Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming! It’s official. I just saw a trailer for it before the Simpsons about 20 minutes ago. Our American chums will get it on the 24th of September and we will get in on the 27th on Channel 4. Which means I can watch it in HD and definitely won’t be downloading it on the 24th the moment it appears. Definitely won’t.

In case you didn’t know, Agents of SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) are elite lads and lasses who work for a top secret agency that investigates slightly weird shit. They also exist in the same world as the Avengers so there will be some cool things to investigate. Curiously, the series starts after the events of the Avenger’s film yet features Agent Coulson who died. But as I mentioned, this is a world with the Incredible Hulk in it, so I’m sure there’s a way round that problem.

I can’t wait for Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. It’s made by Joss Whedon who made Buffy, Firefly, and the Avengers movie. All of which were superb. Even Dollhouse was pretty watchable. So bring on the 27th (or the 24th)!

Here’s a trailer:

Star Trek Continues

Star Trek Continues

Star Trek Continues

You know when you hear the words ‘fan made’ and you think, ‘It’s great that people care and put lots of effort into this, but it’s probably going to be pretty crap.’ Well think that no more you miserable cynic. Just for this particular instance anyway. Because here is a fan made episode of Star Trek continuing on from the original series and it’s pretty damn good. I want to see more! As the original Star Trek series was a five year mission and we only saw three of that, I expect at least two years’ worth of stuff.

It even has Grant Imahara from Mythbusters and Christopher Doohan (son of James Doohan – the original Scotty.) This is actually a follow on episode from one of the original Star Trek episodes – ‘Who Mourns for Adonais’. The guy who plays Apollo is the same actor from the original episode. I’m not sure if the series will continue like this, or even continue at all but I’m a fan of this fan made fiction.

Here is their website: http://www.startrekcontinues.com/

Please do Firefly next.

Here is the episode. Enjoy.

Google Street View discovers TARDIS

I live in modern day London. Which, as any fan of Doctor Who will know (based on how often he visits), is the Doctor’s favourite time and place in the whole universe. It’s that great here.

As the TARDIS is broken, it no longer camoflages itself properly and consequently sticks out a bit when parked. So when a passing Google van went down a London road near Earl’s Court tube and spotted the TARDIS, the eagle eyed google nerds jumped out of the Google car and took their machine inside. (This sequence of events is a guess.)

The results can be seen if you click here: http://goo.gl/maps/7av8q. Click on the double arrows at the bottom of the screen pointing at the TARDIS. Enjoy.

Ender’s Game – boycott or not?

Ender’s Game

The new trailer for Ender’s Game is here and it looks bloody epic and brilliant (see bottom of page if you can’t be bothered to read all that follows). Literally three people have asked me about whether I am going to boycott the film because the author of the original books is anti-gay. The answer is no, because that’s dumb. Neither the book nor the film (apparently) have any homophobic messages. The argument is that you will be putting money into Card’s pocket also holds true for all the other poor bastards who worked on the film who aren’t anti-anything. Statistically quite a lot of the people involved in Ender’s Game movie (and the publishing house) will be gay too. Generally, we media types are a liberal mixed bunch who are tolerant and thoroughly nice people. Except for Fox News obviously. Who cares about sexuality when looking at a film that doesn’t even raise the issue?

Also, do people vet everyone involved in every film? Do they boycott films based on books where the author turned out to be a bit racist decades ago? What if they were alive 100 years ago, were anti-semitic, wrote a book that had nothing to do with anti-semitism, then had a change of heart and were no longer anti-semitic. Do you boycott that? Huh? Did you ever read Tintin in the Congo and then boycott the new Tintin films for being a bit stereotypical and racist? Ian Fleming  was quite sexist. Heinlein could be a bit fascist. Arthur C. Clarke could (allegedly) be a bit pedo. Have you thrown out your copy of 2001? I think you would be hard pressed to find a movie that didn’t have a crew member with a slightly or even highly questionable opinions. But you would also be hard pressed to find a film crew that didn’t contain several members of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community who were simply trying to make a living in the movie business.

As long as the film/book doesn’t contain hateful messages then it’s ok. As long as a book/film isn’t funding a neo-nazi group or the KKK or the Catholic Church or something then I’m alright with it. A ridiculous amount of people are involved in making any film and they will be a mix of all sorts. I will still watch Mad Max 2 with glee even though Mad Mel will be getting some of the cash.

