“You’re Afraid. I Remember.”

If this doesn’t end up being the greatest superhero movie ever, then I’ll eat Magneto’s hat.

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Jumbo Extended Captain America Trailer: Banter, Fighting, Scarlett Johansson’s Bum

Looking good. And in a trailer otherwise full of quick jump cuts between action scenes, it’s nice to see they took the time to spend a full four seconds on Black Widow walking away from the camera. As if the average guy in the 18-35 demo wasn’t already going to see the movie.

Meanwhile, Tor are disappointed that the upcoming Terminator reboot is going to, well, be a reboot, which doesn’t fit with the ontological paradox set up in the existing canon. I might also care about this, but it’s the end of a long week and half way through reading the article I decided to have a beer instead. (Of caring. I did finish the article. And now I need to go and research what a Nokikov self-consistency principle is.)

Surprising no-one, 300: Rise of an Empire may not be great, based on the scathingly sarcastic review over at io9.

Arrows and dead men and ship parts float past his head, in the gooey slow motion style that elevates the 300 franchise from mere war porn to aesthetically rich political statement.

Ha.

GODZILLAAAAAAAAAA! Etc.

Bryan Cranston? Check. Guy from Kick Ass? Check. Really, really big lizard? Check.

But a lizard so big that repeatedly being hit by nuclear detonations back in the 50s didn’t kill it? Really? I can get behind the idea of a thousand foot tall monster laying waste to Tokyo, but let’s be realistic.

In other news, NASA reported that they found a bunch of new planets. A big bunch. 715 more on top of the 1000 we already knew about. Only four are in the so-called Goldilocks zone–not too hot, not too cold, just right for us finicky humans–but that’s still quite a find. Now we just need a vast amount of money, resources and political will to go and investigate them, and we’ll be colonising the stars in no time!

Over at the Wertzone there’s a great list of female fantasy authors, who apparently Waterstones have never heard of despite being a major bookseller.

And there’s an interesting and well-written article on Tor comparing Sherlock, which I love, with Elementary, which I’ve never seen. Some really good points.

Last up: BATMAN VS. THE TERMINATOR.

30 years have passed since Bruce Wayne survived Skynet’s nuclear blasts in August of ’97. Iron demons now roam the planet, and without the requirement to defend the innocent against crime and injustice, Wayne has seeked refuge in the bomb shelter that saved his life; the Batcave.

Having scavenged the wasteland for resources, he discovers the radio of a dead soldier. There is static over a frequency. Flesh and blood is rising up to the west. With The Stinger; a riot control vehicular unit built before the apocalypse along with a refitted bomb blast vest, Batman makes his way across what remains of the United States to join forces with the man determined to neutralize the electronic menace – John Connor.

Fantastic.

China on the Moon, Doctor on TV, X-Men at the Movies

Chang’e 3 sticks the landing, and takes home the gold medal in the individual lunar lander parallel bars. That gives China its seventeenth gold in these Olympics.

Wonderful footage from Chang’e 3 as it touches down. This makes China only the third nation in history to land a craft on the Moon, decades after the United Kingdom and Italy both achieved the feat in the 1950s*, their years-long rivalry having driven a technological renaissance that made the European Union the world-leading scientific powerhouse it remains today**.

Continue reading “China on the Moon, Doctor on TV, X-Men at the Movies”

I’m Baaaaaaack

[Silence. After a few moments, footsteps are heard. Faintly at first, but then louder as they approach. A man appears from stage left. His stride stutters for a moment as he glances toward the darkened auditorium, but he gathers himself and steps confidently to the microphone.]

*cough*

[He taps the microphone twice. Feedback whines through the auditorium’s speaker system, and the man winces. He moistens his lips and peers out at the shadowed space where the audience might be.]

“So. I’ve… been away for a while.”

Silence.

“I don’t know if anybody’s out there, but… well. Let’s just pick up where we left off, shall we?”

Continue reading “I’m Baaaaaaack”

Iain Banks: The Final Interview

Over at The Guardian today. Includes what I’m sure will go down as one of his most famous quotes:

“I can understand that people want to feel special and important and so on, but that self-obsession seems a bit pathetic somehow. Not being able to accept that you’re just this collection of cells, intelligent to whatever degree, capable of feeling emotion to whatever degree, for a limited amount of time and so on, on this tiny little rock orbiting this not particularly important sun in one of just 400m galaxies, and whatever other levels of reality there might be via something like brane-theory [of multiple dimensions] … really, it’s not about you. It’s what religion does with this drive for acknowledgement of self-importance that really gets up my nose. ‘Yeah, yeah, your individual consciousness is so important to the universe that it must be preserved at all costs’ – oh, please. Do try to get a grip of something other than your self-obsession. How Californian. The idea that at all costs, no matter what, it always has to be all about you. Well, I think not.”

Perfect. ‘How Californian’ indeed. There’s also a great quote that’ll get the more militant indie author/publishers’ backs up:

“I think my poetry’s great but then I would, wouldn’t I? But whether any respectable publisher will think so, that’s another matter. I’ll self-publish if I have to; sometimes I have no shame.”

Ha ha. And finally:

“…it wasn’t that Iain was still Iain, despite an illness that was as unexpected as it was tragic. It’s that in his last days he was more witty, more impassioned, more imaginative, more kindly, more caustic and even cleverer, as if concentrating and distilling the best of himself into the small time he had left. It was humbling to have been there.”

(Thanks to Steve Hall for the link.)

Accurate Sci-Fi

Just a quick one: io9 have an interesting little article here where a few scientists talk about which science fiction depicts their field most accurately.

And what’s not so accurate:

“Whedon et al. also seem not to realize how big space is, even within our solar system. You can’t make a blockade in space. To give you an idea, the “asteroid belt” in our own solar system is supposed to be this incredibly dangerous region with rocks everywhere. In reality, the distance between big asteroids is more like a million miles.”

Memorable Characters in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

One of the reasons I love sci-fi and fantasy is the scope to create larger-than-life characters who really strike a chord with the reader (or viewer, depending on the medium). The success of The Avengers proves the public’s love affair with these super, heroic characters is still going strong.

But I also think the movie representations of such characters are always going to be shallow compared to what can be done in literature. It’s just a consequence of the shorter form – there’s only so much characterisation you can do in 120 minutes. Here are a couple of examples of some of my favourite, iconic SF/F characters, who could never be done justice on the big screen.

Read more…

The Avengers, and Shared Fictional Universes

Saw The Avengers over the weekend. I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to the massive amount of hype, but happily it did.

BEST. MOVIE. EVER.

For anyone who hasn’t been following what Marvel did to build up to The Avengers there’s a great summary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Wikipedia. This kind of cross-pollination of characters across multiple storylines to place them in the same universe hadn’t been done in cinema before, despite being very common in SF and fantasy. (That I’m aware of at least. Correct me in the comments!)

Read more…

Worlds Without End – Legends of SF

If you’ve not checked out Worlds Without End in my blogroll on the right, take a peek now. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

The site is an incredible resource, and ‘brings together the complete listings of novels, authors and publishers for 12 major awards in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror‘. I’ve mentioned ‘my inevitable Hugo Award’ enough times that you won’t be surprised that was the first place I went. And after spinning through the shortlists for the last 20 years I was awestruck by how many legendary names appear consistently, year on year.

Read more…