September, 2012

TAEM College Science Digest- with guest author David Brin

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

We live in times of extraordinary discovery. Exoplanets appear to be quite common in our galaxy. NASA’s Kepler Telescope has identified over 2,000 planetary candidates orbiting other stars. And yet the universe appears to be silent – at least when it comes to any detectable signs of alien civilizations, either at present in our galaxy or their remnants from the last couple of billion years.

And let’s be clear: it isn’t just the failure of SETI  (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) to detect radio signals that constitutes “silence.” Indeed, there are strong reasons to believe that they have been looking in the worst possible way.  No, the greatest SETI Observatory has been our own planet Earth, which had an oxygen atmosphere for up to two billion years but with no inhabitants higher than a slime mold to defend it against external colonization.  Had alien visitors ever flushed a toilet or dropped a sandwich wrapper into Earth’s seas, the bio changes would have been huge and visible in our rocks.

Physicist Enrico Fermi famously asked, “Where is everybody?” The Fermi Paradox or The Great Silence refers to this quandary of why we have never encountered extraterrestrial civilizations. I’ve written about all this extensively in scientific papers and in fiction, and my latest novel, Existence reveals dozens of scenarios about first contact. (more…)

TAEM News Flash- Washington, D.C. Film Fest a Success

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

On August 25th the World Music and Independent Film Festival (WMIFF) held it’s third annual film and music awards in Washington, D.C.. Under the Guidance of it’s founder, June Daguiso, the event went off without a hitch.

The festivals nominations included films and music from the East Coast and around the World. It was also held in the prestigious Capital Hilton Hotel just blocks away from The White House and our nations Capitol.

The categories for nomination included all those presented in Hollywood Oscars, as well as many Music styles available on the charts today. The hosts for the show were Charlie Visconage and Taylor Durant who made sure that the show flowed smoothly.

Musical performances were provided by ObiShawn Kenobi, Jeff Saxon, Debbie Poole, Catherine Asaro, Anthony Parker, and Lady Maxim. The delightful luncheon was served by the Capital Hilton staff. (more…)

Maniacs (pt. 6 & 7) by Guest Author David Rhodes

Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Guest Author David Rhodes

Guest Author David Rhodes

Maniacs (pt. 6)

The following day, the President addressed the nation, and it was the first time I had ever seen him look so grim, so old (any president for that matter). The lines in his face had deepened; the stress was taking its toll.

He declared a national state of emergency, and put a ban on all public firearms sales. He urged all Americans to stay in their homes. Temporary stations would be set up at various points throughout all US cities to supply food and medical supplies, with supply trucks making continuous runs like ice cream trucks, making sure people had enough to eat. The Army and National Guard, along with local law enforcement, had total discretion concerning the use of deadly force. If you left your home, you could be mistaken for a loony and killed.

After the broadcast, the local new stations showed video captured from New York, where gangs of maniacs were attacking and killing citizens in the streets. Police wearing riot gear were running through the mobs, clubbing people down, blocking blows with their shields, and shooting people point blank. (more…)

Bleak House Alley by Guest Poet Candice James

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Guest Poet Candice James

On the East side of Vancouver
In Bleak House Alley peppered with cardboard creatures,
A crude Cinderella, cracked and creased with age,
Candling the night Weaves phantom dreams
In the pale twilight.

Breathing in foggy remnants of second hand wishes,
She churns them and burns them
Under hot buttered streetlights.
Drinking in the horizon, gulping it like wine.
On this hot thirsty night of no reprisals,
She sways in drunken repose.
Skin, weather beaten, hangs in pockets of leather
Chafing the edge of night. (more…)

The Challenge by Author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Space, The final frontier- Those words will echo in my memory for all time. I was a huge fan of ‘Star Trek’ and when I left high school to work at my first ‘real’ job it was at Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, Long Island. I was thrilled to learn that one of the projects that I would be working on was the Lunar Excursionary Module ( LEM for short) even though I was a mere factory hand.

As I worked at creating parts for the LEM, and Navy aircraft, I felt a sense of exhilaration to see a finished product of it one day only thirty feet from my work bench. It began the thoughts turning to a propulsion system that could move future spacecraft through our own solar system and beyond.

Based on my studies of Carl Sagan (before he became a household word) I was delighted to find that he also had explored the possibilities of a starship. This said I began looking for the components that would go into such an engine. My first step was to find a fuel and a containment vessel for it. By chance I read up on Hydrogen and stumbled across an instrument known as a
hydrogen stellarator to move ionized hydrogen. After toying with the idea I then developed an engine around it. Not bad for a mere seventeen-year old, and my company had the same thought. After awarding me with a tour of all the plants within the company by an engineer by the name of Kennedy, the company kept their eye on me. (more…)

‘Great Legs’ by Guest Author Michael R. Brush

Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Guest Author Michael R. Brush

Guest Author Michael R. Brush

The oak monstrosity seemed to fill the room. Mycroft and I looked upon it with respect as we recalled the day we chose it. In those days, Mycroft still had his youthful physique, before he had to turn some of his attention to his family’s estates and the other, darker side of his business. “I say, Hungerton, it’s got great legs!” Mycroft enthused to me quietly in the back of the furniture shop.

