Comic Review: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Issue #3

Doctor WhoBy now we’re well into the reign of Time Lord number twelve on Doctor Who, played with swagger and an edge of dickishness by Peter Capaldi. Still, there are likely some, possibly many, of you out there who miss the human cartoon that was Matt Smith’s eleventh incarnation of the character. But fear not, that version of the long-lived, beloved character is still alive and well, albeit in a drastically different form, that of comic books. It does actually seem like a fitting medium for a rendering of Smith, and the newly minted continuing series is back with issue #3, “What He Wants…” and it has what you need.

Over the course of the previous two issues, the Doctor picked up a new travelling companion, a sarcastic, unemployed librarian named Alice, who has, thus far, fit into his adventures rather nicely. She’s shown she can handle herself in a tight spot or two, and that trend continues in this latest outing. Issues #1 and #2 have been more episodic in nature, like standalone installments of the show, but now you start to get a larger narrative arc coming into play, which was something of a worry before. As fun as these separate escapades can be, your attention was going to start wandering before long.


Star Wars: Episode VII Details Emerge About Daisy Ridley And Max Von Sydow

Star WarsStar Wars Rebels debuts on Disney Channel this weekend, or possibly you’ve already seen it via other avenues (we saw it and it is totally fun and feels very much like actual Star Wars), and as such, that’s where the bulk of the Star Wars news has been coming lately. But don’t, for one second, think that we’ve forgotten about Star Wars: Episode VII, because we know that you haven’t. And to be honest, as much as we enjoyed Rebels, it’s the movies that we’re really excited for, and there are some interesting tidbits floating around on that front.

As usual, the SPOILER rule is in effect. What waits beyond this point could ruin certain things from the film, or they could turn out to be complete and utter bullshit. So read on at your own risk, and take these reports with a grain of salt.


Interstellar Kip Thorne Featurette Explores The Science Of Deep Space

Earlier today, we saw yet another stunning new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a film that continues to look better and better the closer we get, to the point where we’re about to break out the camping equipment and sleep out in front of our local IMAX movie theater. With the tidal wave of marketing, which is still dwarfed by that massive, mountain-sized all of water we’ve seen in the footage, that’s not all we get today, there’s an interactive website for you to poke around on, and one of the things you can find is a featurette that delves into the physics and science of the film.

Nolan is nothing of not meticulous in his filmmaking, and as he says in this video, every film has to have a rigid set of rules to adhere to, an internal logic that lends a sense of coherence to the work. In a movie like Interstellar, you better believe a large part of that involves actual science and scientific laws and principles. To that end, the production employed Kip Thorne, a noted physicist as its scientific advisor.


Clarkesworld Kickstarter Aims To Translate And Publish Chinese Sci-Fi

clarkesworldHow much science fiction have you seen or read that comes from places outside of North America or Britain? Well, there’s other European sci-fi such as Karel Capek, who gave us the word “robot” in his play RUR. There’s Stanislaw Lem from Poland. There’s a glut of Australian and Kiwi sci-fi writers, and Russia seems to be covered too (Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We inspired some of the ideas in Brave New World). But apparently, science fiction is skyrocketing (no pun intended) in China. It makes perfect sense given the influence technology has on China’s culture. What surprises me, though, is that I can’t think of a single work of science fiction by a Chinese author — in fact, it seems I haven’t read any. For someone who reads, writes about, and teaches sci-fi, this seems like a major oversight. The editors of ClarkesWorld magazine agree, which is why they’ve launched a Kickstarter to raise money to translate and publish them.


Our Brains Absorb Print And E-Books Differently

booksI’ll admit to having become a fairly recent Kindle convert, with one major caveat: I only use the Kindle when I’m traveling. I’ve been known to stuff my rucksack with at least a half-dozen books, and they do add an unwieldy heft. So when my mom gave me a Kindle a few years back, I resisted until July, when I downloaded a dozen books and set off for my travels with only a guidebook in the form of paperback reading. Nowadays, half of my students use Kindles or e-readers instead of actual paper books, which I tell them isn’t a great idea — annotations work differently (if at all with an e-reader), and when we’re talking about what happens on page 68 in class, they’ll have no idea where that is in their version. They don’t buy my argument that I think we read better and deeper from paper books. But maybe now they’ll consider it, given that a recent study found that those who read on a Kindle were far worse at remembering the timeline of events in the plot of a story.


Star Wars Rebels Review: The Spark You Need To Get Pumped For Star Wars Again

Rebels1It’s that time. We finally have our first addition to the Star Wars canon in the Disney-owned Lucasfilm era, with the animated series Star Wars Rebels. The premiere episode, “Spark of Rebellion,” recently debuted, and it’s a damn good time, setting the stage for a series that looks to be a ton of fun. Definitely aimed at kids, but never in the cheap, cloying way that George Lucas’ prequels were, kids are absolutely going to flip their wigs over this, but at the same time there’s more than enough here to keep you interested and watching right along with them. It isn’t the movies we’ve been waiting for, but it just might tide you over until Episode VII drops next December.

Rebels is far more in line with the original trilogy than the much maligned Episodes I, II, and III, thankfully. More than anything else, this has the look and feel that you love so much about Star Wars in the first place. There’s that sense of the swashbuckling action that Lucas originally lifted from the movie serials of his youth, and high adventure is definitely the order of the day. It’s hard not to grin like an idiot as the characters battle with dimwitted stormtroopers and dodge Imperial forces. There are TIE Fighters, Star Destroyers, lightsabers, and the fact that they use John Williams’ trademark score only drives home the fact that you’re watching NEW FREAKIN’ STAR WARS.