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’:
This 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.
Well, finally we have a decent length trailer for Game of Thrones season 6 and it looks tremendously exciting. I think I am more excited about this season than previous ones because I don’t know what will happen. Except – and this is just a guess – there will be tons of nudity and violence.
I apologise for the lengthy and confusing title. I just saw this gif and thought it was funny. I loved Battle of the Planets when I was a kid. I also spent way too long playing Pokemon on the Gameboy back in the day. Anyway, thank you Simpsons, good memories…
‘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.
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.
This 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.
Happy new year to all my Scifiward readers! Welcome to 2016!
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.
Merry Christmas Scifi fans! I think, by and large, it has been a pretty damn good year for the genre. I hope your stocking was filled with science fiction goodness. I know mine was.
I have written a new short story called Cooperworld, which I am pretty excited about. I will shamelessly promote it when I have the energy and am less full of Christmas meat, but if you need something for a new tablet, check it out.
I will keep this short as I am going to binge some more. Be happy scifi fans, and merry christmas! Cheers.
From 10 years old and throughout the most of my teens I played Dungeons and Dragons. Because it was awesome. You get a load of friends round and you go on adventures. The fact that it was spoken, and that the story existed in the collective imagination of those present, made it special. Plus there are really cool dice and little action figures.
As an individual who has a pathetic psychologic need to have his views and stories heard by others, I was frequently a dungeon master (DMs rule). You are in control of the story. You can buy pre-scripted modules, but cool kid as I was, I used like writing my own dungeons and adventures from scratch. You create stories and plots and incidences. You get to draw intricate maps on graph paper. And finally you have people play through your story live. It was great and possibly influenced my developing brain to the point where I now write and just make shit up for a career.
1d20 where have you been for the last 20 years?
People still play Dungeons and Dragons but it has largely fallen out of favour as you can interactively fight orcs and role-play on the interweb these days. Games like World of Warcraft kind of recreate the ‘get together with your coolest friends and smite some goblins’ vibe but it isn’t quite the same. Your imagination is peaked by computer games as you explore, but the story isn’t in the mind of the group of friends chatting round a table. You are walking through someone else’s imagination. (Not that I don’t love computer games as well.)
Unless you have actually played D&D you are unlikely to understand. Sorry if that sounds patronising but it is true.
Sit around a virtual table and have adventures!
As there are less people playing Dungeons and Dragons, it can be hard to find a game. Well, now there is a passable solution. You can play D&D using virtual reality! I’m not talking a Skyrim-type experience. I’m talking the sitting around a virtual table and talking experience. I guess you could Skype these days, but then only one person gets to play with the dice and you don’t get character sheets littering the table and the little figures moving through a dungeon and… ah whatever.
Basically a company called AltspaceVR designed a VR Skype kind of idea. Behind intelligent engineer types, quite a few grew up playing D&D and tried to recreate it. It worked brilliantly and they have the full backing of the Wizards of the Coast. That is the company that owns Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering by the way, not a Cornish cult or anything.
For this post I just meant to just write – hey cool! You can play D&D in VR – look at this video. But I went on a bit. Sorry. Happy memories. Here is the video…
With Star Wars The Force Awakens on the near horizon, the web is abuzz with Star Wars theories and rumours. But there is a recent one that has been surprisingly popular and is absolutely brilliant – Jar Jar Binks, the most hated Star Wars character of all time, may actually have been a Sith Lord and was behind everything.
The rumour started when a poster on Reddit called Lumpawarroo put forward a theory that Jar Jar Binks was actually a trained Force user and his whole bumbling, annoying idiot persona was just a front. A bit like when we were first introduced to Yoda.
He then goes on to provide a lot of evidence that is actually pretty damn convincing and if true, makes Jar Jar one of the best characters ever. The theory addresses things like the annoying battle scene where Jar Jar seemingly stumbles around but coincidentally only takes out droids – a lot of droids. People got annoyed (myself included) because that level of luck made the whole thing stupid and detracted from the film. But as Lumpawarroo pointed out – Obi Wan said in ‘A New Hope’ that in his experience there is no such thing as luck. Obi Wan wouldn’t lie.