Category Archives: Blog

The Martian

The Martian

The Martian

The Martian is a new film starring Matt Damon. It’s based on the best-selling book The Martian by Andy Weir and the trailer looks pretty damn good. I have to admit, I haven’t read the book but the movie trailer has made me want to. Which reminds me – I need to read more. The Martian – add to basket.

TIE fighter wars short film

TiefighterThis has been all over the internet already but in case you missed it, here is the much discussed TIE fighter wars short film by Paul Johnson. Basically, the premise is to show a Star Wars space battle from the point of view of the Empire and TIE fighter pilots, done in the style of 80s anime. It is superbly animated.

To be honest I am not a 100% keen on the music but given it’s harking back to a Gundam-esque style of animation, I guess it fits.Anyway, who cares. This is great. Go TIE fighters! Go Empire!

 

Chrononauts optical illusion

First off, take a look at the cover of this new Mark Millar and Sean Murphy comic called Chrononauts. Look at the watch on the left. What do you see? 1 in 15 people will see something different. More on the Chrononauts optical illusion later…

What do you see in the watch face?

What do you see in the watch face?

As I am a bit of a nerd, I still get excited on ‘new comic day’. When I was younger, this meant a trip to the local comic book shop where you would meet all the other cool froods who were similarly into such exciting literature. Now, it just means an email from Comixology letting me know what’s new and then me going online to buy digital copies. But you can still chat to the cool froods in forums and on sites like twitter, which is also where you can find out cool things about the comics and related topics. What’s even better is that the comic artists and writers join in, raising the tone and generally being quite interesting. Which brings me, long-windedly, to the Chrononauts optical illusion.

In the watch face you will see one of the following:

1/ A broken watch face. (What I saw.)

2/ A green hourglass.

Apparently only one person in fifteen will see the hourglass. It’s the comic book fan version of the stupid ‘colour of the dress’ debate. The artist, Sean Gordon Murphy, chimed in on Twitter to explain:

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 7.27.20 pmI don’t know if this is a cunning bit of marketing and there is no optical illusion but I thought I would share just in case it true. If it is an evil marketing trick then kudos Mr Murphy, I like your style.

Tomorrowland trailer looks intriguing

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

I saw an earlier Tomorrowland trailer and thought it looked ok. George Clooney is nearly always good value and the science fiction element looked intriguing, but it didn’t seem all that special. Well the new Tomorrowland trailer looks even more interesting and my intrigued-o-meter has risen.

The premise of there being a world that runs parallel to our own has been done before – I was immediately reminded of Baxter/Pratchett’s (slightly disappointing) The Long Earth series or The Talisman by King/Straub. But Tomorrowland seems really cool, with an almost retro scifi feel to it. This feeling is enhanced by a couple of clips that were released separately – more on that in a second. The film also has Hugh Laurie, who is worth a watch. I don’t know his role in Tomorrowland but if he speaks with an American accent, he’s a good guy; with his natural English accent, he’s a baddie. Sorry if that turns out to be a spoiler, I’m just guessing. Anyway, here is the Tomorrowland trailer:

I think it looks pretty damn good.
The idea is that a secret society called Plus Ultra was founded by Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel, and H.G. Wells in 1889. They then went to live in a hidden city. On Youtube and Twitter there is a great conspiracy type account called Stop Plus Ultra that has already released a couple of videos. There’s also a website. The Youtube channel is here. The first video is great:

The second one is interesting but a bit long. For some reason, it reminds me of a recruitment drive for the underwater city of Rapture in the Bioshock games.

I’m a sucker for these kind of viral marketing techniques and have been ever seen the internet excitement that surrounded The Blair Witch Project. It remains to be seen whether the film is any good, but until then check out the STOP PLUS ULTRA website. Like most conspiracy theories it is untrue but I so want it to be real: STOP PLUS ULTRA blog.
Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.58.35 am

New Power Rangers short

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.24.45 AMDo you remember the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? If so, poor you. It sucked. I recently worked for a kids TV channel and had to watch a ton of the different Power Rangers on a daily basis and they were all dire. I grew up in Hong Kong and masked heroes from the 70s on kids’ TV were generally a lot cooler – Gatchaman, Masked Rider V3, and so on.

If you never saw the Power Rangers, the basic story is this: an evil alien witch, who had been imprisoned in a space container, escapes and decides to attack the nearest planet – Earth. Usually using robots or weird creatures. Another alien picks five teenagers and gives them the power to morph into a giant robot. They could also fight really well, which is what you want in a load of angsty teenagers.

