8.31.2014

I forgot to watch Saturday's episode of Doctor Who

And didn't realize until I woke up at like three in the morning and the realization instantly hit me. I am really, really, really bad at remembering not just remembering when new seasons premiere, but that the shows are back on the are until a few weeks in. I watch almost no TV during the summer, save for wrestling and Doctor Who. I missed the second season of Orphan Black because of it.

Eeesh.

8.27.2014

Last Saturday's episode of Doctor Who was okay, I guess (spoilers)

It didn't knock my socks off and felt a bit underwhelming until the end. I enjoyed Madame Vastra calling Clara out on her bullshit, as well as her relationship with her wife Jenny. Why isn't there a spinoff starring those two? Eleven calling Clara and asking her to stay with Twelve, along with Peter Capaldi's performance, and the aforementioned Vastra and Jenny saved this episode from sucking.

8.20.2014

Ever hear of a wargame called StarForce: Alpha Centuri?

This came across my dash on Tumblr this morning.

http://70sscifiart.tumblr.com/post/95288514209/starforce-alpha-centauri
I found the Wikipedia article for Simulation Publications, Inc. via Google. The company was founded in 1969, folded in 1982 with TSR acquiring its assets the following year. The company made all sorts of wargames and even tried to compete with TSR in the RPG market. StarForce was one of the companies first scifi-based games and here's what its Wikipedia article says:
StarForce described a future history of humanity reaching out into local interstellar space, and making first contact (and war) with a number of alien species. FTL (faster than light) travel was based on "telesthetic" (teleportation) powers enhanced by artificial intelligence, both from on-board crew members and with the assistance of fixed Star Gate installations. Space combat was relatively non-violent, mostly based on telepathic disruption of the enemy's crews. The space volume on the map represented real astronomical data, designed to allow players to become familiar with the layout of nearby stars.
----
Unlike most board games, StarForce used both pre-plotted simultaneous movement, and a 3D playspace covering a radius of approximately 20 light years from Sol. "Semi-hidden" movement allowed players to display their horizontal location while keeping their vertical position concealed.
 Another point of interest is that 80s new wave band, The Human League, took their name from one of the game's factions.

So anybody ever hear of StarForce? Anybody play it?

8.06.2014

Syfy turning John Scalzi's Old Man's War into a series!

 Via Hollywood Reporter:
The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has put into development Ghost Brigades, a drama based on John Scalzi's Hugo-nominated Old Man's War universe book series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The NeverEnding Story's Wolfgang Petersen will oversee development on the project alongside Scott Stuber (Safe House), with Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig (Winter's Knight) on board to pen the first script. The drama hails from Universal Cable Productions, Petersen's Radiant Productions and Stuber's Bluegrass Films.
Excellent. Old Man's War is one of my favorite scifi novels and the rest of the series is pretty damn good too. To give you an idea of how good OMW is, I started re-reading the thing like ten minutes after I finished it. I was probably fifteen pages in before I stopped myself. That has never happened before or since.

The premise is (and spoiler warning, folks) that the John Perry enlists with the Colonial Defense Force, the military arm of the interstellar government that manages human colonies, the Colonial Union. The catch? Perry is 75 years old and the CDF's entire military force is based around geriatrics. The spoiler bit is how they make use of people who would likely break a hip just matching - genetically engineered bodies created from each person's DNA, but mostly comprised of non-human material. The CDF transfers each person's mind into one of these new bodies, then transfers them into brand spanking new cloned human bodies after their term of service is completed.

The book is military science fiction, but mixed with a good bit of humor and wit. The title of the TV show is interesting, as Ghost Brigades is the title of the second book in the series and doesn't really feature Perry at all. The series itself is going to be a mix of the entire series, rather than a straight adaption of just the first book. The name change makes even more sense, then. I mean, having a show called "Old Man's War" isn't going to attract a ton of viewers.

John Scalzi has a series of posts over on his blog about the new series. This isn't his only work getting the TV treatment. FX is turning one of his other books, Redshirts, into a miniseries. Interestingly, Syfy is also turning James S. A. Corey's Expanse series into a show. Looks like the channel is finally shifting away from reality shows and back towards science fiction.

