Tag Archives: Sci Fi

33 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Could Rock Your Summer

Here are some great SF/Fantasy fare for the summer.  Oh how I envy my eighteen year old’s job at the local movie theater, which gets all the major movies and some small ones:  she gets free movies, as many as she wants, with .50 large popcorn and .50 large drink.  She goes to tons.  Sees most of the ones out there.  Whaaaaa!

33 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Could Rock Your Summer.

 

33 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Could Rock Your Summer

This year’s summer movies just won’t let up. There’s Joss Whedon’s Avengers, Chris Nolan’s third Batman film, and Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to space horror. Plus maybe a dozen other movies that look like they could be totally fantastic. Here’s our complete list of 32 movies coming out between now and September — including superheroes, aliens, time travel and the end of the world!

Minor spoilers ahead…

The Sound of My Voice (April 27)
The Sundance 2011 hit finally reaches theaters. It’s an artsy tale about a cult founded by a woman who claims to be from the future, from Another Earth co-writer and star Brit Marling. Like Another Earth, this is a very character-focused, intimate story with a huge science fiction backdrop.

The Raven (April 27)
There’s a serial killer who’s killing people according to the works of pioneering horror author Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) — and only Poe can stop him. Quoth the Raven: WTF! Only really notable because it’s the closest we’ll ever get to the show about Poe being a detective that failed to get on the air last year.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (April 27)
The latest stop-motion animated movie from the makers of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, and it’s easily as good as their earlier works. It’s honestly much better if you think of it as being called Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists, the title of the book and the U.K. version. Basically, pirates and Charles Darwin, in Victorian England.


May

The Avengers (May 4)
The culmination of four years of Marvel superhero movies, this film brings Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Incredible Hulk and S.H.I.E.L.D. together to fight Loki and his alien army. By all accounts, director Joss Whedon brings together this huge spandex mish-mash with surprising grace, and delivers a nice, craftsmanlike film. We can’t wait.

Dark Shadows (May 11)
Tim Burton reunites with Johnny Depp for their 500th collaboration — a remake of the 1966-1971 soap opera featuring vampire Barnabas Collins, who wakes up in the early 1970s. Judging from the trailers, Burton has gone all-out comedy with this version, which could turn out to be an excellent choice — if he can recapture the old Beetlejuice spirit. Fingers crossed.

Battleship (May 18)
Already out in the UK, and getting mixed reviews. It’s a movie based on a board game, in which aliens come down to Earth and imprison a bunch of naval vessels inside a dome, causing them to play a deadly game… of Battleship. By all accounts, it’s pretty similar to the Michael Bay Transformersfilms, so if you liked those, you’ll like this.

Hysteria (May 18)
A romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator. Hugh Dancy plays a doctor in Victorian England who’s torn between the staid values of the medical establishment and his progressive new ideas. And then he gets a job working with a specialist who treats women with “hysteria,” and develops an electrifying new treatment. Meanwhile, he becomes entranced with his partner’s daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who’s a budding feminist.

Lovely Molly (May 18)
A woman moves into her dead father’s house, and starts being haunted by painful memories — and that’s before a malevolent presence starts targeting her. By all accounts, this is a nice change from the usual “haunted house” movies, because Molly is working class (she’s a trucker’s wife and mall cleaning woman) and she’s also recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, and desperately trying to stay sober.

Chernobyl Diaries (May 25)
The latest Oren Peli horror film isn’t, strictly speaking, “found footage” — although it still has a very DIY feel to it. Six young people take an “extreme” tour of Pripyat, a town that’s been deserted since that famous 1980s nuclear disaster. Except that they get trapped there, and maybe it’s not quite as deserted as they’d thought… because something is hunting them.

Men in Black 3 (May 25)
Will Smith is back as Agent J, and this time he has to travel back to the 1960s to save his partner (Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin) from being killed in the past by an alien (Jemaine Clement). On the plus side, the time travel element should open up some new storylines. Plus there’s Emma Thompson. On the minus side, they apparently had no script during some of the production, and it was kind of a mess. But it could still be fun.


June

Piranha 3DD (June 1)
This was supposed to come out last summer, wasn’t it? This sequel to Piranha 3D has the jokiest title of any movie this year, which also explains succinctly the main reason why anybody will want to see this monster fish epic. You can’t blame a movie for knowing its audience.

Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)
The second of the year’s Snow White movies could actually benefit from the failure of Mirror Mirror. This one features a more “badass” Snow White, played by Twilight’s Kristen Stewart (yes, I know). And the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) teaches Snow White the art of war, so she and her dwarves can overthrow the Queen (Charlize Theron). Dwarves include Nick Frost and Bob Hoskins, which is automatic win.

Prometheus (June 8)
Even in a summer with The Avengers andThe Dark Knight Rises, this might be the most hotly awaited film for science fiction fans. Sir Ridley Scott returns to science fiction, and to the world of 1979’s Alien, for a horrifying, unsettling new adventure. Every frame that we’ve seen from this movie thus far looks like it could be your favorite new artwork, and it also looks like it brings a massive new ambition to expanding the universe we glimpsed in Alien.

Safety Not Guaranteed (June 8)
It’s that quirky indie comedy about three magazine employees who go to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking someone to go back in time with him. “I have only done this once before,” the ad warns. Based on an actual newspaper ad that caused an internet sensation back in 2005. The trailer looks pretty great and clever, in that “quirky indie” way.

The Woman in the Fifth (June 15)
Ethan Hawke stars in the adaptation of a novel about a writer and professor who goes to live in Paris, then falls on hard times and gets ensnared in some dirty business. It’s basically your standard “Ethan Hawke goes to Paris” movie that we’ve all seen before — except that it also turns into a freaky ghost story, at least judging from the novel.

Extraterrestrial (June 15)
Timecrimes director Nacho Vigalondo is back, with another weird little science fiction movie. Sadly, it’s not the one he was planning to make about the guy who builds a ramp to jump his car onto a UFO. But it does have aliens — basically, a guy has a one-night stand with a woman who’s out of his league, and just when things are getting awkward, aliens invade and everybody has to stay indoors. This movie hits select theaters in the U.S. (including your town, if you register via Tugg.com) on June 15.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter(June 22)
Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch) returns to vampires — with a strange alt-history take in which Abraham Lincoln not only freed the slaves, he slew the vamps as well. It’s written by Seth Grahame-Smith, based on his book of the same name. With Bekmambetov involved, the action should at least look pretty sweet.

Brave (June 22)
Pixar hopefully returns to form after Cars 2, with the story of Merida, a princess who defies an age-old custom and unleashes chaos on the kingdom. Everything we’ve seen thus far on this film looks totally gorgeous, including some beautiful shots of the Scottish countryside. Seeing Pixar tackle fairytales, and a female lead character, should be ultra-rewarding. Plus Kevin McKidd voices Lord MacGuffin and his son, the Young MacGuffin.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (June 22)
It’s Melancholia, only it’s a fun romantic comedy. Steve Carrel stars as a guy who connects with a young woman (Keira Knightley) and searches for his childhood sweetheart, before an asteroid destroys the world. The trailer is pretty hilarious, especially the bit where Patton Oswalt explains that the impending doom of the planet means that women will sleep with him without worrying about diseases — or even whether you’re related to them.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (June 28)
So yeah, nobody was especially impressed with the first G.I. Joe. But the good news is, this time around it’s directed by Jon M. Chu, who created the insane dance-superhero webseries The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. Plus it looks like this film picks up right where the first one left off, with the evil Zartan impersonating the U.S. President — and a movie about an evil president is always welcome.


July

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
A mere five years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy concluded, Spidey’s being rebooted — but at least the new director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) seems likely to bring a very different feel than Raimi. And non-organic web-shooters and non-CG swinging seem like an improvement. Plus a more quippy Peter Parker. The trailers we’ve seen so far look surprisingly cool. And yet, do we need a new Spidey origin? Especially one which focuses so much on the mystery of Peter Parker’s parents? We’ll see.

Ted (July 13)
The Family Guy‘s Seth MacFarlane directs his first big-screen movie. Mark Wahlberg plays John, who wished for his teddy bear to come to life when he was a kid. Now, John’s a grown-up — and his sentient teddy bear is still following him around, hindering his attempts to have a normal life. Mila Kunis plays the love interest, and MacFarlane voices the teddy bear.

Red Lights (July 13)
It’s pretty much your standard “paranormal investigators butt heads with a man who claims to be a psychic” movie — except that the paranormal investigators are Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy. And the psychic is played by Robert De Niro. Sadly, we called it “this year’s biggest Sundance letdown.” Apparently it’s De Niro’s “Not the bees” movie.

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
The third movie in Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, this one features Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane. By the look of things, we’ll be seeing an older, less assured Batman, and a Gotham that’s gotten complacent after eight years of peace after the death of Harvey Dent. We’ve already seen a football field implode, and it sounds like that’s just the beginning of the insanity.

Ruby Sparks (July 25)
A young writer struggles with writers’ block, until he starts inventing his ideal woman so he can write about her… until one day, she appears in the flesh in his apartment, apparently called into being by the force of his imagination. From the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, this film looks pretty fascinating. (Thanks to nekowrites for the reminder!)

Neighborhood Watch (July 27)
A zany comedy in which Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and Vince Vaughn are suburban dads who join a neighborhood watch group to get some excitement — only to find themselves the only line of defense against an alien invasion. More importantly, though, the film features The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade in a major role. And it’s apparently trying for aGhostbusters vibe. Fingers crossed!


August

Total Recall (August 3)
Colin Farrell stars in this quasi-remake of the 1990 Schwarzenegger classic, in which the hero never goes to Mars. By all accounts, Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard) is trying to get closer to the Philip K. Dick source material, and delve more into the weirdness of not knowing who you really are. At the very least, let’s hope there’s some good action sequences in a cool-looking future dystopia.

The Awakening (August 10)
This movie came out in the U.K. last fall, but it’s finally getting a U.S. release. It’s another “supernatural debunker confronts real supernatural phenomena” film — except that it’s set in 1921 and the debunker is a woman, Florence Cartwright (Rebecca Hall). It’s gotten some good reviews, and the heroine wears an awesome Captain Jack Harkness coat.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (August 15)
The creeptastic Disney movie about a childless couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) who write down their wish for a child and bury it in the yard… and then their dream child shows up, already aged 10. From an idea by Frank Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa. It honestly looks kind of disturbing, but it’s clearly trying to be heartwarming — and maybe it’ll be cooler than the trailers look.

ParaNorman (August 17)
In the latest stop-motion animated film from the studio behind Coraline, Norman can speak with the dead — which comes in handy after zombies start attacking. He also has to save his town from an ancient witch’s curse.

The Apparition (August 24)
A supernatural presence gets unleashed during a college parapsychology experiment, and starts haunting a young couple (Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan.) They have to call on a supernatural expert — played by Draco Malfoy himself, Tom Felton — to help deal with it. But it may already be too late to save them! The combination of “college parapsychology experiment” and “Draco Malfoy, ghost hunter” seems like a promising one.

7500 (August 31)
Get these motherfuckin’ ghosts off this motherfuckin’ plane! Seriously, if Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t at least get a cameo where he says that, we’ll feel cheated. Basically, in this film, Jason Stackhouse is on a flight over the Pacific when a supernatural presence invades the plane. Director Takashi Shimizu previously made seven of the Grudge movies.

The Possession (August 31)
Previously known as Dybbuk Box, this movie has been delayed for ages and ages. And yes, it’s a welcome addition to the tiny genre of “Jewish horror,” alongside that Odette Yustman movie a couple years ago. A young girl buys a box at a yard sale, unaware the box holds a malevolent presence. This August, Yiddish is the language of terror. This film features Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so you can pretend it’s aSupernatural prequel.

Sources: Film-Releases.com, The-Numbers.com, Entertainment Weekly.

Contact Charlie Jane Anders:

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Newer Reads for Teens in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

These are books from SimonSays.com, a website from Simon & Schuster. I found them by using the guide on the left, clicking on Teens at the top, and then on Science Fiction and Fantasy under “category.” They are the printers of many of the teen books available, and are a great way to find books for your kids, and they group then not only by teen, but by each grade level and by genre, series, etc. Most of these are published within the past year, or are yet to be published. Check the publication dates listed if you’re not sure, or can’t find it – it may be forthcoming. They are very exact about age grading, far more so than Amazon, although they ARE limited to the books they publish. But it’s a great place to start, since they are so precise in age ratings, and in how to find the exact type of book you’re looking for. So try some and see what you think. I tried to pick a representative selection. They also have a number of books for the younger set, 8-12, which I will cover next time. NOTE: These have NOT been read by either me or my kids, so I can’t vouch for them. But many have won awards, and those are listed. So be adventurous – try some.

Wake
By Lisa McMann
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 04, 2008
Our Price: $15.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Description

Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody- notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments)
By Cassandra Clare
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Description

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)
By Cassandra Clare
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: February 19, 2008
Our Price: $9.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Description

Their hidden world is about to be revealed….

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

image

The Past is Gone (The Time Jumpers)

By James Valentine
Cover by Tom White

This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 8, 2007

Ages: 8 – 12
Grades: 3 – 7

Description

The Adventure Begins….

When Theodore Pine Four suddenly appears in the bedroom of Genevieve Corrigan just as her friend Jules Santorini is about to ask her out on a date, the only thing they can all agree on is that it is highly unordinary. Things get even more complicated when we find out that Theo is a teenager from the year Fourteen Billion and Seventy-Three with multicolored hair, a talking coat, and the hottest new time machine on the market: the TimeMaster JumpMan Pro. And little do they know that this chance encounter is going to kick-start an epic adventure — one that will take Jules, Gen, and Theo through history, from the Big Bang all the way up to 14,000,000,073 and everywhere in between. Along the way, our heroes are going to have to figure out how to get Theo and his malfunctioning time machine back home without undoing the fabric of time itself. And, if he’s lucky, Jules might just manage to ask Gen on that date.

The Present Never Happens
The Present Never Happens (The Time Jumpers)
By James Valentine
Cover by Tom White

This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Our Price: $5.99

Ages: 8 – 12
Grades: 3 – 7

Description

The Adventure Continues….

Rule One of TimeJumping was broken, but luckily disaster has been averted (at least for now), and Jules, Gen, and Theo are back. Their first adventure had them whisking through Time, talking to coats, and just managing to save Theo’s life — but that was just a warm-up. In the second chapter of the mind-bending TimeJumpers series, Jules and Gen (finally) go on a date, Theo turns out to be the biggest celebrity anyone in the year Fourteen Billion and Seventy-Three has ever seen, and we meet a peculiar and very irritating old man who has the strange idea that the entire history of the world is about to be overturned — and somehow Jules and Gen are involved. And that’s just the beginning. There are sinister forces at work, and Rule One is not just going to be broken, it’s going to be smashed apart.

The Future Is Unknown
The Future Is Unknown (The Time Jumpers)
By James Valentine
Cover by Tom White

This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Our Price: $5.99

Ages: 8 – 12
Grades: 3 – 7

Description

The Adventure Ends.

In the third millennium, Jules is suddenly very popular, for reasons he doesn’t really understand. He should be happy, but all he can think about is Theo. Are Jules and Gen ever going to see him again? Meanwhile, in the fifteenth billennium, Quincy Carter One has disappeared after the world witnessed his aborted attempt to undermine the entire structure of Time. Not only that, TimeJumping has been all but outlawed on the Two Planets. And Theo can’t stop worrying about Jules and Gen — and what Quincy may be planning, wherever (or whenever) he is. It’s the thrilling conclusion of the TimeJumpers trilogy, and no one knows what’s going to happen next. Or before. But that’s what happens when you start fooling around with time.

Sky Inside
By Clare B. Dunkle
Cover by Sammy Yuen, Jr.
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Martin lives in a perfect world.

Every year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. Every spring the residents of his town take down the snow they’ve stuck to their windows and put up flowers. Every morning his family gathers around their television and votes, like everyone else, for whatever matter of national importance the president has on the table. Today, it is the color of his drapes. It’s business as usual under the protective dome of suburb HM1.

And it’s all about to come crashing down.

Because a stranger has come to take away all the little children, including Martin’s sister, Cassie, and no one wants to talk about where she has gone. The way Martin sees it, he has a choice. He can remain in the dubious safety of HM1, with danger that no one wants to talk about lurking just beneath the surface, or he can actually break out of the suburb, into the mysterious land outside, rumored to be nothing but blowing sand for miles upon miles.

Acclaimed author Clare B. Dunkle has crafted a fresh and fast-paced science-fiction thriller, one that challenges her characters — and her readers — to look closer at the world they take for granted.

Pirate Emperor (The Wave Walkers)
By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Dominic Harman
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 08, 2008
Our Price: $5.99
Ages: 10 – 14
Grades: 5 – 9

Description

In the vast Caribbean Sea, pirates Jolly and Griffin are stranded on a tiny island where a peculiar architect is building an enormous bridge — but to where? Another world? Before they can find out, the bridge bursts into flames and the kobalins attack. Jolly and Griffin have nowhere to run until the Ghost Trader mysteriously appears and carries them off to the magical coral city of Aelenium. It is from Aelenium that Jolly and Munk are supposed to descend far, far into the deep to keep out the world-devouring Maelstrom.

But Jolly isn’t ready for that task. She wants to rescue Captain Bannon, the only father she’s ever known, so she steals the ghost ship and sets sail. Griffin follows her, until he is trapped by the man in the whale. Princess Soledad has her own plans — to kill Pirate Emperor Kendrick. But the truly terrifying cannibal king stands in her way. Is Soledad ready to become the new pirate emperor?

Trickery Treat (Charmed)
By Diana G. Gallagher
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: January 01, 2008
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 16 and up
Grades: 10 and up

Description

Trickery Treat

A portal opened — as a means for amends,
Leaves a vengeful spirit to roam.
Helping him cross over is the only way,
To restore peace within the home.

It’s Halloween, and Piper is busy decorating the Manor, which has become the neighborhood hot spot on the most bewitching night of the year. Meanwhile, Paige decides to use the party as a chance to honor the dead. She casts a spell that creates a portal for a clan of leprechauns…and other wandering spirits.

The guests are thrilled and impressed with the realistic effects, but Phoebe, Piper, and Paige soon realize that they have a big trick to deal with: one not-so-friendly ghost going out of his way to turn the Manor into a haunted house. The Charmed Ones must stop this evil soul with a vengeance before he takes the life of one experienced ghost hunter who knows his story and has met him before….

The Water Mirror (The Dark Reflections Trilogy)
By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Melvyn Grant
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Awards:

Kansas State Reading Circle Senior High Titles
NYPL “Books for the Teen Age”
SLJ Best Book of the Year

Description

In Venice, magic is not unusual. Merle is apprenticed to a magic mirror maker, and Serafin — a boy who was once a master thief — works for a weaver of magic cloth. Merle and Serafin are used to the mermaids who live in the canals of the city and to the guards who patrol the streets on living stone lions. Merle herself possesses something magical: a mirror whose surface is water. She can reach her whole arm into it and never get wet.

But Venice is under siege by the Egyptian Empire; its terrifying mummy warriors are waiting to strike. All that protects the Venetians is the Flowing Queen. Nobody knows who or what she is — only that her power flows through the canals and keeps the Egyptians at bay.

When Merle and Serafin overhear a plot to capture the Flowing Queen, they are catapulted into desperate danger. They must do everything they can to rescue the Queen and save the city — even if it means getting help from the Ancient Traitor himself.

Stone Light (The Dark Reflections Trilogy)
By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Melvyn Grant
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 16, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Evil forces have invaded Venice – the city that Merle and Serafin call home. Luckily, the two friends hold secrets that just might stop the pharaoh from destroying their ancient city.

Merle has within her spirit of the Flowing Queen, a mysterious legendary force who serves as her guide. Indeed, the Queen’s voice has led Merle to Vermithrax, a winged stone lion. And together they are on a mission to Hell to enlist help from Lord Light.

Meanwhile, Serafin remains in Venice. He’s joined a group of rebel boys who are plotting to assassinate the pharaoh. But can a group so small really kill the biggest, most powerful man on earth?

Though they follow separate courses, Merle and Serafin will both encounter unexpected betrayals and startling revelations. And together they learn that evil takes many shapes in the world of Dark Reflections.

Glass Word (The Dark Reflections Trilogy)

By Kai Meyer
Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford
Cover by Melvyn Grant
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 01, 2008
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

When they emerge from Hell, Merle, her friend Junipa who has mirrors for eyes, and Vermithrax the flying stone lion find themselves in Egypt. Of course the Flowing Queen is with them as well, since Merle swallowed her back in Venice. There is something very wrong in Egypt–it is freezing cold, and everything is covered in snow. Winter is here, looking for his lost love, Summer. And another creature is here as well–Seth, the highest of the Horus priests. Betrayed by the pharaoh and his sphinx henchmen, Seth is seeking revenge. Together they travel to the Iron Eye, the vast fortress of the sphinxes.But what does the Flowing Queen want Merle to do there?

Meanwhile Serafin, the master thief, the beautiful sphinx Lalapeya, and Eft, the mermaid, are also headed for Egypt. They are traveling underwater, in a submarine piloted by pirates. Serafin is not sure what they can do to the fight the pharaoh, but he knows surrender is not an option. Egypt has captured and enslaved his beloved Venice, and he and the others must fight the empire no matter what the cost. But the final battle will not be one that Serafin has even imagined–and the cost will be high indeed.

Here, There Be Dragons (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)
By James A. Owen
Illustrated by James A. Owen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 23, 2007
Our Price: $9.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Awards:

ALA Best Books for Young Adults Nominee

Description

The Imaginarium Geographica

“What is it?” John asked.

The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.

“It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.”

An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds. And in the process, they will share a great adventure filled with clues that lead readers to the surprise revelation of the legendary storytellers these men will one day become.

An extraordinary journey of myth, magic, and mystery, Here, There Be Dragons introduces James A. Owen as a formidable new talent.

Search for the Red Dragon (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica)
By James A. Owen
Illustrated by James A. Owen
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 01, 2008
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

“‘The Crusade has begun’…

“There’s an old myth in the Archipelago,” he went on softly, shaking his head. “A legend, really…I recall it mentioned a Crusade, but those events happened seven centuries ago. We always thought it was only a story.”

It has been nine years since John, Jack, and Charles had their great adventure in the Archipelago of Dreams and became the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica. Now they have been brought together again to solve a mystery: Someone is kidnapping the children of the Archipelago. And their only clue is a mysterious message delivered by a strange girl with artificial wings: “The Crusade has begun.” Worse, they discover that all of the legendary Dragonships have disappeared as well.

The only chance they have to save the world from a centuries-old plot is to seek out the last of the Dragonships — the Red Dragon — in a spectacular journey that takes them from Sir James Barrie’s Kensington Gardens to the Underneath of the Greek Titans of myth. With friends both familiar and new, they will travel through an extraordinary landscape where history, myth, and fable blend together to tell the oldest story in the world. And along the way, the Caretakers of the Geographica will discover that great deeds alone do not make heroes, and that growing up may be unavoidable…but growing old doesn’t have to be.

Quillan Games (Pendragon)
By D. J. MacHale
Cover by Victor Lee
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 10 and up
Grades: 5 and up

Description

Let the Games Begin….
Quillan is a territory on the verge of destruction. The people have lost control of their own future and must struggle simply to survive. The only chance they have of finding a better life is by playing the Quillan Games. Hosted by a strange pair of game masters, Veego and LaBerge, the games are a mix of sport and combat. They use the people of Quillan as pawns for their amusement as they force them to enter competitions that range from physical battles, to impossible obstacle courses, to computer-driven tests of agility. To triumph in the games is to live the life of a king. To lose is to die.

This is the dangerous and deadly situation Bobby Pendragon finds on Quillan. He quickly realizes that the only way to save this troubled territory is to beat Veego and LaBerge at their own games and dismantle their horrible fun house. But there is more at stake for Bobby. The prize for winning the Quillan Games may be discovering the truth of what it really means a Traveler.

Raven Rise (Pendragon)
By D. J. MacHale
Cover by Dawn Austin
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 10 and up
Grades: 5 and up

Description

This is where it begins. The showdown for Halla. At stake is nothing less than all that ever was and all that will be.

There’s only one thing missing–Bobby Pendragon.

While Bobby remains trapped on Ibara, the battle moves to his home territory: Second Earth. Mark Dimond and Courtney Chetwynde are left on their own to defend Second Earth against the forces of Saint Dane. They must face off against a charismatic cult leader who has risen to power by revealing a shattering truth to the people of Earth: They are not alone.

The Convergence has broken down the walls. The territories are on a collision course. The final phase of Saint Dane’s quest to rule Halla is under way.

And Bobby Pendragon is nowhere to be found.

The Time Thief (The Gideon Trilogy)
By Linda Buckley-Archer
Cover by James Jean
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 10 and up
Grades: 5 and up

Description

What happens when a seventeenth-century bad guy has twenty-first-century technology?

An accident with an antigravity machine catapulted Peter Schock and Kate Dyer back to 1763. A bungled rescue attempt leaves Peter stranded in the eighteenth century while a terrifying villain, the Tar Man, takes his place and explodes onto twenty-first-century London. Concerned about the potentially catastrophic effects of time travel, the NASA scientists responsible for the situation question whether it is right to rescue Peter. Kate decides to take matters into her own hands, but things don’t go as planned. Soon the physical effects of time travel begin to have a disturbing effect on her. Meanwhile, in our century, the Tar Man wreaks havoc in a city whose police force is powerless to stop him.Set against a backdrop of contemporary London and revolutionary France, The Time Thief is the sequel to the acclaimed The Time Travelers.

Fall of a Kingdom
By Hilari Bell
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: January 01, 2005
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Who was Sorahb?

Stories are told of a hero who will come to Farsala’s aid when the need is greatest. But for thousands of years the prosperous land of Farsala has felt no such need, as it has enjoyed the peace that comes from being both feared and respected.

Now a new enemy approaches Farsala’s borders, one that neither fears nor respects its name and legend. But the rulers of Farsala still believe that they can beat any opponent.

Three young people are less sure of Farsala’s invincibility. Jiaan, Soraya, and Kavi see Time’s Wheel turning, with Farsala headed toward the Flames of Destruction. What they cannot see is how inextricably their lives are linked to Farsala’s fate — until it’s too late.

In Fall of a Kingdom, the first volume of the Farsala Trilogy, Hilari Bell introduces readers to a world of honor, danger, and magic in this spellbinding tale of self-discovery.

Rise of a Hero (The Farsala Trilogy)
By Hilari Bell
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: June 01, 2006
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

The Return of Sorahb?

Legend has it that when Farsala most needs a warrior to lead it, Sorahb will be restored by the god Azura. That time has come. After a devastating loss to the army of the Hrum, Farsala has all but fallen. Only the walled city of Mazad and a few of the more uninhabitable regions remain free of Hrum rule, and they seem destined to fall as well. Farsala needs a champion now.

Three young people are waging battle as best they can. Soraya, Jiaan, and Kavi, their lives decimated by the Hrum, are each in a personal fight against their common enemy. Apart, their chances are slim, as none of them is Sorahb reborn. United, perhaps they can succeed. But only Time’s Wheel can bring them together — if it turns the right way. If it doesn’t, Farsala is surely doomed.

In the sequel to the critically acclaimed Fall of a Kingdom (formerly titled Flame), the first book of the Farsala Trilogy, Hilari Bell draws readers deeper into the mythical land of Farsala and weaves an epic tale of destiny and danger.

Forging the Sword (The Farsala Trilogy)
By Hilari Bell
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

The spirit of the ancient champion, Sorahb was reborn into the body of a deghan youth, who raised an army of peasants to resist their Hrum conquerors.

Sorya, Kavi, and Jiann do everything they can to keep control of what little land remains free from Hrum rule. They have most of the peasantry, a small, untrained army, and the Suud helping them, but there is still one important piece missing: a sword that is able to withstand the Hrum’s watersteel. Without it, Farsala will fall.

But what none of these young heroes can foresee is the growing desperation of the Hrum leaders. It will lead them to break some of their own laws and sacred pacts. It will also reveal truths about the nature of war, the nature of human beings, and — most important — themselves.

Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of “The Magic Flute” (Once Upon a Time)
By Cameron Dokey
Cover by Kinuko Y. Craft
Designed by Mahlon F. Craft
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

A new spin on “The Magic Flute” by an acclaimed author!

In a time when the world was young and many things were quite commonplace that are now entirely forgotten, Sarastro, Mage of the Day, wed Pamina, the Queen of the Night. And in this way was the world complete, for light was joined to dark. For all time would they be joined together. Only the ending of the world could tear them apart. In other words, in the days in which my parents married, there was no such thing as divorce….

Thus begins the tale of Mina, a girl-child born on the longest night of the darkest month of the year. When her father looked at her, all he saw was what he feared: By birth, by name, by nature, she belonged to the Dark. So when Mina turned sixteen, her father took her away from shadow and brought her into sunlight.

In retaliation, her mother lured a handsome prince into a deadly agreement: If he frees Mina, he can claim her as his bride.

Now Mina and her prince must endure deadly trials — of love and fate and family — before they can truly live happily ever after….

Sara’s Face
By Melvin Burgess
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Description

Fame, beauty, and face transplants

Sara wants to be famous, and when legendary rock star Jonathon Heat offers to take her under his wing and pay for her cosmetic surgery, it’s like a dream come true. But beauty comes with a hidden price tag. Is Sara willing to pay?

Unwind
By Neal Shusterman
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: November 06, 2007
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 13 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Awards:

ALA Best Books For Young Adults
ALA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Description

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them

Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers’ ideas about life — not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.

Clovermead: In the Shadow of the Bear
By David Randall
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 01, 2005
Our Price: $5.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 6 and up

Awards:

NYPL “Books for the Teen Age”
Theodore H. White Lecturer/Joan Shorenstein Center, JFK School of Government/Harvard University (2002)
YALSA Teens Top Ten (TTT) Nominee

Description

Twelve-year-old Clovermead Wickward’s head is filled with stories of adventure. She dreams about the thrill of a sword fight and the excitement of heroic quests. The last thing Clovermead expects is for those dreams to come true. But it seems her father, Waxmelt, is not who she has believed hi to be. As she becomes aware of strange new powers within her, Clovermead realizes that her father is harboring secrest that threaten to tear their small family apart.

At the same time, the good nuns of Lady Moon are waging war again the evil bear-priests of Lord Ursus. Suddenly Clovermead and Waxmelt find themselves thrust into the middle of an epic battle.

Clovermead comes to understand that the clash between good and evil is raging not only on the battlefield but also within herself. Will she succumb to the temptation of evil, in the shadow of the bear, or will she fight for the salvation of good?

Chandlefort: In the Shadow of the Bear
By David Randall
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: December 26, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

It has been just months since Clovermead Wickward discovered that she is really Demoiselle Cerelune Cindertallow — daughter of Lady Melisande Cindertallow, the sovereign of Chandlefort — and that the man she had called Father all her life was actually an embittered servant who stole her away when she was a baby. Since then, she has learned that she doesn’t wholly care for life inside the walls of Chandlefort, and that she doesn’t much like her mother’s expectations for how a Demoiselle should behave — especially the bit about not changing shape anymore. When you can turn into a bear, being forced to stay human can be deadly dull.

Now Clovermead must confront dangerous secrets from her family’s troubled past when a mysterious stranger appears in Chandlefort. Perhaps he is the old friend of Clovermead’s real father, as he claims to be — or perhaps an old enemy of the Cindertallows who seeks a final revenge. When Clovermead unintentionally puts her mother’s life in mortal peril, her only chance to make amends and save the mother she has just begun to know is to set off on a dangerous journey to a distant abbey. The life of her mother, the salvation of Chandlefort, and the freedom of the bears enslaved by the overwhelming power of Lord Ursus all depend on Clovermead

In this intense and compelling sequel to Clovermead, David Randall explores the strength of love, courage, and forgiveness in the battle of good and evil.

Sorrel: In the Shadow of the Bear
By David Randall
Cover by Steve Stone
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 23, 2007
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

The fight against the evil Lord Ursus continues, and the fate of the battle lies in the hands of fifteen-year-old Clovermead Wickward. Chandlefort’s army is in need of reinforcements, and Clovermead is charged by her mother, Lady Cindertallow, to seek allies among the nomadic Hordes of the Tansy Steppes. At the same time, Lord Ursus has dispatched Clovermead’s old enemy Lucifer Snuff to contest her. A battle of diplomacy ensues, and it is only one of many struggles that Clovermead must face.

First, Clovermead must choose between her mission to the Hordes and the pleas of her best friend, Sorrel. All the while the survival of Chandlefort is pitted against Clovermead’s promise to free Lord Ursus’s enslaved bears. But the most painful choice of all awaits Clovermead in a face-to-face confrontation with Lucifer Snuff. In the end, Clovermead must decide between the logic of war and her heart’s instinct for mercy, relying on her sacred gifts — the ability to shift into bear-form and to speak the bear-language — to have even the slightest chance at victory.

In an epic tale of honor, love, and redemption, David Randall follows Clovermead and Chandlefort with an adventure determining the fate of nations and human souls.

Questors
By Joan Lennon
Cover by Jon Foster
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 11, 2007
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 10 – 14
Grades: 5 – 9

Description

Three worlds, held in perfect balance. Nothing can change that. Well, nothing except a cataclysmic disruption in the Space-Time Continuum…

Luckily the people in charge have a plan: Create three perfect Heroes, the best of each world, and send them on a quest to find the Objects of Power that will restore the balance. But things go wrong when the Heroes are needed ten years earlier than expected, and three confused kids set off to save the worlds. Madlen, Bryn, and Cam have no idea what they’re looking for or where they’ll find it. What they do know is that to fail would mean unthinkable disaster.

It’s a pity, then, that someone is determined to stop them…

From the icebound city of the dragons to the magical kitchen of The London House, Joan Lennon has crafter a highly inventive story that is fast-paced, fantastical, and funny.

Bloodtide
By Melvin Burgess
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 22, 2007
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Description

PART I

London is in ruins, a once highly advanced city now a gated wasteland. Within its walls, a bloody war rages between two clans. Hope is sparse, but the people believe the gods have risen from the dead.

Odin himself has come to play a part in the lives of two twins, a brother and sister from the Volson clan. Siggy and Signy must come to grips with their destiny as London’s future teeters on the edge of a knife….

Bloodsong
By Melvin Burgess
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Our Price: $7.99
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Awards:

ALA Best Books For Young Adults

Description

PART II

Fifteen-year-old Sigurd, son of King Sigmund, is the last surviving member of the Volson clan. His father’s kingdom — the former city of London — is gone. And his father’s knife, a gift from Odin himself, has been shattered to dust.

Now, Odin’s eye is upon him. Armed with a powerful sword forged from the remnants of his father’s knife, Sigurd will face death, fire, and torment. He must travel through Hel and back…to unite his country once again.

She’s a Witch Girl
By Kelly McClymer
Cover by Kirsten Ulve
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 21, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Prudence Stewart is FINALLY getting her witch on at Agatha’s Day School. Sadly, her love life isn’t quite so charmed. Boy trouble is lurking, big-time:

• First, there’s Angelo, Pru’s adorable crush-next-door. When he shows up at Agatha’s, it spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for Pru. Especially when it comes to…

• Samuel, Pru’s best bud and tutor in all things magical. For Angelo and Samuel, it was loathe at first sight.

• And then there’s Daniel, the bad boy with wicked talent — who also happensto be the great-great-great-great-grandson of Pru’s nemesis, Agatha herself.

With all this boy drama, it’s all Pru can do to prep for the national cheerleading competition — the one that will bring her broomstick-to- spirit-stick with her former squad AND her boy-stealing ex-BFF.

A little magic just might come in handy right now….

Skin Hunger (A Resurrection of Magic)
By Kathleen Duey
Cover by David Ho
Illustrated by Sheila Rayyan
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: July 24, 2007
Our Price: $17.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Awards:

Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best
National Book Award Finalist

Description

Sadima lives in a world where magic has been banned, leaving poor villagers prey to fakes and charlatans. A “magician” stole her family’s few valuables and left Sadima’s mother to die on the day Sadima was born. But vestiges of magic are hidden in old rhymes and hearth tales and in people like Sadima, who conceals her silent communication with animals for fear of rejection and ridicule. When rumors of her gift reach Somiss, a young nobleman obsessed with restoring magic, he sends Franklin, his lifelong servant, to find her. Sadima’s joy at sharing her secret becomes love for the man she shares it with. But Franklin’s irrevocable bond to the brilliant and dangerous Somiss traps her, too, and she faces a heartbreaking decision.

Centuries later magic has been restored, but it is available only to the wealthy and is strictly controlled by wizards within a sequestered academy of magic. Hahp, the expendable second son of a rich merchant, is forced into the academy and finds himself paired with Gerrard, a peasant boy inexplicably admitted with nine sons of privilege and wealth. Only one of the ten students will graduate — and the first academic requirement is survival.

Sadima’s and Hahp’s worlds are separated by generations, but their lives are connected in surprising and powerful ways in this brilliant first book of Kathleen Duey’s dark, complex, and completely compelling trilogy.

Guide to the Uglies
By Scott Westerfeld
Cover by Carissa Pelleteri and Howard Pyle
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 21, 2008
List Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Not available yet, but keep an eye out!

Z for Zachariah
By Robert C. O’Brien
Cover by Sammy Yuen, Jr.
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Is anyone out there?

Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.

But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann’s solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.

Dream of the Stone
By Christina Askounis
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 10, 2007
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Someone is following Sarah Lucas. When she peers down from her apartment window late one night, she sees him hovering in the shadows. And what about the other strange things that have been happening to her? The old woman who appears every so often to give Sarah a cryptic piece of advice and then vanishes? The mysterious gleaming stone that turns up in the mail, a universe of tiny stars suspended in its depths?

But there’s no one Sarah can trust with her story. Her journalist parents have been killed in a freak plane crash, and her older brother, Sam, a scientific genius, has disappeared under suspicious circumstances from the top secret institute where he works.

Sarah couldn’t be more alone in the world, until the day she meets Angel Muldoon, a half-Gypsy stable boy who carries a secret of his own. Together they will begin an incredible journey to another world, where they must return the stone to its rightful place and keep the forces of unimaginable evil at bay.

Turnabout
By Margaret Peterson Haddix
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: March 27, 2007
Our Price: $5.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

In the year 2000 Melly and Anny Beth had reached the peak of old age and were ready to die. But when offered the chance to be young again by participating in a top-secret experiment called Project Turnabout, they agreed. Miraculously, the experiment worked — Melly and Anny Beth were actually growing younger every year. But when they learned that the final treatment would be deadly, they ran for their lives.

Now it is 2085. Melly and Anny Beth are teenagers. They have no idea what will happen when they hit age zero, but they do know they will soon be too young to take care of themselves. They need to find someone to help them before time runs out, once and for all….

Virtual War (The Virtual War Chronologs)

Gloria Skurzynski

Reading level: Young Adult

Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 1, 1999)

Language: English

Book Description

Imagine a life of virtual reality — a childhood contained in a controlled environment, with no human contact. Corgan has been genetically engineered for quick reflexes, high intelligence, and physical superiority. He is unbeatable in battle. But he lives his life in a lonely module. What is a real sunset like? Or a friend?

When he meets fellow teens Sharla and Brig, Corgan begins to doubt the Federation, whose decisions he has unquestioningly obeyed. Life outside virtual reality may be for him. His fourteen years of training are about to end as the real challenge approaches. But he can’t lose focus now: He must win a virtual war, or the Western Hemisphere will be lost forever.

The Virtual War Chronologs--Book 2 (The Virtual War Chronologs)

Clones (The Virtual War Chronologs)
By Gloria Skurzynski
Cover by Barry David Marcus
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 03, 2007
Our Price: $10.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Book Description

Clones are supposed to be identical…aren’t they?

Corgan, hero of the Virtual War, has been living a blissful, if placid, life on the Isles of Hiva, his reward for winning the War with Sharla and Brig. But what he doesn’t know is that Brig died soon after the War, and yet is not truly gone. Sharla had saved some of Brig’s DNA and has created clone-twins with it. Corgan’s world is disrupted when Sharla brings one of the clone-twins, Seabrig, to him to raise on the island, while she keeps the other, Brigand, with her in the Domed City. However, when circumstances force Sharla to bring Brigand to the island, they find that while the boys may look identical, their temperaments are not. Brigand is haughty, willful, power hungry, and despises Corgan because of his relationship with Sharla. And, as a result of the cloning process, both boys are growing at an astonishing rate. In what may or may not have been an accident with his clone-twin, Seabrig is badly injured and must be airlifted from the island to receive medical treatment in the Domed City. This leaves Corgan alone with an increasingly dangerous and unstable Brigand, who is now his size, and looking to get rid of Corgan once and for all.

A gripping sequel to Virtual War that could be ripped straight from the headlines — in eighty years….

Revolt (The Virtual War Chronologs)
By Gloria Skurzynski
Cover by Michael Frost
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 01, 2005
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

What do you do when someone truly hates you?

Corgan is used to being the hero. Leader of the team that won the Virtual War, he chose for his reward to live on the Isles of Hiva, in an idyllic paradise. Idyllic until the clones, Brigand and Cyborg, arrived, that is. Life hasn’t been the same for Corgan since.

Now he’s lucky if his former fans even remember his name. But more worrisome is that he has an enemy, a mortal enemy in the form of Brigand, who has taken over not only Corgan’s mantle as the most well-known person in the Domes, but has taken Corgan’s girlfriend, Sharla, away too. When Brigand tried to kill Corgan back in the Wyo-Dome and failed, Corgan thought he would be free of Brigand at last. But now the power-obsessed Brigand has followed him to Florida, determined to rule the Domes and finish Corgan off for good. Corgan escaped from Brigand once, but can he do it again? And more importantly, does he even want to escape this time?

So now Corgan’s got two choices. He can fight and risk getting killed or, worse, captured by Brigand. Or he can walk away and take Sharla with him…if he can figure out how to use a spacecraft that hasn’t been flown in more than fifty years.

Picking right up from where The Clones left off, this fast-paced sequel will not disappoint Gloria Skurzynski’s eager fans.

Choice (The Virtual War Chronologs)
By Gloria Skurzynski
Cover by Big Sesh Studios
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 10, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 –

Book Description

The Final Battle

Ever since Corgan escaped his mortal enemy, Brigand, by fleeing the Florida domed city, he’s felt haunted. He’s haunted by the fact that Brigand is still in power in Florida, torturing innocent citizens (including Corgan’s friend Thebos), but above all by the bitter memory that he ran away from Brigand rather than staying to fight. Corgan believes he made the right choice at the time, but now he wants to face Brigand in one final battle.

His passengers in the stolen zero-gravity spaceship-Sharla, Ananda, and Cyborg-have different ideas. Tired of arguing, Corgan chooses to land the ship in the only place he has ever been happy. But even there disaster follows him, until Sharla reveals a secret that gives him hope-hope that he can once again become the hero he was meant to be. This time, Corgan intends to stand up to Brigand, win or lose, in a fight to the death.

This thrilling sequel and conclusion to the Virtual War Chronologs has been eagerly awaited for by Gloria Skurzynski’s many fans.

Salem Witch Tryouts
By Kelly McClymer
Cover by Kirsten Ulve
This Edition: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $8.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Prudence Stewart had it all at Beverly Hills High: straight A’s, the cutest crush, and a sweet gig as captain of the cheerleading squad. Then poof! Mom and Dad announce they’re moving to Salem, Massachusetts. Turns out, Pru comes from a long line of witches and it’s time for her to learn the craft. Buh-bye, Beverly Hills High — hello, Agatha’s Day School!

But Pru’s not about to trade in her spirit stick for a broomstick! She’s sure she can keep her kewl at her new school — until she discovers it’s all magic, all the time, and she’s failing Witchcraft 101. Worst of all, even the cheerleaders bring a special “spirit” to their routine. As in, triple-back-somersault-with-a-twist kind of spirit.

