Blogger Alasdair Stuart

Here are the answers from blogger Alasdair Stuart

1/ What first got you into SF?
One of my earliest memories is watching Star Wars for the first time, and that opening shot of the Star Destroyer just filling the sky above Tattooine. Not long after that, I remember watching The Boy From Outer Space on BBC Schools and then being terrified by how calm Ford Prefect was about the imminent destruction of the Earth. Those three in such quick succession hooked me and I've never looked back.

2/ Who was your first geek crush?
Ace from Doctor Who. She was smart, had really great Doc Martens, carried around home made explosives 'just in case' and killed a Dalek with a baseball bat. What's not to like? Plus she was the first female companion I saw who was actually allowed to be competent, pragmatic, tough and still feminine. She wasn't afraid to ask questions, could take care of herself if called upon to do so and challenged the Doctor in a way that I really liked. She got stuff wrong, she made mistakes and she picked herself up and kept going, often without any help. Plus she had a great jacket.

3/ If you were a spaceship from a TV show or movie, which would you be (and why)?
A Space: 1999 Eagle. Because I'm versatile, hard working and can, if push comes to shove, be used as the base frame for an experimental interstellar Al. Or something.

4/ If SFX were to run a convention, which guest would you most like to meet there?
David Hewlett. I'm a huge Rodney fan from Stargate: Atlantis and everything I've read by and about him suggests he'd be a lot of fun to talk to.

5/ What's the most exciting thing to happen to you (SF wise) in 2009 so far?
Seeing Star Trek on IMAX. Not only because it's a fantastic movie but because for the first time I understood the possibilities that IMAX opens up. What struck me wasn't just how impressive the action looked on the big screen but the way that your perception changed as you got used to the size of the film, taking in not only the big stuff but little character ticks that can get lost on a smaller screen. It made the film seem more complete somehow, as though you were seeing all of it instead of most of it and I'm fascinated to see how other movies stand up on a screen that size, as well as what the future holds for both it and 3D. There's the potential for a very different type of cinematic grammar to emerge over the next few years and it's nice to see movies like Star Trek, Coraline, The Final Destination and Avatar not only cross over into the mainstream but actually leading experimentation with this kind of film making.

6/ What feature would you most like us to add to this website?
I'd like to see you open the doors to short fiction, ideally as a podcast. Podcasting has given short fiction a real shot in the arm over the last few years and there are some superb authors out there who deserve a lot more exposure and recognition than they currently get. SFX could be an excellent platform to showcase some of these authors and get them in front of potential readers.

7/ What SF character has most inspired you in your life?
It's less a character and more a pair of character types. My whole life I've responded very strongly to characters who are intelligent but nice with it, who run headlong at new experiences because the journey is at least as important as the destination. Harrison Blackwood of the now long dead War Of The Worlds TV series was, I think, the first one of these I really responded to and tried to emulate. The big one though is the dependable hero. The character who tends to stand next to the guy with the immense, heroic destiny and often grounds them, helps keep them in the world The character who isn't perfect, certainly isn't bullet proof but is still there, still doing their best. Garibaldi in Babylon 5 and Helo in Battlestar Galactica are both pretty good examples.

8/ What's always your number one book or DVD recommendation to a friend?
It varies. At the moment I'm recommending The Day The Earth Caught Fire to pretty much anyone who'll listen because firstly, it's excellent and secondly it's a very newbie friendly piece of vintage SF. It's more a film about a pair of journalists, one trying to keep the other on the straight and narrow, the other trying to drink himself into an early grave who stumble upon a story that may be the last one anyone prints. Ever. It's beautifully acted, has one of the tightest scripts I've ever heard and an ending that's arguably one of the five strongest SF movie endings of all time. It's also terribly British in a very endearing way. Think of it as The West Wing with added reserve and global catastrophe.

9/ If you were the boss of SFX magazine for a day, what would be your first command?
I'd commission a Special looking at some of the new types of storytelling appearing on the internet. It would take a look at Alternate Reality Gaming and how it's evolved from the initial campaign used to promote Stephen Spielberg's AI, as well as the serialised, "micro shows" that have sprung up on youtube such as The Guild. It would also take a look at podcasting, covering how to do it, tips to get your sound quality and audience up, interviews with some of the authors who've already got publication deals from their podcasting and reviews of some of the best podcasts being produced at the moment.

10/ Who'd win in a fight, a caveman or an astronaut?
Well, that would depend on environment. If we're dealing with a caveman on a spaceship then I'd say the astronaut has a significant advantage, especially if the ship's in flight and he can isolate the caveman and, push comes to shove, space him. That being said, on the ground, the caveman's got a real edge especially as it's a pretty safe assumption that the astronaut has either crashed, fallen through a hole in time or is played by Gil Gerard. In that instance, I'd say the caveman for an easy win which odds would involve rocks and chest banging. There is of course a third option which is that the caveman is the result of a delusion brought on by a malfunction in the astronaut's cryo chamber. Let's call that one a draw.

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