my very own Osman, Fia Herself! People have said that the show was fun and since i was there and I had fun, I'm willing to believe them. And it was fun.
There is this BBC quiz show called Pointless, which I have for some time now thought about ripping off trying out myself and when I had this brilliant idea about outsourcing my research to outsiders at Archipelacon's Åmazing Race, I knew I had my Swecon-quiz. Pre-interviewed group of 60 people were asked a number of questions and then my quiz participants were asked these very same questions and if the contestants were able to answer correctly, with the least amount of answers by those 60 people, or better still, NO answers, they'd get little or no points. Which sort of is a good thing in a game called Pointless.
Dreaded Judge Fia was tough, but fair and the contestants smart and funny. Oh, Tobias, you sure know how to talk to a lady... If you're now damning yourself for not getting to Confuse and witnessing this spectacular, fear not, for I'm doing it again next year in Tammere. Suomeksi.
There may have been an actual evening party at De Klomp, but since I didn't hear about it, our late night was spent at the lobby with a ever larger group of people. And beer. Chatting away happily and enjoying the Swecon Spirit, which by now had found its way to the Frimuraren.
Sunday felt like an afterthought, I didn't see any programming, I bought only one book (!) and chatted with some of those I hadn't yet had time to do; Bellis, John-Henri, PatrickC osv. Then a train (thanks for the tip, Kennet!) trip to Arlanda, ribs at O'Learys and another 45 minutes in the air ("That can't be Åland already?" "Well, what else could it be?" "Yeah") and we were home. With one very happy Mogens.
Posted by jukkahoo
Tomorrow morning we'll hop to a Norwegian and fly to Arlanda, where we'll take a train to the beautiful medieval town of Linköping, in order to participate this years Swecon, Confuse.
Confuse promises to be a nice, smallish convention of two-three hundred fen, with a lineup of interesting guests with Madeline Ashby, Kristina Hård and Ben Aaronovitch. I've been to two previous Linköping Swecons, the very first one in 2002 was also my first ever Swecon. I was the NoFF (Nordic FanFund) representative then and I was well impressed by the lätt och lagom attitude of the arrangers, solid GoHs (China Miéville and Gwyneth Jones) and well-stocked beer pub.
This time the location of the con is a hotel. Uppsala's Kontrast was also at a hotel, but I wasn't staying on location, so who knows what infernal nightly bacchanalia I missed. This time, we have a room at the Frimuraren.
Sari is taking charge of the Helsinki in 2017 -bid table, together with Åcon 8. I'll probably be hanging around that table somewhat as well. I have all my programming on Saturday. At Noon I'll be lying What Books You Should Read Next, at 2PM I'll be spreading malicious rumours about the BID, at 6PM I'm participating on a Hugo/Puppy-panel, and at 9PM we'll be asking Pointless questions from unsuspecting participants with Fia.
Should be fun, and will be. Swecons are always a really nice little convention (unless they have huge, Big Name Guests like when Stockholm had the Eurocon), with some terrific programming, interesting guests, good talks, chats and enough beer. As you can see, I LIKE Swecon. The Swedish fandom is my other home fandom.
This week has been murder at work, with long days and a desperate attempt to clean up the table before Summer vacation. Which has now OFFICALLY STARTED! See you at a con!
Posted by jukkahoo
Who doesn't want to go to Australia? I know I do. I'd love to. But (there's often a "but" following thoughts similar to these) so far I haven't had the chance, time and/or money to do so. At presently, I might have the money, provided I'd stop doing this bidding business or various other fun stuff like arranging Åcon8 and being kindasorta active in Finnish fandom.
So, Australia, yes please, very much so.
However, now there is a Chance and the Means, all I have to do is provide the third part, the Time ("So, um, boss... I may need to have a long Easter holiday next year?"). I believe I'm good for that.
This wondrous opportunity is called GUFF, short for Going Under Fan Fund (when traveling the Australia/New Zealand way) and I'm an Official Candidate. It's one of those really cool things that fandom does, giving opportunities to realise a dream, to give back to the community and make the world more like a village than a series of interconnected tubes. Like the internet.
But why should you vote for me and not the other candidate? Well, I guess my main reasons for that would be:
- if you want to meet a genuine Finnish fan, who has been fanning for nigh 30 years, I'm your choice Numero Uno!
- if you'd like to see a program participant from somewhere a bit different at Contact 2016 in Brisbane, I sure would fit the bill!
- if you think that international fandom is cool recommended, choose me! (Choose me! Meee-e!)
