Sunday, 29 June 2008

Doctor Who: No Spoilers, I Swear - Just a few speculations

I'm not going to wreck anything for you, I'll make that clear. Here's just a few speculative words of wisdom from an over-enthusiastic Doctor Who fan.
Lets take a trip down memory lane.
Dalek Caan calls the Doctor the "Three-fold man", now a load of forums have been saying rule of three stuff, but back in the eight Doctor era, Paul McGann, the eight Doctor splits into three Doctors when he regenerates, two of which pop off into alternate universes. However i'm not sure if this is Canon or not, I'll follow this up with a review of Lance Parkin's books. It could also mean we get to see three different incarnations of the doctor - which would be fun.
There's also the whole Rani/Romana/Donna link (notice the ring on her finger?).

I'm now going to deal with the whole continuity thing. The books and audio plays have commented on an invasion of Gallifrey, but by the armies of Grandfather Paradox, in which the Doctor destroys Gallifrey and stores the entire Matrix in his brain. He then restores Gallifrey doing some Timey Wimey stuff - but it's kind of a waste as it ust gets destroyed again.
However, i'm sure the studio would stick to the TV series, to make it understandable for new audiences.

One final thing, the whole "Most faithful companion will die", I reckon it's the companion that's been with him right from the start. Wink. Wink.

And Aled, please can we have a lighter blog scheme? The Old one looked sophisticated and Classy, a breath of fresh air. This makes my eyes hurt.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Review:The Incredible Hulk

It was very good, even by non comic book film standards. The thing is it resembles a comic book, story telling wise.
I was wrong, it is a complete rehash, and I'm glad it is.
I was expecting a mad action movie, losing the emotional background the first Hulk had, but it was wrong. There was a shed-load of action this time around, but the human side of things was explored very well. I think it's winning aspect was the fact that it split the Hulk and Bruce Banner into two completely different entities, as opposed to exploring the relationship between the two in the first.
This means the Banner character is free to evoke our sympathy (begging on the streets of Brazil) and searching for a cure, while the Hulk can just smash stuff.
It's also a lot more gritty and realistic, the army act like the army, and there is that "real world" feel that Iron Man also shares.
I also enjoyed the moments of comedy and realism, for example the bit where Banner requests extra stretchy pants.
The Leader's origin was begun in this, though he's a potentially rubbish villan. I hope they do him right. The Abomination was done very well, and the fact that he didn't die opens up some interesting possiblities.
Irom Man's appearance and the mention of "Weapon Plus" (Wolverine) and Cap. America sets the scene for The Avengers (hopefully in 2011). Hulk-Buster Iron Man, Pleeeease.
Anyhoo, go see it. I hope all MArvel's independant films are as good as this and Iron Man.
Next up in the Marvelverse: X-Men Origins : Wolverine (Rumour has it that when spotted filming a Normandy landings scene in Austrailia for said film, a star spangled sheild was spotted...These cameos are becoming increasingly common)
See ya!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Doctor Who - New Series, new species part 14

Well a few weeks have passed and in general quality the Doctor Who episodes have picked up the pace quite a bit and we've had a strew of pretty decent stories and plots in recent weeks. We've also had some new species introduced, which I will introduce you to now.


I have to say I do find a creature with the exact properties and image of a wasp yet being somewhat larger a tad unbelievable, but then again this is Doctor Who, which is fun as well as Science Fiction so I think I can let it slide. The name again I found irritating as I'm fairly sure it means "wasp-thing" or something similar - the "form" ending just completely erradicates any hint of originality in the beast's name. But nonetheless it worked well on screen and on script also.