Got that? Right. Well here is a short film starring Katie ‘Starbuck’ Sackoff, and James Van Der ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Beek in a gritty reimagining of how the whole story may have played out, if the annoying Power Rangers grew up to be attractive adults twisted by a life a violence. This new Power Rangers short movie is pretty well done, given the source material. Enjoy.

 

Cloud Rise short film

Cloud Rise

Cloud Rise is a superb animated short film by writer/director/producer/animator Denver Jackson. He spent 4 moths of his life putting this all together and crowdsourced the money needed to get the actors and sound recordist he wanted. I think it’s pretty amazing that a driven individual can do this sort of thing and am happy to provide support by showing the video.

There really isn’t any need to say any more. If you want more information about the Indiegogo campaign and the story behind it all, click here.

Watch the whole video as the story develops and the art is great. Hopefully Mr Jackson will be encouraged to do more. Here is Cloud Rise. Enjoy:

 

 

Robots on Film

Sexy Metropolis robot

This two and a half minute clip shows almost a hundred years’ worth of robots on film and is pretty damn cool. Everyone loves a robot and I’m gutted the nearest I am likely to get to owning one in the next five years is if I buy a robot vacuum cleaner. Personally I think the robots from Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet still hold up pretty well. But then I am a fan of all three films and may be a bit biased. Anyway, here are some robots on film. So many scifi classics… so little time… Enjoy!

Happy New Year 2558

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

Like a really, really old Buck Rogers, I am in the 26th century right now. I am currently working as a journalist/ content writer in Bangkok and the Buddhist year is 2558, which is way better than lame old 2015.

I haven’t wished all my dear ScifiWard readers a happy new year 2558 yet because of um… The AI wars of 2116 when the super intelligent computers that now rule us all deleted new year to teach us humility. Or was it the aliens that visit annually to suck on our essence like parasites and render mankind unconscious for a few days? Or maybe… I just realised I am confusing Buddhist 2558 with the actual future and the reason for that was because I had a lot to drink and I am permanently thinking about Science Fiction. Which also explains my lack of new year greetings. Sorry about that.

So without further ado – Happy New Year 2558. Or Happy 2015. Or whatever primitive year you- Oh hang on I am doing it again.  This year I will drink less and write more.

Be Merry! Make it so.

Be Merry! Make it so.

Every Horror Reference in The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the WoodsIf you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods then this short video will be utterly meaningless to you. Which is a shame because you are now missing out on two great bits of video.

In this clip from the good people at www.goodbadflicks.com, you can see every horror reference in The Cabin in the Woods – and there are a ridiculous amount of them. I guess the title made that pretty self explanatory but I thought I would stress what you are in for. I am now feeling a need to watch the movie again. Enjoy.

 

The Uneven Passage of Time

The-Uneven-Passage-of-Time-cover-finalI plugged my superb travel book over at The Word of Ward the other day, so I thought I might as well plug my Science Fiction short story collection here. The Uneven Passage of Time is a small, inexpensive collection of stories that revolve around the theme of time. And the passage through it.

I have a ton of reviews on the UK Amazon site but none on the US Amazon site.

So if any Americans happen to read this (and I know you do – thousands a day in fact) and you haven’t bought The Uneven Passage of Time then give it a go! It’s cheap! Then leave a review! It’s fun! And so on. Here is the blurb:

Time, famously, is relative. In this trio of short stories journalist and fiction writer Jason R. Ward looks at three individuals and their unorthodox journeys through time. Although they deal with travelling through time, they all take place in the present. These entertaining tales blend the themes of psychology and perception with classic science fiction.

Stephen Hawking once sent out dinner invitations to all future time travellers. No one turned up. But what if one had? In ‘A Date to Remember’ a young physicist is convinced he has worked out the secret to building a time travel device. Lacking the resources to construct the machine he sets a time and date for a meeting with his future self.

It is a truism that people remember the big events in life and forget the repetitive. For most people, their year skips by unnoticed, punctuated by birthdays, world events, big personal milestones or traumatic events. As you age life seems to speed up and you find that the years seem to fly past. ‘As Time Goes By’ is the story of Frank Gilbert who is experiencing this to the extreme. His time seems to be accelerating at an abnormal rate. Years of his repetitive life seem to go by in days. Can he break the cycle in time?

The final and longest short story is ‘The Man Who Loved Statues’. Captain Michael Pike is a man who has taken a bit of hammering in life. With nothing much to live for he volunteers for an experiment that is going to attempt to alter his passage through time and put him in stasis. Things don’t go quite according to plan.

#3 Science Fiction Short Stories
#7 Short Stories

So there you go. In case I haven’t linked to it enough, here are some more: