Tag Archives: sf

SciFi Movie News: Dredd Movie Poster and Photos

I can still hear Stallone as Dredd slurring: “I am the law” in my head. (*shiver*)
I’ve been crazy about Karl Urban ever since his role as Bones in the latest Star Trek film. So, I’m looking forward to seeing an upcoming trailer. It HAS to be better than the 1995 comedic version…. right?

Official Synopsis:
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.

The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and director Pete Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film. Filmed in 3D with stunning slow motion photography sequences, the film returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.

DREDD will open on Friday, September 21st, 2012.
“Judgment is Coming.”
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dreddthemovie
Official Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LionsgateMovies

SciFi Book Review: Revived

Revived by Cat Patrick

Daisy Appleby is severely allergic to bees, and unfortunately help doesn’t come in time to save her from dying. But the drug Revive brings her back to life. Again. Daisy has actually died 5 times already in her short 15 years. The first time she died was in a horrendous school bus crash when she very young. Now a part of a secret study for the drug, each time Daisy dies, she must move to a new city with a new identity. But at her newest school, Daisy quickly gains a new best friend and potential boyfriend, who make her question the Revive program. And when Daisy uncovers a secret within program, she has no idea how deep and how dark the conspiracy falls.

Daisy is an average girl put in an unlikely circumstance. Though, she obviously has a penchant for dying prematurely. Her home life may be unorthodox, but her new friendships help to ground her. And her relationship with Matt is a bit chaotic but believable given their odd situation.

Several twists and shocking surprises along the way made for a riveting read. Revived is a dramatic YA novel with a science fiction twist. This is more of a relationship drama interlaced with a dark mystery than much scifi. The drug Revive and the program are only mentioned occasionally without much detail. The story ends a bit abruptly with a big reveal, but feels so open ended with questions left hanging that a sequel (though, apparently unplanned right now) seems almost necessary. This was an exciting, suspenseful novel that left me wanting more.

Blu-Ray Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)

Official Synopsis:
Around the globe, headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate… no one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one, that is, except the great Sherlock Holmes, who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty.

Holmes’ investigation into Moriarty’s plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead, and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but alter the course of history.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return as Holmes and Watson, along with Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly, and other minor characters from the previous film. Downey and Law have the same fantastic chemistry as before. Though, Downey seems to be acting even more eccentric than ever as he follows the clues and his wild theories on a high speed adventure across Europe. Noomi Rapace as Madam Simza, a gypsy who Downey and Law must team up with along the way. Simza is a mysterious character, though a bit wooden. Jared Harris does an excellent job as the infamous Professor Moriarty. As Holmes’ greatest adversary in the original novels, Moriarty is the only person who is on the same intellectual level as Holmes.

A Game of Shadows is a strong sequel to Downey’s first Sherlock Holmes film. I enjoyed this story a bit more in fact, as there were no elements of the bizarre mysticism of the first. This was another wild ride of humor, drama, mystery, and action-packed adventure. The mystery and suspense kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. And the many comic relief lines had me laughing out loud. The suspense built to a massive climactic ending that was a bit predictable, yet completely enjoyable all the same. I hope this series continues with the same fine actors and keeps the light-hearted humor paired with intense action and intrigue.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Own it on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack or Digital Download 6.12.12
Be sure to check out the free Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows movie app for iPad2 or Kindle Fire. The app synchs with the Blu-ray disc to start exploring the rich and exciting history of Sherlock Holmes. http://bit.ly/JlZkvR

Blu-Ray Special Features:
Continue reading Blu-Ray Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Shadow and Bone Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Author Leigh Bardugo is visiting SciFiChick.com today with a guest post! This is just one stop on her blog tour promoting her latest release Shadow and Bone, reviewed here.

Plots, Schemes, and Teenage Dreams

Recently, while putting together a post for Dear Teen Me, I went digging through some of the boxes in my mom’s basement. Among the cringe-inducing diary entries and photos of me in my prolonged awkward phase, I also found the beginnings of a lot of stories.

The best (and by “best,” I mean hilariously awful) is the first few chapters of an epic fantasy called Tinscritalswhim. The title kind of says it all, and clearly, 12 year-old me got wise to this too, because in later drafts, I seem to have changed the name to Ladinphur.

The story revolves around a teenage assassin named (wait for it) Blood. Honestly, if you name your daughter “Blood,” what career paths are really open to her? It’s like calling your kid “Candee” then getting upset when she becomes a stripper. Then again, Blood’s brother is named Jereth so I don’t really know what her parents were thinking. Maybe it’s a family name.

