Oct 4, 2012, Science Fiction Lab Radio Show Photos and My 2-Minute Madness from the “Reboot” Episode

The Science Fiction Lab Radio Show [web and Twitter] had its first episode of the season tonight on October 4, 2012 at 7:00pm-8:00pm. Tonight’s episode was hosted by Justin Ellis and Adam LeDoux, and Paul Clifton worked the board. SF Lab members included Ariel Cohen, Matthew Guzdial, Sharena Taylor, Brendan Cecere, and Xavier Culver. The theme of the show was “Reboot” for our 2-minute madness, and our special guest from the Atlanta Radio Theater Company was David Benedict. Following our 2-minute madness round, David played a Lovecraftian episode of “Rory Rammer, Space Marshall,” and he answered SF Lab members about his experience developing radio dramas.

I’m not in the pictures included above, because I played photographer with my iPhone 4S. Next time, I will have to bring my Canon t1i.

For the 2-minute madness, some of the SF Lab members talked about Battlestar Galactica, RoboCop, Superman, and the reboot of SF. In my 2-minute madness response, I talked about how science fiction is fundamentally based on the idea of the “reboot”:

My name is Jason Ellis. My life at Tech is a reboot of sorts. I graduated from Tech with a bachelor’s degree in 2006. Now, I have rebooted my Tech experience as a Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow. I began as a student. Now, I am a teacher. It is an exciting, yet cognitively estranging experience. I am also the Vice President of the Science Fiction Research Association.

Some argue that SF derives from the utopian story. Utopias are in a sense a reboot of earlier utopias. From this perspective, SF is a genre born of reboots and it continues that reboot tradition. For example, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been rebooted many times. Fred Wilcox’s Forbidden Planet is a futuristic reboot of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Jules Verne’s fantastic voyages [I meant to say, “les voyage extraordinaires”] have gone through multiple reboots. H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds (perhaps most famously) have been rebooted a number of times.

What I find interesting about the SF reboot is that it re-establishes the source material to the present cultural and historical context. This was my argument in my MA thesis at the University of Liverpool in which I explored the relationship between Glen Larson’s Battlestar Galactica and Ronald Moore’s recent re-imagining of the series.

If SF is always about the present, SF creators might feel compelled to imprint the present through reboots or re-imaginings. The reboot connects what is an otherwise great concept to the technoscientific and social changes that have taken place since the original production. This hopefully engages the audience, but irregardless, it is culture working its compositional magic through writers, producers, directors, actors, etc. Viewed this way, culture, in general, seems to be expressing itself through a series of reboots.

I Will Be On Air for SF Lab Radio Show Reboot, Thursday evening, Oct 4, 7:00-8:00pm

If you live in Atlanta or have a reliable Internet connection, you can hear me and the other Georgia Tech Science Fiction Lab Radio Show folk on WREK 91.1 FM (tune in or stream live from wrek.org) on Thursday, October 4 from 7:00pm-8:00pm.

This week’s theme is “reboots.” We will begin with introductions and a round of “2-minute madness,” which gives all SF Lab members a chance to talk about reboots for 2 minutes each. Then, we will have special guests from the Atlanta Radio Theater Company join us on air for a discussion about radio dramas and a preview of something they have been working on.

Our future shows will be on Oct. 11 (theme: robots/interview with Robot & Frank creator), Oct. 18 (theme: cyborgs/wearable computing), and Oct. 25 (theme: zombies, interview with James T. Warbington, director of The Black Earth).

We will maintain a Twitter backchannel with the hashtag #sflab.

The SF Lab Radio Show is on Thursday evenings from 7:00pm-8:00pm on WREK Atlanta 91.1 FM.

DC Reboots Full Line of Comics to No. 1 in 2011

Seth and I were talking about DC’s planned reboot of its comic lines after we saw X-Men: First Class with Y and Joy tonight at the Kent University Plaza Theater.

After I got home, I saw this article by George Gene Gustines on the New York Times that discusses the scope of DC’s plans:

Audacious. That is the best way to describe the recent DC Comics announcement that it was renumbering its entire DC Universe line of comics: by September 52 series will have begun anew, each with an issue No. 1.

Via: Restarting Comics’ Clock Is Issue No. 1

This move by DC is intended to give the comic publisher’s major titles a fresh start for new readers to catch up. Looked at from another angle, it is a stunt to revitalize the lines and grow the circulation.

I haven’t read many comics in recent years. I did read all of the Sin City comics before the film came out. I also read all of Frank Miller’s Bat Man before the Nolan’s reboot of the film version of that comic line. Personally, I haven’t been interested in keeping up with the latest story lines by the major comic publishing houses. Perhaps this is partially due to a lack of time on my part and not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the comics. However, I don’t think this major decision of issue continuity and character redesign results in long term rewards for the comics. Perhaps this isn’t the ultimate goal of DC. They need to sell comics and a windfall in the short term may sustain the company for a time. On the other hand, this move by DC might grow the number of comic readers. Also, I think they are smart to release digital issues on the same day as print releases.

Good luck to DC on this bold move!

CFP, Science Fiction Film and Television Special Issues on Remakes and Biopolitics

Sherryl Vint sent out the following CFP for the journal Science Fiction Film and Television. I have a BSG essay that I’m definitely going to send to SFFTV. You should send them something, too!

Science Fiction Film and Television is a biannual, peer-reviewed journal published by Liverpool University Press. Edited by Mark Bould (UWE) and Sherryl Vint (Brock University), with an international board of advisory editors, it encourages dialogue among the scholarly and intellectual communities of film studies, sf studies and television studies.

We invite submissions on all areas of sf film and television. We publish articles, book and DVD reviews and review essays, as well as archive entries on theorists (which introduce the work of key and emergent figures in sf studies, television or film studies) and texts (which describe and analyse little-known or unduly neglected films or television series).

We invite submissions in particular for two special issues:

REMAKES, REVISIONS, REBOOTS: Why is the 21st century fascinated by returning to previous sf franchises? Is this nostalgia? Archive fever? Retrofuturism? What economic and cultural forces inform this recent fascination with return and renewal?

BIOPOLITICS: How do biopolitial theories of theorists such as Foucault, Hardt and Negri, Esposito and Agamben inform readings of sf? What can sf contribute to ongoing discussions of biopolitial governance? What can sf visions of posthumanism tell us about life under biopolitical capitalism?

Submissions should be made via our website at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/lup-sfftv. If you have an idea for a contribution to the archives section, please contact the editors to discuss your proposal.

Advisory Editorial Board: Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading), Catherine Constable (University of Warwick), Susan A. George (University of California, Berkeley), Elyce Rae Helford (Middle Tennessee State University), Matt Hills (Cardiff University), Brooks Landon (University of Iowa), Rob Latham (UC-Riverside), Susan Napier (Tufts University), Sharalyn Orbaugh (University of British Columbia), Wendy Pearson (University of Western Ontario), David Seed (University of Liverpool), Steve Shaviro (Wayne State University), Vivian Sobchack (University of California, Los Angeles) and JP Telotte (Georgia Institute of Technology)