Jason got the flu! So we hope you enjoy this week’s mini-episode, featuring a sci-fi story by Bunny, a tale of the occult from frequent guest Jack Walsh, and Jason’s retelling of his amazing summer, all courtesy of Write Club Atlanta.
In which Jason and comedy writer Ben Arnold discuss the trailer for the movie Prometheus.
J: In space, no one can hear you scream. Which is why it is so difficult to get ice cream in space. I mean, I screamed, you screamed, we all screamed for ice cream. And the void of space was indifferent to our collective calls for sweet iced cream. Now gelato on the other hand—very easy to get in space. You can’t throw a moon rock in space without hitting a gelato stand, usually with some kind of gloopy tentacled monster trying to sell you a mint raisin sorbet. Speaking of gloopy tentacled monsters, looks like there’s a little space trouble happening for the characters in Prometheus. There are a ton of shots in the trailer of people looking dismayed in space helmets.
On the same night a duplicate Earth is discovered in our solar system, a beautiful young woman is accepted into MIT’s astrophysics program, so she gets drunk to celebrate and smashes her car into a family of three. Damn, wonder what would have happened if she’d only gotten into beauty school.
The woman goes to jail and gets out four years later. She becomes a janitor at a high school. For a sci-fi movie, there are a lot of scenes of her cleaning up bathrooms and hallways. I don’t even think the movie The Help had this many shots of sweeping and mopping.
She finds out that the father survived the car crash, and he’s a composer. Also, he’s not just any old composer from your community college for dummies, he’s from Yale. So you can put away your sheet music for Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life,” he’s not interested.
She drives out to his farmhouse and pretends to be a maid offering cleaning services. He hires her to pick up all his empty booze bottles and wash his filthy dishes. He also wears more knit hats than Evan Dando at a Matthew Sweet convention.
Then they become friends! Meanwhile, a woman named Dr. Joyce makes first radio contact with the other Earth. And there’s another Dr. Joyce on Earth-Two that sounds exactly like her. The Earth-One Dr. Joyce decides to quiz the Earth-Two Dr. Joyce in case she’s a filthy liar or a Mynah Bird with an intergalactic communications device.
She’s like, “What souvenir did you get from Cape Canaveral as a kid?” The Earth-Two Dr. Joyce says, “Space strawberries.” And then Earth-One Dr. Joyce holds up a piece of paper that says SPACE STRAWBERRIES, which is also the safe word for Jane and George Jetson’s BDSM play.
The composer and the woman fall in love, so he takes her to an auditorium and plays a wood saw with a violin bow. She is really turned on by this so they have sex. To be fair, if he’d played a cigar box banjo, she only would have given him a blow job.
She wins an essay contest and the prize is a seat on the space shuttle going to Earth-Two. The name of the company that is launching the shuttle is United Space Ventures. Before United Space Ventures, space ventures were really disorganized. You didn’t know if you were going to Jupiter or the Avatar planet or the Wookiee Planet Kashyyyk. And then a billionaire was like, these space ventures are all over the place, let’s roll up our shirtsleeves and get these goddam space ventures united. The composer freaks out and says, “PLEASE DON’T GO TO SPACE!” and the girl is all, “Uh…I killed your whole family.”
Anyway, the girl gives her ticket to the composer so he can go to the other Earth and see if his family is still alive, and if so, play his weird wood saw song for them. The girl meets her doppelgänger from Earth-Two, and the doppelgänger is wearing a stylish pea coat, so you just know she hasn’t been vehicular manslaughtering any families. Credits!
My friends and I always joke about how we wish we lived in a city where DragonCon never ended. DragonCity, we call it. A city full of Stormtroopers and goths in steampunk goggles, the kind of place where you might see a slutty Batman. A city where you can walk with beer in hand among costumed men and women dressed in lightsabers, capes, tall boots and anime cat girl ears, driven by an overwhelming need to show the underside of their asses.
I guess you’d have to sentence people to live in DragonCity like some kind of prison island. Unlike my friends and I, most people don’t want to live in a world where you can throw a rock and hit esteemed science fiction actor Scott Bakula and then throw another rock and hit a sweaty degenerate in a Dragon Ball Z shirt with a messenger bag full of hentai porn. Also, where did you get those rocks? Are they collectible Spidey rocks signed by Stan Lee?
This year at DragonCon, I ended up at a cosplay porn website’s promotional party. There was a stripper pole for stripping on and everything. Or so I thought. As it would happen these ladies were not only not wearing costumes, but they had also decided to not not wear clothes. One girl was pole dancing in a long sundress. A wizard stood alone in the corner watching, presumably summoning a Patronus under his robe. Another girl was dancing in her underwear and a gentleman nerd put a dollar in her waistband. Well, there you have it. One dollar! My goodness, everyone should dance provocatively for science fiction and fantasy convention attendees because it’s a veritable gold mine. Hey there grizzled old prospector, put away the oversized skillet that you apparently use to pan for gold with and get yourself some fishnet stockings because booty dancing at a hotel party for a bunch of guys in Gandalf outfits and Ghostbusters t-shirts is like finding an oil well next to a chest of pirate treasure buried under a millionaire’s will encrusted with diamonds.