It’s time for Pru to cast a spell and prove she’s just as enchanting as the next girl — and somehow make cheering tryouts a flying S-U-C-C-E-S-S!

Fallen
By Thomas E. Sniegoski
This Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $6.99
Ages: 16 and up
Grades: 10 and up

Description

Aaron Corbet isn’t a bad kid — he’s just a little different.

On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Aaron dreams of a darkly violent landscape. He can hear the sounds of weapons clanging, the screams of the stricken, and another sound he cannot quite decipher. But gazing upward at the sky, he suddenly understands. It is the sound of great wings, angels’ wings, beating the air unmercifully as hundreds of armored warriors descend on the battlefield.

Orphaned since birth, Aaron is suddenly discovering newfound — and sometimes supernatural — talents. But it’s not until he is approached by two men that he learns the truth about his destiny, and his role as a liaison between angels, mortals, and Powers both good and evil, some of whom are hell-bent on his destruction….

Everlost
By Neal Shusterman
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 01, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Awards:

School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

Description

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident…

…but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no onger exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he’s found a home, but allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

Rash
By Pete Hautman
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 01, 2006
Our Price: $16.99
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Awards:

ALA Best Books for Young Adults Nominee
Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
Hal Clement Golden Duck Award
Keystone to Reading Book Award Master List (PA)
Minnesota Book Awards Finalist
New York Times Book Review Notable Books
Texas 2×2 Reading List
Texas Tayshas High School Reading List
Thumbs Up! Award Master List (MI)

Description

“Of course, without people like us Marstens, there wouldn’t be anybody to do the manual labor that makes this country run. Without penal workers, who would work the production lines, or pick the melons and peaches, or maintain the streets and parks and public lavatories? Our economy depends on prison labor. Without it everybody would have to work — whether they wanted to or not.”

In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he’s sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that’s surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it’s nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory’s highly illegal football team. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project, tracks Bo down in prison. Bork has spun out of control and seems to be operating on his own. He offers to get Bo’s sentence shortened, but can Bo trust him? And now that Bo has been crushing skulls on the field, will he be able to go back to his old, highly regulated life?

Pete Hautman takes a satirical look at an antiseptic future in this darkly comic mystery/adventure.

Sharp North
By Patrick Cave
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 01, 2006
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 9 and up

Description

In a futuristic world, will everyone be replaceable?

Mira had always lived quietly until the day a stranger is shot and killed in front of her. The woman’s body is quickly removed, leaving bloodstained snow and a crumpled piece of paper on the ground as the only clues to her murder. Mira discovers that the paper contains a list of names, including her own — but why? Terrified, she begins to view everyone with suspicion, and attempts to follow the clues that the dead woman left behind, unaware of the danger she is stumbling into.

For Mira lives in an environmentally damaged and socially dangerous Great Britain that is ruled by the caste of the Great Families, forming a society where reproduction is strictly limited and where families keep illegal clones — or “spares” — of themselves, just in case a replacement is ever needed….

Fast paced and suspenseful, Sharp North is the story of Mira’s search for the truth about her own identity and her attempts to find goodness in her strange world.

Sign of the Raven
By Julie Hearn
Cover by Marc Yankus
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 01, 2005
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Mind the gap.

Something odd is going on in the basement of an old house in London. An inexplicable gap has formed, a gap in time that links the present to the past. And twelve-year-old Tom, who discovers the gap while on a visit to his grandmother, is torn between both worlds.

Lured by a mysterious voice, Tom leaps into the early eighteenth century, to a time when circus “freaks” like the Bendy Man and the Gorilla Woman appeared at Bartholomew Fair. The voice he hears belongs to Astra, a tiny changeling child, whose limbs are no bigger than a man’s thumb. She has called him into the past, because she is convinced that Tom is the only one who can help her and her friends from danger. Doctors are paying a high price for unusual bodies to dissect, and Astra and her friends are prime subjects.

But Tom is dealing with difficulties of his own. His mum has cancer and is constantly fighting with his gran. And then he discovers a dark secret in his family’s past…a secret that pulls the strands of time together and might just close the gap forever.

Apocalypse
By Tim Bowler
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
This Edition: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 01, 2005
Our Price: $16.95
Ages: 12 and up
Grades: 7 and up

Description

Kit and his parents are out sailing when things go horribly wrong. Fog rolls in; the compasses won’t work; weird cries come from the sea. Then squalls force their boat against a giant rock. They manage to get to shore, but the dismal, almost barren island they’re on provides no comfort. The only inhabitants are a brutal group of fundamentalists whose ancestors settled there long ago. For some reason they hate Kit the moment they see him.

But Kit has glimpsed someone else, a girl who seems to be wild. He’s also seen a strange man who looks just like him, only older, with the same birthmark on his face. Kit goes in search of the girl, looking for answers to the eerie goings-on. He returns to find his parents gone and their tents torn to shreds. Have the islanders killed them? Kit sets off in a desperate search for them as he struggles for his own survival. Will the girl help him? And will he be able to escape the islanders, who clearly want to kill him?

Journey on a startling voyage into the unknown, where an ordinary teenage boy faces a world filled with malice and a terrifying vision of the future, in this haunting thriller from award winner Tim Bowler.

Well, this is all from SimonSays for teens that is fairly current. Next time it’s on to the Pre-teens, and then on to the next publisher…

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Drool Fest: latest news on Sci-Fi flicks/shows not yet in the can…

Starting out with the most recent one coming, this month, but somehow I missed it on the last go-around is CJ7, a new Stephen Chow film, debuting March 6, 2008:

CJ7

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Stephen Chow new film CJ7 trailer

And if that isn’t enough, here are the cute aliens:

“Visit the official site at http://www.CJ7-movie.com
A fantasy tale featuring state of the art visual effects, CJ7 is a comedy about a poor laborer father played by STEPHEN CHOW and his young son. When a fascinating and strange new pet enters their lives, they learn a poignant lesson about the true nature of family and the things money can’t buy. CJ7 is the fifth feature directed by Stephen Chow.”

Watch the trailer for CJ7

See also: http://www.sonypictures.net/movies/cj7/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CJ7

THE BOX

First found on Sci Fi Wire, but reported in USA Today:

First look: Thriller ‘The Box’ contains plenty of challenges

James Marsden and Cameron Diaz star in the mystery.
Warner Bros. Pictures – Life-and-death decision: James Marsden and Cameron Diaz star in the mystery.

By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY, 2/26/08

HAMPTON, Va. — Filmmaker Richard Kelly prides himself on thinking so far outside the box that major chunks of the Internet are devoted to deconstructing his intentionally murky movies.

His desire to bewilder has earned him a certified cult classic (2001’s Donnie Darko) and an unmitigated flop (2007’s Southland Tales), but no direct hit.

PHOTOS: Get an exclusive look at what’s inside ‘The Box’ [requires Adobe FlashPlayer]

For his third big-screen feat, the 32-year-old USC film-school grad is not only thinking inside the box. He is actually making The Box, complete with his first major studio (Warner Bros.) and an A-list star (Cameron Diaz) on board.

“God bless Cameron Diaz. The second she signed on, our lives changed in a great way,” Kelly says on location at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Wrapping up the film’s final week, he spent a long day shooting inside a cavernous wind tunnel and atop a gantry, a 240-foot-high erector-set-style structure once used to train Apollo astronauts.

Unlike his previous efforts, the sci-fi-tinged thriller is a breeze to summarize. Its plot hook is inspired by a 1986 Twilight Zone episode that haunted Kelly as a kid: A couple (Diaz and James Marsden) open their door to find a box containing a button. If they push it, they will receive $1 million. The catch? Someone they don’t know will die.

Kelly settles back to reflect on what he calls his “first grown-up film,” whose opening date is yet to be determined.

“We made Donnie Darko when we were 25, so obviously that has an innocence about it,” he says of his unnerving high-school fable made with producer pal Sean McKittrick. The political satire Southland Tales, on DVD March 18, “is punk rock and rebellious. We love that about it.” Still, the film was barely in theaters, grossing only $273,420 on a nearly $18 million budget. “There is no place for small movies to catch fire,” he says. “We got with Warner Bros. as a means of survival.”

He is ready to go commercial. “With The Box, I hope to make a more mainstream popcorn film.”

Of course, nothing is ever quite that simple in a Richard Kelly film. Richard Matheson’s [I am Legend, among others] original 1970 short story, Button, Button, is just a jumping-off point for the $30 million morality tale. Embellishments include ’70s kitsch, teleporting and the 1976 Viking mission to Mars.

“We don’t feel like we are watering ourselves down,” Kelly assures.

The man who delivers the title container? Masterfully creepy Frank Langella. “Richard is in a league of his own,” the veteran actor says. “He has sort of an extraterrestrial creature running around in his head. That is what Steven Spielberg was like as a young boy.”

Namely, someone who knows how to push an audience’s buttons.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2008-02-26-the-box-main_N.htm

And while we wait for the next one, you can get a cat:

VAHALLA RISING

Director Nicolas Winding Refn that indicates his Viking pic, called Valhalla Rising” and starring Mads Mikkelsen is a little farther off than hoped. Though Valhalla Rising is still on track to go later this year.

An Interview from Reverse Shot.com:

RS: “Can you tell us a little bit about your next project, Valhalla Rising, starring Mads Mikkelsen?”

NWR: “Valhalla Rising came out of me working on a horror film that I just couldn’t solve. I just got so fed up, that I went back to an old idea I had about the discovery of America by the Vikings and that was suddenly a very easy story for me to develop, and I’ve learned that if it’s easy, go with it, and so I focused completely on that one. It’s going to be about a mute man who doesn’t know where he’s from, and about the Vikings discovering America. But, I’m not a big fan of Vikings, and I’m definitely not a big fan of costume films. So it occurred to me while making Pusher III, and thought, what if I took this way of making a movie and made a film set in the year 800? Once I got the technical concept, and then I got the story down, then I needed the overall view of the story. It’s the discovery of America, so what? It’s science fiction. For the Vikings, it must have been science fiction…it’s Valhalla. And of course I’ve always wanted to do an action film.” http://www.reverseshot.com/article/refn_interview (fall 2006)

And a little more from Sterling’s in-flight magazine:

“I’m doing a Viking movie called Valhalla Rising with Nicholas Winding Refn,” he says proudly. “I play a Viking slave who’s like a gladiator. Once a month he fights those sent to kill him as entertainment for the Vikings, but all the time he’s chained to a pole. The film will be a mixture of Pusher and Sergio Leone, but set in the 10th century. Of course, I escape and we all end up in America, which is historically correct. There was always an idea that the Vikings settled in America 500 years before Columbus and now there’s proof. Scandinavians have always been great travellers.” http://sterling-magazine.com/2006/11/01/mads-mikkelsen/

And from Norway: The Official Site in the UK (News and Events):

Edinburgh, 07/03/2007 :

Vahalla Rising

Scotland will again be taken over by Vikings in Nicolas Winding Refn’s new historical feature film “Valhalla Rising”.

The movie will promote the theory that an expedition of Vikings from Scotland reached North America centuries before Christopher Columbus. Most historians now accept that Vikings beat Columbus to the New World. Voyages are described in Norse sagas and evidence has been found to prove their presence on the continent. “Valhalla Rising” will though be shot as a fictional movie, in Nicolas Winding Refn’s documentary style.

The Danish director Refn is the man behind the “Pusher”-trilogy and just as violent and almost as successful “Bleeder”. His films are quite violent, and Karen Smyth, the Scottish co-producer, said to The Scotsman: “The way Nicolas will shoot is in a gritty, realist documentary style. It’s not Gladiator – there will be no big set pieces. It’s a great project, which will play big with the 16 to 25-year-olds. It’s quite a violent film in that it reflects the time in which these guys lived.”

Main actor will be Mads Mikkelsen, who played the villain in the latest James Bond movie “Casino Royale”. The Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen has written the script for the ambitious historical feature film, which has a budget of £4 million. “Valhalla Rising” will involve some of the most elaborate scenes ever filmed in Scotland, The Scotsman reports. The producers intend to commission a full-scale, 80ft replica of a Viking longship, and take over a small west coast harbour, possibly Stranraer.

Filming is scheduled to begin in August, with six weeks in Scotland and nine in the U.S. The Scottish parts of the movie will be shot in the Glasgow area, according to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. The parts that are situated on U.S soil will be shot in Louisiana.” [spelling corrections made]http://www.norway.org.uk/edinburgh/events/valhallarising.htm

And for a synopsis, from Twitchfilm.net:

Detailed Synopsis For Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Vahalla Rising’

Posted by Todd Brown at 8:34pm.

Stalled about a year while the production team was assembled Pusher director Nicolas Winding Refn’s viking epic is finally ready to go before cameras in early 2008 and a detailed synopsis has been added to the website of the Danish Film Institute. Originally slated to shoot in both Denmark and Canada – though I suspect that may have changed since the secondary funding is coming from the UK and Scotland rather than Canada – the film stars Mads Mikkelsen as a mute viking warrior on a voyage to the New World. Here’s the synopsis:

For years, One-Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the chieftain Barde. Aided by a boy, Are, he kills his captor and together they escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight from bounty hunters, One-Eye and Are board a Viking vessel for Norway, but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that first disintegrates as they sight an unknown land. As the new land reveals its secrets and the Vikings meet a ghastly fate, One-Eye discovers his true self.

http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/detailed-synopsis-for-nicolas-winding-refns-valhalla-rising/

And here’s a film, from Harry’s Ain’t it Cool Website, that’s a pet favorite – my daughter and I read the books, and loved them!:

CITY OF EMBER

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Harry’s look at Gil Kenan’s CITY OF EMBER at Skywalker Ranch!

Hey folks, Harry here… I just got back from Skywalker Ranch… yeah, Skywalker Ranch. I’m writing up an entirely separate article that is about that journey and experience, but what I wanted to write up first, was the main purpose of that trip. To chat with Gil Kenan and get a first look at a movie that doesn’t have a lot of buzz going quite yet, but that I’ve been following called CITY OF EMBER.

Last Fall, Yoko and I were going to fly over to Belfast and explore a bit of Ireland and drop in on the set of CITY OF EMBER… ever since Gil Kenan and I chatted about MONSTER HOUSE when he brought the film to Austin early… we’ve exchanged emails – and well… frankly – he’s a geek. A very talented one.

When we first sat down to lunch, he brought up CITY OF EMBER to me. It was the project he was working on in advance of MONSTER HOUSE – a live-action… possibly Post-Apocalyptic story involving children.

Around the end of Summer 2007 – I had a surprise package on my doorstep, the script to CITY OF EMBER as written by the amazing Caroline Thompson – based upon Jeanne Duprau’s novel. I have to admit, that as much as I loved MONSTER HOUSE – I was more eager to read a new Caroline Thompson script. With her skills upon EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, HOMEWARD BOUND, THE SECRET GARDEN, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, BLACK BEAUTY and CORPSE BRIDE… Well… Hot Damn – turn the pages.

The script, like most of her work, is not traditional Hollywood fare – it’s a story that builds… slowly, consistently to a fever-paced conclusion. There is no BIG beginning, instead it really plays out, less like a Post-Apocalyptic film – and more like a Post-Apocalyptic Fairy Tale… That said… I didn’t devote much thought to the world of Ember. At the time, I was going to end up visiting it… in the building where the TITANIC was created (the real ship, not the movie) and I was anxious to just see the entire town that was going to be housed in that giant space.

Not long before the trip, my father had a stroke – and plans like Ireland and a cool movie set – well – there’s a scale to life – and in this case… Ireland and the film evaporated from my reality.

Months passed.

In fact – until last week I really hadn’t thought of CITY OF EMBER. I knew it was shooting… well, had been shot – but I really didn’t know where in the process the film was. It opens around the 10th of October… that’s pretty far off – and these days I’m more concerned about the upcoming Summer crop of films than the Fall and Holiday slates… but a little over a week ago – I was awoken by a phone call by Gil Kenan asking me if I’d like to go to Skywalker Ranch at his invitation to see some of CITY OF EMBER and watch them mix some of the film in the William Wyler mixing room.

Well, I quickly answered to the affirmative. There’s all sorts of reasons – I could finally break my Skywalker Ranch cherry… and it’d give all of you the first real set of eyes on a film that wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. Besides… who knew what else was going on out there… right?

So Wednesday morning at 5am, I headed to the airport to begin my journey. Approximately 6 hours later – I was sitting on a sofa in the Wyler room watching Gil and his sound crew mixing the temp music track for a test screening later today – somewhere on planet Earth.

They were working on a scene in reel 1 of CITY OF EMBER where Saoirse Ronan (Lina) and Harry Treadaway (Doon) exchange their positions in life. I took Father Geek along and told him nothing about the story – he only knew it was the second film from the director of MONSTER HOUSE. In this early minute to two minutes of film we were watching – it was a designed universe. There was a hint of German Expressionism to the buildings. And at first thought – you’d think the “sky” was to be added later – but you see… in Ember… large lights in the sky that you would think were placed by the crew – but as those that have read this wonderful book know… they’re there because this world is very strange indeed.

After about an hour of mixing on reel one – we went to see around 45 minutes of CITY OF EMBER – and it was there where I finally was able to put this movie together in my mind. Essentially – what Gil has made is a film that is LOGAN’S RUN, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, GOONIES and METROPOLIS blended all together in one wonderfully unique vision.

The opening credits are startling – a group of rushed men carrying a box with 3 LED windows on the front. They say, “Set it for 200 years” – and then hand it off to a person and it becomes part of the secret tradition of the mayors of Ember… You see the box handed from aged hands to younger hands that age – to then hand the box to the next set of hands… quickly… fluidly – showing us in human generational terms – the passage of the years and as we see the countdown reach 47… a mayor dies prematurely… having not passed the box on. And we find the box… stuck in a closet, forgotten and counting down till it finally ceases to countdown – and it opens, only nobody is there to see it.

Now how long was it open till we see the start of the film? Nobody can tell – but as we start our story – it’s with Lina, and a graduation ceremony… technically called ASSIGNMENT DAY – where this selection of who you are to be… for the rest of your life in Ember, is chosen… at random… from a paper bag.

The kids all have their hopes, their dreams – but no matter how well they might want to be in a different position – if they can’t convince another person on Assignment Day to switch jobs… they’re stuck.

The man with the bag? Well, he’s the Mayor of Ember, played by Bill Murray… a dash of whimsy – and an ever so nice taste of warmth… Bill offers hope and encouragement to the children’s choices… helping them to feel good about it. All except Lina, she got PIPEWORKS – apparently – that’s not a good job.

Then – as we move forward we begin to find out more… you see every person in the film is needed for the City of Ember to exist. To them – they are the last light in the world. The generator is the pulsating heart of their existence. The electricity is their life and at night – they shut it down and the lights go out and until that generator kicks back on, their world is darkness.

The atmosphere is palpable. The society living in this city of Ember… had taken on an amazingly different vision of the future. No doubt they’re living underground… or in something. And the people in there are many generations removed by the incident that put them in this city. The city itself has begun to run down. Supplies are recycled. And it is starkly designed – based in part upon Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS – but not a direct lift – it has echoes of that world – this film doesn’t deal with the class warfare – here – the people serve the city because the city is all there is to serve. Nobody wonders about the outside world – instead – they do their job and everyone worries about the day the lights go out.

In fact that’s the plot line of the film. You see – everyone knows that the generator could be failing and that they have a finite amount of power. When Lina and Doon stumble upon the pieces of the past from the box… they try to unlock the mystery of their town that had been lost to the ravages of time.

This is a particular cast in the adult realm… folks like Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Martin Landau, Toby Jones, Liz Smith and Mackenzie Crook. Moreso – the townsfolk of Ember continue that sort of character to their faces. Odd and unique.

I saw a sequence towards the end of the film that takes place in the great Generator room… a room with amazing gigantic Mechanical Age pistons and water wheels… the closest thing to its look is that great sequence inside the Engine room in TITANIC. The effects were far from done, but it really has a potential to be jaw-dropping when finished.

As for the performances – the cast speaks for itself – and young Saoirse Ronan is fantastic, we will see a lot more from this young lady. And young Harry Treadaway – who you may have seen in the amazing film, BROTHERS OF THE HEAD as half of the Siamese Twins in that film – is great as the curious boy that believes he’s destined to help solve the problem with the Generator. There’s almost a panic to his desire to make it all work.

This is a remarkable project – and I can not wait to hear responses from the screening later on today. CITY OF EMBER is a film to take notice on… it has elements of some of the best in science fiction and fantasy film – without being strictly derivative of any of those films. Instead it echoes that which came before while becoming something new on its own.” http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35808

DARK MATTER

“A trailer for a new film called Dark Matter has appeared online. According to it’s official synopsis, Dark Matter follows a Chinese science student in the United States in the early 1990s. Driven by ambition, yet unable to navigate academic politics, then, drama un-folds.”

Dark Matter Trailer

Note: This may or may not be the trailer referred to below.

This Dark Matter Trailer is Scientifically Inaccurate

By Phil Owen, 02/28/08

I’m assuming, based on the trailer, that Dark Matter is one of those films that, like, say, Primer or Proof, wants to be extremely dense through the use to sciencespeak. As the title indicates, the film revolves around the study of dark matter, which is something with which most people are not too familiar. Focusing so heavily on something like dark matter allows the filmmakers to use it as a MacGuffin, because most people won’t have a clue about what the characters are discussing.

That said, at the beginning of the trailer, which can be seen exclusively at ComingSoon, Liu Ye (Curse of the Golden Flower) has this line: “I’m looking at the dark matter. 99% of the universe. Dark matter.” A quick glance at NASA’s website reveals this statement to be untrue. The film is set in the early ‘90s, I thought the filmmakers might be using what was known about dark matter from that time. Nope. The film’s writer (Billy Shebar) says on the film’s website that it is currently believed that dark matter makes up over 90% of the universe. As movie folks are often wont to do, I’m guessing they’ve combined dark matter (25% of the universe) and dark energy (70% of the universe) into one concept.

The rest of the trailer is pretty intriguing. It shows Liu Ye’s character, Liu Xing (that means “shooting star!”), as a Chinese student studying at a university in the US. He’s working to unravel the mysteries of dark matter, but he is foiled by departmental politics and begins to become despondent. It’s all very atmospheric.

Thankfully, the trailer doesn’t even hint at the film’s ultimate destination. Dark Matter is based very loosely on Gang Lu’s time at the University of Iowa studying physics, which ended with him shooting some folks before offing himself. Perhaps there will be a scene in the film where we see Liu Xing training on Duke Nukem.

Scientific issues aside, Dark Matter looks pretty solid from that trailer. I’m a big fan of this type of character study, one that attempts to deconstruct a mental breakdown. And it’s much better that they took that approach rather than the “important school shooting movie” approach.

Dark Matter, which won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at Sundance 2007, is helmed by Chinese stage director Chen Shi-Zheng. The film stars, along with Liu Ye, Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn. If you live in New York or LA, you can check it out April 11.

http://chud.com/articles/articles/13828/1/THIS-DARK-MATTER-TRAILER-IS-SCIENTIFICALLY-INACCURATE/Page1.html

ComingSoon.net’s article, and the trailer:

Exclusive: The Dark Matter Trailer

Source: First Independent Pictures, February 28, 2008

ComingSoon.net is exclusively debuting the trailer for director Chen Shi-Zheng and screenwriter Billy Shebar’s Dark Matter today. The drama, starring Liu Ye, Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn, opens in theaters on April 11.
Dark Matter delves into the world of Liu Xing (Chinese for “Shooting Star”), a Chinese science student pursuing a Ph.D. in the United States in the early 1990s. Driven by ambition, yet unable to navigate academic politics, Liu Xing is inexorably pushed to the margins of American life, until he loses his way.
You can watch the trailer using the player below. For more info on the film, click here. [go to the site below to view the actual trailer discussed.]

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=42331

BLACK HOLE

David Fincher To Make Completely Awesome Comic Book Movie

By Devin Faraci, published 02/20/2008,

I am so filled with excitement that I can almost not type these words. Variety is reporting that David Fincher has signed on to direct the adaptation of Charles Burns’ incredible graphic novel Black Hole, which currently has a screenplay by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary*. Alex Aja had been attached, and while his take on the grotesque characters of the book (more on that in a moment) would have been fascinating, I am so psyched that Fincher is on board that I cannot explain.
Black Hole is set in the suburbs of Seattle in the mid 70s, and it’s about a group of teens who contract an STD that turns them into subtle mutants and hideous monsters. What’s most interesting about Black Hole is the way the story itself mutates, which is partially because of the fact that it was a serialized tale in 12 parts told over ten years, but it never quite works out the way that you think it will, and in the end coalesces into a truly moving and beautiful story about becoming an adult. It’s a seminal work of graphic fiction or comics or whatever you want to call it – the important thing is that the next time you see someone trying to convince a non-believer that comics can be art with some f’ing superhero book, smash that person over the head with the hardcover edition of Black Hole.

Black Hole is a story that is highly detailed and intricately visual story; I would never have pegged Fincher for the adaptation, but after Zodiac he just makes so much sense. This news has me so happy that I’m going to pull Black Hole off the shelf and read it again. Charles Burns is going to be signing copies of the book at Skylight Books in Los Angeles on the 29th – you should go by and say hi to him.
You know what? I needed news like this. We write about too many comic book stories lately, and I find myself more and more depressed about the form I used to love. My new roommate is a big comic reader and I’ve been catching up with DC Comics through him, and most of these books are beyond terrible – awful stories, ridiculous art, banal characters, a general sense of malevolence towards the tragic figures shelling out for them by the month. Black Hole is what comics can be, and it’s nice to be reminded that not every comic book movie has to be about male adolescent repressed homosexuality packaged for bloodthirsty, misogynistic, obsessive compulsive 30-40 year olds who can’t move past their childhoods.
*Strength

http://chud.com/articles/articles/13732/1/DAVID-FINCHER-TO-MAKE-COMPLETELY-AWESOME-COMIC-BOOK-MOVIE/Page1.html

SERENTIY SEQUEL??

This one has some serious question marks all over it, but here’s the scoop, because if it turns out to be true, we Browncoats can rejoice!:

Rumor: Serenity Sequel on the Horizon Realistically?! It Can’t Be!

October 4, 2007, Source: Moviehole.net, by Alex Billington

Serenity

I know this is beating a dead horse, but another rumor has been kicked up out of the dust and this time it may be a bit more reliable, and I just can’t resist. The guys over at Moviehole.net have a quote from Alan Tudyk (who plays Wash) where he claims that the recent buzz regarding the re-release of the Serenity DVD is causing Universal to consider making another one. There are so many questions: How recent is this interview? Is Alan just poking fun for the heck of it? Will it be direct-to-DVD or not?

I trust what Alan has to say, it’s that I’m not sure this can be counted as fully legitimate. Maybe he was just saying this for the heck of it and his quote got taken out of context. Or maybe this was not too recent and can’t be counted as something real, just a far-fetched “rumbling” at Universal. Anyway, here’s Alan’s ever-so-important quote.

“They had to put [the new DVD] out because they’ve been selling out of the other one and so Universal’s like ‘So, let’s do another one’. And now… there’s now a chance there’s going to be another movie.”

“Everybody in the Firefly crew – and that includes the ones who died in the movie – are excited about the prospect of doing another.”

Update: Clint, the writer who conducted the interview over at Moviehole, has informed us in the comments below that this is all up-to-date and completely real. It’s all just in Universal’s hands now, as Alan makes it sound like they’re very interested.

Being a website that focuses purely on theatrical releases – I’ve got to hope that it will be theatrical. However the current “thought” is that it just won’t be. Serenity was a massive financial flop at the box office and I don’t think they’re smart enough to realize that if they actually marketed it correctly, it could easily be a success. More and more fans join the legion of Browncoats every day – and that alone should be enough to warrant another in-theater sequel.

For now I’ll keep dreaming and hope that Universal realizes their mistake on the first film and comes around on this second one. Need a prime example of a film that’s doing just that? How about Fox’s Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem??

http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/10/04/rumor-serenity-sequel-on-the-horizon-realistically-it-cant-be/

Then this appears:

Sorry, The Serenity Sequel is Not Happening

October 24, 2007, Source: MySpace Blog, by Alex Billington

Sorry Browncoats, but it just ain’t so. This rumor all started a few weeks back when Alan Tudyk made some comments that were taken out of context and presumed to be talk of a sequel. Some other speculators were claiming that it was just a big, confusing rumor to begin with anyway and apparently that was the case. The update comes from the girl who plays Kaylee, named Jewel Staite in real life, who wrote a blog update (via CinemaBlend) about the whole fiasco.

Here’s Jewel’s update from her blog on MySpace:

Lets address these Serenity 2 rumors before anything else. I have no idea what you people are talking about! Seems to me someone (with a name that starts with A and ends in LAN) said something in an interview that was misconstrued as the sequel being greenlit, which is not the case at the moment. I will never say it will never happen, because that’s just blasphemy in my opinion, but it’s not happening at the moment… no matter what you read on the internet. You know better than to believe everything you read, anyway! (except this blog… cuz it’s all true.)

Unfortunately now I must say “that’s that”. I was really hoping the rumor was going to turn out to be true, being a huge fan myself, but alas I just knew it couldn’t be so. Unless Universal is keeping this secret from even one of the middle actors in the series, but that’s probably just as ridiculous as this rumor to begin with.

Now the question that remains is if there was the right emphasis from the right amount of people (say, Browncoats?), could Universal actually be smart enough to do a sequel? And if they did, would it actually succeed? If they made a sequel for 2009, that would be four years after the first movie and six years after the end of the series. Would another sequel that late and that far away from the hype actually do well? What do you think?

And then a forum response, which I think clears it up nicely:

From xardoz, Oct 26, 2007

“Can’t you people read? Jewel has merely said that a sequel has not been greenlit, not that there will be no Serenity 2. Alan got his info from Nathan, and all that was is that they (read Universal) are talking about a possible (key word) sequel, depending on the sale of the Collectors Edition of the DVD. Alan never said it was greenlit, NO ONE has said it was greenlit. The ONLY authoritative voice on this is Joss Whedon himself. He is aware of Alan’s comments and has remained silent – keep in mind he’s been quick to squash false rumors in the past. It’s been over 20 days since the Moviehole interview appeared. Alan has come out and confirmed his comments on video:
http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=6456819566538173305&hl=en-AU
It isn’t over yet, Browncoats. It ain’t over until Joss tells us so.”

http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/10/24/sorry-the-serenity-sequel-is-not-happening/

LEGION

Paul Bettany Grow Wings

By Russ Fischer, published 02/13/2008

Don’t tell Precious Moments, but that terrible angel wave crested and crashed on the beach of pop culture a long time ago. Don’t tell Paul Bettany either; he’s set to play the archangel Michael in Legion, the feature directorial debut of effects guy Scott Stewart. It’s a Screen Gems project so don’t get your hopes up too high, but the premise is entertaining.

Via Variety:
Story follows what happens when God loses faith in humanity and sends his legion of angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Mankind’s only hope lies in a group of misfits holed up in a diner in the desert who are aided by the archangel Michael.

Stewart penned the script with Peter Schink; the result sounds reflective of Neil Gaiman’s classic Sandman story ’24 Hours’ by way of all those right wing nutjob fictions that get made into movies with Kirk Cameron.

Bettany dons wings when the flick rolls in March.

http://chud.com/articles/articles/13643/1/PAUL-BETTANY-GROWS-WINGS/Page1.html

And about the same from ComingSoon.net:

Bettany is Part of Screen Gems’ Legion

Source: Variety, February 13, 2008

Paul Bettany is set to star in Legion, a Screen Gems thriller that marks the feature directorial debut of Scott Stewart, says Variety. Stewart wrote the script with Peter Schink.

The project was hatched by Bold Films, whose David Lancaster and Michel Litvak will produce. Gary Michel Walters will be executive producer.
The story follows what happens when God loses faith in humanity and sends his legion of angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Mankind’s only hope lies in a group of misfits holed up in a diner in the desert who are aided by the archangel Michael (Bettany).

Stewart is a co-founder of visual effects house The Orphanage.
Production begins in New Mexico in March.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=41917

THE HOBBIT

From First Showing.net

Sound Off: Who Should Direct The Hobbit? – Guillermo vs Raimi

December 21, 2007, by Alex Billington

Who Should Direct The Hobbit - Guillermo vs Raimi

Over this last week an enormous amount of news and rumors surrounding The Hobbit have arisen. On Tuesday, Peter Jackson announced that all legal issues between him and New Line had been resolved and that he would only produce the films. On Thursday, speculation began as to who could and who is in the running to direct The Hobbit, and two names appeared. Sam Raimi, of Spider-Man and Evil Dead fame, seems to be clearing up his schedule. And Guillermo del Toro, of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy fame, has expressed an interest in directing as well. Until an official announcement is made, let’s consider the options and discuss which would be a better choice.

In our article about Sam Raimi’s upcoming schedule (which doesn’t include Spider-Man 4), it was explicitly mentioned by Variety, an official news outlet, that it’s likely Sam Raimi is directing The Hobbit. While this isn’t confirmed, Raimi has previously mentioned that he’d be interested in directing it as long as Jackson had also said that he would NOT be interested in directing – as Raimi wouldn’t want to tread on Jackson’s territory.

As for Guillermo del Toro, SlashFilm ran a piece yesterday with some recent quotes from Guillermo, where it was mentioned that he had “heard some rumblings, but nothing official.” So now Guillermo is in the running, too. As this project moves on, the choice of the director will probably be the biggest decision anyone at New Line will ever make. And with two of the world’s greatest directors in the running, it’s a very tough decision to make. The problem is I don’t know who I would side with, because of all directors out there, Raimi and del Toro are probably my two personal favorite directors. This is like choosing with of my two kids I would have to kill to stay alive myself.

I’m going to kick this off by defending Sam Raimi. A number of comments on yesterday’s article were condemning Raimi primarily because of Spider-Man 3, a movie that by now most people have recognized as being pretty bad. I’m not trying to defend a movie that I also think wasn’t great, but I am going to defend Sam Raimi, who is still one of the greatest directors out there despite Spider-Man 3. First off, the person who created Spider-Man 2, no matter how much they screw up elsewhere, cannot be regarded as an all-around bad director at least because they created what is (arguably) the best superhero movie ever made.

Back when Spider-Man 3 was coming out, I attended a press conference with Sam Raimi. I listened to Raimi speak and answer questions for 20 minutes and by the end I had realized that Spider-Man 3 wasn’t his fault. It was partially Avi Arad and partially the other outside pressures that forced him to include Venom. Sure, it was Raimi who ended up making the movie, but after hearing the things he had to say, there is no way he could’ve made this bad of a movie if he would’ve done the exact story he wanted. Avi Arad and the producers came in and forced him to include Venom and forced a re-write on the script to turn it into a pile of crap.

Lastly, Raimi is the least “Hollywood-ized” director out of anyone I’ve met. He’s still so down-to-earth and still a geek himself. He would rather chat with you about movies and Spider-Man at the end of a press conference than be whisked away. He has no “spoiler” filter, he just loves talking about things like an excited geek. The more I listened to him and the more I looked back at Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, Darkman, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 2, the more I realized Raimi is still an incredible director who was screwed over with Spider-Man 3. In my mind, he is and always will be a phenomenal director and is still the perfect choice for The Hobbit.

With Guillermo del Toro, I probably love him almost as much as Raimi. Hellboy is my absolute favorite comic book movie and Pan’s Labyrinth is a incredible film, and I just love his filmmaking style and fanboy nature as well. However, I almost feel as if he has too dark of a style for it to work with The Hobbit. But at the same time, if he took on the project, he would be as perfect of a choice as Sam Raimi. I can’t decide, so it’s up to you.

Who do you think is the best director for The Hobbit? Sam Raimi or Guillermo del Toro?

But it seems to have been answered, maybe. From ComingSoon.net:

The Hobbit

Release Date: TBA 2010
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Not Available
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: TheHobbitBlog.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on “The Hobbit.”

http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=40304

But see this, from the same site:

Guillermo del Toro on The Hobbit Films

Source: Empire Online, February 14, 2008

Empire caught up today with Guillermo del Toro, who told the magazine that he is still not fully signed for The Hobbit and its sequel.

“I wish it was definite, but it isn’t,” he said. “It’s still in talks, there are still a lot of ‘T’s to cross and ‘I’s to dot. It’s certainly not certain yet…But, as far as I’m concerned, [if it was definite] I would be packed in ten seconds.”

He’s not worried at this time about the lawsuit that was revealed earlier this week, but he did say he would love to bring back actors from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy whose characters appear in the new films.

“Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been pretty much incredibly open about the things that I love and don’t love in the past. I’ve turned down huge franchises in the past because there are parts of that world I don’t gel with. The reason I took ‘Blade II’ is because I love the characters that Stephen Norrington created and the actors he used. That times ten is the reason why I’m interested in ‘The Hobbit.'”

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/hobbitnews.php?id=42017

The movie seems plagued by problems. A suit by Tolkien’s estate tried to block further use of his works, and now New Line is going under, but The Hobbit will remain. From The Hollywood Reporter.com:

Tolkien Trust sues New Line

By Leslie Simmons, Feb. 12, 2008

Just when two new movie versions of “The Hobbit” seemed on track, another legal roadblock has been thrown in their path.

On Monday, J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate — a British charity called the Tolkien Trust — filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against New Line seeking a court order terminating any rights the studio has to any of the author’s works, including “Hobbit.”

The Tolkien Trust and the author’s original publisher, HarperCollins, claim that New Line has committed “accounting chicanery” by, among other things, inflating the cost of each film in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by more than $100 million and refusing to allow an audit of the second and third films in the “Rings” series.

The plaintiffs allege that New Line and Peter Jackson’s Katja Motion Picture Group owe them at least $150 million in gross profits from the billion-dollar “Rings” trilogy, which has grossed $6 billion worldwide, a figure that encompasses both boxoffice and DVD sales, according to the complaint.
New Line declined to comment on the allegations.

As a result, the plaintiffs claim that New Line has breached the original 1969 agreement assigning rights to make films based on Tolkien’s literary works to United Artists. Although the agreement has passed hands over the years — from United Artists to Saul Zaentz to Miramax and then New Line — it remained unchanged.

Late last year, New Line reached an agreement with MGM to co-produce and co-finance two films adapted from the “Hobbit” book, with New Line handling North American rights and MGM handling overseas distribution. Jackson, after reaching his own settlement with New Line over a profit dispute, is to executive produce the movies with his partner Fran Walsh.

The first of the two films, set for a 2010 release, is to go into production next year.

The latest flap in New Line’s on-going “Rings” saga comes as the studio, headed by Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, has come under the scrutiny of parent company Time Warner. The entertainment conglomerate is looking at ways to cut back costs at New Line, which could lead to some or all of the studio’s functions being taken over by Warner Bros.

According to the new lawsuit, New Line denies the plaintiffs have any right to terminate the rights, so they seek the court’s input on the controversy. Although New Line could go forward with “Hobbit” projects, it faces the risk of losing the rights later if the court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor.

“This case presents an extraordinary example of how enormous financial success can breed unabashed and insatiable greed,” the lawsuit states. “Despite the nearly $6 billion in gross revenues, New Line has crafted a fantasy tale of its own, making the stunning assertion that it has not received sufficient money to pay plaintiffs a dime.”

The case is the latest against New Line over “Rings” profits. Jackson first filed suit against the studio in a contentious court battle that resulted in the December settlement. The Saul Zaentz Co. filed his second suit late last year also alleging New Line’s failure to pay profits. In 2004, Zaentz had filed a previous suit over moneys he said were owed him; that was settled in 2005.

Jackson’s settlement paved the way for back-to-back films based on “Hobbit.” Although his schedule made it impossible for him to direct, Jackson agreed to exec produce the pair of films, with approval over creative elements, including the script. Guillermo del Toro is in talks to helm.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ia5690166f1f371d41c6947b619ef2fc8

Bewkes nukes New Line

By Borys Kit and Georg Szalai, Feb. 29, 2008

UPDATED 7:43 p.m. PT Feb. 28
After a four-decade run that saw its transformation from an upstart indie company exploiting rude John Waters movies and gory horror flicks to a mini-major winning Oscars and billion-dollar worldwide grosses with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, New Line is being absorbed into parent company Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Pictures.

As part of the cost-saving consolidation ordered by TW’s new CEO Jeff Bewkes, New Line co-chairmen and co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are leaving the company they founded in 1967, though Bewkes said they are in talks encompassing “a number of alternatives” and could end up producing films for New Line or Warners.

New Line will remain more than just a production label within Warners, though. It will retain its own separate development and production, marketing and distribution operations … Bewkes said New Line, in turn, must “focus on being an indie, rather than being halfway to a major.”

In recent years, as New Line’s ambitions have grown, it has taken on more risk. The three “Rings” movies, released between 2001 and 2003, resulted in a boxoffice bonanza. But New Line hasn’t maintained that momentum. Although it scored two $100 million-plus hits in 2007 with “Hairspray” and “Rush Hour 3,” most of its lineup failed to ignite, and its pricey “The Golden Compass,” though a hit abroad, fell flat in the U.S.

NEUROMANCER

image

Hayden Christensen, New Romancer, er, Neuromancer

By Russ Fischer, published 01/8/2008

 William Gibson’s proto-cyberpunk novel Neuromancer is one of those books I have no real wish to see lifted to the screen. Not to preserve my own love for the book, which has finer points, but isn’t any significant favorite. Rather, like past efforts to make Gibson’s stuff come alive onscreen, it’s that a Neuromancer film seems likely to miss the point with such blatant glee that the deficiency would be obvious to any audience. Really, outside of Philip K Dick is any body of speculative fiction more likely to come out bland and homogenous?

But the details of the current potential film version, which JoBlo has reported on a few times, are interesting. Made more or less as a $70M indie with Torque director Joseph Kahn in charge, this is a weird beast. Cursory checks show nothing like a finalized script or even credited screenwriter, so even if this is happening, it’s now a ways off.

Which makes it a bit odd that JoBlo’s source is now pegging Hayden Christensen as the star of the flick. He’s been a non-entity since Shattered Glass and may continue to be so after Jumper opens, so how is this happening? Or is that what we said when Keanu was cast in Johnny Mnemonic?

I don’t recall enough of the book to say that Christensen is specifically a good or bad fit for Case, the original hacker protagonist, but since Christensen has generally proven a bad fit for anything that involves expression, this might not be a popular choice.

http://chud.com/articles/articles/13201/1/HAYDEN-CHRISTENSEN-NEW-ROMANCER-ER-NEUROMANCER/Page1.html

Hayden a Neuromancer
Jan. 7, 2008, Source: JoBlo.com, by: Mike Sampson

You may have already heard the news about the NEUROMANCER movie. What you didn’t hear was who would be starring in this ambitious adaptation of the cyberpunk classic. JoBlo.com sources have told us that Hayden Christensen will star in NEUROMANCER as Case, the former hacker at the center of the story. I’ll be honest and admit I’ve never read NEUROMANCER and my rudimentary attempts to try and understand the plot have only confused me. But it seems very much a precursor to the Matrix with the book even referring to “the matrix.” Joseph Kahn (TORQUE) is directing the film, which is essentially set up as an indie film with a big budget. It is not set up at a studio but still carries an impressive $70 million budget. It’s unclear when filming would begin but it could be later this year. Christensen can be seen next in the Fox action flick JUMPER, which hits theaters in February.

Extra Tidbit: If you really want to learn more about NEUROMANCER, check out this detailed study guide [guide to the 1984 Gibson novel].

http://www.joblo.com/index.php?id=19257

And from First Showing.net:

William Gibson’s Neuromancer Finally Coming to the Big Screen!

