Dark Horse Comics, on shelves Wednesday
After a fairly dead sci-fi landscape last week, this week has enough going on that it took a little internal debate to decide on what to make our Pick of the Week. And while there are some cool-sounding books hitting shelves, and both Dredd and Red Dwarf X are hitting Blu-ray/DVD, eventually this new Star Wars comic won out, simply because its premise should intrigue many a fan of Lucas’ sprawling space opera.
As we reported last month, the new ongoing Star Wars comic series from Dark Horse and writer Bryan Wood (DMZ, Northlanders) will pick up the story of Luke, Han, Leia, and the rest in the aftermath of the Death Star’s destruction in Episode IV. From that launching point, the series will explore the period between movies. That timeline offers several narrative possibilities, because our characters don’t yet know many of the trilogy’s big surprises. Luke and Leia don’t know they’re siblings and can thus continue their uncomfortably incestous flirting. Vader doesn’t know that his kids are alive and well and plotting his doom. Han hasn’t punched Lando right square in the nuts for betraying him to the Empire. Fun for all ages!
“Chu’s Day” by Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex
Not science fiction, but this one may be worth a look for any of you geeks out there who are raising young geeklings of your own. Gaiman joins illustrator Adam Rex to pen a children’s book about a panda with a sneezing problem.
We’ve sung the praises of Dredd many times before in recent months, but I’m really hoping some of the many, many people who didn’t see it in theaters will give it a shot on DVD. It knows exactly what kind of movie it wants to be, and then pursues that goal in a brutal, bloody, highly entertaining fashion.
“Impulse” by Steven Gould
Amongst other things, Gould wrote the book that that movie Jumper was based on. Remember Jumper? This one also involves teleportation, so clearly he’s got an interest there. Here’s the dirt from Amazon:
Cent has a secret. She lives in isolation, with her parents, hiding from the people who took her father captive and tortured him to gain control over his ability to teleport, and from the government agencies who want to use his talent. Cent has seen the world, but only from the safety of her parents’ arms. She’s teleported more than anyone on Earth, except for her mother and father, but she’s never been able to do it herself. Her life has never been in danger.
Until the day when she went snowboarding without permission and triggered an avalanche. When the snow and ice thundered down on her, she suddenly found herself in her own bedroom. That was the first time.
“The Kassa Gambit” by M.C. Planck
This one looks to be a debut novel as far as I can tell, but the synopsis sounds fun.
Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.
Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren’t always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He’s been undercover so long he can’t be trusted by anyone—even himself.
While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.
But something tells them there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity’s concerns.
Red Dwarf: X (Blu-Ray/DVD)
If, like me, you haven’t got the chance to watch the latest season of Red Dwarf, now you can. Lister, Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten return for six more episodes of sublime ridiculousness.
“Revolution 19” by Gregg Rosenblum
We’ve got lots of stories about how the robots are inevitably going to rise up and rebel against their human masters. This one takes a look at the human counter-revolution long after the robot revolution. Here’s hoping we win.
Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.
Headstrong seventeen-year-old Nick has spent his whole life in a community in the wilderness, hiding out from the robots that have enslaved mankind. But when the bots discover the community’s location, he, his tech-geek younger brother, Kevin, and adopted sister, Cass, barely make it out alive—only to discover that their home has been destroyed and everyone they love is missing.
All survivors were captured and taken to one of the robots’ Cities. The siblings have been hearing tales about the Cities all their lives—humans are treated like animals, living in outdoor pens and forced to build new bots until they drop dead from exhaustion. Determined to find out if their parents are among the survivors, Nick, Kevin, and Cass venture into the heart of the City, but it is nothing like they’ve been told.
As they live among the bots for the first time, they realize they’re fighting for more than just their family. The robots have ruled for too long, and now it’s time for a revolution.
