Our first impression is of a grim, but beautifully presented game. The music seems harrowing and emotional while not overbearing and gameplay seems smooth with a cute character design. It’s overall a pretty sweet looking little game with original pencil drawn art, but you can kind of tell with this amount of detail.
Will you be checking out Original Journey? Peep the trailer and full press release below:
Original Journey Invades Windows Today
BBC broke the internet when they announced this morning the casting news for the next season of Doctor Who. The Doctor, most previous played by Peter Capaldi, will now be represented by Jodie Whittaker, who is best known for her roles in Broadchurch and Attack the Block alongside current Star Wars actor John Boyega.
Of course, the news has polarized Doctor Who fans. Over the past few years, there has been a major online movement to cast a woman in the role of the Doctor. However, there are a number of Doctor Who purists who are disappointed by the casting, feeling that, in a show centered around a time-travelling alien who can regenerate into a new body once they die, the idea of a woman Doctor is unbelievable.
Unfortunately, much of the backlash isn’t all that civil, with many naysayers using outright misogyny to denounce the news. Which, in my opinion, is unfortunate as Whittaker is a talented actress and is sure to bring her own flair to the role.
Regardless of your feelings on the matter, the casting of Whittaker marks a new direction for the show, as not only will this season bring on a new Doctor, but also a new show-runner as well, with Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall taking over for Steven Moffat.
As has been the tradition, Whittaker will officially take over the role in the Christmas episode.
The news was announced in a promotional trailer that played after the Wimbledon men’s singles final. Watch the trailer below.
You can also read more about the announcement, including a short interview with Whittaker, on BBC’s website.
Will Jodie Whittaker’s take on the Doctor be as lovable as David Tennant’s, as memorable as Matt Smith’s, or as short lived as Christopher Eccleston’s? Only time will tell, but personally, I’m excited for the gender swap.
When the lights came back on, and the excitement began to wear off, several things lingered after I had time to digest The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. Firstly, the very obvious, and widely noted, lack of female characters lingered, like a bitter aftertaste. It’s no secret that the addition of Tauriel was widely criticized for not being “canon,” and although her character was reduced to that of a love interest in the third movie, it was refreshing to see her get a piece of the action. Elven ruler Galadriel was also given a fight to be part of, albeit again, not canon, and even the women of Lake Town took up arms in the grand battle. It’s a sloppy step, but times are certainly changing. There’s hope for equal representation in fiction now, especially with the announcement of all female Ghostbusters, and an all female version of the Expendables, and women are clamoring to see themselves on screen. There are scores of book series, mountains of graphic novels, hours of vintage films, all in need of a movie, just like the Hobbit, so here’s a look at my top favorite women led properties for a cinematic adaptation (or in one case, a remake)!
From our own interview with the prolific Tamora Pierce, we know that the author has some apprehension about adapting any of her beloved Tortall universe into a film. Fifteen published novels currently follow several young heroines on their paths to adulthood through a medieval world of magic and knightly martial arts. Her beasts are fantastical and her queer representation is notable, but one of the reasons we love these books the most is for the diverse featured females characters. While there certainly hasn’t been a dearth of these sort of female-led young adult adaptations, the dystopian future science fiction universes will fall out of fashion soon. It would be legendary if films like the Hunger Games and Divergent were to end up as more than a fad and actually pave the way for other genres like Pierce’s medieval-themed fantasy to get adapted for the screen, especially after the success of the definitely more adult-oriented Game of Thrones.
If anyone told us that we could grant a title of masterpiece to a comic series with only 3 published issues…well that’s as ridiculous as demanding a film adaptation of a series with only 3 published issues. But ODY-C really is that good. We’d actually pay money to attend the pitch meeting to see comic super star Matt Fraction summarize his book as a retelling of the classic homeric myth in space and with all the major characters depicted as women (because that sure went well for ghostbusters). Actually, a more truthful summary would also include that men have been declared taboo by the gods in all of creation so a third gender was created by woman. Science fiction in film deserves to be as progressive and groundbreaking as we expect it to be in other mediums. Let ODY-C take it there.
