July 2008 Archives

July 31, 2008

Rise of the Sith Graphic Novel Omnibus

This sounds like a cool Graphic Novel Omnibus:

Collected in this massive Star Wars Omnibus are tales of that time, shortly before The Phantom Menace: early missions of Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi; missions full of foreshadowing and increasing danger for noble member of the Jedi Council Mace Windu and Ki-Adi-Mundi; the Anzati-linked origin of Jedi-assassination specialist and bounty hunter Aurra Sing; and, last, Sith apprentice Darth Maul's own mission to clear the criminal system of any adversaries who could potentially hamper the rise and return for the Sith!

StarWars.com | First Look: Rise of the Sith

Star Wars Omnibus: Rise of the Sith is due out in January from Dark Horse Comics.

July 30, 2008

The Dark Knight

Batman is not anything special to me, I've read a few of the graphic novels, I used to watch the 60's TV show, I've watched the recent cartoon adaptations, I enjoyed Tim Burton's films and I enjoyed Batman Begins.

The problem for me, as has been often been said elsewhere, is that Batman is best when he's not a kids superhero. There are too many moral dilemmas and dark characters for it to be a fun, jolly, action film. The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel captured this, and I'm pleased to say this film does too.

The Joker is the star of the film, thanks to Heath Ledger's amazing performance and some great writing, both of which produce The Joker I've always imagined: very dangerous, very intelligent and very crazy. The plot winds up the tension again and again, with The Joker upping the odds and getting wilder and nastier. A lesser film would have ended after an hour and a half, but The Dark Knight adds another hour of action, without sacrificing the intelligence.

It's a tough task for any actor to play Batman, especially when you're up against a wonderful Joker. You have to play dark and moody as the Batman, and vacant and stupid as Bruce Wayne. Fortunately for Christian Bale there are some scenes with Alfred where he can act as a sane man. My only annoyance with the performance is the Batman voice, which just feels a little bit over the top. I don't remember it so much from Batman Begins.

The only plot point that annoyed me was the technological sonar gadget, which used a combination of nonsense, computers and mobile phones to work, and was then used as a sledgehammer rather than a subtle moral discussion. Perhaps Morgan Freeman wanted something to do? It all felt weak next to the rest of the plot.

But forget the negatives, because there are so many positives. All in all a great film, dark and bleak, with a perfect Joker. Definitely not a kids film.

The Prisoner Remake Blog

The Prisoner is being remade, the remake has a blog.

If you haven't seen the original please watch it first.

(UK / US)

It's starts out mysterious, turns clever, turns bonkers, then rapidly degenerates into nonsensical/transcendental depending on your frame of mind.

July 29, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog On Hulu

Rejoice!

July 28, 2008

The Gone-Away World Review On Torque Control

Niall has a review of The Gone-Away World on Torque Control. I think he may have captured the essence of the book better than I did. He cheated though and used more words and thought about it and stuff, rather than just typed.

There Will Be More Dr. Horrible

Awesome news, there will be more of my current obsession Dr. Horrible. Hurrah.

io9 has a writeup of the Dr. Horrible's Singalong Panel at Comic-Con.

Steven Moffat's Comic Con Panel

[Photo by Ewen And Donabel]

I have a good feeling about Steven Moffat running Doctor Who. Just check out some of his answers from some panels to see why. My favourite:

The Doctor's daughter didn't die, as originally planned, because Moffat made an off-hand comment to Russell T. Davies that introducing the character and killing her in the same episode would be "what Star Trek would do."

Neil Gaiman Writing A Batman Story, And Vague About Doctor Who

Neil Gaiman is going to write a Batman story.

Funnier, he even gets harassed by in call centres about the rumoured Doctor Who episode.

I just called my Visa card to fix something, and found myself being asked if I was the Neil Gaiman. I said yes, I was. "So," said the Visa person, "Are you going to be writing an episode of Dr Who?"

Doctor Who Proms special

Updated...

