Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Category

I work in a very strange, unpredictable business.  Three years ago, I was 100% certain that Dark Matter was dead and I was poised to go into production on another show I had developed.  Within the span of 24 hours, that other show was dead and Dark Matter was suddenly a go.  You just…never know.

The fact is, despite my fairly positive outlook on the subject, there’s not guarantee Dark Matter will come back for a fourth season – and no guarantee that if it does, I’ll be coming back with it.  I mean, who knows?  Three months from now, I could be all like –

So it’s always a good idea to hedge your bets.  Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  And, as far as worst goes, it probably won’t be all that bad: maybe another show, maybe L.A., maybe the impetus I need to finally cash out of the Vancouver real estate market and buy that place in Tokyo!

Time will tell.

Also, ratings!  So get the word out.  Dark Matter premieres on Syfy and Space Channel on Friday June 9th with a double episode premiere starting at 8:00 p.m. (after which the show returns to its regular 9:00 p.m. time slot for June 16th).  And then Monday June 12th at 8:00 p.m., Syfy UK will be airing their own season 3 double bill.

AND, immediately following that double bill, will be the premiere of After DarkDark Matter’s very own after show…

Each episode brings together cast, crew, fans and experts to discuss storylines, go behind the scenes, and debate what’s next for the series’ protagonists.


The show will be made available to American and Canadian Dark Matter fans on Space.ca and Syfy.com

Speaking of Syfy.com, head on over to check out their video highlight package of the show’s greatest moments:

Dark Matter’s Greatest Moments

Agree?  Disagree?  What’s missing?


It’s coming!  I hear they’ll have a version to show us next week!


An early version will be sent my way for review tonight – and it’s apparently 14 minutes long!

Today, the random Dark Matter season 3 sneak peek screen capture generator selects…

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Being in this business makes you automatically privy to the inside scoop on various film and television productions, mind-blowing accounts of egos run amok, exorbitant cost overruns, professional ineptness, and just plain bad behavior on the part of people in power.  Anecdotes of these ongoing disasters always command a great deal of attention but, occasionally, amid tales of clueless idiots hiring clueless idiots to mismanage multi-million dollar projects or the atmosphere on certain productions becoming so toxic and tightly wound that it reduces many a cast and crew member to tears, come stories of just the opposite – shows that receive a lot of love by fostering an onset sense of family and collective professionalism.

So rather than discuss the shitshows, let’s instead focus on these beloved locally shot productions that have made fast fans of the guest stars, directors and crew fortunate enough to spend time on their set.

These are the shows I hear great things about…

Murdoch Mysteries: Every so often, someone will work on our show for the first time and compliment us by drawing comparisons to their experience on Murdoch Mysteries.  Heading into its eleventh season, Murdoch Mysteries is clearly doing a lot right and much of it has to do with a supportive and friendly atmosphere, and an overall positive tone set by the show’s producers and star Yannick Bisson.

Kim’s Convenience: I’m a little biased here because stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon guested on Dark Matter’s third season and were an utter delight to work with, but truth is I’d heard great things about Kim’s Convenience well before they graced our awesome Ishida research station set.  As counter-intuitive as it may seem, comedies can often make for the most unpleasant of work environments – but everyone I know who has spent time on Kim’s Convenience has come away mightily impressed.

Orphan Black: Number 1 on the call sheet sets the tone, for better or worse.  If your lead is a jerk, then chances are your production will be hell to work on.  If, on the other hand, you have someone like Tatiana Maslany headlining your show, you should consider yourself very, very lucky because word is, besides being insanely talented, she is also a wonderful person – and that positivity translates to the rest of the production.

Schitt’s Creek: Word is star Eugene Levy is a prince.  But he’s Canadian, so what did you expect?  From everything I’ve heard, this one is a blast to work on.

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Over the past two seasons, you, the fans, have helped shape the show.  You’ve weighed in on everything from concept designs to episode titles and, today, your opinion counts more than ever as we seek to name the Dark Matter season 3 finale.

As in previous polls, I’m offering up a choice of three potential titles – all of them pieces of dialogue from the episode in question.  You may not know exactly what these words refer to given the lack of context, but each and every line offers up a hint of what’s to come.  In the ensuing weeks, I’ll go back and review the dialogue clues for every season 3 episode and maybe offer up a few more tantalizing tidbits of what awaits in the coming months.