May 18, 2007, Source: Variety, by Alex Billington

Neuromancer

Finally a great science fiction novel is getting adapted for the big screen! Well, not that there hasn’t been a great selection of other sci fi novels in the past (like anything by Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick), but I have a certain affinity for William Gibson’s books. His bestseller novel that was first published in 1984, Neuromancer, is being brought to the big screen by indie producer Peter Hoffman. The project will get a $70 million budget with Joseph Kahn currently set to direct. Kahn has only directed one full length feature so far, the motorcycle film Torque, but he may be better known for directing Britney Spear’s music video for “Toxic”. I think all the excitement I just had flew out the window.

And get this, the project is being fast-tracked to replace the next Paul Verhoeven project The Winter Queen, a tough blow for the filmmaker behind one of my own all time favorite sci fi films – Starship Troopers. However, it’s not because this is a better script, it’s because Verhoeven’s film is waiting for Fifth Element star Milla Jovovich to have her baby.

NeuromancerFor those who may be unfamiliar with the fantastic novel Neuromancer, (from Wikipedia) it tells the story of Case, an out-of-work computer hacker hired by an unknown patron to participate in a seemingly impossible crime. The novel examines the concepts of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering, multinational corporations overpowering the traditional nation-state, and cyberspace long before these ideas became fashionable in popular culture. In addition to tackling these hot topics in the film, producer Hoffman stated “there’ll be a sort of love interest as well.” Quite unnecessary, but that’s Hollywood for you these days.

Now they just need to work on bringing my own favorite Neal Stephenson novel Snow Crash to the big screen, too, as I think if done right it could nearly be another fascinating and revolutionary sci fi film… if done right. In the meantime, or at least for the year or so it’ll take to film and edit, I suggest you pick up a copy of Neuromancer, or anything by William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, and become immersed in his wonderful world of science fiction.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/05/18/william-gibsons-neuromancer-finally-coming-to-the-big-screen/

AKIRA

From First Showing.net:

It’s Official – Live-Action Akira Confirmed Already for 2009!

February 20, 2008, Source: Variety, by Alex Billington

Akira

Back in October last year, we reported a rumor that the Japanese anime classic Akira would eventually be getting a live-action remake. We finally have official confirmation today that says there will not only be a new adaptation, but that it is being split into two movies! Warner Brothers has re-acquired the rights and is putting the first film into production right away, aiming to release the first movie by the summer of 2009. However, the film is primarily going to be adapted from anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel more than the original 1988 anime movie.

Warner Brothers exec Greg Silverman, who previously brought the studio 300 and Batman Begins, brought them Akira and encouraged them to obtain the rights. Although the studio let go of the rights a few years ago, they fought to gain them back in a bidding war, ending up paying in the seven-figures. The studio is describing the film as “Blade Runner meets City of God“, which is a fairly fitting description for the story. Each movie will be based on three of the six volumes from Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel that was first published in 1982.

The two films will be directed by Irish filmmaker Ruairi Robinson who is making his feature debut after directing a number of short films and commercials. You can watch his 2006 short titled The Silent City on his website here. The script for the two films is being written by first-time screenwriter Gary Whitta.

Akira is a six-volume manga that was later adapted into an anime movie in 1988. The manga takes place in a vastly larger timeframe than the film and involves a far wider array of characters and subplots. Through the breadth of the work, Otomo explicates themes of social isolation, corruption and power. The original anime and and manga was set in Tokyo, but reports are saying this version will take place in “New Manhattan”, a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years ago. This isn’t fully confirmed and we’re doing our best to see if this is actually the case.

Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira. On his way to save Tetsuo, Kaneda runs into a group of anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader. The confrontation sparks off Tetsuo’s supernatural power leading to bloody death, a coup attempt and the final battle in Tokyo Olympiad where Akira’s secrets were buried 30 years ago.

I said it before when talking about the rumor, but this is going to make for one awesome live-action movie. Not only am I a big fan of the anime movie, but there are so many great action scenes, like the futuristic motorcycle chases, that could be amazing in the movie. I’m only concerned that they won’t give this duo of films the proper budget that they really need, especially with a first-time feature filmmaker working on them. Whatever the case is, I’ll hope for the best!

Akira

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/02/20/its-official-live-action-akira-confirmed-already-for-2009/

STARFIGHTER – A SEQUEL TO THE LAST STARFIGHTER?

From First Showing.net

The Last Starfighter is Getting a Sequel, Too?!

February 28, 2008, Source: Cinema Blend, by Alex Billington

The Last Starfighter

Yesterday it was just a rumor, but today it’s pretty much confirmed – The Last Starfighter is getting a sequel. Like The Lost Boys before it, they’re now revisiting classic 80’s movies and ripping everything good out of them and then turning them into modernized Hollywood piles of crap. Our friends at Cinema Blend have been hard at work uncovering all of the details about this sequel, and it doesn’t sound too good, but who am I to say that this early in the game? One thing is for sure – we’ve officially entered the era of the 80’s revisited in Hollywood. With Transformers turning out to be a huge hit, they’re out finding every last nostalgic 80’s “whatever” and revisiting it again, from G.I. Joe to The Last Starfighter to Akira.

The Last StarfighterJosh Tyler over at Cinema Blend initially picked up a scoop on the sequel, supposedly titled Son of the Starfighter, from an anonymous emailer, but wasn’t sure whether it was just a big rumor. The scooper reported that a production company called George Paige and Associates was already in pre-production on the film with shooting scheduled to begin next month. He also added that “it involves original director Nick Castle, writer Jonathan Betuel and actor Lance Guest. It’s your basic Son of the Starfighter storyline and actually sounds pretty cool.” Lance Guest did appear in the first movie as the teenager Alex Rogan, so it would make sense that they’d want him back, especially if they’re considering a story involving his son.

After first hearing about the project, Josh seemed to be a bit skeptical (as were we), pointing out that George Paige and Associates isn’t exactly a big or reputable production company and that this whole project seems a little bit far fetched, even for them. However, the project does show up officially on their website and also lists Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers as the distributors, along with Relativity Media as the additional production company. Considering Relativity Media and Universal Pictures just signed a big four-year deal, this could actually be legit.

How is it, in my many years of childhood, that I happened to miss the glorious 80’s sci-fi classic The Last Starfighter? I really do not know. The movie is about an arcade video gamer who is recruited by an alien defense force in order to put his skills to use defending the galaxy from an invasion. This wonderfully brilliant cinematic classic made a whopping $28.7 million at the box office in its 1984 debut. Why this is prime choice for a sequel in 2008, I don’t know. Maybe someone who’s a big fan of this movie can help with that explanation.

Until we get some official confirmation, most of this is a rumor. However, it is confirmed that this sequel is actually in production, but that doesn’t mean any of the names previously mentioned are actually attached. Josh also mentions that this would be getting a theatrical release with a mid-range budget at least, so if he’s right, you can be certain that this won’t be a forgettable revival in the years to come.

Does The Last Starfighter really need a sequel, modernized or not?

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/02/28/the-last-starfighter-is-getting-a-sequel-too/

2012

From First Showing.net again:

Roland Emmerich (Almost) Explains What Happens in 2012

March 3, 2008, Source: Collider, by Alex Billington

Roland Emmerich

Back in February, blockbuster director Roland Emmerich revealed that his next big movie would be one titled 2012, a disaster movie that takes place in the year of the title. Emmerich’s next finished movie is actually 10,000 B.C., which hits theaters this coming Friday. Our friend Steve from Collider caught up with Emmerich last weekend while he was promoting 10,000 B.C. and tried to get him to reveal what exactly happens in 2012, but still had no luck – he’s keeping a very tight lip. But if you’re interested in trying to guess what it might be or just want to know exactly what Emmerich said, read on. And considering this is the next big $200 million epic summer blockbuster, we’re sure you’ll want to know.

Mayan calendarThe script for 2012 is apparently so good, that the studios started a bidding war for distribution, with Sony ending up the winner. Now it’s heading into production for a July 10th, 2009 opening. Emmerich has said previously that “it will be very expensive, you see the whole world go to shit” and other sources reported that the “project has more going for it than the big idea that studios love,” but what exactly that means yet, no one knows. All that we do know is that 2012 is the year that the Mayan calendar (pictured to the right) ends and many others have predicted that it will be the apocalyptic end of the Earth. What Emmerich is depicting, however, is a “natural disaster” of some sorts.

Before we get into the juicy details, Emmerich explains his inspiration for the movie, and how he convinced himself, after saying he’d never do another disaster movie, to do 2012.

“…This whole movie I’m doing next was inspired by just the phenomenon of the internet when you type in Google, ‘2012’, you get 240 million hits. That’s a lot. And it’s just, so many people write about it, believe it, that our world comes to an end in 2012. I said wow. I kind of said before I will never do a disaster movie again. I said, for this idea I have to do it again.”

When Collider asked Emmerich whether this would achieve a new level of “blowing things up”, Emmerich responded with “it’s not blowing up, it’s something else.” And when prodded further to explain himself, Emmerich almost gave it away: “This time there’s no blowing up. It’s a natural disaster. Well, actually yeah, like a… I’m not saying it! I’m giving things away.” Damn, too close! If only he just finished his sentence…

To be honest, Emmerich has done such a great job of teasing 2012, that I’m getting into it almost as much as Cloverfield, where it’s become all about figuring out “what it is” more than anything else. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until we see the first teaser trailer or hear reports from the set to get to that point. Emmerich goes on talking to Collider about how “undoable” this is, especially considering they’re going to, basically, destroy the entire world. Check out what he had to say!

“Yes, it will be very expensive, but I think it will be for a price because people who read the script said this is undoable. And I said, well but we’ll do it. I mean, it’s one of these things that everybody says it’s undoable because it’s like, you see the whole world go to shit… It’s kind of one of these things when I write a script, and I wrote it again with Harald [Kloser] together, we just said no, we’ll not think if it’s doable or not, we’ll just write it. We’ll just come up with it. And then we’ll figure out how we’ll do it. I think it’s worth doing it because it’s also when you have something where you have adrenaline because you are nervous about it, that’s good. That’s a little bit like… it’s good when actors have this adrenaline when they go on stage. I think they do their best work, and for us it’s the same thing…”

I love the way he thinks – don’t write it with “is it doable?” in mind, just write it, and then figure out how to do it. And even be nervous about it, challenge yourself – that’s awesome. As much as we all know that Emmerich is a filmmaker who writes/directs films that are nothing but storyless blockbusters, at least they’re entertaining. And although I’m not that excited for 10,000 B.C., I’m already very excited for 2012. I’m really wondering what the hell is going to happen, and how the entire world is going to get destroyed! This should be fun!

Any guesses as to what kind(s) of natural disaster(s) will be destroying the Earth in 2012?

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/03/03/roland-emmerich-almost-explains-what-happens-in-2012/

3D TRON SEQUEL

12:00 AM, 03-MARCH-08

3-D Tron Sequel Due In ’11?
Disney plans to release a 3-D sequel to its classic SF movie Tron in spring 2011, Dark Horizons reported. The Digital Disney 3-D movie reportedly will be directed by Joseph Kosinski.

The studio also has Cars 2, National Treasure 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 scheduled for that year, the site reported.

Other reports suggest the fourth Pirates movie may focus on one character to downsize the budget. Other reports talk of a hyper-budget, ultra-fantastical feature, meaning anything from dinosaurs to Jules Verne-esque floating fortresses, the site reported.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49631

From The Hollywood Reporter site:

Kosinski will program Disney’s ‘Tron’ sequel

By Borys Kit, Sept. 11, 2007

hr/photos/stylus/9626.jpg

“Tron”

TORONTO — Commercial director Joseph Kosinski is in final negotiations to develop and direct “Tron,” described as “the next chapter” of Disney’s 1982 cult classic. Sean Bailey is producing via the Live Planet banner, as is Steven Lisberger, who co-wrote and directed the original film.

Kosinski, who last month signed on to helm the remake of “Logan’s Run” for Warner Bros. Pictures, will oversee the visual development of the project and have input on the script, which is being written by “Lost” scribes Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Story details are being kept secret.

The original, about a computer programmer thrust into a computer and forced to fight in games he helped create, is remembered for its sci-fi gladiator-style battles and groundbreaking special effects. It was the first movie to use computer-generated images instead of models and other optical effects in conjunction with live action. The arcade game based on the movie was so popular that it earned more than the movie.

When making the original, in order to convince the studio to take a chance on a first-time director, Lisberger shot a test reel, financed by the studio, involving the deadly Frisbee battle. In a case of historical synchronicity, sources said one of the things Kosinski will be doing is working on a sequence involving the movie’s Light Cycles to work out his vision for the movie. Sources also said visual effects personnel, for many of whom “Tron” was an inspiration to enter the business, already are jockeying for pole position to work on the sequence.
Brigham Taylor is overseeing for Disney.

Kosinski is a former architect whose specs caught the attention of director David Fincher, who convinced Kosinski to move to Los Angeles, where he joined the director at commercial house Anonymous Content. Kosinski then moved quickly up the ladder, eventually directing award-winning spots for Nike, Apple and Nintendo that gained notice for their use of computer technology that erased the lines between reality and CGI.

Kosinski is repped by Endeavor and Michael Sugar and Bard Dorros at Anonymous Content.

http://crivablog.blogspot.com/2007/10/tron-sequel-confirmed.html

MOON

From First Showing.net (where all the good news seems to be coming from):

Sam Rockwell Tells of Sci-Fi Movie ‘Moon’

February 7, 2008, Source: MTV, by Alex Billington

Sam Rockwell

A week ago we speculated that the fashionable new beard that actor Sam Rockwell was sporting at Sundance was for Gentlemen Broncos, Jared Hess’ next film. Alas, we were wrong. MTV actually had the guts to ask Rockwell what he had the beard for, and got a response that even gets me excited. You see, Sam Rockwell is one of my favorite actors working these days that still somehow remains under-the-radar. He’s great because he isn’t an A-list actor but he gives A-list performances and that’s what really counts. He explained that the beard was actually for a sci-fi movie titled Moon that he’s working on next. Want to know more?

Moon is being directing by Duncan Jones, also known as Zowie Bowie, the son of David Bowie. Jones is a former ad exec turned filmmaker with only one film under his belt, a sci-fi short from 2000 called Whistle. If this project is anything like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was director Garth Jennings’ first feature film, a sci-fi nonetheless, then I may even be more excited, if that’s possible.

Rockwell explains, “I’m doing a sci-fi movie where I’m stranded on the moon for three years. That’s why I have the beard.” That’s apparently all that’s known about the story, with the addition of some “what if” scenarios. “What if Neil Armstrong had to wait until Apollo 12 to come back home? And what if he had a freaking awesome beard?” I’ll tell you what if – we’d have an awesome movie on our hands!

Anyone who has been reading here for a longtime knows that I’m a huge sci-fi nut, so anything sci-fi I’m usually all for. Especially when it involves Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker’s Guide, another sci-fi role that Sam Rockwell nailed. And considering the concept and story, this could be both hilarious and awesome. I’m already giving Moon a thumbs up without even knowing who wrote the script or the status of the production, because with Rockwell cast, at least I know it’s in good hands! And now the mystery of the beard has been solved.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/02/07/sam-rockwell-tells-of-sci-fi-movie-moon/

QUANTUM OF SOLACE

From MTV, again, not Sci-Fi, but close, and appeals to fans of the genre usually, comes the new James Bond flick:

‘James Bond: Quantum of Solace’ Plot Revealed!

Published by Larry Carroll on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 3:27 pm.

James BondWhat is “Quantum of Solace”? James Bond screenwriter Paul Haggis might not have any idea, but if MGM was kind enough to cc him on their latest press release, the Oscar-winner will gain a drool-inducing insight into the film’s plot, right alongside the rest of us.

Below is the spankin’ new, studio-approved plot summary of Bond’s 22nd flick. Does it leave you shaken, or stirred? Oh, and at the risk of sounding like a cheesy guy in an IROC is driving past us: “Spoiler alert!”

“‘Quantum of Solace’ continues the high octane adventures of James Bond (Daniel Craig) in ‘Casino Royale.’ Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal.

Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M (Judi Dench) interrogate Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined. Forensic intelligence links an MI6 traitor to a bank account in Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who has her own vendetta.

Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless business man and major force within the mysterious organization. On a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio). Using his associates in the organization, and manipulating his powerful contacts within the CIA and the British government, Greene promises to overthrow the existing regime in a Latin American country giving the General control of the country in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of land.

In a minefield of treachery, murder and deceit, Bond allies with old friends in a battle to uncover the truth. As he gets closer to finding the man responsible for the betrayal of Vesper, 007 must keep one step ahead of the CIA, the terrorists and even M, to unravel Greene’s sinister plan and stop his organization.”

http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2008/02/29/james-bond-quantum-of-solace-plot-revealed/

KNOWING

2:00 AM, 04-MARCH-08

image

Byrne Joins Cage In Knowing
Rose Byrne has landed the lead role opposite Nicolas Cage in the SF thriller film Knowing for Summit Entertainment and Escape Artists, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Byrne (Sunshine) will play the daughter of a woman who buried a 1962 time capsule bearing the dates of the assassinations of historical figures, the hotel fire death of the wife of a professor (Cage) and an imminent world apocalypse. After the professor discovers its contents and alerts her, the initially skeptical Byrne begins remembering strange incidents from her childhood.

Alex Proyas (I, Robot) will direct the screenplay by Ryne Douglas Pearson, with script revisions by Juliet Snowden, Stiles White, Stuart Hazeldine and Proyas.
Production is set to begin March 25 in Melbourne, Australia. http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49731&type=0

And here’s a “little” more from ComingSoon.net:

Knowing

Release Date: TBA
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Director: Alex Proyas
Screenwriter: Ryne Pearson, Stiles White, Juliet Snowden, Stuart Hazeldine, Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: Not Available
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: Cage will play a teacher who examines the contents of a time capsule unearthed at his son’s elementary school. Startling predictions in the time capsule that have already come true lead him to believe the world is going to end at the close of the week and that he and his son are somehow involved in the destruction.
Trailer:
Coming Soon!

http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=40137

PATHOLOGY

Although not a Sci-Fi flick, it IS a medical thriller, and looks interesting, à la Robin Cook:

From First Showing.net:

Boring New Pathology Teaser Trailer Hits

February 29, 2008, by Alex Billington

Pathology Trailer

I’ve been looking forward to Pathology since we were first shown the original trailer at last year’s Comic-Con. I’d say I’m much more curious than I am excited, but either way it’s definitely a movie I am very much looking forward to seeing. After Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor arrived on the scene with Crank, I’ve been anxious to see what their follow-up would be. Although Pathology isn’t directed by them, they did produce and write it, so it does have their “touch”. I don’t know what to make of this trailer, though – I’d rather see more of the actual movie than this, but oh well for now… This is all we’ve got for the moment.

Watch the trailer for Pathology:

NOTE: I don’t know if this is the trailer mentioned, but it is an official one

Some say that Pathology is a window to God. As doctors, they see the perversion and corruption of the flesh by all means unnatural…by violence…by toxin…by madness…to determine the cause of death. As a result they are the experts in all signs of foul play and the best in the field can uncover all means of killing, even those that are seemingly undetectable.

When med school student Ted Gray (Milo Ventimiglia) graduates top of his class he joins one of the nation’s most prestigious Pathology programs. With talent and determination Ted is quickly noticed by the program’s privileged and elite band of pathology interns who invite him into their crowd. Intrigued by his new friends he begins to uncover secrets he never expected and finds that he has unknowingly become a pawn in their dangerous and secret after-hours game at the morgue of who can commit the perfect undetectable murder. As Ted becomes seduced into their wild extracurricular activities the danger becomes real and he must stay one step ahead of the game before he is the next victim.

Pathology is directed by German filmmaker Marc Schoelermann and written by Crank writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The film arrives in theaters on April 18th. Make sure to check it out!

Pathology Poster

ASTROBOY

2:00 AM, 29-FEBRUARY-08

Highmore Flies To Astro Boy
Freddie Highmore has been signed for the title role in IMAGI Studios’ computer-animated Astro Boy movie, the studio announced.

Highmore (The Spiderwick Chronicles), 16, will voice the character, based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga and 1960s TV series.

Here’s how IMAGI describes the movie: Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist to replace the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving father’s expectations, Astro Boy embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, experiencing betrayal and a netherworld of robot gladiators before he returns to save Metro City and reconcile with the man who rejected him. Astro Boy will be released worldwide in 2009.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49570

And from First Showing.net:

Exclusive: AstroBoy Concept Art and Director Interview

November 12, 2007, by Alex Billington

AstroBoy

The beloved Japanese manga series AstroBoy is getting a big screen adaptation courtesy of the CGI gurus at Imagi Animation, the same studio that made the CGI movie TMNT earlier this year. Although the film is quite far from completion, aiming for a 2009 release, FS.net exclusively interviewed director Colin Brady and was given the very first concept art photo which can only be seen here. Die hard AstroBoy fans and newcomers alike will definitely be excited at what ILM and Pixar animation supervisor and Toy Story 2 co-director Colin Brady has to say about helming his first feature film and what we can expect in a full featured AstroBoy CGI movie.

Back in October we ran the first look photo at the CGI version of AstroBoy but we were asked to remove it as it wasn’t a final version. Although Colin and everyone at Imagi is still working hard on the final look of a CGI Astro, we have an exclusive concept art photo of the new and improved AstroBoy which you can check out below. Our interview with director Colin Brady follows below the photo.

AstroBoy Concept Art
(c) 2007. Tezuka Productions Co. Ltd. / Imagi International Holdings Ltd.
Click for full size version.

AstroBoy (via Wikipedia), which debuted back in 1952 originally as a cult Japanese manga and eventually as a TV anime series, tells the story of a powerful robot boy created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he lost. Our hero journeys to find acceptance in the human world and ultimately discovers true friendship as he uses his incredible powers to help others and save Metro City from destruction.

Colin BradyColin Brady is an immensely talented animation supervisor who has worked previously at Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Brady was also a director of the animated film Everyone’s Hero and co-directed Toy Story 2. In our interview, he talks about his past career and introduction to AstroBoy, as well as a lot of what we can expect in the film from the story to what it’s likely to be rated – PG. Read on to hear what Colin says about the project below.

FS.net: What drew you to the AstroBoy project? Why did you decide to direct this CGI film?
I first met with Paul Wang, Executive VP of Development at Imagi Animation Studios, about 18 months ago. He felt AstroBoy was a good fit for me. My experience at Pixar and ILM directing characters like Buzz Lightyear, the Hulk, and E.T. seemed to make AstroBoy a good fit because his character has some elements of each. I am very drawn to power of Anime’s sense of mythology, whereas a lot of American animation is full of fluff. AstroBoy is an icon, packed with action and full of heart.

FS.net: What will the story focus on / what adventures will AstroBoy get involved in? Will it start with his origin and go from there?
Similar to Spider-Man or the first Superman, it makes sense to start with the origin story. Although I admit that I thought it would be fun to simply start with the sequel. AstroBoy is kind of a dark Pinocchio story, but unlike Pinocchio, Astro never can become real flesh and blood. Astro’s journey of self discovery and acceptance is directly linked to the hardcore killer robot fights, and to the rejection by his creator, Dr. Tanner.

FS.net: Will this AstroBoy be aimed purely at kids or will it have a grungier, tougher aspect for older fans? (e.g. what rating are you going for?)
We’re going for as hard PG as we can. Luckily robot violence is less disturbing than humans fighting each other with guns.

FS.net: What kind of voice actors will you be considering? Will they be completely from scratch or any from the series?
We’re mostly looking at a mix of popular American and Japanese actors. But certainly they have to be right for the part.

FS.net: What are you bringing to AstroBoy that will hopefully allow this version to succeed whereas the relaunch of the series recently in the US “failed”?
We will present Astro’s story as more of an epic Sci Fi fantasy. Although Astro is a robot, there’s a deep dark human struggle that we’re exploring. In bringing Astro to CG we’re trying to create a texture and beauty similar to the original Star Wars films. We’re extremely influenced by Hokusai, Noguchi, and Miyazaki. We’re very careful to stay as true to the original design as possible but at the same time aging up his voice and the overall tone.

FS.net: Are you trying to modernize him or do anything to create a more widespread appeal beyond just the fans?
The challenge is to appeal to the non fans while not upsetting those who grew up with this character. Every step of the way we are including Tezuka Studios to ensure we’re being respectful to one of Asia’s most recognizable icons.

Thanks to Colin Brady and Imagi Animation! I think AstroBoy has a strong chance of ringing true with fans, just as TMNT did with all the fans of that franchise. The film sounds like it is in some incredibly capable hands and although it may be Brady’s first feature film, his character animation history shows that he will bring a certain needed dynamic to the character of AstroBoy. Keep watch for more updates as the project continues production.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/11/12/exclusive-astroboy-concept-art-and-director-interview/

TRANSFORMERS 2

2:00 AM, 28-FEBRUARY-08

Transformers 2 Unfazed By Strike Prospect
The prospect of an actors’ strike in late June isn’t stopping Michael Bay, who plans to begin production on Transformers 2 for a June 26, 2009, release, Variety reported. DreamWorks would like to get underway with production of Transformers 2 in early June.

But Bay told the trade paper that the labor cloud has made the process harder. “If there is a strike, we shut down, but shutting down isn’t that big a deal,” Bay said. “You make accommodations, you make a deal with vending houses on equipment and on the stages where you are shooting. You hope for the best, but you can’t be incapacitated by the possibility that there will be a strike. We’ve got to get this town back to work. I can’t imagine anyone wants another strike; we’re all tired. Hopefully clearer heads will prevail.”

Bay said that the sequel is still recovering from the writer’s strike, and that he’s playing catch-up after getting back his trio of writers, Ehren Kruger, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

“They did a detailed outline before the writers’ strike, and now they are in Michael Bay jail, holed up in a hotel and working feverishly,” Bay said. “We’re paying for a beautiful suite, and they are getting a lot of work done. Hiring three writers was unusual, but it has been a godsend in getting us to where we need to be. Somehow you find a way to get it done.”

Meanwhile, several studios are setting additional plans for summer production starts, based on the assumption that the Screen Actors Guild contract talks will be resolved without the kind of work stoppage that crippled the film industry during the 100-day writers’ strike, Variety reported.

Warner Brothers has already pushed forward on George Miller’s Justice League to begin shooting in mid-July.

Warners revealed earlier this week that it will begin shooting Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins on May 5.

Twentieth Century Fox, for instance, has scheduled August as the start date for The Tooth Fairy, a fantasy comedy that will star Dwayne Johnson.
Sony will begin shooting its Da Vinci Code sequel, Angels & Demons, in Rome on June 5.

Sony’s 2012, a $200 million Roland Emmerich-directed disaster epic, is slated for a summer 2009 release.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49490

TERMINATOR SALVATION: THE FUTURE BEGINS

From ComingSoon.net:

Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins

Release Date: May 22, 2009
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: McG
Screenwriter: John Brancato, Michael Ferris
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: Not Available
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins” will reinvent the cyborg saga with a storyline to be told over a three-movie span. The film is set in the future, in a full-scale war between Skynet and humankind.

http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=20443

And:

More Terminator Salvation Plot Details

Source: SCI FI Wire, January 7, 2008

SCI FI Wire talked to Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins associate producer James Middleton, who revealed more details about the new trilogy.
“It’s set after the events of ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,’ where we see the nuclear exchange at the end of the movie, and we show what the world is like after this event, and we show how people try to deal in a post-apocalyptic world,” Middleton said. “And we introduce a new character, who becomes very important to the resistance and to John Connor, a new hero. It’s really about the birth of a new hero.”

He added that John Connor will certainly be a central character in the film as well. “I would look at him as a character that is introduced and that will grow in the second and third movies of the trilogy,” he said about the character, to be played by Christian Bale.

Middleton also mentioned that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not expected to make a cameo in any of the three new films as long as he is a governor.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=40744

And from First Showing.net:

Sam Worthington Cast in Terminator 4 via James Cameron’s Suggestion

February 14, 2008, Source: Variety, by Kevin Powers

Sam Worthington Cast in Terminator 4

With at least a year until its release, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins is slowly taking shape bit by bit, most recently with casting announcements. Last week we brought you the rumor that Josh Brolin might step in as the new Terminator, and before that, Christian Bale was announced as the new adult John Connor. The news is promising on its face, but there’s been a lot of discussion whether the director McG can really do the iconic storyline justice, what with his extreme lack of cred in this space. I mean, Charlie’s Angels… or “Fastlane”…? However, McG might just be getting the endorsement he needs with James Cameron, who directed the first two Terminator movies, influencing the selection of one of the new film’s main characters: Sam Worthington as Marcus, a presently unknown character who will serve a primary role in the new trio of Terminator films.

Of course, I think we all need to accept the sad reality that nothing Terminator-related will ever live up to Cameron’s original two. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wasn’t half-bad, and the director, Jonathon Mostow, had a similar dearth of sci-fi experience as McG. But with the recent news, does this mean that Cameron might, in fact, be sneaking around in the background? That would be great, of course, but I’m not yet convinced Salvation will have enough of a Cameron influence to make us think this could be the next real Terminator movie.

Worthington is actually working with Cameron on his upcoming sci-fi epic Avatar. Why McG and Cameron spoke recently wherein Cameron recommended Worthington for a role in the new series is a bit unknown. Was Cameron so inspired by Worthington and interested in Salvation that he felt it necessary to give McG some recommendations? If it went down like that, will the recommendations cease or will Cameron continue to whisper in McG’s ear?

As for Worthington and his suitability for the role, that’s a bit unknown as well. The actor isn’t exactly recognizable, though he does have the stern brow and chiseled jaw to make him right home amidst a decimated Earth.

Personally, I’m more interested in Bale. McG confirmed recently that despite rumors to the contrary, Bale’s role as Connor is a “major player” in the film. I hated Nick Stahl’s incarnation of the future leader in Terminator 3. The question with this, however, is when and how Bale will exit the upcoming three-picture series; we all know he dies at some point, but it would suck to remove him too early, since he’s done such a cool job helping to reinvigorate the Batman franchise.

I guess we’ll see how Cameron’s involvement (or lack thereof) plays out over this year. I’m hesitant to say his recommendation of Worthington is a sign of great things to come. After all, McG, the captain of this project, said recently in reference to finding someone for the Terminator role: “I’m looking for credible actors. We’ve already got Christian Bale, who is one of the greatest actors of his generation. I’d love to get Daniel Day-Lewis, but I don’t know if he goes in for this kind of movie.” With that kind of misguided thinking, he could use all the help Cameron can give him.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/02/14/sam-worthington-cast-in-terminator-4-via-james-camerons-suggestion/

9

2:00 AM, 27-FEBRUARY-08

Glover Goes Long In 9
Quirky character actor Crispin Glover told SCI FI Wire that he’s looking forward to the expansion of Shane Acker’s Oscar-nominated animated short 9 into a feature-length production. Glover voices a creature who steals souls in the feature movie, which is set in a post-apocalyptic world.

“I have finished with all of my work on it, but I don’t know what exactly is happening with that,” Glover said in an interview. “The work I did on that was very different from Beowulf, because in that one I did go on and do my voice and didn’t have a chance to interact with other actors.”
Glover voiced the monster Grendel in Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, which dropped on DVD on Feb. 26.

The animated 9 short is available online. Glover said the movie version will change things dramatically. The short “was a silent film,” he said. “There was no dialogue in the short, 10-and-a-half-minute film. So this post-apocalyptic nightmare is what the director’s vision is all about, and my job was to just get across what he wanted me to do. You’ve got to interpret the character and rebirth it his way, and when it’s edited, it may be completely different from what you put forth as an actor. I’m glad we’re working with the director who did the original short.”

Written by Monster House screenwriter Pamela Pettler, 9 features the voices of Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and Elijah Wood.

9 is expected to be released later in the year. http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49371

THE MEGAS

12:00 AM, 27-FEBRUARY-08

Mostow Developing Megas

Jonathan Mostow will partner with Virgin Comics to develop a feature from The Megas, an alternate-universe graphic novel just published by Virgin based on a Mostow idea, Variety reported.

The graphic novel, scripted by John Harrison and drawn by Peter Rubin, presupposes an America that has a ruling class called the Megas, for whom there is a special set of laws. A detective who believes in the monarchy rethinks his position after investigating a crime that reveals ugly truths about the elite society.

It’s unclear whether Mostow will write the script or direct the feature adaptation; he and Virgin Comics chief creative officer Gotham Chopra and chief executive officer Sharad Devarajan will begin shopping the project shortly.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49431

And from ComingSoon.net:

The Megas

Release Date: TBA
Studio: Not Available
Director: Not Available
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Not Available
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: Not Available
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: Based on the Virgin Comics graphic novel, written by John Harrison and drawn by Peter Rubin, presupposes an America that has a ruling class called the Megas, for whom there is a special set of laws. A detective who believes in the monarchy rethinks his position after investigating a crime that reveals ugly truths about the elite society.
http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=42388

STAR TREK

From ComingSoon.net:

Star Trek

Download

Release Date: May 8, 2009
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: Roberto Orci, Alex Kutzman
Starring: John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Winona Ryder, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy, Marlene Forte, Jimmy Bennett
Genre: Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: StarTrekmovie.com | NCC-1701.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster:

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Production Stills: View here
Plot Summary: From director J.J. Abrams (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Lost” and “Alias”) and screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers,” “MI: III”) comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, “Star Trek,” featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before.

http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=15645

Star Trek XI – Trailer #1 TRUE-HD

From io9: Strung Out on Science Fiction comes this rumor:

A new rumor has surfaced about J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie: it doesn’t deal with time travel at all, but rather with visiting different alternate realities. (Actually, I thought it featured time travel, which created alternate realities.) In one alternate timeline, we’ll get to see a very different version of the U.S.S. Enterprise, in which it’s a warship. (And will Spock have a cool goatee again?) Some of the movie will also take place in the Next Generation era, which makes sense since Leonard Nimoy is playing Old Spock.

Meanwhile, Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekhov in the new movie, appears to have confirmed the movie will feature Klingons. Or else he was just talking metaphorically when he said he has to look at a greenscreen scanner and pretend he’s looking at Klingon warships. Rumor has it the Klingons will be somewhat redesigned. [Screenrant]

http://io9.com/351995/crazy-new-star-trek-movie-rumors

AVATAR

For the latest update, from First Showing.net:

James Cameron’s Updates on Avatar Status

February 21, 2008, Source: AICN, by Alex Billington

James Cameron

One of the few people we’re desperately in need of an update from is James Cameron, who is currently working on his sci-fi 3D movie Avatar. Thankfully Harry from AICN got in touch with him just yesterday and he talked about all the latest with Avatar, including how technically complex and time consuming it is, and also how groundbreaking it just may be. This sounds like an animated Pixar project – they’re already two years in and have a year and a half to go of actual work as they prepare for its release in December of 2009. With every new day and every new update on Avatar, I get that much more excited for what this movie will bring.

A few days ago a bland and boring new photo from Avatar was revealed, but Cameron confirms that it isn’t from him and isn’t actually related to the movie. He goes on to explain that while they’ve finished principal photography, Steve Quale is out shooting second unit footage and they still have more performance capture work to do with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang that could last until April or May. And even with Lang, who is the last on Cameron’s schedule to shoot, he explains that the scene “is so technically difficult it will take us until then to figure out how to do it.”

Things are going well on Avatar, or at least as well as can be expected on such a ridiculously complex project. We’ve wrapped principal, and most of the live action portion of the movie is already cut. It’s starting to look and sound like a movie. I’m ecstatic with the performances and the look. The cast chemistry worked out perfectly.

When working on a movie like this, that involves both extensive principal live-action photography and motion capture, as well as groundbreaking 3D and CGI work, time is the most essential aspect. Cameron has previously said that “the film will be composed of 60% computer-generated elements and 40% live action, as well as traditional miniatures” and is a hybrid movie that’s based on a full live-action shoot combined with computer-generated characters and live environments. While I wish I could better explain what exactly Cameron is doing, there really is no way to even guess at any of what we’ll see come December of ’09.

You can see how spread out the schedule is — it’s just the nature of this type of CG animation/live action hybrid. Most of my time now is spent editing, because on this type of film you edit every CG scene twice — once to edit the raw performance capture, before it goes to virtual camera, and then again when you have the virtual camera shots, you do the final edit of the scene. It’s very complex and taxing, but the result is amazing. The Weta animators are ON FIRE, and seeing the world and the creatures come to life is what keeps us going. There’s a spirit on this film, an esprit de corps amongst the virtual team, that comes from knowing we’re doing something absolutely groundbreaking. It’s why people still have good morale after working on this thing for two years or more. And we still have more than a year and a half to go. I don’t know if this will be a good film, great film, awful film, but I can say with absolute certainty that you will see stuff you’ve never imagined, and that the process of making this film will generate a lot of interest within the technical side of the biz.

Although they’ve been working for two years, Cameron explains that the actual CGI and final frames won’t be rendered until next year, where they’ll go into an all out “frenzy” to render everything by the release date. This filmmaking process and animation process has evolved quite a bit even in just the two years of time that he’s been working on it, and I can only imagine the doors it will open once the film arrives. I’ve previously heard other big name directors like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have stepped into the studios to check out the technology and have been amazed by it. That’s certainly impressive to hear, not to mention the enthusiasm Cameron has when talking about it.

Avatar is the last film listed on the 2009 Release Schedule, and it’s a relief because thankfully that gives us the time we need to get through every other anticipated movie in the way. When December 18th, 2009 rolls around, be ready to experience something truly breathtaking, groundbreaking, and possibly life-changing. I already can feel it coming and I’m already anxious for it, even 22 months out.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/02/21/james-camerons-updates-on-avatar-status/

And for a little more, although possibly rumors, on Avatar, from Market Saw: A Blog Focused on 3D Motion Pictures:

Friday, February 29, 2008

James Cameron’s “avatar” Secrets Revealed: Warning Spoilers!

UPDATED (March 4th): Just wanted to clarify that until Cameron comes out and states otherwise, the original thought was that “Avatar” would be about 60% CGI. You can see the outdoor green screens here and here; they look ENORMOUS. However, there is a large live action component as well that Cameron must feel deserves the detailed set treatment – mainly interior shots it appears. Also it wouldn’t take much to move the Biolabs from inside to the exterior green scene to create the environment. I also wanted to say that we don’t know if they are creating life sized plants for this movie – though it would make sense to do so in some cases. Many flora shots would be CGI – my source was referring to “how others had the whole communication thing explained to them” by the powers at be. So whether it is exposed to the audience in a scientific way (sort of how in “Jurassic Park” they explained how they retrieved the DNA from dinosaurs) or whether they plan on “suspending belief” of the audience (i.e. unexplained) remains to be seen. Either way, it is an awesome premise and BEGS my curiosity. One thing is certain – science plays an interesting role in this movie; whether they keep the “theory” behind various communication techniques in a black box or expose it like in Jurassic Park is a guess at this point! My conjecture would be that Grace (Sigourney Weaver) explains it to someone and the audience (of course) listens in. If you want the details, highlight the white text below as it does contain spoilers.

Well I told ya it was coming and here it is. Exclusive Avatar news you can’t get anywhere else. Now a small caveat here: These notes are from a while back and some things may have changed during filming, but what has been noted DID EXIST at one point and these notes are authentic:

Got some VERY interesting news from one of my “Avatar” sources that was involved with getting this 3D motion picture made. AWESOME news in fact. In fact, you may not want to read this as there are definite mini-spoilers in this that may affect your viewing pleasure.

**SPOILERS BELOW** Highlight the white text below to read the contents:
My source was very clear on a number of things including some of the basis for the movie as well as how things looked inside the production buildings:

1. “Avatar” production set:

ON SHIPS:
There were hundreds of workers building the sets for Avatar – MDF was being thrown around like candy to make the sets as realistic as possible – and it was very successful. The transport ships for instance achieved a “matte steel appearance” that was undetectable. Those transport ships look pretty much like the new Battlestar Gallactica transports, but much bigger – like ten times bigger. These sets filled the interior of the set buildings in Wellington – to the rafters. All very real looking and NOT scaled down – it was all life size.

ON THE MESS HALL BUILDING:
This is mainly where the security forces interior scenes were shot. It was large (30 x 30 feet) made to look like steel construction with only a few windows to view the outside world. The feeling that was conveyed with this structure was that the soldiers were trying to bring their own home with them to this alien planet Pandora, and ignore what was happening outside – kind of like what happens when soldiers are deployed overseas today and they set up coffee shops, etc to keep from feeling terribly homesick. On the wall of the mess hall was a large US flag that takes up half the space – something like 10 x 15 feet) – this could indicate political overtones for the movie.

ON OTHER BUILDINGS:
There were other buildings being made that were for science related things. My source only saw these labs from the outside and they seemed very true to their nature. I spoke to some other workers and they said that they look like typical laboratories – one larger lab (about 30 x 30 feet) and one mobile lab (which was about 6 x 15 feet). Sigourney Weaver’s character who plays Grace in “Avatar” spends a lot of time in a control room in the bigger one.

2. “Avatar” Story Basics:

ON THE ANIMALS:
Apparently the animals can communicate with the plants of Pandora, but my source was kind of hazy on that. Not only that, but the native Na’vi inhabitants take their own hair and weave it into the hair of Pandora’s animals and can communicate that way to them!

ON THE PLANTS:

Many workers were talking about how they are using LED lights to show how plants “talk” to other plants on the planet. They use these lights to show how electrons move back and forth between plants through their root system. Again – my source didn’t know much more than that. However, if you examine the plants in the photo here – you can see the luminosity that is being spoken of that seems to be present not only in the plants but also in the Na’vi natives of Pandora.

ON THE AVATARS:
A lot of speculation was taking place on the set about how the Avatar chambers work. This is where humans link up with their native avatars to kind of take over their bodies. The chambers were really very cool and if you can picture the cryo chambers in the Alien movies, take those and put them upright with a darker appearance. I suspect that Sigourney Weaver’s Grace plays a key role in discovering the crucial communication methods and applying them to humans.

One can see a progression here of humans encountering this awesome alien communication system and then taking that idea, studying how it is done in the labs and then applying it to human to Na’vi avatar communication. At least that is my thoughts on it. Wow. This movie is going to really redefine the theater going experience! A great story, awesome effects and all in 3D. Man am I psyched. I also want to add that taking photos of the sets was impossible – so none are available (so far anyway).

Hopefully we will see some exciting new promo materials from Jim Cameron as also exclusively uncovered by my “Avatar” sources in the coming weeks…
As always, I will post new info as I receive it – unless the sensitivity is too extreme and my source asks me to hold back somewhat. This post for instance is missing some truly cool stuff but I cannot divulge it due to the fact it would closely label just who my source in this case is. Let’s put it this way: I am smiling a lot more today… 🙂

First two images courtesy of HDVideoPro http://marketsaw.blogspot.com/2008/02/james-camerons-avatar-secrets-revealed.html

DOLLHOUSE

And as for TV and Whedon fans from io9:

First Description of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse!

6:00AMon Tue Mar 4 2008, By Charlie Jane Anders

Here’s the production notice which Fox sent out along with the casting call for Dollhouse, Joss’ new show:

The drama stars Dushku as Echo, a member of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. In between tasks they are mind-wiped, living like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dorm/lab. A group of people, known as “Actives” (or “Dolls”), have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas and hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies and occasional good deeds. When not imprinted, the Actives live, childlike and unremembering, in a hidden facility nicknamed “The Dollhouse”. Although the Actives are ostensibly volunteers, the operation is highly illegal, and under constant threat from a determined federal agent on one end and an insane rogue Active on the other. The story hinges around a greater and more subtle threat: Echo, a female Active, begins, in her mind-wiped state, to become self-aware.

