I know I should be more excited about Batman and Superman when it comes to the new Batman vs Superman film, but… well… you know… Wonder Woman. An Amazonian warrior princess who may or may not be a demi-god depending on which origin story you follow. Who’s not going to be interested in that?
I’m sure some purists will complain that the picture of Gal Gadot as the new Wonder Woman isn’t what they envisaged. But the original outfit would look crap on the big screen. Here is the first glimpse of Princess Diana (that really is her name) in Sensation Comics 1942:
Wonder Woman Sensation Comics
Or maybe people think she should look like the Wonder Woman who featured in the TV show from the late 70s? I remember she featured quite heavily in my dreams when I was about 8 years old. But then so did the Bionic Woman and Mindy from Mork and Mindy, so perhaps it wasn’t just the outfit. Also, a costume that looks like something a pervert would make if given an American flag is a weird choice of clothing for a foreign princess.
I think the new outfit looks good. Exactly what I imagine an Amazonian warrior princess would look like. And that is something I imagine a lot. Basically, the outfit is a variation on Xena’s which is no bad thing given what it could have been.
Without further waffle, here is the picture. See what you think.
Gal Gadot as the new Wonder Woman
Thanks Wikipedia for the old comic pictures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman)
I saw this a few days ago and I felt selfish for not sharing it. Plus, anything to do with Futurama is always worth a mention as it is brilliant. Artist Alexy Zakharov has made a 3d 30 second rendition of the skyline in Futurama. It is basically the opening sequence but without the Planet Express crashing into the screen at the end. It looks incredible and I want to live there. I need to work out how to make this a screensaver.
In Dan Simmons’ classic scifi novel Hyperion, 28th Century mankind has spread across the galaxy but are still behaving pretty much the same as ever. Consequently, a war is approaching between the Hegemony – a civilisation who live on a ‘web’ of planets linked by portals and faster than light ships, and the Ousters – a group of nutters who live in the fringes of space. Add to this mix the Artificial Intelligences, who were created by man but then buggered off to live in a semi virtual place called the Technocore. They still pretty much run the Hegemony though and without them nothing will run. The AIs are up to all sort of mysterious things in the background and are almost god like in their knowledge.
Got that? Good. As the war heats up forces start to converge on a planet called Hyperion. The AIs select a group of seven pilgrims to travel to this mysterious world and a place called the Time Tombs. These tombs annoy the Technocore because even though they can predict nearly everything, the Time Tombs buck that trend by being baffling. Oh, and they are guarded by a psychopathic spiky metallic entity called The Shrike that kills everyone and may possibly be travelling backward through time to kill everything that ever lived.
While the pilgrims travel to the tombs they wonder why they have been selected for the trip and so begin to tell each other their stories. So it is basically like the Canterbury Tales in structure. There is a priest, a soldier, a scholar and so on, and they all have a unique voice and fascinating story.
Apologies for the long intro. I could have just said that Hyperion by Dan Simmons is like a Canterbury Tales in space and is superb. It is also fascinating and brilliantly written. Each story stands alone as a brilliant tale yet while gradually telling you about the universe the characters inhabit and the various mysteries that surround the Time Tombs and the uber violent Shrike.
What I have given you is a very brief overview of the setting and the structure of Hyperion. There is so much more and it is all good. It helps that all the stories are brilliant and completely different from each other while being linked by the over-arching narrative of the journey. I’ll cut to the quick – I loved this book and can’t wait to read the sequel Rise of Hyperion. It is a classic I had left on the shelf for too long and I now highly recommend.
Life has been a bit mental recently but I still find time to read thanks to a regular commute and an even more regular bowel.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
I am currently reading a book by an author I have been meaning to read for years. I am almost ashamed to say that I have quite a few Dan Simmons books on my shelf but have only just started to read one these epic tomes. I have now almost finished reading his space Canterbury Tales-esque novel – Hyperion – and will definitely be reading a hell of a lot more. It is absolutely superb and unless it has an awful ending (which is unlikely as it is the first part of an award winning series) I can recommend it already. I will review it soon.
Cibola Burn by James A Corey
This has put me in something of a quandary however, as I normally just plow on if I have started a series I like and I have book two – The Fall of Hyperion – sitting quietly on my kindle. BUT the next instalment of James A Corey’s equally brilliant Expanse series is out and is also now on my kindle screaming for attention. In case you haven’t read an of The Expanse series then I should point out that you are wasting your life. I would also suggest that you start with Leviathan Wakes right now. There are also rumours that the series may soon be a TV show, so get in quick if you want to be one of those annoying bastards like myself who always bleats on that “The books are better” to any poor sap that passes by.
I guess this entry is essentially saying – sorry I haven’t written much (I am moving house and country) but here are two books you can be getting on with in the meantime. Well, The Hyperion Cantos is 4 books and so far, so is The Expanse series. So here are eight books to be getting on with. That should be enough. Now if you will excuse me, my kindle and I have to catch the train home and then go to the toilet.
If you are a Trekkie try not to get too excited because we are still very much in the realm of internet rumours. But the word is, there might be a new Star Trek series being pitched. There are numerous stories circulating the web on sites like Den of Geek (http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/star-trek/20931/is-a-new-star-trek-tv-series-in-development) that a guy called David Foster is pitching an idea for a series set after Voyager. Apparently it won’t clash with the JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot as that is in a new timeline. Or something. Whatever, it will be Trek.