But, first things first.  Choose your favorite season 3 finale title from amongst the following…

Polls close in 24 hours, so get voting!

Supplied a few notes on Ben Pinkerton’s music for Episode 302 in advance of Friday’s mix.  Kudos to Ben who continues to do such an amazing job scoring the show.  Now, all he has to do is release that soundtrack.  Am I right?

Also, this morning, I had a conference call with the Syfy International team. Representatives from various territories kindly took the time to hear my pitch for the show’s third season, everything from our two comedic episodes to our new Big Bad to the Dark Matter aftershow, After Dark, which will offer post-episode discussions every week with cast members and the occasional showrunner.    Get the inside scoop on every episode exclusively on After Dark!

Okay.  Enough fun time with the dogs.  Got to start thinking about season 4!

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This is the time of year when I put on the pounds.  Between show wrap and my return to Vancouver, it’s about four weeks packed with goodbye lunches and dinners.  Farewell to friends.  Farewell to co-workers.  Farewell to the crispy sirloin, green pepper and onions taco at Campechano.  I’ll miss you all!

Today, was a simultaneous hello/goodbye with one of my very favorite people, Marc Bendavid (Dark Matter’s ONE/Derrck Moss/Jace Corso), who made time for lunch with yours truly despite a very busy Toronto production schedule.

Marc contemplates lunch at Forno Cultura, a casual Italian eatery that offers up home made breads, pizzas, sandwiches, Italian desserts and, of course, coffee.

Marc contemplates our dessert medley.

And then after dessert, it was MORE DESSERT at SOMA Chocolates.  A little shout-out to our favorite Android.  Z for Zobot!

Then, no doubt, the highlight of his trip to T.O. – meeting Suji.

Oh yeah.  No one appreciates a scalp massage like this girl.

Akemi, Lulu, Suji, and I were delighted to spend time with Marc.  Hope to see him in Vancouver this summer!

And then tonight, it was dinner with Co-Executive Producers Ivon Bartok and Robbie David.  Okay tacos, some pretty good wings, but an outstanding dulce de leche cake for dessert!

Just because production has ended doesn’t mean I’ve finished work on Dark Matter.  I completed my cut of Episode 312 (“My Final Gift To You”) today. Director Bruce McDonald, editor Norman Wong, and our cast deliver one of this season’s very best episodes.  It one rivals Episode 310 (“Built, Not Born”) for the number of incredibly touching character moments.  Both guaranteed to give you all the feels.

Yesterday morning, we were at Deluxe for the Episode 301 (“Being Better Is So Much Harder”) mix.

Friday morning, we’re back at it for Episode 302 (“It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This”).

Hey, we have one final Dark Matter season three episode to title – and it’s the finale know less!  Tune in to tomorrow’s blog entry for a chance to opinionate on this one!

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Yesterday, I offered up a list of My Favorite Genre Novelettes of 2016.

Today I’d like to offer up a list of My Favorite Genre Short Stories of 2016.

Of the roughly 200 stories I read last year, these were, in my humble opinion, the Top 30.

I’ve included a short synopsis and links to an online reading copy. You may also want to consider purchasing the issues outright (or, better yet, subscribing!). And, if you’re interested in further reading, I would heartily recommend RockStackRank, a site that offers up monthly aggregate ratings for works in the categories of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.

“Salvage Opportunity” by Jack Skillingstead (Clarkesworld #114) – SF

Badar has a 4-year contract sits all alone at a salvage site on Kepler-186f.  – RocketStackRank

“The Governess with a Mechanical Womb” by Leena Likitalo (Clarkesworld #114) – Post Apocalyptic

Agneta and her little sister, Saga, are among the last human survivors. The invading aliens have assigned a modified human “governess” to watch over them. RockStackRank

“Into the Wreck” by June Oldfather (Strange Horizons – February 22nd, 2016) – SF

A human science team studies the colossal wreck of an alien spacecraft. RocketStackRank

“The Artificial Bees” by Simon Guerrier (Uncanny #9) – SF

Randall, a robot, investigates an unfamiliar place: a home garden. RocketStackRank

