Thursday, 20 February 2014

Blogga's Wall - 2013 roundup



Here's a summary of what went up on my wall in the latter part of 2013.

1) The World Set Free












One of a collection of Wells' novels donated to me by a friend. I've found a lot of his work to be quite tedious and self-important (Star-begotten being enough to put me off him altogether were it not for having read the masterpiece that is War of the Worlds). This book starts off in the same vein with a lengthy monologue about man's grasp for power, however the books progress into elaborate political alliances collapsing into a global war devastating countries with nuclear weapons and resulting in a global government is an uncannily accurate vision of what became and what could have been which can't be denied.

2) Under the Dome












The series from Stephen Spielberg and Stephen King adapting King's own novel was exciting to watch, with a town suddenly and dramatically (they kept reminding us with the image of a cow split in half by the dome's mighty power at the recap of each episode) cutting them off from the outside world and changing the face of the town. The series was well paced with engaging characters, but I'm waiting to see if the sliffhanger at series 1's end is going to be resolved well in the next installment.

3) Marvel's Agents of SHIELD













I've already posted on this and expect a post in the near future so I won't say anything except it's good!

4) Thor: The Dark World












With a somewhat ambiguous title I wasn't sure about this film but it totally delivered. The Marvel studios blend of engaging action and humour worked again with the relationship between Thor and Loki making for some great moments. The cinematic battle on Asgard as well as the wider conflicts were well realised and Chris Eccleston's Malekith was a believable and menacing villain.

5) Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor












Again a review of this is long overdue so I won't say much other than that this totally delivered too!!

6) The Food of the Gods












Another Wells novel, this time dealing with a discovered substance that produces incredible growth in this who ingest it. As the produce spreads to local wildlife as well as a few humans grown to gigantic proportions the impact on human society is enormous.

7) Chronicle












A very powerful take on the superhuman power story with three friends discovering an alien artifact the gives them tghe ability to move objects with their minds and move themselves through the sky. What begins as an opporunity to have fun soons turns dark as they start to see the full extent of what they can do if no one can stop them.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Star Wars Legacy: Prisoner of the Floating World


So Legacy's back!! The era, set 100 years after the books continues with a new protagonist, Ania Solo, descendant of - well I don't need to tell you that! With Darth Krayt defeated the Sith have gone into hiding, but when Ania comes across a lightsaber hidden among a junkpile she uncovers a new plot to threaten the galaxy.

New Characters - Ania and friends

Ania Solo
Species: Human
Sex: Female
Occupation: Junkyard owner









Ania has carved out a life for herself on the outer rim, far from the famous and central characters of her ancestry. While running her own business and not getting involved in larger galactic life she still has the same Solo spirit, loyasl to her friends with that same knack for winding up in trouble.

Sauk
Species: Mon Calamari
Sex: Male
Occupation: Ice Miner, engineer









A talented engineer, Sauk was made a refugee when Darth Krayt's Sith Empire targeted Mon Calamari and killed all life on the planet. With few options he became an ice miner on Carreras Minor, using his talents to value items from Ania's junkyard when she came to visit

SD
Species: Droid (unidentified type)
Sex: Neutral programming
Occupation: Enforcer








Part of Ania's crew SD was a towering security droid that took care of unruly dealers and protected the junkyard from threats. SD fell foul of the Sith who pursued Ania after she found a lightsaber.

AG-37
Species: Droid (IG-series descendant)
Sex: Male programming
Occupation: Freighter captain








An assassin droid with free will, AG acquired his own ship and, generally, makes his living as a law abiding citizen, transporting goods around the outer rim. He has a strongly developed sense of loyalty to Ania and his friends.


New Imperial Knights

Yalta Val
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Imperial Knight








Yalta Val was a senior Imperial Knight sent to the Carreras system to oversee the installation of the new galactic communications network hub in the system, linking the outer rim to the core. Unfortunately he fell foul of a Sith trap and was captured.

Jao Assam
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Imperial Knight








A junior Imperial Knight sent to oversee part of the new communications array. When Master Val did not check in he realised something was wrong and went in pursuit of him, battling Darth Wredd with the help of Ania Solo, who helped free Master Val and defeat the Sith, though Jao was seriously injured in the process

New Sith

Unidentified Sith
Species: Unknown
Sex: Male
Occupation: Sith Master








The orchestrator of the plot on Carreras, after defeating Master Val in combat he was betrayed and killed by his apprentice, who continued the plot for his own ends.