Here’s how I describe my heroine:

“Blood didn’t believe in killing for fun. In fact, the thought made her relatively nauseous. She was no sadist either. She hated killing mainly because it was wrong in her mind, but also it reminded her of her own mortality. If they could be killed, so could she.” Wow, okay, I’m not sure if Blood is just a narcissist or firmly in the sociopath camp at this point. (Also, I think my favorite part of this is that she’s relatively nauseous.)

Blood spends a lot of time smiling wryly and leaping down onto her enemies from branches, rooftops, the occasional lintel. I go on:

“Blood had shut up her heart and carefully packaged it in her bundled up soul.”

Admittedly, the physics here are iffy, but I think you get the idea. And I’M NOT DONE:

“She had a dry wit and was a master of satire.”

I’d like to believe that Blood was penning amusing send-ups of the Tinscritalswhimian ruling class in her spare time, but I suspect that preteen Leigh was just confusing satire with sarcasm.

Blood and Jereth (a gentle giant with hidden depths) join forces with a slightly psychic (it’s a thing) tavern-keeper’s son (love interest!), a spiteful fairy named Una (natch), and… a woodchuck. Here’s where things get really weird:

‘What’s for dinner, Lorenzo?’
The woodchuck turned around and placed Una’s glasses on the edge of his small nose, trying to look studious. He instead succeeded in toppling off his pile of books. ‘I’m not sure,’ Lorenzo replied. ‘Everything I’ve made has blown up.’
‘It would help if you used less sneezweed,’ Jereth said, walking over to the counter to remove a root that looked somewhat like celery. Lorenzo could have been incredibly smart. Woodchucks were known for their intelligence and he had all of the advantages of education. However, Lorenzo had been more interested in battle and adventure than becoming a lawyer.’

Okay, let’s stop right there. Apparently, I was reading too much C.S. Lewis and Piers Anthony, because… a woodchuck who doesn’t want to go to law school? There is such a thing as too much whimsy.

So, other than “Burn the evidence,” what possible lessons can I take from this horrifying artifact?

On a personal level, it’s pretty clear that I was trying to make Blood into everything I wanted to be at age twelve: beautiful, deadly, emotionless. I had just started junior high and every day was like going into battle. I didn’t get it as bad as some kids, but that was only because I managed to hide just how much the jabs and snubs hurt. It was all about bravado, pretending I didn’t care. Blood wasn’t pretending. Plus, she had a brother, a confidant, someone she could depend on. I wanted that desperately.

As a writer, I can’t help but notice that there are a lot of drafts of first and second chapters to Tinscritalswhim. They’re written with slightly different names and variations, but they never move much past the introduction of the cast of characters and the beginning of the quest.

These days, though my stories involve fewer talking animals, I still find that starting is the easy part. I may not begin at the beginning the way I did when I was a kid, but there’s nothing like the momentum when a project is new. The characters feel vibrant. The dialogue clamors to be set down. Everything is loud, thrilling cacophony, driving me through the first few thousand words. And then… silence.

Finishing my first book meant making the transition from pantser to plotter. Now when I start a story that I think may have the makings of a book, I don’t let myself linger over specific scenes. I jot down the bits and pieces that I don’t want to forget. Then I force myself to move on to the next moment and then the next. When I get stuck, I write questions into the outline: “How does this work?” “Does this make sense?” “Why would she want X?” (Although my favorites are always things like, “Insert awesome moment here” and– no lie, this was in the first draft of Shadow and Bone– “Villain rant: Kneel before Zod!”)

That initial outline is a tangled, crazy, rambling mess, but it has a beginning, middle, and end. Knowing the structure is there, that I have a final destination, makes returning to the work each day easier for me.

It can be hard to let go of the myths we create about process: I’m a pantser. I’m a plotter. I work best a night. I need my fuzzy slippers to write. In the end, the only thing that matters is whether or not the process you’ve committed to actually works to get you through the draft. I’m new enough to this that it still feels like there’s some mysterious alchemy involved in taking a book from idea to finished manuscript. But I do know that magic comes easier when we shake off the old habits and old ghosts. Sometimes, you’ve got to make like a woodchuck and just blow stuff up.

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co., I have a copy of Shadow and Bonefor one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US and Canada only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 29. I’ll draw a name on June 30, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading Shadow and Bone Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Book Giveaway: The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin

Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin by Walter Mosley for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US and Canada only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 6. I’ll draw a name on July 7, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin

Blu-Ray Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Blu-ray Combo Pack

When Sean (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded message from his grandfather (Michael Caine), he wants to leave immediately for the fabled “Mysterious Island.” Sean’s mother allows him to go – on the condition that his new step father (Dwayne Johnson) accompanies him. But on the way to this island that shouldn’t exist, their helicopter hits a storm and crashes. Now Sean, his step father, the helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman), and the pilot’s daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) need to find a way off the island. Though it’s full of unexplored wonders, they’re in a race against time to find a way off before the whole island sinks to the ocean floor.

