OK. Sometimes when a company tries to do a big reveal, they go one of a couple different directions. First is the Apple route – blacking out room windows in R&D, attaching test devices to desks at Apple HQ, and even masking field testing units with external casing to make sure no one knows what’s up. Sure it may not seem like that’s how they roll now, but that’s how they do things. Get their audience so amped that whatever they introduce is an instant hit they’ve all been waiting for.
The second is the straightforward method. That’s more or less saying “hey kids, product X is going to e out on the 37th of Zuhtember (naturally “X’ and “Zuhtember” being code for a number and who gives a damn). But in this case potential customers know exactly what’s coming and what’s going to be involved. I guess the cleanest example here after the Apple thing would be Samsung and their Galaxy phones if you want an example.
So both of those methods make sense, and we’ve seen both dozens of times before. What confuses me sometimes is when some companies try to blend the two of these in some sort of “openly secretive” teaser thrown out onto the interwebs. Which is the route that Sony took today with their latest teaser on their official US website. Go ahead, watch it. It has all the elements of a big reveal – flashy effects, zoomed shots of different aspects of what gets collected for a final image, and of course mystic and cryptic heavy beats in the background to add an ambiance of mystery and allure. Sweet. Even a date and a time for a very special event so fans have something to look forward to. So what could it possible be? My interest is now piqued beyond recognition – WHAT COULD IT BE? Four very familiar shapes – a triangle, a circle, an X, and is that… is that a square?
Look at the video kids. It’s gonna be the PlayStation 4. I mean I can’t for sure say it, but watch it again. Search your feelings. I don’t think you really need the force with you to sense this one.
The date? February 20th, at 6:00pm. The teaser is an ad for the Playstation Meeting, which is a venue where Sony’s unveiled consoles and hardware before (that’s where they unveiled the Vita before), so the PS4’s a feasible prediction. And Sony wanting to beat Microsoft to the punch on consoles does make sense too. There’s also a chance that maybe they could be releasing the fruits of their venture with Gaikai, but MY PEOPLES – I’m still calling PS4.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to review the classic steampunk novel, The Warlord of Air, the first in the Nomad of Air series and originally published in 1971 . A short but rich account of the adventures of Captain Oswald Bastable, a British soldier in the colonies of India in the early 20th century that finds himself flung into the future of 1970’s where steampunk airships rule the skies above a world of a seemingly peaceful beauty.
We first meet Bastable through the character of the author’s fictitious grandfather in 1903 (a fun choice that serves to quickly emerse you into the fantastical universe), after his time traveling adventure, and he’s clearly worse for the wear. Strung out on opium and a stowaway on a merchant ship, Bastable earns the sympathy and intrigue of Morcock Sr. who agrees to transcribe the time-traveler’s tale in exchange for some vittles and a good hot shower (seems fair).
A great deal of praise is due to Morcock’s skill in allowing the reader to view this steampunk work through Bastable’s eyes. He is the perfect turn of the century up-right British captain yet not once is an “old chap” or dry narration out of place or forced. Instead of a future randomly sprinkled with airships we get a Edwardian atmosphere with steam you can almost taste. In fact, the future in which Bastable wakes is not entirely different from the one he left. Many of the political atmospheres from the empire building past remain relevant with some 1970’s updates as well as an appearance by Mick Jagger (that’s right). The future utopia in which Bastable establishes himself, while clean and beautiful, unravels before him as the undercurrent of peace is powered by the exploitation of the colonial territories just as it was in his own timeline. The staunt patriot and army man finds himself at a crossroad between joining a terrorist group bent on the liberation of oppressed colonies and his own loyalties to the tradition and past that had been his whole world.
A steampunk novel of the future with historical themes of the past could have easily been an awkward mess, but Morcock writes with a tight hold on his characters and universe to create a novel with a pleasing fantasy element and political subtly. I will say, however, that a great deal of the book is devoted to airships. Man, they are everywhere, even above every chapter header. The first half of Bastable’s tale is devoted to descriptions of the sky behemoths and a clearly loving portrayal of the feats of engineering that would have needed to go in to inventing these fantastic machines. However, I believe that the book would have been better suited in devoting more page-space to beefing up political elements of the universe, most of which is only allotted subtle whisperings until the last fifty pages or so of the novel. None of the descriptions were entirely dull, but anything less than a hardcore steampunk fan may find it to be a bit of a snooze fest. I found myself frustrated in having to look through the window into what seemed like a fascinating world with a view obstructed by thousands of fucking airships.