Quite a few high profile members of the gay community agree and are against the boycott of Ender’s Game. This is from the Independent:

‘Although the online campaign has gathered thousands of signatures, some high-profile LGBT figures have called the boycott “misguided”. Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for writing the biopic Milk based on gay rights activist Harvey Milk, said: “Boycotting a movie made by 99 per cent LGBT equality folks in an LGBT equality industry is a waste of our collective energy.”’ (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/enders-game-faces-backlash-over-author-orson-scott-cardsantigay-views-8708373.html)

That’s my view anyway and I’m as tolerant as they come. This is about Science Fiction and storytelling and spaceships exploding. Plus, the trailer for Ender’s Game looks fucking awesome.

Australia, Morocco, and Thailand. Three True Travel Stories

Travel book cover finalI have an exciting new book! It is called ‘Australia, Morocco, and Thailand. Three True Travel Stories’. While it is technically nothing to do with Science Fiction, I was reading scifi while the events happened. Also, if you by a copy I’ll be able to write more about scifi as I won’t have to work as much. You might enjoy them. These are three true travel stories where yours truly was in peril. In three different places. Here’s the blurb:

Jason Ward tells three true stories of fairly perilous travel.

While backpacking in his early twenties, he decides to give fruit picking a go. Even without the spiders, snakes, and a plague of locusts, things turn out pretty badly.
A trip into the Atlas Mountains with his girlfriend turns out less than romantic when flash floods threaten to wipe out the town. The only escape option is a van full of Berber tribesmen and a waterlogged road on the edge of a cliff.
After moving to the peaceful paradise of Thailand, Ward goes to a local pub near his Bangkok flat. That evening there is a military coup. In Bangkok. So why can’t he see anything?

These stories are filled with humour and dollops of fear. Recommended for those who enjoy travel stories or just like reading about someone being mildly terrified in foreign countries.

If you like travel stories please give them a go. Also, if you like them, please leave a review, they really help and I need to eat. If you don’t like them, then move along, nothing to see here.

For UK customers:

For our American cousins:

The book costs a pittance. Which is a bargain!

Dredd sequel

There isn’t really much to say about this except SIGN THE PETITION! Dredd was a great violent helmet-wearing genius of a movie and one that finally caught the mood of the comics. Although I saw Megacity 1 as being a bit more dense than in the film, everything else was brilliant. Now there may be a sequel. All you have to do is sign. Not quite sure how that all works exactly but I AM THE LAW! NOW SIGN! Also – SHARE!!

Click here to sign: http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc

Look here to see a picture:

Dredd sequel

The Uneven Passage of Time

Most people don’t read both of my sites. They seem to pick one and stick with it, which is fine with me and don’t feel ashamed. But when, every six months or a year, I realise I don’t do enough shameless self-publicity I have to post things twice. Like now. I apologise for this a little but everyone has to make a living and I massively appreciate your wonderful support, dear magnificent reader, fawn, grovel…

I’m not just plugging my awesome eBook because I haven’t done so for 6 months, (although that would be reason enough,) I’m plugging it because I am going to release a new one! Soon! The last trilogy of tales was a thoughtful blast of entertaining Scifi short story excitement. The next are a trio of true travel tales. Which are dramatised and are going to be pretty damn exciting too.

They are from three different periods of my life – when I was 21 and picking fruit in Australia and there were snakes, spiders and a plague of locusts; another was when I was in my late 20s in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco in prime flash flood season and the only escape was a trip in a van full of Berber tribesmen driven down the edge of a cliff; and the final one is set in Bangkok in my mid-30s when the Thai military thoughtlessly staged a military coup during happy hour. All three are moments where I really thought there was a chance I might die. And not my usual concern of alcohol poisoning either – these were genuine threats.

I just need to finalise the cover and sort out the bastard formatting. So bear with me.

In the meantime, I give you The Uneven Passage of Time!

Here’s 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. 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.

For the US:
http://www.amazon.com/Uneven-Passage-Time-ebook/dp/B006MHSWI2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324264158&sr=8-1
For the UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Uneven-Passage-Time-ebook/dp/B006MHSWI2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324258518&sr=8-1

Sharknado

Among the many random ways I make a living, one of the more fun things I do is work freelance for the Syfy channel. Which is much as you would expect – there is lots of Star Trek Next Gen in HD (which is good),  but there are also films like The Human Centipede (which are mind destroyingly, eye gougingly awful).

