Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Doctor Who - New series, new species part 21

Sarah Jane has made a return to the small screen (and even the big screen if you were lucky enough to get tickets to the special event) ahead of the next special, meaning some more Who action to fill the void.

Even the Doctor himself is set to make an appearance in this week's show, but before we get to all that let's have a peek at some of the new alien races the series has introduced so far.


When I saw the title 'Prisoner of the Judoon' I worried that this episode might just be casual reuse of an existing alien and not exciting, but thankfully the Judoon were well used, and 'Androvax the Annihilator' their prisoner made the episode very exciting and watchable. When it possessed Sarah Jane it was conveyed by some excellent acting on Elisabeth Sladen's part. His nihilistic background and reasoning behind his genocidal acts made him interesting beyond the usual 'bad guy' routine, which the series does quite well such as the child kidnapping Kudlak in series 1, though unlike him Androvax was unrepentant.

He also rebuilt a ship based on plans of a ship found in Nevada at a 'Dreamland' base, couldn't have anything to do with an animated series of the same name could it, hmmmm?

Veils were an intriguing species with powerful abilities and unique characterisctics. While outwardly appearing to be reptilian, sporting scaled, razor sharp teeth and even a forked tongue, genetically they have no significant link to reptilian species. They developed the use of particle reticulation to hide within the bodies of others, notably doing so in others smaller than themselves, a little girl, and strikingly different, a fish based species. While in the bodies they 'possess' the bodily functions of the person and can access their memories, though the mind of the captive can still be active and compete for control. They also can stun a victim through touch, leaving them in a trance like state until woken up. Tragedy beset the Veil race when ecological changes to their planet caused it to freeze overm killing all Veil members on the planet, the only known Veil to escape was Androvax, who waas travelling at the time. He vowed to teach all planets the 'way of the universe' - he destroyed 12 worlds and attempted to destroy Earth before capture by the Judoon. His sentence is execution, if carried out it may end this race once and for all.


This race is as yet unnamed - I'm tempted to call the Kyrptonians because of the Superman references in Eve's story, but I will refrain and stay slightly disgruntled at the lack of name. The species was intriguing, with her looking human and yet demonic with red skin, pointy ears and dreadlocks. The perception of the character changed subtly throughout the episode, from villain to hero to possessed puppet and finally to a confused child who was a bit of everything. The backstory and use of intelligent spaceship. The introduction of 'future Rani' telling the story made the story and it's consequences event more powerful.

Eve belonged to a powerful race with incredible abilities, they were able to percieve timelines, control equipment and even people with their minds. The ability to percieve timelines made them sought after by both sides in the Time War, 'ship' made reference to many of them being 'exterminated' in the conflict. Some members of the species sent their children away to protect them, sending them in intelligent ships that could watch over them and help them control their abilities. Eve's ship was damaged and unable to help her, but Harry befriended her and kept her safe in a fairground. She also became friends with Sam, and after reading his mind asked him to bring Rani to help her, Rani was angry at Sarah Jane and wished she wouldn't interfere, hoping to solve the mystery herself. After Sarah Jane was able to harness a black hole (the ship's fuel) Eve was able to leave with Sam and Harry, as they did Ship granted Rani's wish and erased Sarah Jane, Luke and Clyde from existence, leaving her alone and crazed in Bannerman road. Fifty years in the future Adam, the son of Eve and Sam who had human appearance, but Eve's abilities came back and restored the timeline.

That's it for now, for more info keep an eye out for A Podcast of Impossible Things, a new episode coming soon discussing the Doctor's appearance. Also, for more alien fun check out Monster Hunt of the SJA site.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Halo Animals

I'll level with ya; I'm not really sure why I'm doing this one, it just popped into my head and I can't get rid of the need to do it before posting other things so what the heck let's just do it. The idea is to look at the vehicles of the UNSC (good guys) in Halo and compare them with the animals they're named after.

Who knows it might work - I'll try and use this as a precursor to some 'Stuff' posts on Halo once I've reviewed the newer games.



Also known as the M12-LRV the 'Warthog' is your most common way of getting around the place in the Halo games. It's fast sturdy and can drive, bounce or flip it's way over pretty much anything. They also come with a chain-gun mount, though their are variants with heavier armour or more seating. I could say a bit more about why it's called the Warthog, but Red Vs Blue tell it better!

M808B Scorpion

The Scorpion is, naturally, your tank. It looks like a tank so I guess we can assume it's named after it's deadly abilities rather than appearance. It is always a delight to drive one of these, with the right skills one of these can take out anything, even a Scarab, the Covenant's super-unit. With a machines gun emplacement and multi-directional aiming, these beasts can sting at both long and short range.

