Friday, July 17, 2009

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance…

Actually, now is the time on Life, the Universe and Everything when I drool over the Comic Con schedule and renew my promise to myself to go one day. In what will either be one of the blogverse's most boring posts or the most saliva-inducing depending on your Comic Con orientation, here are the panels that caught my eye:


Who wouldn't want to get the scoop on the science fiction you should be reading:

10:30-11:30 Science Fiction That Will Change Your Life— The staff of, Eisner Award–winning author Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics), and others talk about science fiction from the last year that does more than blow things up. It might also blow your mind. What science fiction should you be reading and watching if you want your brain to grow so big it pops out of the top of your skull and starts throbbing and shooting lasers? The panelists have some tips. Room 8

Terry Gilliam. Need I say more?

4:30-5:15 Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of both Comic-Con and Monty Python, we welcome the sole American Python, the great animator and director Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys) to introduce you to his new film starring Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, and Lily Cole. Dr. Parnassus is a fabulous anachronism, touring the streets of modern-day London in a horse-drawn carnival wagon accompanied by his beautiful daughter, devoted dwarf, and neophyte barker. On stage Parnassus plays a holy man whose Imaginarium can realize the innermost fantasies of all who dare to enter. Backstage, he is a drunkard, a gambler who centuries ago lost a wager with the Devil and must now pony up with his daughter once she turns sixteen. Tomorrow. Yet, there may still be hope for the Doctor and Valentina in the person of Tony, a well-dressed amnesic they rescue from a perilous fate and invite into their world of unrelenting magic and possibility. Hall H


Bones! David Boreanaz! Emily Deschanel! If Sweets were going to be there, I just might have to sneak my way in.

3:00-3:45 Bones Showrunner Hart Hanson and stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel are on hand for a discussion of what's on deck for Booth and Brennan, hot on the heels of this year's much talked-about season finale in which the pair finally wound up between the sheets. Ballroom 20

Anything w/Joss Whedon involved. Any. Thing.

4:00-5:15 Dollhouse Join Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon and star/producer Eliza Dushku for a no-holds-barred Q & A about what they have planned for season 2, after they unveil a special screening of the never-before-seen "Epitaph One" episode of the Fox hit, which releases on DVD just four days later. Ballroom 20

5:15-6:00 Joss Whedon— After the Dollhouse presentation, stick around for 45 minutes of information and Q&A with Joss Whedon about his upcoming Dark Horse Comics projects! Ballroom 20

Okay, this was just too much to resist. My one time attendance at a Star Trek convention notwithstanding, this is a show I would love to see.

7:45-8:45 Klingon Lifestyles Presentation— This latest mission of the IKV Stranglehold finds the crew giving assistance to the IKRV Hurgh Hap on a First Contact Mission, but problems from the planet's inhabitants and an agent from Klingon Imperial Intelligence complicate matters. How will the crew handle this situation and still keep their honor? All species are welcome to experience the ongoing voyage and adventure of life aboard a Klingon vessel. Room 6A


This one ought to be interesting given that Fox has just announced that they are recasting most of these actors in the new episodes.

1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

Discussion of Bram Stoker AND Joss Whedon? Oh yeah, baby.

1:30-2:30 Bram Stoker: The Joss Whedon of His Day?— Moderator Leslie Klinger (The New Annotated Dracula), an authority on the influence on generations of storytellers of Stoker's work, discusses Stoker's impact with panelists Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt (Dracula: The Un-Dead), Jeanne Stein (The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles), Chris Marie Green (The Path of Razors), Tony Lee (From the Pages of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula': Harker), J. F. Lewis (Staked), and Steve Niles (30 Days of Night).  Room 5AB


She is an icon.

2:30-3:30 Spotlight on June Foray She's the first lady of cartoon voices! Comic-Con special guest June Foray, known for her memorable work with a certain moose and squirrel (Bullwinkle and Rocky, the Flying Squirrel, that is), returns to Comic-Con for the 40th show. Mark Evanier and Earl Kress interview June about her career as a voice actress, author, and Hollywood legend. Room 5AB

I first started reading science fiction in junior high & a lot of it was Ray Bradbury.

3:30-4:30 Spotlight on Ray Bradbury The legendary fantasy and science fiction writer is once again a Comic-Con special guest, as he was for the very first show in 1970. Ray Bradbury will discuss his new books, plays, and other projects with his long-time friend, writer and producer Arnold Kunert, and biographer Sam Weller. Room 6BCF

It's Dr. Who! You HAVE to go to this one.

10:00-11:00 Dr. Who Actor David Tennant, writer/executive producer Russell T Davies, director Euros Lyn, and executive producer Julie Gardner discuss their creative process and experiences working on BBC America's Doctor Who—television's longest-running sci-fi series—with exclusive clips and a Q&A session. Ballroom 20

I don't read Christian comics & to be honest, a lot of Christian media sends me right 'round the bend. Still, listening in on this discussion could be very interesting or very infuriating.

