Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin Teaser Trailer Mystifies And Unnerves

Jonathan Glazer is a visually dynamic director with a short filmography. He has only made two movies in the last 13 years, with his third arriving almost 10 years after his second. His last film — Birth, starring Nicole Kidman — was released in 2004, a strange horror film that is completely unsettling. Next up for Glazer is Under the Skin, which stars Scarlett Johansson and dives deep into the science fiction genre. Under the Skin‘s first teaser trailer has arrived, and it has the unnerving tone that Glazer is known for delivering.

I’ve watched this trailer a few times, and I’m not sure what the hell is going on here. Under the Skin is the film adaptation of Dutch author Michel Faber’s critically acclaimed sci-fi novel. It follows Isserley (Scarlett Johansson), an extraterrestrial who is sent to Earth to pick up careless hitchhikers in Northern Scotland. Once she seduces and drugs them, Isserley fattens and mutilates her victims to turn them into meat — which is a delicacy on her dystopian home planet — for an evil alien corporation.


Sci-Fi Grand Master Frederik Pohl Dies At The Age Of 93

Frederik PohlScience fiction Grand Master Frederik George Pohl, Jr passed away on September 2, 2013, at the age of 93. Pohl was an accomplished science fiction author, editor, agent, and above all, a fan of the genre. He died due to respiratory failure, but was still an active writer through the final weeks of his life. His work can be read on his blog, which will continue to be active, as the website states that there’s a “thick file” of Pohl’s work that will continue to be shared with the world.

Frederik Pohl was born on November 26, 1919, in New York City. He was a science fiction fan in his early years and attended the first sci-fi convention in Philadelphia in 1936. Pohl was also one of the founding members of the Futurians and the Hydra Club. From 1939-43, he was editor of two pulp magazines, Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories, which is where he began his long career. His style was known for “embracing its pulpiest tendencies” of the sci-fi genre.

After World War II, Pohl became a literary agent who at one point was “representing more than half the successful writers in science fiction.” Pohl was the literary agent of fellow science fiction Grand Master Isaac Asimov. He later became a a copywriter and book editor for Popular Science.


Firefly Returns…In Comic Book Form

WheresSerenityFans of Joss Whedon’s all-too-short sci-fi series Firefly have been campaigning for more adventures from Mal and the rest pretty much from the moment Fox canceled the damn thing. And all that attention did work in a way: we got Serenity, a big-screen bit of closure that was both awesome and characteristically heartbreaking for some of our favorite characters. But the Browncoats still didn’t want to accept that their favorite show was dead, and over the years there have been countless rumors about how Firefly might return as another movie, or a new show on Netflix, and so on. One medium where Firefly has enjoyed an extended life has been on the comics page, and now it looks like the crew of Serenity will be returning in that form once again.

Dark Horse Comics has published numerous Firefly/Serenity comics in the past, including mini-series, one-shots, and short stories. Now Dark Horse has begun teasing a new Firefly project (projects?), posting the above image and the following announcement on their blog:

Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly series and Serenity film’s lifespan may have been short-lived, but managed to produce one of the most dedicated fanbases in the history of modern science fiction. Dark Horse is proud to be able to keep Mal and his crew flying with new comics and products. Look for the hashtag #WheresSerenity over the next few months on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for exclusive news on the future of the franchise at Dark Horse!


Gene Modification Used To Extend Mice Lifespans By 20 Percent

mouseWhen I watched Don Bluth’s adaptation of Robert C. O’Brien’s The Secret of NIMH when I was a kid, my subconscious vision of the future involved a lot of genetically modified mice running around, hoarding intelligence in their little mice brains. But while science hasn’t necessarily turned rodents into geniuses yet, they have cloned them using limited means — quite quite a few times, actually — and now researchers at the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have
manipulated a single gene in order to extend the mouse’s lifespan by 20 percent. The study appears in a recent edition of the journal Cell Reports, and includes some additional work done by intramural researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institute on Aging.

The research team, led by Toren Finkel M.D., Ph.D., from the NHLBI, focused the efforts on a gene called mTOR, one that is key in balancing metabolism and energy, and which may also be related to the increased lifespan associated with reducing caloric intake. The scientists altered some mice genes so that only 25 percent of the usual mTOR protein was produced, which is around the baseline for survival. The test mice were, on average, smaller than normal, but that was the only difference.


Kevin Feige Plays Down The Guardians of the Galaxy/Star Wars Comparisons

GotG is NOT Star WarsGuardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studios’ first entry into a larger cosmic universe. If the fourth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two is a hit with general audiences, there’s no telling how deep Marvel can dig into their comic book canon for future movies. But while the movie was described early on as being in the vein of Star Wars, Marvel producer Kevin Feige recently said that that comparison isn’t quite right.

In an interview with Empire Magazine, Feige says that they’re not making Marvel’s version of Star Wars with Guardians of the Galaxy. That description originated with comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis, and Guardians director James Gunn has also compared the movie’s human lead, Star-Lord, as a mix between Peter Parker and Luke Skywalker. On the other hand, Feige says:

We’re not making this to make Marvel’s Star Wars. We’re doing this to explore the other side of the existing Marvel Universe. The fact that Peter Quill is a human from our time, that he carries a personal cassette recorder with him, already it’s very different. It’s not a long, time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it’s now in a galaxy far, far away.


2013 Hugo Awards Honor Whedon’s Avengers, Vaughan’s Saga, And More

SagaThe annual Worldcon unfolded this past weekend in San Antonio. Texas, and that means one thing: the Hugo Awards. The Awards have been an annual event since 1955, and they recognize genre excellence across a wide span of categories. This year’s nominees included big-screen epics such as Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and The Cabin in the Woods (which should have won, in my humble opinion), and TV favorites such as Doctor Who and Fringe. Chances are, you love some of the nominees, dislike others, and have never even heard of some of them.

Here’s the full breakdown of this year’s Hugo nominees and winners!

Best Novel