“Not a Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass” by Jeremiah Tolbert (Lightspeed Magazine #69) – Fantasy

Ellie used to travel freely to the other world, but lately her door doesn’t work. In fact, all the portals are broken for some reason.RocketStackRank

“Blessed are Those Who Have Seen and Do Not Believe” by D.K. Thompson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #91) – Magical Steampunk

Elijah is dying of tuberculosis in a London where Darwin discovered spirits, not evolution. He and a vampire friend descend into the underground to look for a cure. – RocketStackRank

“In Skander, For a Boy” by Chaz Brenchley (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #91) – High Fantasy

Having no heir, King Rulf sends Harlan, his most trusted adviser, to find the son of the king he overthrew 20 years ago.RocketStackRank

“We Have A Cultural Difference, Can I Taste You?” by Rebecca Ann Jordan (Strange Horizons – April 18th, 2016) – SF

Filo/Gee, an intelligent giant amoeba, isn’t the ideal college roommate, particularly since he experiences the world through touching and tasting, which is hard on books, electronics, and relationships.RocketStackRank

“1957” by Stephen Cox (Apex Magazine #84) – SF Horror

Daniel is 17, attends a British boys school, and is very happy except in those moments when he remembers a very different life.RocketStackRank

“Blameless” by Jeffrey Ford (A Natural History of Hell – Stories)

A couple are invited over to a neighbor’s daughter’s exorcism. (Small Beer Press) – New Weird Horror

“Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic” by Jose Pablo Iriarte (Strange Horizons – June 13th, 2016) – Contemporary Fantasy

Sergio is called to remove an offensive mural, but when he touches it, it makes him “remember” things from other people’s lives. – RocketStackRank

“A Good Home” by Karin Lowachee (Lightspeed Magazine #73) – SF

A disabled human veteran takes in a disabled AI veteran. The AI doesn’t talk anymore due to trauma, but Tawn tries to get through to it, even though his mother thinks it’s dangerous.RocketStackRank

“Binaries” by S.B. Divya (Lightspeed #73) – SF

The narrator describes his life in exponential steps.RocketStackRank

“Cuckoo Girls” by Douglas F. Warrick (Apex Magazine #85) – Horror

Nikki and Samantha are on the run from luminous monsters that are trying to kill them–and anyone they care about who’s near them.  – RocketStackRank

“Lullaby For A Lost World” by Aliette De Bodard (Tor.com) – Horror

Charlotte’s sacrifice kept the forces of chaos at bay, but only for a while, and in her grave, she grows resentful.RocketStackRank

“Against the Stream” by A Que (Clarkesworld #118) – Time Travel

An “illness” causes a man to wake each morning in the previous day, and as he lives his life backwards, he sees the mistakes he made.RocketStackRank

“The One Who Isn’t” by Ted Kosmatka (Lightspeed Magazine #74) – SF

A woman appears to be helping a child recover from some form of brain damage. His perceptions and memory are off, but something is off about her too.RocketStackRank

“The Assassin’s Secret” by Adam Troy-Castro (Lightspeed #75) – Fantasy

The world’s greatest assassin sits in his lair, waiting for people to come to him to beg his assistance.RocketStackRank

“The Gentleman of Chaos” by A. Merc Rustad (Apex Magazine #87) – High Fantasy

An immortal assassin threatens the new king, so he has his sister trained as the ultimate bodyguard.RocketStackRank

“The Engines Imperial” by Sean Bensinger (Clarkesworld #119) – Fantasy SF

The starship Rook returns to the system to mourn her sister starship, who died there 10,000 years ago.RocketStackRank

“Rooms Formed of Neurons and Sex” by Ferrett Steinmetz (Uncanny Magazine #12) – Near-Future SF

Lydia’s boyfriend, Ross, was just a brain in a jar. So how, exactly, did she injure him during sex?RocketStackRank

“Of Sight, Of Mind, Of Heart” by Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld #122) – SF

You adopt an android baby. You name him Ben. He grows amazingly fast.RocketStackRank

“Afrofuturist 419” by Nnedi Okorafor (Clarkesworld #122) – SF

Nigerian astronaut Abacha Tunde has been abandoned in space since 1990 and he would appreciate some help getting home.RocketStackRank