Titanic 2 – look out for the iceberg! And the tsunami!

There are also films by people like The Asylum. The Asylum are a low budget film production company that have apparently never lost money. They make a variety of films that are nearly all the kind of cheesy horror / schlock nonsense that I have always enjoyed. They have no artistic merit, are poorly acted and scripted, and are always fun. They have made films that mimic Hollywood blockbusters like: Titanic 2 (spoiler: an iceberg in a tidal wave!), Snakes on a Train (guess what happens), The Day The Earth Stopped, and the more recent Atlantic Rim (see what they did?).

Mega Piranha

They have also done some monster flicks, which just seem to be getting better and better. I thought they had peaked with Mega Piranha, or Mega Python vs Gatoroid – which has Tiffany ‘I think we’re alone now’ in it, wrestling with Debbie Gibson just before they’re all attacked by giant beasties! Genuis.

Recently, however, they have been excelling themselves with what I like to call their ‘Shark Period’. Mega Shark fought a few memorable battles: first against Crocosaurus, then against Giant Octopus. Then, some evil mastermind fused them together and gave us the epic Sharktopus.

Two Headed Shark Attack

A particular favourite of mine, until now, was the awesome Two Headed Shark Attack. Carmen Electra in a bikini takes a load of teenagers, also mostly in bikinis, to a remote island. Where they are picked off, two by two, by a mutant two headed shark. Sometimes while topless. Fuck it, here’s a trailer:

SHARKNADO

But now all things seem to have a spectacular shark-filled climax. Their films usually have people you have vaguely seen before and this time it’s thingy and whatsit from the original Beverly Hills 90210 facing massive peril. The premise is this: a massive tornado hits a town and IT’S FULL OF SHARKS!

I know, you are probably reeling from the sheer inventiveness of their ideas but take a deep breath and stay calm. Because there is a trailer and it’s fucking awesome. These Asylum films aren’t for everyone but if you liked old school B/cult movies you might find these fun. I do. Without further ado, I give you SHARKNADO!

Game of Thrones 3

Game of Thrones

Am I talking about the book or the series? Actually both. My life seems to have been pretty dominated by Game of Thrones at the moment. I had previously read books 1 and 2 a while back, so it was great to watch the series. Then I took a bit of a break and read a ton of Science Fiction. Returning to the fantasy genre, I read the Assassin’s (Farseer) trilogy by Robin Hobb, followed by Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. Both of which were awesome and also come highly recommended with the promise from my good self of a review any second now.

When Game of Thrones season 3 began, I was in something of a quandary. I found that I increasingly had to leave rooms and pub conversations as people kept talking about it. I wanted to read it before I saw the show but the books are bloody epic. Book 3, A Storm of Swords was split in two separate books as most people don’t posses the musculature of the characters in the show and were therefore unable to carry it around. The TV show was mostly the first book, Steel and Snow, and I thought I would read just that. I could read it at a leisurely pace and eventually watch the show at some point when it had finished. Perhaps wait till the Blu Ray.

Then an episode came out that almost meant I couldn’t even go on Facebook for fear of spoilers as all my annoying friends mentioned the trauma experienced after watching it. The episode is now known as ‘The Red Wedding’. If you have seen the show, you probably remember it. The series finished soon after and amidst all the raving reviews and tales of harrowing viewing experiences, I learned that there are scenes from the second part of book three, Blood and Gold, that also appear in the season. The pricks.

So I downloaded the whole of book 3, A Storm of Swords onto my kindle and have done little else but read for the last week.

It has been well worth it. This isn’t so much a review of Game of Thrones but more of an excuse as to why I haven’t done much else with my time, including writing. If you want a review and are into fantasy then here you go:

Game of Thrones books 1 to 3 = Bloody Great!

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have 10 hours of season 3 to watch.

Here is a trailer for season 3 because… well, why not? If you’ve seen the show already, just enjoy. If you’ve just read the books, watch the show! If neither, then I recommend quickly reading several thousand pages, followed by hours of your life watching seasons 1 and 2 and you’re good to go.