Thursday, June 16, 2011

Surrey with the Fringe on top

So we finished season two of Fringe and we continued to enjoy it although it scored fairly highly on the scoff -ometer. The season finale had the team crossing over to the parallel universe and meeting their opposite numbers. It was fun and lively stuff. The differences between the two Earths were interesting.

For a comics geek it was entertaining to see the subtly different versions of certain classic comic book covers. You can see the parallel universe versions at the bottom of Polite Scott's review page here but note that the text contains spoilers so don't read what's above. Just look at the pretty images and see what Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns became in the other world.

Although it is not the most striking of the images one of the most interesting is the cover for the other version of Crisis on Infinite Earths 7. This was a series all about parallel worlds in the DC comics "Multiverse" so it was an obvious choice for the Fringe creators to include in the framed comic books on the wall of Peter's other apartment.

And now we have to wait for Fringe 3 which is released in September. I've already flogged season 1 and 2 on Amazon marketplace. It is an enjoyable show but it is the X-Files. I may have mentioned that already as well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Full Steam Ahead

Now onto my next kindle book which is some steampunk. Won't give the title away just yet but watch this space for a review.

In the meantime however the best steampunk around is still Scarlet Traces. Did I happen to mention a most excellent annotations site for that at all?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stand and Deliver

Finished The Dead. Much as I predicted except the set up for the third book in the trilogy suggests it is going to turn into Stephen King's mammoth post-apocalyptic novel The Stand.

However, respect to Charlie Higson for the clever introductory video on his web-site. Nice author interview!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Walking Dead

I forgot to mention in my last post that the eternal Zombie cycle was neatly summed up in this one page parody of Robert Kirkman's popular Walking Dead comic.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

They're coming to get you, Barbara!

Currently reading The Dead by Charlie Higson which is a young adult novel targeted at teenage readers. It's yet another addition to the ever popular Zombie genre. The twist in Higson's book is that everyone over the age of 14 has developed an illness that turns them into rampaging, cannibalistic "Sickos". The young protagonists have to fight for survival as the adults come after them again and again.

I haven't read any of Charlie Higson's other books. I might get to his young James Bond series at some point, I'm quite interested in the various Bond books written by other authors (I'll probably read the new Jeffery Deaver when the price drops). I've heard Higson talk with great affection for the Bond mythos. His description of the Casino Royale re-boot as being an extended pre-credits sequence during which 007 acquires his gun, suit, drink, theme tune and signature introductory name line seemed very apt.

Anyway, back to The Dead and its breathless non-stop sequences of Zombie attack, escape, re-grouping, a brief period of respite and existential angst followed by Zombie attack and rinse and repeat. I admit I'm partial to Zombie movies, comics and TV shows, but they do all share this same pattern. And, of course, they all have an inbuilt pessimistic outcome. You know it's all going to end badly. In recent years the only example that managed to pull off a vaguely happy ending was the rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead.

I may be wrong but The Dead seems set for a more traditionally gloomy ending that will probably set up the third book in the series. There is a sort of Lord of the Flies feel to it with the main characters being boys from a private boarding school (their leader is even called Jack), but I suspect there won't be a rescue plane and a reassuring adult at the end of this book. However there is the usual grim fascination in reading on to find out who survives and who gets chomped on.

I'll tweet when I'm finished and let you know if my opinion has changed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Doomed, All Doomed!

Coming up on our British Invaders schedule is the 1970s BBC show Doomwatch about a group of scientists who act as environmental watchdogs and have to deal with a variety of "science gone wrong" disasters. It's an interesting show and one of the Beeb's biggies from that era and I'm looking forward to our discussion. But I'm going to break one of our unwritten rules (sorry, Brian) and mention something in advance of our recording.

Of the original 38 original episodes 26 survive, thanks largely to the Canadian TV network who returned their copies after the BBC had wiped the master tapes. A couple of episodes were released on VHS tapes and a single DVD release which has since been deleted. It's an important show with a message that seems just as relevant today as when it was first broadcast. So why doesn't the BBC release all the surviving episodes on DVD? I'm sure it would sell and the absence of a complete box set mystifies me. Maybe there is a copyright issue or something like that.

For more on this subject subscribe to our iTunes feed and listen out for our Doomwatch episodes in a couple of months. And for more information on Doomwatch itself check out the excellent

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Pod People are here

A quick listing of some podcasts I listen to.

Fighting Talk and the Mayo & Kermode film reviews, both from Radio 5 live were my gateway drug to podcasting. Fighting Talk continues to be hilarious, especially since Colin Murray took over the presenting. Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode are starting to bore me a bit with their endless bickering.

The Slice of SciFi podcast got me into British Invaders although I don't listen to Slice any more. I do listen to and enjoy The Time Vault's continuing journey through all of Doctor Who plus Hammer horror and The Avengers.

Comic Geek Speak and Waiting for the Trade cover my comic book needs. And the ladies at the Little Finish podcast keep me up to date with the Big Finish audio dramas that I don't listen to.

Radiolab defies categorisation other than to say it's a great science based podcast with terrific production and a huge audience.

I've recently started listening to the Science Fiction Book Review podcast where one guy basically rants about the books he reads. I've just cherry picked his reviews for books I have actually read myself and usually enjoy his rantings.

Alan Davies and pals are just as hilarious as Fighting Talk on the subject of their beloved Arsenal ( a sort of side interest for me)

Dave Gorman and Adam and Joe are the two best radio comedy shows that I regularly listen to.

And that's about it, although that's plenty. I would of course say that the best of the bunch is British Invaders!

Plus that you should check out our fine friends at the Geek Culture Network.

And those Pod people? Well of course they are from Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers which has been made into at least 4 different films all with different cultural interpretations of what the invaders represent.