The Royal Albert Hall, in London, hosted a special Doctor Who proms this weekend. The BBC has the information:

Thousands of Doctor Who fans have seen a specially-filmed scene starring David Tennant at a BBC Proms concert dedicated to the sci-fi drama.

The concert featured music from the series, as well as classical favourites from composers including Holst and Wagner on the theme of space and time.

The panto-style scene, showing Tennant addressing the 6,000-strong audience, was also shown on the show's website.

There's also a three minute video interview with Russell T Davies on that page, in which he proclaims Steven Moffat a "genius". 

The whole event is on the BBC iplayer (in audio): part 1, part 2.


UPDATE


Some first hand news from Sanders The Great:

  • The TARDIS was onstage the whole time.
  • There were loads of monsters, including a squad of Cybermen marching down the aisles, there were Ood, Judoon, Graske and Sontarens.
  • The music was accompanied by clips from the show.
  • After The Doctor appeared on the big screen and interacted with the audience he conducted the orchestra.
  • The second half was all about the Daleks who said they had surrounded the Albert Hall, one appeared on stage and then Davros appeared, rising out of the floor. All using the proper actors and voices.
  • Mickey and Jackie were there.
  • Surprisingly Donna (Catherine Tate) made an (unbilled) appearance to introduce some music.
  • There was also the rock(ish) song from when the tenth Doctor first tried on his clothes.
  • The finale was the theme tune.
  • Even though it wasn't shown on TV, and all the Proms generally are, it was filmed. Expect a Christmas special.


July 25, 2008

Damon Albarn's and Jamie Hewlett's BBC Olympics Monkey

For BBC Sport Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have produced a two minut animated sequence, based on the classical Chinese novel, "Journey to the West". You can see the video here. I saw it on TV last night, without knowing what it was for, and was immediately hooked in: it has that Hewlett visual style with a soundtrack that is traditional Chinese music spliced with the Gorillaz.

There's loads of interesting facts about the piece here. And, if you want some more fun you can download a Desktop Monkey, an Adobe Air powered Monkey fronted Olympics news service.

Or if you want Monkey artwork on your phone, go here.

Anyone old enough will probably remember the live-action TV series of the story, Monkey Magic!

Doctor Who Is A Kids' Programme

As I've said many a time:

io9: We've been debating on our site endlessly: Is Doctor Who a kids' program?

Steven Moffat: Yes. Debate over. It's good to fix those things quickly.

Via io9

Star Wars Series 3 Mimobot Flash Drives

 

More Star Wars themed flash drives from Mimobot. Essential if it's important to you how your flash drive looks, and you're a Star Wars fan.

[Via Gizmodo Australia via Jonathan]

July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday To SF Signal

SF Signal are 5 years old!

Happy Birthday!

It only seems like yesterday when they were 2 and couldn't even walk.

Pixar Comics

 

BOOM! Studios and Disney Publishing Worldwide announced today that they will bring brand new stories from beloved Pixar properties to the comic book medium.

BOOM! Studios Blog

[Via Roy]

I particularly like the idea of comics for The Incredibles and Monsters Inc.

Could be groovy.

July 23, 2008

Wired Article On WarGames

Wired has a great article on the evolution, history and influence of WarGames, one of my favourite films. [Via BoingBoing]

After seeing WarGames I wanted to get a modem for my BBC Micro, even though the only thing accessible online would have been Prestel. And here I am sat in front of a computer, still.

Anyone wanting to play Global Thermonuclear War should check out Defcon, the videogame. Pretty.

July 21, 2008

Jonathan McCalmont vs. John Scalzi FIGHT!

Jonathan has some interesting comments about the new Tor site, which they seem to have been trailing forever and have just put live (and still with a Beta tagline). John Scalzi responds to Jonathan's points in the comments and therein ensues an entertaining full-scale argument. He he.

What do I think about the Tor website? Well it's another feed to subscribe to and then click "mark all as read", and it has some short stories that I shall  promptly download and then never read. I'm not sure if that is a comment about me, or about the amount of other SF material online? Probably both.

How To Waste Online Hype - Dr. Horrible

As you may have gathered, I have been watching Dr. Horrible and loving it.

