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Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of October 28, 2013

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As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

Clone“Clone Assassin” by Steven L. Kent

Earth, A.D. 2519. The clone soldiers of the Enlisted Man’s Empire, formerly members of the Unified Authority’s powerful military, maintain a tenuous grasp on the power they fought so hard to gain. But the U.A. will not be so easy to suppress as they had hoped…

A provocateur attacks the Pentagon. Gunships converge on the penitentiary where Unified Authority war criminals are held. And a clone assassin murders Admiral Don Cutter, commander in chief of the Enlisted Man’s Empire…

It all happens at once — and five minutes later, more assassins attack Wayson Harris as he prepares for a summit with delegates of Olympus Kri. With Harris missing and their most deadly enemies on the loose, the remaining officers of the Empire must uncover a plot to overthrow their government while preparing for war…

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Star Wars: Episode VII Writing Duties Shift To Lawrence Kasdan And J.J. Abrams

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star-wars-episode-7Since its first announcement in 2012, Star Wars: Episode VII has been one of the most-anticipated movies of the decade. Official announcements about the next Star Wars have been few and far between, but now we’ve learned that screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) has left the project.

According to StarWars.com, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy made the announcement that Arndt will no longer be writing the screenplay for Episode VII. Taking up his duties are Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams. Of course, Kasdan co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, so he has a clear understanding of the world and its characters. Abrams co-wrote the script for Mission: Impossible III and the screenplay for the sci-fi throwback Super 8. Kennedy says:

I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script. There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.

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J.J. Abrams Admits He’s Got A Lens Flare Addiction

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lens flares

Mission: Impossible 3, Star Trek, Super 8, and Star Trek Into Darkness; what do these movies have in common? Aside from being directed by J.J. Abrams, they all have a certain look and feel that boils down to the use of multiple lens flares. For most directors and cinematographers, a lens flare is a mistake in lighting a scene, but for J.J. Abrams, it’s essential to his style of filmmaking. But now Abrams has admitted he may have gone overboard with the whole lens flare thing.

In an interview with Crave Online, Abrams talks about his addiction to lens flares, and apologizes to fans for it:

“I know I get a lot of grief for that,” says Abrams. “But I’ll tell you, there are times when I’m working on a shot, I think, ‘Oh this would be really cool… with a lens flare.’ But I know it’s too much, and I apologize. I’m so aware of it now. I was showing my wife an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness and there was this one scene where she was literally like, ‘I just can’t see what’s going on. I don’t understand what that is.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I went too nuts on this.'”

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An Open Letter To J.J. Abrams: Four Ways To Make Star Wars Great Again

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Since 1999, fans have been terribly disappointed with the Star Wars franchise. The prequel trilogy didn’t quite capture the public’s imagination like the original films 22 years earlier. So when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October 2012, the announcement of a new trio of films excited fans because George Lucas wouldn’t have anything to do with them. The addition of director J.J. Abrams to the franchise pleased some, and disappointed others. But still, many are approaching Star Wars: Episode VII with caution so we don’t get burned again like we did with The Phantom Menace. The above video is an open letter to J.J. Abrams about the new Star Wars film from Prescott Harvey, of the creative agency Sincerely, Truman.

The open letter beautifully illustrates what Abrams should do – in ismple four rules – to make Episode VII a successful entry into the Star Wars Saga. The video debuted on io9.com and an online petition can be signed for fans who want to this video delivered to Disney and Lucasfilm. The plea makes some great points about why the original trilogy connects so well with audiences around the world.

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Lost Could Have Been A Completely Different Series, One Without Polar Bears

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LOSTA few days ago, an interesting document from ABC leaked onto the Internet. The 20-page file included an outline of the TV series Lost from before it began airing in 2004. The synopsis revealed the original idea for the series as something completely different than what we saw on TV. The plan was for a show that wasn’t serialized, less mysterious and mythological, and more “case of the week” and episodic in nature. At first, the series was going to be a standard procedural about a group of people who crash land on an island. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Where exactly did this pitch document”>document come from? During the production of the pilot, the creators hired writers Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Paul Dini, Jennifer Johnson, and Christian Taylor to address network concerns over the show. The 20-page document was an attempt to prove to the network executives that Lost could be just like any other show out there. Basically, Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof put together a not-so-honest pitch to sell ABC on the idea. Apparently, the network executives weren’t too keen on a weekly series about smoke monsters and polar bears on a tropical island.

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The Latest Episode VII Casting Rumors Center On David Oyelowo And Michael B. Jordan

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David Oyelowo & Michael B. JordanRecently, we’ve seen a heavy flood of Star Wars casting rumors. Benedict Cumberbatch, Saoirse Ronan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Alex Pettyfer have all been linked to unspecified roles in the upcoming Episode VII. The countdown to the January 2014 start of production in London continues, and still nothing has been confirmed by Disney and Lucasfilm, but we have two new names to add to the mass of possible casting.

At the center of these latest Star Wars rumors, as usual, is Latino Review, who now reports that David Oyelowo and Michael B. Jordan are taking meetings with director J.J. Abrams. While it’s unclear if they’re up for the same role, it’s believed that one of them might play the son of Lando Calrissian. Does this mean Billy Dee Williams would be in the new film too?