[SpoilerTV]

http://io9.com/363362/first-official-description-of-joss-whedons-dollhouse

Meet The People Who Give Eliza Dushku Her Brain Modules

10:10am on Fri Feb 29 2008, by Charlie Jane Anders

brainmodules.jpg

Just because Eliza Dushku will be an amnesiac with occasional false personalities in Joss Whedon’s new TV show Dollhouse, doesn’t mean she won’t have friends.

A new casting sheet for Dollhouse includes a whole raft of morally gray characters, including friends, mentors, bosses and a love interest. Click through for a list of the show’s characters.

wenn714779.jpg

A new Fox network show starting as soon as next fall, Dollhouse stars Eliza Dushku as Echo, a “doll” who can take on any personality — including memories and abilities — she needs to complete a mission. When she’s not on a job, Echo sits in her “dollhouse” in an amnesiac state. And here are her supporting cast. None of these parts have been cast yet (as far as we know), but here are the characters Joss has come up with:

  • Adelle Dewitt, the forty-something ice queen who runs the Dollhouse where Echo and the other “dolls” stay while they’re blanked out between missions. It sounds like she’ll be creepy and unsavory.
  • Paul Ballard, a thirty-something G-man who will become a sort of love interest for Echo (although will she remember him between gigs?).
  • Boyd Langton, who’s Echo’s “handler” and a sort of father figure to her. Sort of the Giles to her Buffy.
  • Topher Brink, the geek who programs Echo and the other “dolls,” and may enjoy his mind-[effing] work a little too much.
  • Sierra, one of Echo’s fellow “dolls” and the closest thing to a friend she has
  • Victor, another “doll,” who’s amazingly handsome and who has to “play” everyone from Errol Flynn to Robert DeNiro on missions.
  • November, another “doll,” who’s chubbier and more goofy. (She’s compared to Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray.)
  • Dr. Claire Sanders, a gorgeous older woman whom Topher is in love with.

So now I’m more confused than ever about how the world of Dollhouse will work, since apparently the “dolls” do form human relationships despite the constant “reprogramming” interspersed with amnesia. It’ll be interesting to see how Joss pulls it all together. Dushku image by Wenn. [Ausiello Scoop] http://io9.com/362179/meet-the-people-who-give-eliza-dushku-her-brain-modules

And from The Hollywood Reporter.com:

Fox, Whedon in ‘Dollhouse’

By Nellie Andreeva, Nov. 1, 2007

hr/photos/stylus/12122.jpg

Eliza Dushku (Getty Images photo)

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon is returning to television with “Dollhouse,” a new sci-fi project starring “Buffy” alumna Eliza Dushku that has received a seven-episode commitment from Fox.

“Dollhouse,” from 20th Century Fox TV, is Whedon’s first TV project since his 2002 Fox drama “Firefly.”

The drama, whose license fee is said to be in the $1.5 million-$2 million-per-episode range, stars Dushku as Echo, a member of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. In between tasks they are mind-wiped, living like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dorm/lab. They have no memories of their previous lives, until Echo begins to try to find out who she was.

“Joss has been my favorite friend, genius, ally and confidant in the business since I was 17,” said Dushku, who also will serve as a producer on the project. “It’s incredible how much energy and excitement I have for this; I can’t wait to be this Echo character.”

“Dollhouse” came out of a lunch between Whedon and Dushku in September, shortly after the actress had signed a development deal with 20th TV and Fox. Whedon was giving her advice about writers and types of shows that might be good for her but wasn’t interested in venturing into TV himself because he was trying to get a couple of movie projects off the ground at the time.

“In the middle of the conversation, I went, ‘Oh, God. I thought of the show, and I had the title,’ ” Whedon said. Dushku came on board immediately. Within a week, the show was set up Fox and 20th TV.

Broadcast networks had been pursuing Whedon for years, but he had been focused on features.

“It was a really welcomed surprise,” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said of getting Whedon’s pitch for “Dollhouse.”

Reilly and Fox entertainment chairman Peter Liguori called the decision to pick up the show “a layup.”

“Joss is not only one of the more innovative show creators out there, he is an unbelievably accomplished showrunner,” Liguori said. “It was a creatively inspired idea, and the fact that he wanted to do it with Eliza was the cherry on a sundae.”

Whedon met with Reilly and 20th TV chairman Dana Walden for several hours Tuesday afternoon talking about “Dollhouse.”

“You can imagine a really exciting, timely, emotional show that will be packed with his signature storytelling involving humor, emotions and themes that are relatable,” Walden said after the meeting.

Although an agreement on the project was reached a month ago, the deal didn’t close until this week, so writer/executive producer Whedon hasn’t started writing it. With a writers strike considered imminent, he might not be able to finish it any time soon.

“I’ll hit the ground running, and I’ll work until I’m supposed to, then I’ll stop dead in my tracks and will pick up my picket signs,” he said.

Although it interferes with his work on “Dollhouse,” Whedon is in favor of a strike.

“I think the issues are extremely serious, and I think the studios are extremely entrenched,” he said. “No one wants a strike, but it has to happen because (the studios) would not listen. I support it and will do anything to fight for the creative rights that the people deserve.”

Whedon is repped by CAA and attorney Sam Fischer. Dushku is repped by Gersh.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ifabb1526bf6484225d52aeaedf6f1ea1

AFI TOP 50 SCI-FI MOVIES

And as a secondary note, the AFI has put out it’s list of the 50 top Sci-Fi movies of all time:

“The American Film Institute has come up with a list of 50 SF films that it deems among the best ever; it will pick 10 as the best SF movies of all time for a TV special that will air on CBS in June … The AFI defines “science fiction” as a genre that marries a scientific or technological premise with imaginative speculation. It has selected the following 50 movies as contenders for the best, in alphabetical order (in the case of movies that have been made more than once, we’ve designated by date which version the AFI has selected):

A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Alien, Altered States, The Andromeda Strain, Back to the Future, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Blade Runner, Children of Men, A Clockwork Orange, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cocoon, Contact, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Destination Moon, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Escape From New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Fantastic Voyage, The Fly (1986), Forbidden Planet, Frankenstein (1931), The Incredible Shrinking Man, Independence Day, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Invisible Man (1933), It Came From Outer Space, Jurassic Park, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, The Matrix, Men in Black, Minority Report, Planet of the Apes (1968), Repo Man, RoboCop, Rollerball (1975), Silent Running, Soylent Green, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope, Starman, The Stepford Wives (1975), Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Them!, The Thing From Another World, The Time Machine (1960), Total Recall, Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The War of the Worlds (1953), Westworld”

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?id=48610

SciFi.com made it’s own poll for the top ten, and here are the results:

Star Wars Tops Wire Poll
“SCI FI Wire readers have spoken, and the Force is with them: Readers picked Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope as the top SF movie of all time.

Following a close second was Ridley Scott’s 1982 dystopian SF noir movie Blade Runner.

The results were tabulated from hundreds of e-mails readers sent with their picks for the top 10 SF movies of all time, drawn from the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 best SF movies.

The original Star Wars movie drew 7.8 percent of the total votes for top pick. Blade Runner received 7.5 percent.

The rest of SCI FI Wire’s top 10 SF movies, in descending order: The Matrix, Alien, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet and the original Planet of the Apes.”

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49611

So, get out the comfy chair, and a good book, maybe Neuromancer, because it’s going to be a long wait….

The Ultimate SciFi DVD Boxed Set Collection – Part II

This is Part II of the Ultimate Sci-Fi boxed set collection. This includes some lesser known shows, and some hard to find ones, but the links on the show’s name all lead to places you can obtain them. Some are British, some from the 70s. I tired to stay within the Sci-Fi genre, but some paranormal/fantasy ones just begged to be included. I will do a later post on just Fantasy/Paranormal, as there are plenty of those that are great, and deserve mention.

Star Trek Voyager - The Complete Seasons 1-7

Star Trek Voyager – The Complete Seasons 1-7

Product Details

  • Actors: Star Trek Voyager
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 47
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 7782 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
STAR TREK VOYAGER details the adventures of the Starfleet’s most adventurous starship, the U.S.S. Voyager, as it is led by Captain Kathryn Janeway (Mulgrew) on missions into deep space.

Star Trek Enterprise – The Complete Seasons 1-4

Product Details

  • Actors: Star Trek Enterprise
  • Format: Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 27
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 4223 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Set in the 22nd century, a hundred years before James T. Kirk helmed the famous starship of the same name, ENTERPRISE takes place in an era when interstellar travel is still in its infancy. Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) has assembled a crew of brave explorers to chart the galaxy on a revolutionary spacecraft: Enterprise NX-01. As the first human beings to venture into deep space, these pioneers will experience the wonder and mystery of the final frontier as they seek out new life and new civilizations.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine – The Complete Seasons 1-7

Product Details

Amazon Customer Review

“Star Trek Deep Space Nine will always be the cult within the cult. Although not as popular as the other Star Trek spin-offs(even the anemic Voyager who had the benefit of the UPN network behind it), it has the diehard follwing of Trekker Niners who’ll easily attest that DS9 was the best Trek show ever.

Unlike the other spin-offs,the show as well as the characters evolved in its seven seasons. Notably the lead character Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) who started as a brooding arbitrator of a rundown space station. In the later seasons, the character was injected with the same passion that fueled Kirk and Picard,becoming a great Captain as well as accepting his role as the Bajoran’s Emissary and in the end, joined the Bajoran prophets.Sisko’s crew includes first officer/Bajoran liaison Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor),Trill science officer Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell), Chief Medical Officer Dr Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig), Chief of Operations Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) and changeling Security Chief Odo (Rene Abourjonios). Station residences includes Ferengi Barkeeper Quark (Armin Shimmerman), Cardassian Tailor, former spy Garak (Andy Robinson) and Sisko’s son Jake (Cirroc Lofton).

Although known as the darkest of all the Trek shows (despite having some of the most humorous episodes in the entire franchise) DS9 has the most complex storytelling ever to come out of Gene Roddenberry’s universe.

In season one we have the humble beginnings of the station formerly known as Terok Nor. Sisko was more of an administrator than the passionate individual he is to become, Kira Nerys is unsettlingly fiesty, Julian Bashir rates high on the arrogent meter, and Jadzia Dax comes off as somewhat aloof. The shakedown season still plays better than the latter seasons of any of the following Trek Series(Voyager,Enterprise). The standout episodes include Past Prologue, Captive Pursuit, Progress, In The Hands Of The Prophets, and Duet, which in many opinion, is the best ever DS9 episode.

With the final season of TNG over shadowing,as well as the upcoming Voyager series in the wings, DS9 was trying to find it’s footing in the second season. Besides character development,we see the seeds of events begin to evolve, including the rise (and eventual downfalls) of Kai Winn & Gul Dukat,the re-introduction of The Original Series “Mirror, Mirror” Universe, as well as the dreaded Dominion.

The standout episodes includes Cardassians, Whispers, Blood Oath, The Maquis, The Wire, and The Collaborator. Season two ends with the ominous The Jem’hadar, preparing us for a direction never seen in Star Trek.

With the Dominion threat, and the introdution of the battleship,Defiant, DS9’s third season was finally coming into it’s own.

Along with more character development in the lead as well as the supporting cast(Garak, Dukat, Kai Winn, Rom & Nog), the writing was even stronger than before with great episodes such as House Of Quark, Civil Defense, Second Skin, Visionary, Past Tense, and Explorers. Also introduced in this season are Leeta, Ishka (“Moogie”), Brunt, Shaakar, and Lt. Commander Eddington.

Unfortunately with Star Trek Generations hitting the big screen, and Star Trek Voyager’s big premire, DS9 was lost in the shuffle. But it would use it’s underdog status to emerge as the greatest Trek series the following season.

The final ingredient that was needed in DS9, Worf becomes a member of the crew in the fourth season, and it will never be the same again.

Not only it was Starfleet’s Klingon officer’s introduction, but Way of the Warrior was DS9’s most exciting episode (it’s the equivalent of TNG’s Best Of Both Worlds), dealing with the Federation-Klingon Empire relation being strained and underminded by the Dominion, which concluded with the greatest battle scenes ever seen on televised Trek.

Sisko, promoted to Captain in the previous season, finally emerges as a commanding presence, in part to his image makover including a bald head & goatee.

Many classic episodes including WOTW, The Visitor, Little Green Men, Our Man Bashir, Rejoined, The Sons Of Mogh, Bar Association, Hard Time, and Broken Link which concludes with a surprise ending for the season.

This is the season where the writers & producers realise that the show will never come close to being the success that TNG was, and decided to make the show something to be proud of and making it’s place be known in the Star Trek Universe.

DS9’s fifth season proves there is so much more to the show once described about a station that didn’t “go anywhere.” When most TV shows wear out their welcome by season five,ST-DS9 just kept getting better. One of the factors is the strong writing, as well as the characters evolution (Worf & Dax’s romantic relationship, Bashir’s genetic enhancement secret) and such classic episodes as Looking For Par’Mach In All The Wrong Places, The Ship, Children Of Time, By Inferno’s Light/In Purgatory’s Shadow, and Trials and Tribble-ation (featuring the original ST crew).

The season ends with the beginning of the Dominion War which has been building up since Season Three.

In the sixth season, you come to realise that it’s far removed from the premise of a darker edgier Trek of the first two seasons, only to emerge as the greatest Trek show of all time.

The writing had become more ambitious than any other latter day Trek Series (TNG, VOY, ENT),and it was only the penultimate season. The six-part Dominion War Arc (including classic episodes A Time To Stand, Rocks & Shoals, The Sacrifice Of Angels) showed the producers going for broke as well as establishing DS9 as a show that’s not afraid to take chances.

The best season six episodes are too many to list(….Cordially Invited…, Waltz, Far Beyond The Stars, Inquisition, His Way, Reckoning, The Valient), but it’s In The Pale Moonlight that is the highlight of the entire season (as well as my 3rd favorite episode behind season one’s “Duet”,and four’s “The Way Of The Warrior”) as Captain Sisko wrestles with his conscience as Garak helps him to dupe the Romulans into joining their efforts in the war. The season ends on a dark tone with “Tears Of The Prophet” in which Jadzia Dax is killed by a Pah-Wraith possessed Dukat.

Although season six staked DS9’s claim as Star Trek’s best ever show,the seventh, and finale season of DS9, coming after a three season winning streak, hits a bump during the season, yet it was still superior than any other show of it’s genre.
The death of Jadzia Dax somewhat took the wind out of the series, and the new Dax, Ezri(Nicole DeBoer) an unprepared new Trill host, was written as”Ally McTrill,” only to emerge as more comfortable with the roll as the show wound down.
Some episodes ranged from mediocre (Prodigal Daughter) to downright weak (The Emperor’s New Cloak, Extreme Measures). Aside from the Finale Arc (including Penumbra, Strange Bedfellows, Tacken To The Wind & Dogs Of War), Take Me Out To The Holosuite, The Siege at AR 558, Chimara and Inter Arma… ranks as some of DS9’s greatest episodes. The ten part finale arc which ended with What You Leave Behind closed the show on a fitting yet premature ending.

Paramount released the DVD sets throughout 2003 (the tenth anniversary of DS9) as well as insatiate the many fans of this brilliant yet overlooked show (hopefully a series of TV movies in the future), reminding us of how great DS9 was, and that hopefully we’ll return to her someday.
Ten Favorite Episodes
1.Duet (first season)
2.The Way Of The Warrior (fourth season)
3.In The Pale Moonlight (Sixth Season)
4.The Visitor (Fourth Season)
5.The Seige at AR-558 (Seventh Season)
6.Trials and Tribble-ations (fifth season)
7. …You Are Cordially Invited(sixth season)
8.Looking For Par’Mach In All The Wrong Places (fith season)
9.Take Me Out To The Holosuite (seventh season)
10.Far Beyond The Stars (sixth season)”

Star Trek The Animated Series - The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek

Star Trek The Animated Series – The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek

Product Details

  • Actors: Majel Barrett
  • Directors: Bill Reed
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 526 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Star Trek: The Animated Series is often referred to as Star Trek‘s “fourth season” because it was created in 1973, four years after the third and final season of the original series, and because most of the original cast provided the voices. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Majel Barrett reprised their characters, and some contributed other voices as well. The only major omission was Walter Koenig’s Chekov, who was replaced at the navigation console by Lieutenant Arex, the three-armed alien who most prominently represented the series’ freedom to create non-humanoid characters. (Koenig did write an episode.) And while the animation is crude at best, the stories are solid sci-fi (penned by some of Star Trek‘s veteran writers including DC Fontana and David Gerrold, all of whom received prominent opening credits), explored the Star Trek mythos, and elevated the series above typical Saturday-morning fare. For example, “Yesteryear” goes back to Spock’s early years on Vulcan, continuing some explorations from the original series’ “Journey to Babel,” and offers the familiar voice of Mark Lenard as Sarek. “One of Our Planets Is Missing” raises some interesting philosophical questions about the value of life, and “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and “Mudd’s Passion” revisit favorite characters. Star Trek: The Animated Series lasted just barely over one season, but it won the franchise’s only Emmy (for Outstanding Entertainment Children’s Series in 1975) and some of its ideas were embraced by future series. Trekkers who know it only by reputation will find it a valuable part of the Star Trek canon. In addition to the series’ 22 half-hour episodes, the DVD set includes “Drawn to the Final Frontier: The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series,” a 24-minute featurette including interviews with the producers and writers (but not actors) on how the series was created and why it still holds up; “What’s the Star Trek Connection?”, a glossary of characters and themes common to the animated series and other series; a storyboard gallery; and a brief text history. Writer David Gerrold and producer David Wise contribute audio commentaries on three and one episode, respectively, and the ever-reliable Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda provide text commentary on three other episodes.

Product Description
Boldly continuing where Star Trek: The Original Series left off, these animated adventures chart the progress of Captain Kirk and his crew in a universe unconstrained by “real-life” cinematography! With all characters voiced by their original actors, join Kirk, Spock, Bones and the crew for 22 new adventures: to boldly go where no animation has gone before!

V - The Complete Series

V – The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Duncan Regehr
  • Directors: Victor Lobl, Earl Bellamy, Ray Austin, John Florea
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 897 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
They came for water. And for food. And as it turned out, we were the food. But humanity bravely resisted – a struggle seen in the hit miniseries V and V: The Final Battle. Yet the war continues. The heroic conflict comes to a surprising outcome in V: The Series, presented complete and uncut in this 3-disc, 19-episode set. Once again, Earth is the main battleground. But now the aliens whose human guise hides their true reptilian natures are wiser. They believe the secret to their survival on Earth lies in the DNA of the newly born half-human, half-spaceling Starchild. They intend to capture her. But that’s something the world’s Resistance Fighters cannot allow.

The Complete UFO Megaset

The Complete UFO Megaset

Product Details

  • Actors: Complete UFO Megaset
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rating:
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 1352 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
UFO was Gerry Anderson’s first live-action TV series after a decade of producing such children’s animated classics as Stingray (1963) and Thunderbirds (1964). The premise of UFO, which ran for a single season of 26 episodes in 1970, was like a more serious version of Anderson’s Captain Scarlet (1967): in the near future of 1980, a high-tech secret organization, SHADO, waged covert war against mysterious alien attackers. Ed Bishop played the American head of SHADO–he had been previously featured in Captain Scarlet and Anderson’s Doppelganger (1969)–though in all other respects this was a thoroughly British production. As with all Anderson series, UFO evidenced remarkable technological inventiveness and groundbreaking production values, coupled with startling lapses in fundamental logic too numerous to list.

Much more adult in story and content than earlier Anderson productions, and surprisingly dark with its pragmatic view of human nature and downbeat endings, the show now seems like a forerunner of The X-Files and the equally short-lived Dark Skies (1996). Barry Gray’s memorable theme and atmospheric music greatly enhanced the overall impact. Stylishly made, though terribly sexist by current standards and featuring eye-catching costumes more fitted for a campy dress party than the front line of a futuristic war, this cult classic eventually evolved into Space: 1999 (1975).

The UFO DVDs have been beautifully designed and produced. The mono sound is exceptionally strong, and the restored and remastered picture is almost unbelievably good for a 1970 TV show. With barely a flaw anywhere, the episodes look so clear, colorful, and detailed that they could have been filmed last week. This eight-disc megaset features all 26 episodes.

Voyagers! - The Complete Series

Voyagers! – The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Meeno Peluce, Jon-Erik Hexum
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: July 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 972 minutes

Amazon Customer Review

“This is a blast from the past from 25 years ago–I remember it very fondly! Phineas Bogg is a Voyager–a person who is supposed to travel through time and give history a push from time to time so that the proper things take place. The machine that he uses malfunctions a lot, he doesn’t have a lot of knowledege about history, and he accidentally ends up in the bedroom of a boy named Jeffrey Jones in 1982, an orphan who knows a lot about history. He ends up traveling with Bogg, going from one adventure to the next. Not as heavy handed and preachy as Quantum Leap (which I loved, too)–a fun series, great family entertainment, kids should like it.

One thing I remember is that whenever Meeno and Jon-Erik did interviews, they always spoke as if they were an equal team. Jon-Erik never spoke of Meeno as just a kid. On screen, they had a very nice relationship. The kid’s cute, the guy’s hunky, and the adventures are fun.

Generally in each episode, the voyagers drop into one scenario, leave at the first commercial break to another, solve the second problem, then take knowledge from that second scenario back to the first to solve the initial problem. Some of the links are that of situations (Spartacus and Tubbman have slavery in common), and others involve learning a trick to get out of the first (Salem and Houdini).

Here are the episodes–title and topic:
Pilot–Time Traveler and orphan meet
Created Equal (Spartacus and Harriet Tubman)
Bully and Billy (Teddy Roosevelt and Billy the Kid)
Agents of Satan (Salem witch trials and Harry Houdini)
Worlds Apart (Lawrence of Arabia and Thomas Edison)
Cleo and the Babe (Cleopatra is brought to 1920s New York/Lucy Luciano)
The Day the Rebs took Lincoln (Civil War and London/Dickens)
Old Hickory and the Pirate (War of 1812/New Orleans)
The Travels of Marco Polo…and Friends (1930s New York/Isaac Wolfstein)
An Arrow Pointing East (Lindburgh then Robin Hood)
Merry Christmas, Bogg (George Washington then Samuel Gompers)
Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakely Play the Palace (Queen Victoria)
The Trial of Phineas Bogg (Bogg is on trial back home)
Sneak Attack (Pearl Harbor plus young Bill Cody/Pony Express)
Voyagers of the Titanic (plus rabies and Pasteur)
Pursuit (WWII/Werner von Braun)
Destiny’s Choice (FDR in 1924 Hollywood)
All Fall Down (1938, boxing, Joe Louis)
Barrier’s of Sound (1890s Texas, Ike’s mom)
Jack’s Back (Jack the Ripper)

Some guest stars: Ed Begley, Jr., Gregory Itzin (twice!), Lance LeGault, Tricia O’Neil, Michael Fox (the reason M. J. Fox had to add the J?), Jonathan Frakes, Anne Lockhart, Dana Elcar, Frank Marth, and Julia Duffy.”

Earth 2 - The Complete Series

Earth 2 – The Complete Series

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
A science-fiction series with an ecological theme, EARTH 2 only ran for one season on NBC, and all 22 episodes of the program are collected here. In the distant future, the surface of the Earth has been largely destroyed, and mankind lives in space stations orbiting the planet. A group of space colonists, led by Devon Adair (Debrah Farentino) and John Danzinger (Clancy Brown), are sent to a far off planet to prepare it for colonization by the surviving population of Earth. But a mishap sends them careening off-course, crash landing thousands of miles from the proper camp site. EARTH 2 follows the band of colonists as they traverse the planet, encountering dangerous aliens and other humans who view them with distrust and suspicion. By tackling issues like ecology and colonization, EARTH 2 engages important ideas and themes in an entertaining fashion.

The Prisoner - Complete Series Megaset (40th Anniversary Edition)

The Prisoner – Complete Series Megaset (40th Anniversary Edition)

Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick McGoohan
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Collector’s Edition, Color, Original recording remastered, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 10
  • Rating:
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
  • Run Time: 884 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video
If a top-level spy decided he didn’t want to be a spy anymore, could he just walk into HQ and hand in his resignation? With all that classified knowledge in his head, would he be allowed to become a civilian again, free to go about his life? The answer, according to the stylish, brilliantly conceived 1960s British TV series The Prisoner, is a resounding no. In fact, instead of receiving a gold watch for his years of faithful service, our hero (played by Patrick McGoohan) is followed home to his London flat and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a picturesque village where everyone is known by a number. Where is it? Why was he brought here? And, most important, how does he leave?

As we learn in Episode 1, Number 6 can’t leave. The Village’s “citizens” might dress colorfully and stroll around its manicured gardens while a band plays bouncy Strauss marches, but the place is actually a prison. Surveillance is near total, and if all else fails, there’s always the large, mysterious white ball that subdues potential escapees by temporarily smothering them. Who runs the Village? An ever-changing Number 2, who wants to know why Number 6 resigned. If he’d only cooperate, he’s told, life can be made very pleasant. “I’ve resigned,” he fumes. “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.” So sets the stage for the ultimate battle of wills: Number 6’s struggle to retain his privacy, sanity, and individuality against the array of psychological and physical methods the Village uses to break him.

So does he ever escape? And does he ever find out who Number 1 is? “Questions are a burden to others,” the Village saying goes. “Answers, a prison for oneself.” Within this complete 17-episode set (which contains the entire series), all is revealed. Or is it? –Steve Landau

Product Description
Patrick McGoohan’s classic 17-episode British TV series, THE PRISONER, has been mesmerizing American viewers since its CBS debut in the summer of 1968. Now, just in time for its 40th anniversary A&E presents this definitive collector’s edition of the cult classic series. Fully restored and digitally remastered, THE PRISONER is presented in the fan-preferred episode order, offering a chronological interpretation of perhaps the most unusual and challenging television series ever filmed. After resigning from a top-secret position, a man is abducted from his London home and taken to a mysterious place known only as The Village. Residents of The Village, known only by numbers, are held captive on account of their valuable knowledge. The Prisoner–Number Six–must protect his mind in order to preserve his humanity while he struggles to discover the identity of Number One and achieve freedom by escaping from the repressive grasp of his captors. Set includes all 17 complete color episodes: Arrival / Free For All / Dance of the Dead / Checkmate / The Chimes of Big Ben / A, B, and C / The General / The Schizoid Man / Many Happy Returns / It’s Your Funeral / A Change of Mind / Hammer Into Anvil / Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling / Living In Harmony / The Girl Who Was Death / Once Upon a Time / Fall Out DVD Features: Ultra-rare original footage of the 1966 location shooting, accompanied by commentary with Bernie Williams; Bonus Program: THE PRISONER VIDEO COMPANION; Rare, Alternate Version of the Episode “The Chimes of Big Ben”; Rarely Seen “Foreign File Cabinet” Footage; Rarely Seen “Textless” Intro & Outro; Original Broadcast Trailers; Original Series Promotional Trailer; Gallery of Original Production and Promotional Materials; Production Stills Galleries; Interactive Map of the Village; Prisoner Trivia; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection NEW LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR’S BOOKLET: 60 Fully Illustrated Pages; Hidden Mysteries Surrounding THE PRISONER; Complete Series Guide of All 17 Episodes; Detailed Color Fold-out Map of The Village.”

Space 1999 - 30th Anniversary Edition Megaset (17DVD)

Space 1999 – 30th Anniversary Edition Megaset (17DVD)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
When it was first broadcast in 1975, there had never been a more lavishly produced science fiction TV series than Space: 1999, a British production whose budget for the first of its two seasons ran an astounding £3.25 million. What keeps us fans enthralled after all these years has only partly to due with the first-rate production values, the plausibly constructed spaceship models, and expert special effects. The tone of the show is one of scientific dispassion, setting it apart from its TV sci-fi predecessors such as Star Trek, whose mood was more convivial. Our heroes here are in dire circumstances that require cool heads as a survival trait. Those circumstances: the 311 crew members of Moonbase Alpha experience a cataclysm that causes the moon to break away from Earth’s orbit and travel endlessly through space, turning our heroes into unintentional explorers. No TV series has created a more palpable feel of hard science fiction than this.

Of course the show is not without its detractors; it has been soundly lambasted for its many scientific errors. No less august a figure than Isaac Asimov criticized the show for its premise in the opening episode, “Breakaway,” which had nuclear explosions on the “dark side of the moon” somehow propelling it out of Earth’s orbit and flying through space without regard to any physical laws. In “Earthbound,” aliens traveling to Earth state it will take them 75 years to reach their destination, making one wonder why it didn’t take the moon that long to encounter the aliens. While these are serious complaints, fans tend to remember the scientific seriousness of the series and the sense of awe created by the many strange creatures and phenomena that the crew members encounter on their journey through the galaxy.

The Space: 1999 30th Anniversary Mega Set collects all 48 episodes broadcast over the show’s two seasons, contained on 17 DVDs that include vintage interviews, production stills, TV promotional spots, and interactive menus, and some material that was not seen in the original U.S. broadcasts has been restored. The episodes do not use the 2005 high-def remasters, so this is essentially the same as the 2002 Mega Set, but at a fraction of the shelf space (the Thinpak packaging is nicely compact) and a fraction of the price. –Jim Gay

Product Description
All 48 episodes of this acclaimed space adventure are contained in this complete collection, digitally remastered from the original 35mm film, plus bonus footage, featured extras, and much more! With its progressive plotlines, an outstanding cast, and astonishing special effects from Oscar® winner Brian Johnson (Alien, The Empire Strikes Back), SPACE: 1999 has secured its place as one of the most thought-provoking series of the 21st century—and beyond.

Alien Nation - The Complete Series

Alien Nation – The Complete Series

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
As Newcomers — fugitive slaves from the planet Tencton — Detective George Francisco and his family face prejudice and intolerance as they struggle to assimilate to life on their adopted planet. Together with his human partner, hard-edged Detective Matt Sikes, George walks the beat in Slagtown, Los Angeles, a Newcomer slum teeming with vice and corruption. More than just another cop show or science fiction show, Alien Nation utilizes a unique and exciting blend of action, suspense, humor, and social drama to explore the sociology of what it means to be an outsider striving to fit in.

Alien Nation - Ultimate Movie Collection

Alien Nation – Ultimate Movie Collection

Product Details

  • Actors: Alien Nation-Ultimate Movie Collection
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rating:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 447 minutes

Amazon Customer Review

“Dark Horizon is on its own disc. The other four movies are on 2 flipper discs–one movie per side. All the movies have a Ken Johnson commentary track. The first four movies have “Making of” featurettes that are a bit dry, but have some great nuggets. The first four also have gag reels. All the movies have a wide of array of stills in a photo gallery.
The last movie’s disc side includes a 25-minute reunion taped at Johnson’s home in January 2007. Everyone’s there except for Sean Six/Buck. It’s amazing! I got a warm feeling just watching! It opens with candid meet and greets and sitting down to a meal. They gather in a circle next, and really start to talk. The actors talk about being cast, about make-up, about the movies, and about the reaction from various ethnic groups, among other things. There are some great behind-the-scenes shots from the original series that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

Dark Horizon is fine, but man, were they hitting on all four cylinders for the second movie–Body and Soul. It features an excellent story and script, a satisfying Matt and Cathy story, and a few twists and turns that you won’t expect. Everything that made the series great is on display in the second movie–the comic timing, the chemistry between the actors, the jokes, the names, you name it, it’s there–it’s like a time machine back to the good old days of the show’s weekly run. The last three are just as good–the atmosphere and feeling of the season is there in full force. I wasn’t crazy about George’s promotion at the end of the original series because it wrecked the detectives’ dynamic, but found that they dealt with it very well in the movies for both characters.

Buck and Emily don’t have much to do in the first two movies, but they come into their own in the last three. Cathy and Matt’s romance evolves beautifully throughout. If you think of the five movies as 10 episodes of Alien Nation–it’s like a whole half season.

Pocket put out 8 Alien Nation novels and novelizations back in the day, so we had those to get over the cliffhanger when the complete series set came out a couple of years ago. But that wasn’t good enough, frankly. Thank goodness these are on dvd at last! Now we really have the complete series available on dvd.”

1. “Dark Horizon”- 1994
2. “Body and Soul”-1995
3. “The Enemy Within”- 1996
4. “Millennium”-1996
5. “The Udara Legacy”-1997

Roswell - Seasons 1-3

Roswell – Seasons 1-3

Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Opening with a Dido theme song and featuring character-driven, sweet-natured melodrama, Roswell was a show with a surprisingly dedicated fandom, who twice won it reprieve from cancellation. One of its main strengths was, of course, the extent to which its premise–alien teenagers trying to sort out their identities while emotionally involved with their human contemporaries–was a free-floating metaphor for race and sexuality issues. Another was the strong ensemble that its cast developed: you believed in the strangeness of the alien trio and the well-intentioned normality of their three human friends. Jason Behr gave the alien Max a quiet authority and Majendra Delfino took the sidekick role of Maria and gave it both intensity and fine comic timing. It was also a show in which you were never sure which adults you could trust–William Sadleir trod a fine line of ambiguity as the local sheriff and Julie Benz was silkily sinister as an FBI agent. Anyone who ever loved this show will want these DVDs–and many others may want to find out what the fuss was about.

Roswell is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The special features include commentaries by writer Jason Katims, the directors, and various cast members as well as featurettes. The commentaries are unusually insightful on the casting process, and the discs also include the auditions for the part of Tess as well as deleted scenes and a music video. –Roz Kaveney

Steven Spielberg Presents Taken

Steven Spielberg Presents Taken

Product Details

  • Actors: Julie Benz, Catherine Dent, Jason Gray-Stanford, Tina Holmes, Michael Moriarty
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 885 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Steven Spielberg’s alien abduction opus Taken is what happens when you cross-breed Close Encounters of the Third Kind with The Waltons. Obviously flushed with the success of the TV miniseries Band of Brothers, Spielberg’s Dreamworks studio has created an equally epic 10-part story chronicling 50 years of habitual abduction over several generations of three American families. Beginning with the most notorious alien cover-up in U.S. history, the 1947 “crash” at Roswell, New Mexico, Taken introduces the “Greys” and the families they routinely abduct, probe, and, in a couple of cases, impregnate over the course of the ten 90-minute episodes. The three families are: the Keys, from which first Russell, then his son Jessie, then grandson Danny, are all abducted; the Clarkes, who are descended from a liaison between lonely put-upon housewife Sally Clarke and one of the Roswell crash survivors; and the Crawfords, the ruthless G-men who are committed to uncovering the purpose behind the alien visitations at any cost.

It’s this question that forms the main thread of the story: but even though the Greys’ actions are at best ambiguous and at worst hostile, the viewer can’t help feeling that after all this systematic abuse of their human test subjects the aliens will in the end present them with a cure for cancer. In fact, Taken is Spielberg at his most touchy-feely: for all its science fiction trappings it’s basically a soap opera, lacking the sinister undercurrent of either Dark Skies or The X-Files. Nevertheless, it’s an engaging series with decent performances–most notably Joel Gretsch as psychotic Owen Crawford–good special effects, and an engaging enough storyline to make it entertaining, if somewhat disposable, TV.

The Ray Bradbury Theater - Complete Series (65 Episodes)

The Ray Bradbury Theater – Complete Series (65 Episodes)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Featuring 65 Episodes! Entranced by magicians, comic strips, and science-fiction magazines, Ray Bradbury began “educating” himself at the Los Angeles Library three to five times a week. By twenty-seven years of age he “graduated,” having written over several million words. In his early twenties, he supported himself by selling newspapers on street corners and writing for radio programs such as Suspense, Escape, CBS Radio Playhouse, and X Minus One. Bradbury has now written over one thousand short stories–400 of which have been published in such magazines as The New Yorker, The New Republican, The Saturday Evening Post, Amazing Stories, Colliers, Dime Detective and McCall’s. He has also written for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and for Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. And now, showcased in this 5 DVD set are some of Ray Bradbury’s finest works.

Threshold - The Complete Series

Threshold – The Complete Series

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description
THRESHOLD is a suspenseful drama about a team of experts who are assembled when the U.S. Navy makes a chilling discovery: an extra terrestrial craft has landed in the mid-Atlantic ocean. Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey (Carla Gugino) is a government contingency analyst whose job is to devise response plans for worst-case scenarios. In a single instant, her life changes when one of those plans–THRESHOLD–is activated by Deputy National Security Advisor J.T. Baylock (Charles S. Dutton). Armed only with her hypothetical strategy to address the appearance of aliens on earth, Caffrey now finds herself thrust in the midst of a global crisis. She hand-picks a team of eclectic specialists to prepare for first contact: Dr. Nigel Fenway (Brent Spiner), a disillusioned NASA microbiologist; Lucas Pegg (Rob Benedict), a brilliant but neurotic physicist; Arthur Ramsey (Peter Dinklage), an expert in languages and mathematics; and Cavennaugh (Brian Van Holt), a highly trained covert operative with a mysterious past. Together, they decipher the intention of the craft, the fate of the ship’s crew and begin preparations for the possibility of a crisis situation–an alien invasion.

Land of the Giants - The Full Series (The Giant Collection)

Land of the Giants – The Full Series (The Giant Collection)

Product Details

  • Directors: Sobey Martin, Harry Harris
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 9
  • Rating:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 2658 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Premiering on ABC in 1968 and lasting just 51 episodes before its cancellation in 1970, Irwin Allen’s fantasy series Land of the Giants has built a sizable (if you’ll pardon the pun) fan base in subsequent decades thanks to its mix of adventure, science fiction, and camp; now those dedicated fans can enjoy the entire series in an impressive set that features a wealth of extras. The template for Giants is remarkably similar to that of Allen’s Lost in Space; here, the passengers and crew of the commercial spacecraft The Spindrift encounters a mysterious energy force en route to London and finds themselves on a planet which parallels Earth in every way save one – its inhabitants are twelve times the size of the marooned crew. The protagonists are less tightly knit than Space‘s astronaut family Robinson – in fact, pilots Gary Conway and Don Marshall regularly butt heads with architect Don Matheson and entertainer Deanna Lund – though all seem to agree that orphan Stefan Arngrim is cute as a button and Kurt Kasznar is as much a pain in the neck as Dr. Smith (amusingly, Jonathan Harris turns up in this set in the episode “Pay the Piper”). But The Spindrift castaways’ adventures are less juvenile than those of the later Lost in Space episodes, and the special effects (which cost the network a record-setting $250,000 per episode) are impressive for the period. The nine-DVD set for Land of the Giantscontains the series’ entire network run, as well as the unaired pilot, which offers a similar take on the debut episode, “The Crash,” minus John Williams’ jazzy theme and other elements. Most of the surviving cast members (Kasznar passed away in 1979, and Heather Young is not included) is featured in interviews about their experiences on the show, and there are several home videos of producer Allen directing the program and interacting with the over sized props and sets. Also featured on the discs are galleries of publicity shots, episodic photos, show merchandise and of the photogenic Ms. Lund, and the MAD Magazine parody. Meanwhile, buyers can also pursue a reproduction of the comic book adaptation and a booklet with more cast interviews and photos, and check out a set of trading cards, a Spindrift key chain and crew iron-on patch – all of which is contained in the set’s clever carrying case, which reproduces a wooden cage that held the Giants‘ heroes in one episode. Though casual admirers may balk at the Giant Collection price tag, diehards will undoubtedly appreciate having the entire set and quality extras at their disposal.

Product Description
After their sub-orbital space craft is drawn into a space warp, the passengers and crew of the Spindrift, crash into a planet where everything is 12 times its normal size!

The Complete Series

Starhunter 2300: The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Directors: Roger Gartland, Colin Bucksey, David Wheatley
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 2004
  • Run Time: 1050 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
In the 23rd century, humanity has spread to the stars and planets in Earth’s solar system. Civilization is a patchwork of a hundred worlds, most with weak governments and weaker laws. It is a golden age for criminals who exploit this lawlessness and use the incredible technology of the future to prey on others. A former luxury space liner, the Tulip, is now a bounty-hunting vessel commanded by Travis Montana (Sunset Beach’s Clive Robertson) who searches the galaxy in search of his father. He’s joined on his quest by comic hunter Rudolpho, plucky Percy, holographic first mate Carvaggio, sexy special services officer Callista and bad boy Marcus. Now the fight for justice is set among the stars? and the showdown is about to begin. Perfect for Fans of New Sci-Fi TV Favorites Farscape, Stargate SG-1 and Babylon 5! Episodes include: Rebirth, Star Crossed, Biocrime, Chasing Janus, Spaceman, Becoming Shiva, The Third Thing, Torment, Painless, Skin Deep, Supermax Redux, Pandora’s Box, Stitch in Time, The Prisoner, Kate, Rivals, Heir and the Spare, Just Politics, Negative Energy, License to Fill, Hyperspace I & II.

The Crow (Collector's Series Boxed Set)

The Crow (Collector’s Series Boxed Set)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
The collection includes THE CROW: Legendary Brandon Lee plays Eric Draven, a rock guitarist who, along with his finacee, is killed by a ruthless gang of criminals. One year after his death, Eric returns — watched over by a hypnotic crow — to seek revenge. THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS: The murder victim (Vincent Perez) of an evil drug cartel is brought back to life by a mysterious crow to exact revenge on his killers one by one! THE CROW: SALVATION: Wrongly executed for the murder of his girlfriend, Alex Corvis (Eric Mabius) returns to find the real killer — aided by his girlfriend’s sister (Kirsten Dunst) … and the mysterious crow!

Stairway To Heaven - The Complete Series

The Crow: Stairway To Heaven – The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Dacascos
  • Directors: Bryce Zabel
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Arts Alliance America
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 968 minutes

Amazon Customer Review

“The Crow: Stairway to Heaven” takes its place on the “Canceled To Soon” list. It really was a wonderful story that put a new perspective on the “Crow” mythos. In this show, Eric Draven’s story became one of redemption and Mark Dacascos played him beautifully. The show also featured wonderful performances by Marc Gomez (as Albrecht), Katie Stuart (as Sarah), and Sabine Karsenti (as Shelly). People have been waiting for this show to come out on DVD for a long time (the show ran for one season from 1998 to 1999), so it’s great that it’s finally here. I look forward to revisiting the episodes and seeing what extras come in this 4-disc set.”

Jim Henson's Fantasy Film Collection - (Labyrinth / MirrorMask / The Dark Crystal)

Jim Henson’s Fantasy Film Collection – (Labyrinth / MirrorMask / The Dark Crystal)

Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Henson’s Fantasy Film Collection
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 298 minutes

Amazon Customer Review

“Of course, we all remember Jim Henson for bringing us those fuzzy, adorable animal puppets and their variety show.
But Henson also produced some very memorable, intriguing fantasy films, and after his death his production company has continued that tradition. “The Jim Henson Family Film Collection” brings together three classic films from Henson and his company, as well as an accompanying book of unknown content.
“Labyrinth” becomes a problem for teenage Sarah, who is stuck babysitting her crying baby stepbrother. But when she idly wished that the goblins would steal him, she never expected it to happen — or that the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) would challenge her if she tries to get her brother back.
Now Sarah has only thirteen hours to navigate a changing, hazardous maze, with Jareth’s castle at the center of it. To find her way, she will have to befriend strange creatures and avoid lethal bogs, nasty fairies, head-jugglers, and finally Jareth himself — or her brother will be turned into a goblin himself.

“The Dark Crystal” is the heart of this movie, where on another world, there are two strange races — the enormous, gentle, peaceful Mystics, and the nasty, vulture-like, vicious Skekses. They are somehow connected to a massive crystal that was broken long ago, and now a shard is missing from it. What’s more, three suns are about to come into conjunction, and the shard has to be back in place.