So imagine my dismay when I return to my computer after a weekend of real-world computer-less stuff, to discover that Act 3 of Dr. Horrible has come and gone. :-(

Never fear says the website, it's exclusively on iTunes - but only in the USA.

Yeah, yeah, they're "working on" international access. Well shouldn't they have thought of that first? So what options do I have if I want to watch act 3 and not wait on the vagaries of anyone caring about the rest of the world? Torrents. It's all very well asking us to not "go all pirate-y" but it appears that we have no option.

Sure, many fans will download the torrent and then buy the DVD, many will probably not bother once they have a perfectly good rip on their machine, but perhaps if it had been available legally in the first place some of those people would have actually bought a legal copy?

Seems like some screwed up with the sales and marketing plan.

July 18, 2008

Hancock

Hurray! I made it to the cinema.

From the poster I thought that perhaps it was a film about Lenny Kravitz, but no, Will Smith does a superhero is the quick byline. Didn't strike me as likely to be successful. However what's interesting is it's Will Smith doing a drunk superhero. I'm sure in comics there have been plenty of superheroes going off the rails stories, but the only one which comes to mind in a film is the classic Superman 3 with the bad Kryptonite. Even so, it's not quite the same, Hancock is drunk because he's alone, because he wants to avoid responsibility and because he feels unloved.

I thought the first half of the film was great, with some genuinely funny moments. I particularly liked the interactions between Jason Bateman and Will Smith, and the slow breakdown of the wall that Hanock has put around himself. And I enjoyed the lack of exposition, there was no upfront explanation of Hancock's origins which was nice.

The second half of the film introduces another superhero, and I had anticipated a dive in the story, but to me surprise I liked it just as much. Hancock's origin was a nice choice and the character was constantly put in positions where he had to make choices.

I liked the ending too. Perhaps I'm getting sentimental.

Much better than I expected.

The Watchmen Trailer

The Watchmen Trailer is online.

Hmmm, it'd make a good music video for The Smashing Pumpkins, but not convinced about the look. Doctor Manhatten looks good but Nite Owl looks a bit rubber.

Stylish though.

July 17, 2008

Dr. Horrible

There are times when I wonder whether I Iook back on Joss Whedon's creations with rose tinted fanspectacles: was Buffy really that original and funny when I first watched it? Could I really watch Firefly on infinite repeat on a desert island? Is Toy Story really the best kids film ever? And so on.

And then I watched Dr. Horrible.

And the memories rush back.

Yes.

Dr. Horrible is genius, crafted especially for us. Forget your doubts and watch it.

Terminator Salvation Trailer

The trailer for Terminator Salvation goes all Cloverfield on us. Which is annoying because I just want to see what's happening.

From what I could glimpse between the static it looks more Mad Max than Terminator.

When I read things like:

McG's take is to weave science fiction and horror elements into a state-of-the-art action film: The camera always moves, the imagery is raw and kinetic, the pace is insane. The creative challenge for me will be to bury the effects into the photography but to still protect our big visual moments.

It doesn't give me hope. But then it's Christian Bale, and would he sign up for rubbish?

Lost Confusing?

 

ABC entertainment president Stephen McPherson admitted to SCI FI Wire that the rush to complete episodes of last season's Lost before a writers' strike may have led to audience confusion.

"There's no question there was a lot jammed in," McPherson said

via Sci-Fi Wire.

Don't APOLOGISE! We're not stupid. It was the best Lost season EVER!

Spooks: Code 9, More Information

Spooks : Code 9 is sounding very interesting. From the press release

The year is 2013. Thames House is gone and regional MI5 Field Offices have sprung up in its place. Are six young new recruits tough, moral and clever enough to protect Britain's future...? Spooks: Code 9 is a new six-part drama for BBC Three, due to be broadcast in August 2008.

London has been evacuated following a nuclear bomb and the country's power base has shifted north. In the wake of the attack, MI5 must completely restructure and establish field offices across the UK, working to gather intelligence from the very heart of local communities.

