Game of Thrones Seasons 1 to 6 recap

Game of Thrones season 7 is back on air tomorrow night on HBO and will be downloaded by most of the planet an hour later. (Not me, I hasten to add.) I was toying with rewatching seasons 1 to 6 but I am currently in the middle of rewatching all of Twin Peaks so just don’t have the time. Thankfully there are a lot of people on the internet who do have the time and have compiled a handy recap.

So without further ado, here is everything that happened:

Into the Unknown – Exhibition at the Barbican

I saw ‘Into the Unknown – A Journey through science fiction’ a couple of weeks ago. If you like science fiction and are in London, I highly recommend it. It consists of quite an eclectic group of science fiction artefacts, pictures, installations, models and videos. Here is the blurb:

“The genre-defining exhibition of art, design, film and literature.

From the 19th century cabinet of curiosities, to the vastness of space. Through future cities, into the inner landscapes of human perception.

Uncover the mysterious lands of Jules Verne and Ray Harryhausen where Science Fiction narratives first took root. Venture on an odyssey into our solar system, with vintage artwork promoting Soviet visions of space alongside immersive work by Soda_Jerk. Visit a gallery of aliens, and stand alongside iconic spacesuits from a galaxy of blockbusters including Star Trek and Interstellar.

Imagine dystopian worlds with Margaret Atwood and 28 Days Later. Then, with nowhere left to explore but human consciousness, delve deep and experience the transformation and mutation of the body through the eyes of Jack Kirby and Ex Machina.

Curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition consists of more than 800 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. Continuing across the Centre, it includes artwork from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour and Conrad Shawcross, and an installation from the creators of Black Mirror.”

I struggled a bit to find a common theme at ‘Into the Unknown’ but maybe there wasn’t one. Just lots of science fiction goodness.

The main room has a huge smorgasbord of stuff – old magazines, video clips, models, props, outfits, books, comics and more. I really enjoyed it and even spotted a couple of books I hadn’t read. There is an interactive bit from the Martian, which was quite fun and some superb models from Harryhausen and designs based on the awesome HR Giger. Near the end are the spacesuits used in films like Star Trek and Sunshine.

The exhibition continues elsewhere but they were a bit hit and miss for me. In the Pit, there is a kind of robotic arm that moves around shining a light. It was kind of cool – more like an art installation that looked scifi-ish than anything else. There was a short film in another room that was ok. In the entrance/exit there is an installation by Black Mirror which is intriguing if you haven’t seen the show – if you have, then it just makes you want to rewatch them all again.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Into the Unknown’ and would recommend it. The main room is the best bit and although it feels a bit random, the stuff on display is great.

Here are some more pics. Enjoy.

 

Rakka – Neill Blomkamp’s short starring Sigourney Weaver

Director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) has started something called Oat Studios, which is a creative venture focusing on monsters, aliens, and general weirdness. Which sounds bloody great to me. His idea is to create short experimental films and be funded by people online rather than go through the studio system or crowdfunding. The first such offering is called Rakka and it stars the always superb Sigourney Weaver. I won’t give too much away as you can watch the 20-minute film below. Basically, aliens invade and they are really, really mean. Sigourney is trying to kick their alien asses and let’s face it, she has a history of success in this kind of endeavour. Blomkamp’s Alien 5 is officially not going to happen, so this is a great way to fill that Sigourney/Alien shaped hole.

I am a big fan of Blomkamp, especially District 9, and Rakka has a similar feel to that film. I also think it is an interesting experiment that he is trying with his Oats studio creation and want to support in my own minor way. Rather than simply do a Kickstarter or go to a Hollywood studio, he is hoping people will be interested enough to fund further work. Have a look at what is happening and a way to contribute yourself on Steam by clicking on this link.

Without further ado, here is Rakka. (Warning: it is a tad violent and not for kids.)

Cooperworld

I am thinking of developing the story of Cooperworld into a novel. It can go places. If I do, it will probably be quite different in tone but the essential idea will be the same. I won’t give too much away but thought I would use this ideal opportunity to plug it. If you like sci-fi and stuff like the Matrix, you might find it fun. The most important thing is that you buy a copy to find out and find out for yourself. It is currently going for a pittance – which is cheap in anyone’s reality.

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 a simulated universe, he doesn’t at first realise the implications of what he has done. Implications not just for him, but for everyone.

For US customers:

For UK customers:

Game of Thrones new trailer

Game of Thrones season 7 is coming! There is a new trailer to prove it and it looks fucking incredible. I have utterly given up on the books now and it is pretty liberating to have no idea what is going to happen. I am pretty sure Cersei is doomed, however (I reckon eventually killed by her very loving bro Jaime). Plus. and this is a hopeful guess, there will be boobs and violence and dragons.

The new series of Game of Thrones is back on 16th July. Here is the trailer:

 

 

Star Trek Discovery trailer proves divisive

A couple of days ago I wrote about The Orville – a Star Trek parody that I hope will be good but I can’t help feeling on the fence about. In that case it was because it might not be funny. Now the Star Trek Discovery trailer has landed and I feel myself on a similar fence, except this time because is just doesn’t feel like should.

