A Quick Review of Myself on “Alien Encounters”

Generally? I was fine. I think I may need to blink slightly more often to avoid looking crazy. But otherwise I think I was okay. And I didn’t mess up my science! Which, frankly, was a relief.

I thought Nick Sagan was terrific, however. Great, warm TV presence. It runs in the family, quite obviously.

If you missed it, I think the Science Channel is running the show again a few more times in the week — check the schedule.

And remember, folks — Nick and I will be on TV again next week for part two, same science time, same Science Channel. Be there.

40 Comments on “A Quick Review of Myself on “Alien Encounters””

  1. You were great! And you’re right about Sagan. Great television presence. But the guy with the guns and the alcohol scares me a bit.

  2. I enjoyed it quite a lot! I took notes.

    Also, I have confirmation that any discussion of the Voyager records makes me burst into tears.

  3. Hmm John liked himself? It is on out West at 10. We shall see. (Yes, Scalzi fans, the comment is part of a long history of taunting John (in fun) a la taunting the tauntable). Looking forward to seeing the big show.

  4. DVR is all set, so I don’t forget. And I will watch in HD to see you in all your super-defined glory.

  5. I’m biased, as a professional scientist and science fiction author who worked many years in the Space Program, and was an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy. But what did they believe in Alabama? As I read it (from CNN data this evening) the majority of GOP voters there do NOT believe in Evolution by Natural Selection, but DO believe in Rick Santorum. Isn’t that exactly the kind of place where UFOs are spotted by by guys named Clem, guzzling sixpacks in their pick-up trucks? What if they’re right about ANY of this?

    Don’t attack me as knee-jerk anti-Alabama. My father spent most of World War II at an Army Base in Alabama teaching Free French men how to fly, so they could go back and bomb Nazis. My wife and I have both been on space program business in Huntsville. I even looked at the option of buying a home in Huntsville (a location I wrote about in carefully-researched historical fiction about Wernher von Braun. Besides good barbecue and pies there, you can find several decent German restaurants. The first time von Braun exited a shop in that town, the shopkeeper aid “Y’all come back, now.” Wernher stepped back into the shop. He said “Ja?”

  6. I missed part of it, but I’m DVRing the repeat. I didn’t think you looked crazy, though I did wonder why they used the profile angle on you so much. You looked engaged and enthusiastic. Geeked out, in other words, which (as a geek and/or nerd myself) was a huge plus!

    JVP: There is nothing wrong with guys named Clem.

  7. Xopher. Yeah, I looked biased the wrong way, so doubled back, and tried to say nice things. I worked on Voyager at JPL, as Mission Planning Engineer, with a certain Carl Sagan, too. Familiar name…

  8. Jonathan Vos Post:

    A passing mention of science doesn’t actually make a rant about tonight’s primary results any more on topic to the thread.

  9. John, I thought you were great! I like the whole conceit of this show, and it’s added to an already overflowing dvr.

  10. John wrote:

    A passing mention of science doesn’t actually make a rant about tonight’s primary results any more on topic to the thread.

    Oh, I don’t know. Space aliens might explain tonight’s primary results.

    Smartassery aside, congrats on the appearance.

  11. Why do you wish to avoid looking crazy on TV? Isn’t appearing to be crazy the best way to develop a career in the media nowadays?

  12. Watching now. Fun.

    As a video guy I am annoyed by the poor post production. Lurn 2 telecine science channel. There is no reason pans should not be butter smooth and black levels consistent.

  13. gah, missed it. The DVR is programmed to pick up a later broadcast of ep1. (after it had to be reset to unfreeze its damn brain)

  14. Here’s hoping SBS or some other local station picks it up … in the fullness of time …

    But it’s great that it went well. Congrats, John.

  15. @ John

    Please use your vast and prodigious influence as king of the SF/F community to get Alien Encounters on Netflix. I canceled my cable back in 2001 and I really want to see you looking crazy. I’ll wait while you call the appropriate studio execs, corporate overlords, senators and flying monkey captains.