“Every Day Is The Full Moon” by Carlie St. George (Lightspeed Magazine #79) – Slipstream

B’s werewolf dad beats her, but what really gets her down is she hasn’t become supernatural like her friends have.RocketStackRank

“A Salvaging of Ghosts” by Aliette De Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195) – Space Opera

Thuy seeks her daughter’s remains in the twisted parts of unreal space where salvagers pick over the remains of wrecked starships.RocketStackRank

“Terminal” by Lavie Tidhar (Tor.com) – SF

A vast fleet of “jalopies” carry individuals on a one-way trip from Earth to Mars. People do it for different reasons, some of which we learn about in this story.RocketStackRank

“The Savannah Liar’s Tour” by Will McIntosh (Lightspeed Magazine #68) – Urban Fantasy

In the near future, Ben uses cryosleep for a side-effect: while he’s under, he can meet his dead wife. Trouble is, he has a new wife.RocketStackRank

“Secondhand Bodies” by JY Yang (Lightspeed #68) – SF

Agatha wants a svelte replacement for her plump body, but since she can’t get one grown in a reasonable time, she looks into an illegal swap.RocketStackRank

“Two’s Company” by Joe Abercrombie (Tor.com) – High Fantasy

A warrior woman and a thief fleeing from the south meet a male warrior fleeing from the north in the middle of a bridge. Then it gets complicated.RocketStackRank

“Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” by Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195)- SF

Frere-Jones controls the nanobot “grains” that help protect the ecology in the bit of land she “anchors.” She’s come to view the grains as a tyranny, but there doesn’t seem to be much she can do about it.RocketStackRank

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It’s that time of year again, the time of year that the various big name genre awards start generating their list of nominees.  As a fairly prolific reader, I’m often left bewildered and genuinely annoyed at some of the titles that make – and, often, do NOT make – these lists.  So much so that, two years ago, I decided to start my very own genre awards (The Rogue Star Awards right here on this blog) to recognize the overlooked gems and standout novels, novelettes, short stories, and comic books that I, personally, enjoyed over the course of the previous year.  It’s just one guy’s opinion but, when all is said and done, the  opinion of a guy who reads significantly more than 95% of the people voting in those other awards.

Anyway, today I’d like to offer up a list of My Favorite Genre Novelettes of 2016.

Of the roughly 50 novelettes I read last year, these were, in my humble opinion, the Top 7.

I’ve included a short synopsis and links to an online reading copy.  You may also want to consider purchasing the issue outright (or, better yet, subscribing!).  And, if you’re interested in further reading, I would heartily recommend RockStackRank, a site that offers up monthly aggregate ratings for works in the categories of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.

2016’s Top 7 Novelettes

In the Midst of Life by Nick Wolven (Clarkesworld #113) – SF

“In a rude, career-ending memo to his boss, Doug recounts a disaster that occurred on a company property in Indonesia when they tried to evict a group of squatters and their charismatic leader.” – RocketStackRank

Chains by A. J. Hartley (Tor.com) – Steampunk

“Anglet is an indentured laborer working on a suspension bridge. Sir William sees something in her, and wants to pay off her indenture and give her better work.” – RocketStackRank

Teenagers From Outerspace by Dale Bailey (Clarkesworld #119) – Historical SF

“In 1955, Nancy’s best friend Ellen dates a bad boy who introduces her to Bug Town, where aliens live. Nothing is the same after that.” – RocketStackRank

Once More into the Abyss by Dennis Danvers (Tor.com) – Contemporary SF

“Stan is sure he’s an alien, or at least that his parents were, and he’s happy to accompany his wife to the abyss, an archaeological site out west associated with aliens.” RocketStackRank

The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan (Tor.com) – SF/Mainstream

“The crew of the new Mars mission are coming to the hotel where Emily works, and her mom is starting to say strange things about her involvement with the last Mars mission.” RocketStackRank

A Deeper Green by Samantha Murray (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #205) – Fantasy

“The colony can’t tolerate assault, and it depends on Juvianna’s gift of making people forget crime and motivation alike. But what if she used it preventively?” RocketStackRank

Extraction Request by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld #112)  – Military SF Horror

“Elliot’s squad of convict-soldiers crash-lands in the middle of a swamp far away from help. Extracting them doesn’t seem to be a priority, but something seems to be wrong with the swamp.” RocketStackRank

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Today, I turn this blog over to Dark Matter Costume Designer Noreen Landry who not only happens to be an incredible talent but, really, one of my very favorite people to work with.  Her costume meetings are always the highlight of any given prep week and I honestly can’t imagine doing the show without her and her amazing team.

