My Favorite Things: Beauty and the Beast, Homicidal Hot Tubs, Top Notch Short Fiction, and So-Bad-it’s-Good Sci-Fi

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek. This week includes gorgeous promotional stills for one of next year’s biggest fantasy films; a classic sci-fi movie that includes both dragons, cavemen, and the moon; fantastic short fiction by Carrie Vaughn; and a homicidal hot tub voiced by CeeLo Green. Intrigued? Confused? Then keep on reading.

Tez’s Favorite Thing is… American Dad!‘s “Hot Water!”


Don’t buy a used hot tub from the 1970s. Stan Smith has been warned, but in the “Hot Water” episode of American Dad!, this particular unit calls to him. At first all is well when the hot tub, voiced by CeeLo Green, settles in. It speaks and sings — but it also has a troubled past. And in the sci-fi tradition of machines gone wrong, the hot tub soon turns homicidal. “Hot Water” forgoes a sub-plot, and instead immerses fully in this non-canon episode. Though the songs seem more ’80s than ’70s, it’s nonetheless a good time. Dip a toe…


Janicu’s Favorite Thing is… Valley of the Dragons!


I’m visiting my parents right now and my dad is notorious for being able to watch anything. This week he somehow found a-so-bad-it’s-good-again science fiction classic on TV: Valley of the Dragons (aka Prehistoric Valley in the U.K). This 1961 black and white film is based on Jules Verne’s novel Off on a Comet (original title: Hector Servadac). It starts with two men, Michael Denning and Hector Servadac, fighting a duel over a woman, when suddenly a light shines from the sky, a terrible wind roars and their friends are swept away. Deciding to maintain a truce until they find out what’s going on, Denning and Servadac try to walk back to the nearest town, except the vegetation has changed and so have the stars. After encountering neanderthals and prehistoric beasts, they conclude that the ONLY explanation is that a comet scooped them up and put them on the moon. Not only that, this comet did this thousands of centuries ago too, along with a pocket of Earth’s atmosphere. Cue scoffing at the TV from my parent’s house.  My dad predicted the arrival of cave women (check), how the dragons would be defeated (check), and that someone needed to be eaten soon (“This fight is boring, when are they going to eat a guy”, check, “Ah, see, I could write this stuff”). We snarked over the luck that these two guys had finding simple-minded cave women to fawn over them (“Where did that cave woman get clothes?”). I also enjoyed noticing whenever the same footage was reused, lamenting over the treatment of someone’s pet lizards, and commenting about the “dragons” sounding like large cats. Perhaps the funniest creatures were the Neanderthals, who looked nothing like what I’ve seen in textbooks — shiny eyes (aluminum foil I’m telling you), stringy white hair, and what looked like actual nails as claws.  Have I mentioned the fake giant spider, and the mastadon? This movie was so great!


Shara’s Favorite Thing is…. Amaryllis and Other Stories!


Since Speculative Chic has launched, finding time to lose myself in a novel has been something of a challenge. Yet, because I can’t resist short story anthologies, magazine subscriptions, and fiction, I’ve still been able to get my daily dose of reading this past August. Seanan McGuire’s fiction through her website, Patreon, and; Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe have both kept me thoroughly entertained, but my absolute favorite so far has been Carrie Vaughn’s recent collection: Amaryllis and Other Stories. Carrie Vaughn is one of my must-buy authors. Sure, not everything she writes is a home run for me, but Kitty and the Midnight Hour was my gateway into urban fantasy. Now that Kitty is over and Vaughn has a chance to spread her wings, I’m thrilled to see what she can come up with, and so far, this short story collection is doing what Straying From the Path did: it shows me Vaughn’s range and delivers the knock-out punch I need within just a few pages. Amaryllis and Other Stories is showing me so much more of what Vaughn is capable of, and I’m savoring each tale with delight.


Betsy’s Favorite Thing is… Beauty and the Beast‘s Promotional Stills!


I’ve gushed before about how excited I am trying NOT to let myself get about the upcoming live-action Disney Beauty and the Beast production.  It looks so, so good, as exemplified by the still images that have been leaking this past week, and the cast looks phenomenal — and at the same time, I find myself wondering whether I will miss the voices I am so familiar with, that were such an integral part of my growing up. The new Cinderella didn’t hold the same trouble for me, probably in part because I wasn’t so invested in the animated version, but also because Cinderella has been done so many times, in so many ways, over the years. Beauty and the Beast seems less explored, which means I’m less used to seeing other people and hearing other voices in these particular, iconic roles. I hope other folks are going through all this wrestling, even if still images like these and the track record Disney is establishing with their other live action versions are making me trust, bit by bit, that they just might do my favorite movie justice in the reworking….

Any thoughts on the selections above? What is your favorite thing this week? Let us know in the comments!

1 Comment

  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier September 5, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Everyone, do yourself a favor and watch the trailer for Valley of the Dragons (linked at the end of Janicu’s review). It the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s AMAZING.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: