For a good three years now, Black Library’s audio output has been quite impressive. Both in terms of quality and quantity. Thanks to the success of the Horus Heresy audios such as Gav Thorpe’s Raven’s Flight and James Swallow’s Garro duology, the publisher’s audio franchise has really taken off for the Warhammer 40,000 timeline as well. I’ve certainly been enjoying them thus far, though there have been a few along the way that I did not like, and would even consider to be among the lower-tier works put out by the authors. But I won’t deny that BL audios are generally so much damn fun to listen to.
A short while ago we got the latest Horus Heresy audio by Graham McNeill, in which he built on many of the different concepts he’d introduced in his amazing Thousand Sons-centric novel, A Thousand Sons. They are one of the least-covered legions, although they do get a leg-up since they’ve had a novel published about them. I loved A Thousand Sons when I read it three years back, and I enjoyed Thief of Revelations as well. As ever, the audio quality was superb, and the script was really good too, offering parallels to the relationships between the Emperor and the Primarchs that have been the cornerstone of the Heresy.
I’ve never done a post like this. The reason is that of all the creators that have passed in the 3 years since I started this blog, I’ve never had a personal connection with them. But this week, Aaron Allston passed away, and with this fine gentleman I have a very personal and important connection, something that I’ve unfortunately overlooked in recent times when talking about my first proper forays into the wide world of science fiction and fantasy.
EVE Online has been one of those games to come out in recent years that I’ve wanted to play for a long time. The entire world sounds exciting and intriguing and is full of the kind of awesomeness that I want in a game like that. Sadly, I have yet to get the opportunity, for fate always conspires to keep me away from it, sadly. But I suppose that a comic based on the game is the next best thing right? And what really could be better than a comic that is inspired by events that happened in the game as a result of player interaction? Sounds very ironically meta doesn’t it? Well, that was the hook for me to get and read this comic.
Turns out, its not quite what I was looking for. Nothing against the story itself, per se, its just that the art isn’t always clear, and the story is just slightly convoluted that I don’t understand what exactly is going on. But still, I got pulled into a mystery here, and since I love big, loud space opera, I did like this issue on a certain level. Time will tell whether or not this story will be good or not, since we have three more issue to go, but I’m hopeful nonetheless.
I keep saying this and it never gets old for me: despite everything “new” that the Big 2 have done of late, Valiant Comics is still not done pulling out all the stops to establish themselves in the big leagues of superhero comics. Their Unity ongoing, which is a team-up comic featuring some of their biggest heroes, is proof of it. I wasn’t sure what all to expect from it when I heard about it and the book has been a very pleasant surprise. It has kept me coming back month after month, and I suppose that is evidence enough of how much I am enjoying reading this series.
In the first three issues, we saw a superhero team go up against one of the most powerful men on the planet. It was quite a brutal three issues and featured some of Matt Kindt’s best writing. He’s been very hit and miss for me, but with this series he has definitely a hit, and that is pleasing on a personal level since the Valiant universe is so very different from what exists at the Big 2. It is fresh, it is unique, and it also a whole lot of fun. It also helps that the art on this series is so damn good.
Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a novel that I will never forget. It has the distinction, for me, of being the first ever full-on space opera/science fiction novel that I ever read (I am not counting the young adult Animorphs novels). It was also the first novel I read at my new school in Dubai when we moved there in July 2001 (I read the book sometime late September 2001). To this day, I remember the book very fondly. It started off in an amazing place, and it ended with the most wondrous climax that I’d read to date, and that applies to all the hundreds of novels I’ve read since then.
There is something about nostalgia, and that first book. Frank Herbert’s Dune will always be an amazing masterpiece for me and a true space opera classic, but 2001: A Space Odyssey is a great companion at the top of that table. Clarke’s novel is the one that really set me on the path to reading the wider science fiction and fantasy genres, and that is why it will always have a special place in my heart. Just a few days ago, I re-read the novel for the first time ever since that first reading almost twelve and a half years ago. The sense of wonder and grandeur in the novel is just as compelling today as it was to an inexperienced reader all those years ago. A timeless classic.
Note: This novel is part of my 25 Series To Read In 2014 challenge.