On to her fan Q&A…

Ponytail writes: “For the lovely Noreen Landry, I’d like to know: Where do you get your ideas for the costumes?”

NL: Hi Ponytail, Thanks for your question.

My ideas for the costumes come from the wonderful scripts. I have made a point not to see any other Sci Fi movies or TV shows while I am on Dark Matter. I want the first images to be created from the script, not outside influences. Next step is research and more research, images, fabrics, more photos, and then usually the ideas come when I am driving or walking. I sketch my ideas with pastels and markers.

“How old were you when you learned to sew?”

NL: I learned to pattern draft and sew when I studied fashion design in the mid 80’s. On Dark Matter, I have a talented sewing room headed by the very gifted cutter, Anita, and my lead sewer, Jane, so I do not sew myself.

“What is your favorite color to work with? (I’m guessing black)”

NL: My favorite color….oh my I love all colors. Every color creates a feeling, sets a tone. Dark Matter’s palette does revolve around a lot of black grey and very muted tones.

“Would you rather design for a male or female character? “

NL: It really doesn’t matter if it’s male or female characters. I enjoy it all.

Rascilion writes: “”I had a question about Five’s normal ship-side costumes. Why does she wear clothing that looks contemporary to 2016, as opposed to the rest of the cast that has a generally more futuristic aesthetic? What inspired this somewhat anachronistic look?””

NL: Hi Rascilon. When I read the 1st script, the image of 5 came to me as color, lots of color. S he was the heart of our world, a character easy to connect to in a world of mistrust and confusion. The contemporary colorful costumes just added to this sense of the familiar and trust.

MaggieL80 writes: “”For Noreen:First show you ever worked on?”

NL: Hi Maggie. The first show I work on was Counterstrike starring Christopher Plummer.

“Favorite costume that you have designed for Dark Matter?”

NL: My favorite costume yikes that’s hard. I can’t answer it.

“What does your closet look like?”

NL: My closet is a mess…I love clothes way too much.

“Favorite shoes?”

NL: I love by boots.

gildermcc writes: “Hi, Noreen! Volunteer creator, former wannabe designer, here. Give me a shout if you need a quick crocheted cap or scarf…”

NL: Hi gildermcc. Right now, I do not need anything crocheted, but you never know what the future holds.

DARK MATTER — “Sometimes In Life You Don’t Get to Choose” Episode 212 — Pictured: Ellen Wong as Misaki Han-Shireikan — (Photo by: Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy)

MaggieMayDay writes: “For Noreen: how do your source your fabrics? Online, or do you go on shopping trips where you can get a literal feel for the textures and weight? Do you have a huge fabric stash, just in case? How many original pieces a week do you come up with, and how much “repurposing” of stock/standard clothing items do you do?”

NL: Hi Maggiemay. We do source fabrics on line but I like to feel the fabrics before we purchase them. I have a lot of fabrics and leather in the studio. Great fabrics are not easy to find so when we see something great, we pick it up.

How many costumes new costumes we make in a week really depends on the script for that episode. Usually around three but it could be as high as six. We really do not reuse a lot because our characters have been known to return, even from the dead.

ceresis64 writes: “Is there a certain style that you like to use to influence a design?”

NL: Hi Ceresis. The wonderful thing about designing costumes is that you can use lots of different styles depending on the character, from broken down miners to sleek ferrous corp guard and strong, sexy androids. I love the work of Iris Van Herpen and Jean Paul Gauthier.

Debra writes: “Debra writes: “No question for Noreen Landry, just a note of appreciation for women who look strong, or strong and sexy, but not sleazy. Love the costumes!”

NL: Hi Debra. Thank you very much for your lovely compliment. It is very important to me to create strong beautiful sexy costumes for woman.

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