Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of August 11, 2014

As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

AceSkulls“The Ace of Skulls: A Tale of the Ketty Jay” by Chris Wooding

The intrepid crew of the Ketty Jay have been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They’ve stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a 10,000-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blown up the son of the Archduke. Now they’ve gone and started a civil war.

This time, they’re really in trouble. As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Darian Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He’s got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken. But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they’re going to have to pick a side. It’s a choice they’ll be staking their lives on.

Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed. When the smoke clears, who will be left standing?


Your Cat Can Help You Hack That Wi-Fi

cat hackOf all the recent stories about hacking and the invasion of people’s privacy by the good ol’ government, I’m a bit turned off by news of stolen passwords these days. But this is the best hacking story I’ve ever read, so I’m making an exception. Who doesn’t want to know how to hack Wi-Fi with a cat?

When we were little, my brother tied a transistor radio to our cat’s tail. The idea was that the cat would walk around from room to room, filling the house with music. A lovely idea, in theory. In reality, the cat freaked out and took off running down the stairs, smashing the radio to bits. But a cat collar containing a chip with firmware, Wi-Fi card, GPS, and battery could function much the same way. A cat wears this stuff and moseys around the neighborhood, mapping residents’ Wi-Fi networks and gathering information about any routers that either lack encryption entirely, or would be easy to infiltrate.


The Fifth Element: Watch The Entire Diva Dance Opera

Because your weekend always needs just a little bit more weird-ass singing blue alien, here is exactly that. And if you think I’m talking about that one scene from French action auteur Luc Besson’s 1997 sci-fi opus The Fifth Element where Diva Plavalaguna sings, then you’d be right. This video show her entire performance captured during filming, before all the editing and special effects were added into the mix.

Shot against a green screen during principal photography, Besson’s cameras captured the entire performance in a single take before it was later cut up and spliced in various ways. This was also filmed at the legendary Pinewood Studios in London, England, which you may recognize as the same place that J.J. Abrams and company are currently filming Star Wars: Episode VII for Disney and Lucasfilm—the most recent of many that have come to life within these hallowed halls. If those walls could talk, right?


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hit Hard At The Box Office Last Night

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not a good movie (and I seem to dislike it far less than most, just read Nick’s review here). There are a handful of positive reviews floating around out there, but even those are far from glowing. Still, some movies are critic proof, and it certainly appears that Jonathan Liebesman’s franchise reboot is one of them. The film dominated the box office last night, earning an estimated $25.6 million, which puts it on pace to bring in more than $60 million for the weekend.

Compared to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which earned $94 million last weekend, that may not sound overly impressive, but considering that one film has been almost universally praised, while the other almost universally panned, that’s an accomplishment (Guardians sits at a 92% “Fresh” rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, while TMNT sits at 20%.) The Heroes in a Half Shell’s take more than doubled that of Guardians last night—the space adventure added $12.5 million, which puts in on pace for a $45 million weekend, a serious drop off after it’s record-breaking opening.


Doctor Who Becomes A Saturday Morning Cartoon In This New Video

What if, instead of simply replacing Matt Smith with another actor, Doctor Who decided it was time for something a little more drastic, and relaunched the show as a Saturday morning cartoon. I guess it could also be a spinoff, but I like the idea of completely taking the show and animating it, but maybe that’s just me. Regardless of how you envision it, a Doctor Who cartoon might look a lot like this video.

The translation makes a certain amount of sense. Over the course of it’s 50 year existence, the show has widely been regarded as children’s programming (when has that ever stopped us from obsessing about a show, movie, or book?), and you know what kids seem to like? Cartoons, that’s what. To be honest, I’m a little surprised this hasn’t happened for real at some point. It seems like someone would have tried to get this off the ground over the years, and it seems tailor-made for animation. We’ve already got comic books, and Smith’s version was more than a little toon-y to begin with.


The Giver: Taylor Swift Plays A Holographic Piano In This New Clip

Adorable pop star Taylor Swift only has a handful of acting credits on her resume—there are currently five listed on IMDb—and her most substantial role to date is going to be in director Phillip Noyce’s (Salt) adaptation of Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel The Giver. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a huge role, but there’s definitely more meat than her cameo on Fox’s sitcom New Girl or as a voice in The Lorax. She plays Rosemary, and you can meet her for the first time in this new clip, and guess what, they get her to sit down at a piano and sing.

Apparently Rosemary has much less of a presence that I initially thought. Like she doesn’t even have a body, appearing here only as a hologram. When Jeff Bridges’ character, the titular Giver, says “She no longer exists,” that’s really just a nice way of saying she’s dead as all hell. I haven’t read Lowry’s book, but now I’m curious how this deceased girl, who only exists as a three dimensional trick of light, plays into the story, and what kind of role she has. It seems likely that her story will serve as a cautionary tale.