Still, if you like turn of the century steampunk, this novel earns the designation of a classic. I’ll definitely give the text two volumes in the trilogy a shot once they get the reprint treatment later this year. Warlord of Air is out now.
You probably don’t know much, and that’s the way the ninjas wanted it, because Ninjas were warriors who rely on stealth. Historian John Man has researched the Ninja’s origins and methods, and chronicled them in Ninja: 1,000 years of the Shadow Warrior: A New History. Man traveled to Japan to do his research, and the hard work definitely paid off.
The book is broken into two parts; ancient history, and the revival of the ninjas during WWII. Man is more than just an historian, however; he shows that he is also an archaeologist and travel writer when he describes not only the research he did, but how he went about doing that research. The book reads not only like an historical account of the Ninja but also like a travelogue through Japan.
Each chapter has an epigraph from the “Ninja Instructional Poem” which guides a warrior training to become a ninja. Every other chapter expands on an element of the ninja life, breaking down the elements of their training into easy-to-understand steps. These short chapters, spread between longer historical accounts of warfare, read almost like a how-to account of ninja training. Survival, observation, stealth, disguise–these are all important enough to warrant their own mini-chapters.
Perhaps the most important element of Man’s book is the debunking of classic misconceptions about the Ninja warriors and their roots. Often we think of them as silent assassins when in fact they were more like modern spies, slipping from shadow to shadow undetected in order to collect intelligence and return from whence they came undetected and, most importantly, alive. The reality may be a far cry from our favorite turtles, but it’s certainly just as bodaciously awesome.
Image Source: Brandatello’s DeviantArt
4% Match | 96% Enemy
Immortal, Male, Roaming the Galaxies
Am I not Thanos?! Did I not butcher the woman who gave me birth, who force-fed me into this hell called life?! Is not the wake of my passing crimson with the blood of my enemies and allies alike?!
Nah, really, I am just your typical Mad Titan and God of Death. I’m really a nice guy. I’m into a lot of stuff, politics, alternative religion, rock collecting. Yeah, I’ve got some family issues and I’ve been told I have an anger problem, but I don’t think I’m much worse than anyone else, you know?
What I’m Doing With My Life:
I’m really into trying to gain all mighty, unstoppable power, reality altering, you know how it goes. I’ve also been getting into MMA training.
I’m Really Good At:
Being an AWESOME boyfriend. That’s not bragging, I am the sort of guy who would do anything for the girl I love. I mean ANYTHING. I just really wish I could find the sort of girl who could appreciate that fact. I mean, the kind who can appreciate it and ALSO can survive in deep space.
The First Thing People Usually Notice About Me:
Probably that I’m really tall. Or that I’m trying to slaughter them. But the height thing probably stands out more lol.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music and food:
Fight Club is my favorite book and movie. As for music, I’m really into My Chemical Romance, but only Black Parade and their early stuff, after BP they totally sold out. But really, I’m willing to listen to or watch anything that makes my girl happy. It is all about giving her what she wants.
The Six Things I Could Never Do Without:
The six infinity gems. Except I’ve done without them for awhile, so, I guess that’s not true.
I Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About:
Death is with me every second of the day! My every moment is spent in either dealing out death or worshiping it! And you’d think she’d appreciate that, right? I mean, you end the lives of half the population of the universe, you reorder the planets, you build her a throne and offer her whatever she wants and that BITCH puts you in the FRIENDZONE. Can you believe it? I went out, spent all my time getting just the right jewelry, and it turns out the whole time she was just leading me on, all “Oh, I’m going to resurrect you and order you to kill people,” and when I do that I don’t even so much as get a kiss on the cheek? I mean, you think she’d be impressed with this art project I worked on with this girl I know, Nebula? But Death WOULDN’T EVEN SPEAK TO ME.
What the hell is WRONG with bitches like her, huh?
The Most Private Thing I’m Willing To Admit:
I worked as a farmer for awhile and it was actually pretty sweet.
You Should Message Me If:
No, really, you’re Death and you don’t wanna play with my heart anymore.
STILL YOU WILL NOT SPEAK TO ME? I AM THANOS!