The Mystics have cared for one of the last Gelflings, an orphan named Jen. As the conjunction approaches, they send him out to find the lost shard. Along the way, Jen finds new friends who assist him in his quest, including another Gelfling. But can they avoid the Skekses? And what will happen when the suns line up, and the crystal is completed?
These movies were created in whole by Jim Henson, and even in the darker moments, they have his unmistakeable stamp. More recent — and quite different in tone — is “Mirrormask,” which instead has the stamp of writer Neil Gaiman, and seems like a warped “Alice in Wonderland.” But Henson’s production company does a great job with all the weird special effects.

In “Mirrormask,” we’re introduced to Helena (Stephanie Leonidas), a young circus girl who longs for a “normal” life, and makes elaborate, otherworldly drawings. But one night her mother collapses, and needs life-saving surgery. The guilt-ridden Helena is suddenly whisked into a world that looks very like her drawings, where everyone has a mask — and the beautiful queen of light (who looks a lot like Helena’s mom) is in a coma.

Helena is determined to wake the queen, and gets juggler Valentine (Jason Barry) to accompany her on her quest for the mysterious Mirrormask. But the stakes become higher when the forces of darkness — and their eerie queen — target Helena, and she finds that a dark duplicate of herself has taken over her life. Now Helena must somehow defeat the dark forces, with her mother’s life — and her own — hanging in the balance.

All three of these movies are classics of one type or another, and each embraces a different kind of fantasy. One is about wanting to be swept into an idyllic fantasy life. One is entirely of another world. And one is about the dangers of the other world.

To top it off, three are coming-of-age stories, whether for a teenage girl or a Muppet Gelfling — they all focus on someone pursuing something that can save what is important to them, and growing as a person along the way. The scripting tends to be tight and a little wry. Sometimes it gets goofy, but well-acted (and in Bowie’s case, well-sung).
What’s more, the styles of each movie change: “Dark Crystal” is very fantastical and serious, even with some gross, dark parts, while “Labyrinth” is more kiddy-friendly and Muppety, with the little chivalrous fox (though Bowie’s tight pants are a BIG distraction). And “Mirrormask” has a different style altogether, with lots of shadowy buildings, eerie lighting, fleshy masks, wide bodies and tentacle-like limbs.

The “Jim Henson Fantasy Films” are a good collection of films, showing off Henson’s more fantastical side. Definitely worth seeing.”

Millennium - Seasons 1-3

Millennium – Seasons 1-3

Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of discs: 18
  • DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Millennium – The Complete First Season
Millennium marked the second major television series created by Chris Carter, who’d already made his name as the brains behind The X-Files. And, like its predecessor, it shares a lot of the same themes–it’s a crime thriller that gradually unfolds into a grand conspiracy involving the government and the fate of the entire world. Agent Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) is a former FBI agent who has transplanted his family from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, after suffering something of a breakdown. He’s an expert criminal profiler–arguably the best, thanks to his ability to “see” into the minds of killers–and he fears for the safety of his wife and young daughter. In Seattle, he joins the mysterious Millennium Group, an agency of freelance crime-busters who investigate particularly brutal crimes. As a result, Millennium is downright bleak viewing, as Black jumps from horrific slaying to horrific slaying. Moreover, there’s a growing sense of unease about the workings of the Millennium Group, so that in typical Chris Carter fashion, you don’t know who to trust. With its pre-Y2K angst and overwhelming darkness, as well as its general humorlessness, Millennium hasn’t dated as well as The X-Files. Still, thanks to Carter’s vision and Henriksen’s compelling take on the tortured Black, it’s difficult not to get hooked.

Millennium – The Complete Second Season
The groundbreaking show Millennium was about to take a new, visionary direction in its second season. Millennium could have continued its successful formula of introducing new, apocalyptic “Se7en-esque” serial killers for Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) to hunt down. But as any viewer can attest, it was the exploration of the mysterious “Millennium Group” and Frank Black’s role that held the key to the show’s potential longevity. And who better to build a mythos for the Millennium than the minds behind The X-Files: producer/writer team Glenn Morgan and James Wong. Stepping in when Chris Carter stepped aside, Morgan and Wong immediately began to focus season 2 not on the killers and their impact on Armageddon, but on Frank Black and his struggle for his personal stability and sanity. The Millennium Group, whose identify and function was never really explored in season 1, now becomes a central entity in season 2 complete with its own Masonic-like mythology.

Millennium – The Complete Third Season
In the third season of Millennium, we find Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) a widower and a single father who is completely disillusioned with the Millennium group and their evil intentions. Hell-bent on revenge, Frank rejoins the FBI, gets a new partner, Special Agent Emma Hollis (Klea Scott), and launches a personal crusade to dismantle and expose the Millennium Group. Interestingly, the visionary, quirky, X-Files mythos-like direction in which the producer-writer team of Glenn Morgan and James Wong took Millennium in season 2 didn’t sit well with many fans. Now that a good chunk of the Earth’s population had been wiped out by the Group’s killer plague, which also claimed Frank’s wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher), Chris Carter decided to take the helm once again and redirect season 3 back to the dark, apocalyptic crime-fighting genre in which it was intended. The mythos element is still present, but season 3 is a definite return to the look and feel of season 1 where most of the episodes are individual dark crime stories. The scripts in season 3 are consistently sharp (especially Ken Horton’s and Chip Johannessen’s), and the interesting, new dynamics introduced could have easily carried the show onward for many more seasons. Sadly, it was never meant to be. Like an apocalyptic metaphor, one of the best-written, best-produced, and most-influential shows of the 1990s would be canceled at the end of season 3, less than one year before the year 2000. Fans were left to wonder about the future of Frank Black, Jordan, and the success of his personal vendetta. Fortunately, The X-Files was still going strong at the time and fans got a bit of closure with The X-Files’ season 7 tie-in episode “Millennium” (included on this DVD set).

NOTE: The following movie sets are not Sci-Fi as such, but because of their paranomoral elemenets and the “essential” nature of them, I am including them here, rather than in the Fantasy/paranormal group. My call…

The Exorcist - The Complete Anthology (The Exorcist/ The Exorcist- Unrated/ The Exorcist II: The Heretic/ The Exorcist III/ The Exorcist: The Beginning/ The Exorcist: Dominion)

The Exorcist – The Complete Anthology (The Exorcist/ The Exorcist- Unrated/ The Exorcist II: The Heretic/ The Exorcist III/ The Exorcist: The Beginning/ The Exorcist: Dominion)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Here it is. The scream of the crop. The fear is here. And so is the hope. Because at their center are intrepid souls who dare to look evil in the eye and vanquish it. From The Exorcist (presented in its Original Theatrical Version and the 2000 Version You’ve Never Seen) to the shocks and surprise of Exorcist II: The Heretic and The Exorcist III to the two versions (by two different directors) of Dominion/The Beginning, this DVD set comprises the scariest and most fascinating collection of movies in modern horror.

 

The Exorcist (25th Anniversary Special Edition) Product Details

 

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com essential video
Director William Friedkin was a hot ticket in Hollywood after the success of The French Connection, and he turned heads (in more ways than one) when he decided to make The Exorcist as his follow-up film. Adapted by William Peter Blatty from his controversial bestseller, this shocking 1973 thriller set an intense and often-copied milestone for screen terror with its unflinching depiction of a young girl (Linda Blair) who is possessed by an evil spirit. Jason Miller and Max von Sydow are perfectly cast as the priests who risk their sanity and their lives to administer the rites of demonic exorcism. Ellen Burstyn plays Blair’s mother, who can only stand by in horror as her daughter’s body is wracked by Satanic disfiguration. One of the most frightening films ever made, The Exorcist was mysteriously plagued by trouble during production, and the years since have not diminished its capacity to disturb even the most stoic viewers. The film is presented in letterbox format on digital video disc, with a remastered soundtrack that’s guaranteed to curdle your blood. The 25th-anniversary Special Edition DVD of The Exorcist is packed with bonus features, including a 74-minute documentary titled The Fear of God: The Making of The Exorcist, which includes interviews with cast and crew, audio commentary by William Friedkin and author William Peter Blatty, a special introduction by Friedkin, theatrical trailers and TV spots, and DVD-exclusive coverage of the film’s storyboards and production design.

Product Description
An innocent girl is evilly possessed — and a doubting priest becomes her last hope. Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn in the two-time Academy Award(R) winner that shocked the world.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Separate Commentaries by Friedkin & Blatty
Other:“Fear of God” 3 trailers Nwe Interviews
TV Spot:6 TV Spots: “Beyond Comprehension”, “You Too Can See The Exorcist”, “Between Science and Superstition”, “The Movie You’ve Been Waiting For”, “Nobody Expected It”, “Life Had Been Good”

The Exorcist (The Version You’ve Never Seen)

The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen)  

Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Miller, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn
  • Directors: William Friedkin
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 26, 2000
  • Run Time: 132 minutes

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com essential video
Director William Friedkin was a hot ticket in Hollywood after the success of The French Connection, and he turned heads (in more ways than one) when he decided to make The Exorcist as his follow-up film. Adapted by William Peter Blatty from his controversial bestseller, this shocking 1973 thriller set an intense and often-copied milestone for screen terror with its unflinching depiction of a young girl (Linda Blair) who is possessed by an evil spirit. Jason Miller and Max von Sydow are perfectly cast as the priests who risk their sanity and their lives to administer the rites of demonic exorcism, and Ellen Burstyn plays Blair’s mother, who can only stand by in horror as her daughter’s body is wracked by satanic disfiguration. One of the most frightening films ever made with a soundtrack that’s guaranteed to curl your blood, The Exorcist was mysteriously plagued by troubles during production, and the years have not diminished its capacity to disturb even the most stoical viewers. Don’t say you weren’t warned! –Jeff Shannon

DVD features
Although it was endorsed by director William Friedkin (reportedly with some reluctance), this “new” version of The Exorcist was criticized by many as a marketing ploy, and now exists for perpetual debate among horror fans. In addition to a few more subtly inserted “subliminals” of demonic imagery, 12 minutes of previously unseen footage focus on four new scenes: the series of physical tests (spinal tap, etc.) that Regan (Linda Blair) must endure; a post-ritual scene between priests Karras (Jason Miller) and Merrin (Max von Sydow), in which Merrin postulates that Satan is targeting them in order to make them despair and doubt their faith; a different version of the famous “spider-walk” scene (shown as an outtake in the previous special edition DVD’s making-of documentary), in which Regan eerily walks down stairs in an upside-down, crablike movement, with blood dripping from her mouth; and a new ending, in which Father Dyer (Rev. William O’Malley) meets Lieutenant Kinderman (Lee J. Cobb) and the two of them share a casual chat about movies, echoing Kinderman’s earlier talk with Father Karras. This final change was viewed by many as the most egregious, destroying the closing note of the original version. Fans and critics alike found much more to praise in the spectacular remixing and remastering of the film’s original soundtrack, which is now scarier than ever in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound.

Forbidden Planet (Ultimate Collector's Edition)

Forbidden Planet (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly
  • Directors: Fred M. Wilcox
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Collector’s Edition, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video
This 1956 pop adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest is one of the best, most influential science fiction movies ever made. Its space explorers are the models for the crew of Star Trek‘s Enterprise, and the film’s robot is clearly the prototype for Robby in Lost in Space. Walter Pidgeon is the Prospero figure, presiding over a paradisiacal world with his lovely young daughter and their servile droid. When the crew of a spaceship lands on the planet, they become aware of a sinister invisible force that threatens to destroy them. Great special effects and a bizarre electronic score help make this movie as fresh, imaginative, and fun as it was when first released. –Amazon.com

On the DVDs
Nestled in a metal collector’s box decorated with variations of original promo art, the colorfully designed 2-disc 50th Anniversary Edition of Forbidden Planet (also available separately) comes in a slip-covered fold-out case accompanied by a pocket of 17 miniature lobby card reproductions (eight for Forbidden Planet, nine for the 1957 companion movie The Invisible Boy). On disc 1, Forbidden Planet is presented with a new digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements, with soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, offering considerable improvement over the film’s previous DVD release. A selection of deleted scenes were taken from a faded and scratchy 16-millimeter “work print” that had originally been viewed by composers Louis and Bebe Barron as they were creating the film’s unique electronic score; they consist of full or partial scenes cut from the final film–mostly for good reason, but collectors (and those who first saw this rare material on the original Criterion Collection laserdisc) will welcome their inclusion here. The “lost footage” is crude special-effects test footage, again primarily of interest to sci-fi historians and aficionados. Given the fact that the original “Robby the Robot” cost over $100,000 to build in 1955, it’s easy to see why MGM wanted to get their money’s worth: An excerpt from the 1950s TV series “MGM Parade” shows Forbidden Planet star Walter Pigeon appearing briefly with Robby, and the popular robot gets even more attention as a guest star in “The Robot Client,” an episode of the Thin Man TV series (starring Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk) that originally aired on Feb. 28, 1958. Disc 1 also includes a gallery of seven science-fiction movie trailers dating from 1953’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to 1960’s The Time Machine.

Disc 2 begins with 1957’s The Invisible Boy, a still-enjoyable B-movie that served as Robby’s post-Forbidden Planet showcase. Here, filmdom’s favorite automaton plays sidekick to a young boy (Richard Eyer) who turns invisible when he gets caught up in a super-computer’s scheme of global domination. Also included are three documentaries, all of them very good to excellent: In addition to reuniting the surviving cast members of the ’56 classic (including Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Richard Anderson, Warren Stevens, and Earl Holliman), “Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet” is an appreciative tribute to Forbidden Planet with some of Hollywood’s foremost sci-fi fans including special effects masters Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett, SF movie expert Bill Warren, and others. “Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon” is a featurette about the robot’s design, creation, and pop-cultural history, featuring original “Robby” designer Robert Kinoshita, Bill Malone (current owner of the original Robby), and Fred “The Robot Man” Barton, a lifelong robot fanatic builds fully authorized, full-scale Robby replicas for sci-fi fans with deep pockets. Closing out disc 2 is “Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us,” a 2005 documentary from Turner Classic Movies, written and directed by Time magazine critic Richard Schickel. It’s a thoroughly comprehensive survey of ’50s sci-fi and its influence on the next generation of film directors, including engaging interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

Last but certainly not least, the Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Forbidden Planet comes with a highly detailed three-inch tall die-cast replica of Robby the Robot. Should you display it proudly on your toy shelf or keep it in its cellophane wrapper? That’s a tough call for devoted Robby fans… so you’ll just have to decide for yourself!

Product Description
This 1956 cult classic, regarded as one of the most influential science fiction movies ever made, now has an all new Ultimate Collector’s Edition featuring remastered film and audio. Loaded with hours of bonuses, vintage memorabilia, a Robby the Robot replica, and collectible packaging, this all new edition is ready for the Sci-Fi fanatic.

Neon Genesis Evangelion - Perfect Collection

Neon Genesis Evangelion – Perfect Collection

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video
A benchmark series in the history of anime, Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most widely discussed in anime. It’s not the first series to combine mecha (futuristic machines, especially robots) with theology and a character-driven story, but it does so exceptionally well. The designs of the robots by Ikuto Yamashita are strikingly original; the questions raised about the future of the human race stimulate viewers’ imaginations and the characters show a depth of personality rare in anime. The story is set in 2015, 15 years after a cataclysmic explosion in Antarctica that caused the ice cap to melt, killing a large portion of the Earth’s population. Although it was reported as a meteor impact, the explosion was caused by human interaction with Adam, the first of a series of powerful, sentient creatures known as “Angels” to appear on Earth. To defend against their depredations, humans rely on NERV, a secret agency dedicated to destroying the Angels with their gargantuan robot suits called Evas. Only teenagers with special psychic powers can pilot the Evas, and the best pilot is the repressed 14-year-old Shinji Ikari, who is a more interesting, believable character than standard mecha pilots. The two final chapters of the Evangelion series (which originally ran in 1995-96) are highly philosophical ruminations that satisfied neither Anno nor the viewers. The episodes were remade as the theatrical features; however, only the original 26 episodes appear in this set. Not rated; suitable for ages 14 and up: Brief nudity, violence, sexual humor, and complex adult themes.

Complete Series

Crime Traveller: Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Crime Traveller
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Bfs Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 390 minutes

BBC Review

“A year on from Paul McGann’s ill-fated 1996 Doctor Who revival, the BBC presented a new time-travelling series for Saturday nights. Created by Anthony Horowitz, it followed the exploits of detective Jeff Slade (Michael French) and time machine-owning forensic scientist Holly Turner (Chloë Annett). Together the duo ventured back to the recent past to bust crime.

The show’s comic approach masked some smart plotting and involved thinking about the mechanics of time travel. Trips to the future were outlawed (“It doesn’t exist”), while meeting yourself in the past was prohibited lest it caused a “temporal schism”. Most importantly, travellers had to be back in front of the machine at the moment they’d embarked on their journey, or be caught in a “loop of infinity”. Cue numerous mad dashes at the climax of each episode.

Despite a cheeky cameo by a police box in episode six, Crime Traveller was lampooned by critics for not being Doctor Who – and cancelled after just one series.”

The Complete Series

Space Academy: The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Tochi
  • Directors: Arthur H. Nadel
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Bci / Eclipse
  • DVD Release Date: January 16, 2007

Amazon Customer Review

“Who could forget that the year Star Wars blasted its way across cinemas that Space Academy launched on CBS Saturday mornings? The SA was a man-made planetoid built upon a large asteroid in space that was navigated by way of an interstellar star drive and commanded by Lost In Space’s Dr. Smith, Jonathan Harris, who played 300 year-old Commander Isaac Gampu. The SA contained several really cool space shuttles or “Seekers” that allowed them to take off-campus expeditions to nearby planets. The Seekers were basically designed after the Ark II vehicle (minus the wheels) which had been Filmation’s previous live-action Saturday morning sci-fi entry. The culturally diverse and co-ed students attending the SA included Lt. Adrian played by Maggie Cooper, Lt. Laura Gentry played by Pamelyn Ferdin (the voice of Lucy from the Peanuts and Sally on Sealab 2020) and her brother Captain Chris Gentry played by Ric Carrott, Lt. Paul Jerome played by Ty Henderson, Tee-Gar Soom played by Brian Tochi (the voice of Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films), and Loki played by Eric Greene along with a funky robot named Peepo (voiced by She-Ra Erika Scheimer) who looked as though he could have been the distant cousin of Buck Rogers’ Twiki. The students each had some kind of special skills and abilities like telekinesis and invisibility which were attributes used to overcome hostile situations and the stories generally involved plots that included some kind of moral for kids by teaching them the consequences about making the right choices but who really cared? For its day, this show boasted some of the best visual effects on television (cheezy by today’s standards of course) with detailed scale models and stop-motion aliens. What kid wouldn’t be intrigued by this show at that age? Bell-bottoms and blue-screens never looked so passe but for those of us who were glued to the television every Saturday morning in the 1970’s should find this old-school fun and a somewhat embarrassing nostalgic trip down memory lane.

In 1978, Space Academy was revamped into the successful spin-off serial Jason of Star Command starring Craig Littler as Jason and Sid Haig as the evil space pirate Dragos and it recycled the Space Academy sets and models which became Star Command under the command of Star Trek’s James Doohan and the Seekers were “upgraded” into the sleeker Starfire crafts. It was mentioned that Star Command was actually a special secret section of Space Academy although there was never any crossover between the two shows.

It’s hard to believe that after 30 years BCI-Eclipse will finally release the complete series on DVD featuring all 15 episodes of this rarely-seen vintage 70’s Saturday morning show on 4 discs including audio commentary on two episodes “Phantom Planet” and “Countdown” with Filmation producer Lou Scheimer and stars Ric Carrott, Brian Tochi, Eric Greene, and Special Effects Supervisor Chuck Comisky, and hosted by Andy Mangels. Special features also include:
* Featurette – “Back to School with Space Academy”
* Behind-the Scenes photo gallery
* Cast Reunion photo gallery with interview clips
* Memorabilia photo gallery with interview clips
* Promotional photo gallery
* Booklet with Episode Guide and Trivia
* All 15 Scripts (DVD-ROM)
* Series Bible (DVD-ROM)
* Easter Eggs
* Trailers – Ink & Paint Previews
All 15 Episodes:
1. The Survivors of Zalonm
2. Castaways in Time and Space
3. Hide and Seek
4. Countdown
5. There’s No Place Like Home
6. The Rocks of Janus
7. Monkey Business
8. The Phantom Planet
9. Planet of Fire
10. Life Begins at 300
11. The Cheat
12. My Favorite Marcia
13. Space Hookey
14. Star Legend
15. Johnny Sunseed

The Complete Series

Ark II: The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Ark 2
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Bci / Eclipse
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
The 1970s children’s show ARK II reflected that decade’s ecological concerns with the sci-fi adventures of three human scientists–leader Jonah (Terry Lester) medic Ruth (Jean Marie Hon) and tech genius Samuel (Jose Flores)–who along with their talking chimpanzee Adam travelled in their high-tech vehicle to right the wrongs of the environmentally ravaged 25th century. This collection presents the fun conscientious and charmingly dated series in its entirety for a total of 15 episodes.

Space Above and Beyond - The Complete Series

Space Above and Beyond – The Complete Series

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
The science fiction series Space Above and Beyond, which enjoyed a brief run in the 1995-96 season, was created by X-Files producers Glen Morgan and James Wong as a revision of the classic war series Combat!. Set in the not-too-distant future, Space Above and Beyond follows the adventures of five inexperienced Marines of the 58th Squadron, who are involved in a war against the Chigs, a race of aliens bent on conquering the Earth. Morgan and Wong gave their main characters intriguing personalities–Nathan West (Morgan Weisser) has joined the Marines to save a girlfriend captured by the aliens, while Rodney Rowland’s Cooper is an artificially created human whose service is inspired by a desire to escape the violent prejudice he faces on Earth. The action and stories are gritty and dramatic, and put a fresh spin on traditional wartime stories–highlights include “The Enemy,” in which the 58th is stranded behind enemy lines; “Toy Soldiers,” in which West’s younger brother is serving under a dangerously reckless lieutenant; and the two-part “If They Lay Us Down to Rest…” and “Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best,” which brought the series to a close with the Earth on the verge of peace talks with the aliens as the military launches a perilous operation. Commentary by Morgan and Wong and the cast would have been welcome, especially if the plans for the unseen second season could’ve been revealed, but unfortunately, no supplemental features are included in this slickly produced, no-frills set.

Product Description
This 5-disc DVD set includes all 23 episodes including the two-part pilot episode! Its the year 2063. After 150 years of deep space exploration, the people of Earth feel certain they are alone in the universe. Then word comes that two Earth outposts light-years away from home have been brutally attacked by an advanced alien civilization. Now the new young recruits of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Calvary are heading for the front lines of space in the toughest battle the world has ever faced. Thrust into an intergalactic war beyond imagination, these untested fighter pilots suddenly find themselves waging a life-and-death struggle to protect Earth and to save mankind from total annihilation.

Starhunter – The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Starhunter
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2007
  • Run Time: 1056 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
This Complete Sci-Fi Series in a Deluxe Foil 4-Disc Package Features 22 Episodes on Four DVDs and Includes Unrated Bonus Footage! The year is 2275. Earth has colonized the entire solar system, but things are dangerous out there. Enter Dante Montana (Michael Paré, BloodRayne, Crash Landing), a reluctant bounty hunter haunted by his past, who, along with his crew, travels the universe in pursuit of dangerous interplanetary criminals, including The Raiders–an evil force that Dante believes kidnapped his son. Meanwhile, covert forces are waging a desperate war to unlock the secrets of the Divinity Cluster–powerful knowledge that in the wrong hands would mean universal domination…

Seaquest DSV - Season One

Seaquest DSV – Season One

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
An enormously ambitious television series from executive producer Steven Spielberg and series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape, Alien Nation), seaQuest DSV made a valiant attempt to present a thoughtful and socially conscious science-fiction series on par with Star Trek to a ’90s audience (which had already latched onto Star Trek: The Next Generation), but struggled with mediocre scripts and special effects for most of its three seasons (1993-96). The first season, however, embodies much of the ambition and scope its producers envisioned, starting with the two-hour television movie to introduces retired officer Cmdr. Nathan Bridger (a grim-faced Roy Scheider) to the crew of the underwater vessel seaQuest DSV. The pilot feature is well helmed by Scheider, and offers an agreeable mix of fiction and fact (oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard served as technical advisor for the series), as well as considerable action and excitement for an expensive network series. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the cast (which included Stephanie Beacham as the ship’s fetching doctor and the late Jonathan Brandis as a teen science whiz), the show’s momentum faltered under the weight of corny embellishments such as its talking dolphin, Darwin (a genetically engineered human with gills would join the fray in the show’s second season) and episodes like “Knight of Shadows,” which offered a hoary possession storyline, or “Photon Bullet,” which hinges on underwater computer hackers. The series would alternate between intriguing stories (like the suspenseful “Games”) and ill-advised ones for much of its remaining seasons, which also saw cast changes (most notably, the departure of Scheider) in an attempt to revive audiences’ flagging interest. All 23 episodes of the first season are included on this four-disc set, as well as a decent selection of deleted scenes from nine episodes, including the pilot.

Product Description
Travel to the spectacular undersea world of seaQuest DSV as all 23 groundbreaking episodes from the epic first season surface on DVD. The amazing adventure begins in the mid-21st century, as humankind expands its undersea colonization efforts and a tenuous world peace is enforced by the United Earth Oceans (UEO). In order to protect the fledgling underwater colonies from unknown dangers and hostile invaders lurking in the depths of Earth’s last frontier, the UEO recruits Captain Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider) to command the high-tech battle submarine seaQuest and its diverse and eclectic crew. Along for the ride are a roster of stellar guest stars, including Charlton Heston, William Shatner, Seth Green, Kellie Martin and Kent McCord. Now on DVD for the first time ever, with exclusive never-before-seen footage, the Emmy® Award-winning seaQuest DSV is sure to make waves with thrill-seekers everywhere!

Season Two

Seaquest DSV: Season Two

Sliders - The First and Second Seasons

Sliders – The First and Second Seasons

Product Details

  • Directors: Allan Eastman, Jim Charleston, David Livingston, Colin Bucksey, John McPherson
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 1019 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Though often and unfairly dismissed as a Quantum Leap clone, the Fox TV series Sliders earned a substantial fan base thanks to its intriguing central premise–the existence of multiple alternate realities–and impressive special effects, both of which get a fine showcase in this six-disc DVD set. Jerry O’Connell leads the appealing cast as a college student who accidentally discovers a portal into alternate dimensions; with the help of his professor (Lord of the Rings‘ John Rhys-Davies), a spunky Girl Friday (Sabrina Lloyd), and a soul crooner (Cleavant Derricks), O’Connell encounters a host of strange parallel Earths, including a British-ruled United States and one where dinosaurs roam a national park. All nine episodes of the 1995 debut season and the 12-episode second season from ’96, as well as the pilot from ’95, are included in the aesthetically impressive set; extras, however, are limited to commentary by creators Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss on the pilot episode, and a making-of featurette with O’Connell and Derricks.

From the Back Cover
Quinn (Jerry O’Connell), a brilliant grad student, has created a device that opens a wormhole to an infinite number of parallel universes where history has taken a different paths. His first test trip goes awry, stranding his physics professor, Arturo (John Rhys-Davies), his friend, Wade (Sabrina Lloyd), and a bystander Rembrandt “Crying Man” Brown in parallel San Francisos.

Now this foursome of Sliders must travel from one alternate reality to another in the hope of somehow finding their way home.

Sliders – Third Season

Sliders: The Fourth Season

Quantum Leap – The Complete First Season

Product Details

  • Directors: Chris Ruppenthal, John Cullum, Paul Brown (III), Bob Hulme, Stuart Margolin
  • Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2004
  • Run Time: 428 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
They’ll be dancing (well, leaping maybe) in the streets now that the first season of Quantum Leap, voted one of the 25 best cult series ever by TV Guide, has come to home video, a decade after its final year (1994) on the air (the pilot episode was released on DVD in ’98). And why shouldn’t they? This is a show, called “an imaginative diversion” by one critic, with a good premise that’s cleverly and skillfully conceived, written, acted, and produced–ample evidence of which is spread out over three discs, each containing three episodes (plus some fairly meager extras) from the first season.

Scott Bakula, in the role that made him a star, plays Sam Beckett, a scientist who’s part of a time-travel experiment that “went a little… ka-ka.” Unable to return to his own time, and aided only by Al (Dean Stockwell, whose rapport with Bakula is one of the series’ most appealing elements), his cigar-smoking, peculiar-dressing, sex-obsessed, holographic “enabler,” Sam “leaps” unpredictably from one time period and person to another, usually completely out of his element (as a pilot, a boxer, a cowboy, an English lit professor, even an elderly black man in segregated ’50s Alabama) and always in a situation that needs to be “made right” before he can leap onward. Generous helpings of humor, drama, physical action, and sentimentality (this is TV, after all) keep things moving, as do references to many other classic films and genres (Driving Miss Daisy in “The Color of Truth,” Casablanca in “Play it Again, Seymour,” boxing in general in “The Right Hand of God”) and what creator Donald Bellisario calls the occasional “kiss with history” (Sam crosses paths with the young Buddy Holly and Michael Jackson, among others). It doesn’t all work, as Quantum Leap occasionally becomes too cute and facile for its own good. But that and the set’s paucity of bonus material (limited to one passable featurette and brief episode intros by Bakula) are the only real shortcomings of a boxed set that will likely earn multiple spins in the DVD player.

Product Description
Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and Vanished…He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Quantum Leap – The Complete Third Season

Quantum Leap – The Complete Fourth Season

Quantum Leap – The Complete Fifth Season

Lost in Space - Seasons 1 - 3

Lost in Space – Seasons 1 – 3

Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of discs: 5
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com [Season One]
Lost in Space began life in 1965 as a science-fiction take on The Swiss Family Robinson. Produced by Irwin Allen, then in the midst of his run of spectacular-but-childish TV sci-fi (before he became the master of big-screen disaster movies), the show featured a family of all-American space colonists cast away on a mysterious planet. Gradually the whole thing devolved into a silly (but sometimes fun) exercise in childish camp. This boxed set includes all 29 black and white episodes from the first season (with a burst of color at the end of the last show–a foretaste of the garish look of the remaining two seasons) along with “No Place to Hide,” the expensive pilot show that sold the series but prompted Allen to revamp the whole premise in comic mode when network execs responded best to its unintended humor.

“No Place to Hide” has action scenes that cropped up in the first six regular episodes but is missing several of the show’s trademark aspects, most notably that infectious theme from Johnny Williams (later, John Williams of Star Wars fame) and the scheming presence of Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) and his alternately menacing and comical robot (“It does not compute”). As the series progresses (or degenerates, depending on your taste), Harris’s Smith changes from pantomime villain, a saboteur who is trying to kill the family, into pantomime idiot whose foolishness, cowardice, and avarice are an endless source of plots. It mostly makes do with the regular cast plus an array of shaggy-suited, snarling aliens, but you do get sterling ham from visiting astronauts such as Warren Oates (“Welcome Stranger”), Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (“War of the Robots”), and a very young Kurt Russell (“The Challenge”). Stories about surviving on an alien world give way to lifts from fairy tale, myth, and old movies as Smith gets hold of a wishing cap, becomes a giant, is chosen as a sacrificial king, turns the children over to an alien zoo, squeaks in fright as a werewolf approaches, or is cursed with a platinum Midas touch.

Knight Rider Seasons 1 - 4 Bundle DVD Set

Knight Rider Seasons 1 – 4 Bundle DVD Set

Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 12
  • Studio: Universal Studios

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Complete Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Knight Rider on DVD. US Version. Region 1. Factory Sealed. /// Michael Long is a crimefighter who is seriously wounded during his work. Nursed back to health by a mysterious benefactor (chairman of the Knight Industries), he regains consciousness a new man with a new face and a new name: Michael Knight. His mysterious benefactor (through the guise of associate Devon Miles) provides Michael with equipment and support so that he can continue his crime fighting work. The most notable piece of equipment supplied, is “KITT”, a high-performance sports car fitted with artificial intelligence.

NOTE: The Red Dwarf series comes from the BBCAmerica store, but I believe it can be found on Amazon.

Red Dwarf: The Complete Collection

Red Dwarf: Series I & II
The Complete Series One and Two! A radiation leak wipes out the crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf, leaving Dave Lister as the only survivor and after 3 million years in suspended animation, the last human in the universe.
DVD Fullscreen

Red Dwarf: Series III & IV
Ge ready for more crazy antics and wild chaos from outer space with the crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf!
DVD Widescreen

Red Dwarf: Series V & VI
Female droids…evil doppelgangers…and a cactus in a very private place! The slobbiest, most wacked-out bunch of spacebums ever to set foot in an alternate reality is back for more crazy antics and outer-space chaos.
DVD Fullscreen

Red Dwarf: Series VII
After a temporary bout of deadness, the Dwarfers find themselves solving one of the biggest conspiracy plots of all time, before Ace Rimmer drops in with the challenge of Rimmer’s life.
DVD Fullscreen

Red Dwarf: Series VIII
The nanobots have populated the ship with its original crew. This is especially good news for Rimmer, who is now a lot less dead, but is extremely bad news for everyone else.
DVD Fullscreen

These that follow don’t come from Amazon, but from http://www.dvdavenue.tv/themes/sci-fi.html and one other site, so the information is presented in a slightly different format, and I have had to make slight corrections in grammar, etc..

Witchblade DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

Witchblade – Seasons 1-2

DVD SPECS
Video Format: Normal Screen
Special Features: None
Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
episode selection)
Commercials: None
Language Tracks: English
Subtitle Tracks: None
Rating: Not Rated
Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
Professional, Full Color Artwork
Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
PAL and NTSC DVD players

Witchblade was premiered on the 1st of June 2001 and lasted on the 1st of August 2002. The series was created by Marc Silvestri and J.D. Zeik and it has two (2) seasons with twenty-three (23) episodes. It follows the exploits of a police detective who fights crime with the help of an ancient and powerful weapon.

Sara Pezzini portrayed by Yancy Butler, a homicide detective for the New York Police Department (NYPD) and while finding justice she came into contact with a very powerful, ancient, intelligent weapon known as the Witchblade. Kenneth Irons portrayed by Anthony Cistaro, the evil mastermind. Other characters are Jake McCartey portrayed by David Chocachi; Ian Nottingham portrayed by Eric Etebari; Danny Woo portrayed by Will Yun Lee; Gallo portrayed by Conrad Dunn; and many others.

  • Witchblade DVD is a collection of 12 DVDs in a 3 box set as shown above, all episodes are organize from pilot to finale.
  • With custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
  • The Witchblade DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
  • All DVDs are presented in full screen, commercial free and unedited. Exactly the same as it was shown in American television.
  • Presented in English
  • This item has not been rated

7 Days DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

7 Days – Seasons 1-3

DVD SPECS
Video Format: Normal Screen
Special Features: None
Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
episode selection)
Commercials: None
Language Tracks: English
Subtitle Tracks: None
Rating: Not Rated
Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
Professional, Full Color Artwork
Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
PAL and NTSC DVD players)

7 Days was premiered on the 7th of October 1998 and lasted on the 29th of May 2001. The series was created by Christopher and Zachary Crowe and it has three (3) seasons and sixty-six (66) episodes. It follows the exploit of a man who can travel back in time seven days before the disaster had happened.

United States National Security Agency developed a time traveling device known as Project Backstep. The project allows a person to back step exactly seven days before the disaster happened and for him to prevent it from happening. U.S. Navy lieutenant Francis Parker, also known as Frank, (portrayed by Jonathan LaPaglia) was the project chrononaut. He qualified for the job because he has high tolerance for pain, he has a good memory, and has had a psychiatric problem that gave him a very flexible mind set. He was joined by Dr. Bradley Talmadge portrayed by Alan Scarfe as the head of the Project Backstep; Nathan Ramsey portrayed by Nick Searcy as head of security of the Project Backstep; and Captain Craig Donovan portrayed by Don Franklin as the backup chrononaut.

  • 7 Days DVD is a collection of 15 DVDs in a 3 box set as shown above, all episodes are organize from pilot to finale.
  • The 7 Days DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime.
  • 7 Days DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide”
  • All DVDs are presented in full screen, commercial free and unedited. Exactly the same as it was shown in American television
  • Presented in English
  • This item has not been rated

Time Trax DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

Time Traxx – Seasons 1-2

DVD SPECS
Video Format: Normal Screen
Special Features: None
Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
episode selection)
Commercials: None
Language Tracks: English
Subtitle Tracks: None
Rating: Not Rated
Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
Professional, Full Color Artwork
Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
PAL and NTSC DVD players)

Time Trax debuted on the 20th of January 1993 and ended on the 3rd of December 1994. The series was created by Harve Bennett, Jeffrey Hayes, and Grant Rosenberg and it has two (2) seasons with forty-four (44) episodes. It follows the exploits of a police officer from the 22nd century who goes back to the present time and chases the fugitives who travel to our time using a time machine called Trax.

Darien Lambert, portrayed by Dale Midkiff, was a detective sent back to 1993 to get as many fugitives from their time as possible. He was assisted by SELMA, a powerful computer and disguised as a MasterCard. He encountered fugitives such as Dr. Mordecai Sahmbi, Charlie Burke and Sepp Dietrich among others.

  • The Time Trax DVD is a collection of 11 DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
  • The Time Trax DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
  • The Time Trax DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
  • Presented in full screen format – exactly as it was shown on television
  • Presented in English
  • This item has not been rated

War of The Worlds DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

War Of The Worlds – Seasons 1-2

DVD SPECS
Video Format: Normal Screen
Special Features: None
Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
episode selection)
Commercials: None
Language Tracks: English
Subtitle Tracks: None
Rating: Not Rated
Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
Professional, Full Color Artwork
Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
PAL and NTSC DVD players)

War of the World debuted on the 10th of October 1988 and ended on the 14th of May 1990. The series was created by Greg Strangis and it has two (2) seasons with forty-two (42) episodes. The series follows the exploits of a team who fight against the aliens who want to invade the Earth.

The group that was formed by the government consisted of: Dr. Harrison Blackwood, portrayed by Jared Martin, a astrophysicist who led the team, (they were named The Blackwood Project). Dr. Suzanne McCullough, portrayed by Lynda Mason Green, a microbiologist and a single mother with her daughter named Debi. They were also joined by the computer genius and a friend to Blackwood named Norton Drake, portrayed by Philip Akin, and Lt. Col. Paul Ironhorse, portrayed by Richard Chaves, a very conservative native American military man.

  • War of The Worlds DVD is a collection of 8 DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
  • War of The Worlds DVD collection includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
  • War of The Worlds DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
  • All DVD’s are presented in full screen. Exactly the same as it was shown in American television.
  • Presented in English
  • This item has not been ratedJake 2.0 on DVDJake 2.0

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Jake 2.0 was an American television series about Jake Foley, a computer technician for the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA) and became a secret agent after a freak accident at the Agency. Jake was exposed to a liquid containing top-secret nanites, which are now giving him mind-boggling powers. He possesses superhuman strength, lightning-fast speed, heightened hearing, razor sharp vision and telepathic abilities to communicate with computers.
    Jake 2.0 was originally aired from September 10, 2003 until December 17, 2003 on the UPN network. The story centered on Jake Foley as he straddles two different worlds: his life as the world’s mightiest secret agent, and keeping his secret from the outside world, including his friends, family and congressional staffer, Sarah Heywood, for whom he secretly pines.

    • Jake 2.0 DVD is a collection of 3 DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
    • Jake 2.0 DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
    • Jake 2.0 DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
    • Presented in full screen format – exactly as it was shown on television
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

    First Wave DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

    First Wave – Seasons 1-3

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    First Wave premiered on the 9th of September 1998 and lasted to the 28th of February 2001. The series was created by Chris Brancato and it has three (3) seasons with sixty-six (66) episodes. It follows the exploits of a security specialist who was once a thief and was now part of an experiment to test humans.

    Lawrence Kincade Foster or much known as Cade, has a great life after being a thief before; he is now a security specialist with a beautiful wife and nice house. Unfortunately he was used as subject 117 in an experiment against the Gua aliens without him knowing it and being the subject of the experiment, his life will be ruined (which includes his wife’s murder and Cade being framed for it). The Gua intend to enslave humanity and to conquer and finally destroy the human race. Cade was to stop the three waves intended by Gua. With the help of Eddie Nambulous, a computer hacker and Joshua, one of the Gua but who does not believe that the invasion of the Earth was necessary, and so he helps Cade and Eddie to stop his people from the invasion itself.

    • The First Wave DVD is a collection of 8 DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
    • The First Wave DVD also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime.
    • The First Wave DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
    • First Wave DVD is presented in full screen format – exactly as it was shown on television
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

    Tek War DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

    Tek War – Seasons 1-2

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Tek War debuted on the 23rd of January 1994 and ended on the 9th of February 1996. The series was based on the novels written by William Shatner and it has two (2) seasons with twenty-two (22) episodes. It focused on a computerized mind-altering drug known as Tek.

    Jake Cardigan, portrayed by Greg Evigan, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. He was framed for dealing with the addictive drug, Tek, four years before. But fortunately he was released earlier that the 15 years sentenced.

    • Tek War DVD is a collection of DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
    • Tek War DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
    • Tek War DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
    • Presented in full screen format – exactly as it was shown on television
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

    Time Cop DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

    Time Cop – Season 1

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Time Cop premiered on the 22nd of September 1997 and lasted on the 18th of July 1998. The series was created by Mike Richardson and Mark Verheiden, and it had only one (1) season with only nine (9) episodes. It follows the exploits of an agent who tracked down criminals who were trying to change the past.

    Jack Logan, portrayed by Ted King, was the best agent of the Time Enforcement Commission or TEC. They were formed to tracked down time-criminals who had plans to change the past. He was joined by Captain Gene Matuzek, portrayed by Don Stark; Dale Easter, portrayed by Kurt Fuller as the historian; and Claire Hemmings, portrayed by Cristi Conaway as the science/tech advisor.

    Blakes 7 on DVD

    Blakes 7 – Seasons 1-4

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Blake’s 7 debuted on the 1st of January 1978 and ended on the 1st of December 1981. The series was created by Terry Nation and has four (4) seasons with fifty-two (52) episodes. It follows the exploits of a group of reluctant rebels fighting against the forces of the totalitarian Earth Federation.

    Roj Blake, portrayed by Gareth Thomas, was one of several convicted and sentenced to deportation to a penal colony on a remote planet. But he and the others escaped while being transported and they obtained an advanced alien spacecraft named the Liberator, which they used to strike back against the Federation. Unfortunately the other convicts are reluctant to follow Blake’s plan. The other rebels are Kerr Avon, portrayed by Paul Darrow, the computer genius; Jenna Stannis, portrayed by Sally Knyvette, the beautiful smuggler; Vila Restal, portrayed by Michael Keating, the thief; Olag Gan, portrayed by David Jackson, the murderer who killed his girlfriend; Cally, portrayed by Jan Chappell, an alien and with telepathic and psychic abilities; and Zen, voiced by Peter Tuddenham, the master computer in the Liberator spacecraft.

    • The Blake’s 7 DVD is a complete collection, all episodes are organize from pilot to finale.
    • Blake’s 7 DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
    • The Blake’s 7 DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
    • All DVDs are presented in full screen, commercial free and unedited. Exactly the same as it was shown in American television.
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

    Dark Skies on SCI-FI DVD

    Dark Skies – Season 1

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Nomal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Dark Skies premiered on 21st of September 1996 on NBC and was later return by the Sci-Fi Channel. The series was created by Bryce Zabel and it had only (1) season with (19) episodes. It follows that the history we know was just a lie.

    John Loengard and Kim Sayers attempt numerous plans to thwart the alien’s hive, most of which are tied to historical events and figures. The pair must stay one step ahead of a covert government agency, Majestic-12 – their task is to maintain the conspiracy of silence while fighting the aliens.