The cosplay website’s party got shut down by a hotel manager and a cop. So did another DragonCon party I went to, because there were reports that someone was throwing a bedsheet over the balcony. Who was throwing bedsheets from the 39th floor? Maybe a ghost lost his balance.
I got hooked on the four dollar hamburgers at the Marriott. I ate them for all my meals. I found them to be delicious and cheap. The hamburger guy recognized me eventually and gave me a free hamburger. I considered saving it for later but then the idea of walking around DragonCon with a cheap hamburger in my bag made me feel a bit queasy. There’s a lot of heat and walking and jostling going on in that bag. A stale DragonCon burger is not your steadfast companion, it’s a furtive glance at Wonder Woman’s cleavage- enjoy the thrill and move on.
I got good and drunk from scotch in a flask and hotel party beer and beer from restaurants at the convention, which to look over the receipt would have you believe you had purchased a bottle full of TARDIS keys and not a Corona Light. At one party a bunch of steampunk guys and dudes in Mexican wrestler masks were yelling Wu-Tang Clan lyrics. Later that night, I saw a girl entirely topless in the lobby except for her taped nipples. Hooray for DragonCity, how do I run for mayor? I also saw a burlesque show that included a transvestite dancer. He had tape over his nipples, too. I think he made the right choice. Had he not covered his nipples it’d be a vote of no confidence, in my opinion. I guess you aren’t a lady until taped nipples makes you a lady.
Toward the end of it, I was drunk and people-watching, walking around with my friends at 2:30 in the morning. A bunch of drunk guys were yelling, “Who wants to take a picture of this shit?!” I said, “I’ll take a picture of that shit!” in the spirit of good will and dragon themed conventions. Later, when I was editing my photos, I saw that one of them had managed to get his ball sack out from under his tights in an attempt to get his testicles in the picture. He wore an expression of calm self assurance. “Hang on,” his expression seemed to say, “I need to get this last part of my costume ready.”
Torchwood is the best science fiction show I will never ever be able to convince my girlfriend to watch. As the British say, it is really “posh” and “spot on” and “crumpets” and “bangers and mash”. I got that right, didn’t I? I’d hate it if the queen was reading this review and spit her tea out into her Union Jack teacup because I mixed up some colloquialisms.
Torchwood is a spin off of the new Doctor Who, and is the more serious and sober of the two- not a difficult feat because Doctor Who is completely and utterly bananas.
The first season starts with a British policewoman named Gwen Cooper stumbling onto a guy getting brought back from the dead by Captain Jack Harkness and his Torchwood crew. She can’t let go of what she’s seen, so she keeps showing up at their headquarters even though they try to wipe her memory. Eventually they relent and teach her the secret handshake and before you can say “Oh ‘ello there” in a cheery British accent she’s ghost riding the Torchwood whip, so to speak, along with her new pals Owen Harper the bachelor doctor, Toshiko “Tosh” Sato the shy technology expert and Captain Jack- the bisexual unkillable American con man from the distant future with a dapper ass coat. Not to mention Ianto the tea-fetcher/butler, who plays Alfred to Captain Jack’s Batman, if Alfred and Batman constantly made out.
I have to take my hat off to the BBC- it’s nice to see strong gay characters in any medium of fiction that aren’t being stereotyped, though the last time I saw this much guy on guy kissing in science fiction was the gay space porno my great-great-great-great grandson produces and directs in the year 3000. (In the year 3000 every citizen is required by law to produce and direct at least one gay space porno.)
The only thing that bothers me about Torchwood is: they keep acting like these extraterrestrial visitors called Weevils are the living embodiment of hate and malice and aggression. Torchwood members are always running around macing these things in the face with special Weevil calming spray, and the Weevils are always trying to tear their flesh apart with their teeth.
But for some reason Weevils wear these neat little dark navy blue jumpsuits. Clean, uniform jumpsuits. So there’s this alien race that fell through a dimensional rift with only one murderous thought in their heads, but they also manage to have a textile industry? So they have two thoughts in their heads- murder and stitching up a sharp little outfit.
In addition to fashion conscious razor-fanged monsters, Torchwood is notable for featuring more cursing, sex, death and uncertainty than Doctor Who.
So if you’ve ever said to yourself ‘I wish I could watch something super British and science fiction-y like Doctor Who only people say the f-word and die in it’, then your wish just got granted and then sat around waiting on DVD for three years waiting on you to find out about it.