10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Instant

Netflix Instant Play has a very limited choice of Sci-Fi films available, but among them are several gems worth noting. If you’re interested in the best science fiction TV shows on Netflix Instant, follow the link to check out the article.

You will probably have a difference of opinion with these 10, either with the order or with their very presence on the list. However, let us try to remember that taste in regards to nearly everything is subjective. Enjoy!


10.) THE MAN FROM EARTH (2007)

The Man From EarthAn impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he is an immortal who has walked the earth for 14,000 years


9.) A BOY AND HIS DOG (1976)

A Boy and His DogA post-apocalyptic tale based on a novella by Harlan Ellison. A boy communicates telepathically with his dog as they scavenge for food and sex, and they stumble into an underground society where the old society is preserved. The daughter of one of the leaders of the community seduces and lures him below, where the citizens have become unable to reproduce because of being underground so long. They use him for impregnation purposes, and then plan to be rid of him.


8.) THE TERMINATOR (1984)

The TerminatorA human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor; Kyle Reese is sent to stop it.


7.) GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

GhostbustersThree unemployed parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.


6.) STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)

Starship TroopersHumans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival. Based on Robert E Heinlein’s 1959 sci-fi epic.


5.) DEMOLITION MAN (1993)

Demolition ManA cop is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent enemy who is loose in a nonviolent future society.


4.) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless MindA couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.


3.) ROBOCOP (1987)

RobocopIn a dystopic & crime ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.


2.) PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

Planet of the ApesAn astronaut crew crash lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.


1.) DONNIE DARKO (2001)

Donnie DarkoA troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.

Thanks to IMDB.com for the descriptions!

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Falling Skies Premier Episode Review

Falling Skies

Falling Skies is the latest sci-fi television series from TNT or any network I’m aware of to make its way onto the small screen since Stargate Universe. The show is set during the aftermath of an alien attack that took out (according to the show) all but 10% of the population six months after the initial invasion. The premier portrays a group of 600 survivors banding together to resist the aliens, nicknamed “skitters”, hellbent on obliterating the remaining human occupants. This new series fills the gap left by Stargate Universe on the Syfy network which ultimately failed to resonate with its audience.

Unlike Stargate Universe, Falling Skies has the opportunity to create something new for viewers instead of being saddled by the previous entries in a franchise. TNT has limited experience in sci-fi programming with the pickup of Babylon 5 in 1998 and the failed attempt at a spin-off called Crusade. However, after watching their newest venture into the science fiction realm I have reserved optimism about the success of Falling Skies. The reservations mostly derive from two sources, Twitter negativity and the lackluster special effects.

Twitter & more specifically the hash tag #fallingskies is buzzing with first impressions of the show.  From observing the last hour or so of tweets it would seem 40% of viewers had a poor reaction, 30% gave it a mixed review and the rest were in my camp with a solid to enthused view of the production. Most of the negatives from the show seem to stem from the special effects used to create the alien invaders. The multi-legged “skitters” trying to snuff out the human race look very unrealistic. The rational brain wants to let TNT slide on this issue, since it’s on a station not known for production quality, but after watching Battlestar Galactica it’s difficult to use a candle when you’ve experienced the handiness of a good flash light.

Beyond the thoughts of the Twitter army and dull visuals the plot of the show does a solid job of holding the attention of viewers (this viewer at least). I’m unfamiliar with the previous shows/movies of a Mr. Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) but I’m pleased by his performance in Falling Skies. His role in the story put me in mind of Rick Grimes from the AMC show “The Walking Dead”.  You have a guy thrust from his previous career into a world where he must fight for his life and his family against impossible odds, all the while exuding an air of calm and confidence. SPOILER: The greatest part of The Walking Dead series is that the zombies aren’t the sole protagonist of the story with other humans causing their fair share of mayhem. In Falling Skies you’re treated to similarly bleak surroundings and a human vs human side story that takes place later on against post apocalyptic outlaws.  This addition aided in deploying a new dynamic to the show beyond what you would expect from the “skitters”.

Falling Skies is scheduled to air every Sunday night at 10pm, so with satisfying first impressions aside, it may be months until we see what the rest of the viewership has to say.  Whether the show is renewed or canceled it’s off to a fantastic start. Let us know what you think of TNT’s newest foray into the sci-fi genre in the comments.

 

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How to get Free Books to Review for your Website

You can find books covering any subject imaginable and almost an equal number of blogs writing on these subjects.  If you’re a fellow blogger and avid reader like yours truly, it may be of interest to you to jot down your thoughts on the book you just consumed.  However, obtaining these books, especially ARC titles (advanced review copies) can be daunting due to availability or mounting costs.  Well, good news everybody as my favorite cartoon character Hubert J. Farnsworth would say.  Even if you have a small blog with only a handful of readers, getting your hands on free books to review is a possibility.

Who do I contact?

Finding the right person / place to contact is largely based on the type of books you would like to review.  Obviously, for Retro Hive I was interested in sci-fi books so that’s where I began my search.