The Books of Magic
If we didn’t love Harry Potter as much as we do (and we do, oh we do), we’d say it’s a shame that this comic series would appear to movie goers as a rip-off of J.K. Rowlings popular novels, even though it was written first. However, be-speckled teen magician, Timothy Hunter, was created by Neil Gaiman, to introduce readers to magic in the DC/Vertigo comic universe, with inspiration from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Tim was given his own ongoing series that took us to the classical world of faerie and the nightmares of young teenage fear. One of the most endearing parts of the early comics penned by John Ney Rieber were the supporting cast of female characters, some magical and some not, that shaped and influenced young Tim’s life. So while not technically a women-led property, The Books of Magic would be a treat to see on screen.
The Mayfair Witches
For too long the witch archetype has been that a decrepit old crone, a negative vision of what a woman in power can end up as. Anne Rice turns this on its head with the matriarchal led family, the Mayfairs, in her mid-90s book series. Taking place in New Orleans, the story centers around the successful neurosurgeon, Rowan Mayfair, as she comes to terms with inheriting the legacy of the Mayfairs, including the family “spirit,” Lasher. The Creole culture is also prevalent, giving ample room for people of color to be cast, as well as having a whopping THREE male characters in the varied cast of characters. A few of Rice’s works have been adapted in the past for the big screen, so why not this one?
Young Wizards Series
Wow, we seem to really like our youngsters when they dabble in the arcane arts. This YA series crossed all sorts of genres, while still capturing adolescence and just how freaking unfair it can be to be a teenage girl. Our main chick Nita receives her calling to be a wizard from a library book, but really learns her craft through out several volumes of sublime examples of urban fantasy, space operas, and natural wonders. If only a studio would be willing to commit the time and money to really flesh out the oceans depths and starry cosmos in the series, we’d really see something spectacular.
Have I missed your favorite series? Is there a classic that should be revamped? Let me know in the comments, or tweet it my way (@deadrabbit92)!
I attempted to travel back in time recently. I sat with a cup of tea in my humid kitchen without a phone or Facebook to distract me from an evening with 1938 and the radio drama The War of the Worlds. The hour-long broadcast transformed H.G. Wells’ original science fiction novella into a terrifying realistic moment in the history of horror fiction. While the production can be lauded as a drama and for the terror that it caused when it was originally aired, works of horror have their own finicky scale that incessantly weighs a work’s merit. No matter how well-written, how convincing the effects, or how well-received by its contemporary audience, the real judgement of a masterpiece of the genre will always come down to this question: “Okay, but is it scary?”
Honestly, I’d have to say no, not really. Creepy, sure. But right after the decades-old sign-off, the stillness of my kitchen did not freak me out as I happily made myself a midnight snack.Well, now that I’ve gotten that unfortunate truth out of the way, let’s talk about how completely awesome this production is. The adaptation passes as a real radio news broadcast, which begins with the announcement of a flaming object falling from the sky interrupts chipper orchestrated dance music. The bulletins grow more dire as “live” broadcasts describe the invaders with “V-shaped [mouths] with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.” As the broadcast continues, it is clear earth is losing its most desperate battle to survive as resistance fighters vanish from the air in audible death throws.
While clearly produced with care and great effects, the best segments of The War of the World are unsurprisingly Orson Welles monologues. Through his singular voice and without aid of sound effects, listeners are dragged into a lifeless and helpless earth. From the opening narration that set the stage of an unprepared and blissfully ignorant earth to the final trudge through a decimated Time Square, Welles will have you mesmerized, if not quite terrified.
What did approach truly chilling was not the descriptions of Martians’ rays or the rapid elimination of all life on earth, but the interaction of Welles’ Doctor Pierson with the character only known as “The Stranger.” Their conversation is part of the last third of the production that moves away from the news broadcast style. The Stranger condemns the direction humanity has gone and almost gleefully muses how the majority of people are doomed.
STRANGER: I’m going on. . . right under their feet. I got a plan. We men as men are finished. We don’t know enough. We gotta learn plenty before we’ve got a chance. And we’ve got to live and keep free while we learn, see? I’ve thought it all out, see.
PIERSON: Tell me the rest.
