Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Like many I was disappointed (if not terribly surprised) to see Duotrope go to a paid subscription model. This market database and submissions tracker is a great service, no mistake, but the subscription barrier felt a little high. There are some potential substitutes and while I was able to put together a system for story research, tracking, and submission, the process took time. Time I’d rather spend working or sleeping.*

What’s that? You know I’ve found a replacement and you just want me to spill the good news? Well then:)

Welcome to The Grinder, from the good folks at Diabolical Plots. It is a market database and submission tracker with Duotrope-style summary data and response time statistics. Those statistics will improve as more users add submission info, but I was surprised that after just a few months their data look similar to what I remember from Duotrope. And if you have an unaltered .csv export file of your Duotrope submission records, The Grinder has the option to import that information. See this summary page for more details on what it can do. And did I mention this service is free?

Drawbacks? It’s in beta so they are still building the market list and some of the features you might expect aren’t yet in place. (For example, I can’t find the Favorites list but as I just started using it that might be me.) It’s currently for fiction only but plans are in place to expand to non-fiction and poetry soon. These issues aside, The Grinder has a lot going for it, and the team seems genuinely interested in user suggestions and making improvements.

If you are in the market for a market list and submission tracker, this looks like a very good option.

* Or enjoying a frosty glass of some adult beverage with friends. Because there’s more to life than working and sleeping, people!

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Space Milkshake: A Movie Review, or, An Appreciation of Sci-Fi Comedy

Current trends in genre movies lean toward zombies, war, and the Apocalypse, but I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the benefits of humor in science fiction. Sure, our future planet may be filled with trash, our scientists mad, and our educational standards in decline, but at least we should be able to laugh about it. What is humor, if not a way to cope with (and thereby begin to address) our problems? I spend Saturday nights watching B movies of the science fiction and fantasy persuasion for just that reason. With that in mind, I settled in to watch Space Milkshake.

Starring Robin Dunne (Sanctuary), Billy Boyd (The Lord of the Rings), Kristin Kreuk (Smallville, Beauty and the Beast), Amanda Tapping (Stargate, Sanctuary), and George Takei (Star Trek) as the voice of Gary the duck, the film allows each of these actors to emphasize their comedic strengths.

The story is a classic crucible, sci-fi style. The setting is a future Earth where space debris is a serious problem, addressed by permanently-crewed orbital stations tasked with space lane maintenance. Geosynchronous trash trucks, if you will. While living on one such station our cast of hapless sanitation workers find their lives disrupted by a rubber duck from space. Needless to say, there’s more to the little yellow duck than meets the eye.

George Takei does a wonderful turn as Gary; he is now my gold standard for voicing mutant rubber duckies. The rest of the acting team delivers as well. Kreuk is perhaps the weakest link here but her job is also one of the hardest, given that her character doesn’t speak for a significant portion of the film. And while it’s hard to imagine bathtubs would be feasible on such a future space station, it does allow for a tension-filled scene with Amanda Tapping in a bubble bath with the aforementioned duck. What could be better?

This was my best B-movie Saturday night in a long time. Space Milkshake is a low-budget film with sets and special effects to match, but the movie is well put-together and the actors all appear to be having a terrific time. This is quality B-movie material, and I mean that in the best of ways. Think My Name is Bruce. The movie is also sprinkled with shout-outs to classic science fiction and fantasy like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, and is prime material for homegrown drinking games, should your proclivities lean in that direction.

Space Milkshake is pure comic entertainment. And no, I don’t understand the title,* but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. If you have a soft spot for science fiction that embraces goofy fun, and enjoy well-scripted, conscientiously-acted movies, you should see this film.

Bottom line: if you like science fiction, have a goofy sense of humor, and are ready to be entertained, break out the popcorn and enjoy a deliciously funny Space Milkshake.

Director: Armen Evrensel
Writer: Armen Evrensel
Stars: Kristin Kreuk, Amanda Tapping, Billy Boyd, George Takei, Robin Dunne
Sci-Fi / Comedy

* Note from the future: Funny how colloquial phrases may not immediately resonate. If the title had been “Space Mashup” it would have made sense to me from the outset.

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