Battlestar Galactica LARPers In Sweden Borrow A Retired Naval Destroyer For Massive Make-Believe Session

LARPing, short for “Live Action Role-Playing,” is one of those fandom subcultures that inevitably pops up at any decently sized convention. They’re the people dressed like vampires lurking in the hotel bar. They’re the folks with foam weaponry sprinting across the park yelling “Fireball!” But for any LARPers out there who think your organized make-believe events are without equal, I’m afraid some folks in Sweden just raised the bar in a serious way. How high, you ask? We’re talking three weekends, a $160,000 budget, and a retired naval destroyer. Go big or go home.

The massive LARP event unfolded this part March, during which the destroyer in question stood in for the Monitor Celestra, a ship referenced but never actually seen onscreen in Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica reboot. The event’s writers — yes, it had writers — came up with 140 new characters and a twisty storyline involving military boarding parties and that old BSG standard, undercover Cylons! They even had networked computers simulating BSG’s “DRADIS” sensors and other futuristic shipboard functions.


Giant Freakin’ Convention Calendar: Week Of 6/3/13

ComicConWelcome to the Giant Freakin’ Convention Calendar! We’ll be your one-stop source for the science fiction/comic/etc. conventions happening during any given week.

Lauren Beukes — Scottsdale, AZ (June 5)
Beukes just earned some headlines this week when Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company nabbed the TV rights to her novel, The Shining Girls. (Read more about that right here.) She’ll be doing a signing at the Poisoned Pen.

Neil Gaiman and Chipp Kidd — Cambridge, MD (June 5)
Gaiman and Kidd will be signing at the Oberon Theater to promote Make Good Art, based on Gaiman’s speech delivered at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in May 2012. The book version was designed by graphic artist Kidd.

John Scalzi — Lexington, KY (June 5)
Old Man’s War writer John Scalzi will be signing at Booksellers to promote his latest book set in that universe, The Human Division.


Games Workshop Can’t Keep Space Marine Book Off Amazon

You might remember last February, when we ran a story about how Games Workshop had approached Amazon and asked the online retailer stop selling a book entitled Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler, penned by writer M.C.A. Hogarth. GW’s objection came because they claimed to own the trademark on the phrase “space marine,” specifically related to their Warhammer 40K games. While Games Workshop wasn’t actually pursuing legal action against Amazon or Hogarth at the time, Amazon nonetheless pulled down the e-book edition. Now, some three months later, Amazon has reversed that decision and returned the book to their online catalog.


To be fair, I can see how these two might cause confusion.


Star Wars Pulp-Style Cover Art Puts A Retro Spin On Lucas’ Original Trilogy

PurloinedIt’s no secret that George Lucas’ Star Wars films were heavily influenced by classic sci-fi serials such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. In what you could call the Geek Circle of Life, Lucas’ work has gone on to inspire later generations of creative minds, who both generate new content commenting specifically on Star Wars, or spin off their own new things using their love of Star Wars as a springboard. Artist Timothy Anderson has taken his love of Star Wars not forwards, but backwards, re-imagining the original trilogy’s films with pulp-style “book” art that gives them appropriately retro names, plays up the sex appeal, and tops it all off with some tough-guy cover blurbs that would be right at home in the worlds of Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett.


Mind-Controlled Exoskeleton Could Help Paralyzed People Walk

For people with forms of lower body paralysis, there’s no end in sight for wheelchairs being the optimal way of getting around. But in a few years, the MindWalker Project could be a suitable, if not commonplace, alternative.

While it’s not a way to reverse or treat the paralysis itself, the MindWalker is a full-body exoskeleton that could one day allow those with lower-limb paralysis to walk around using only the power of their minds. It’s nearing the end of a three-year development funded by the European Commission, and over the past eight weeks, five people were able to take part in a clinical trial. The E.C. will provide their review once the trial reaches completion this week.

The system is not ideal just yet, but it works as such: the user wears an EEG cap that measures electrical activity across the scalp, and a pair of special glasses with lenses attached to diodes that flicker at different frequencies. If the person looks to the left, the exoskeleton walks — well, lurches forward would be a better description — and looking to the right causes the machine to stop. The initial problem with this method is that the noise from the machine itself messes with the EEG signal, but the researchers figured out how to get around that problem.


Why Al Pacino Turned Down The Role Of Han Solo

“Hoo-ah! I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money. Hoo-ah!”

I admit I’ve given some thought over the years to alternate dimensions and parallel universes where things are similar how things are now, only with slight changes. And yes, I mostly envision a better life for myself, where regrettable errors went unmade and I didn’t have to drink tequila and bleach every night just to fall asleep. But I would definitely give up the good life just to witness Al Pacino as Han Solo in Star Wars. Seriously, even a bust of Pacino trapped in carbonite would be worth a minor life tragedy or two.

Alas, Pacino as Solo just wasn’t meant to be, but not for a lack of trying on Lucas’ part. The legendary actor was being honored for “An Evening With Pacino,” an intimate interview with Emma Freud in front of a live audience at the London Palladium. Pacino was the wry, clever guy everybody wants to be friends with, and he shared some pretty juicy information about iconic roles that he ended up turning down, including the role of John McClane in Die Hard. Speaking about Bruce Willis, Pacino uttered some of the most confounding words ever spoken.

“I gave that boy a career! You know who else I gave a career to? Harrison Ford in Star Wars. That role was mine for the taking but I couldn’t understand the script.”