The vespiforms are an advanced race, largely resembling wasps found on Earth only they are the size of your average human being if not a bit bigger. They have the ability to take on the shape of humans and presumably other species too, but they seem to take on more than just the image as in human form one was capable of breeding with a human female. They relied on telepathy and could even store their consciousness's on telepathic devices. This was true of the vespiform born to a woman on earth. It believed itself to be human, but the device was inadvertantly activated and it regained it's human nature and also absorbed Agatha Christie plotlines, which were being read at the time of activation, into it's knowledge of social interaction etc. Thus, rather than gaining the benevolant nature of it's father, it set about a mysterious set of murders, which were solved by Agatha Christie herself. The wasp was drowned and the telepathic link broken. This incident was covered up on Earth, but surely it exposed a weakness in the Vespiforms that they and others may take an interest in - my conjecture only!

Vashta Nerada

This species was pretty cool, but I felt they weren't half as scary as they ought to have been as the episodes had a bit too much else going on to concentrate on how terrifying these creatures ought to have been. I think it was a mistake to have them talk as a feral beast is much more terrifying than a mysterious force and there were various discrepancies I think should have been sorted out, but nonetheless they were still intriguing and a good foe for the doctor.

Vashta Nerada are said to be the reason why most species fear the dark. Micsroscopic swarms of dark creatures that spread like shadows across the ground to hunt their prey. They grow in forests, but hide in dark places even on Earth where their live in small swarms and feed off roadkill or unfortunate lost people. But on their home world and in large numbers they are deadly. Such an incident happened on the artificial world of Library where small swarms hidden in the pulped wood that produced the millions of books on the world escaped in monumental swarms threatening all life on the planet 'causing the computer and transport system there to take drastic action. They still seemed to retain the instincts of hunting in small numbers, hutning in small groups and latching onto shadows rather than swarming outright, but they were nonetheless deadly. The Doctor managed to negotiate a treaty, giving him time to evacuate all on the planet, which was then left for the Vashta Nerada.

And that's it till the finale - hope you enjoyed.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Star Wars Legacy - Imperial Knights, part 2

Ok, a bit overdue, but I didn't want to just have Star Wars stuff cluttering the place up so I left it until there'd been enough variety so I could include this post. Earlier I covered the Imperial Knights and their function as well as those who'd fallen in battle. Now I'm going to cover the still living Knights and tell you what they've been up to, including adventures in recent issues of Legacy which I reviewed not too long ago...

Active Knights

Roan Fel

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Emperor (in exile)
First Appearance: Legacy # 3 (Broken, part 3)

The leader of the Empire is himself a fully trained Imperial Knight, equipped with a lightsaber and the power of the force. As Emperor he is therefore also leader of the order, though that position "officialy" resides with Antares Draco. Fel is absolutely dedicated to the Empire and has hated seeing what happened to it after the Sith took control. He is currently in hiding with the Knights and forces loyal to him. After seven years of hiding and fighting he retook the fortress of Bastion in an almost bloodless coup and has secured the world against Imperial attack. He refused to be tempted to give up his location, even when his daughter's life was at stake, feeling the Empire was more important than his feelings. When the location was found out he was still more than prepared and used his abilities and hidden weapons to take down a Sith assasin sent after him. Recently he has once again been in a position to discuss a treaty with the Galactic Alliance and since he has been made aware of the hidden temple of the Jedi the future hold many possibilities for the Emperor in hiding.

Marasiah Fel

Species: Human
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Princess (in exile), Imperial Knight
First Appearance: Legacy #2 (Broken, part 2)

Marasiah (or Sia) Fel is the only child of Emperor Roan Fel. As well as his title she has also inherited his force powers and as well as performing state duties she has been trained as an Imperial Knight. When the Sith took over she acted as her father's agent, travelling the galaxy, seeking forces loyal to the true Emperor and continuing her training under Elke Vetter. When she was attacked she sought refuge with Cade Skywalker, though she had no idea who he was. They ended up confronting the Sith and Sia fought to defend Cade, getting herself seriously injured by doing so, but Cade used his power to heal her. It was she that first saw that Jedi and Knights needed to work together, but unfortunately her proposal wasn't met at the time. Since that time she recovered and was trained and Knighted, having more than proven herself. While she is a junior Knight, being the princess puts her into a position of superiority among the Knights - she is currently in charge of a mission to find Cade, but they have found far more than that...