    • The Dark Skies DVD is a collection of 3 DVDs in a boxed set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale.
    • The Dark Skies DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime.
    • The Dark Skies DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide.
    • All DVDs are presented in full screen. Exactly the same as it was shown in American television.
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

    Salvage DVD || Complete TV Series on DVD

    Salvage

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Salvage 1 was a science fiction series that premiered on the 20th of January 1979 and lasted to the 28th of May 1979. The series, produced by ABC, has sixteen (16) episodes.

    The story started with Harry Broderick’s (Andy Griffith) dream to build a build a spaceship, go to the moon, salvage all the junk that’s up there, bring it back and sell it. Harry Broderick owns the Jettison Scrap and Salvage Company. To make his dream real he invited Addison “Skip” Carmichael (Joel Higgins) a former astraunaut and and Melanie “Mel” Slozar (Trish Stewart) a NASA fuel expert to establish a team.

    The team created a spaceship and called Vulture and that is where all adventures of the team started.

    • Salvage 1 DVD is a collection of DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
    • Salvage 1 DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
    • Salvage 1 DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
    • Presented in full screen format – exactly as it was shown on television
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

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    Tripods

    The Tripods, a revolutionary cult TV series by BBC, aired on September 1984 to December 1985, and was based on the science-fiction books of John Christopher. The story is about how humanity has been conquered and enslaved by the “Tripods,” huge metallic-looking aliens. The series also featured other non-humanoid aliens.

    • Tripods DVD is a collection of 41 DVDs in a 6 box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale.
    • Tripods DVD includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime.
    • The Tripods DVD collection is formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide.
    • All DVDs are presented in full screen. Exactly the same as it was shown in American television.
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    image

    Starman (series)

    DVD SPECS
    Video Format: Normal Screen
    Special Features: None
    Menu’s Yes (Interactive Menu for quick and easy
    episode selection)
    Commercials: None
    Language Tracks: English
    Subtitle Tracks: None
    Rating: Not Rated
    Product Packaging: Standard DVD Cases with
    Professional, Full Color Artwork
    Region Code: 0 (Region-Free – Plays Worldwide)
    DVD Format: Format-Free DVD-R (Plays in both
    PAL and NTSC DVD players)

    Starman is a sci-fi tv series that premiered on September 19, 1986 and ended on May 2, 1987. This series originally came from 1984 film of the same title. Starring Christopher Barnes and Robert Hays, under the direction of John Carpenter.

    Set 15 years before the film, in the series, the alien returns to find and assist the child he fathered 15 years before on his visit to Earth When he arrives, he takes on the identity of Paul Forrester, highly paid freelance photographer with a rather wild reputation killed in a helicopter accident. He finds the child (Scott Hayden) and his mother (Jenny) have been separated. Paul convinces Scott to help him to locate Jenny, his friend from his first visit to Earth. Unfortunately, their search is plagued by George Fox, a paranoid government agent who feels Paul and Scott are dangerous and wants to capture, examine, and probably kill them.

    • Starman DVD is a collection of DVDs in a box set as shown above, all 100% in chronological order from the pilot to the finale
    • Starman DVD collection also includes custom artwork and episode guides so you can find your favorite episode at anytime
    • Starman DVD collection are formatted region free so they will play on any DVD player, DVD-ROM X-Box or PS2 Worldwide
    • Presented in full screen format – exactly as it was shown on television
    • Presented in English
    • This item has not been rated

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    Space Rangers

    • Running Time: 278 mins
    • Region: 2
    • Main Language: English
    • Product Number: 665967
    • Production Years: 1993

    In the year 2104, new worlds have been discovered and civilisations have been established all across the galaxy. On the frontier, the Space Rangers, a group of volunteers, have agreed to help uphold the law and protect the innocent from the threat of the “Banshies.” Led by Captain John Boon, the Rangers are a mixture of characters, including: Doc, Jojo, Kincaid and the alien Zylyn. Features all six episodes: Fort Hope, Banshies, The Replacements, Death Before Dishonour, The Trial and The Entertainer.

    Starring:

    Jeff Kaake, Marjorie Monoghan, Cary-Hiroyuli Tagawa, Jack McGee, Clint Howard, Danny Quinn

    Directed by:

    Ben Bolt, Thom Eberhardt, David Burton Morris, Mikael Salomon

    Happy Viewing and watch out for the next part – the collection grows…

  • The Ultimate Sci-Fi DVD Boxed Set collection, part I

    This is of course, my own idea on what is the ‘ultimate collection,” but I think I’ve covered most of the best here. This is a dream list – there are less expensive sets, and or copies of some of these movies and TV series, but this IS the ultimate collection! Much of it is TV, although there is a nice smattering of movies collected together or as add-ons to series. Since I already covered most of the regular movies in my Sci-Fi Movie Night posts, I will refrain from repeating those, unless they “add” to a collection, or are very special editions – Like the Blade Runner one – of course, Mark Harris said it best in his Future Schlock article on whether Sci-Fi is dead (EW – 1/11/08) – “Personally I’m holding out for a Super Platinum Deluxe Psychotic Edition, which will arrive in a crate containing 47 discs and Ridley Scott himself, who will hang out with you and then rewire your home sound system.” Sometimes, it seems all to true, as the editions get bigger and glossier, and contain more and more bonus material and different versions, etc. One of them listed in this three part piece contains, I believe, 5 editions of the same movie! Unless noted, all comments are from Amazon, and thus I will not use Quote marks, or attribute each piece to them. I have added a few comments of my own below, but this is about the DVDs, not my opinions! Some of these I hadn’t heard of, others I have watched all my life, over and over.

    So sit back, get your Visa ready, and dream…

    Alien Quadrilogy (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)

    Alien Quadrilogy (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com essential video
    “The Alien Quadrilogy is a nine-disc boxed set devoted to the four Alien films. Although previously available on DVD as the Alien Legacy, here they have been repackaged with vastly more extras and with upgraded sound and picture. For anyone who hasn’t been in hypersleep for the last 25 years, this series needs no introduction, though for the first time each film now comes in both original and “special edition” form.

    Alien (1979) was so perfect it didn’t need fixing, and Ridley Scott’s 2003 director’s cut is fiddling for the sake of fiddling. Watch it once, then return to the majestic, perfectly paced original. Conversely, the special edition of James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) is the definitive version, though it’s nice to finally have the theatrical cut on DVD for comparison. Most interesting is the alternative Alien 3 (1992). This isn’t a “director’s cut”–David Fincher refused to have any involvement with this release–but a 1991 work-print that runs 29 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and has now been restored, remastered, and finished off with (unfortunately) cheap new CGI. Still, it’s truly fascinating, offering a different insight into a flawed masterpiece. The expanded opening is visually breathtaking, the central firestorm is much longer, and a subplot involving Paul McGann’s character adds considerable depth to story. The ending is also subtly but significantly different. Alien: Resurrection (1997) always was a mess with a handful of brilliant scenes, and the special edition just makes it eight minutes longer.

    The Alien Quadrilogy offers the first and fourth films with DTS soundtracks, the others having still fine Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. All four films sound fantastic, with much low-level detail revealed for the first time. Each is anamorphically enhanced at the correct original aspect ratio, and the prints and transfers are superlative. Every film offers a commentary track that lends insight into the creative process–though the Scott-only commentary and isolated music score from the first Alien DVD release are missing here.

    Each movie is complemented by a separate disc packed with hours of seriously detailed documentaries (all presented in full-screen with clips letterboxed), thousands of photos, production stills, and storyboards, giving a level of inside information for the dedicated buff only surpassed by the Lord of the Rings extended DVD sets. A ninth DVD compiles miscellaneous material, including an hourlong documentary and even all the extras from the old Alien laserdisc. “Exhaustive” hardly beings to describe the Alien Quadrilogy, a set that establishes the new DVD benchmark for retrospective releases and looks unlikely to be surpassed for some time.”

    Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)

    Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer
    • Directors: Ridley Scott
    • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
    • Language: English, French
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 5
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Warner Bros.
    • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2007
    • Run Time: 578 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com essential video
    When Ridley Scott’s cut of Blade Runner was finally released in 1993, one had to wonder why the studio hadn’t done it right the first time–11 years earlier. This version is so much better, mostly because of what’s been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phony happy ending) rather than what’s been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further “explanation”; he later confessed that he thought if he did it badly they wouldn’t use it. (Moral: Never overestimate the taste of movie executives.) The movie’s spectacular futuristic vision of Los Angeles–a perpetually dark and rainy metropolis that’s the nightmare antithesis of “Sunny Southern California”–is still its most seductive feature, an otherworldly atmosphere in which you can immerse yourself. The movie’s shadowy visual style, along with its classic private-detective/murder-mystery plot line (with Ford on the trail of a murderous android, or “replicant”), makes Blade Runner one of the few science fiction pictures to legitimately claim a place in the film noir tradition. And, as in the best noir, the sleuth discovers a whole lot more (about himself and the people he encounters) than he anticipates…. With Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, and M. Emmet Walsh. –Jim Emerson

    Product Description
    “Visually spectacular, intensely action-packed and powerfully prophetic since its debut, Blade Runner returns in Ridley Scott’s definitive Final Cut, including extended scenes and never-before-seen special effects. In a signature role as 21st-century detective Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford brings his masculine-yet-vulnerable presence to this stylish noir thriller. In a future of high-tech possibility soured by urban and social decay, Deckard hunts for fugitive, murderous replicants – and is drawn to a mystery woman whose secrets may undermine his soul. This spectacular 5-Disc Set includes all five version of the legendary Sci-Fi film from Director Ridley Scott – the definitive Final Cut with all new 5.1 audio, three additional versions of the film, and the rare Work Print version – in addition to the in-depth feature length documentary “Dangerous Days”, and one complete disc of bonus content including over 80-minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition is packaged in a limited edition, numbered “Deckard” briefcase and features rare and collectable memorabilia such as a Spinner car replica, Unicorn figurine, Illustration and Photo cards, and a lenticular Motion Film Clip in lucite. This is the ultimate collection that no fan should be without! Also available in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Disc.”

    The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition)

    The Lord of the Rings – The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition)

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    “The extended editions of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings present the greatest trilogy in film history in the most ambitious sets in DVD history. In bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s nearly unfilmable work to the screen, Jackson benefited from extraordinary special effects, evocative New Zealand locales, and an exceptionally well-chosen cast, but most of all from his own adaptation with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, preserving Tolkien’s vision and often his very words, but also making logical changes to accommodate the medium of film. While purists complained about these changes and about characters and scenes left out of the films, the almost two additional hours of material in the extended editions (about 11 hours total) help appease them by delving more deeply into Tolkien’s music, the characters, and loose ends that enrich the story, such as an explanation of the Faramir-Denethor relationship, and the appearance of the Mouth of Sauron at the gates of Mordor. In addition, the extended editions offer more bridge material between the films, further confirming that the trilogy is really one long film presented in three pieces (which is why it’s the greatest trilogy ever–there’s no weak link). The scene of Galadriel’s gifts to the Fellowship added to the first film proves significant over the course of the story, while the new Faramir scene at the end of the second film helps set up the third and the new Saruman scene at the beginning of the third film helps conclude the plot of the second.

    To top it all off, the extended editions offer four discs per film: two for the longer movie, plus four commentary tracks and stupendous DTS 6.1 ES sound; and two for the bonus material, which covers just about everything from script creation to special effects. The argument was that fans would need both versions because the bonus material is completely different, but the features on the theatrical releases are so vastly inferior that the only reason a fan would need them would be if they wanted to watch the shorter versions they saw in theaters (the last of which, The Return of the King, merely won 11 Oscars). The LOTR extended editions without exception have set the DVD standard by providing a richer film experience that pulls the three films together and further embraces Tolkien’s world, a reference-quality home theater experience, and generous, intelligent, and engrossing bonus features.”

    Product Description
    “This critically acclaimed epic trilogy follows the quest undertaken by the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and his fellowship of companions to save Middle-earth by destroying the One Ring and defeating the evil forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. With new and extended scenes carefully added back into the film, the 12-disc set also includes hours of bonus features. ”

    The Complete Definitive Collection

    Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection

    Product Details

    • Actors: Twilight Zone
    • Format: NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 28
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Image Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
    • Run Time: 4524 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com [from Season One]
    Submitted for your approval: The Twilight Zone‘s inaugural season, all 36 episodes complete with Rod Serling’s original promos for the following week’s episode, not seen since their original broadcast. To discuss television’s greatest anthology series whose title has become pop culture shorthand for the bizarre and supernatural is to immediately become like Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd in Twilight Zone: The Movie; a can-you-top-this recall of famous shocks and favorite twists. Several essential episodes hail from this season, among them, “Time Enough at Last” starring Burgess Meredith as a bespectacled bookworm who is the lone survivor of an atomic blast; “The After-Hours” starring Anne Francis as a department store shopper haunted by mannequins; and the profoundly disturbing “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” in which fear and prejudice turns neighbor against neighbor (and, by the by, whose alien observers inspired Kang and Kodos on The Simpsons).

    From an unsettlingly persistent hitchhiker to a malevolent slot machine, The Twilight Zone‘s first season did plumb “the pit of man’s fears.” One forgets how moving the series could be. Three of this season’s most memorable and enduring episodes are the poignant and primal “stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off fantasies, “Walking Distance,” “A Stop at Willougby” and “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine,” in which desperate characters seek refuge in a simpler past. Serling’s few stabs at comedy (“Mr. Bevis,” “The Mighty Casey”) have not aged well, but the series finale, “A World of His Own,” starring Keenan Wynn as a playwright whose fictional characters come to life, has a brilliant capper. The episodes are more deliberately paced than one might remember. Less patient younger viewers might be anxious to get to the payoffs, but once they settle into the rhythm, they will savor the literate writing and the performances by such veteran actors as Ed Wynn, Everett Sloan, and Ida Lupino, and newcomers such as Jack Klugman. The extras, including the unaired version of the pilot episode, “Where is Everybody?”, audio commentaries and recollections, and a Serling college lecture, truly take this six-disc set to another dimension. –Donald Liebenson

    Product Description
    For the first time ever find all 156 complete episodes of Rod Serling’s groundbreaking series in one box set packed with exciting extras! Travel to another dimension of sight and sound again and again through these stellar remastered high-definition film transfers.Extras include the fascinating Serling bio-documentary Submitted for Your Approval compelling interviews with the show’s writers the series’ unaired pilot audio commentaries with Martin Landau Leonard Nimoy Cliff Robertson and much much more!

    Twilight Zone - The Movie

    Twilight Zone – The Movie

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    A highly anticipated release for fantasy fans in the summer of 1983, Twilight Zone: The Movie presents three adaptations of classic episodes (and one original story) from Rod Serling’s anthology series by a quartet of the biggest directors in Hollywood. With Stephen Spielberg (also the film’s co-producer), John Landis, George Miller (The Road Warrior, Happy Feet), and Joe Dante behind the camera for this portmanteau feature, one might expect Serling’s episodes to positively gleam with star power, but the truth is that Twilight Zone: The Movie is a hit-and-miss affair. Landis opens with an amusing nod to the original series’ pop-culture appeal with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks riffing on their favorite episodes before a hair-raising shock finale; unfortunately, his second offering is a bland morality plan about racial tolerance that will forever be overshadowed by the accident that claimed the lives of star Vic Morrow and two child actors during shooting. Spielberg’s take on George Clayton Johnson’s “Kick the Can” looks lovely and is well performed by its cast (especially Scatman Crothers), but it struggles to bear up under the weight of treacley sentiment so common to the director’s films at the time. Dante’s version of Jerome Bixby’s “It’s A Good Life” (about a boy with monstrous powers) is rife with his trademark energy and black humor (and his cast of regular players, including Kevin McCarthy and William Schallert, strike the right balance of terror and comedy). But it’s Miller’s revamp of Richard Matheson’s legendary “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” that delivers the biggest payoff, thanks to John Lithgow’s super-charged turn as a nervous airline passenger who’s convinced he’s seen a monster tampering with the plane’s wing. Burgess Meredith (himself a veteran of the original TZ) provides narration; the widescreen DVD features no extras save for the original trailer and a remastered digital transfer. –Paul Gaita
    Product Description
    Four short horrorific tales are anthologized in this film as a tributeto rod serling and his popular tv series.

    Planet of the Apes - The Legacy Collection (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)

    Planet of the Apes – The Legacy Collection (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com essential video [From the original movie]
    Many early science fiction films are now, quite inadvertently (and in most cases undeservedly), objects of camp attention: we laugh at the silly makeup, tin-can special effects, and the naive “high-tech” dialogue. Planet of the Apes is no such film. Its intelligent script, frightening costuming, and savagely effective conclusion (which needs no big-budget special effects to augment its impact) remain both potent and relevant. When Colonel George Taylor (the fabulous Charlton Heston) crash lands his spacecraft on what seems to be an unfamiliar planet, he is captured and held prisoner by a dominant race of hyperrational, articulate apes. However, the ape community is riven with internal dissention, centered in no small part on its policy toward humans, who, on this planet, are treated as mindless animals. Befriended and ultimately assisted by the more liberal simians, Taylor escapes–only to find a more terrifying obstacle confronting his return home. Heavy-handed object lessons abound–the ubiquity of generational warfare, the inflexibility of dogma, the cruelty of prejudice–and the didactic fingerprints of Rod Serling are very much in evidence here. But director Franklin Schaffner has a dark, pop-apocalyptic sci-fi vision all his own, and time has not dulled the monumental emotional impact of the film’s climactic payoff shot. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, you owe it to yourself to check out this stone classic, and even if you do, see it with fresh eyes; and don’t be surprised if you get the chills all over again… and again… and again. –Miles Bethany

    Product Description
    Disk 1: *Planet of the Apes (’68)

    Disk 2: *Escape from the Planet of the Apes

    Disk 3: *Conquest for the Planet of the Apes

    Disk 4: *Battle for the Planet of the Apes

    Disk 5: *Beneath the Planet of the Apes

    Disk 6: *Behind the Planet of the Apes (bonus disc) *Documentary ”Behind the Planet of the Apes” *Planet of the Apes trailer *Beneath the Planet of the Apes trailer *Escape from the Planet of the Apes trailer *Conquest of the Planet of the Apes trailer *Battle for the Planet of the Apes trailer *Planet of the Apes Cross Promotion trailer *TV Spot for Behind the Planet of the Apes *Fox Interactive Presents: Behind the Scenes of the Planet of the Apes game

    Planet of the Apes (Special Edition)

    Planet of the Apes (Special Edition)

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Billed as a “reimagining” of the original 1968 film, Tim Burton’s extraordinary Planet of the Apes constantly borders on greatness, adhering to the spirit of Pierre Boulle’s original novel while exploring fresh and inventive ideas and paying honorable tribute to the ’68 sci-fi classic. Burton’s gifts for eccentric inspiration and visual ingenuity make this a movie that’s as entertaining as it is provocative, beginning with Rick Baker’s best-ever ape makeup (hand that man an Oscar®!), and continuing through the surprisingly nuanced performances and breathtaking production design. Add to all this an intelligent screenplay that turns Boulle’s speculative reversal–the dominance of apes over humans–into a provocative study of civil rights and civil war. The film finally goes too far with a woefully misguided ending that pays weak homage to the original, but everything preceding that misfire is astonishingly right.

    While attempting the space-pod retrieval of a chimpanzee test pilot, Major Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) enters a magnetic storm that propels him into the distant future, where he crash-lands on the ape-ruled planet. Among the primitively civilized apes, treatment of enslaved humans is a divisive issue: senator’s daughter Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) advocates equality while the ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) promotes extermination. While Davidson ignites a human rebellion, this conflict is explored with admirable depth and emotion, and sharp dialogue allows Burton’s exceptional cast to bring remarkable expressiveness to their embattled ape characters, most notably in the comic relief of orangutan slave trader Limbo (played to perfection by Paul Giamatti). Classic lines from the original film are cleverly reversed (including an unbilled cameo for Charlton Heston, in ape regalia as Thade’s dying father), and while this tale of interspecies warfare leads to an ironic conclusion that’s not altogether satisfying, it still bears the ripe fruit of a timeless what-if idea. –Jeff Shannon
    Product Description
    After a spectacular crash-landing on an uncharted planet, brash astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself trapped in a savage world where talking apes dominate the human race. Desperate to find a way home, Leo must evade the invincible gorilla army led by ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) and his most trusted warrior, Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan). Now the pulse-pounding race is on to reach a sacred temple that may hold the shocking secrets of mankind’s past – and the last hope for it’s salvation!

    The Complete TV Series

    Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series

    Product Details

    • Actors: Planet of the Apes-TV Series
    • Format: Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 4
    • Rating:
    • Studio: 20th Century Fox
    • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
    • Run Time: 696 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Product Description
    After their spacecraft travels through a time warp, two astronauts (Ron Harper, James Naughton) from 1981 crash-land back on Earth in the year 3085 – a time when intelligent apes rule and humans have been reduced to servants or pets. Captured by the apes and sentenced to death, they are saved by a curious chimpanzee name Galen (Roddy McDowall). But now all three are on the run, trying to keep one step ahead of the gorilla army led by General Urko (Mark Lenard), who is determined to kill the renegades.

    OR if that isn’t enough:

    Planet of the Apes - The Ultimate DVD Collection

    Planet of the Apes – The Ultimate DVD Collection

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    While provoking neither the decades of spin-offs of the Star Trek franchise or the cultural staying power of the Star Wars universe, Planet of the Apes nonetheless lives in the hearts of many a Sunday afternoon TV-watcher. A high water mark for prosthetic movie magic, this primate-vs-man epic–spanning four movies, a TV series, and an animated series–was as integral to the 1970s as Led Zeppelin or muscle cars. So how to properly pay tribute to a science fiction franchise about intelligent apes roaming a post-apocalyptic earth?

    In a freaking ape head boxed set, man.

    It’s true. 20th Century Fox packaged the entire run–movies, TV series, animated series, and the 2001 Tim Burton remake–in Caesar’s head. Actually, the 14 discs are efficiently packaged in a fold-out book that slides into the bust’s back. The bust is smartly dressed in green canvas, with zippers that don’t actually lead to pockets. The hair is a luxurious mane that could have been wasted on at least three toupes. Put this masterpiece of DVD packaging on a shelf and watch it catch the gaze of everyone who walks into the room. Unfortunately, the set does not come with any supplemental reading material; an essay or two on the impact of Planet of the Apes would have been nice. The set is limited to 10,000 copies and comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity. For those who don’t want to commit to the full ape head experience, most of the discs in this set–sans the animated series, TV show, and Tim Burton remake–can be had in the Planet of the Apes Legacy Boxset –Ryan Boudinot

    Back to the Future - The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)

    Back to the Future – The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)

    Product Details

    Amazon.com essential video
    Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis topped his breakaway hit Romancing the Stone with Back to the Future, a joyous comedy with a dazzling hook: what would it be like to meet your parents in their youth? Billed as a special-effects comedy, the imaginative film (the top box-office smash of 1985) has staying power because of the heart behind Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s script. High schooler Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox, during the height of his TV success) is catapulted back to the ’50s where he sees his parents in their teens, and accidentally changes the history of how Mom and Dad met. Filled with the humorous ideology of the ’50s, filtered through the knowledge of the ’80s (actor Ronald Reagan is president, ha!), the film comes off as a Twilight Zone episode written by Preston Sturges. Filled with memorable effects and two wonderfully off-key, perfectly cast performances: Christopher Lloyd as the crazy scientist who builds the time machine (a DeLorean luxury car) and Crispin Glover as Marty’s geeky dad. –Doug Thomas

    Critics and audiences didn’t seem too happy with Back to the Future, Part II, the inventive, perhaps too clever sequel. Director Zemeckis and cast bent over backwards to add layers of time-travel complication, and while it surely exercises the brain it isn’t necessarily funny in the same way that its predecessor was. It’s well worth a visit, though, just to appreciate the imagination that went into it, particularly in a finale that has Marty watching his own actions from the first film. –Tom Keogh

    Shot back-to-back with the second chapter in the trilogy, Back to the Future, Part III is less hectic than that film and has the same sweet spirit of the first, albeit in a whole new setting. This time, Marty ends up in the Old West of 1885, trying to prevent the death of mad scientist Christopher Lloyd at the hands of gunman Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson, who had a recurring role as the bully Biff). Director Zemeckis successfully blends exciting special effects with the traditions of a Western and comes up with something original and fun. –Tom Keogh
    Product Description
    Experience theiComplete Trilogy!
    Presented by Steven Spielberg, directed by Oscar® winner Robert Zemeckis and starring time travelers Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, the phenomenally popular Back To The Future films literally changed the future of the adventure movie genre. Now, this unprecedented Back To The Future DVD Trilogy immerses you in all the breathtaking action, outrageous comedy and sheer moviemaking magic of one of the most brilliantly inventive, wildly entertaining motion picture triumphs in Hollywood history!

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Collector's Set (40 discs)

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Collector’s Set (40 discs)

    Product Details

    Amazon.com
    From its charming and angst-ridden first season to the darker, apocalyptic final one, Buffy the Vampire Slayer succeeds on many levels, and in a fresher and more authentic way than the shows that came before or after it. How lucky, then, that with the release of its boxed set of seasons 1-7, you can have the estimable pleasure of watching a near-decade of Buffy in any order you choose. (And we have some ideas about how that should be done.)

    First: rest assured that there’s no shame in coming to Buffy late, even if you initially turned your nose up at the winsome Sarah Michelle Gellar kicking the hell out of vampires (in Buffy-lingo, vamps), demons, and other evil-doers. Perhaps you did so because, well, it looked sort of science-fiction-like with all that monster latex. Start with season 3 and see that Buffy offers something for everyone, and the sooner you succumb to it, the quicker you’ll appreciate how textured and riveting a drama it is.

    Why season 3? Because it offers you a winning cast of characters who have fallen from innocence: their hearts have been broken, their egos trampled in typically vicious high-school style, and as a result, they’ve begun to realize how fallible they are. As much as they try, there are always more monsters, or a bigger evil. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the core crew remains something of a unit–there’s the smart girl, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) who dreams of saving the day by downloading the plans to City Hall’s sewer tunnels and mapping a route to safety. There are the ne’r do wells–the vampire Spike (James Marsters), who both clashes with and aspires to love Buffy; the tortured and torturing Angel (David Boreanz); the pretty, popular girl with an empty heart (Charisma Carpenter); and the teenage everyman, Xander (Nicholas Brendon).

    Then there’s Buffy herself, who in the course of seven seasons morphs from a sarcastic teenager in a minidress to a heroine whose tragic flaw is an abiding desire to be a “normal” girl. On a lesser note, with the boxed set you can watch the fashion transformation of Buffy from mall rat to Prada-wearing, kickboxing diva with enviable highlights. (There was the unfortunate bob of season 2, but it’s a forgivable lapse.) At least the storyline merits the transformations: every time Buffy has to end a relationship she cuts her hair, shedding both the pain and her vulnerability.

    In addition to the well-wrought teenage emotional landscape, Buffy deftly takes on more universal themes–power, politics, death, morality–as the series matures in seasons 4-6. And apart from a few missteps that haven’t aged particularly well (“I Robot” in season 1 comes to mind), most episodes feel as harrowing and as richly drawn as they did at first viewing. That’s about as much as you can ask for any form of entertainment: that it offer an escape from the viewer’s workaday world and entry into one in which the heroine (ideally one with leather pants) overcomes demons far more troubling than one’s own. –Megan Halverson
    Product Description
    *Seasons 1-7 on each disc

    Bonus Disc: **Introduction by Joss Whedon **Back to the Hellmouth: A Conversation with Creators and Cast **Breaking Barriers: It’s Not a Chick Fight Thing **Love Bites: Relationships in the Buffyverse **Evil Fiends **Buffy: An Unlikely Role Model **Buffy Cast and Crew: Favorite Episodes

    Angel - Complete Series Collector's Set

    Angel – Complete Series Collector’s Set

    Product Details

    • Actors: David Boreanaz
    • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 30
    • Rating:
    • Studio: 20th Century Fox
    • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007

    Editorial Reviews [For Season one -the complete boxed set didn’t have a review listed]

    Amazon.com
    He’s hunky, he’s brooding, he’s a do-gooder, and he was Buffy’s first boyfriend. Angel, the tortured vampire destined to walk the earth with a soul, got his own series after three seasons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and did what any new star might do: he moved to L.A. (the City of Angels–get it?) and set up shop. Angel (co-created by Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon) finds the titular vampire (David Boreanaz) as a kind of supernatural private investigator, fighting evil one case at a time and, like his ex-girlfriend, keeping the world from getting destroyed by vengeful demons and such.

    A darker, more film noir version of Buffy, Angel lacked the peppy humor that permeated Sunnydale but more than made up for it in its soul-wrenching gravitas, and it elevated Boreanaz to leading-man status, a role he filled out ably and then some. Initially, the stoic vampire was paired with Irish demon Doyle (the late Glenn Quinn) and fellow Sunnydale transplant Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), but Angel finally found its footing when Doyle was dispatched (giving his powers of precognition to Cordelia) and replaced by Buffy alum Wesley (Alexis Denisof), a fallen watcher who, like his friends, was hoping for a new start in L.A. However, pesky law firm Wolfram and Hart (a front for the demon mafia, as it were) reared its ugly head and discovered Angel’s presence, thus setting the stage for a battle of good and evil–and if you’re a regular Joss Whedon fan, you know that it’s a never-ending war.

    This first season features guest appearances by various Buffy characters, including werewolf boy Oz (Seth Green), rogue slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku), deliciously evil vamp Darla (Julie Benz), and Buffy herself (Sarah Michelle Gellar), all of whom helped get the show off and running in style. –Mark Englehart
    Product Description
    HIS TIME HAS COME . . . Now you can own the entire first season of ANGEL. All 22 classic episodes are available for the first time in this exclusive 6-disc collector’s edition. From “City of,” “In the Dark” and “I Will Remember You” to “Hero,” “Sanctuary” and “To Shanshu in L.A.,” these Season One episodes are a must for every Angel and Buffy fan.

    Product Description [for the complete boxed set]
    ANGEL SEASON 1 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 2 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 3 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 4 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 5 (6 DISCS)

    **COMPANION BOOKLET **LETTER TO FANS FROM JOSS WHEDON

    Firefly – The Complete Series

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com

    As the 2005 theatrical release of Serenity made clear, Firefly was a science fiction concept that deserved a second chance. Devoted fans (or “Browncoats”) knew it all along, and with this well-packaged DVD set, those who missed the show’s original broadcasts can see what they missed. Creator Joss Whedon’s ambitious science-fiction Western (Whedon’s third series after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) was canceled after only 11 of these 14 episodes had aired on the Fox network, but history has proven that its demise was woefully premature. Whedon’s generic hybrid got off to a shaky start when network executives demanded an action-packed one-hour premiere (“The Train Job”); in hindsight the intended two-hour pilot (also titled “Serenity,” and oddly enough, the final episode aired) provides a better introduction to the show’s concept and splendid ensemble cast. Obsessive fans can debate the quirky logic of combining spaceships with direct parallels to frontier America (it’s 500 years in the future, and embattled humankind has expanded into the galaxy, where undeveloped “outer rim” planets struggle with the equivalent of Old West accommodations), but Whedon and his gifted co-writers and directors make it work, at least well enough to fashion a credible context from the incongruous culture-clashing of past, present, and future technologies, along with a polyglot language (the result of two dominant superpowers) that combines English with an abundance of Chinese slang.

    What makes it work is Whedon’s delightfully well-chosen cast and their nine well-developed characters–a typically Whedon-esque extended family–each providing a unique perspective on their adventures aboard Serenity, the junky but beloved “Firefly-class” starship they call home. As a veteran of the disadvantaged Independent faction’s war against the all-powerful planetary Alliance (think of it as Underdogs vs. Overlords), Serenity captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) leads his compact crew on a quest for survival. They’re renegades with an amoral agenda, taking any job that pays well, but Firefly‘s complex tapestry of right and wrong (and peace vs. violence) is richer and deeper than it first appears. Tantalizing clues about Blue Sun (an insidious mega-corporation with a mysteriously evil agenda), its ties to the Alliance, and the traumatizing use of Serenity’s resident stowaway (Summer Glau) as a guinea pig in the development of advanced warfare were clear indications Firefly was heading for exciting revelations that were precluded by the series’ cancellation. Fortunately, the big-screen Serenity (which can be enjoyed independently of the series) ensured that Whedon’s wild extraterrestrial west had not seen its final sunset. Its very existence confirms that these 14 episodes (and enjoyable bonus features) will endure as irrefutable proof Fox made a glaring mistake in canceling the series. —Jeff Shannon

    Product Description
    Five hundred years in the future there’s a whole new frontier, and the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity is eager to stake a claim on the action. They’ll take any job, legal or illegal, to keep fuel in the tanks and food on the table. But things get a bit more complicated after they take on a passenger wanted by the new totalitarian Alliance regime. Now they find themselves on the run, desperate to steer clear of Alliance ships and the flesh-eating Reavers who live on the fringes of space.

    Serenity (Collector’s Edition)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin
    • Directors: Joss Whedon
    • Format: AC-3, Collector’s Edition, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: August 21, 2007
    • Run Time: 187 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Serenity offers perfect proof that Firefly deserved a better fate than premature TV cancellation. Joss Whedon’s acclaimed sci-fi Western hybrid series was ideally suited (in Browncoats, of course) for a big-screen conversion, and this action-packed adventure allows Whedon to fill in the Firefly backstory, especially the history and mystery of the spaceship Serenity’s volatile and traumatized stowaway, River Tam (Summer Glau). Her lethal skills as a programmed “weapon” makes her a coveted prize for the power-hungry planetary Alliance, represented here by an Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who’ll stop at nothing to retrieve River from Serenity’s protective crew. We still get all the quip-filled dialogue and ass-kicking action that we’ve come to expect from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Whedon goes a talented step further here, blessing his established ensemble cast with a more fully-developed dynamic of endearing relationships. Serenity‘s cast is led with well-balanced depth and humor by Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds, whose maverick spirit is matched by his devotion to crewmates Wash (Alan Tudyk), Zoe (Gina Torres), fun-loving fighter Jayne (Adam Baldwin), engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite), doctor Simon (Sean Maher), and Mal’s former flame Inara (Morena Baccarin), who plays a pivotal role in Whedon’s briskly-paced plot. As many critics agreed, Serenity offered all the fun and breezy excitement that was missing from George Lucas’s latter-day Star Wars epics, and Whedon leaves an opening for a continuing franchise that never feels cheap or commercially opportunistic. With the mega-corporate mysteries of Blue Sun yet to be explored, it’s a safe bet we haven’t seen the last of the good ship Serenity. –Jeff Shannon
    Product Description
    Serenity, the action-packed event that delivers thrilling non-stop adventure, incredible battles in dangerous worlds and spectacular visual effects, is now available in a Special 2-Disc Collector’s Edition containing all-new bonus content and never-seen-before footage! With over 30 minutes of all-new special features and special collectible packaging, the Serenity – Collector’s Edition is a must own for all true Sci-Fi and Joss Whedon fans! All-new 2-disc edition will include 6 completely new bonus elements including cast & filmmaker commentary. Will also include all bonus features from previous release.

    All New Bonus Features:
    -Extended Scenes (6:45)
    -Take A Walk on Serenity (4:00) Cast and Crew take us on a special tour of the Serenity space ship
    -A Filmmaker’s Journey (19:49) Take A Journey with Joss Whedon from script to the big screen
    -The Green Clan (3:03) An expose on Cinematographer Jack Green and his team
    -Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity (21:41) Hosted by Adam Baldwin, an in-depth look at the film that was resurrected from a cancelled television show, as well as its supportive culture.
    -Session 416 (7:52) These internet pieces document a portion of River’s participation in a psychological study and her interactions with her therapist.
    -Feature Commentary with Director Joss Whedon and Cast Members Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass

    Jurassic Park Adventure Pack (Jurassic Park/ The Lost World: Jurassic Park/ Jurassic Park III)

    Jurassic Park Adventure Pack (Jurassic Park/ The Lost World: Jurassic Park/ Jurassic Park III)

    Product Details

    Amazon.com
    Jurassic Park
    Steven Spielberg’s 1993 mega-hit rivals Jaws as the most intense and frightening film he’d ever made prior to Schindler’s List, but it was also among his weakest stories. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel about an island amusement park populated by cloned dinosaurs, the film works best as a thrill ride with none of the interesting human dynamics of Spielberg’s Jaws. That lapse proves unfortunate, but there’s no shortage of raw terror as a rampaging T-rex and nasty raptors try to make fast food out of the cast. The effects are still astonishing (despite the fact that the computer-generated technology has since been improved upon) and at times primeval, such as the sight of a herd of whatever-they-are scampering through a valley. –Tom Keogh

    The Lost World – Jurassic Park
    In the low tradition of knockoff horror flicks best seen (or not seen) on a drive-in movie screen, Steven Spielberg’s sequel to Jurassic Park is a poorly conceived, ill-organized film that lacks story and logic. Screenwriter David Koepp strings along a number of loose ideas while Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, the quirky chaos theoretician who now reluctantly agrees to go to another island where cloned dinosaurs are roaming freely. Along with his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) and daughter, Malcolm has to deal with hunters, environmentalists, and corporate swine who stupidly bring back a big dino to Southern California, where it runs amok, of course. Spielberg doesn’t seem to care that the pieces of this project don’t add up to a real movie, so he hams it up with big, scary moments (with none of the artfulness of those in Jurassic Park) and smart-aleck visual gags (a yapping dog in a suburb mysteriously disappears when a hungry T-rex stomps by). A complete bust.–Tom Keogh

    Jurassic Park III
    Surpassing expectations to qualify as an above-average sequel, Jurassic Park III is nothing more or less than a satisfying popcorn adventure. A little cheesier than the first two Jurassic blockbusters, it’s a big B movie with big B-list stars (including Laura Dern, briefly reprising her Jurassic Park role), and eight years of advancing computer-generated-image technology give it a sharp edge over its predecessors. While adopting the jungle spirit of King Kong, the movie refines Michael Crichton’s original premise, and its dinosaurs are even more realistic, their behavior more detailed, and their variety–including flying pteranodons and a new villain, the spinosaurus–more dazzling and threatening than ever. These advancements justify the sequel, and its contrived plot is just clever enough to span 90 minutes without wearing out its welcome.

    Posing as wealthy tourists, an adventurous couple (William H. Macy, Téa Leoni) convince paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and his protégé (Allesandro Nivola) to act as tour guides on a flyover trip to Isla Sorna, the ill-fated “Site B” where all hell broke loose in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In truth, they’re on a search-and-rescue mission to find their missing son (Trevor Morgan), and their plane crash is just the first of several enjoyably suspenseful sequences. Director Joe Johnston (October Sky) embraces the formulaic plot as a series of atmospheric set pieces, placing new and familiar dinosaurs in misty rainforests, fiery lakes, and mysterious valleys, turning JP3 into a thrill ride with impressive highlights (including a T. rex versus spinosaurus smack-down), adequate doses of wry humor (from the cowriters of Election), and an upbeat ending that’s corny but appropriate, proving that the symptoms of sequelitis needn’t be fatal. –Jeff Shannon

    Stargate SG-1 - The Complete Series Collection

    Stargate SG-1 – The Complete Series Collection

    Product Details

    • Actors: Stargate Sg1
    • Format: Full Screen, Surround Sound, HiFi Sound, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 54
    • Rating:
    • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
    • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
    • Run Time: 9900 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com [From Season One]
    Hollywood’s film archives overflow with the carcasses of dismal movies based on lame ’60s and ’70s television shows, a syndrome that shows no sign of abating. But here’s evidence that the reverse effect, turning a movie into a TV series, can have surprisingly positive results. Indeed, based on the 21 episodes produced for the first season of Stargate SG-1, it could be argued that this show is significantly better than the 1994 feature it’s derived from.

    The central conceit of the original Stargate–the existence of an artificially created “wormhole” through which one can travel to different worlds light years away from Earth–was an intriguing one. In seizing on the obvious possibilities for expanding on that premise, series executive producers-writers Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright have smartly retained some of the film’s basic elements (its amalgam of myth and theoretical hokum, or the ongoing clash of wills between scientists and soldiers), while adding a variety of fresh ideas (including new characters, new locations, and a welcome dose of humor, much of it supplied by Richard Dean Anderson, MacGyver himself, who replaces Kurt Russell in the central role of Colonel Jack O’Neill). The result is a show with multidimensional heroes and villains and consistently compelling story lines (many of them introduced in the pilot and carried forward through subsequent episodes) balancing excellent special effects and production values. All this and full frontal nudity, too (at least in the aforementioned pilot). Who can resist?