- if GUFF sounds like a great idea (and it is!), then you definitely should consider voting for me!
- if you'd like to meet someone who loves to read, meet new people, doesn't shy away form an offered beer (or some other interesting beverage), why not give it a go and send/bring me to Australia?
- if you'd like to witness the world-renowned jollity of the Finns, you would see ALL THIS! And more.
That other candidate is a dour fellow, a tight-lipped and stingy chap, who would rather stay at home than travel to Australia. Sure, Mr. Hold Over Funds sounds like fun, but is really not someone you might have a chat or talk about fanzines, or New Weird, or creating programming for a con, or bidding a Worldcon, or talk about the finer points of cricket. Scratch that last one, I still have no idea how even the scoring system works.
Here's my official pitch:
Model 1967 recovering illustrator, editor, writer, reviewer, con runner, fanzine-fan etc, who is currently part of a bid to bring Worldcon to my hometown of Helsinki. Chaired three Finncons, been involved with a number of other conventions since 1989. Besides doing pretty much everything there is program-wise, does also mean quizzes at cons. Married, with two small dogs and an apartment filled with books. Never been to Australasia, but would love to see the place and meet the fandom. And have a pint or two with you. I might be persuaded NOT to bring Finnish candy with me!
Here is the actual ballot. I am running unopposed, which is sad, but I hope to run a great campaign nevertheless. I have great bunch of nominators: Bellis, Cheryl Morgan, James Shields, Damien Warman & Juliette Woods jointly, and Sue Ann Barber. Best of both worlds really and I want to make these people proud of my candidacy.
Where can you see me in the meanwhile? Well, I'll be in Linköping, Sweden in a week, at this years Swecon. Less than two weeks after that, I'll be in Sasquan, at the 73rd Worldcon, in sunny Spokane, USA. Then I'll come back to Helsinki and start hibernating for the Winter, since a) it IS coming and b) it's a long one in these latitudes. During that time, I may be reached via those marvels of modern technology: Facebook and Twitter. And this blog, of course.
I promise to not say mate too often and Bruce and Sheila even less. I'd love to see as much as Australia as possible, and who knows, budget and time permitting, the Hobbitland as well!
Vote early, vote often!
Posted by jukkahoo
Fuller's Organic Honey Dew. Very nice. Very, very nice ale. Hint of hunny in the nosey-wosey, which is a lot stronger on the taste, but not that overpowering. But it all makes this very drinkable and very easily drowned. I seem to have guzzled half the pint with two sips. This is very nice honey beer. Not very robust, but to my huble taste, a really pleasing surprise that will definitely find its way to Casa Tali again in the future.
Today's recommendation is the Lost Girl. Think of Buffy. With more sex. Anna Silk plays a succubus named Bo, who is, well... a succubus in a place (somewhere in Canada, since Syfy), where fantasy and reality meet. Lots of fae and various fantastical creatures, with whom Bo usually has sex with. Because that is where she gets her powers from, very useful, since she is not keen on taking sides in the Eternal Struggle (TM) between Darkness and Light (TM). Being neutral may have its benefits, but more often than not, she'll find herself in a fierce battle. So, like I said, Buffy, with more sex. (Yes, even more than in seasons six and seven.)
The world Lost Girl takes place is filled with cool stories and histories, and there's a number of great characters in the ensamble cast. But while you have your cool werewolf cop or dwarven warlock, or Morrigan, or a Valkyrie, despite all that, the real deal in this series is the interplay between Bo and her human friend, Kenzi.
Who is a blast! Ksenia Solo is not only cute as a button, but she is smart, streetcool, handy, funny and above all, just human. A funny sidekick that is truly funny and endearing. I love Kenzi!
No arbitrary links, since this just needs to be read by as many people as possible. I think (well, hope) that everyone reading this blog (hello to both of you!) thinks this is fucked up and that what we really should have, is a world of equality and non-assholeness.
Posted by jukkahoo
The pot is in the oven with all the necessary ingredients (various meats, roots, spices and then some) in it. Should be something smoky, tasty and stouty.
Desired stoutiness should come from a generous dollop of McGrath's Irish Black Stout, which according to the label at least, is recipe no. 4.
Roasted malt flavours heads to the nose, but isn't that strong on the palate. There's certain ashness to this, also coffee-like, but not like that bestest of all coffees, Coffee Porter. No sweet stout this and the richness comes after each following sips, stronger and stronger. This is one dry stout. Very nice indeed!
