Falling Skies Returns And A New Expanse Novel Hits Shelves: This Week In Science Fiction

Your summer sci-fi TV is here.

By David Wharton | Updated

It’s a busy week on the sci-fi front. NBC’s surprise hit Revolution is wrapping up its freshman season, but three sci-fi series are premiering to help chew up all your DVR space. http://www.tnt.tv/series/fallingskies/”>Falling Skies launches its third season Sunday night, with a two-hour block of episodes that picks up seven months after the events of last summer’s season finale. If TNT’s alien invasion drama isn’t up your alley, the surprisingly fun time-travel series Continuum returns to Syfy for a second season, and audiences on this side of the Pond will finally get to see the zombie series In the Flesh, which got some solid reviews a few months back when it premiered in the U.K.


But honestly, the thing I’m most excited about is the impending release of Abaddon’s Gate, the third book in the thoroughly engrossing Expanse series by James S.A. Corey (actually a pseudonym for writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). I’m in the midst of reading the first installment, 2011’s Leviathan Wakes, and the knowledge that I’ve got two more books in the series ready and waiting for me has me more excited about a sci-fi series in years. If you’re craving some top-notch space opera, I can’t recommend the Expanse books enough.

Defiance (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Good Bye Blue Sky”
The inhabitants of Defiance have to stay indoors as the town is hit with a “Razor Rain” storm. Hopefully not mixed with cats and dogs, because that could get messy.

Revolution (NBC, 10:01c/9:01c) — “The Dark Tower”
NBC’s uneven apocalypse drama will indeed be returning for a second season next fall, so here’s hoping they leave us wanting more. Farscape’s Rockne O’Bannon is joining the writing staff next season, so that makes slightly more optimistic than I otherwise would be.

In the Season 1 finale, the rebels suffer a major loss when they infiltrate the Tower. Miles’ leadership skills and feelings for Nora and Charlie are also put to the test; Aaron’s genius proves beneficial; and Neville and Flynn give new meaning to evil.

Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Instinct”
H.G. Wells is back! The lovely and talented Jaime Murray takes a break from being an albino alien on Defiance to help Pete and Myka track down an artifact that can extract confessions from criminals.

AbaddonAbaddon’s Gate (The Expanse)” by James S.A. Corey
I’m late on this bandwagon, but I’m currently about halfway through the first book in “The Expanse” series. It’s a rollicking good space opera with a richly imagined future in which we’ve spread out to Mars and the asteroids, but have yet to leave our home system. Unfortunately, something from out there has found its way to us…

For generations, the solar system — Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt — was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus’s orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark.

Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.

Bang Goes the Theory (BBC America, 9/8c)
The show’s sixth season premieres tonight with three episodes back-to-back. They’ll investigate topics such as why gas costs so much and what negative effects the noise of modern life might be having on us.

Eve Online: Odyssey (PC)
I’ve never allowed myself to play Eve Online, mainly because by most accounts it’s the sort of thing that will totally overtake your life if it lures you in. That being said, I’m sure all the die-hard fans already know that Odyssey, the game’s nineteenth free expansion, is arriving on Tuesday. If you somehow hadn’t heard, here’s what’s in store:

Odyssey, offers new tools for exploring the stars, challenges you to breach the unknown for adventure and rewards, and to face what lies on the other side. A re-imagined scanning system, intuitive navigation and new exploration modules will aid you as you search the heavens for your next conquest. Some will encounter sites never discovered before, and others will be confronted with intriguing tests of skill and resolve. Ample rewards await those that return from their journeys with ships intact.

AfireEarth Afire (The First Formic War)” by Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
With the big-screen adaptation of Ender’s Game due in theaters in November, there’s no surprise another installment of the prequel trilogy is about to hit shelves. Earth Afire is the second of three books that will make up the Formic War trilogy.

One hundred years before Ender’s Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. This is the story of the First Formic War.

Victor Delgado beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. Not soon enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat. They didn’t believe that until space stations and ships and colonies went up in sudden flame.

And when that happened, only Mazer Rackham and the Mobile Operations Police could move fast enough to meet the threat.

Fans of Ender’s Game will thrill to Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston’s Earth Afire.

Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season (Blu-Ray & DVD)
As we pointed out above, Falling Skies returns on Sunday night for a third season, but it’s not too late to cram in a marathon if you haven’t checked the show out yet. The show is still uneven, but the events of season two suggest it might finally be hitting its stride.