Just gonna leave this here

http://www.listoid.com/list/140/page2
"Mom, dad, why can't you just accept us for what we are? I know Johnny is a giant robot and society will scorn us, but our love is real. It's real."

7.24.2014

I really like this Rogue Trader picture

(via Lexicanum)
I dig the Age of Sail/pirate vibe with their outfits. The old fashioned (treasure?) map is a nice touch too.

6.25.2014

Finished: Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger (spoilers)

(via Memory Alpha)
It was pretty good, but felt more like a pilot episode than a novel. What I mean is, the book mostly established multiple plot threads for the rest of series and didn't really resolve anything except for the destruction of the Bombay by the Tholians.

Can we just talk about for a second? A pre-refit, TOS era (Harbinger is set just after the events of Where No Man Has Gone Before) Miranda-class took on six Tholian heavy cruisers and destroyed four of them out before being destroyed herself. Damn, son! No wonder the Reliant kicked the Enterprise's ass in Wrath of Khan!
What a pre-refit Miranda might have looked like.
(via Memory Beta)

Anyways, back to the book. The premise for the Vanguard series is pretty cool: The USS Constellation (you might have heard of it) discovers something called a meta-genome in a sample of mold that they were transporting back from a planet called Ravanar in the Tarsus Reach, a far off sector of space outside Federation territory. Yup, outside Feddie territory and right between the Klingon Empire and Tholian Assembly. What could possibly go wrong? The meta-genome proves to be important because it contains a lot of information; too much, in fact, to be anything but artificial. So, Starfleet fast-tracks the construction of Vanguard, a watch-tower class starbase in Tarsus Reach. They also assign three starships to the base: the already mentioned Bombay, the Constitution-class Endeavor, and the Archer-class Sagittarius. The Archer is a small scout ship that was created specifically for the series and has appeared outside of it as well.

Like I said, there are multiple plot threads established in Harbinger. One is that a member of the Federation diplomatic staff on Vanguard, Anna Sandesjo, is actually a Klingon spy and the lover of the station's intelligence officer, T'Prynn. There's another plot thread with the latter. T'Prynn had a very dramatic experience during Pon Farr. Her mate was a physically abusive dickhole of a Vulcan named Sten, who she killed during kal-if-fee (remember that fight between Spock and Kirk in Amok Time?) and well, it did not end well for her. Sten forced his katra into her mind and it can't be removed with it destroying hers in the process. So, she faces a daily mental battle with his katra assaulting her mind until she submits. There's also a secret relationship ongoing between Commodore Diego Reyes, the commander of Vanguard and his JAG officer, Captain Rana Desai.

Then there's Cervantes Quinn and Tim Pennington. Not in a romantic relationship, but their lives are connected throughout the novel. Quinn a smuggler/man for hire working for an Orion crime boss based out of Vanguard. Pennington is a reporting working for the Federation News Service. Quinn is responsible for the destruction of the Bombay when he accidentally destroys the sensor screen (while trying to steal it) that a team of Starfleet engineers and scientists were using to hide their top secret project on Ravanar. The Bombay was sent to rush a new sensor screen to the planet. Pennington's girlfriend was a bridge officer on the Bombay. Their separate threads connect throughout the novel until the very end when they become entangled. Presumably, because I don't know if Pennington and Quinn are even in the rest of the series. Honestly, it took a while for me to warm up to Quinn and Pennington branches of the plot and even then, I didn't like them much. Pennington brought the Federation close to the brink of war with the Tholians with his expose on the latter's destruction of the Bombay because he wanted to bring justice for Oriana, his girlfriend. Quinn just didn't wow me. He mostly just slunk around, got drunk, got beat up, and then got even more drunk.

The ending and the introduction of the Sheddai, which apparently is some sort of ancient advanced alien species was intriguing, but nothing new. It piqued my interest nonetheless.

Overall, I liked Harbinger regardless of its faults. Every book is going to have them. I like the way David Mack handled Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise in the story. They were there and helped move the plot along without overshadowing the book's cast of characters.

Rating 8/10. Recommended.
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