In Time

No. This Sci-Fi movie about  how people stop aging and are using time as an economic factor is horrible and it is even more horrible that some people actually enjoyed it. Burn all copies and shoot those involved.

The Red Wing - Jonathan Hickman

Hickman tends to come up with something really cool and then make me think he forgot to develop it. This story is about humanity fighting a war across time itself against an unknown adversary. Pretty cool, huh? So how come the story is little more than a clever idea devoid of the details and development that would lead it to actually being more than just a clever idea? Then again, maybe it is me, as I never feel time travel is written in any way that I can accept as potentially believable.

FBP (Federal Bureau of Physics) (vol 1-2): The Paradigm Shift & Wish You Were Here - Simon Oliver

This world is a lot like ours, except the laws of physics are more like unenforceable suggestions. The FBP is the government agency designed to investigate and attempt to rectify problems such as quantum tornadoes, random wormholes, time shifts, and the occasional loss of gravity. Agent Adam Hardy is a real ladies man (although I'm uncertain why or how) and is looking for his long lost father; unfortunately for him, so is a criminal multinational corporation. There's more to this story, of course, it took the entire first trade just to set up the world and the main character and introduce the sassy, sexy, sociopathic, female sidekick, but I'm unfortunately not really into it. Maybe in part because of the art by Robbi Rodriguez, whose work is just too elongated and faces too indistinct for me, or maybe, as I said, the fact that it took forever to set up our main story line. FBP

The Whisperer in Darkness

Oddly, the HP Lovecraft Historical Society decided to take a classic tail of his and turn it into an action adventure thriller. But purists be damned, I really like this! For all its flaws (and there're plenty) it still is perhaps one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and I would recommend it to Lovecraft fans and really just about anyone. I don't want to give too much away so let me just state that it is about a scholarly skeptic who goes in search of discovering the truth behind legends of mysterious flying monsters hidden in the hills of Vermont. The special features are also worth watching for some interesting insights and they aren't too long which is good, just don't watch them before the movie itself. 

Snow Piecer (vol. 1): The Escape - Jacques Lob

I have no idea why there's any press behind this title; it is about a train carrying the survivors of humanity and is divided into classes, in other words, is it pretty uninspired metaphor of class struggles. Most of the comic is about an escapee who comes from the tail end and it is taken through the various train cars to meet the president towards the front. It is much more silly than poignant. Apparently, there's a crappy movie based on it, which, like the other volumes in this series, I will not be participating in. snow piecer

Zazuu's Quest

It has been a while since I've posted any reviews of games so I might as well (re)start now. Zazuu's Quest is a very simple two to four player card game best for kids (or total stoners, I suppose) wherein you try to collect cards necessary to fill nine slots with other cards to hinder other players as well as help yourself, the idea being that Zazuu got separated from the rest of his fleet and needs to find his way back home. Apparently, there's a whole series of games that are either similar in idea or complexity (if not genre), which I think is a good thing. Thanks to Kaitie for getting me this. Zazuu's quest

Children of Dune - Frank Herbert

Ok, this one was pretty bad. The focus is obviously on the twin kids of the god-hero of the desert planet that controls the spice (that which allows for accurate space travel) and there is trouble with Alia being possessed (again, Frank, do you have to tell us from the start that there is no possible way this isn't true? Can't you allow some mystery?) and there is a heretical preacher who we are basically told is that same god-hero (again, Frank, do you have to tell us from the start that there is (almost) no possible way this isn't true? Can't you allow some mystery?) causing trouble, and some other less interesting stuff going on. I originally liked it as I was interested in the idea of an empire that was collapsing on itself, but didn't find enough focus on those details. There is still more to this series and I should probably stop, but you know me.