Dropship-77 Pelican

Your ride to and from danger in the series, the dropship has remained popular throughout the series. Capable of taking off from standing, travelling out of atmosphere and transporting large amounts of armour to a location these ships do it all. Named perhaps because of their lack of combat functionality or their ability to carry large amounts of troops and ordinance, one of these birds is always a welcome sight.


Very little known about this one as they have only appeared as crashed ships on multiplayer maps. They are a heavy dropship, with more capacity than a Pelican, but little else is known, presumably named after their ability to go long distances.

OK - we're into Halo 3 territory now, nearly there!

M247 Mongoose

The answer to the question 'could the Warthog be made more fun?' These things bounce around like crazy and zip you across any territory in double time. They don't have any armaments, but get a Marine with a rocket launcher on board and you're set to do some damage. They are effectively motorbikes designed to transport troops very quicky across the battlefield.

AV-14 Hornet

The first air vehicle of the UNSC useable by the player (though you previously could take flight in a Covenant Banshee) added another fun element to the war in Halo 3. The vehicles had machine guns and a powerful rocket launcher giving them armaments to match a tank, though they weren't as armoured as a Scoprion or maneuverable as a Banshee, also you could bring Marines along for a ride, adding an extra gun to pick of smaller targets.

last one!!

M312 Elephant

This vehicle is naturally named after it's size. It moves slowly but steadily and is capable of carrying large amounts of armour or troops safely across the battlefield. Like the Albatross, this only features in the multiplayer maps, but it can be driven and used. The two found contain a number of Mongoose vehicles, defensive turrets and room for plenty more. The vehicles is used more extensively in Halo Wars.

Well I hope you got something out of that - I did quite like making it I must admit.

More soon!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Sarah Jane Returns!! Plus New Who

The Doctor Who spinoff for children makes a welcome return to our screens this week, well British screens anyway, but with developments in the US it might not be too long before fans over there catch up with the series.

The show looks bigger and better than ever, with a selection of new species (which means more posting on Blogga!) and returning ones from the Who universe, in the trailer I caught glimpses of the Trickster who is my favourite of the new era villains as well as a certain medico making his way to Bannerman Road.

The series starts Thursday on BBC1 - make a note! For fans in the north, there is a special event going to be held at Liverpool One in a few weeks time.

On the website there are a few decent extras, including games, fact files on monster and a new comic/ARG type thing called 'Monster Hunt' which is starting up and due to develop over the length of the series.

In related news the main show crew have updated their logo for the 2010 series - take a peek!

Monday, 12 October 2009

SF Masterworks #24 - The War of the Worlds / The Time Machine

One of the most recognizable titles on this list and not only because of the modern film adaptation. The giant tripods have influences a subsequent generation of alien invasion and time travel dramas all bear the hallmarks of Wells' original work.

One of the striking things about his work is the time period in which it was written, in pre-WWI Britain when modern technology and thoughts of aliens were distant dreams. With our modern gear we'd probably wipe the floor with the Martian invaders, but in a time where aeroplanes were on the verge of invention, cannonballs were still common ammunition and targeting was done by eye and skill the invaders run riot across London.

The book also covers the feverish dreams of rebellion and uprising against an unstoppable foe, and the social demolition that would occur under such circumstances is explored in depth. The way the Martians are despatched shows the quirky genius of Wells' mind and makes for a satisfying conclusion.

I'll post up the review from SFSite where I get the cover images etc. It's not as favourable to the author, though it does spend more time covering the Time Machine, with which I'm less familiar.

I suppose a series calling itself SF Masterworks really wouldn't be complete without representing the grandfather of English language SF. There can be no argument that these two stories are classics of the genre. But are they timeless classics? Absolutely not. They are, like most of Wells' works from that era, quite obviously products of late Victorian England. But Wells was certainly no Dickens or Thackeray; he was not the best of the Victorians. And as a science fiction writer, he was no Frank Herbert or even John Wyndham. Any of these boys could write Wells into a corner and leave him begging for a little character development.

Like any good speculative fiction, The Time Machine and War of the Worlds are extrapolations of existing conditions, taken to extremes and beyond into the realm of imagination. And, like much if not most good speculative fiction, there is a heavy satirical bent to them. However, the protagonists in both these stories exhibit violently aggressive behaviour and are considerably less than sympathetic, if you pause to give them any thought at all. (Although neither is quite as despicable as the murderously psychotic anti-hero of Wells' next best-known work, The Invisible Man -- a thoroughly wretched story with no redeeming value.)