STRANGER: Well, it isn’t all of us that were made for wild beasts, and that’s what it’s got to be. That’s why I watched YOU. All these little office workers that used to live in these houses — they’d be no good. They haven’t any stuff to ’em. They just used to run off to work. I’ve seen hundreds of ’em, running wild to catch their commuter train in the morning for fear they’d get canned if they didn’t; running back at night afraid they won’t be in time for dinner. Lives insured and a little invested in case of accidents. And on Sundays, worried about the hereafter. The Martians will be a godsend for those guys. Nice roomy cages, good food, careful breeding, no worries. After a week or so chasing about the fields on empty stomachs they’ll come and be glad to be caught.
It is The Stranger that I find scary and it his view of our world that I find unnerving. I think he captures what could be considered the only timelessly terrifying part the of radio play. Horror is so often dismissed as pulp or lowbrow, much to many fans’ displeasure. However, I’d argue that most horror is not wriiten to be a character study of the shrieking blonde running from a masked killer, but of the reader and the darkest fears within us all.
Back in the day, the original broadcast was convincing enough to convince real listeners, if only a few, into panic. It is unfortunate that it cannot invoke the same kind of terror. The crackling of old time radio through my itunes on my glowing macbook just doesn’t quite resonate as it was intended to. This makes me more sad than dismissive. In fact, Stephen King, in his introduction to Everything’s Eventual, discussed his attempts to write a modern radio play. He sucked, is the short of it. I’m glad for Welcome to Nightvale, the popular monthly horror podcast, that proves the art form isn’t dead.
TIME TRAVEL IS THE BEST WAY TO GET YOUR KIDS AND YOURSELF EXCITED ABOUT HISTORY.
I probably need to clarify this a bit so I don’t sound too insane. I don’t literally mean time travel — although I wish I did — I mean using the concept as a tool to learning in which everyone in the geek culture can get behind.
Here, based on my extensive research (of my own family), are some of the benefits of time travel as opposed to standard classroom learning:
- It’s hands-on! I’m a booklover, but if I had the option of reading about a historic era or actually going there, the answer would be a no-brainer. The American Civil War is, frankly, a boooooring read (to me, at least), but watching re-enactors (who are essentially historic cosplayers) give me a living history demonstration in a historic fort all of a sudden brings the past to life. We can see, hear, and even smell how they lived, what they wore and ate, how they entertained themselves and why both sides of the war believed what they believed. We aren’t just “learning” about it. We are experiencing it.
- It’s approachable. Ask your 13-year-old to tell you everything they know about the American Revolution…then watch the splendor as the light in their eyes turns temporarily off while they try to find an interesting talking point. Now, ask him what “hidden secrets” he learned about18th century Boston, the Mohawk Indians, and the aforementioned American Revolution by traveling back in time with Desmond Miles in “Assassin’s Creed III.” The answers — and questions about what is “actual history” will come much easier.
- It’s conversation evoking. No need to really explain this one. Just ask your kids (or anyone) where and when they could go if they had the opportunity, and dinner or car-travel conversation will be dominated for at least an hour.
- It’s extremely, incredibly fun. How could pretending to be a Time Lord or post-modern dinosaur hunter not be a blast? Through the beauty of “armchair” time travel, there is no place, time or era you can’t visit as a family. Paint a cardboard box blue and create a Tardis with your kids or go even easier and write “Time Machine” on a box ala Calvin and Hobbes. Get in and go places. It’s that easy…and addictive.
How about geek-friendly study aids? There are countless “time-travel” related movies, television shows, books and comics that might help get a discussion rolling and “accidently” turn into a leaning opportunity.
There are so many books and comics that deal with time travel, I’m hesitant to try to list just a couple. I recommend perusing your long boxes and book shelves, as you are certain to run across everything from Madeleine L’Engle’s young readers science fiction classic “A Wrinkle In Time,” Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” and H.G. Well’s disturbingly-better-than-any-movie-adaptation story the “Time Machine” to any number of DC “Elseworlds” titles and other “Oh no, I’ve fallen through a rift in time/space continuum” stories (most of which I admittedly enjoy).