One of the most polarizing films of recent times is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, the prequel to his Alien movies. From all I’ve seen, opinions are sharply divided right down the middle, and I fall in the camp of people who hate and dislike this movie. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting from this, possibly a movie that could stand up to the awesomeness of Alien, but instead what we got was on the same level as the terrible Aliens vs Predator crossover movies. And that’s me trying to be the least bit positive there actually.
After a decent enough start, the movie just went downhill and it never looked back. I was honestly surprised that we had been given such a distinctly terrible movie from Ridley Scott. Amazed at it really. Anyways, here’s my review of the movie.
Note: Spoilers for the movie follow.
Today, IDW’s Khan mini-series comes to a close. It has been an interesting ride thus far as the creators attempted to do a new spin on this classic character given that the current Star Trek movies have rebooted the entire universe and last year’s Star Trek: Into Darkness thus gave us a new Khan for this reboot. The first two issues of the series were quite decent, largely because it was all setup to lead into the meat of the story. The third and fourth issues however have proven to be not as good and the story has pretty much just dragged along.
And now we have the fifth and final issue, wrapping everything up. My complaints from the previous two reviews still exist. The art is off, the characterisation is… also off. I don’t know. I just couldn’t get into this at all. But, it was kind of nice that everything was wrapped up for the most part. But still, I get the feeling that there just hasn’t been enough room to explore the entire story in just five issues. It is simply too intricate!
Yesterday, Marvel/Disney released a set of three photos from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy (check here), the first movie in the Marvel Cinematics Universe that will take place entirely in space and will feature the wider (science) fantastical world of Marvel comics. Its going to feature the team often dubbed as the Cosmic Avengers and has some interesting star power behind it in the form of Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in two of the lead roles with WWE wrestler Dave Bautista in a third and the other two CGI-animated characters being voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
We also got a 15-second teaser trailer at the same time, which was kind of nice, but far too brief. Personally, I don’t like teaser trailers. They are far too short to do anything really, even if I end up liking them. But then, but then just this morning, I saw a tweet by actress Karen Gillan in which she shared the FIRST FULL TRAILER of the movie! And I was hooked. Man, if the movie holds up to what this trailer is showing, this movie is going to be great.
Far as I am concerned, there was only one major negative of John Carter: Disney screwed up the marketing big time and instead of a potential franchise, they ended up with a near-flop. And that is painful for me, since I enjoyed the movie. I’d seen the trailers before I went to watch it on the big screens, so I kind of had an idea of what it would be like, but since I’d never read any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels before, I didn’t know who the character was or what Barsoom really was. After watching the movie, everything changed for me.
In that same year, I listened to the audiobook of the first book, A Princess of Mars. I began reading the tie-in comics from Dynamite Entertianment, comics which built up the world that Burroughs had introduced to readers almost a century ago. I became a big fan of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, all thanks to watching that movie. Reading Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar novels, which are heavily influenced by Burroughs’ own work and present a kick-ass female protagonist in a similar science fantasy sword-and-planet setting, took things even further for me.
I still lament that John Carter failed at the box office. Disney’s ineptitude and the backlash from critics and fans before the movie even went to release ruined any potential success. But, thankfully, the movie has already become a sort of cult classic. I’ve seen it at least three times on DVD and each time has been a joy. It is a movie I can have fun watching every single time. Here’s the repost of my original review of it.
As a kid, I remember when the original trilogy was released in India in theaters. There was a huge promotion about it, to the tune that you could get these nice little stickers in packets of chips that you could then use to add to these booklets that you could buy from confectionaries, grocers etc. That was when my fascination with Star Wars began. Years later, I picked up my first Star Wars book, Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston, and a few years later I saw the third movie in the prequel trilogy in theater with a friend, and then soon after that I saw the original trilogy for the first time, in college. I then went on to read a ton of Star Wars novels, thanks mostly in part to a well-stocked college library (or libraries rather, I should say), and I’ve almost always had fun.
In 2012, George Lucas and Co. began to roll out 3-D versions of the movies, starting with Episode I. It was a fantastic experience for me. But my excitement for watching the successive movies in the new format died out when it was announced that all plans had been put on hold pending Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. And now Disney has no plans to rerelease the movies in 3D, moving forward instead with a new trilogy and several spin-off films. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.
So, anyway, here’s a repost of my review for the 3-D version of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
On account of traveling to and from India this past week, my comics reading took a back-seat, as did my novel reading incidentally. Very few comics read, but most of them were good at least, a saving grace.