Hopefully they can return to the fresh style of the first three series of Spooks, when the plots were new, the acting was cool and nothing was cliched. But either way, it's a Science Fiction Spooks!

Millennium Falcon Birthday Cake

UPDATE

The person who took this photo has objected to me displaying it here (I was linking to the copy that Gizmodo have on their server) so I'm taking it down

Now that is a birthday cake!

[Photo was here]

Millennium Falcon Cake Can't Hyperspace, But is Best Birthday Cake Ever - Gizmodo Australia

Via Jonathan

July 16, 2008

Apocalypse Watch Update

At the beginning of the year I said that I was going to read twelve post-apocalyptic books, inspired by John Joseph Adams' Wastelands anthology and the associated reading list.

I've done pretty well so far, I've read eight (two reviews outstanding!), the most notable ones that I haven't read so far being A Canticle for Leibowitz and Wastelands itself, which sold out at Amazon and missed being bought for my birthday :-( .

Enter the Octopus has a few more suggestions, some of which are non-fiction:

and A World Beyond Healing” by Nicholas Wade (which has no cover picture on Amazon).

Interesting, I shall investigate.

That post was, by the way, inspired by Cory Doctorow's post Post-apocalypse without the militias: The Outquisition, leading to a post on worldchanging.com, which talks about "super-networked post-apocalyptic Peace Corps who respond to the Great Fall by figuring out how to put it all back together". Sounds good to me. It's interesting stuff, and worth reading.

I should however point out that not all post-apocalyptic books are full of Mad Max style militia and violence and gloom (although most have doom, by definition). Some of the books I've read this year are in fact filled with hope in particular the wonderful Earth Abides and the fantastic Alas, Babylon.

The Banned Dead Space Lullaby Trailer

Dead Space is a SF Horror Survival videogame by EA, out in October.

Here's the blurb:

When all contact is lost with the most famous Planetcracker, the USG Ishimura, Isaac Clarke and a small repair team are dispatched to restore communications.  Isaac is a normal systems engineer, but what he and his team find upon arrival at the Ishimura is anything but normal. The ship is nearly lifeless and powerless. The crew has been horribly slaughtered and transformed into terrifying abominations. Now Isaac is cut off, trapped, and overwhelmed in a desperate fight to survive.

The “Lullaby Trailer” was banned by the United States’ ESRB, but released in Europe. It's below, and contains videogame blood and gore and monsters. You have to at least pretend you're 18 to watch it.

Portraits Of Fans In Costume, At Home

Steve Schofield has some wonderful portraits of fan's dressed up in costumes. There's plenty of Star Trek, Star Wars, Cowboys and of course an Elvis.

Here's a bit of what Steve's website Bio says:

My practice is concerned with exploring the fascination that the British public has with American popular culture and the sub-cultural world of fandom. In the images, I have shown people in their own homes and environments wearing costumes that they would be dressed in to attend events with other like-minded individuals. It seeks to offer a glimpse into seemingly ordinary lives of my subjects and allows the private to become public. The work hints at the depth of people's fantasies and the methods they employ to adopt this culture as part of their own lifestyle as a means of escapism.

This is my favourite:

July 15, 2008

The Gone-Away World - Nick Harkaway


The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (UK / US).

I gave up reading the Gone-Away World twice, before I had got past the first chapter, and read two other books instead.

The language and the narrative and the plot veer along like Brownian Motion, bouncing off adjacent ideas into whole other areas, characters and situations; until, sometimes pages later, returning to the initial description or idea; which I had often forgotten about. I found this intensely irritating, I wanted to know what was happening, not get dealt a many layered onion of seemingly random descriptions. The irritation was heightened for me by the first chapter throwing the reader in at the deep end, leaving me struggling to understand the world and the characters; usually this is something I would relish, but ploughing through the pages, and still remaining completely confused, annoyed me.

