Star Trek #15
IDW Publishing, On Shelves Wednesday
In the wake of J.J. Abrams’ big-screen Star Trek reboot, fans have spent the past three years speculating which stories, characters, or elements from the Original Series might turn up in the sequel, now given the annoyingly colon-free title of Star Trek Into Darkness. What those fans might not know is that the new Trek continuity has been exploring just those questions on the comic page for a while now. This week’s issue of Star Trek gives us a look at nuTrek’s version of one of the franchise’s most iconic elements: the Mirror Universe. Yes, we’ll finally get to see Zachary Quinto with an Evil Goatee, at least in illustrated form. The issue is being overseen by Roberto Orci, one half of the screenwriting team responsible for the new movies.
IDW’s ongoing Star Trek has mixed together original stories and twists on existing TOS episodes such as “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “The Return of the Archons.” Many of these story arcs have deviated a lot from the original episodes, and that’s as it should be. What’s the point of kickstarting a new take on the Trek universe if you are going to do everything the same? Will Spock engage in a heated bout of nerve-pinch-on-nerve-pinch Vulcan action? Will Kirk claim that “it doesn’t count” if he sleeps with all alternate versions of his female crew members? Are most of the Vulcans dead in the Mirror Universe too? We’ve got no idea, but we’ll read to find out.
Revolution (NBC, 10:01/9:01c) – “Kashmir”
Well, here’s an exceedingly odd bit of cross-promotion. Tonight’s episode will feature the Led Zeppelin songs “Kashmir” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” The songs’ usage is designed to help promote the band’s upcoming tour. Product placement is a tricky thing: done well, it feels like an organic part of a show, but done poorly, it stands out like a goiter on your grandmother’s neck (coughcoughChuckSubwaycough). I’m hoping this Revolution ep will fit into the former category. Here’s show creator Eric Kripke gushing: “Anyone who really knows me knows how obsessed I am with Led Zeppelin. So the fact that the band agreed to put two songs in my show is, very seriously, a career high-point.”
“The Ascendant Stars” by Michael Cobley
I haven’t read anything by Cobley, but I’m a sucker for good concept art and I’m feeding a serious craving for literary science fiction lately, so I may have to give this chap a shot. (The cover blurb from Iain M. Banks doesn’t hurt.)
War erupts in the depths of space…
Battle-ready factions converge above Darien, all with the same objective: to control this newly discovered planet and access the powerful weapons at its heart. Despotic Hegemony forces dominate much of known space and they want this world too, but Darien’s inhabitants are determined to fight for their future.
However, key players in this conflict aren’t fully in control. Hostile AIs have infiltrated key minds and have an agenda, requiring nothing less than the destruction or subversion of all organic life. And they are near to unleashing their cohorts, a host of twisted machine intelligences caged beneath Darien. Fighting to contain them are Darien’s hidden guardians, and their ancient ally the Construct, on a millennia-long mission to protect sentient species. As the war reaches its peak, the AI army is roaring to the surface, to freedom and an orgy of destruction.
Darien is first in line in a machine vs. human war — for life or the sterile dusts of space.
Doctor Who: Limited Edition Gift Set (DVD)
If you’ve got a recent Who convert in your life, this could be a perfect Christmas gift. The set includes the first six seasons of the modern incarnation of Doctor Who, with plenty of bonus features, 3 original art cards, a comic book, and even a sonic screwdriver. Who can turn down a sonic screwdriver?
Fringe (Science, 8/7c)
Hot on the heels of airing the Firefly reunion special, the Science Channel is adding another fan-favorite science fiction series to their lineup. Even if you already own Fringe on DVD, Science is providing a few perks to entice you to watch their reruns. Here’s the press release with the info:
Science Channel is airing all five seasons of FRINGE in 2012 and 2013, starting with the network premiere of the two-hour pilot and first episode on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, from 8-11 PM (ET/PT). To celebrate the premiere, Science Channel is continuing season one of FRINGE with daylong marathons on Friday, November 23 from 10:30 AM – 11 PM (ET/PT) and Saturday, November 24 from 11:30 AM – 11 PM (ET/PT). Following the marathon, FRINGE will air regularly every Tuesday night from 8-11 PM (ET/PT) beginning on Tuesday, November 27 with season two.
Featuring leading experts such as Dr. Michio Kaku, Science Channel will examine phenomena such as time travel, dream sharing and parallel universes with the short-form series, “Science of Fringe”. Also, every Tuesday night Science Channel airings of FRINGE will begin with a special appearance by series star John Noble, who will set the stage for the back-to-back-to-back episodes.
