I saw this chart about superheroes while wondering vaguely around the internet and found it pretty interesting. So I thought I would share. There are quite a few films I seem to have missed.
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.
Here you go:
‘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 wouldn’t hold your breath for the next Game of Thrones book but the TV show seems pretty damned reliable. GOT season 6 will be here in April forcing me to make the horrible decision of whether to watch it episode by episode, or hide from the internet and spoilers for 10 weeks and binge it. I suspect the former as I am weak.
Frankly the teaser it reveals next to nothing except that Games of Thrones is going to be bleak and full of death. Which isn’t much of a reveal. Still, it got me excited. Enjoy.
Best Served Cold is the 4th book set in the world of the First Law. Books 1 to 3 were a trilogy and were brilliant. Best Served Cold is a standalone novel set in a part of the world called Styria and is also brilliant.
Here is the synopsis:
Monza Murcatto is mercenary who leads an army of mercenaries called the 1000 swords. There have been 19 years of warfare on the continent and Monza and her brother Benna are great at what they do. A little too great in fact, and their employer, Duke Orso, grows concerned that they might try and take over. So he has them both stabbed a lot and thrown off a balcony and down a cliff. Unfortunately for the seven people involved in this literal backstabbing party, Benna dies but Monza lives. So she sets out to get revenge. It is basically a fantasy version of Kill Bill.
Everything I like and slightly dislike about Abercrombie is present in Best Served Cold. What I like far outweighs what I don’t.
What I like: It is exciting, well written and violent, with superb characters. Some of these characters are from (or at least mentioned) in the First Law trilogy, some are new. It doesn’t really matter though. They all have pretty satisfying story arcs and are believable. The story is told in shifting third person POV and not one of them are dull. To alleviate the often brutal happenings in the book, there is quite a lot of Abercrombie’s dark humour. While each revenge is a bit episodic, there is a satisfying arc to the whole tale. Also each episode is great – like a series of incredibly violent capers.
What I didn’t like: It is all pretty bleak, which isn’t a bad thing I guess, but don’t read Game of Thrones then this or you might get a bit down. There is a lot humour though, so it is lifted somewhat. Most of the characters have a pretty shit time of it, which I suppose is to be expected, but I hoped for a slightly happier arc for some of them.
On the whole though, I bloody loved Best Served Cold. It is probably not quite as good as the First Law trilogy, but if you enjoyed that, you will like this.
In summary then – GREAT BOOK. I LOVED IT. BUY!
I quite enjoyed the first Suicide Squad teaser but wasn’t massively impressed. It looked ok. So when the new trailer came out I didn’t bother with it for a couple of days and when I finally got round to viewing it I loved it. Possibly because of Queen in the background but only possibly. It looks pretty goddamn fun, which will make a nice change in the DC cinematic universe. This has been all over the internet in the last couple of days but I was tardy to the party. Enjoy.
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.
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.
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