Darth Wredd
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Sith Apprentice







After suffering under his master's apprenticeship, forced to wear a helmet at all times. Darth Wredd broke free of his master, assassinating him and taking over the plot to sabotage the plans of the Galactic Alliance. He impersonated master Val and overrode the communications array before revealing himself to the galaxy and revealing his plan, to be the only remaining Sith and rule all.

New Vehicles

Nune-class Shuttle variant
 








A smaller, more agile version of the standard Imperial shuttle. It could carry a standard crew and a small contingent of Stormtroopers to a location with speed.

Carreras System Starfighter










A standard snubfighter used by the local government to enforce the law and patrol the system.

Ania Solo's starship










A small, unarmed cargo craft used by Ania to transport herself and any valuable goods around the Outer Rim systems. Capable of flight on planet as well as in space, Ania could pilopt her nimble vessel to avoid the law, ultimately sacrificing her ship to escape Sith pursuit.

IG's freighter











A spacious cargo ship used by AG to transport goods around the system and could comfortable hols smaller ships such as Ania's in its hold. The ship was used extensively in the confilct on Carreras, demonstrating it's droid owner's loyalty to his friends.

Triumvirate starfighter









A new model of starfighter used by members of the Galactic Alliance/Empire/Jedi Triumvirate. One of these models was the personal craft of Imperial Knight Jao Assam.

Carreras Patrol Ship







A powerful mid-size capital ship used by the Shifala government on Carreras to run down and capture enemy ships. This ship tractored and brought aboard AG's freighter.

Darth Wredd's Ship









This sleek craft was used by Darth Wredd to escape the destruction he had caused in the Carreras system.

Communications Array







Part of an effort to provide better connection between the Outer Rim and the core and unite the galaxy under a new government

New Planets

Mala










A rogue planet, buried within the veil of the Surd Nebula and off any official charts. This planet was the base of operations for Darth Wredd and his master.

Carreras System

 
 






A small system, consisting of at least two planets, Carreras Major, a habitable planet- home to the Shifala species, and Carreras Minor a ringed giant with ice mining facilities stationed on it's rings. A remote system it was selected for the new communications array programme.

New Droids

Imperial Communications Droid
  










A mobile communications platform, these droids were able to broadcast across the vast reaches of space. These models were versatile and able to act independently. The droid assigned to Yalta Val retrieved his lightsaber when attacked and assisted Jao Assam and Ania Solo to rescue his master, even saving Jao's life.

Swarm Droid (?)
 






My name for a nifty piece of technology used by the Carrerras military, when boarding a captured vessel dozens of these small droids woulld converge on the entrance, overwhelming the crew and flushing them out to where they could be captured easily.

New Species

Shifala
 










The native species of the Carreras system, these simian humanoids dominated the government and military of the system, ruled by a Governor, Biala (pictured).

Story

No map, due to Carreras being a new system. In the wake of the destruction caused by Darth Krayt's Sith Empire the new government, the Triumvirate, seeks to re-establish order in the galaxy. One effort, led by Empress Marasiah Fel is a new communications array to improve communications between remote systems and the Core. En route to the Carreras relay Imperial Knight Yalta Val is captured by a Sith who impersonates him and assumes command of the relay. Master Val's communications droid is damaged and winds up in the possession of Ania Solo, who takes it to Sauk her friend. When repairing the droid they discover a lightsaber, which draws the attention of the Sith. Fleeing the military under his command they run into Jao Assam and run a rogue operation to stop the Sith plot. They hunt down and confront Darth Wredd in time to save Yalta Val and expose the plot, but not in time to save the array, which crashed into the planet Mala, hidden in the Surd Nebula. 

Wow that was a long post!! Always a lot of new stuff but I wanted to get ahead as I don't think I ever caught up on posting new content in the first volume of Legacy. We'll see what the future holds for the series with the announcement of Marvel re-aquiring the rights to Star Wars comics in 2015 - read more here

Monday, 2 December 2013

SF at the Movies - November '13

2 days late but here nonetheless


Gravity


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor



More next mon...err, this month!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Star Wars: In the shadow of Yavin


Lagging behind as ever, this is one of the latest series from Dark Horse, set pretty soon after the destruction of the Death Star, with the Rebels hunting for a new base and our familiar characters struggling with their place in the galaxy, Luke has lost everything he ever knew, Leia had her homeworld destroyed before her very eyes and Han can't quite figure out what he's doing among all these foolhardy rebels.

New Characters

Bircher
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Imperial Colonel, lead pilot








Bircher is an exceptionally gifted Imperial, a talented pilot, leading squadrons of the new TIE Interceptors in his distinctive red flightsuit and also experienced in commanding a Star Destroyer. Due to his success in hounding the Alliance, he was given command of the Devastator, formerly Vader's flagship.

