Tarkin Is Center Stage As The New Star Wars EU Expands: Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf

This week the new Star Wars Expanded Universe opens up just a little bit more with Tarkin by James Luceno. It’s the second novel in the new EU, following on the heels of the Rebels prequel A New Dawn, which released a few months back. While that book was set during the “dark times” after the massacre of the Jedi order and the ascension of Palpatine to Emperor, Tarkin is set in the days leading up to A New Hope, with the first Death Star still under construction and Tarkin one of the most powerful men in the Empire. As for Luceno, he’s no stranger to the Star Wars universe, having penned Darth Plagueis, the Dark Lord Trilogy, and more.

Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

Tarkin“Star Wars: Tarkin” by James Luceno

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly…and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel — by intimidation…or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin — whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy…and its enemies’ extinction.


This Rover Dressed As A Chick Helps The Study Of Emperor Penguins, Here’s How

penguinbotI’m a sucker for adorable robots, particularly those that emulate animals. I’m not talking about Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog or lightning-fast robotic cheetah, I mean things like robotic kangaroos and sea turtles. Now there’s another one to add to the list, and it may just be my new favorite: the robotic baby emperor penguin.

Emperor penguins are difficult to study—they’re shy and they live in Antarctic. I once saw a David Attenborough wildlife documentary about them, and they’re pretty darn interesting. They’re the tallest and heaviest penguins in the world, and they actually breed during the winter, which in Antarctica is pretty crazy, especially when all the male penguins huddle together incubating their eggs while the females go find food. They go months without eating, forming and reforming their huddle to keep warm, and rotating who gets to be on the inside.


Interstellar Prepares To Take Over Your Week With These Posters, Clips, And More

You may not be aware of this, but Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is going to take over this entire week. The film opens on Wednesday, November 5, in select theaters that can still show actual film, and expands to everywhere on Friday, November 7. You can rest assured that, until then, there will be a nonstop barrage of marketing from Paramount Pictures, just in case you didn’t remember that this massive space adventure was happening. To that end, there is a new poster, another clip, one more TV spot, and some additional photos to peruse. That should help pass the time until Wednesday.

First up, this TV spot gives you all of the basics. Interstellar takes place in a near future where global climate change has progressed to a point where the world will become uninhabitable very soon, like within a generation. In order to ensure our survival, a group of explorers travel through a newly created wormhole in order to search for a new planet to call home.


The Walking Dead Hits The Road And Talks Hair Style In This First Look At Self Help

AMC’s The Walking Dead is back for season 5, and the young season has been strong up to this point, building on the momentum of the final half of season 4. Last night’s episode, “Slabtown,” while not terrible, is the weakest link of the season thus far, which is too bad, because there’s some interesting stuff going on story wise (read my thoughts HERE if you’re so inclined). Hopefully this was just a momentary hiccup, and the show will return to its new form next week. To tease that, the network released a peek at the next installment, “Self Help,” as well as some behind the scenes look at “Slabtown.”

At the moment it looks like season 5 of The Walking Dead is going to pull a similar trick to what they did with the second half of season 4, and split the core group up into smaller factions and focus on one of them each episode. I’m totally on board with that, this strategy provides the opportunity to tell smaller, more in depth story, and allows for more character development.


Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes—Sci-Fi Meets Freak Show

something wicked

“By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes.” ~Shakespeare, Macbeth

I’ve never been shy about admitting my love for Ray Bradbury or for his work. I swear I’m not on a mission to boost his sales or anything like that, it’s just that when I think of classic sci-fi, he’s always the first name that comes to mind. Many people have read Fahrenheit 451, but perhaps not his myriad other books, which means folks are missing out. And since it was just Halloween, it seems like the perfect time to revisit the 1962 classic Something Wicked This Way Comes.


Interstellar Used This Adorable Lo-Fi Trick To Make Anne Hathaway Float In Zero G

Most of us haven’t seen Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar yet, but what we know of the film involves big, bold visuals of deep space, interplanetary travel, and things like wormholes. They’ve even apparently made legitimate scientific breakthroughs when it comes to rendering images of black holes and the like. So when you think of the film, you probably think of all the high tech elements in play, but there is one low-tech, not to mention hilarious and adorable way that they depict the astronauts floating around in zero gravity. And in an age where digital is king, Nolan and company are doing their best to keep film, actual physical film, alive.

Stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, who play astronauts sent through a wormhole to find a new planet for humans to colonize since we’ve ruined ours, stopped by The Graham Norton show to hype the film. Talk turned to the special effects, and while McConaughey discussed flying around on wires, Hathaway demonstrated one lo-fi method they shot the zero g scenes: by having her stand on one leg.