I'm extremely glad I persevered, because after the first chapter the story rewinds to the beginning and starts a wonderful meandering story. Well, in hindsight the main plot is not meandering, but at the time, reading it, I was often left wondering where on earth it was heading next. Once I relaxed, and accepted the verboseness of the story, I began to enjoy it a lot more: I began to appreciated the wittiness, the tangental anecdotes and most of all the characters. Until, by the end I felt completely at home in the book, submerging myself in the language and the world.

Trying to capture the scope of the story is not easy, the story follows the narrator's life, from childhood, through school and university, onwards into conflict and the fracturing of reality; it contains ninjas, mime artists, pirates, gory battlefield chaos, student debates, a Karate Kid style mentor, a crazy scary apocalypse, war, spies, love, hate and hope. Melting pot doesn't really capture how cool this all this, the blurb says "geek nirvana" and maybe, for once, the marketing people are right.

There is an almight WTF?! moment, near the end, that is followed by a twist that initial instict said was just ridiculous. On further cogitation I think that it may be complete genius. I say 'think' because I'd have to read the book again to check, it's of that magnitude. And although you coulld view this twist as a stunt I personally feel it elevates the book, sending it veering to an extremely satisfying resolution that I couldn't see coming.

The Gone-Away World is a difficult book for me to review because there is so much in it, and it conjured such a mixed set of emotions in me, that I'm struggling to encapsulate it in a few words. It's a challenging read, in language and attitude and style, but a book that I'm very happy to have read, it's a book that you can point at and say "this is what Science Fiction can be", and a book that ultimately I loved.

July 14, 2008

Thomas M. Disch Fiction

With the recent death of Thomas M. Disch, some people may be looking to read some of his fiction (like me).  The Sci Fiction archive has one of his stories, Descending, so you can at least get a taste. [Via Gareth]

Amazon, of course, has a full selection of his books.

Competition Winner : Indiana Jones The Ultimate Guide

The winner of Indiana Jones The Ultimate Guide is: Roy.

Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone for entering.

July 11, 2008

The Broken World Website

the broken world is a refreshing HTML site for the novel (very Radiohead-esque), with cool art, snippets from the book, hand-drawn game notes and a depth of links that will keep you entertained for a while.

There's also links to an interview with Tim Ecthells on the Blackwell's site and an article in Metro.

July 10, 2008

Heroes to be shown on BBC in same week as NBC

BBC NEWS says

The third series of sci-fi hit Heroes will be broadcast on BBC Two shortly after it is first shown in the US.

Each episode will be shown "hopefully within a week" of its premiere on US network NBC, the channel said at the launch of its autumn line-up.

Which is good news and eminently sensible; power down your bittorrent clients.

Also in Autumn, for anyone interested in the history of Physics, there's a drama entitled Einstein and Eddington, starring Andy Serkis as Einstein and David Tennant as Eddington.

How do you win a Booker prize?

The Man Booker Prize is probably the biggest literary award in the UK and the BBC has an interesting article about it:

Martyn Goff, who ran the award for 35 years, says the key is literary tourism - taking the reader somewhere they are not familiar with.

"It's going to give people information and feeling about something they knew very little about indeed," he explains.

"Yes, there should be a strong plot. But also there should be a description of something that most of us don't know anything about - Rushdie with India as it was, that sort of thing. People are very taken with that."

So does the same apply in Science Fiction?

Clearly something new in a SF novel is appealing, but then there's also the case that a lot of SF is built upon other SF; that old conversation with the genre discussion. I don't think it's as a clear cut (is it ever?!).

July 9, 2008

Current Reading List

There are some problems that are nice to have, deciding on what to read next is one of them. Today The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod arrived in the mail, and jumped to the top of the list.

I currently juggle the list in Backpack (although I change apps quite frequently) including keeping track of the publish date for review copies. Sometimes I miss the dates, but I do try. One day I'll get a list up here on the blog, integrated and everything, but in the meantime here's a snapshot of my To-Read list in whizzy Amazon widget style.

 

For some reason Amazon UK has no cover image yet for The Night Sessions and so cannot be included in the whizziness.

UPDATE

Darren has pointed me to the cover on the Orbit site. It's pretty:


I'm currently Reading The Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams

 

...and I have three outstanding book reviews to write up!