    *folds hands*

  16. I’m not even sure if I even HAVE the Science Channel on the cable menu. I’m reluctant to look for fear of disappointment. Will these episodes show up online eventually?

  17. “Science Channel”? I understand “TV” — that’s the oversized monitor I use for my DVD player and my Apple TV — but what are these “channels” that you speak of?

  18. Well, I wanted to watch it, but the Science Channel is not on in Minnesota. At least, not in our expanded cable of 100 channels. I don’t see it on the pay channel option either.
    Glad it went well.

  19. Gonna watch it this evening when I get home from work. As I thought I might be I was too darn tired last night to watch anything that would make me engage my brain, so I had the college basketball game on, and fell asleep in my stupid chair, which is probably more information than anyone is interested in, so I’ll shut up now.

  20. Good work last night. You did not look crazy.

    One thing that was funny was right after your first appearance on screen, there was a commercial for John Deere lawn mowers and the house / lawn they used in the ad looked like yours. I know you (Kristy?) are not a John Deere person, but thought it was kind of interesting.

  21. I didn’t think you looked crazy. A little wired, perhaps, as might be expected of one who drinks as much Coke Zero as you do. ;-)

    I agree with tim eisele, though. If you think about it too much, you’re liable to overcompensate, which will make you look overly nervous, like one of the tin-foil hat people.

  22. Bearpaw: channels are where shows first show up, you know, where you don’t need to wait 24 hours or six months or whatever to see them in something other than nodef compress-o-vision without hitting the torrents.

  23. Ian:

    Ah, now that you mention it, I think I have heard of such things. I understand that they’re connected in some way to things called … what was the word … “television advertisements”. I’ve occasionally see some of those when I’ve gone to shackled (chained? something like that) movie theatres. I admit that I don’t understand the appeal.

    There are often things called “cable bills” involved, too, right? I’m afraid it’s all too complicated for me to follow.

  24. Mr. Royce – I get it in my part of frozen Florida, call & whine to your provider!

    Ya done OK, actually a bit better than OK. You are right about the Sagan kid though. I worked in TV production for a couple of years at the local PBS station & learned that it is tough to know ahead of time who the ‘camera will love’. It can be polished but some people will always have a leg up.

    If you don’t mind my asking, this has always been a question I wanted to ask people who do these bumper interviews, is there compensation or does the name recognition thing make it worthwhile? Do you have any say over what or how they use you? Do they do it at your place or do you have to go to theirs?
    As for the crazy eyes? well, if you develop that there probably would be a great future in TV punditry on any of a number of TV ‘news’ outlets 8-{D

  25. I didn’t get a chance/remember to comment yesterday. I think you got right near the edge of true crazy eyes, but didn’t really cross it. You looked enthusiastic, which was good. I will look forward to seeing part 2 next week.

  26. OK, reset my DVR, gave it time to reprogram its brain. tried to do a search on the title and it isn’t coming up now. WTF??? Maybe I don’t have the “Science” channel? But it came up in a search a few days ago. bummer. Might have to wait for it to show up on youtube….

  27. I thought the show was great! And I can’t wait for the day when they come. But I have a question is that the last episode? only 2 of them? Hopefully not but if so hopefully I’ll see you on Through the wormhole whenever that comes back! Good job n keep up the science!!!!!!

  28. Finally saw the second episode. I gotta say it was a bit of a disappointment. The whole thing kept reminding us that it is showing a hypothetical scenario about first alien contact, then it never showed the aliens. It’s like they chickened out at the end.

  29. I liked the second episode too, except for that fact that the sail is driven by lasers mounted on the ship. This is dumb (not quite as dumb as the equivalent for a wind sail). It would be more efficient to omit the sail and point the lasers backwards (mostly because the mass of the sail has to be accelerated). The energy equivalent in particles with rest mass would drive the ship MUCH more efficiently, and if they can convert dark energy into photons, why not into helium ions (or something)? The sail is spectacular, but aliens who sent a ship that far would do it more sensibly.

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