American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, 10/9c) — “Spilt Milk”
I haven’t been listing this one, but since it’s including aliens in the bathtub full of other genre elements it’s incorporating this season, what the hey. This week “Dr. Thredson receives an unexpected visitor. Meanwhile, Monsignor Howard attempts to silence Sister Jude.”
Doctor Who #4 (IDW Comics)
The new issue of IDW’s latest ongoing Doctor Who series has the Doctor enjoying a night on the town with Rory, but naturally Amy doesn’t get to enjoy a quiet evening on her own. Instead, she’s got to deal with the Silence all on her lonesome.
Nova (PBS, 9/8c) — “Decoding Neanderthals”
“Find out what happened when the first modern humans encountered Neanderthals 60,000 years ago.” Little-known fact: Encino Man is actually the thing that killed off the Neanderthals.
The Walking Dead #106 (Image Comics)
With this issue, Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard celebrates his 100th issue one the series. Congrats, sir! Here’s the synopsis:
Revenge! Carl is kept prisoner by Negan, and Rick finds out that the only way to get him back is to face the task directly. But with Negan so unpredictable, is there any hope that things will go smoothly? And how will Carl fare given that Negan always believes in punishing those who are disobedient?
Deadliest Space Weather (Weather Channel, 9/c) — “Venus / Biggest Storm in the Solar System”
They had me at…well, at “Deadliest Space Weather.” At any rate this series is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, with the first two back-to-back episodes showcasing the not-tourist-friendly weather of some of our solar neighbors.
“Deadliest Space Weather” reveals extreme weather conditions that occur throughout our solar system, and explores the premise “What would happen if these harsh conditions could ever prevail on Earth?”
Rainstorms that can eat through solid steel, hurricane winds that blow at 1,600 miles per hour, and lightning bolts 10,000 times more powerful than anything on Earth exist elsewhere in our solar system. “Deadliest Space Weather” – through the use of cutting-edge graphics and vivid explanations from scientists – illustrates not only what these storms are like on other planets, but speculates what these extreme weather conditions would be like if they ever occurred on Earth, with examples such as Venus’s deadly acid rain, Saturn’s violent winds, and Mars’ massive dust storms.
Person of Interest (CBS, 9/8c) — “Prisoner’s Dilemma”
“Carter helps Reese steer clear of Agent Donnelly; Reese meets old and new foes; and Det. Fusco is on his own to help the newest POI, supermodel Karolina Kurková.” Yay supermodels?
Banshee (Cinemax, 10/9c) — “Pilot”
Stepping outside our sci-fi focus again for a moment, this one might be worth checking out. It’s exec produced by Alan Ball, of Six Feet Under and True Blood fame. Here’s a trailer:
Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) — “The Boy Must Live”
Not to be confused with that Potter kid. Fringe returns from hiatus and “Walter goes into the deprivation tank with the goal of learning more about the mysterious figure called Donald; Capt. Windmark sets out on a crucial mission.” The series wraps up its run next Friday!
Storage 24 (Limited Release in Theaters)
This new “locked in a tight space with a flesh-eating monster” flick stars and was co-written by Noel Clarke, who played Rose’s occasional boyfriend, Mickey, in Doctor Who. It has a group of normal folks locked inside a storage center in the aftermath of a nearby plane crash, only to realize they’re being hunted by something nasty that escaped from the plane. I checked it out on demand the other night, and while it’s not a groundbreaking movie or anything, it’s a good bit of fun if you’re in the mood for some carnage. It also involves the best cinematic use of an annoying squeaky toy dog that I’ve ever seen.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network, 9:30 am/8:30c) — “Point of No Return”
No relation to the 1993 American La Femme Nikita remake starring Bridget Fonda. At least I sure hope not.
The D-Squad discover that the deserted Jedi cruiser they have boarded is loaded with Rhydonium explosives and headed toward a space station hosting a Republic conference.
Super Cyclone (Syfy, 9/8c)
Say, you look like you were wondering what Stargate Universe actress Ming-Na is up to these days. I’ve got some bad news for you…