Indeed it had. The solid bulk of the honest table was only redeemed aesthetically by its pins, not that we were purchasing it for them. We were looking for a sturdy table and damn the rest of it. The shop keeper came upon us suddenly after that remark, only to be surprised when he found two gentlemen in his domain. He set about haggling immediately only to find, to his delight, that Mycroft bid him higher for the sake of two things – delivery and discretion; few would ever know of its existence within the bowels of the Diogenes Club. (more…)

TAEM interview with producer Theodore Trout

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine will travel around the world looking for the latest horror flicks and the filmmakers who make them. This time we have stumbled across such a producer in England, Theodore Trout. Theodore please tell our readers about your interest in the macabre and how you first entered filmmaking.

TT- Okay, well I’m sorry, but I’m actually in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada, on Salt Spring Island.  I had messed around with animated film-making as a kid, but in those days it was all on 8mm, which is a horribly unforgiving medium, so I didn’t stick with it.  I was an underground cartoonist with some success in my early twenties, then switched to alternative radio as the host of a densely produced program called ‘the fish show’, which gained considerable notoriety in the area surrounding Victoria, B.C. Throughout this period I worked at low or minimum-wage labor jobs to support my creative efforts.

Following a debilitating back injury, I went back to school at the Vancouver Film School’s Classical Animation department. My student film, ‘Small Potatoes’, won an Honorable Mention at the New York Animation Festival in 1999.  I was briefly a professional animator of Saturday morning cartoons and on my way up, even at one point being tapped for ‘The Simpsons’, when I was forced into retirement at 35 by a debilitating aneurysm that left me with permanent frontal lobe damage. I had always been a fan of horror movies and monster comics as a kid, but it wasn’t until after the aneurysm that I began to feel that slapstick humor just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. (more…)

The Cringing Aarghh! by Guest Authors James F. & John M. Gaines

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

    The depiction of death has always been one of the most significant aspects of human culture since the days of cave painting or the ancient Egyptians.  It reveals a great deal, in negative, about the way cultures also conceive of life.  This is all the more important in regard to postmodern American culture, which seems to be obsessed with death, particularly so in the media of cinema and television, but also in adjoining realms such as video gaming.  The 1950’s and 1960’s were the great epoch of the monster film, one of the primary ways that death was proliferated and exposed to American audiences.  Looking at the depiction of death in monster movies can unveil many patterns in the way we as a culture have come to visualize a violent end to life.

One of the most important types of death scenes in the monster movies of the fifties and sixties was a particular style that I call “the cringing aarghh.”  It was an innovation of the times, since earlier monster movies of the “classic cinema” period, the 1930’s and 1940’s, had tended to show a direct but stylized type of death unique to the victims of monsters like Frankenstein’s creature or Count Dracula.  Frankenstein’s monster generally was shown crushing his victims with a single violent expenditure of overwhelming force.  Other brutish monsters such as the Mummy and Mr. Hyde often dispensed death in similar fashion.  The wolf man would usually bite or claw his victims to death, in carefully choreographed scenes where the contact was quite obvious, but the wounds themselves were always covered by perspective or conveniently placed bits of scenery.  Dracula’s victims did not ordinarily die, but transitioned into an undead state as a result of a fairly graphic bite in the neck, aided by partial concealment by his cape and a good deal of stage blood.  The main point is that contact between the monster and victim was focal and evident.  Usually it was quite personalized as well, for victims were seldom random, and their relationship to the monster was usually made explicit in some preceding scenes through discussion or affiliation, if not direct involvement with the monsters, their creators, or their agents.   The visual element of the “cringing aarghh” certainly owes much to the vocabulary of silent films, where victims commonly cringed away from villains.  In such scenes, the cry was usually left to the imagination or represented by now-obsolete exclamations.  Sound technology allowed the film-makers of the ‘30’s and ‘40’s to perfect the insertion of screams, which could by folioed into the sound track if needed to supplement actors who were weak screamers, or in crowd scenes where the source of the scream was unclear or did not need to be identified.   (more…)

TAEM College Science Digest- with guest author David Brin

Saturday, September 1st, 2012  appeared July3, for Frank Catalano <> 7/12; First posted on Geek Wire

1) What is right with Science Fiction Today?

SF has so flooded into popular culture and beyond that it’s becoming a staple of discussion in politics and philosophy and daily life.  The New Yorker just ran a “science fiction issue” featuring works by some of our literary lights… a few of whom spent decades denying they ever wrote sci- fi. People appear to have realized, at last, that we’re in the 21st Century.  Time to buy that silvery spandex outfit, I guess.

Another good thing, the sheer number of brilliant young writers coming down the pike.  They can turn a phrase with the very best in any genre, in any era, and there are so many of them!  Liberated by new technology to explore innovative storytelling methods, like novels with embedded media or animated storyboards… zowee! (more…)