I don’t know how likely this is going to be though because I had also read other rumours that seem to be talking about different Star Trek series from the one above. One involved Jonathan Frakes (aka Riker) directing some new Trek show but I think that particular story stemmed from confusion about the fact that Frakes is about to direct a TV series of the Librarian franchise. (Which is actually pretty fun in a ‘rainy Sunday afternoon might as well give it a go’ kind of show.) I hope I am wrong as Frakes is a great director.
Yet another rumour was to do with an apparent casting agency looking for a young Deanna Troi. But that could just be a load of Trekkie pervs trying their luck.
I think the big question should be: ‘Why the hell is there no current Star Trek on our TV at all?’ Going by all the fan made stuff appearing on youtube (which I have written about before here and here), there is clearly a big call for it. I’m pretty sure Trekkies would be rabidly keen on it. My main worry is that they will try a reboot or make it all gritty or something. I want a traditional Trek series where the first couple of seasons are pretty average apart from the occasional brilliant episode, then it gets awesome, with all the characters being quite nice and vaguely attractive. Might as well bring Worf into it as well. Can someone make that happen please?
Guardians of the Galaxy
I didn’t mean to post another trailer but the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is out and it looks damned awesome fun. It’s quite nice to have something a bit more non-gritty just-for-fun comic book based action. Obviously I will still be tremendously excited by the new X-men movie and possibly Superman vs Batman – although I will hold opinion on the latter until nearer the time. Refreshingly, Guardians of the Galaxy looks like it doesn’t take itself too seriously and as a bonus is full of space battles and the lovely Zoe Saldana being a sexy green assassin. Enjoy!
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
I seem to be having a bit of a trailer bonanza here at the moment. I blame the movie/TV industry for releasing a lot of good looking stuff. The last trailer was for Star Wars: Rebels, which is a kid’s thing on Disney that may or may not be relatively fun, it’s hard to tell.
This new trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes however, looks fucking awesome! It is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes which was brilliant. So this probably will be too because er… sequels are erm… often as good as the originals… um.
Actually, I’m perpetuating a myth. There are tons of sequels as good as the original, if not better. To name a few in just the scifi genre: Empire Strikes Back, Mad Max 2, Aliens (first one was excellent but completely different), Blade 2, Superman 2, Star Trek 2, Evil Dead 2, Dawn of the Dead, the Dark Knight, Spiderman 2, and so on.
If you include the original five Planet of the Apes movies, then I can confidently predict that this new one will be at least in the top 3. So with that proved, here is the new trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
Star Wars Rebels
For a brief second I was a bit shocked by the news that Disney had bought Star Wars but then I remembered that they had been responsible for all the recent Marvel movies. They also made Tron: Legacy which wasn’t very good (and I have forgotten everything that happens in it already) but it looked and sounded great. The first Pirates of the Caribbean was fun and – I don’t care what you say – I even enjoyed John Carter of Mars (the books were pretty daft but enjoyable too, in case you are bored).
So why not let them do Star Wars? It’s not like Lucas was going to steer the series to a dark and brooding universe. I have more faith in someone involved with The Avengers than I do with someone involved with Ewoks or Jarjar or Darth crying ‘Noooooooooo!’ I know they are kids films but if you are old enough to have watched the original trilogy (not including bastard Ewoks) you will understand how disappointing the new trilogy was. Not to mention the constant tinkering / ruining of the originals. Han shot first! If you saw the newer films first then you are approaching the series from a different mindset and are probably wrong about everything relating to Star Wars.
This mild, heavily edited rant brings me nicely to Star Wars: Rebels. It is animated, you know, for kids. Or Young Adults – whatever they are. It teeters dangerously close to being a bit too childlike and cutesy but it could be fun and might help fill in the time until Star Wars VII comes out. On the other hand it might make you feel sick and anxious about the direction it is all taking. A feeling I got the first time I watched an Ewok defeat a helmeted soldier of a galaxy-conquering army by dropping some rocks on his/her head.
Alright, I’ll lighten up. This is for the kids out there. Here is the trailer:
This will be the final Godzilla trailer I will post, I promise. Mostly because the film comes out soon and there aren’t likely to be any more. I am trying not to get my hopes up but frankly that is proving difficult. Enjoy.
The nominees for the Hugo Award 2014 have been announced. If you read a lot of science fiction then this should be fairly exciting news. If nothing else, it should give you some ideas for your next bit of reading (some of which is free – see below).
There is a lot of good stuff here and I am pleased to say, what with my finger being on scifi’s throbbing pulse, I have quite a lot of this stuff on my kindle waiting to be read. With the exception of Vox Day as I don’t like him as a person and will never bother with anything he does (google him.)
Like the Oscars there are a lot of categories which can all be found on the official Hugo Award website. Listed below are the main Hugo Award nominees in the main categories I care most about. Excitingly all the stuff that was published by Tor.com is available for free download or can be read on their awesome website. Read the Tor.com stuff here.
Here are the four Hugo Award categories I am most interested in and the nominees:
Best Novel (1595 nominating ballots)
- Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
- Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
- Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
- Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
- The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books)
Best Novella (847 nominating ballots)
- The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
- “The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
- “Equoid”, Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
- Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
- “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013)
Best Novelette (728 nominating ballots)
- “Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
- “The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
- “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com/Tor.com, 09-2013)
- “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
- “The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)
Best Short Story (865 nominating ballots)
- “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
- “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)
- “Selkie Stories Are for Losers”, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
- “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)
The winners are to be announced at Loncon3 in London on Sunday 17 August 2014. Read on!