July 8, 2008

Darth Vader desktop bobblehead

vader-computer-sitter.jpg

 

Darth Vader Bobblehead, I think I like it, but I'm not sure. I used to have a golden Darth Vader keyring that sat on top of my monitor, which prompted comments from co-workers.

Via Boing Boing Gadgets

Cool Monster Training T-Shirts

 Training - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Ah, so that's how the rampaging monsters learn!

July 7, 2008

BBC Admits "Mixed reaction to Doctor's finale"

Enough Doctor Who? Almost.

Interesting to note that the BBC are bringing up the reaction of the finale, Mixed reaction to Doctor's finale, although Russell T Davies (in the embedded video) seems more concerned that the kids are talking about the show in playgrounds.

So that's finished, what next?

July 5, 2008

Doctor Who - Journey's End


So the answer was something between #2 and #7.

The best bit was Davros, suitably crazy, even when facing defeat. Oh, and quoting the Tibetan Book Of The dead. Other good bits: piloting the TARDIS, the return of Mickey with a big gun and German Daleks!

The worst bit? The oh so predictable nonsense. So much stuff made so little sense. Big switch, feedback loops, Z neurtrinos, multiple half human Timelords, harvesting humans for a "test", dragging the Earth back. etc. etc. Sigh.

Also bad: Torchwood survived. Boo! Martha Jones is rubbish, and has a bad German accent. Captain Jack has become a cliche. Sarah Jane had a magic bomb. Sigh, again.

Oh, well, there were lots of explosions. And German Daleks. EXTERMINATIEREN EXTERMINIEREN!


Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #10

WTF?!

RTD comes up with something even more crazy than anything I have guessed so far.


Likelihood: Very High
Opinion: Ho, hum. Moffat's just three episodes away.

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #9

The Rocketman Ending

The finale turnes into a bog-standard Doctor Who episode with lots of running and shooting and Daleks. The Doctor doesn't in fact regenerate, because the ending is like one of those Saturday morning serials in black and white, where they show you Rocketman dying but next week reveal he flew away just before he died. The Scooby gang all run around a lot and looked shocked about the Daleks. The Doctor confronts Davros and manages to hit the big red reset switch. All the timelines get reset and everything retruns to normal.

Likelihood: High
Opinion: Very annoying.

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #8

Everyone (Really) Dies

The Doctor regenerates into James McAvoy. There's a massive fight against the Daleks. Donna sacrifices herself in a last ditch attempt to save them all and fails, she dies. Captain Jack gets captured and hacked into a Dalek. Torchwood gets totally destroyed, including Gwen and Ianto. Sarah Jane runs away and hides with her son. Matrtha Jones gets killed being rubbish. Mickey goes down in a hail of gunfire taking on Davros. Rose tries to use her residue Bad Wolf powers to save them all, she gets banished to a null dimension. The Doctor faces Davros. Everything looks very bad....

...to be continued. In the Christmas special.

Likelihood: Infinitely Low
Opinion: That would be so cool.

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #7

The Rani a.k.a. Donna is a Timelord

The Doctor's regeneration gets stuck and he remains as David Tennant but incapacitated. The Scooby Gang must fight the Daleks. They don't have much success. Fortunately Donna remembers that she as a timelord, The Rani, and she defeats Davros, restores The Doctor to being David Tennant and generally sorts everything out, thanks in no small part to her fully functioning TARDIS which may or may not be her ring.


Likelihood: Medium
Opinion: A working TARDIS would be cool, but not Donna, please.

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #6

The Master Returns

The Doctor regenerates into The Master. Everyone is very confused. The Master is nasty, but still hates Davros. The Master decides to destroy the Daleks because of what they did to the Timelords. There is much fighting. Donna gets killed, The Master is momentarily sad. The Master must sacrifice himself to save the Earth and does, resetting the timelines and regenerating back into The Doctor. Torchwood, unfortunately, survives.