10:00-11:00 Christian Comics Meeting— What are the different ways that Christian creators express their faith through their art? How can "new media" best be used to communicate timeless truths? Discuss the latest trends of the Christian comics movement with moderator Buzz Dixon (Serenity, Goofyfoot Gurl) and panelists Eric Jansen (Foursquare Missions Press), Leo Partible (Behind the Screen: Insiders on Faith, Film & Culture), and others. A short sermon and worship music will precede the panel discussion. Room 24A

Well, Duh! Reading is my thing. I've not spent almost two years in grad school for nothing! (Actually, this just sounds very intriguing.)

11:00-12:30 Secret Origin of Good Readers— AKA "Evil Plots to Get Kids Reading." The 9th annual Secret Origin of Good Readers panel consists of Dr. Robyn A. Hill (National University, San Diego), Mimi Cruz (Night Flight Comics, Salt Lake City), Bill Galvan (creator/artist The Scrapyard Detectives, artist for Archie Comics), Dr. Bill McGrath (National University), and Jim Valentino (creator/publisher Silverline Books/Image Comics). The panelists will discuss how teachers, librarians, retailers, authors, artists, and publishers can work together to bring comic books into the classroom for use as an innovative and motivating cross-curricular teaching tool and a vehicle for promoting reading and literacy. Through a multimedia presentation, personal remarks, and a question-and-answer session, the speakers will present an overview of the medium and highlight specific ways that comic books and graphic novels can be used to engage a variety of learners. Breakout sessions will follow the main presentation. The 70-page resource book The Secret Origin of Good Readers is available for free download by clicking here courtesy of Room 3



Thursday, July 02, 2009

Books Just Waiting to be Read

Veronica, of Toddled Dredge fame, recently posted a list of books that she has that are waiting to be read. (I guess I'm talking about books as if they are alive, but what the heck.) She encouraged others to post their lists so that "we can all shower each other with comments about which books are not worth the bother, which books saved my life, which books kept me reading till dawn."

This is a perfect project for me because I am notorious for buying books and then not reading them. Whenever anyone comes over to my house and makes noises about being impressed at what they find on my shelves, I feel compelled to disclose that many, many of them have not been read.

I made a quick run through the two main book depositories in my house and came up with the following books that I have but haven't read yet and still WANT to read. (This does not include the books on my summer reading list.) There are a few I left out because I am very ambivalent about them. Life is too short to read books you aren't interested in.

Without further adieu, Mary-LUE's Neglected Books List (in no particular order):

  1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  3. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  4. The Path to the Spiders' Nest by Italo Calvino
  5. The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell
  6. A People Betrayed by Alfred Döblin
  7. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  8. The Illustrated Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm
  9. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
  10. Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
  11. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
  12. The Gifts of the Christ Child & Other Stories and Fairy Tales by George MacDonald
  13. The Short Day Dying by Peter Hobbs
  14. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  15. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  16. Real Christianity by William Wilberforce
  17. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
  18. The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L'Engle
  19. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  20. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation by Neil Howe and William Strauss

So, there it is, my list of books that have been left unread. I am so itching to explain why each book is on the list. But is that really necessary? Do you need to know which ones were book club selections that I didn't have time to read or which ones I bought because I liked the cover, etc. The only one I will explain is the last one. Most of my reading for my Master's project is journal articles. However, I need to at least get through a good chunk of this book. This one is a MUST READ and a MUST READ SOON actually. I'm hoping by posting it, I will get motivated to actually get started.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't decide to add a little bit to this project. If people are going to be coming by to look at my list of neglected books, I think I will take advantage of their presence to list a few of my "wish everyone would read and love" books. It's much shorter than the first one. I promise.

  1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I think this story is worth reading, even if you are not a science fiction fan.
  2. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Don't let Barbra Streisand's film version interfere with this very compelling story of the adult lives of three children from an abused family.
  3. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. This book won a Pulitzer Prize for a reason. It transcends the Western genre because of it's wit and in-depth characterization of the men of the Hat Creek Cattle Company.
  4. Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. Simply one of my favorite books ever and, I think, one of Coupland's best.
  5. All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland. This book is very different than Microserfs but still retains Coupland's ever present theme of dysfunctional families and community.
  6. A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley. This is a book I bought because I liked the cover. I was working at a job where there was very little for me to do and so I read and read and read. It is the story how one man, Tucker Caliban, began the mass exodus all black people from a Faulkneresque Southern state. This is a book that has never failed me as a book recommendation. Every person who has read it based on my suggestion has loved it.
  7. Kindred by Octavia Butler. There are many different reasons to read this book but the BEST reason to read it is the fascinating story of an African American woman who is inexplicably drawn through time to the pre-Civil War South.

And finally, because I am just feeling a little bit cantankerous, here is one book I came across on my shelves that I could have gone my whole life without reading:

So let me know what you think of these books. Have you read any of them? What are your favorites? If you WANT to know why I have these particular books on my list or if you just can't stand some of my recommended books, let me know. Reading is such a subjective endeavor. I know that something I think is the best thing since chocolate truffles might be someone else's cold oatmeal. And if you are interested in participating, head over to Veronica's place and leave your link in the comments to her post.