EUREKA! A word that elicits different imagery in the mind of each person that hears it spoken, the joy of discovery, the excitement in knowledge, and to a few of us geeks, a show on SciFi (I refuse to call it SyFy, That is not a thing!). This last July this show was cancelled. Oh how we raised our voices and made them heard, but alas it was not enough. A show that survived 5 seasons, too many black holes and quantum singularities to count in the end couldn’t survive the basic tenets of television dynamics. It just didn’t have the numbers. But I still miss Eureka, and if you should ever get a chance to grab a Blu ray or DVD pop that sucker in and give it a watch, here’s why.
1) There is a sense of whimsy that imbued the show with the feeling that no matter who was working on it, there was a glorification of the absurdity. While there is another show on SyFy (fine, I give in for now) Warehouse 13 that builds from a similar premise, Eureka has a sense of odd purity that not a lot of other shows had at the time. This gives almost every scene a feeling of willingness to accept the unacceptable. Stretching the bounds of the imagination each week and giving me my favorite reason to watch.
2) Another thing that drew me to the show and kept my interest for all 5 seasons was the fact that the show runners found great joy in realistic science, while many science fiction television seems at times to border on the ridiculous edges of the genre Eureka did something not many other shows were doing at the time. They kept the science fantastical but grounded in reality, sure the possibility of the things in the show actually occurring are infinitesimal but still within the realm of real science. This made the show not only fun to watch but also rather informative at times.
3) Sheriff Jack Carter: Colin Ferguson plays one of the best “Straight” characters on television, a foil to everything going on around him. Jack Carter reacts the way we would expect a rational human being to in the situations he was thrown into, with amazement and incredulity. Which you would suppose after 5 or so seasons would get a little old but when you live and work in a town like Eureka, everyone is just a time travel mishap away from a universal rewrite.
4) Eureka kept the geek in everyone satisfied Guest Stars: Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton, Stan Lee, Aaron Douglas (Chief on BSG), Some of these people got to be in the best story lines of the final few seasons. Which made Eureka something special, when the announcement that the show was going to be cancelled came down the line surprising not only those watching the show but those working on it as well. Stars like Wil Wheaton took to their favorite social networks to express their disappointment and love for the show. While this wasn’t enough to save a show that shone bright for a time and was dimmed just as quickly it gives me hope for genre specific television.
So this, all of the reasons why I miss Eureka, all of the reasons why this show was possibly too crazy to exist on television and what should you take away from it? Go watch Eureka, go watch BSG, support good genre television, there just isn’t enough of it on our TVs today.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book of a certain age must be in want of a celebration.
My fellow Austen-eers, raise a cup for today we have joy! It is the 200th birthday of Jane Austen’s, “Pride and Prejudice.”
I propose tea, small sandwiches, a walk through the muddy countryside, some scandal of a younger sibling, weird relatives and true love.
P&P has been adapted again and again and never fails to disappoint.
Today we have movies, graphic novels, zombies renditions, a web series [which I highly recommend] and all sorts of paraphernalia.
What is it that keeps a good story going for 200 years?
I can tell you
Some call it wit. Humor. Clever writing diatribes. I call it Jane Austen’s personal brand of Snark. What young woman hasn’t heard someone badger her about, “Well, when are you getting married?” or had her parents embarrass her in public? Been turned down by some guy she likes? Been almost forced to marry an abominable cousin . . . ok maybe not that last one so much.
What do we do when things don’t go our way? We talk to our friends and make fun of it, poke holes in it and then get past whatever the hell it happens to be.
I doubt too many of us will have that guy we like rush off upon horseback to save the scandalized reputation of some idiot little sister, but if you have, please post in the comments below because I really want to hear all about it.
The thing that gets me about P&P is that it is versatile. I watch it when I’m sad. When I’m happy. When I’m PMS-ing and devouring chocolate. I watch it on Girls Night In [Colin Firth version: Regency Menswear does not leave a lot to the imagination].
I read it. I stream it. If it’s on clothes, I’ll wear it.
When I haven’t watched or read it in a while, I miss it.
Austen’s snark gets better every time. The lines get funnier and the barbs get sharper [Oh no, she didn’t just mock Lizzies dirty hemline, that BITCH].
While I’m not the most fond of the REALLY old BBC version, I’ll still watch it in a pinch. I don’t always have the full time for the 1990’s version,but I can usually squeeze in the newer one. Do you have a preference? I generally just have time constraints.
Today, I plan on reading my P&P, loving my P&P and thinking about much I lust after the regency overcoats and bonnets.
Here’s to Team Darcy!
Share your thoughts, favorite quotes and celebrations in the comments!