Birra Seah
Species: Human
Sex: Female
Occupation: Systems designer, Kuat Drive Yards / Temporary Moff 








A designer for Kuat Drive Yards, Vader sensed potential in her (and the force) and place her in command of the Second Death Star project as his emmisary.

Prithi
Species: Human
Sex: Female
Occupation: Pilot








One of the new 'stealth squadron' formed by Leia and Mon Mothma to operate off the books in the search for a new base of operations and to find the spy leaking information to the Empire. There are several pilots in the squadron, but Prithi is the only one who stands out in this arc, she has a strong attachment to Luke, which causes tension between her and Leia.


Map

 

I've added a map as per usual, but a lot of the action takes place in deep space so I haven't done my usual spaghetti of lines across the map.

Story

The Rebel Alliance have scored their greatest victory over the Empire with the destruction of the Death Star, but also their greatest loss, with the location of their base revealed they must yet again retreat to space. Scouts are sent out to search for new worlds, with Leia, Luke and Wedge heading up the search, but with every planet they visit , they find the Empire right behind them. Aware that a mole may be within their ranks Mon Mothma establishes a squadron to work off the books to find a new world and root out the mole, but still the Empire dogs all their footsteps, causing a showdown between the squadron and an Imperial Star Destroyer that they barely survive! Meanwhile Han Solo head to Coruscant for a deal on behalf of the Rebellion that goes downhill, with Imperials and Boba Fett on his tail and Vader, overseeing the construction of a new Death Star is troubled by a name he has not heard for a long time...

This is an ongoing story, which takes time to deal with the reactions of the characters to the events of A New Hope as well as providing plenty of action and adventure.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

SF at the Movies - October '13

Diving in at the last minute, but with one big hitter not yet released I think I'm ok for once!!

Here's what's on screen this month

Ender's Game


Thor: The Dark World


Can't wait for Thor, I haven't read the novel so Ender might have to wait but especially with the new Cap trailer released it's a great time to see an Avenger in action.

More next month!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Agents of SHIELD: Meet the team!



I'm loving the new series from Marvel and Joss Whedon, set in the Avengers Universe, with relevant references to the movies, grounding it in the same timeline, but also brand new characters and missions giving it the strength to stand on it's own.

 I plan on doing some sort of review (by which I mean geeking out over the cool new stuff in it!!) sometime around the mid-way point in a few weeks time, but to save time when I get there I thought it'd be good to introduce the key agents involved and thankfully Marvel have done my job for me with a set of 'level 7' videos introducing each character, their skills and history and the actor's own reflections on them.

First up the return of Phil Coulson



Science experts Fitz/Simmonds


'Just the driver' Melinda May


Combat expert Grant Ward

And former anti-SHIELD activist and hacker Skye


So that's the team - more on SHIELD soon!!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Halo 4: Infinity + Reclaimer


I'm persisting in continuing my playthrough of Halo 4 long after I finished the campaign. There seem to be rumours/news that the 'Halo' shown at E3 isn't actually Halo 5 but another installment in a larger saga. We'll see how that turns out, but it'll depend opn when I eventually get my grubby mits on an Xbox One.

Infinity

As implied in the title, this mission is about John and Cortana going after the UNSC Infinity which has crashed on Requiem. As usual I'll slot in my updates here. 

New Characters

Didact
   










Otherwise known as Ur-Didact or 'Shadow-of-Sundered-Star' this figure was the leader of the Prometheans, a key element of the Forerunner military. The Didact was first mentioned in the terminals in Halo 3 and has his backstory further delved into in the Greg Bear novels, of which I've only read the first. Hidden in the bowels of Reqiuem this opponent of the Flood and the ancient humans has tricked John into resurrecting him from his Cryptum and has taken command of the Promethean Knights to take his revenge on his ancient enemy.

Thomas Lasky
 








Lasky first appeared as a cadet in the live-action series 'Forward Unto Dawn' which I posted on my blog and is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Now having risen through the ranks he is second-in-command of the Infinity and running ground operations on Requiem. He is pleased to see that the Chief has survived and to have an opporunity to meet him again.

New Vehicles

Cryptum
 







A Cryptum is a place of solitude where a disgraced Warrior of the Forerunners will spend an extended length of time, even centuries, in hibernation. When Didact was awoken from his Cryptum he was able to use it as a ship to travel around Requiem, it had powerful scanners and incredible speed, though it was vulnerable to heavy weapons fire such as a MAC blast.