Mad Max Trilogy (Blu-Ray)
I’m kind of surprised to see this collection hitting shelves now, as opposed to sometime next year. That’s when we’ll finally get a look at the new, long-in-the-works sequel, Mad Max: Fury Road. Still, I suppose there’s no bad time for high-def post-apocalyptic fun, and you can remember a simpler time, when Mel Gibson’s insanity wasn’t nearly as noticeable.

Remember Me (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Set in “Neo-Paris” of 2084, Remember Me casts players as Nilin, a “memory hunter who can, as you might expect, steal people’s memories. She can even alter people’s memories, a power that will no doubt play a major component of gameplay. Sadly, the early reviews are only so-so.

ShiningThe Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes
Summary via Amazon:


“The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.”

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

Warm Bodies (Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download)
I called Warm Bodies lukewarm at best back in February, and I very much doubt four months have made it any better. If you’ve got a hollow pit in your stomach that can only be filled by middle-of-the-road teen romance wrapped in genre trappings, be my guest. Or just watch anything on The CW next fall.

MythBusters (Discovery, 9/8c) — “Motorcycle Water Ski”
I was going to look up this episode’s synopsis to get the relevant details, but no. No, I think “Motorcycle Water Ski” tells us everything we need to know.

Through the Wormhole (Science, 10/9c) — “When Does Life Begin?”
The Science Channel’s rather addictive science show returns for a fourth season, still asking the big questions and still hosted by Morgan Freeman.

In the Flesh (BBC America, 10/9c) — “Part One”
There was a lot of good buzz for this British series earlier in the year, and now we’re finally getting the chance to see it here Stateside. Set in the aftermath of a zombie plague, In the Flesh presents a more optimistic view than most of its genre fellows, with mankind still very much alive and kicking. The zombies — excuse me, sufferers of “partially deceased syndrome” — are even being rehabilitated back into society. Naturally, it’s not that easy, given that there’s a good chance they ate their neighbors before being rehabilitated.

Continuum (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Second Chances”
Good news if you got hooked on this Canadian import on Syfy a few months back. Season 2 kicks into gear tonight, with Kiera (Rachel Nichols) still stuck in our present/her past, this time investigating the murder of a mayor.

Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz, 9/8c) — “The Lovers”
The first season of David Goyer’s history-bending series wraps up tonight, with Leonardo finally learning the location of the Book of Leaves. Don’t worry if there are any cliffhangers; the show has been renewed for a second season.

In the Flesh (BBC America, 10/9c) — “Part Two”
Part two airs tonight, then the three-part series wraps up on Saturday. I’ll get them all DVR’ed then binge through them all at once.

The Purge (In theaters)
This movie is a huge downer for a friend of mine who’s been developing a very similar concept for years. Lesson learned, people: don’t let those great ideas just simmer. Get them written, drawn, programmed, filmed, etc. A great idea ain’t worth bupkis. A great execution of a great idea, however… In the meantime, watch The Purge and try not to think too hard about this flick’s world where all crime is legal one night a year.

In the Flesh (BBC America, 10/9c) — “Part Three”
Aaaaand that’s a wrap.

Primeval: New World (Syfy, 10/9c) — “The New World”
Feeling sad now that your Saturday-night fix of Doctor Who and/or Orphan Black is missing? Try out this new sequel series that relocates the Primeval premise to North America. New World follows a Canadian team that tracks and combats vicious critters being dumped onto the streets of Vancouver through temporal anomalies.

Wizards vs. Aliens (The Hub, 7:30/6:30c)
We likely won’t be getting any new Torchwood anytime soon, but the kids in your life might be amused by this show from Torchwood creator Russell T Davies. Given that might kids aren’t old enough to enjoy it and the trailer makes it look like bad Harry Potter fan fiction come to life, we’ll be skipping this one in the Wharton household.

Falling Skies (TNT, 9/8c) — “On Thin Ice / Collateral Damage”
You get two episodes back-to-back as TNT’s alien invasion drama returns for a third season. “Season 3 opens seven months following the group’s arrival in Charleston, S.C. Tom has been elected to office, yet one of his decisions creates tension; Hal deals with vivid nightmares; and Tom and Anne prepare for their baby.”