Antares Draco

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Head of Imperial Knight Order
First Appearance: Legacy #3 (Broken, part 3)

Antares has been placed at the head of the Imperial Knights by his master Roan Fel. He is loyal to his master above all else and has little patience for members outside the order, such as Jedi. He is a strong leader, having only one weakness - his love for Sia Fel, which has a hold on his emotions greater than his loyalty to the Empire. He has always been close to the Emperor and helped him break free of Coruscant when Darth Krayt took the throne and stayed at his side after that, accompanying him to Bastion seven years later. However, his feeling led him to Vendaxa to try and rescue the princess, despite her father's explicit order not too. He battled against the Sith, slaying several of them, but was lucky to get the princess out alive. The Emperor was very displeased with him, though he gave him a medal publicly, and he stated that Draco would never marry his daughter. Sia, however, has other plans! Draco has still been entrusted with top missions, such as protecting Mingo Bovark, the Empire's envoy on the first attempt to negotiate an alliance, and is currently leading the mission to find Cade.

Treis Sinde

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeword: Unknown
Position: Master
First Appearance: Legacy #22 (The Wrath of the Dragon)

One of the most senior masters of the order, Sinde possesses a calmness and ability for reason that many other order members lack. While most Imperial Knights exhibit overconfidence and pride in themselves he presented a far more calm and collected demeanour. He had been dispatched to Dac to sabotage the new advanced Star Destroyer only to find it had been captured by the Galactic Alliance. As they tried to warn the Alliance Darth Krayt announced the genocide of the Mon Calamari people. Sinde carried on, rescuing Monia Gahan who had been instrumental in the capture of the Star Destroyer. She insisted that they rescue the stranded members of Rogue Squadron and he agreed, despite his companion's stubborn belief that they were still enemies. As they made their escape Sinde stayed behind to battle Darth Azard so as to allow time for the rest to escape. He got away once the shuttle was safe and has joined the Mon Calamari resistance while he remains on Dac.

Ganner Krieg

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Knight
First Appearance: Legacy #3 (Broken part 3)

Krieg is Antares' closest friend an accompanies him on most of his missions. Though not on Coruscant when the Sith attacked he found his way back to them and was in the Emperor's honour guard when they retook Bastion. He has been something of a voice of reason to his more passionate friend, but was still willing to accompany him despite the orders of the Emperor. He declared his disgust at the Sith on Vendaxa and proceeded to slay many of them, proving his skill in battle. He has since accompanied Draco and all of his key missions.

Sigel Dare

Species: Human
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Knight
First Appearance: Legacy #3 (Broken, part 3)

Perhaps the most introverted in her views Sigel is a senior Knight who was also in the Emperor's honour guard when he retook Bastion. She has great difficulty accepting the change in the galaxy and still sees the world in black and white with the Empire as the good and while she doesn't like the Sith, naturally, she still sees things as they were at the time of war, viewing the Galactic Alliance still as enemies and the Jedi as inferior. After arriving on Bastion she later was paired with Master dare to sabotage the Imperial starship on Dac. She had predjudiced view, believing that they should just leave their "enemies" to their own devices, but her Master pointed out the Fel himself wanted an alliance with these people and when he sacrificed himself to save them she saw past her own views and put her differences aside to present an offer of alliance to the GA.

Azlyn Rae

Species: Human
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Apprentice
First Appearance: Legacy #23 (Loyalties, part 1)

Azlyn Rae was trained as a Jedi and was an apprentice alongside Cade Skywalker at the Jedi Temple. She was apprenticed to Rasi Tuum, but became seperated during the attack on the Coruscant temple. She claimed to have found off jobs, including bounty hunting, which is probably true, though it may have been part of her cover. Somehow she wound up with the Imperial Knights and stayed with them to complete her training. She is loyal to them and undertook the mission to find Cade Skywalker for them obtaining or retaining a bounty hunter ship and outfit. She confronted Cade, but was surprised by Nat Skywalker and then revealed herself to him, but leaving part of the story out. She helped them evade Imperial inspection and earned their trust, but quickly reported back to the Knights that she had found Cade, and the Jedi Order too.