    The first season is spread out over five DVDs; the 100-minute pilot shares the first volume with two other episodes, while discs 2 to 5 contain anywhere from three to five shows each. Sound and visuals (in widescreen format) alike will take full advantage of any home system’s capabilities. But aside from language and subtitle options, bonus features are limited to brief featurettes that play like commercials and provide little in the way of background information or insight (there are no features at all on the first disc). Then again, if you really want to know what that symbol on Teal’c’s forehead means, or why the nasty, parasitic Goa’ulds look a lot like the fledgling stomach monsters in the Alien series, there is no doubt a Web site out there just for you. –Sam Graham

    Amazon.com [From Season Ten]
    If this five-disc, 20-episode, tenth season set really is the end of Stargate SG-1–and considering the number of reprieves the show has already had and the rumors of various movie spin-offs, not to mention the fact that the final installment is entitled “Unending,” who knows?–then the folks responsible for this durable sci-fi series can be proud that they finished it off in style, with a run of episodes that are for the most part highly entertaining, exciting, and fun, offering resolution if not complete closure. And if sharks were jumped, at least they were small ones. As was the case in Season 9, and to a large extent in Season 8 as well, original series star Richard Dean Anderson is little in evidence here. Portraying Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell, Ben Browder, who came to Stargate SG-1 from the underrated Farscape, is now entrenched as leader of SG-1, the Stargate project’s ace team in the field, joining series veterans Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, and Michael Shanks (as Samantha Carter, Teal’c, and Daniel Jackson, respectively). Most notably, fellow Farscape alum Claudia Black has an ever-expanding role as Vala, whose cheeky wit and irreverence bring a consistent spark to the proceedings. The big, bad villains known as Ori are back as well. We still can’t see them–they are, after all, “ascended beings,” represented by the blind, monk-like Priors, who roam the universe intoning “Hallowed are the Ori” and ensuring that all will submit to their will (the element of scary religious fanaticism remains as relevant as ever). But the Ori are also still the most implacable, irresistible force our heroes have ever encountered; nothing less than the fate of the entire galaxy is at stake (again)! And now there’s an added twist: the Ori have a frontwoman, if you will, whose powers make the Priors look like pikers. Known as Adria (or “the Orici” to believers), this beautiful young woman (played by Morena Baccarin) also happens to be the daughter of Vala, whom the Ori chose to bring their demon seed into the world; the uneasy (to say the least) Adria-Vala relationship provides many intriguing moments. On the minus side, the show tends to break its own rules (for instance, for a character who’s supposed to be invincible, Adria often seems awfully, well, vincible), and the commingling of Arthurian legend, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian myth, magic, and other sources is occasionally over-the-top, even for this franchise. Some episodes are plot-heavy, bogged down by too many characters (past bad guys like the Goa’uld, and Ba’al reappear, as do several Stargate Atlantis principals in one episode) or excessive techno-rap about time dilation fields, flux capacitors, and something called the Clava Thessara Infinitas (don’t ask). Episodes in which the writers move away from the central Ori theme are less than stellar; “200” exists mostly as an opportunity to make fun of the TV business and is as irrelevant and silly as “Citizen Joe,” the worst episode from Season 8. And finally, without revealing details, suffice to say that “Unending,” which offers a possible fate for our heroes before totally pulling its punches, may frustrate some longtime adherents. By and large, though, Stargate SG-1 has all the elements–humor, action, great effects, good story-telling and acting, characters you care about–to more than justify its ten-year run. It will be missed. Special features are again bountiful, including audio commentary on all episodes, various featurettes, and five “directors series” entries devoted to particular episodes. –Sam Graham

    Product Description
    Episode Description: Disc 1- 5: Stargate SG-1 Season 1 Disc 6-10: Starage SG-1 Season 2 Disc 11-15: Stargate SG-1 Season 3 Disc 16-20: Stargate SG-1 Season 4 Disc 21-25: Stargate SG-1 Season 5 Disc 26-30: Stargate SG-1 Season 6 Disc 31-35: Stargate SG-1 Season 7 Disc 36-40: Stargate SG-1 Season 8 Disc 41-45: Stargate SG-1 Season 9 Disc 46-50: Stargate SG-1 Season 10

    Disc 51: Bonus Disc 1 **Ark of Truth Promo **Continuum Promo **”Stargate SG-1: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 7)” **From Stargate to Atlantis: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1) **Behind the Stargate: Secrets Revealed (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1)

    Disc 52: Bonus Disc 2 **”Sci Fi Inside: Stargate SG-1’s 200th Episode (SG-1 Season 10)” **”Behind the Mythology of Stargate SG-1 (SG-1 Seasons 1-10)” **Stargate SG-1: True Science

    Disc 53: Bonus Disc 3 ***Season Three: **Timeline to the Future **Part 1: Legacy of the Gate **Part II: Secrets of the Gate **Part III: Beyond the Gate

    ***Season Four: **SG-1 Video Diary: Teryl Rothery **”Stargate SG-1 Season 5: Gateway to Adventure ” **Stargate SG-1: The 100th Episode

    ***Season Five: **SG-1 Video Diary: Don S. Davis

    ***Season Six: **”SG-1 Directors Series: Smoke and Mirrors” **SG-1 Directors Series: The Changeling **SG-1 Directors Series: Memento **SG-1 Directors Series: Prophecy **SG-1 Video Diary: Richard Dean Anderson Paradise Lost”

    Disc 54: Bonus Disc 4 ***Season Seven: **SG-1 Directors Series: Revisions **SG-1 Directors Series: Heroes **SG-1 Directors Series: Resurrection **”Behind the Scenes: Journey Inside Lost City” **The Storyboard Process **”Bra’tac vs. Ronan: Designing the Fight” **Stargate Magic: Inside the Lab **Richard Dean Anderson: “My Life as a Mime”

    ***Season Eight: **”Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Amanda Tapping” **”Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Michael Shanks” **SG-1 Directors Series: Threads **Profile On: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie **The Last Day of Teal’C **SG-1 Directors Series: Moebius **”Stargate SG-1 Alliance: The Making of The Video Game”

    Stargate – The Ark of Truth

    Product Details

    • Actors: Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, Claudia Black
    • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish
    • Region: All Regions
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rating:
    • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
    • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
    • Run Time: 97 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Product Description
    Blasting off where the Sci-Fi Channelâ??s longest running show, Stargate SG-1, left off, this thrilling feature thrusts the Stargate team â?” Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Vala (Claudia Black), Tealâ??c (Christopher Judge), Sam (Amanda Tapping) and Cam (Ben Browder) â?” into their biggest challenge yet. In search of an Ancient artifact they hope can defeat the oppressive Ori, the team not only learns that the Ori are set to launch a final assault on Earth, but a double-crossing I.O. operative is aboard the Odyssey! Also starring Beau Bridges, this pulse-pounder is loaded with enough suspense, humor and action to fill a galaxy!

    Stargate (Ultimate Edition)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital
    • Directors: Roland Emmerich
    • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Lions Gate
    • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2003
    • Run Time: 119 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Before they unleashed the idiotic mayhem of Independence Day and Godzilla, the idea-stealing team of director Roland Emmerich and producer-screenwriter Dean Devlin concocted this hokey hit about the discovery of an ancient portal capable of zipping travelers to “the other side of the known universe.” James Spader plays the Egyptologist who successfully translates the Stargate’s hieroglyphic code, and then joins a hawkish military unit (led by Kurt Russell) on a reconnaissance mission to see what’s on the other side. They arrive on a desert world with cultural (and apparently supernatural) ties to Earth’s ancient Egypt, where the sun god Ra (played by Jaye Davidson from The Crying Game) rules a population of slaves with armored minions and startlingly advanced technology. After being warmly welcomed into the slave camp, the earthlings encourage and support a rebellion, and while Russell threatens to blow up the Stargate to prevent its use by enemy forces, the movie collapses into a senseless series of action scenes and grandiose explosions. It’s all pretty ridiculous, but Stargate found a large and appreciative audience, spawned a cable-TV series, and continues to attract science fiction fans who are more than willing to forgive its considerable faults. –Jeff Shannon
    DVD features
    Nothing beats a sci-fi movie with wall-shaking sound, and the Stargate Ultimate Edition delivers the goods with 6.1 DTS ES and 5.1 Dolby Digital EX. Yes, Stargate has been released on DVD numerous times, but this 2003 version is the best yet, with improved sound and a generally clean picture that’s now anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Note: The current Stargate Ultimate Edition is a stripped-down version with only a featurette and commentary track. The Ultimate Edition originally released in 2003 included the combination of the theatrical cut and director’s cut (nine minutes longer), and a 23-minute making-of feature that concentrated on the film’s design and production. –David Horiuchi

    Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Seasons 1 and 2

    Product Details

    • Format: NTSC
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com

    Stargate Atlantis – The Complete First Season: It’s not a franchise on the order of Law & Order, CSI, or Star Trek–not yet, anyway–but with Stargate Atlantis, a more than worthy successor to SG-1, Stargate is becoming a nice little cottage industry in itself. The premise, in a nutshell: The Ancients, the greatest race the universe has ever known (or something like that), abandoned Earth millions of years ago, taking Atlantis with them; they then sunk the entire city in order to escape the clutches of the dreaded Wraith, an implacable bunch of villains who nourish themselves by sucking the life from humans. Now, as the two-hour “Rising” pilot details, a new team has gained access to the legendary city. Once they arrive, Atlantis loses the power to sustain its protective shield and rises to the surface, and thus begin the team’s adventures (i.e., using the stargate to travel to other planets in the Pegasus galaxy, encountering aliens both hostile and friendly, and trying to defeat the Wraith, or at least stay out of their way).

    Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), SG-1‘s driving force, is missed, but Atlantis has a strong replacement in Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), easily the most charismatic member of the new team. Like O’Neill, Sheppard is a wiseacre and a loose cannon, as well as a superb pilot with an innate understanding of the Ancients’ arcane technology. His humor, humanity and conscience provide a welcome contrast to the other characters, especially brilliant-but-neurotic Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) and ultra-serious project leader Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), who has little to do but give orders and stand up for her people. The Wraith, who resemble a vampire mutation of the albino blues guitarist Johnny Winter, are the focus of most of these 19 episodes (including the pilot). These bad boys will stop at nothing–nothing, I tell you!–in their quest to snack their way through every galaxy in the universe, with Earth their ultimate feeding ground. And while the final four episodes, dealing with the Wraith’s massive attack on Atlantis, end with an unsatisfying cliffhanger (basically, nothing is resolved), earlier shows effectively keep their ominous presence in the forefront. The episodes in which the Wraith play little or no active role are often compelling as well, including “Thirty Eight Minutes” (one of our heroes’ “puddle jumper” spacecraft gets stuck in the stargate), “Childhood’s End” (we meet a race whose members are convinced that only ritual suicide is keeping the Wraith at bay), and “The Eye” (a planet-size hurricane/tsunami bears down on Atlantis). As is the case with SG-1, the visual effects work, especially by TV standards, is excellent; in fact, one might wish for bit more cool sci-fi action and less talk in some of the episodes. Special effects include commentary (by directors, writers, and/or actors) for every episode, as well as the occasional behind-the-scenes featurette. —Sam Graham

    Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Second Season: If Stargate Atlantis isn’t the coolest sci-fi series on television, this five-disc, 20-episode box set from the second season (2005-06) offers ample evidence that it’s right up there. The writing is good; the stories are intriguing, and the science part of the equation is credible enough to justify our suspension of disbelief. The characters are for the most part well-defined, and the acting, while perhaps not Emmy-caliber, is just fine. The action is exciting, the effects work impressive, the costumes and sets first-rate. But what Atlantis really has going for it is the presence of some of the baddest bad guys in the cosmos: the Wraith.

    With their flowing white locks, cat-like eyes, pale, almost translucent skin, and teeth so bad they’d make the British blush, the Wraith rock. They also have a constant need to feed–on humans, of course–and are a serious threat not only to Atlantis but to the entire known universe, including good ol’ Earth. And although there are occasional diversions, the producers and writers have wisely kept the focus on these implacable antagonists; in fact, the newest member of the team, one Ronon Dex (played by the dreadlocked and hunky Jason Momoa), is a “runner” who escaped the Wraith’s clutches, was a fugitive for years before being found by our heroes, and specializes in dispatching the villains with cold precision. In the course of the season, via single episodes and several multi-parters, the Stargate team, commanded by Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson in the show’s least interesting role) and led by insouciant Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), with genius-neurotic Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) handling the scientific intricacies and yet another doc, Carson Beckett (Paul McGillion, affecting a Scottish brogue), overseeing medical matters, deals with the enemy on many fronts. Lt. Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks) defects after assuming Wraith-like characteristics. The team experiments with a “retrovirus” designed to turn Wraiths into humans (the results are decidedly mixed). They encounter a human who raised a Wraith female from childhood and insists she’s just like us (she’s not). They’re captured and imprisoned on a Wraith “hive” ship. And in the final episode, the humans and the Wraiths even form an alliance of supposedly mutual convenience (the episode is a cliffhanger that awaits resolution until Season Three, but anyone who thought this “partnership” was a good idea for our side clearly hasn’t been paying attention). As was the case with the Season One set, bonus materials are generous, including audio commentary (by actors, directors, and others) on every episode, various featurettes, photos, and more. Now if only there were a few Wraith interviews… —Sam Graham

    Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Third Season

    Stargate Atlantis – Rising (Pilot Episode)

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    There are those who may regard it as old wine in a new bottle, but that doesn’t mean that Stargate Atlantis doesn’t have something to offer to both newcomers and fans of Stargate SG-1, the franchise from which it evolved. Co-creators and executive producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, both of whom worked on the earlier show, have concocted an appealing premise for this spin-off, in which the so-called Ancients abandoned Earth millions of years earlier, taking their city (i.e., Atlantis) with them. Now, a new team has gained access (via the Stargate, the “wormhole” our heroes use to travel to different worlds) to the legendary sunken city, where new adventures and deadly new enemies await. Stargate SG-1 stars Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks make appearances in this series premiere, but the focus is on the new characters. Of these, Joe Flanigan excels as the insouciant Major John Sheppard, an Air Force pilot unexpectedly recruited for the new mission because of his preternatural ability to interface with the Ancients’ wondrous technology. The new leader is Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), a role that is neither especially well-written nor well-played. The new monster-villains, replacing the trusty old Goa’uld, are the Wraith, whose name is actually cooler than they are; they may eat humans, in addition to being all-powerful (natch), but they tend to come off like refugees from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Overall, the production values and special effects remain top-notch, especially for television, and the story itself is OK. But while Stargate Atlantis is certainly promising, it has a ways to go to equal its predecessor, which remains one of the best-made, most compelling sci-fi programs on television. –Sam Graham
    Product Description
    When SG-1 discovers what it believes to be the remnants of the Lost City of the Ancients ? the originators of the Stargates ? Stargate Command launches an investigation. A new team of explorers, headed by civilian Dr. Elizabeth Weir, travels to the distant Pegasus Galaxy, where it discovers an advanced but deserted city on the ocean floor, a group of nomadic humans and a deadly enemy that feeds on humans as an energy source!

    The X-Files: The Ultimate Collection

    The X-Files: The Ultimate Collection

    Product Details

    • Actors: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
    • Directors: Chris Carter
    • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 61
    • Rating:
    • Studio: 20th Century Fox
    • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007

    Amazon Customer Revuiew

    “This product, according to Fox, gathers together all nine seasons, the film, and the Mythology Threads featurettes off the Mythology collections. The nine seasons are thankfully in the original release format, with all special features included. The feature film appears to have the same contents as the current DVD release as well. As for the featurettes, they appear on a disc of their own.
    For a box set this big (61 discs), it’s priced fairly reasonably as opposed to the 9-season collection that can be found elsewhere on Amazon. However, Fox needs to make sure this is the last time they re-dip the series; maybe they should release it on Blu-Ray to make the HD fanboys happy.
    Be warned: if you bought the initial season-by-season releases (not the slimpaks) and the movie separately, there’s nothing new here. The featurettes on the last disc are also nothing new, as they appeared on the pointless Mythology arc sets that were released on DVD a while back. However, for anyone new to the series or anyone who’s been hesitating to buy the series on DVD, this is a great pickup for its price.”

    The Ultimate Matrix Collection (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)

    The Ultimate Matrix Collection (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)

    Product Details

    Amazon.com essential video [The Matrix]
    By following up their debut thriller Bound with the 1999 box-office smash The Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers–Andy and Larry–annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal–from what or whom he doesn’t know–until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: “You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.” Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is–a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend.

    Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it’s a thinking man’s journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne–who both turn in fine performances–much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison. And if we were going to cast a vote for most dastardly movie villain of 1999, it would have to go to Hugo Weaving, who plays the feckless, semipsychotic Agent Smith with panache and edginess. As the film’s box-office profits soared, the Wachowski brothers announced that The Matrix is merely the first chapter in a cinematically dazzling franchise–a chapter that is arguably superior to the other sci-fi smash of 1999 (you know… the one starring Jar Jar Binks). –Jeremy Storey

    Amazon.com [The Matrix Reloaded]
    Considering the lofty expectations that preceded it, The Matrix Reloaded triumphs where most sequels fail. It would be impossible to match the fresh audacity that made The Matrix a global phenomenon in 1999, but in continuing the exploits of rebellious Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they struggle to save the human sanctuary of Zion from invading machines, the codirecting Wachowski brothers have their priorities well in order. They offer the obligatory bigger and better highlights (including the impressive “Burly Brawl” and freeway chase sequences) while remaining focused on cleverly plotting the middle of a brain-teasing trilogy that ends with The Matrix Revolutions. The metaphysical underpinnings can be dismissed or scrutinized, and choosing the latter course (this is, after all, an epic about choice and free will) leads to astonishing repercussions that made Reloaded an explosive hit with critics and hardcore fans alike. As the centerpiece of a multimedia franchise, this dynamic sequel ends with a cliffhanger that virtually guarantees a mind-blowing conclusion. –Jeff Shannon

    Amazon.com [The Matrix Revolutions]
    Despite the inevitable law of diminishing returns, The Matrix Revolutions is quite satisfying as an adrenalized action epic, marking yet another milestone in the exponential evolution of computer-generated special effects. That may not be enough to satisfy hardcore Matrix fans who turned the Wachowski Brothers’ hacker mythology into a quasi-religious pop-cultural phenomenon, but there’s no denying that the trilogy goes out with a cosmic bang instead of the whimper that many expected. Picking up precisely where The Matrix Reloaded left off, this 130-minute finale finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) at a virtual junction, defending the besieged human enclave of Zion by confronting the attacking machines on their home turf, while humans combat swarms of tentacled mechanical sentinels as Zion’s fate lies in the balance. It all amounts to a blaze of CGI glory, devoid of all but the shallowest emotions, and so full of metaphysical hokum that the trilogy’s detractors can gloat with I-told-you-so sarcasm. And yet, Revolutions still succeeds as a slick, exciting hybrid of cinema and video game, operating by its own internal logic with enough forward momentum to make the whole trilogy seem like a thrilling, magnificent dream. — Jeff Shannon

    Amazon.com [Animatrix]
    Matrix writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski commissioned seven artists from Japan, America and Korea to make nine short films set in the world of their feature trilogy. Some of the top anime directors contributed to this anthology, including Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll), Koji Morimoto (Robot Carnival), and Shinchiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop). Some of the films tie directly into the narrative of the live-action movies. Drawn in a style reminiscent of Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Mahiro Maeda’s The Second Renaissance (Part I & Part II) depicts the human-machine wars that caused the enslavement of humanity and the creation of the Matrix. The duel between two flamboyantly costumed Kabuki warriors in Kawajiri’s Program is an expanded version of the cybernetic training Neo (Keanu Reeves) undergoes in the first Matrix film. Watanabe evokes the look of old newspaper photographs in A Detective Story, which falls outside the storyline of the features. Fast-paced, violent and grim, The Animatrix is an uneven but intriguing compilation that represents a new level in the ongoing cross-pollination between Japanese animation and American live action. (Not rated, suitable for ages 16 and older: considerable violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol use) –Charles Solomon

    Product Description
    The definitive ten-disc DVD set, The Ultimate Matrix Collection features all three films in the trilogy together for the first time ever with a newly remastered picture and sound for The Matrix. Also included is the companion piece The Matrix Revisited and the best-selling The Animatrix, plus five entirely new DVDs packed solid with brand-new supplemental materials that encompass every aspect of the Matrix universe, including two new audio commentaries on each film, Enter the Matrix video game footage, 106 deep-delving featurettes/ documentaries and much more!

    DVD Features:
    Additional Scenes:Filmed for Enter the Matrix video game
    Audio Commentary:The Philosophers: Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber; The Critics: Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson
    DVD ROM Features
    Documentary
    Easter Eggs
    Featurette
    Introduction:by the Wachowski Brothers
    Music Video
    Photo gallery
    Storyboards
    TV Spot
    Theatrical Trailer

    Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set

    Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set

    Product Details

    • Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
    • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Color, Limited Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
    • Number of discs: 12
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Warner Home Video
    • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007

    Product Description
    The Harry Potter Limited Edition Giftset includes Harry Potters Years 1-5, a Harry Potter DVD game Hogwarts Challenge, along with a bonus disc containing over 2 hours of enhanced content, an exclusive “Harry Potter’s Bookmark Collection”, and collectible trading cards.

    Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition with Bonus Disc)

    Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition with Bonus Disc)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, James Earl Jones, Harrison Ford
    • Directors: George Lucas
    • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English, Spanish
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 4
    • Rating:
    • Studio: 20th Century Fox
    • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
    • Run Time: 388 minutes

    Amazon.com essential video
    Was George Lucas’s Star Wars Trilogy, the most anticipated DVD release ever, worth the wait? You bet. It’s a must-have for any home theater, looking great, sounding great, and supplemented by generous bonus features.

    The Movies

    The Star Wars Trilogy had the rare distinction of becoming a cultural phenomenon, a defining event for its generation. On its surface, George Lucas’s story is a rollicking and humorous space fantasy that owes debts to more influences than one can count on two hands, but filmgoers became entranced by its basic struggle of good vs. evil “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” its dazzling special effects, and a mythology of Jedi knights, the Force, and droids. Over the course of three films–A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983)–Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and the roguish Han Solo (Harrison Ford) join the Rebel alliance in a galactic war against the Empire, the menacing Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), and eventually the all-powerful Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Empire is generally considered the best of the films and Jedi the most uneven, but all three are vastly superior to the more technologically impressive prequels that followed, Episode I, The Phantom Menace (1999) and Episode II, Attack of the Clones (2002).

    How Are the Picture and Sound?


    Thanks to a new digital transfer, you’ve never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader’s helmet is as black as the Dark Side.


    In a word, spectacular. Thanks to a new digital transfer, you’ve never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader’s helmet is as black as the Dark Side. And at the climactic scene of A New Hope, see if the Dolby 5.1 EX sound doesn’t knock you back in your chair. Other audio options are Dolby 2.0 Surround in English, Spanish, and French. (Sorry, DTS fans, but previous Star Wars DVDs didn’t have DTS either.) There have been a few quibbles with the audio on A New Hope, however. A few seconds of Peter Cushing’s dialogue (“Then name the system!”) are distorted, and the music (but not the sound effects) is reversed in the rear channels. For example, in the final scene, the brass is in the front right channel but the back left channel (from the viewer’s perspective), and the strings are in the left front and back right. The result feels like the instruments are crossing through the viewer.What’s Been Changed?
    The rumors are true: Lucas made more changes to the films for their DVD debut. Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) has been added to a scene in Jedi, Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) replaces Clive Revill with slightly revised lines in Empire, Temuera Morrison has rerecorded Boba Fett’s minimal dialogue, and some other small details have been altered. Yes, these changes mean that the Star Wars films are no longer the ones you saw 20 years ago, but these brief changes hardly affect the films, and they do make sense in the overall continuity of the two trilogies. It’s not like a digitized Ewan McGregor has replaced Alec Guiness’s scenes, and the infamous changes made for the 1997 special-edition versions were much more intrusive (of course, those are in the DVD versions as well).

    How Are the Bonus Features?

    Toplining is Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, a 150-minute documentary incorporating not only the usual making-of nuts and bolts but also the political workings of the movie studios and the difficulties Lucas had getting his vision to the screen (for example, after resigning from the Directors’ Guild, he lost his first choice for director of Jedi: Steven Spielberg). It’s a little adulatory, but it has plenty to interest any fan. The three substantial featurettes are “The Characters of Star Wars” (19 min.), which discusses the development of the characters we all know and love, “The Birth of the Lightsaber” (15 min.), about the creation and evolution of a Jedi’s ultimate weapon, and “The Force Is with Them: The Legacy of Star Wars” (15 min.), in which filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron talk about how they and the industry were affected by the films and Lucas’s technological developments in visual effects, sound, and computer animation.

    The bonus features are excellent and along the same lines as those created for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Each film has a commentary track, recorded by Lucas, Ben Burtt (sound design), Dennis Muren (visual effects), and Carrie Fisher, with Irvin Kershner joining in on the film he directed, The Empire Strikes Back. Recorded separately and skillfully edited together (with supertitles to identify who is speaking), the tracks lack the energy of group commentaries, but they’re enjoyable and informative, with a nice mix of overall vision (Lucas), technical details (Burtt, Muren, Kershner), and actor’s perspective (Fisher). Interestingly, they discuss some of the 1997 changes (Mos Eisley creatures, the new Jabba the Hutt scene) but not those made for the DVDs.

    There’s also a sampler of the Xbox game Star Wars: Battlefront, which lets the player reenact classic film scenarios (blast Ewoks in the battle of Endor!); trailers and TV spots from the films’ many releases; and a nine-minute preview of the last film in the series, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (here identified by an earlier working title, The Return of Darth Vader). Small extra touches include anamorphic widescreen motion menus with dialogue, original poster artwork on the discs, and a whopping 50 chapter stops for each film.

    “The Force Is Strong with This One”
    The Star Wars Trilogy is an outstanding DVD set that lives up to the anticipation. There will always be resentment that the original versions of the films are not available as well, but George Lucas maintains that these are the versions he always wanted to make. If fans are able to put this debate aside, they can enjoy the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han for years to come. –David Horiuchi
    Product Description
    Includes:
    * Episode IV, A New Hope
    Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
    * Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back
    Commentary by George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
    * Episode VI, Return of the Jedi
    Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher

    * “Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy,” the most comprehensive feature-length documentary ever produced on the Star Wars saga, and never-before-seen footage from the making of all three films
    * Featurettes: The Legendary Creatures of Star Wars, The Birth of the Lightsaber, The Legacy of Star Wars
    * Teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries
    * Playable Xbox demo of the new Lucasarts game Star Wars Battlefront
    * The making of the Episode III videogame
    * Exclusive preview of Star Wars: Episode III

    Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Slipstream Collection

    Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda: Slipstream Collection

    Product Details

    • Directors: Philip David Segal
    • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
    • Number of discs: 50
    • Rating:
    • Studio: A.D.V. Films
    • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
    • Run Time: 5500 minutes

    Amazon Customer Review

    “I was pleasantly surprised by this. The product details don’t mention it at all, but this IS a “thinpaks” release. The set contains all episodes of seasons 1-5 on 50 discs in 25 dual-disc thinkpaks, packaged in a sturdy, cardboard box. The box is much smaller than the Amazon product photo makes it appear. Placed sideways on your bookshelf it will take up less room than the First Season box set. The artwork on the outer sleeves of each thinpak is the same as previous releases. Artwork on the spines of all thinpaks, when viewed together, portray the Amdromeda Ascendant comin’ at ya! The discs in this collection are single-sided, unlike the double-sided discs in the 2-5 season box sets. The content and episodes on the discs are the same as in previous releases. If you already own the previous releases, this may not interest you much. However, if you didn’t like the double-sided discs of the season 2-5 sets and would like the space this set will save on your shelves, it IS worth getting.”

    Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series (Limited Edition Cylon Head Packaging)

    Battlestar Galactica – The Complete Epic Series (Limited Edition Cylon Head Packaging)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Battlestar Galactica
    • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 6
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
    • Run Time: 1161 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    From the Back Cover
    In the deepest reaches of space, the fight to save all human life from extinction has begun in this science fiction adventure that launched the Battlestar Galactica phenomenon! Hopeful for lasting peace following centuries of intense warfare, the Twelve Colonies gather to sign a treaty with their dreaded enemies, The Cylons. But after an act of treachery on the eve of the ceremony, the Cylons launch a devastating surprise attack, destroying the Colonies’ home planets and most of their military strength. A lone flagship battlestar, the Galactica, remains to aid the surviving colonists on their epic journey for a new home to a far-off legendary planet -Earth. They must survive the pursuing Cylons in a series of epic battles that will determine the fate of the human race in this non-stop action-packed classic filled with cutting-edge special effects by John Dykstra (“Star Wars,” “Spider-Man”).

    Battlestar Galactica (2003 Miniseries)

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Despite voluminous protest and nitpicking criticism from loyal fans of the original 1978-80 TV series, the 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica turned out surprisingly well for viewers with a tolerance for change. Originally broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel in December 2003 and conceived by Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus Ronald D. Moore as the pilot episode for a “reimagined” TV series, this four-hour “miniseries” reprises the basic premise of the original show while giving a major overhaul (including some changes in gender) to several characters and plot elements. Gone are the flowing robes, disco-era hairstyles, and mock-Egyptian fighter helmets, and thankfully there’s not a fluffy “daggit” in sight… at least, not yet. Also missing are the “chrome toaster” Cylons, replaced by new, more formidable varieties of the invading Cylon enemy, including “Number Six” in hot red skirts and ample cleavage, who tricks the human genius Baltar into a scenario that nearly annihilates the human inhabitants of 12 colonial worlds.

    Thus begins the epic battle and eventual retreat of a “ragtag fleet” of humans, searching for the mythical planet Earth under the military command of Adama (Edward James Olmos) and the political leadership of Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), a former secretary of education, 43rd in line of succession and rising to the occasion of her unexpected Presidency. As directed by Michael Rymer (Queen of the Damned), Moore’s ambitious teleplay also includes newfangled CGI space battles (featuring “handheld” camera moves and subdued sound effects for “enhanced realism”), a dysfunctional Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) who’s provoked into action by the insubordinate Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), and a father-son reunion steeped in familial tragedy. To fans of the original BG series, many of these changes are blasphemous, but for the most part they work–including an ominous cliffhanger ending. The remade Galactica is brimming with smart, well-drawn characters ripe with dramatic potential, and it readily qualifies as serious-minded science fiction, even as it gives BG loyalists ample fuel for lively debate. –Jeff Shannon

    Battlestar Galactica  - Season One

    Battlestar Galactica – Season One

    Product Details

    • Actors: Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber
    • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 5
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
    • Run Time: 756 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Battlestar Galactica‘s Edward James Olmos wasn’t kidding when he said “the series is even better than the miniseries.” As developed by sci-fi TV veteran Ronald D. Moore, the “reimagined” BG is exactly what it claims to be: a drama for grown-ups in a science-fiction setting. The mature intelligence of the series is its greatest asset, from the tenuous respect between Galactica’s militarily principled commander Adama (Olmos) and politically astute President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) to the barely suppressed passion between ace Viper pilot “Apollo” (a.k.a. Adama’s son Lee, played by Jamie Bamber) and the brashly insubordinate Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), whose multifaceted character is just one of many first-season highlights. Picking up where the miniseries ended (it’s included here, sparing the need for separate purchase), season 1 opens with the riveting, Hugo Award-winning episode “33,” in which Galactica and the “ragtag fleet” of colonial survivors begin their quest for the legendary 13th colony planet Earth, while being pursued with clockwork regularity by the Cylons, who’ve now occupied the colonial planet of Caprica. The fleet’s hard-fought survival forms (1) the primary side of the series’ three-part structure, shared with (2) the apparent psychosis of Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) whose every thought and move are monitored by various incarnations of Number Six (Tricia Helfer), the seemingly omniscient Cylon ultravixen who follows a master plan somehow connected to (3) the Caprican survival ordeal of crash-landed pilots “Helo” (Tahmoh Penikett) and “Boomer” (Grace Park), whose simultaneous presence on Galactica is further evidence that 12 multicopied models of Cylons, in human form, are gathering their forces.

    With remarkably consistent quality, each of these 13 episodes deepens the dynamics of these fascinating characters and suspenseful situations. While BG relies on finely nuanced performances, solid direction, and satisfying personal and political drama to build its strong emotional foundation, the action/adventure elements are equally impressive, especially in “The Hand of God,” a pivotal episode in which the show’s dazzling visual effects get a particularly impressive showcase. Original BG series star Richard Hatch appears in two politically charged episodes (he’s a better actor now, too), and with the threat of civil war among the fleet, season 1 ends with an exceptional cliffhanger that’s totally unexpected while connecting the plot threads of all preceding episodes. To the credit of everyone involved, this is frackin’ good television.

    DVD features
    The fifth disc in Battlestar Galactica‘s season 1 set is highlighted by eight comprehensive featurettes covering all aspects of the series, from its miniseries origins to standard surveys of production design, visual effects, and particulars of plot and character. For hardcore fans and anyone interested in TV production, nine out of 13 episodes, plus the disc 1 miniseries, are accompanied by intelligent and informative commentary originally provided as BG website podcasts, mostly by series developer and writer Ronald D. Moore, who provides tantalizing clues about developments in season 2. The “Series Lowdown” is a cast-and-crew promotional program originally broadcast to attract SciFi Channel viewers who were initially reluctant to embrace a “reimagined” Battlestar Galactica. The strategy worked: First-season ratings left no doubt that the new BG was as good as–and in many ways better than–the original. –Jeff Shannon

    Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)

    Battlestar Galactica – Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)

    Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)

    Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)

    Battlestar Galactica – Season Three

    Battlestar Galactica – Razor (Unrated Extended Cut)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Edward James Olmos
    • Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2007
    • Run Time: 101 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Battlestar Galactica: Razor was an oasis for BSG fans–when the double-length episode aired in November 2007, it was the only new material broadcast during the 12-month gap between seasons 3 and 4. But although it sets up some events in season 4, chronologically Razor is a prequel taking place within season 2, when Galactica had unexpectedly met up with a fellow Battlestar, Pegasus. The central character is new, Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen), who becomes the XO after Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) takes command of the Pegasus. Shaw’s promotion is controversial among Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and others because Shaw learned the trade under the previous commander of the Pegasus, Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), who lived by her own wartime rules. The central conflict in Razor involves the Pegasus trying to rescue a Raptor crew from the Cylons. During the mission Shaw flashes back to 10 months earlier, and her experiences in the immediate aftermath of the Cylons’ wipeout of Caprica influence how she handles this mission and its implications of a new Cylon-human hybrid. Razor is a riveting adventure, full of the top writing, great acting, and dark end-of-humanity vision that makes Battlestar Galactica the best show on television (that is, when it’s actually on). Fans will also enjoy the appearance of old-school Cylons, and the revelation that Gaius is not the only one who fell for the wiles of Number 6 (Tricia Helfer).

    The unrated and extended DVD runs 103 minutes, about 16 minutes longer than the Sci-Fi Channel broadcast. There’s a brief bit of extra gore from Admiral Cain, and young William “Husker” Adama’s (Nico Cortez, nicely channeling Edward James Olmos) mission in the last days of the first Cylon war is now 10 minutes instead of 5, including a spectacular aerial battle. In another new sequence, at the moment when Cain tells Shaw “Sometimes we have to leave people behind so that we can go on,” there’s a flashback to Cain’s experiences in the first Cylon war. Among the bonus features is the complete 19-minute minisode version of Husker’s Cylon encounter (previously viewable on Sci-Fi Channel’s website) and two deleted scenes. Featurettes include “The Look of Battlestar Galactica” and “My Favorite Episode So Far” (“33” gets a lot of mentions from the cast and crew), and there are a trailer and 2.5-minute “sneak peek” at season 4 (mostly interviewing people who don’t know what’s going to happen, though Tricia Helfer mentions a new version of herself). In a commentary track for the extended edition, executive producer Ronald D. Moore and writer Michael Taylor discuss how the episode came together (they refer to Razor as episodes as 1-2 of season 4) amid some serious restructuring and bits of trivia, such as how they cast Stephanie Jacobsen in the pivotal role even though she had never watched the show. —David Horiuchi

    Battlestar Galactica 1980 – The Complete Epic Series

    Product Details

    • Directors: Vince Edwards
    • Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: December 23, 2007
    • Run Time: 481 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Product Description
    Galactica 1980 lands on DVD for the first time ever! With all ten thrilling episodes on two discs, see what happens when the original Battlestar Galactica crew finally makes the long-anticipated descent to Earth. With time running out and the Cylons closing in on their trail, Commander Adama and the Galactica must work harder than ever before to help Earth create the technology necessary for battle. Along for the action-packed fight are such stellar guest stars as Dirk Benedict, Brion James, Dennis Haysbert and more! It’s an epic adventure unlike any other, and an absolute must-have for any Battlestar Galactica collection!

    Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete Seasons 1-3

    Star Trek The Original Series – The Complete Seasons 1-3

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    The facts have become legend. Star Trek, the NBC series that premiered on September 8, 1966, has become a touchstone of international popular culture. It struggled through three seasons that included cancellation and last-minute revival, and turned its creator, Gene Roddenberry, into the progenitor of an intergalactic phenomenon. Eventually expanding to encompass five separate TV series, an ongoing slate of feature films, and a fan base larger than the population of many third-world countries, the Star Trek universe began not with a Big Bang but with a cautious experiment in network TV programming. Even before its premiere episode (“The Man Trap”) was aired, Star Trek had struggled to attain warp-drive velocity, barely making it into the fall ’66 NBC lineup.

    The series’ original pilot, “The Cage,” featured Jeffrey Hunter as U.S.S. Enterprise captain Christopher Pike–a variation of the role that would eventually catapult William Shatner to TV stardom. Filmed in 1964, the pilot was rejected by NBC the following year, but the network made a rare decision to order a second pilot. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was filmed in 1965, and only one character from the previous pilot remained–a pointy-eared alien named Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), whom Roddenberry had retained despite network disapproval. The second pilot was accepted, and production on Star Trek began in earnest with the filming of its first regular episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver.”

    Never a ratings success despite a growing population of devoted fans, Star Trek was canceled after its second season, prompting a letter-writing campaign that resulted in the series’ third-season renewal. It was a mixed blessing, since Roddenberry had departed as producer to protest the network’s neglect, and Star Trek‘s third season contained most of the series’ weakest episodes. And yet, the show continued to “to explore strange new worlds…to seek out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no man [a phrase later amended to “no one”] has gone before.”

    There were milestones along the way. The first interracial kiss on network primetime TV (between Shatner and series co-star Nichelle Nichols) furthered a richly positive and expansive view of a better, nobler future for humankind. The series offered a timelessly appealing balance of humor, imagination, and character depth. And at least one episode (Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”) ranks among the finest science fiction stories in any popular medium. Beloved by long-time fans in spite of its cheesy sets and costumes, and the now-dated trappings of late-1960s American culture, “classic Trek” has aged remarkably well, and its sense of adventure and idealism continues to live long and prosper. –Jeff Shannon

    The three 2004 DVD sets collect all 79 episodes of the show, including “The Cage” in both a restored color version and the original, never-aired version that alternates between color and black and white. Each set is supplemented by over an hour of featurettes incorporating new and old interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, other cast members, and producers, and there’s also some vintage footage of Gene Roddenberry. Accompanying the 20-minute seasonal recaps (“To Boldly Go…”) are a number of interesting featurettes: “The Birth of a Timeless Legacy” examines the two pilot episodes and the development of the crew; “Sci-Fi Visionaries” discusses the series’ great science fiction writers; Nimoy debunks various rumors in “Reflections of Spock”; “Kirk, Spock & Bones: The Great Trio” focuses on the interplay among Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley); and, in what is probably his last Star Trek appearance, James Doohan (Scotty), slowed by Alzheimer’s but still with a twinkle in his eye, recalls his voiceover roles and his favorite episodes. As they’ve done for many of the feature-film special editions, Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda provide a pop-up text commentary on four of the episodes filled with history, trivia, and dry wit. It’s the first commentary of any kind for a Star Trek TV show, but an audio commentary is still overdue. The technical specs are mostly the same as other Trek TV series–Dolby 5.1, English subtitles–but with the welcome addition of the episode trailers. The plastic cases are an attempt to replicate some of the fun packaging of the series’ European DVD releases, but it’s a bit clunky, and the paper sleeve around the disc case seems awkward and crude. Still, the sets are a vast improvement both in terms of shelf space and bonus features compared to the old two-episode discs, which were released before full-season boxed sets became the model for television DVDs. –David Horiuchi
    Product Description
    Space. The Final Frontier. The U.S.S. Enterprise embarks on a five year mission to explore the galaxy. The Enterprise is under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. The First Officer is Mr. Spock, from the planet Vulcan. The Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. With a determined crew, the Enterprise encounters Klingons, Romulans, time paradoxes, tribbles and genetic supermen lead by Khan Noonian Singh. Their mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

    The Next Generation - Complete Series

    Star Trek: The Next Generation – Complete Series

    Product Details

    • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
    • Language: English, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 49
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Paramount
    • DVD Release Date: October 2, 2007
    • Run Time: 8085 minutes

    Amazon.com
    After Star Wars and the successful big-screen Star Trek adventures, it’s perhaps not so surprising that Gene Roddenberry managed to convince purse string-wielding studio heads in the 1980s that a Next Generation would be both possible and profitable. But the political climate had changed considerably since the 1960s, the Cold War had wound down, and we were now living in the Age of Greed. To be successful a second time, Star Trek had to change too.

    A writer’s guide was composed with which to sell and define where the Trek universe was in the 24th Century. The United Federation of Planets was a more appealing ideology to an America keen to see where the Reagan/Gorbachev faceoff was taking them. Starfleet’s meritocratic philosophy had always embraced all races and species. Now Earth’s utopian history, featuring the abolishment of poverty, was brandished prominently and proudly. The new Enterprise, NCC 1701-D, was no longer a ship of war but an exploration vessel carrying families. The ethical and ethnical flagship also carried a former enemy (the Klingon Worf, played by Michael Dorn), and its Chief Engineer (Geordi LaForge) was blind and black. From every politically correct viewpoint, Paramount executives thought the future looked just swell!

    Roddenberry’s feminism now contrasted a pilot episode featuring ship’s Counsellor Troi (Marina Sirtis) in a mini-skirt with her ongoing inner strengths and also those of Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) and the short-lived Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby). The arrival of Whoopi Goldberg in season 2 as mystic barkeep Guinan is a great example of the good the original Trek did for racial groups–Goldberg has stated that she was inspired to become an actress in large part through seeing Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura. Her credibility as an actress helped enormously alongside the strong central performances of Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Jonathan Frakes (First Officer Will Riker), and Brent Spiner (Data) in defining another wholly believable environment once again populated with well-defined characters. Star Trek, it turned out, did not depend for its success on any single group of actors.

    Like its predecessor in the 1960s, TNG pioneered visual effects on TV, making it an increasingly jaw-dropping show to look at. And thanks also to the enduring success of the original show, phasers, tricorders, communicators and even phase inverters were already familiar to most viewers. But while technology was a useful tool in most crises, it now frequently seemed to be the cause of them too, as the show’s writers continually warned about the dangers of over-reliance on technology (the Borg were the ultimate expression of this maxim). The word “technobabble” came to describe a weakness in many TNG scripts, which sacrificed the social and political allegories of the original and relied instead upon invented technological faults and their equally fictitious resolutions to provide drama within the Enterprise‘s self-contained society. (The holodeck’s safety protocol override seemed to be next to the light switch given the number of times crew members were trapped within.) This emphasis on scientific jargon appealed strongly to an audience who were growing up for the first time in the late 1980s with the home computer–and gave rise to the clichéd image of the nerdy Trek fan.

    Like in the original Trek, it was in the stories themselves that much of the show’s success is to be found. That pesky Prime Directive kept moral dilemmas afloat (“Justice”/”Who Watches the Watchers?”/”First Contact”). More “what if” scenarios came out of time-travel episodes (“Cause and Effect”/”Time’s Arrow”/”Yesterday’s Enterprise”). And there were some episodes that touched on the political world, such as “The Arsenal of Freedom” questioning the supply of arms, “Chain of Command” decrying the torture of political prisoners and “The Defector”, which was called “The Cuban Missile Crisis of The Neutral Zone” by its writer. The show ran for more than twice as many episodes as its progenitor and therefore had more time to explore wider ranging issues. But the choice of issues illustrates the change in the social climate that had occurred with the passing of a couple of decades. “Angel One” covered sexism; “The Outcast” was about homosexuality; “Symbiosis”–drug addiction; “The High Ground”–terrorism; “Ethics”–euthanasia; “Darmok”–language barriers; and “Journey’s End”–displacement of Indians from their homeland. It would have been unthinkable for the original series to have tackled most of these.

    TNG could so easily have been a failure, but it wasn’t. It survived a writer’s strike in its second year, the tragic death of Roddenberry just after Trek‘s 25th anniversary in 1991, and plenty of competition from would-be rival franchises. Yes, its maintenance of an optimistic future was appealing, but the strong stories and readily identifiable characters ensured the viewers’ continuing loyalty. —Paul Tonks
    Product Description
    Finally, the complete, epic sci-fi television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation is available in a complete series set for the first time ever. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the landmark series and own all 176 classic episodes in one definitive collector’s boxed set, featuring all-new special features. This is the definitive release that fans have been waiting for!

    NOTE: The other series are in Parts II & III.

    Star Trek Movie Set (The Motion Picture/ The Wrath of Khan/ The Search for Spock/ The Voyage Home/ The Final Frontier/ The Undiscovered Country/ Generations/ First Contact/ Insurrection/ Nemesis)

    Star Trek Movie Set (The Motion Picture/ The Wrath of Khan/ The Search for Spock/ The Voyage Home/ The Final Frontier/ The Undiscovered Country/ Generations/ First Contact/ Insurrection/ Nemesis)

    Product Details

    • Actors: Star Trek
    • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
    • Number of discs: 20
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Paramount
    • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
    • Run Time: 1141 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    Spanning two decades and countless light years of interstellar adventure, Star Trek: The Motion Pictures Collection is a testament to the enduring goodwill of Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic sci-fi concept. Long before Star Wars sparked an explosion of big-screen science fiction, Roddenberry had planned a second Star Trek TV series; the project fizzled, but its pilot script evolved into the first film in Paramount’s most lucrative movie franchise. Despite its sluggish pace and bland “pajama” costuming, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) offered a welcomed reunion of the “Classic Trek” cast, packed with Douglas Trumbull’s still-dazzling special effects. Trekkers were even more ecstatic when The Wrath of Khan (1982) revived the spirit of the original series, even though director Nicholas Meyer was a Trek neophyte. With Leonard Nimoy directing, The Search for Spock (1984) began where Khan left off, with a thrilling (albeit contrived) obligation to resurrect the formerly ill-fated Mr. Spock.