What could be more Irish and fantastical TV than... Moone Boy, but we covered that yesterday. So we'll have to do with Misfits, whose original main character was Irish Robert Sheehan. (*saved!*) I reckon everyone has either seen or heard of Misfits, so I don't have to go very deep into this. But in case there is still someone who hasn't seen this brilliant TV-series, go now and watch it!
This is what happens when juvenile delinquents get superpowers, good and bad stuff. Misfits is lewd, raunchy and occasionally very graphic, but it is at the same time excellently done, brilliantly written and singularily British, that I hope the American remake never materializes. (Then again, people in the know have said that Life on Mars and Being Human US-versions are good, I haven't dared to have a go yet.)
But there is a remake I'm really interested in, Freaks!, an ITALIAN version of Misfits, which ahs its own Youtube channel, where you can see what it is all about. Mainly in Italian. Oh, powers that be, could you possibly translate more of this and sell me a DVD? Puhleese? What's the use of living in this superhighwayinformationsociety, if we're still unable to get everything there is?
Posted by jukkahoo
Whirlwind, I tell you. Life, work, everything.
The beer of the day is Norwegian Wheat Beer White Dog. Based on medieval Belgian brewing tradition and made by Lervig aktiebryggeri. And it tastes like...
But first the nose. Fresh, citrusy, dry, sweet(?). Very nice, not at all like most of the witbeers you'll readily get from tap here in Finland. Taste is dryish, very wheaty and light, leaving a lingering aftertaste that goes on for quite some time. There's yeast all right.
I like this, wouldn't mind having this on tap at some sf-friendly pub in Museokatu...
I'm going to write about two series, since couple of last ones have been about movies and there's this missed "episode", thanks to City council and their xmas party. Now, these two have nothing in common, but here goes.
Alien Nation was a motion picture with James Caan as the rough and tough cop, who was being partnered with one of the newcomers, an alien named Sam Francisco. Which is the biggest gripe I have with this show. In the series he is called George (which is okay, since Sikes thinks that Sam Francisco is a silly name and how about if I call you George? Great!), even officially. Hells bells! His name is SAMUEL! Mandy Patinkin is SAMUEL Francisco. Aaaaaarggghhh!!!!
The again, as come-ups go, Sam's reply is glorious: "It is like your name... Sykes. I'm sure it doesn't bother you at all that it sounds like "ss'ai k'ss," two words in my language which mean "excrement" and "cranium. [...] Shithead."
Where was I?
Yes. Newcomers. A bunch of aliens who landed on Earth, former slaves of some evil aliens, who look exactly like them. And are now living in cognito among the populace. Plotting evil stuff. As aliens go, newcomers are frienfdly and capable of learning things at very high speed, making them better than people at some many things. Or at least as good.
This is a buddy series, laced with humour and action. A classic of the sort. The series goes more into the relationships we humans have with the newcomers. Some episodes have really simple basic premises, but the writers managed to deal with those ideas in a way that transform this simple series into something far more than the sum of its parts. It isn't as good as I'd like it to be, but as someone who saw it way back then and thought of it as OK, and having seen it again now, I'm finding this very interesting and entertaining piece of late 80's SF.
The series ends with lots of things undone and there are a number of tv-films which I haven't seen, so there's more where that came from for me!
Alien Nation is a lot more "norman" police procedural than straight-up SF, but that gives it some additional advantage as well. These are normal situations and having these aliens among us as a norm, while racial tensions being out there, gives this some kind of... honesty I really appreciate. And it is really funny.
The Fades was a six-episode BBC production from 2011. We have this teenage boy, whose having these apocalyptic nightmares about the end of the World. Which then promptly starts to happen.
[This is moment when I accidentally pour the rest of my beer on my keyboard.]
Starring the male geek from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and special agent Tucker from Johnny English 2, with lovely Natalie Dormer from nigh everything and that cute Scottish/Chinese girl from Kick-Asses, The Fades was really interesting take on creatures of the unknown. Fades are ghosts, somewhere there on the edge of our vision, not evil per se, but could become such. Then there's angelics, men and women who fight the fades with intention of giving them eternal peace in glorious light. It gets muddled and religiously baffling, but the script writing is good and with some excellent acting, Fades was a really tight little series that should've gotten renewed. It got BAFTA for best drama series in 2012.
Do yourself a favour and have a looksee.
Here's your arbitrary link of the day. Tired of all the same old, same old at Netflix, Viaplay, Hulu etc? Try Mubi.