UNSC Infinity






This massive vessel is over five and a half thousand metres long and bristling with experimental engines, weapons and even carrying it's own escort fleet of frigates into battle. As well as a warship it is designed for scientific exploration with the latest equipment and teams of highly trained researchers to investigate the wealth of technological resources uncovered by the war.

Mantis











A new addition to the UNSC's arsenal of ground vehicles the Mantis is an exoskeleton capable of being operated by a single occupant to devstating effect. Equipped with a chain gun and a missile launcher. The vehicle can also launch physical attacks on any ground forces unfortunate enough to approach it.

New Weapons

Scattershot
  






A Promethean shotgun-type weapon. I have to say this was my least-favourite weapon because it looked and functioned exactly like a shotgun, particularly when reloading it. I know it has to be balanced because of multiplayer etc. but I thought for an alien weapon it was just a bit too human.

Railgun







Another addition to the UNSC's store of weapons the railgun accelerates a projectile to devastating speed. While requiring a short time to charge it is deadly against infantry and light vehicles when fired.

Scythe Anti-Aircraft Gun








Placed on the outside of the Infinity's hull this weapon could function both in atmosphere and space firing at a rapid rate to drive away enemies. John activated these weapons to repel Covenant forces from the downed Infinity.

Lance Guided Missile Launcher











Used to defend various facilities and warships, these missiles when activated by John repelled incoming Phantoms approaching the Infinity. There was also an Onager MAC turret mounted on the hull, which was used to repel the Didact's Cryptum.

Story

Following the Didact across Requiem, John and Cortana find forces from the Infinity who are being overrun by pursuing Covenant and the native Prometheans, who have begun acting as allies against humanity. Eventually Chief meets up with Lasky and a detachment of Marines and Spartan-IVs who are pinned down on the surface. Fighting their way back to the Infinity Chief takes a Mantis to the hull and reactivates the defenses, repelling the invaders andf giving the UNSC Crew a chance to regroup and escape the surface.


Reclaimer

As the Infinity lifts off, a company of it's forces are commited to taking out the powerful Forerunner cannons preventing their movement.


New Characters

Andrew Del Rio


















Commanding officer of the Infinity, he has a reputation for ensuring that hjis ships come back from battle in one piece. Tasked with leading the converted warship on a science expedition to locate the remaining Halo rings and study them to ensure they will no longer activate he and his crew were lead to Requiem.

Sarah Palmer


















Sarah Palmer is commanding officer of all the Spartans aboard Infinity deploying Fireteams to key situations across Requiem. She is a skilled combatant able to work independently as well as lead her force of super-soldiers

SPARTAN-IVs











The new generation of Spartans, enhahnced from adult volunteers instead of 'conscripted' children are the powerhouse of Infinity's forces. Chief assisted a force of Spartans in his mission. One gripe I did have was that all Spartas wore 'Recruit' armour, which made the look like ODSTs rather than something more definitive like the 'Warrior' armour seen above.

Librarian
 







Wife of the Didact and in the end opposer of his plans to bring harm to humanity she was able to leave something of her essence behind on Requiem, this part of her recognized John as a reclaimer and aided him, also revealing the full extend of Didact's plan.

New Vehicles

Mammoth
 









A suitable massive vehicle, eclipsing even the Elephant vehicle of Halo 3. A mobile command centre able to transport a whole company of soldiers around the battlefield and able to deploy support vehicles from it's lower deck. The vehicle even has it's own mini-MAC cannon capable of delivering massive damage.

Lich







A heavier Covenant dropship with powerful armaments and capable of travelling in space. Equipped with a powerful plasma beam, similar to that of a Scarab this larger vehicle could deploy a significant force quickly into a warzone and support them with heavy firepower.

New Weapons

Particle Cannon

  







Powerful Forerunner weapons, capable of doing immense damage even to starships, only heavy weapons fire could incapacitate them.

Story

Chief, Cortana and Del Rio butt heads about what to do, with Del Rio arguing that they should leave Requiem, and Chief arguing that they should press their advantage against Didact. John joins Gypsy company and they head out and combat Covenant forces and Prometheans on the way to the particle cannons. Entering a Forerunner structure the Librarian informs John of the Composer a weapon used to turn humans into digital form, making them Promethean Knights. She also informed him of her plan to accelerate the evolution of humanity and triggered changes in John, including immunity to the composer. Returning to the ship, with the gravity well disabled, Del Rio makes ready to leave but Cortana shows her rampancy. Refusing to hand her over for examination Chief leaves the ship, opting to stay behind on the planet and stop Didact.

More Halo soon!