“LoveStar” by Andri Snaer Magnason
The official blurb about LoveStar name-drops the works of George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Jorge Luis Borges. That’s a mighty big check to write, but the plot synopsis does sound intriguing…
LoveStar, the enigmatic and obsessively driven founder of the LoveStar corporation, has unlocked the key to transmitting data via birdwaves, thus freeing mankind from wires and devices, and allowing consumerism, technology, and science to run rampant over all aspects of daily life. Cordless modern men and women are paid to howl advertisements at unsuspecting passers-by, REGRET machines eliminate doubt over roads not taken, soul mates are identified and brought together (while existing, unscientifically validated relationships are driven remorselessly asunder), and rocketing the dead into the sky becomes both a status symbol and a beautiful, cathartic show for those left behind.
Indridi and Sigrid, two blissfully happy young lovers, have their perfect worlds threatened (along with Indridi’s sanity) when they are “calculated apart” and are forced to go to extreme lengths to prove their love. Their journey ultimately puts them on a collision course with LoveStar, who is on his own mission to find what might become the last idea in the world.
Steeped in influences ranging from Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, and Kurt Vonnegut to George Orwell, Douglas Adams, and Monty Python, Andri Snær Magnason has created a surreal yet uncomfortably familiar world, where the honey embrace of love does its utmost to survive amid relentless and overpowering controls.
“Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights” by Ryu Mitsuse
First published in 1967, Ten Billion Days was ranked the top Japanese science fiction novel of all time in a 2006 poll by SF Magazine. If that entices you, the book’s getting a paperback reprint today, so have at it!
Plato, Buddha, Christ–what brings these men to the far future to witness the end of the world?
Ten billion days—that is how long it will take the philosopher Plato to determine the true systems of the world. One hundred billion nights—that is how far into the future Jesus of Nazareth, Siddhartha, and the demigod Asura will travel to witness the end of all worlds. Named the greatest Japanese science fiction novel of all time, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights is an epic eons in the making. Originally published in 1967, the novel was revised by the author in later years and republished in 1973.
Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura (TruTV, 10/9c) — “Time Travel”
Hosted by Jesse Ventura…because really, when I think “intelligent discussion of conspiracy theories,” my mind immediately jumps to the guy with the minigun from Predator. Tonight’s episode profiles a guy who claims to have traveled back in time. We ain’t got time to bleed! Or to apply reason, logic, or common sense!
Dark Matters: Twisted But True (Science, 9/8c) — “Agent Orange, Ben Franklin: Fraud Slayer?, Price of Beauty”
With Fringe about to end, at least we can get our John Noble fix with this series that explores the odd corners and dark hallways of science.
Science Channel returns to the laboratory to unearth history’s most sinister tales with DARK MATTERS: TWISTED BUT TRUE. Hosted by the incomparable John Noble (Fringe, Lord of the Rings), the series opens forbidden research records on the most shocking scientific studies ever executed. From gruesome lobotomy experiments, to controversial CIA studies, to spine-chilling accounts of live human transplants, the all-new season shows that science fact can be stranger – and even more entertaining – than science fiction. Beginning Wednesday, November 21 at 9 PM (ET/PT), DARK MATTERS: TWISTED BUT TRUE takes audiences inside a real-life Twilight Zone, where shocking CGI re-creations illustrate unforgettable tales of genius gone horribly awry.
Harbinger #6 (Valiant Entertainment)
This is my favorite series of the recent Valiant relaunch, and if you’re not reading it you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s a little bit X-Men, a little bit X-Files, and a whole lot addictive. It’s being written by Joshua Dysart, the guy who turned C-list DC character “The Unknown Soldier” into a blistering, heartbreaking look at the state of Africa. His stuff is a must-read.
Nova (PBS, 9/8c) — “Ancient Computer”
Tonight’s episode examines “the ingenious sleuthing that decoded a 2,000-year-old Greek computer.” They would have decoded it sooner but it ran proprietary software and the origin company’s technical help hotline hasn’t existed for 2,000 years.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Networks, 9:30 a.m./8:30c) — “A Necessary Bond”
“Pirates and Jedi reluctantly join forces after Grievous attacks Hondo’s settlement on Florrum.” I’m going to apply my knowledge of Star Wars planet-naming techniques and guess that “Florrum” has a lot of flowers on it.
MythBusters (Discovery, 8/7c) — “Explosions A to Z”
“Kari, Grant, Tory, Adam and Jamie look back at some of their favorite explosions from the series.” You had me at “explosions.”
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) – “When the Dead Come Knocking“
After last night’s episode, you can see the wheels begin turning. The inevitable meeting between the Governor and Rick Grimes can only end bloody.