Category Archives: Blog

New Hitchhiker’s Radio Show for BBC

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer

Froody news!The BBC has just given the go ahead for a new Hitchhiker’s radio show. Which is just superb news as the radio shows were just brilliant. If you haven’t heard them you are hugely, colossally missing out and my life has, by dint of this one fact, been better than yours. Obviously you can rectify that. They are different from the book after a certain bit, but then the BBC also did radio versions of all the books with the original cast. If this is confusing, google it.

The new series will be based on And another thing… by Eion Colfer. Which will worry some people. I quite liked the book as an episode of Hitchhiker’s although I didn’t feel that it lived up to the original. As you can see by clicking on this. It was fun though.

The great news is that it is being directed by Dirk Maggs who was in charge of the original, and consequent, series. Also, the original cast are going to be back. I’m excited. Here is more information from the British Comedy Guide.

From British Comedy Guide: (click here)

The new series is being organised by Dirk Maggs, the director who has overseen previous series of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, alongside David Morley from Perfectly Normal Productions.

Plans are currently at a very early stage of development, with a six episode run provisionally ordered. Speaking to BCG, Maggs confirmed: “A series has been commissioned but plans are still being put together – what precise form it will all take and who exactly will be involved is all yet to be confirmed.”

Contrary to other press reports, no actors have been signed up to the project yet, however the show is likely to star many of the original cast. Maggs confirmed to British Comedy Guide: “I wouldn’t dream of doing it without approaching the original cast, but it’s way too early to do that yet.”

Simon Jones who plays Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox), and Stephen Moore (Marvin) last reunited with Maggs in 2014 to record a special one-off live transmission for Radio 4, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Live. The episode also saw Susan Sheridan reprise her role as Trillian. It would prove to be her last time playing the character, as she died in August 2015.

Series 6 of the show is expected to air in 2017. Maggs says: “I am very happy to be returning, it will be great to get ‘the band back together’ – for what will probably be the last time.”

 

New Star Trek in 2017

NewTrekThere has been no new Star Trek on TV for over a decade and frankly, look at the state of humanity right now. So there was great excitement when CBS announced that it has decided to make a Star Trek new series. Unfortunately, it will be an exclusive on the CBS All Access, so unless you have that service then I guess you are doomed and can’t watch it ever. (Although I’m sure humanity will find a way.)

In even better news, it isn’t related to the new Star Trek movies, which were fun but now have no planet Vulcan and if a character dies they can presumably now get some super blood and be ok. Also, TV Star Trek should be more cerebral – great scifi ideas and the odd bit of action. Not all action.

Bryan Fuller will be the showrunner – he used to write for DS9 and Voyager. In the writing chair, amongst others, will be Nicholas Meyer, who wrote Star Trek movies Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country, which were films 2 and 6 respectively. So single digit even numbers, which as all Trekkies know, equals good.

More info can be found here: www.startrek.com/news_articles

I can’t wait to find a way to watch this new series. Here is the teaser trailer. It shows bugger all but still got me excited. Trek!

Matrix fan theory: Agent Smith was the One

Matrix fan theory

Matrix fan theory

Do you remember the Matrix? You should, it was superb. I remember seeing it in New York because Star Wars: the Phantom Menace was sold out. I went in with no idea what it was about and was blown away. Which is more than I can say for Phantom Menace.

The Matrix was always ripe for a decent fan theory, with its themes of messiahs and reality and so on. The films sadly didn’t improve as the trilogy progressed but the chance of fans coming up with  crazy/decent theories certainly did with Architects, Oracles and the ‘One’. By the end of the third Matrix the internet was abuzz with commentary and theory. And it still is. I don’t know if this is an old theory but a couple of months ago a fan posted an intriguing possibility that Neo wasn’t the one (even though his name is an anagram of ‘one’!) and that the real ‘one’ was Agent Smith. In the comments, others theorise that they were both half of the one and they absorb each other at various points. Except that would make them the ‘two’. Or Neo is the ‘half’. Or whatever.

Anyway, here is the Matrix theory courtesy of ‘The Film Theorists’:

Captain America: Civil War Trailer

caThis is apparently the last trailer for Captain America: Civil War and it looks tremendously exciting. I read the comics but it was ages ago and I can’t really remember what happened except the Captain America was on one side and Iron Man was on the other. Also Spiderman and the Punisher appeared along with a ton of others. It looks a bit like Avengers 3 as opposed to a straight Captain America flick.