While this is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, it’s not necessary to have seen the first installment. Journey 2 is a standalone story, with Sean going on an entirely separate adventure. As before, this adventure is immersed in classic science fiction. Fans of classic scifi, young and old, will enjoy the numerous references and Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island brought to new heights. With creatures of humorous sizes, a volcano full of gold, and other bizarre secrets – this island unfortunately can’t be fully explored because of an unfortunate timetable. Of course, suspension of belief must be held for most science fiction movies (especially geared towards children), but the sinking of the island really pushes it.

But for the most part, this was a surprisingly enjoyable, if mostly corny and predictable, movie for young families. While a fast-paced adventure, there is no violence or profanity, so even very young children can enjoy (as long as they don’t mind the occasional giant bug). The acting is good for a heart-warming family film. Hutcherson (“Hunger Games”) and Dwane “The Rock” Johnson of course steer the story. And the supporting cast provides comedy relief and a cute romantic interest for Sean. Johnson has been doing a lot of family movies lately, and this may be one of his more watchable ones. I love that he can laugh at himself and still be a strong character. All-in-all Journey 2 is a cute, clean, family movie that won’t make you think too much and will entertain the kids.

Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download 6.5.12

Special Features Include:
Interactive Adventure guided by Josh Hutcherson: Discover the skills it takes to ride Giant Bees, outsmart a Hungry Mama Lizard, and ultimately prove you have what it takes to survive on the Mysterious Island! Can be experienced as an interactive adventure or a passive linear piece.

Introduction with Josh Hutcherson
Alexander’s Treehouse
Lost City of Atlantis
The Giant Flowers
The Mushroom Forest
The Golden Volcano
The Lizard’s Nest
The Gigantic Bumble Bee
Nemo’s Tomb
Nemo’s Cave
Nemo’s Submarine
Map Payoff
Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes

Fantasy – Fiction Book Review: Cursed

Cursed by Benedict Jacka

On a job for the Council, Alex Verus’ team finds a dead beast with no outward sign of attack. As he soon discovers, someone is using forbidden magic to harvest the magic of magical creatures, leaving them dead as a result. Alex is hired to investigate and quickly finds himself a target for assassins.

Alex has taken Luna on as an apprentice, though their relationship is a bit awkward. Meanwhile, Luna has made a new friend who irritates Alex, but also mostly from jealousy. Several old friends (and enemies) return in this exciting sequel to Fated, as Alex tries to find out who’s been harvesting magic. He takes this case especially personal, as one of his closest friends is a magical creature in danger.

Fast-paced, action-packed and full of adventure and magic – Cursed is a fantastic sequel. In fact, I enjoyed this thrilling story even more than the first. This series is a must-read for urban fantasy fans. Dark and suspenseful, with plenty of mystery – Jacka does not disappoint in this sophomore novel.

SciFi Book Review and Giveaway: Starters

Starters by Lissa Price

After a devastating killer-spore epidemic, the majority of humans left are either senior citizens or children and teenagers. As children are unable to work, Enders (the seniors) have grown rich. While unclaimed children are forced to hide and live in squalor or be sent to juvenile facilities and treated like prisoners. So sixteen-year-old Callie, caring for her sickly younger brother, feels forced to accept the only “legal” job offer she can get. Renting her body to rich Enders who wish to experience a youth again. But when Callie’s neurochip experiences a glitch, she discovers that her renter is up to something more than just partying. She wants to use her body to murder. Callie is in a race against the clock to find out more about the person using her body and the Body Bank’s horrific plan and the mysterious man behind the scenes.

Callie and her younger brother lost their parents and had to resort to squatting in abandoned buildings. Readers will quickly form a sympathetic bond with her and her predicament. The Body Bank is particularly disturbing. Price’s futuristic dystopia is unique and inspired. When the deadly spore epidemic hit, the very young and very old were vaccinated first and survived. Now, an Ender’s money can buy just about anything. Even a younger body. The creative world had me hooked from the start. The fantastic characters and intense plot kept me reading. I loved every minute of this one.

This exciting debut is incredibly suspenseful and completely riveting. Price is a talented writer, pulling the reader into an unnerving setting and following Callie on her thrilling adventure. Starters is marketed for young adults, but older adults and science fiction fans should definitely check this one out as well. With plenty of plot twists, surprises, and even a bit of romance – I couldn’t put it down. This has certainly made my list of favorites for this year. Don’t miss it.

Courtesy of the author, I have an extra copy of Startersfor one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 22. I’ll draw a name on June 23, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading SciFi Book Review and Giveaway: Starters