Space: 1999: Aftershock and Awe - Gaska and Morrow

I vaguely remember the existence of this 70s television show, and perhaps even the flash of a memory or two, but nothing solid. It obviously was never as popular as Star Trek & Wars or Battlestar. Still, I wanted to like this comic and thought it might be good to have some sci-fi in the medium. Unfortunately, I don't see how this will do it. It is based, naturally enough, on the pilot, with some extra stories from the point of view of the Earth left behind after a tragic explosion on the moon throws it into deep space stranding several hundred refugees with no hope of return (and devastating the entire planet Earth, although I don't know if that was touched on in the show). The problem here is that the authors don't seem to understand the comic book format. Let's ignore that the art is rather weak with dull coloring; nothing to capture the imagination. The comic is incredibly wordy; each panel is filled with exposition, in a vain attempt to introduce a dozen or so characters. As I said, I wanted this comic to succeed, but I can't understand how anyone expected this version to do so. [This image is actually sideways but I think it works better for this post.]Space 1999

Trees (vol 1): In Shadow - Warren Ellis

I can't say this was an actively bad comic, I'm just not sure what to make of it. In the future, these alien pylon-like structures that we call "trees" just crashed down on various parts of the world. Seemingly impervious and completely oblivious, they occasionally pour out toxic destruction, but otherwise appear to do nothing. The story follows several different people and their relationship to the trees. So far the comic seems to be symbolic for an uncaring universe or the way we treat weeds and insects (or both). At the same time, there's a hint of some other meaning (?) going on. Now here's the thing, not to be too much of a spoiler, but almost none of the lives we follow seem to matter. I don't need a comic book to remind me of an uncaring universe, so if that's the direction of this, I certainly can skip it, yet if it's supposed to have some larger plot line, after eight issues there should've been more of a hint of one. I don't see myself continuing with this. trees

Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert

I know he said just a couple days ago that I wasn't going to read this sequel the science fiction classic Dune, but I need something to read on the train and I wound up reading it in a weekend. I did liked it better than the first book, this one focusing on Paul, a one-time fugitive aristocrat, who now has turned his fanatical Arab--sorry, free men--sorry, Fremen desert people into a brutal intergalactic Empire, where he is God-Emperor and the death toll is in the tens of billions and rising. The story focuses on intrigues to overthrow him and his coming to terms with what he has created. It is a fast read, and has much that is interesting, but I still find my self asking "why did we just skip over/ drop this major character/event?" and am uncertain why this is often considered the greatest science-fiction series ever. dune

ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For The End Times - Andrew Maclean

The physical quality of this book is quite good: thick pages, nice coloring, a certain style of art (Japanese influenced?) that I really appreciate, all bodes well. However, the plot and character development has much to be desired. There's this girl on a mission to find something, and she's working on a robot, and there's this cat, and a lot of Mad Max mutants, a bunch of opera, and quite frankly none of it is very interesting or exciting, which is really a shame. apocalyptiGirl

Dune - Frank Herbert

It would seem the movie I saw many, many years ago made some very bizarre choices in terms of what to include or not include (or just make up) from the book, a book that I've heard friends talking about for also many, many years. Therefore, when my building book exchange had this first part in the series, I decided to finally see what all the talk was about. I went through the first hundred pages very quickly, as it is often quick moving, intriguing, and exciting, but by the time I was 300 pages in I really started to slow down for the next 200+. The tale largely revolves around Lawrence of Arabia--sorry--Paul, the perhaps messianic son of a Duke (did I mention the story merges a feudal society with interstellar science fiction and religious overtones?) who is sent to replace their hated rivals, lead by Baron Harkonnen (I do like the way he's portrayed in the movie), as head of the incredibly desolate, but vitally important, planet Arrakis, where spice is mined that allows interstellar flight (how they got to the planet without spice to begin with, is only explained in the appendix). We are told almost immediately that the Duke and all his plans will be destroyed, leaving us with about 200 pages of false suspense, jumping far too quickly into a whole bunch of stuff of Paul being a magical hero, and finally culminating by skimming over a whole lot of potentially interesting scenes. Undoubtedly, the repulsive Harkonnens are the most fun to read about, but most of the time we deal with a glorified version of Arab desert culture--the book came out in 1965 so the stolen words and romanticized, orientalist ideas was probably largely unnoticed. I'm certainly glad I read this book, but it seems unlikely that I will read its sequels, especially as I hear that the final one appears to be a set up for a conclusion Herbert would, sadly, not live to write.