Here are a few more worth a look:
Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. For beginning chapter book readers, this is a straight-forward time travel series in which a pair of normal kids, Jack and Annie, end up getting sent on adventure after adventure to different times and places of historic significance, as well as some completely fictional locales. The best thing about these from a learning standpoint is many of these books have nonfiction companions (for example there’s a book on actual facts about the Titanic as a go-with for the fictional “Tonight on the Titanic” story). Also, readers who get into this series can get a printable “passport” on Osborne’s Magic Tree House site, and after reading each book they answer simple online questions to be awarded a “stamp.” This was my daughter’s favorite part of these books and couldn’t wait to collect her “stamp” rewards.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ by JK Rowling. Of all the books in the Harry Potter series, this is the only one that really deals with a time-travel element, as Hermione’s time turner, originally used so she could take two or more overlapping classes, becomes the object that helps improve the fate of Buckbeak the hippogriff, Sirius Black and Hogwarts in general. Even “short hop” time travel can bring up the question “If you could fix a past mistake, what would it be and how would you do it? A hilarious take on this same concept is through the movie “Galaxy Quest” and its Omega 13 device that can shoot time back 13 seconds.
Product placement: You can pick up a cheap time turner kit by Running Press at pretty much any book store for around five to seven dollars. This makes a cool learning prop. If you can’t find one, use an egg timer or make your own “time travel” device.
Eric Flint’s “1632 series.” Flint is up to his 12th book in the popular alternate history series, in which an entire town in West Virginia gets transported back in time to Central Germany during the onset of the Thirty Years’ War. From a readers’ standpoint, this is an exciting departure from the standard “fish out of water “ scenario of one (or a few) individuals getting whipped out of their linear time comfort zone. When a whole town has to band together to keep from getting overrun during a historic conflict, it can get pretty crazy. Chronologically, the books begin, appropriately with “1632,” but Flint himself doesn’t even feel they need to be read in order.
“Whenever someone asks me ‘what’s the right order?’” for reading the 1632 series, I’m always tempted to respond: ‘I have no idea. What’s the right order for studying the Thirty Years War?’’” he says on his webpage.
And, here’s two comic book picks:
Astro City ½ special: “The Nearness of You” written by Kurt Busiek, art by Brent Anderson. One of the only comic book stories that had me sobbing like a baby at the end, as it deals with a man plagued by dreams of a woman he has never met, but can’t get out of his head. With the intervention of Astro City hero Hangman, he learns this was to be his wife, but a super-hero style battle that involved a link to the past resulted in the death of this woman’s ancestor…and hence the prevention of her very existence. I won’t tell you the ending if you haven’t read it but it brings up the classic talking point of how history would be altered if just one thing were messed with in the past (aka the “butterfly effect”). Example: “What if your parents were prevented from ever meeting? Hello, McFly.”
Ray Bradbury fans could also reference his fantastic 1952 short story “A Sound of Thunder” in which a “time travel” excursion to hunt dinosaurs goes horribly wrong…just because someone stepped on a butterfly.
“Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” by Grant Morrison, with various artists. This six-issue series (now available as one graphic novel), is the ending story arc to the “Batman: RIP” story in which Bruce Wayne has to travel from era to era to get back to present day Gotham City. The “pirate” adventure was my personal favorite. The artwork varies in quality and style, but the story is continuously intense. This brings up a question of how certain historical figures — or even people in our own lives — might be different if they existed in different eras. I posted an artists’ “Old West” depiction of DC characters online once that included Batman with a pair of side arms. This sparked a “Batman would NEVER use guns” vs. “a Wild West era Bruce Wayne might” debate. This is just one of the many topics this type of series could tap into.
For Doctor Who (BBC Series): Since London seems to always be a “home base” for the Time Lords, what are some of the major changes this historic city has seen over the years? “Big Bang Theory” character Amy Farah Fowler brought up a similar query once to which she met with much chastising.
For the “Back To The Future” Trilogy: What do you think would happen if different versions of yourself accidentally met, and how would this change your view of yourself? Also, the Flux Capacitor may be a famous part of movie history, but what do you think would be needed to make a car…or any machine…travel through time? Is it even possible?