Likelihood: Very Low
Opinion: Too crazy even for RTD

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #5

The One With Eddie Izzard

The Doctor regenerates into Eddie Izzard, who is surprisingly cool as The Doctor and not annoying at all because he does "proper acting" with cutting witty remarks. They fight their way to Davros' command ship. Davros faces The Doctor and they have an awesome banter fight. To beat the Daleks The Doctor has to sacrifice Donna who still has some time voodoo on her back. The Doctor is surprisingly ruthless and just as he was in The Time War. He ends the episode alone, and goes to choose some new clothes, which actually aren't women's clothes.

Likelihood: Very Low
Opinion: Le singe est dans les arbres

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #4

Bad Wolf a.k.a. Rose dies again

Whilst the Doctor is regenerating Rose somehow uses her Bad Wolf powers to bring the same Doctor back, queue David Tennant's smiling face. Rose then collapses with exhaustion. Everyone fights the Daleks. Captain Jack dies again. Hooray! Unfortunately he's Captain Scarlet. Booo! Davros is close to exterminating reality, he kills Donna, many tears flow. Just in time Rose wakes up and uses more Bad Wolf powers to sort everything out. Unfortunately this means that Rose dies. More tears and a bitter sweet ending.

Likelihood: Medium
Opinion: Hmmmm

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #3

The Doctor Really Regenerates a.k.a. The Best Kept Secret In Television

The Doctor really did get shot, and really did die, and regenerates into.... Robert Carlyle. Now things are different, for a start, this man has dealt with zombies and Glasweigans. There's a bloody, epic battle against the Daleks, which turns into a daring raid on Davros's master command vessel. The Supreme Dalek gets annihilated on the way. The Doctor confronts Davros, it looks like the end for The Doctor. Then Dalek Caan does an emergency temporal shift, because he's mental, and it screws everything up, resetting all the timelines. We're led to believe that David Tennant will be back, but the big end of episode surprise is that it's still Robert Carlyle.


Likelihood: Low
Opinion: Cool.

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #2

The Partial Regeneration

The Doctor regenerates, but into David Tennant. Surprise! The reason is either that it was a glancing blow, or because the Earth is one second out of sync with reality. The Doctor fights the Daleks, gets to Davros' control room and manages to hit the time-out-of-sync button (tm), thanks to Donna sacrificing herself, which puts the Earth back where it came from. This resets all the timelines. Rose is still stuck in a parallel universe. Torchwood survive, unfortunately.

Likelihood: High
Opinion: Annoying

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon #1

The beetle is still on Donna's back a.k.a. It's all a dream

The Doctor regenerates into an actor we have never heard of. They fight the Daleks. It doesn't look good. Everyone dies. Only Donna is left. Donna somehow removes the time beetle from her back (probably by clicking her heels together or something). And it's all a dream. They're still back on China World and David Tennant is still smiling. Donna decides to go home after the stress of the adventure to drink tea with Bernard Cribbins. The Doctor leaves alone.

Likelihood: Medium
Opinion: Possibly the worst outcome there could be.

Doctor Who Series 4 Finale Guessathon

To celebrate the end of Doctor Who series four tonight, I'm going to spend all day collating and extrapolating the rumours and spoilers and cray forum talk and come up with a set of possible outcomes. I'll boil it down to ten possible outcomes. Think of the posts like quantum states, all possible until we observe the actual episode.

Let the speculation begin....

July 3, 2008

Futurismic Interviews Nancy Kress

Paul@Futurismic interviews Nancy Kress:

Nancy Kress: What interests me is that this – unlike, say, FTL – is the future happening right now. Food crops are already being massively engineered (despite all the political problems with this); so are animals. Even humans have taken the first step by genescanning in vitro embryos in fertility clinics and choosing among them for implantation in the womb.

She goes on to talk about her new book Dogs, which is a Bio-Thriller apparently.

The Lost Book Club

Missing Lost? I am.

Never fear, the official Lost website has something to keep you occupied in the lean months until the next series.

The Lost Book Club

It's a big list of books, wrapped up in a slick Flash widget, that the show references, whether it's in dialogue, background or theme.