Cowboys & Aliens

How did this get pitched? "Ok, so we got this cowboy, and he has this weird tech device on his wrist, but he doesn't know what it is 'cause he has amnesia, right? and these aliens--space ones that is--are abducting people, and every single cliche you could think of is part of the plot, and despite the action it's all really boring!" "Hmmmm, but does it make any sense?" "None!" "Then let's make a movie." If the comic this is based on is only partially this bad, the books need to be burned.

Jupiter Ascending

Often very pretty to look at, I'm not sure I can really tell you what this movie is about. Mila Kunis is very pretty and attempts (and fails) to play the title role of Jupiter, who is secretly queen of some intergalactic empire (that's actually pretty much very evil), and some very pretty guy, who is in a lot of dance and stripper movies, runs/flies around on high tech rollerblades while trying to protect her, and really it all is very pretty, bad that is. It attempts to be an action movie, a sci-fi adventure, and a Cinderella story, all rolled into one, but what that "one" is I pretty much have very little idea.

The Land That Time Forgot - Edgar Rice Burroughs

The three part novel from 1918 should be classified as science fiction, but in our modern era it feels a bit more like fantasy. The creator of Tarzan brings us a very imaginative tale of evolution, mystery, (casual racism and sexism,) and action that is his trademark. A group of Brits, Americans, and Germans come across a hidden island filled with prehistoric people and animals and all the dangers such a place entails. There is certainly a lot to enjoy with this story, but I realize that I wish I read it as a younger man, when I could get more wrapped up in the excitement and less on the critique. As is, I was annoyed that certain parts (such as the trip to the island) are given dominance when I want to hear about others (such as the island!), and the ending of the third part kind of undermines major events of the previous two. To give credit where due, the novel is heavily influenced by other sci-fi works of almost the same name. Part of me wanted to read this as I have a vague recollection of watching on TV the 1975 movie version of this written in part by Michael Moorcock, which fascinated me even if I don't remember much of it. I doubt I'll ever see that movie as I'm sure to hate it and it is (perhaps) better to have the dream. 

Alex + Ada (vol 1-2) - Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

The series is slow-moving and somewhat quiet (not a lot of words or actions on a page), which is not a criticism, but I'm still at a loss for how I truly feel about it. Alex is a nice, good looking, guy whose fiancé walked out on him without explanation, and his rather rich, and far too sexually open, grandmother buys him an android. Considering this world is filled with robots, it's pretty clear this model's purpose is purely sexual. True to sci-fi conventions, he unlocks her artificial intelligence, making her sentient, and true to the romance conventions they fall in love. I'm not sure what I expected, either the realistic thing would occur and the now sentient, never aging, beauty will run off and live her life: the end, or the fairy tale will occur where they fall in love (what is it about either of them that is appealing beyond physical attraction?) and the story has at least the possibility of continuing. The latter, naturally, had to take place and the story shifts to one that deals with robot rights (another sci-fi convention). I guess there just isn't enough here that's new, or different, or exciting to keep me interested. Which is a shame as the writing and art are fine, but as I said, not enough to entice me. I guess I do know how I feel. Alex + Ada

Men In Black 3

The super secret agents that defend against and hides from the world alien threats are back (well, this review is a little old). Unlike the second movie which, like the second Terminator movie, was the same plot of their respective originals, this third movie deals with agent J having to travel back in time to stop an assassination attempt against his partner, agent K. It's Ok: some laughs, some fun, some weird aliens, but the series seems to have played itself out.