For “Planet of the Apes” (any version): Do you think humans will ever fall from the top of the food chain? What are your views on this weird take on evolutionary progress? What do you think would trigger this type of change? Heavy questions, but they might provoke some very intelligent answers.
For Terra Nova/Primeval: The idea of a “rip in time” that leads to past and future dimensions is pure science fiction, but would it ever be a good idea for dinosaurs and other pre-historic beasts to occupy the same planet with modern man? If “Jurassic Park” and “Land of the Lost” are any indication, my assumption would be “no, probably not,” but your kids my have a different — and likely better — response.
For “The Terminator” and “Looper” (for older teens, of course): If your future self were to come back to today, what advice would do you think he or she would give you? Do you look good, or did you let yourself go. Even if your kids aren’t old enough to see these R-rated films, you could still bring up these questions.
I also offer a quick note to the gaming crowd. I’ve long felt that one of the best ways to teach your kids of all ages about responsible gaming is to:
1) Limit it to a certain days/hours (I know, I’m evil), and
2) Play the games with them. Hand me that controller.
I especially stand behind the second reason because I not only have an excuse to play video games, but the digital interaction during game play prompts actually socializing with your kids…and also acts as a great bridge to sneaking in some learning tools (see my earlier reference to “Assassin’s Creed”).
For kids age 10 and older, I recommend giving “Final Fantasy XIII-2” (the Japanese-made sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, of course) a try since it deals with the classic “going back in time to fix the past” scenarios. Players are given the opportunity to visit the same location at different eras in time, making this a great place for parents to hop into discussing how places change over time. Ask them what they think their hometown looked like 30, 300, 3,000 or event 3,000,000 years ago and what changes are happening today that might effect it in the future.
For late high school and older players, “Bioshock: Infinite” is one of the most visually inviting games available today. Not dealing overwhelmingly with time travel (except for those nasty tears in time and space), it is an interesting “alternate history” looks at the turn-of-the-century America with stylized steampunk references to many of the ideologies (the emergence of American exceptionalism), entities (the Pinkerton Agency) and events (1893 World’s Fair, aka Chicago World’s Fair) of the time. There is extreme violence and some pretty horrific images, though, so younger players should steer completely clear of playing this. However, I do suggest finding some of the less brutal art surrounding this game online or in magazines and talk about the architecture, fashions, advertising and technology of this era…especially how to separate what is based on historic fact, what may be heavily inspired by it, and what is solely the product of a creative mind. Really, this is for older teens getting ready to go off to college where they will knock personal philosophies and beliefs back and forth like tennis balls, the reference to politics, religious practices and personal freedoms. College can be a great place to both find and lose oneself, so use this game as a chance to bring up some of those touchy-feely value-driven topics.
I hope these stepping-off points in embarking on a trip through time helping kids to discover these fictional approaches to history reveal a past made up of “real” people involved in “real” events in “real” places. Who knows, you may even learn a few new things yourself.
Lisa Kay Tate
Staff Writer and resident geek mom
Billing itself a convention, “by-fans-for-fans,” Sun City SciFi was inspired by the number of influential Sci-Fi actors and creators born in El Paso (aka The Sun City) including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, “Firefly” regular Alan Tudyk, Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham (“Star Trek: Insurrection”), and Chase Masterson (best known as Rom’s girlfriend, Leeta, on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,”) to name a few.
The event welcomed several celebrity guests such as convention regulars like Peter Mayhew, Mirina Sirtis, Dana Synder, Tom Kane, Aaron Douglas, Tony Amendola, David Yost, Herb Jefferson Jr., Larry Nemecek and Joseph Gatt as well as several regional artists, cosplay groups, authors and artisans specializing in everything from horror art to steampunk props. Costume contests, a charity auction, gala dinner, panel talks and gaming room were also part of the fun.
Sun City SciFi may be the area’s newest kid on the scene, but certainly shows signs of becoming a regular fixture on the city’s sci-fi scene.
Lisa Kay Tate
Staff Writer and ihogeekmom
PHOTOS BY RICK TATE