In the trailer there are a lot of returning characters and some new ones that set my senses a-tingling. You will see what I mean. I think this looks great although I always wonder why Hawkeye doesn’t just stand back and shoot from afar. Maybe he gets bored.

 

Twilight Zone to return as BBC radio drama

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

‘You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!’

There are numerous versions of the above opening but they are all pretty similar and are all pretty damned awesome. I love the original black and white Rod Serling-helmed Twilight Zone. Maybe the newer ones were good – I never saw them – but the fact that channels like Syfy and streaming services like Netflix always play the original shows, makes me wonder if the newer ones might not be the best. I saw the 80s film and it was ok, as far as I remember, but certainly no better than watching several original episodes in a row.

Maybe I am just a fan of Rod Serling or maybe it was that the stories were written by some superb talents. Writers included Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Serling (obviously) and many more. There were also stories adapted from the brilliant tales of writers like John Collier, who wrote the superb short story collection ‘Fancies and Goodnights’, and Ambrose Bierce who is probably most famous for his ‘Devil’s Dictionary’ and also for a great story called ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’.

Which is my rather long winded way of introducing the first Twilight Zone radio play in a new series on the BBC. ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ was first published in 1890 and is a non linear tale set during the American civil war. It was then a short silent film, and was then adapted to an ‘Alfred Hitchcock presents…’ episode, then a Cannes film festival and Academy award winning short film. It was this latter version that was then adapted for the Twilight Zone. It is a cracking tale and will be the first of a series of 10 adaptations that will air on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I highly recommend Radio 4 Extra and I highly recommend the Twilight Zone. According to the Independent the new radio series will feature actors like Jane Seymour, Jim Caviezel, Michael York, Malcolm McDowell and Don Johnson. As you can tell, I am pretty damned excited about all this. I love “Golden Era” scifi stories with a twist in the tale and Rod Serling’s Carl Sagan-like voice is a superb start to any show and I am sure Stacey Keach, his replacement, will put in a pretty good effort.

The radio series starts in March and will will air on Saturday nights. Check BBC Radio 4 Extra for details.

 

Cooperworld by Jason R Ward

I recently wrote a long short story called Cooperworld. Or a short novella. Whatever. It is 17,000 words. If you have a shiny new kindle or tablet, here is something to put on it. My gift to you. Except you have to pay a few pennies, so it is also a gift to me. It is science fiction, but it is more philosophical than a lot of my stuff.

Cooperworld

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 3.25.49 PMThis is a 17,000 word short story. Which is quite a long short story, I’ll grant you.

Here is the blurb:

In the near future, AI research is strictly controlled by paranoid governments. When a renowned Artificial Intelligence expert illegally decides to create digital life in an simulated universe, he doesn’t at first realise the implications of what he has done. Implications not just for him, but for everyone.
In this short story, journalist and writer Jason R. Ward has a light-hearted but fairly philosophical look at what constitutes consciousness and has a good hard look at how we perceive reality.

For US customers:

For UK customers:

Welcome to the year 2016!

Happy new year to all my Scifiward readers! Welcome to 2016!

A sad loss in 2015 but always a nice message.

A sad loss in 2015 but always a nice message.

As I get older each annual digit change seems to come more quickly and feels more like something from science fiction. I guess I grew up watching things like Space 1999, Escape from New York (set in 1997), 2001, 2010, Blade Runner (2019), Back to the Future 2 (a couple of months ago). Even in the Buck Rogers (TV show) he set out in 1987. So quite a lot of things that seemed futuristic and painfully distant in my young brain should have now happened. Some have, most haven’t. I am writing this on a ridiculously thin laptop and beaming my pointless observations to the world, which is pretty damned impressive. I am doing this from the planet Earth however, so that sucks.

I am not one for resolutions as I have grown bored of disappointing myself, but regular readers should notice some changes this year. I write non-fiction as my profession and the dream is to slowly get rid of the ‘non’ and write more of what I enjoy. One thing I also enjoy is writing shallow sarcastic comments on my websites, so expect to see more of that too.

Whatever your dreams are for this futuristic age we live in, I hope they come true. As the late and lamented Leonard Nimoy said in some show or other – Live long and prosper – and try to have a little fun. (This latter sentiment was edited out for characterisation reasons.) Happy 2016.