To find the proper contact information:

  1. Navigate to a book category of interest, in my case “science fiction books
  2. Click on “coming soon” in the upper left hand sidebar
  3. Find a book you’re interested in reviewing and click on the title to view the product page
  4. Scroll down until you find the publisher/book information (as seen in the image below)
  5. Copy the publisher & ISBN-10 information
  6. Now you have the information necessary to find the publishers contact information! With a Google search find the publisher (In my case I was lead to Penguin Group Publishing)
  7. The next step is to find the review copy contact info.  This will vary from publisher to publisher but a good place to start is in the FAQ/Help pages for the website.  For Penguin Group I was able to find this page, http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/aboutus/contactus.html#media

What do I need to say to the publisher?

Most publishing companies will require you to fax information to them.  If you don’t have a fax machine I’m sure you can have someone you know fax it for you or find a library/print shop that will let you use theirs.  However, for the best chance of receiving a review copy it’s important to be professional and provide the information they require in a clear & precise manner.

What should I do next?

After you receive your review copy it’s time to keep your end of the bargain and actually write the review.  Publishers & authors like to receive positive reviews but if you prove yourself to be a fraud there won’t be anyone around to read those  praises.  With that said, your best bet is to simply write an unbiased review and hope that the publisher in question will continue to give you the chance to write about additional products.

Even though you’ve written the review it doesn’t mean the publisher or author will automatically see it, so let them know.  Most ARC copies will come with publisher information on the cover label or via documentation provided with the book.

If you’re new to writing reviews I’d suggest using a template to help guide your thoughts.  You can find a decent review worksheet on ReadWriteWeb.

Additional Tips:

If the publisher contact information is exceedingly hard to come by an alternative approach is to contact the author directly.  This is usually just a matter of finding the author’s name and searching for their official site through a search engine.

It’s a good idea to remember all of the books you’ve requested and from which authors/publishers you’ve requested them.  Keep an ongoing Google Doc or a spreadsheet of your choosing to store this information.  After all, you don’t want to hound the same authors until they blacklist you.

Hopefully this guide was helpful to you, if you have any questions or comments please post them on the forum.

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Review of the GameFly Video Game Rental Service

GameFly Video Game Rental

In the video game rental universe Gamefly is essentially the Netflix of online game rentals. As an avid gamer with a young gamer-in-training it was time to broaden my library of available games.

With that said this is my review of the Gamefly service.

SHIPPING

I decided to sign up for the service late Sunday / early Monday to allow for a full week for my games to arrive. The week went by with only the typical junk mail filling my snail-mail box, and then alas an oversized envelope/sleeve dawning orange & white was in the mail. This meant that 5 full business days had come and gone before I received my games.  If you’re impatient the slow shipping speed may be a deal breaker for some.

PRICE

After your 10 day trial & discount for your first month expires you’re hit with a substantial price increase. As of this writing service costs are listed as $15.95 for one game out at a time or $22.95 for two games out at a time. In comparison, Netflix prices their service at $9.99 for 1 disc & $14.99 for 2 discs. However, the retail price of a game is roughly 2 1/2 times that of DVD so it’s no wonder Gamefly’s price is considerably higher. Although, taken on its own a $23 monthly service fee demands faster shipping rates than I experienced.

SELECTION

In my area Blockbuster shuttered their doors & the local grocery store rental section has meager offerings at best, so the prospect of a wide selection of games is/was very appealing. In this respect Gamefly shines with the sheer volume of games available in their library.  With over 7,000 titles even the most ardent of gamers will be hard-pressed to mill through all of the options.

CONCLUSION

If you have an abundance of patience & have the $22.95  to blow on the better value option, Gamefly might be a solid option.  However, compared to its online movie rental counter-part it isn’t up to par. In the future I’m going to put my money to what I feel is a more worthwhile approach by purchasing low priced used games.

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Star Trek – The Animated Series Review

Sticks & Stones…

Despite what Wikipedia has to say about Star Trek it is not a homosexual show/series/franchise/IP; unless you count the episode in The Next Generation entitled “The Outcast” when Riker makes sweet sweet galactic love with a transgendered species.

The Box / Cover / Art – Score: 8

However, what’s sweet is the packaging you will find after picking up the Star Trek – The Animated Series.  The box is shaped like a bar of soap, with sleek lines & a smooth surface.  On the cover you will see Star Trek: The Animated Series beveled in orange with a window in the shape of the Federation symbol that has the crew of the original series peeping through.

Sorry, the inside case is upside down…

The inside of the box contains a paper/plastic folding case that you typically find with audio CD box sets.  This design is fine & practical but unfortunately the box contains plastic braces on the inside that cut into the paper cover of the foldout case.  Aside from that the front & back covers are cleanly designed with a similar look as the box but containing the episode names on the back (as opposed to the inner bevel of the Federation symbol on the back of the box).

Clean & clear

Enjoy the complete episode list

The Content – Score: 6

I’ll start of with the positive aspect from ST:TAS; it has voice acting from many of the cast members in the original series.  Also, the plot (although not considered canonical until 2007) is in fact solid; likely because it was written by many of the original series writers.

Now for the ugly! Of the bad, the worst is the absurd amount of instances were you will hear the same sounds & see the exact same scenes.  Additionally, the sound or more specifically the voice acting is lower quality in some instances than that of the original series (despite having almost the exact same cast).

Overall, The Animated Series box set is an easy buy at only $30 for 22 episodes of Star Trek goodness.  I give it 7 Borg cubes!

The Mo’ Tribbles, The Mo’ Problems

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