Well that's it, expect some updates soon.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Matrix Online: Things to do, part 1

Tumbling down the rabbit hole: getting started in MxO

OK so if you're in the slightest bit tempted to get involved in the Matrix Online story then you'll also want to know what to expect while playing the game. So as well as the storyline I'm going to try and introduce to you the neighbourhoods, personalities and quests you can undertake while playing the game and exploring the Matrix. In this installment I'm going to try and take you through the first area you'll encounter and get you aquainted with the basics of the game.

Uriah Industrial Park

The first place you'll wind up in after completing your basic training is Uriah. Uriah is one of many neighbourhoods in the city and a part of Richland (aka the Slums) one of four key districts you can explore. Your travel options will be limited so you'll spend your initial moments in this area. Uriah is a warehouse district that's not very pretty to look at, but has some interesting features so it's worth roaming around. For this post I'll concentrate on what you can find in the neighbourhood though it doesn't have every feature in the game.

The Choppers

Hopefully you'll bump into some friendly redpills when you enter the Matrix and often they are willing to show you around so it's always worth asking. But that's not all you'll find there, a local gang names the Choppers, a crew of car thieves who are also exiled programs, not human like you or I. There are many such gangs on many streets in the city, they are a danger, but there can be rewards for taking them down. Some of them carry Chopper keys, a gang emblem (which all the gangs have) and there are people who are willing to reward you for attacking the gangs.

I've written about this gang and others HERE

My First Quest

A new feature has been added to the game for new players only so you may want to check it out when you start. Quests are common in many MMOs, MxO had been lacking them since it is mission focused but more and more are being added and these will be what I cover in these posts amongst other things. The quest centres on a group of "collectors" there are people willing to trade with you - they are represented on your map (press M) with a pink icon with two arrows representing the trade. You should have in your inventory (press I) an ID Card, you can trade this with the first collector "Clio" who will give you a note to pass to the next collector. It carries on and as you go you will be required to obtain keys from the Choppers nearby and you will be rewarded for your efforts with items useful to you as you start. Here you can get the "Industrial Pants" and "Industrial Boots" part of a set of clothing you can obtain only in the Uriah district.


Somewhere amongst these collectors will be FastBack who has a grievance against the gang. He rewards the Industrial Boots so you're better off getting them from the quest but if you lose them or anything you can get them from him. In each district there is a collector willing to reward you for giving them gang tokens.


At the end of the collector trail you should find some Vendors marked on your map with a blue V icon. These will sell you items relating to the basic starting abilities, enougn to get you started on whatever path you chose whether it be hacker, coder of combat. Vendors are dotted throughout the city selling everything from clothes to weapons to abilities - there's lots to check out. They will also buy unwanted items from you.


Near the Vendors you should find a Hardline in the shape of a phone booth, it will be glowing and as you get near it you should have the option to "synchronise" - do this and you will gain experience and add it to your list of Hardlines. Hardlines can be used to enter and exit the matrix you can upload goods to your hovercraft in the real and you can also change your abilities there and trade goods on a virtual marketplace. The most common use for hardlines is travel though as you can instantly transport yourself between synchronised hardlines. Try it, send yourself back to the place you started from and come back in a blink!


There are lots of missions you can do in game, as you start you can do missions for Zion that will get you aquainted with the game and your abilities. Later you are given missions that can either get you further up the ranks in Zion or tempt you into the employ of the Machines or the Merovingian - but they aren't the only ones willing to hire you. Mercury is an exile who lives in the basement of a building near the Vendors and Hardline you've just found. He is part of a group called the Elements, who are prominent in the Richland district. He is an inventor and garage owner who has various uses for you, which add to the flavour of life in the Matrix. He has five starting missions that tell you a bit about him and the elements group and give you good experience starting out so they're well worth doing. The developers also added a sixth mission recently, but I'll get onto that in a nother post I think.