I feel there might be some clues in there, especially Island by Aldous Huxley. Although Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse say:

We can't promise you any of these books will lead you to answers about LOST, but we can promise you'll be enriched for having read them.

Thanks to Darren for the tip.

Other Lost items to wait for, Season 4 in HD, on BluRay. Although I'd need a new telly first.

Competition : Win A Copy Of Indiana Jones The Ultimate Guide

Want to win a copy of Indiana Jones, The Ultimate Guide? All you have to do is leave a comment on this entry saying so. Then I'll pick a winner at random and the book is yours!

Easy peasy. Get typing.

Conditions : (1) You have to add a valid email address in the comment, because I'll email you to tell you that you've won. (2) I'm only going to ship to the UK, sorry. (3) closing date is midnight Friday 11th July.

July 2, 2008

News Of Future Books From Charles Stross

Charles Stross has information on his next few books:

The books, which are due at roughly 12-month intervals, are:

* A new short story collection (provisionally titled "Palimpsest"), which will show up next summer in place of my usual SF novel. (I'm trying to complete two Merchant Princes books this year; I don't have the energy and time to do a new SF novel as well. However, I can promise that this one will collect a bunch of my short fiction from 1998 on, including the novella "Missile Gap", and a new novella/short novel, "Palimpsest".)

* A sequel to "Halting State", provisionally titled "419", set five years later. (It's not about Sue, Jack, or Elaine; it's about Inspector Kavanaugh, who has a singularly peculiar crime to solve — before it metastasizes and drowns the entire world in spam.)

* The third — but by no means the final — Laundry novel, "The Fuller Memorandum". ("The Atrocity Archives" was a Len Deighton tribute, and "The Jennifer Morgue" was Ian Fleming/James Bond; this time I'm planning to play chords in the key of Anthony Price.)

Which is cool, because I loved Halting State and enjoyed the Laundry books.

His new book Saturn's Return is next on my reading list.

Parallel Universes, On A T-Shirt

Indiana Jones The Ultimate Guide

Indiana Jones, The Ultimate Guide (UK / US) is a book which follows the same formula as Star Wars The Ultimate Visual Guide Special Edition and that's no bad thing. Like all the DK books of this ilk it's big, hardback, slick and full of pictures. There's also a good chunk of text to read too.

Like the Star War book it reads in chronological order, this time along the life of Indiana Jones, from as small child to his latest adventure. There's a double page spread of the whole time-line mapped out, from 1872 up until 1952, and filling in all the gaps between the films.

There a big sections on each of the four films, with stills and descriptions and background snippets, including hand drawn cross sections of the Temple Of Doom, the Lost City Of Tanis, the church in the Piazza San Marco, the resting place of The Holy Grail etc.

Also, surprisingly, there are plenty of frames from Indiana Jones comics, including some of the film adaptations that I remember from my old Star Wars comics, and some adventures I didn't recognise.

Finally at the rear of the book is the "making of" section, including insights into the writing design and special effects. Oh, and groovy photo of Spielberg, Ford and Lucas (George looks the coolest!). And of course a look at merchandising, comics and video games, with screenshots that include the Atari 2600 game...nostalgia.

Finally the whole book finishes with a real-world time-line of the creation of Indiana Jones, starting with George Lucas scribbling ideas during the writing of Star Wars, up to the release of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

One word of warning if you're buying it for kids there's not only a still of a melting nazi (in the SFX section) but also some pictures from a comic story which shows Nazi Zombies in a decomposed state, so you might want to check out whether you think it's suitable.

All in all, another slick book from DK to keep on your coffee table and flick through. It's probably of more interest to the casual Indiana Jones fan, as hardcore fans may well know it all, although they may appreciate the presentation and large photos.


July 1, 2008

Interview - Tim Etchells


I loved The Broken World, so I was really happy to get the chance to ask the author Tim Etchells a few questions.

The Broken World is out in the UK this week, published by William Heinemann.

The full interview follows....



Continue reading Interview - Tim Etchells.