Structurally, The Time Machine is one of Wells' better stories. It is, however, only moderately interesting. Darwin's theory of evolution was still fairly new and shocking when The Time Machine first saw publication in 1895. Wells' comment on human evolution is rather bleak. In his version, humans will evolve (or devolve) into two distinct branches: the child-like, graceful, but sheep-like and ultimately doomed Eloi; and their nemesis, the ugly, predatory Morlocks. Wells perceived this as the natural evolution of the English class-based system: the elegant upper crust breeding themselves into the mush-brained idleness of the Eloi; the dirty and slavish working class evolving into the amoral Morlocks who continue to work at keeping the elite in comfort, but in order to use them as a food source. Not a very hopeful future for humanity (or for the English, at any rate), but if you're willing to see the satire, you may appreciate that's probably the way the present looked to Wells. In fact, pessimists and misanthropes today may still argue along the same lines.

War of the Worlds is of historical note largely due to the widespread panic caused by the 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of an adaptation of this 1898 H.G. Wells classic. Many people mistook it for a news broadcast, rather than the radio drama that it was. (Hey, radio was still a relatively new thing; give them a break.) The story itself is an interesting comment on the arrogance of humankind, but it is rather pale by today's standards and the ending is a complete cop-out.

H.G. Wells is something of a disappointment today. However, his work is important to the history of the genre and it is worth reading a sampling to understand the roots of contemporary science fiction. Imperfect as these two stories are, they are probably the two best choices for a sampling of Wells -- both for their historical importance and for exemplifying his style and scope.

Copyright © 2000 by Neil Walsh

Whatever you think of the book itself, it's place in the foundation of Science Fiction makes it a 'must-read' for any geek.

Monday, 5 October 2009


OK this an alert kind of thing alerting you all to a new show called 'Flashforward'

The first episode aired last week for Brits and I think the week before for Americanos I think. Basic plot is that the entire planet blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, during which time they all see their future, with everyone seeing the exact same time and date, roughly six months in the future.

Agents are assigned to unravel this mystery as well as deal with the global disaster caused by countless car crashes and injuries resulting from the blackout.

Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know - here's a trailer to show you more.

If you're UK it shows Monday nights at 9pm on FIVE, you can catch up on Demand Five

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Star Wars Legacy: Storms (34-35)

I swiped a fresh issue of Legacy of the shelf of my local comic shop just the other day so it's high time I caught up on the story for the one or two of you that may be interested, and I'll juump right in with some updates...

Sith Updates

Species: Chagrian
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Korriban
Position: Apprentice, future Darth Wyyrlok
First Appearance: Legacy # 34 (Storms, part 1)

Saarai is the daughter of Darth Wyyrlok, who is now leader of the One Sith order. She is training to be the next Darth Wyyrlok, a position her family has held from the beginning. She was tasked with guarding Lord Krayt's stasis chamber until it was ready, she told visitor's he was in stasis, it is unclear whether her father revealed the Dark Lord's true status. Despite being an apprentice and 'unmarked' she showed considerable power, especially in telikinesis, besting a weakened Darth Stryfe in force combat by gripping his heart with the force then lifting and twisting his body until stopped by her father.

This guy also appeared, but was not named. He is a Koorivar and is also unmarked so not a 'Darth' or high ranking Sith. He was tasked with supervising the medical station and bacta tanks where the party from Had Abbadon were healing. Stryfe woke up and assaulted him, demanding to know Krayt's location.

OK, on with the story

Issue Review

Cade and crew crash-land the Mynock on Kiffex, where Bantha Rawk and family have moved to, during a storm. Cade has been force-healing Azlyn all the way, she says she can accept death but he refuses to let her go. Cade demands that Droo, who has medical skill heals her, she says only if Azlyn wants to live - Cade lies, insisting that she be saved, then collapses from the strain of his efforts.

Hours later Cade wakes up and wants to help, but Bantha refuses, having seen the dark side effect of Cade's ability. Cade decides to take his frustrations into town along with Syn, on the way they meet Shado, who is taking his fighter to the Hidden Temple to report on Krayt's death.

Back on Korriban, Stryfe awakes, angered that he can no longer sense Krayt he confronts Saarai then goes to the stasis chamber where Wyyrlok telss him there are sheilds in place to hide the dark Lord's presence. After this he pledges his support to Wyyrlok and he and the other Sith soon return to Coruscant, intriguing the Moffs as well as Roan Fel who questions his Knights and a mysterious cloaked contact.

On Kiffex Cade starts a bar fight then flied into a rage, attacking the Clan Vos Guardians that arrive, he is so out of control as to attack his own cousin who is a new recruit until Jariah intervenes. He returns to the homested to check on Azlyn to find that she has been put into a cybernetic suit designed by Bantha and that she is now angry with him because she did not want that life. Having truly outstayed their welcome, Cade and his crew leave and Azlyn returns to the Knights.

Hope that was fun - more to come!