If you want map coordinates and other info to help you find Mercury and others I'd reccomend THIS SITE which I've been using as a reference for this post.

For more information of Mercury, Sugaree has written reviews of his missions and virtually all the other "contact" missions on her BLOG


There's nothing better than a club to unwind or party down after a mission and Uriah district has just that for you. Parralaxis is viewable on your map with a blue musical note icon and is well worth checking out, especially as you can often find other redpills there. The club is a warehouse converted into a massive club with a huge dancefloor, banging music and some private rooms upstairs you can chill in. It's not the most suave of places but it's a nice place to hang out in when you're starting off. There are several clubs of varying nature and tastes dotted throughout the city - check them out, a lot of them have "contacts" lurking within.

That'll do, once you've checked all that out you'll want to head out on foot, maybe find a few hardlines or use the subway to get around. But I wouldn't be a stranger 'cause Uriah's got a lot more to offer and I'll tell you all about it soon.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Sci Fi Masterworks #2 : I Am Legend Review

First up - sorry Figgy, beat you to it, but seeing as you did the film, it's only fair.
The book, by Richard Matheson, is a dark, compelling affair. Unlike the film it's a lot more gritty and the vampires really are Vampires (though they are explained scientifically), he doesn't have a dog, he isn't a scientist and the cause of the plague isn't really explained.
The novel is quite short, the majority of which focuses on his mentality and his slow discovery of what the vampires are. Unlike the film, it's on a smaller, more down to earth scale - he has no radio to send transmissions to other survivors, indeed he even admits there's no way he would find a survivor, unless they were less than a days drive from his house.
This is a novel that excels because of its ending. It differs hugely from the film. I won't give it away, but there's no such happy ending for Robert, although there is for the world. It also makes the title make sense.
The film has slight Christian undertones, the sacrifice Robert makes etc.
This book doesn't have that.
Although there is a very weird section of a flashback, with several infected Charismatic Christians gathered for a service, still in their clear minds, repenting and asking God to save them from the Vampires and themselves. It doesn't make this clear, but I sense some Steven KIng style mockery of Christianity.
All and all, it's a very good book. Better than the film, it's like those good books that have an author, disciplined enough to give it an unhappy ending.
But there is a cliff hanger involving pills. I'll be happy to discuss it with you.
Sam Li.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

SF at the Movies - June 08

Ok well we've slipped comfortably into June so I figured this'd be a good time to tell y'all about what's coming up on UK cinema screens this June. Note that all film releases are subject to delay and my sources are by no means guaranteed as accurate. As before the titles link to the trailers at if available.

The Happening
Released 13/06/08

The latest project from director M.Night. Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, The Village) features Mark Whalberg in an adventure where an unknown cause has left millions of Americans dead, cause unknown. As always an intrepid band must get together to survive and get together to figure out just what the heck is going on. The trailer is mysterious, drawing you in without spoiling the plot. The Director and actors have produced good works before so it looks like it will be worth seeing.

The Incredible Hulk
Released 13/06/08

The second project from Marvel Studios has ignored 2003's poorly recieved Hulk and done another origins movie with new cast and production crew as well as a new story. The story will no doubt be close to the original and has already been revealed to star a Hulk baddie "Abomination" who looks very cool onscreen. The film looks very stylish and intriguing and it looks like the Marvel Studios idea is going to work out and be succesful for the future. With Iron Man rumoured to have a cameo, Avengers referred to in Iron Man and a host of new films coming out referred to by Sam it looks like Marvel are keen on building up a continuity and maybe a crossover film will be in the works before we know it.

Released 25/06/08

I don't know exactly if this qualifies as Science-Fiction and I honestly don't know much about it but I'm including it just in case and partly because I'm sure there's more coming out but I can't seem to find any of it. The film centres around a group of assasins who have control over weapons that no one else does, able to curve bullets to their targets. The group take orders an assignment from one place only...fate itself. OK no robots or laser guns, but intriguing enough to put here I think.