The trailer for Star Trek Discovery has divided the world into three camps – those who are Trek fans and think this looks great, those who are Trek fans and don’t like the JJ Abrams prequel-ness of it all, and non-Trek fans who are just getting on with their lives.

Now I will grudgingly admit that the trailer looks quite fun and seems well made with a decent budget, great cast and so on. If it had been a different series entirely, or even set after Voyager, I might even be massively excited. This is shiny new prequel Trek however, and while the films are fun and exciting, it isn’t exactly what I was hoping for when it comes to a Star Trek TV series. If asked, which I shockingly wasn’t, I would have requested something that continues the original timeline and looks like Star Trek before the Kelvin/Abrams reimagining. Something more character and story based, with less lens flare, action and see-through computer screens.

I know a lot of Star Trek fans are now sounding like whining little sad sacks but I understand where they are coming from. I guess it feels like the makers were unaware that there were a load of TV shows before the Abrams films. So they decided to make a prequel show that mirrors his ‘reimagining’ whereas most actual Trekkies want more stuff that feels like all the TV shows – and I am including Enterprise in that. I think I have just hit ‘peak prequel’. If something is going to look more technologically advanced, set it after the original.

I will stop bitching. Star Trek Discovery looks like it might be a good show with a great cast and the best effects yet. I just remain to be convinced that it is good Trek. Fingers crossed.

 

Seth McFarlane’s sci-fi parody ‘The Orville’ might be fun

THE ORVILLE: L-R: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Halston Sage, Penny Johnson Jerald, guest star Brian George and guest star Christine Corpuz in THE ORVILLE premiering this fall on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Seth McFarlane is the guy behind Family Guy, American Dad! and Ted. So if you like his humour you will probably like this. If you hate his stuff, then your course of action is pretty clear. Good for you. Personally, there are moments of his work that I find funny but on the whole, I can take it or leave it. But this is in space, so all bets are off.

I am hoping his live action science fiction comedy “The Orville” will be his best work yet because it looks like it has a lot of potential and appeals to my inner nerd. It is clearly a parody of Star Trek and if it is even half as good as Galaxy Quest, I will be very happy indeed. The difference between this and something like Family Guy is that the whole thing is set in a space with aliens and robots and so on, so it hopefully won’t be so reference-laden and desperate to shock. The effects look pretty decent too, although maybe that is just for the trailer. Oh, and it is also directed by Jon Favreau, who is generally pretty reliable.

We shall see. I like comedies set in space. I hope I will like The Orville. It is already pretty polarising on the internet but then everything is these days because people are opinionated idiots. (Fact, not opinion.) There is no official word on when it will be out, but it will be this year and on a Thursday. Here is the trailer:

 

Blade Runner 2049

I wasn’t going to post the Blade Runner 2049 official trailer as it has been out for almost a day and is all over the internet. But then I thought that someone may have missed it and that would be a shame because it looks incredible.

It is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has proved he can do thoughtful and evocative sci-fi with the superb Arrival (go and watch that if you haven’t seen it yet). Plus Gosling and Ford are generally pretty reliable and I am a sucker for cyberpunk.

Check it out the official trailer. Ideally on a big screen:

The Dark Tower official trailer

I wrote relatively recently about the Dark Tower book and how good it was. As I said in my review, the Gunslinger was damned enjoyable and I wanted to read it before the film came out. I’ll be honest though, I thought it was going to be a series of films but now it just looks like a one-off movie. Which is a shame but what are you going to do? The casting is great though –  I am a big fan of both Elba and McConaughey and can easily imagine them in the roles. I seriously doubt that I will read the next six books in the Dark Tower series before this comes out in August, so the film had better be good.

I think the Dark Tower official trailer looks great but then trailers nearly always do these days. See what you think…

Babylon’s Ashes: Book 6 of the Expanse

This review of Babylon’s Ashes: book 6 of the Expanse will only be of interest if you have read the first five Expanse novels. Which is an obvious thing to say but you may have stumbled here by accident.

I love the Expanse, the books as well as the TV show. Again, this should be apparent given that I am now eagerly awaiting book 7. Babylon’s Ashes continues telling the story of the crew of the Rocinante and increasingly, the story of a shitload of other people. The cast is seriously ballooning, which is generally a good thing although it can be hard to follow if, like me, you have time away from the series.

I read somewhere that the series is supposed to be 9 books – 3 duologies and a final trilogy. Babylon’s Ashes was a great read but it did read a little like a “book 6” (if you know what I mean) while at the same time wrapping up the events of book 5. I do find the Free Navy, (and to a lesser extent the OPA,) a bit like an angry teenager banging on about stuff not being fair. This book deals with the Free Navy a lot. In the last book they trashed the Earth, in this one, they mostly act petulant and try to fight a lot.  There are some great set pieces though and a load of awesome space battles. There are also some other more mysterious alien elements developing in the background, in case you forgot.

So while Babylon’s Ashes is a great story, it deals more with the OPA/Free Navy and less with stuff I want to read about – aliens, the rings, the new planets, Miller, etc. There is a feeling that it is finishing off some storylines and setting the scene for the epic final trilogy. As such, it wasn’t one of my favourite entries in the Expanse series but I still enjoyed it and I am totally on board for what will hopefully follow. Go Expanse!