And that wraps it up it would seem, I'd hoped for more, but there's one or two more non-SF releases out too and with Batman out next month and Star Wars coming back into cinemas (expect a post in the very near future!!!) it won't be dissapointing at the Silver screen for a little while yet!

Also this is a momentous occasion as this blog has now crossed the 100 post mark!!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Star Wars Vector, Chapter 1: Knights of the old Republic

This is a review so if by any chance you want to find out for yourself what happens don't read much beyond the first paragraph

The biggest event in Star Wars comics for a long time has reached the conclusion of it's first segment and I thought I should bring you up to speed as there's plenty of time to jump on board if you want to get in on the action of Vector the Star Wars comics crossover!

Vector is designed to be a big event in comics similar to the recent "Civil War" in Marvel, but designed to be less demanding on the reader and his wallet. The story crosses over the four current Star Wars comic titles: Knights of the Old Republic, Dark Times, Rebellion and Legacy in a linear storyline that all readers can join in with easily. The story is designed to attract new readers who can use Vector to jump into the existing storylines, get to know the characters through the events and maybe stick around to carry on reading after Vector has finished. But Vector also makes allowances for readers who just want to stick to their current reading pattern. Vector features the main characters from each title and creates a story that is as relevant to them as it is to the overall arc. A Kotor reader can just read the Kotor section and not feel lost because he hasn't picked up the rest of the continuity of comics - which I think is a wise move.

Those of you familiar with the names of the comics will have twigged to the fact that this story is covering well over 4000 years of Star Wars continuity. How will this work - I guess I'll tell ya...

The story centres around a character and an object - Celeste Morne and the Muur Talisman. Celeste is a shadow, a secret Jedi agent working for a shadowy group called the Covenant who will stop at nothing to prevent the Sith from rising. Celeste has been tasked with hunting down Sith artifacts and any other threats to the Jedi or the Covenant, but one artifact will test everything she knows. That artifact is the Muur Talisman created in times so ancient that even the Jedi of four thousand years before Luke Skywalker know little about it. The talisman has a power so dangerous that it can control life itself.

Celeste is sent to Taris an influencial outer rim world, now under occupation by the Mandalorians, to retrieve the Talisman, seen in visions by her masters. There she encounters not only the armoured warriors, but the vicious plague which transforms any living thing into a horrid beast known as a Rakghoul. Battling her way through the city she encounters Zayne Carrick, the principal character of the series, and his partner Griff, running through the city. Zayne is a fugitive framed by his (and Celeste's) masters for the murder of several Jedi students. Finding herself unwillingly partnered with them she tracks the artifact to a Mandalorian camp. She soon learns that Zayne is the one her masters condemn, but quickly realises he couldn't be responsible, causing her to question her loyalty to her masters.

They followed the Mandalorians to Jebble an ice fortress where Pulsipher a Mandalorian scientist had brought the artifact. But soon things turned for the worse - the Rakghoul plague had spread there, and it was the artifact that caused it. Worse the artifact enabled the monsters to think and act intelligently using weapons and ships to spread their plague further. When Celeste arrived the artifact detected a Jedi presence and latched onto her, giving her even greater control over the plague and unleashing the mind of it's Sith owner, Karness Muur. It was only Zayne that made the Sith influence in her stop and she asked Zayne to kill her to end the plague, but instead he found Lord Dreypa's Oubliette, a stasis/torture chamber from which the talisman could not escape. Celeste hid in it, telling Zayne that she believed him and assisting him on his path for justice by giving him a location for where he should go next. Zayne sealed her in, but at that moment the Mandalorian fleet arrived and bombarded the planet, destroying the Rakghouls and leaving Celeste stranded for a long, long time...

Well that's it so far, the story jumps to Dark Times, which follows Episode 3 and Order 66 where a crew of smugglers have obtained a very interesting and valuable piece of cargo. If you have a comic shop nearby and want to jump onboard the first issue of the Dark Times should be on shelves now - unless it's sold out!