    A box-office smash, Nimoy’s The Voyage Home (1986) is the franchise’s most accessible adventure–a high point offset by William Shatner’s comparatively dreadful Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). Meyer (and his penchant for quoting Shakespeare) returned for The Undiscovered Country (1991), a conspiracy thriller that put the series back on track, inspiring fans to invoke the “even number” rule in rating their franchise favorites. Generations (1994) gracefully passed the torch to TV’s The Next Generation, bidding farewell to Captain Kirk with honor and integrity intact. Highlighted by the evolving humanity of Brent Spiner’s android Lt. Cmdr. Data, First Contact (1996) explored Star Trek history with a logical (hint) surprise encounter, and Insurrection (1998) provided an adequate expansion of the successful NextGen series. Taken as a whole, these ten films demonstrate the consistent vitality of Roddenberry’s original vision, stoking any Trekker’s appetite for “ongoing missions” in Nemesis and beyond. –Jeff Shannon Most of the feature films were released early in the DVD era, but are represented here in their vastly improved two-disc special editions, which boast widescreen anamorphic pictures, director’s cuts of the first two films, numerous commentary tracks by cast and crew, humorous and informative trivia subtitle tracks by Michael and Denise Okuda, and a wide variety of new and vintage documentaries and galleries.

    Babylon 5 - The Movie Collection

    Babylon 5 – The Movie Collection

    Product Details

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    The Babylon 5 pilot movie The Gathering was originally broadcast in 1993 a full year ahead of the regular show. A somewhat dull tale of an attempt to assassinate Koch, the Vorlon ambassador to B5, the feature served to introduce Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) as well as familiarize the audience with the unique environment of a five-mile-long space station in the year 2257. Missing many of the main cast, and suffering from a leaden pace and mediocre music score, series creator J Michael Straczynski later improved The Gathering by tightening the cut for a special edition (the version released on DVD), adding some deleted character moments and commissioning a new score from series composer Christopher Franke.

    Four new TV movies were part of the deal to syndicate Babylon 5. In the Beginning is a prelude set 10 years before Babylon 5, telling the story of the Earth-Minbari war. Told retrospectively, many of the mysteries revealed gradually in the main series are recounted, making the show a collection of spoilers for newcomers while adding little for established fans. It is effective to see events only previously talked about, and enjoyable to have most of the main cast playing younger versions of themselves. River of Souls is a self-contained adventure featuring a return of the Soul Hunters from Season One, while Thirdspace offers a spectacular Lovecraftian space opera which slots into the saga after the end of the Shadow War. A Call to Arms is the most important of the TV films, laying the ground for the future TV series Crusade. Set five years after the Shadow War, it tells the story of a Drahk revenge attack on Earth. A final showcase for Bruce Boxleitner as Sheridan, the story fits between fifth-season episodes “Objects at Rest” and “Sleeping in Light.” The cliffhanger ending sets the scene for new starship Excalibur to boldly go on a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and find a cure for the Shadow virus infecting the Earth. –Gary S. Dalkin
    Product Description
    First time on DVD! Initiate jump sequence for feature-length tales about key events in the B5 chronology.”

    Crusade - The Complete Series

    Crusade – The Complete Series

    Product Details

    • Actors: Alex Mendoza
    • Directors: Tony Dow
    • Format: AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 4
    • Rating:
    • Studio: Warner Home Video
    • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
    • Run Time: 576 minutes

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    The first and only spin-off of Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski’s short-lived sci-fi series Crusade had its roots in the B5 television movie A Call to Arms, in which Earth was battling a Drakh invasion at the end of the Shadow Wars. When Crusade begins, the Drakh have released a deadly virus that threatens to wipe out all 10 billion humans living on Earth unless a cure can be found in five years. To take on this monumental task, Captain Matthew Gideon (Gary Cole) is assigned command of the state-of-the-art Destroyer-class ship Excalibur. His crew includes telepath John Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim); pompous but brilliant archaeologist-linguist Max Eilerson (David Allen Brooks); Dureena, a member of the Thieves’ Guild and the last surviving member of her species (Carrie Dobro); medical officer Sarah Chambers (Marjean Holden); and technomage Galen (Peter Woodward).

    While Babylon 5 had five years to develop into a powerful saga, Crusade had its plug pulled after a mere 13 episodes (which were reordered for TNT’s broadcast), and the series never really got its footing. Galen often took center stage, then disappeared for several episodes. Matheson was underutilized (other than to provide fans with clues about what happened in the Psi-Wars after B5 ended), and tough-guy Gideon bounced back and forth between his desire to save the human race and his own moral code. There were some good action scenes and intriguing concepts (developed in conjunction with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Special effects sometimes were impressive and sometimes showed budget constraints, and we never really saw the power and scope of the mile-and-a-half-long ship, other than the cool bullet cars used to traverse its length. But it did have its moments. If B5 was the spiritual companion to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with its space-station setting and long story arc, Crusade was more like a traditional Star Trek setting, with mostly stand-alone episodes involving first contact with various species (even if, due to the nature of the Excalibur‘s quest, such species were usually extinct). And there were occasional tantalizing hints of a broader conspiracy that might have allowed the series to soar. Regardless, B5 fans will welcome even a brief opportunity to revisit this universe, especially when the Excalibur visits the station in “The Rules of the Game.” John Sheridan’s ex-wife Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) even earned a spot in the opening credits for her appearance in a few episodes. –David Horiuchi
    Product Description
    Another Thrilling Reach Into Tomorrow From The Creator of Babylon 5! 2267 A.D. The battle is won, the war may be lost. After fending off the fierce attack of Drakh combatants, Earth faces an unseen yet even greater foe. The Drakhs have left behind…

    So, Sci-Fi fans. Sit back, get all your snacks ready, and sit down for a looong marathon of viewing pleasure….

    SciFi Books I Want to Read – my dream buying list…

    SciFi Books (a few of these are more Y/A, but I enjoy those too, and a few are fantasy, but I tried to mark them as such. ** means it looks really good, and is recommended). If they are part of a series, they are noted as such – a missing one – i.e. it starts with #2, means I have #1. Some series have names and are noted, others do not.

    So try a few – you might enjoy them. All had plots I liked, or came recommended by friends.

    Allen, Steve – Resurrection
    Anderson, Barth – Patron Saint of Plagues
    Anderson, Kevin – Metal Swarm (et al)
    Asaron, Catherine – Primary Inversion
    Asher, Neal – Gridlinked #1, The Line of Polity#2, Brassman #3, Polity Agent #4 (Polity Universe) Prador Moon (Polity series), Africa Moon, The Engineer Reconditioned (ss)
    Ashley, Mike – Gateways to Forever
    Asimov – End of Eternity, The God’s Themselves
    Atlanasio, A. A. – Solis
    Atwood, Margaret – Oryx and Crake
    Baker, Kage – In the Garden of Iden, Heaven,
    Black Projects, White Knights: The Company, Anvil of the Work
    Ballantyne, Tony – Capacity
    Banks, Iain – Feersum Endjinn, The Algebraist, Steep Approach to Garbadale, Consider Phlebas, Use of weapons, The Player of Games, Excession, Inversion, Look to Windward, Matter
    Baxter, Stephen – Deep Future (anth), Traces
    Bear, Elizabeth – Carnival, Dust, chains that You Refuse, Whiskey and Water, New Amsterdam
    Bear, Greg – Quantico, Darwin’s Children, Benford, Gregory & Carter, Paul – Iceborn
    Bester, Alfred – Demolished Man
    Birmingham, John – Weapons of Choice
    Bishop, M, ed. – Cross of Centuries
    Blaylock, James – All the Bells on Earth
    Bonta, Vanna – Flight
    Bova, Ben – City of Darkness (ya), Sam Gunn Omnibus
    Bowes, Richard – From the Files of the Time Rangers
    Bradbury, Ray – The Cat’s Pajamas
    Brin, David – Stratos, Glory Season, Sky Horizon (ya), Out of Time: Yanked – Kress (ya)
    Brown, Eric – Helix
    Brunner, John – Jagged Orbit, The Sheep Look Up
    Buckner, M.M. – War Surf
    Butcher, Jim – White Night (Dresden Files)
    Card, Orson Scott- Wyrms, Empire
    Capbianco, Michael – Burster
    Carey, Jacqueline – Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Avatar
    Carver, Jeff – Neptune Crossing
    Cherryh, C. J. – Downbelow Station
    Clarke, A – Dolphin Island (ya)
    Clarke, Arthur & Stephen Baxter – Time’s Eye#1, Firstborn #2, (Time Odyssey trilogy) Emperor #1, Conqueror #2 (Time’s Tapestry series)
    Clayton, Donald – The Joshua Factor
    Clement, Hal – Mission of Gravity
    Cook, Hugh – Wizards and the Warriors #1, The Wordsmiths and the Warguild, #2 (Chronicles of an Age of Darkness) ** To find and Wake the Dreamer
    Cooper, Brenda – The Silver Ship and the Sea
    Crowther, ed. – Moon Shots (anth)
    Cunningham, Mich – Specimen Days
    Czerneda, Julie – Survival #1, Migration #2, Regeneration #3 (Species Imperative)
    Dann, Jack & Gardner Dozois – Beyond Singularity
    Dann, Jon R. – Song of the Axe
    Davis Russell & Martin H. Greenburg, eds. – Apprentice Fantastic (anth)
    Delaney, Samuel – The Einstein Intersection, Dahlgren
    DeLint, Charles – Spirits in the Wire, Onion Girl
    Dick, Philip K. – Valis
    DiFilippo, P – Fuzzy Dice, Ribopunk, The Steampunk Trilogy
    Doctorow, Cory – Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
    Dowling, Jerry, ed. – The Jack Vane Treasury (ss)
    Duntemann, Jeff – **The Cunning Blood
    Egan, Greg – Schild’s Ladder, Quarantine, Diaspora, Permutation City, Terrenasia
    Eklund, Gordon – A Thunder on Neptune
    Elliot, Kate – King’s Dragon #1, Prince of Dogs #2, Burning Stone #3, Child of Flame #4, Gathering Storm #5, (Crown of Stars – fantasy)
    Ellison, Harlan – Deathbird Stories (SFBC – ss)
    Elrod, P.N., ed. – The Magic Shop (anth)
    Emerson, Earl – Vertical Burn
    Eskridge, Kelly – Dangerous Space (ss)
    Farmer, Nancy – Riverworld, The Ear, The Eye and the Arm, The House of the Scorpion
    Flynn, Michael – Country of the Blind, Eifelheim
    Forward, Robert – Dragon’s Egg#1, **Starquake #2
    Frost, Greg – Fitcher’s Brides
    Gaiman, Neil – Mister Magic, Interworld
    Gardner, James Alan – Vigilant #2, Hunted #3, Trapped #4 (Festina Ramos), Ascending, Gravity Wells (ss)
    Gibson, William – Spook Country, Pattern Recognition
    Golden, Christopher – Myth Hunters, The Borderkind
    Goonan, Kathleen Ann – Rhapsody, Crescent City, In War Times
    Green, Tim – 4th Perimeter
    Greenburg, Martin Harry, ed. – Assassin Fantastic (anth), All Hell Breaking Loose (anth), Gateways (anth)
    Greenburg, Martin H. & Brittiany A. Koren, eds. – Pharoah Fantastic (anth), Fantasy Gone Wrong
    Greenburg, Martin H. & Kerrie Hughes, eds. – Maiden, Matron, Crone (anth), Children of Magic (anth)
    Greenburg, Martin H. & Janet Pack, eds. – Magic Tails (anth)
    Greenburg, Martin H. & John Helfers, Eds. – In The Shadow of evil (anth)
    Greenburg, Martin H. & Russell Davis, eds. – Millennium 3001
    Griffith, Nicola – Slow River
    Grimsley, Jim – The Last Green Tree
    Grimwood, Jon Courteney – End of the World Blues, **Recursion, Pashazade #1, Effendi #2, Felaheen #3 (Arabesk Trilogy – fantasy)
    Hairston, Andrea- Mindscape
    Haldeman, Joe – Camouflage, Forever Free
    Hambly, Barbara – Ishmael (Star Trek)
    Hamilton, Peter – Pandora’s Star, Judas Unchained, Reality Dysfunction Part II, A Quantum Murder, The Dreaming Void
    Harrison, M. John – Nova Swing
    Hartwell, David, ed. – The Space Opera Renaissance (anth)
    Heinelein, RA – Mutants (ya), Outward Bound (SFBC- Podakyne, Have Spacesuit, Starship Troopers), To The Stars (SFBC – Between Planets, Rolling Stones, Starman Jones, Star Beast), Double Star, Beyond the Horizon
    Heinlein, Robert and Spider Robinson – Variable Star
    Herbert, Brian – The Web & the Stars
    Hoyle, Fred – October the First is Too Late (old)
    Jones, Gwyneth – Bold as Love
    Kaye, Marvin, ed. – Don’t Open This Book (anth)
    Kent, Steven – Clone Republic
    Kenyon, Kay – Maximum Ice#1, Braided World #2, Tropic of Creation, Bright of the Sky #1, A World Too Near #2 (The Entire and the Rose series), Leap Point
    Kenyon, Sherrilyn, ed. – My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (anth)
    Keyes, Greg – Newton’s Cannon #1 (The Age of Unreason – fantasy)
    King, Stephen – Dark Tower series, Lissey’s Story
    Kress, Nancy – **Beggars in Spain, Out of Time:Yanked (Brin series)
    Lackey, M & Mallory, James – Outstretched Shadow
    Landis, Geoffrey – Impact Parameter (ss)
    Landon, Kristin – Hidden Worlds
    Lem, Stanilaw – The Investigation
    Levinson, Paul – The Plot to Save Socrates
    Little, Denise, ed. – Creature Fantastic (anth), Time After Time (anth), Hags, Siren and Other Bad Girls of Fantasy (anth), Magic Toybox (anth)
    Lumley, Brian – The House of Doors, Psychomech, Screaming SF (ss)
    Mackay, Scott – Phytosphere
    MacLeod, Ken – Cosmonaut Keep #1, Dark Light #2, Engine City #3 (Engines of Light series), Star Faction #1, Stone Canal #2, Cassini Division #3, (Fall Revolution series), Learning the World, Human front, Cydonia
    Maguire, Greg – Mirror, Mirror (snow White fantasy)
    Martin, Mark & Benford, Gregory – A Darker Geometry
    Martin, George R.R., Gardner Dozois & Daniel Abraham – Hunter’s Run (not an anth)
    Martin, George R.R. ed. – Inside Straight (anth), McAuley, Paul – **Four Hundred Billion Stars, Secret Harmony, Eternal Light (400 Billion Stars series), Of the Fall, Fairyland, Red Dust, White Devils, Secret of Life, Whole Wide World, Child of the River #1, Ancients of days #2, Shrine of the Stars #3 (Confluence series)
    McCaffrey, Anne & Elizabeth Scarborough – Changelings #1, Maelstrom #2 Deluge #3 (Twins of Petaybee – ya/adult), First Warning #1, Second Wave #2, Third Watch #3 (Acorna’s Children – ya/adult)
    McCarthy, Wil – Collapsium #1, Wellstone #2, Lost in Transmission #3, Flies From the Amber
    McDevitt, Jack – Outbound
    McDonald, Ian – River of Gods
    McIntyre, Vonda – Transition
    McKinley, Robin – Blue Sword
    McMullen, Sean – Souls of the Great Machine
    McPhail, Mike – Breach the Hull
    Melko, Richard – Singularities Ring
    Mieville, China – Iron Council, Un Lun Din
    Mitchell, Syne – Technogenesis
    Moon, Elizabeth – Command Decision, Engaging the Enemy, Remnant Population, Speed of Dark
    Morgan, Richard – Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies (series)
    Moriarty, Chris – Spin State, Spin Control
    Nagata, Linda – Tech Heaven
    Niven, Larry – Neutron Star (ss)
    Niven, Larry & Lerner – Fleet of Worlds
    Norton, Andre – Zero Stone (ya)
    Norton, Andre & Martin Greenburg, eds – Catfantastic 5
    Olson, Mark, ed. – Years in the Making (L. Sprague deCamp ss)
    Palmer, Philip – Debatable Space
    Parks, Paul – The Tourmaline
    Patterson, James – Maximum Ride: Angel Experiment, School’s Out Forever (y/a)
    Pohl, Fred – The Coming of Quantum Cats, Platinum Pohl (ss)
    Pratchett, Terry – Going Postal, Men at Arms
    Preuss, Paul – Broken Symmetries #1, Secret Passages #2
    Reed, Kit – Dogs of Truth (ss)
    Reed, Robert – Marrow#1, Well of Stars #2
    Remic, Andy – War Machine
    Resnick, Mike, ed. – Alien Crimes (anth), Down These Dark Spaceways (anth), I, Alien (anth)
    Reynolds, Alastair – The Prefect, Galactic North
    Roberson, Chris – Here, There, Everywhere
    Robinson, Kim Stanley – The Galilieans, Wild Shore #1, Gold Coast #2, Pacific Edge #3 (Three Californias series)
    Robson, Justina – Keeping it Real #1, Selling out #2 (Quantum Gravity series), Mappa Mundi, Natural History, Silver Screen
    Rosenblum, Mary – Horizons (anth)
    Rucker, Rudy – Postsingular
    Rusch, Kristine Kathryn – White Mists of Power , The Black Queen #1, the Black King #2, Sacrifice #1(Book of the Fey)
    Rusch, Kristine Kathryn, ed. – Familiars
    Russell, Mary Doria – The Sparrow, Children of God
    Russo, RP, ed – Futures from Nature
    Sawyer, Robert – Frameshift, Terminal Exposure, Rollback, Mindscan, Hominids #1, Humans #2, Hybrids #3 (Neanderthal Parallax), Fast Forward
    Scalzi, Jon – An Old Man’s War, The Android’s Dream
    Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann – Cleopatra 7.2
    Schroeder, Karl – Queen of Candesce, Engines of Recall
    Schmidt, Stanley – Newton and the Quasi-Apple
    Scott, Tim – Outrageous Fortune
    Shaw, Bob – Other Days, Other Eyes
    Shepard, Joel – Crossover
    Simmons, Dan – Olympos, Fall of Hyperion #2, Endymion #3, Rise of Endymion #4
    Silverberg, Robert – Time of the Great Freeze (ya)
    Snyder, Maria – Poison Study
    Stableford, Brian – Architects of Immortality
    Steele, Allan – Coyote Rising, Spindrift
    Stephenson, Neal – Snow Crash, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon
    Sterling, Bruce – Schismatrix Plus
    Stewart, Ian – Flatterland
    Stirling, S.M. – Protector’s War #2, A Meeting at Corvallis #3
    Strahan, Jonathon – Best Short Novels 2004, 2005, 2006
    Stross, Charles – Glasshouse, Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise, Halting State, The Family Trade #1, The Hidden family #2, Clan Corporate #3, Merchant’s War #4 (The Merchant Princes series), The Jennifer Morgue
    Suzaki, Koji & Glynne Walley – Ring #1, Spiral #2, Loop #3 (Ring trilogy)
    Tepper, Sheri – Sideshow, A Plague of Angels, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, The Awakeners (Northshore, Southshore), Singer From the Sea
    Thomas, Jeffrey – Deadstock,
    Thompson, Mercy – Moon Called
    Tiptree, James – The Girl Who was Plugged In
    Tobias, Micael – Voice of the Planet
    Traviss, Karen – Matriach, Judge
    Van Voght, A.E. – Slan
    Varley, John – Red Thunder, Red Lightening
    Vinge, Vernor – Marooned in Realtime
    Vonarburg, Elizabeth – A Game of Perfection
    Watts, Peter – Blindsight
    Weber, David – Off Armageddon Reef
    Weinbaum, Stanley – The New Adam
    Westerfield – Peeps, Fine Prey, Evolution’s Darling, The Risen Empire #1, The Killing of Worlds #2 (Succession series) Midnighters (The Secret Hour, Touching Darkness, Blue Noon)
    Wharton, Ken – Divine Intervention
    Williams, Tad – War of the Flowers
    Williams, Walter Jon – Voice of the Whirlwind, Hardwired, Implied Spaces
    Williamson, Jack – Stonehenge Gate
    Willis, Connie, & S. Williams, eds – A Woman’s Liberation: Futures By and About Women
    Wilson, R.C. – Chronoliths, Darwinia, Axis, Spin
    Womack, J – Random Acts of Senseless Violence
    Zebrowski, George – Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia
    Zeddies, Ann – Steel Helix
    Zettel, Sarah – Reclamation

    Time Travel in Science Fiction- Is it Possible, Plausible or Probable?

    What is time travel. How is it possible, or is it? These are the questions addressed in this collection of writings, web sites, book, and video.

    “Time is of your own making;
    its clock ticks in your head.
    The moment you stop thought
    time too stops dead.”
    by Angelus Silesius, a sixth-century philosopher and poet

    A number of physicists are exploring the idea of time travel, and determining that it IS possible:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa004&articleID=0000AB94-4016-1FBE-80168\
    3414B7F0000

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/time/
    http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/John_Gribbin/timetrav.htm
    http://freespace.virgin.net/steve.preston/Time.html

    Check out the American Institute of Physics and search “time travel”:
    http://www.aip.org/pnu/1998/split/pnu365-1.htm
    http://www.aip.org/pnu/2003/split/631-2.html

    Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which contains some great responses to arguments against time travel. http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/stanford/archives/fall2001/entries/time-travel-\
    phys/

    K.S. Thorne, Do the laws of physics permit wormholes for interstellar travel and machines for time travel? in Carl Sagan’s Universe , eds. Y. Terzian and E. Bilsen (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1997), Chapter 10, pp. 121-134.
    Kip Thorne:

    “[A]n American theoretical physicist, known for his prolific contributions in gravitation physics and astrophysics and for having trained a generation of scientists. A longtime friend and colleague of Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, he is the current Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech and one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kip_Thorne
    http://www.its.caltech.edu/~kip/

    and his book:
    K.S. Thorne, Spacetime Warps and the Quantum World: A Glimpse of the Future, in R.H. Price, ed., The Future of Spacetime (W.W. Norton, New York, 2002).

    AND, for those of you who don’t like to bother with URLS, some excerpts:

    “Despite years of debate, scientists still haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of going back in time. “Many physicists have a gut feeling that time travel to the past is not possible,” said Columbia University theoretical physicist Brian Greene. “But many of us, including me, are impressed that nobody’s been able to prove that.”

    “Over the next few years, some experiments hold out a chance of finally being able to show whether or not time can move backward as well as forward. Theoretically, at least, it might be possible for the future to influence the past, said John Cramer, a physicist at the University of Washington. He and his colleagues plan to try just such an experiment next year.
    Cramer acknowledged that the concept of retro-causality doesn’t seem to make sense, “but I don’t understand why not.”

    Both Greene and Cramer know the science as well as the fiction side of the time-travel issue: Greene is the author of The Elegant Universe, a best-selling book on string theory — but he also played a cameo role in “Frequency,” a time-travel movie released in 2000, and served as a scientific consultant for “Deja Vu.”…

    Cramer, meanwhile, has done research into ultra-relavistic heavy-ion physics at CERN and Brookhaven National Laboratory — but he’s also written two science-fiction novels and pens a regular column for Analog magazine called The Alternate View. If his experiments show that retro-causality is a reality — that one event can determine the outcome of another event taking place 50 microseconds earlier — it could lend support to the ultimate alternate view of quantum physics.

    “It opens the door to doing all kinds of really bizarre things,” he said.”

    “Nature would conspire against changing causality, something Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking has called the “chronology protection conjecture”: For example, if you tried to shoot your father before you were born, somehow the gun would fail to go off.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15817394/

    OR try Hawking:

    “However, in a remarkable paper written in 1905, when he was a clerk in the Swiss patent office, Einstein showed that the time and position at which one thought an event occurred, depended on how one was moving. This meant that time and space, were inextricably bound up with each other. The times that different observers would assign to events would agree if the observers were not moving relative to each other. But they would disagree more, the faster their relative speed.
    So one can ask, how fast does one need to go, in order that the time for one observer, should go backwards relative to the time of another observer.

    The answer is given in the following Limerick.

    There was a young lady of Wight,
    Who traveled much faster than light,
    She departed one day,
    In a relative way,
    And arrived on the previous night.

    (…lots of physics…)

    “But this subject of space and time warps is still in its infancy. According to string theory, which is our best hope of uniting General Relativity and Quantum Theory, into a Theory of Everything, space-time ought to have ten dimensions, not just the four that we experience. The idea is that six of these ten dimensions are curled up into a space so small, that we don’t notice them. On the other hand, the remaining four directions are fairly flat, and are what we call space-time. If this picture is correct, it might be possible to arrange that the four flat directions got mixed up with the six highly curved or warped directions. What this would give rise to, we don’t yet know. But it opens exciting possibilities.

    The conclusion of this lecture is that rapid space-travel, or travel back in time, can’t be ruled out, according to our present understanding. They would cause great logical problems, so let’s hope there’s a Chronology Protection Law, to prevent people going back, and killing our parents. But science fiction fans need not lose heart. There’s hope in string theory.”

    See the full lecture at:
    http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/warps3.html

    One of the arguments against time travel is mentioned by Hawking:

    “One of these is, if sometime in the future, we learn to travel in time, why hasn’t someone come back from the future, to tell us how to do it.

    Even if there were sound reasons for keeping us in ignorance, human nature being what it is, it is difficult to believe that someone wouldn’t show off, and tell us poor benighted peasants, the secret of time travel. Of course, some people would claim that we have been visited from the future. They would say that UFO’s come from the future, and that governments are engaged in a gigantic conspiracy to cover them up, and keep for themselves, the scientific knowledge that these visitors bring. All I can say is, that if governments were hiding something, they are doing a pretty poor job, of extracting useful information from the aliens.”

    There are two views on time paradoxes. As Stephen Hawking says:

    “A possible way to reconcile time travel, with the fact that we don’t seem to have had any visitors from the future, would be to say that it can occur only in the future. In this view, one would say space-time in our past was fixed, because we have observed it, and seen that it is not warped enough, to allow travel into the past. On the other hand, the future is open. So we might be able to warp it enough, to allow time travel. But because we can warp space-time only in the future, we wouldn’t be able to travel back to the present time, or earlier.

    This picture would explain why we haven’t been over run by tourists from the future.

    But it would still leave plenty of paradoxes. Suppose it were possible to go off in a rocket ship, and come back before you set off. What would stop you blowing up the rocket on its launch pad, or otherwise preventing you from setting out in the first place. There are other versions of this paradox, like going back, and killing your parents before you were born, but they are essentially equivalent. There seem to be two possible resolutions.” http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/warps3.html

    One: the alternative universe, from John Gribbon’s page “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About…Time Travel“:

    “According to one interpretation of quantum theory (and it has to be said that there are other interpretations), each of these parallel worlds is just as real as our own, and there is an alternative history for every possible outcome of every decision ever made. Alternative histories branch out from decision points, bifurcating endlessly like the branches and twigs of an infinite tree. Bizarre though it sounds, this idea is taken seriously by a handful of scientists (including David Deutsch, of the University of Oxford). And it certainly fixes all the time travel paradoxes.

    On this picture, if you go back in time and prevent your own birth it doesn’t matter, because by that decision you create a new branch of reality, in which you were never born. When you go forward in time, you move up the new branch and find that you never did exist, in that reality; but since you were still born and built your time machine in the reality next door, there is no paradox.”

    This branch of “research deals with both time, and relative dimensions in space. You could make a nice acronym for that — TARDIS, perhaps?http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/John_Gribbin/timetrav.htm

    The other explanation, in Stephen Hawking’s words is:

    ” One is what I shall call, the consistent histories approach. It says that one has to find a consistent solution of the equations of physics, even if space-time is so warped, that it is possible to travel into the past. On this view, you couldn’t set out on the rocket ship to travel into the past, unless you had already come back, and failed to blow up the launch pad. It is a consistent picture, but it would imply that we were completely determined: we couldn’t change our minds. So much for free will.” http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/warps3.html

    Now for the good part – science fiction books!

    Here are some books I found that mention time travel – not all are HardSF, but I think you can figure that out by the authors. The best description of time travel’s paradoxes and how they are figured out is in Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog. It talks about history reweaving itself back around an event that was changed – so if you changed something in 1812, a change that would have had Bonaparte win the war, time would go backwards far enough and make changes so that the event you “changed” could not have happened – the inn where someone overheard a conversation you made about Wellington and is passed on to Napoleon, instead burns down before you could stop there, etc. It is fascinating. Another good one is Kay Kenyon’s Leap Point.

    Here’s a list (URL below) + some additions of my own:

    The Avatar by Poul Anderson
    Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
    The Corridors of Time by Poul Anderson
    The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov
    Pebble in the Sky by Issac Asimov
    In the Garden of Iden (The Company) by Kage Baker et al (series)
    Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter
    The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter
    The Fall of Chronopolis by Barrington J. Bayley
    Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy (1888)
    Timescape by Gregory Benford – “the best of the modern time travel novels, even though only subatomic tachyons do the traveling”
    Kindred by Octavia Butler
    Pastwatch by Orson Scott Card (series)
    The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter (“remote viewing” through a worm hole of other times)
    Time’s Eye (A Time Odyssey) by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
    Timeline by Michael Crichton
    The Watch by Dennis Danvers
    Time and Again by Jack Finney
    1632 by Eric Flint
    The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
    The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
    The Door Into Summer by Robert Heinlein
    The Proteus Operation by James Hogan
    Leap Point by Kay Kenyon
    Somewhere In Time by Richard Matheson (basis of the movie with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour – not HardSF)
    World Out of Time and Rainbow Mars by Larry Niven
    The Time Traders by Andre Norton (read the original version)
    Door Number Three by Patrick O’Leary
    Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds
    The Didymus Contingency: A Time Travel Thriller by Jeremy Robinson ( a thriller – not HardSF)
    End of an Era by Robert Sawyer
    Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
    Up the Line by Robert Silverberg
    Our Children’s Children by Clifford Simak
    Ilium by Dan Simmons (and others)
    Chronospace by Allen Steele
    Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling
    Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick
    Gunpowder Empire by Harry Turtledove (1st in the Crosstime Traffic series)
    The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
    The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

    Much of this list came from:
    http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:cNR72MoK1e8J:www.vla.org/05Conf/Presentation\
    s/Time%2520travel.doc+Hard+science+fiction+book+time+travel&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&g\
    l=us

    and myself Del.icio.us.ing and Amazon tagging.

    ————————–

    I also found:

    The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century: Stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Finney, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin, by Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg

    The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time by Barry N. Malzberg, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Silverberg

    Travels Through Time (Science Fiction Shorts) by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg, Charles G. Waugh, and Thomas Leonard

    Time Machines: The Greatest Time Travel Stories Ever Written by Bill Adler

    Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction by Paul J. Nahin and K.S. Thorne (Non-fiction)

    ————————–

    And some more NF references from Brian’s Views on Time Travel and Interdimensional Voyages: http://www.brianbosak.com/

    References:

    1) Bagnall, Phil , Where have all the time travelers gone? New Scientist July 6 1996, v151

    2) Deutsch, David, & Lockwood, Michael , The quantum physics of time travel, Scientific American March 1994, v270

    3) Parsons, Paul , A warped view of time travel, Science October 11 1996, v274

    4) How to murder your grandfather and still get born, The Economist January 20 1996, v338

    “This site was used by the TV show “NOVA” on PBS CH11 Chicago” (which I have a link to elsewhere).” http://www.brianbosak.com/

    —————————

    Interestingly, according to the book I’m Working on That by William Shatner, in his chapter on time travel, he says that Hugo Gernsback, the SF editor of Amazing Stories, et al, first posed a question to his readers in 1929 about time travel and interaction between future visitors and the people of that time. He supposedly posed the grandfather paradox, and there is a direct quote from his “letter’ to the readers. This is in open opposition to Wikipedia’s article on it, which states that the first mention of it was René Barjavel in his 1943 book Le Voyageur Imprudent (The Imprudent Traveller): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox

    I highly recommend Shatner’s book (as I have before) for the science illiterate. It contains chapters on time travel, black holes, transporters, holodecks, and all those cool gadgets like communicators. And he went to the leading people in the field for the information. Like in the time travel one, he used Kip Thorne who holds the Feynmann Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California
    Institute of Technology.

    ————————–

    Also of interest would be: Time Travel: A Writer’s Guide to the Real Science of Plausible Time Travel (Science Fiction Writing Series) by Paul J. Nahin
    http://www.amazon.com/Time-Travel-Writers-Science-Plausible/dp/0898797489/ref=pd\
    _sim_b_img_2

    —————————

    According to the link above (under the list of books), the author says: “The definitive book on time travel, its mathematical theory, its possibilities in modern Physics, and its literary exploration is

    Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction, by Paul Nahin [New York: American Institute of Physics, 1993].”

    “Besides the definitive analysis by Paul Nahin, other worthwhile non-fiction sources (critical and scientific) include:

    Origins of Futuristic Fiction by P. K. Alkon [Athens GA: University of Georgia, 1987]
    New Maps of Hell by Kingsley Amis [New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1960]
    When It Comes to Time Travel, There’s No Time Like the Present by Isaac Asimov [New York Times, 5 Oct 1986, Sec.2, pp.1&32]
    Faster Than Light by Isaac Asimov [Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Nov 1984]
    Time Travel by Isaac Asimov [Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Apr 1984]
    Impossible, That’s All by Isaac Asimov, in “Science, Numbers and I [New York: Doubleday, 1968]
    The Time Machine: an Ironic Myth by B. Bergonzi [Critical Quarterly 2, Winter 1960, pp.293-305]
    Physics and Fantasy: Scientific Mysticism, Kurt Vonnegut, and Gravity’s Rainbow by Russell Blackford [Journal of Popular Culture 19, Winter 1985, pp.35-44]
    Science Fiction: The Early Years by E. F. Bleiler [Kent OH: Kent State University Press, 1990]
    “Time” special issue with many essays [Daedalus, Spring 2003]
    Why Time Flows: the Physics of Past and Future by Thomas Gold [Daedalus, Spring 2003]”
    http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/thisthat.html#time

    See the same site for a list of Time Travel movies with reviews, etc.
    http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/time.html,
    which includes two of my favorites: Somewhere in Time, and A Sound Like Thunder, but forgets Butterfly Effect.

    ————————-

    And from U of Mich’s “Science of Film Site: Promise of Time Travel”
    (http://retrofuture.web.aol.com/timetravel.html) see:

    Cannon, Damian. La Jetee, Movie Reviews UK. (12 Monkeys was based on this short film)
    http://www.film.u-net.com/Movies/Reviews/Jetee.html

    Lefcowitz, Eric. A Brief History of Time Travel, Retro Future. (6/14/99)

    —————————-

    And then there’s NOVA’s site on time travel:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/time/through.html

    Here’s their list of web links AND non-fiction books, including Kip Thorne’s book (Kip Thorne was THE guy Shatner went to to help him with the section on Time Travel in I’m Working On That.

    WEB SITES:

    Web Links Time Travel
    http://freespace.virgin.net/steve.preston/Time.html

    This well-organized site, an excellent introduction to time travel, is designed for people with various levels of scientific knowledge. The site includes some of the mathematics that may support time travel as well as information on black-hole theory and the theory of relativity.

    Virtual Trips to Black Holes and Neutron Stars http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/htmltest/rjn_bht.html

    This site offers virtual trips via MPEG movies to neutron stars and black holes. Most movies are accompanied by a written description. The site also offers plenty of GIFs, a FAQ page, and links to other astronomy sites.

    The Time Travel Research Center
    http://www.time-travel.com

    This intriguing site offers authoritative studies on the history and philosophy of time, the physics of time travel, and experiments in time travel. Gain access to the Tri Star System, the world’s largest
    information database of science, technology, and research related to time travel, and shop for time-travel-related products in the on-line store.

    Brian’s Views on Time Travel and Interdimensional Voyages
    http://www.iit.edu/~bosabri/time.html

    This page offers a paper that discusses the possibilities of time travel and covers the subjects of time dilation, wormholes, and the grandfather paradox.

    The Theory Of Elementary Waves – Part 1
    http://compbio.caltech.edu/~sjs/tew1.html

    This site further develops the theory of time travel. It examines some of the basic principles of quantum physics, including the theory of elementary waves.

    BOOKS:

    Books Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy by Kip S. Thorne, Norton, 1994

    In a book the Wall St. Journal called an “engrossing blend of theory, history, and anecdote,” Kip Thorne, the Feynmann Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology,
    discusses everything from black holes to wormholes, with the final chapter devoted to time travel. The book’s glossary is excerpted in Timespeak.

    Time: A Traveler’s Guide by Clifford A. Pickover, Oxford University Press, 1998

    Pickover, the lead writer for Discover Magazine’s brain-boggler column, eases the reader into the arcane theory behind time travel with amusing fictional narratives, in which two people in a Museum of Music in New York experiment with time. See Traveling Through Time for
    an excerpt.

    A Brief History of Time: The Illustrated, Updated, and Expanded Edition by Stephen Hawking, Bantam Books, 1996

    Physics and the nature of time conveyed with the remarkable wit, clarity, and patience of the foremost theoretical physicist since Einstein. Illustrated with striking color imagery.

    Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction by Paul J. Nahin, Springer-Verlag New York, 1993

    Paul Nahin doesn’t write like an engineering professor, but that’s what he is (at the University of New Hampshire). With often amusing references to novels, comics, and sci-fi films, Nahin takes on the daunting topic of time machines with erudition and flair.

    Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything by James Gleick, Pantheon Books, 1999.

    In his latest work, James Gleick explores our increasingly speed-driven world. He specifically investigates the newest paradox of time: as technology accelerates, offering more time-saving devices, the notion of haste only increases. From atomic clocks, to answering machines, to the bunkers of war, Gleick approaches the subject from diverse perspectives.

    ————————-

    A few quotes on time travel:

    “I wouldn’t take a bet against the existence of time machines. My opponent might have seen the future and know the answer” – Stephen Hawking

    “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future. And time future contained in time past.” – T.S. Elliot

    and from one of my favorite poets:

    “Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.” –
    e.e.cummings
    Conclusion: Time travel is possible, maybe not at this moment plausible or probable, but it will be, I have no doubt. Just like teleportation, another subject worthy of a post.

    SciFi Wire’s latest news

    Here is the previous week’s “gossip” from SciFi Wire – SciFi Channel’s Feed on the latest in the SciFi/Fantasy world, on the big screen, television, and in books. Additional sources are as cited (through links).

    Indy IV Trailer Drops Next Week

    Yesterday, February 07, 2008, 10:00:00 PM

    “Paramount will attach the first teaser trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to the fantasy movie The Spiderwick Chronicles on Feb. 14, with the spot to hit the Web shortly thereafter, Variety reported.”

    “The trailer comes relatively late in the marketing game, with only four months to go before the movie opens for the Memorial Day weekend.

    The reason for the delay is that the film only recently wrapped, so much of the material that would go into a memorable trailer just wasn’t ready until now.

    Nevertheless, awareness and anticipation are already high for the fourth installment in the beloved franchise, so producers didn’t feel the need to show too much too soon. The fourth Indy movie opens May 22.”

    ComingSoon.net says: “Indiana Jones Trailer Coming Next Week”

    Source: Variety
    February 8, 2008

    “Variety has confirmed what we hinted at in early December, 2007, the first trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will be hitting theaters and online next week:

    Par will attach the first teaser for “Crystal Skull” to fantasy pic “The Spiderwick Chronicles” on Feb. 14, with the spot to hit the Web shortly thereafter.

    Reason for the delay is that the film only recently wrapped, so much of the material that would go into a memorable trailer just wasn’t ready until now.

    Awareness and anticipation also is already high for the pic, so producers didn’t feel the need to show too much too soon.

    “In the case of Indiana Jones, he’s such a well-known character that it’s not like you have to get out there and introduce something new,” said Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy. “You tailor the campaign to the material. We also want to keep a lot of the surprises. That’s part of the fun.”

    We’ll let you know as soon as the trailer is online, stay tuned!”

    AceShowBiz.com said: “‘Indiana Jones 4’ Trailer Comes Out on Valentine’s Day”

    January 19, 2008 06:30:59 GMT
    by Staff Writer

    “The trailer of “” will have its first appearance on Valentine’s Day. According to CHUD.com, the video footage of the much expected action film will first be broadcast by Entertainment Tonight on February 14.

    On the same day, the trailer will be launched in theaters as well. Following the television and theatrical releases, it is said that it will hit the web the next day, February 15. Initially, its writer, George Lucas, wanted to reveal the film’s title in the trailer, but its actor Shia LaBeouf has outed the info at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards on September 9, 2007.

    Starring Harrison Ford and LaBeouf, the Steven Spielberg directed-film will be the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones’ series following the 1989’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade“. Aside from Ford and LaBeouf, the movie cast also include Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, John Hurt and Ray Winstone. The film will be released in nearly four thousand theaters in the United States and will be dubbed into 25 languages for its worldwide release. So far, though there are many leaked details information hit the net, not much about the film’s details can be confirmed aside from the fact that it is set in 1957.”

    Strike End Could Affect SF&F Films

    Yesterday, February 07, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    An end to the writers’ strike could affect several SF&F projects delayed by the walkout, including Sony’s Angels & Demons, which needs script revisions, and Warner Brothers’ Justice League, Variety reported.

    “An end to the writers’ strike could affect several SF&F projects delayed by the walkout, including Sony’s Angels & Demons, which needs script revisions, and Warner Brothers’ Justice League, Variety reported. Studios are also contemplating how to revamp their schedules should the Screen Actors Guild go on strike in June.

    Sony reiterated this week that Angels & Demons, the prequel to The Da Vinci Code, is delayed pending the outcome of the strike. Others suggest it could go into production this summer if all goes well. That’s also true for DreamWorks and Paramount’s Transformers 2. Both films are still set for release in 2009: Angels & Demons on May 15 and Transformers 2 on June 26.

    Most of Warner’s movies slated for release this year are completed or are in post-production; Warner has only one movie dated so far for 2009, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, set for release on March 6.”

    Cast Set For Goyer Thriller

    Yesterday, February 07, 2008, 10:00:00 PM

    David Goyer’s as-yet-untitled supernatural thriller film has a cast: Gary Oldman, Odette Yustman and Cam Gigandet are in negotiations to star, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    “David Goyer’s as-yet-untitled supernatural thriller film has a cast: Gary Oldman, Odette Yustman and Cam Gigandet are in negotiations to star, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Platinum Dunes is producing for Rogue Pictures.

    The script, which Goyer wrote, follows a 19-year-old girl who is haunted by a dybbuk, the soul of a dead person barred from heaven, in the form of a young boy who perished in Auschwitz.

    Yustman will play the girl, while Gigandet will play her sympathetic boyfriend. Oldman is the spiritual specialist who helps the girl.

    Shooting is to begin March 3 in Chicago with Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller producing.”

    Hollywoodreporter.com says: ” Three haunt Goyer thriller” by Borys Kit Feb 8, 2008

    hr/photos/stylus/16850.jpg

    Odette Yustman (Getty Images photo)

    “BERLIN — Gary Oldman, Odette Yustman and Cam Gigandet are in negotiations to star in David Goyer’s untitled supernatural thriller that Platinum Dunes is producing for Rogue Pictures.

    The script, which Goyer wrote, follows a 19-year-old girl who is haunted by a dybbuk, the soul of a dead person barred from heaven, in the form of a young boy who perished in Auschwitz.

    Yustman will play the girl, while Gigandet will play her sympathetic boyfriend. Oldman is the spiritual specialist who helps the girl.

    Shooting is to begin March 3 in Chicago with Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller producing.

    Oldman will next be seen as Lt. James Gordon in “The Dark Knight.” He is repped by Paradigm and Douglas Management Group.

    Yesterday, February 07, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    USA Network will pay more than $50 million for the network-window rights to National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Enchanted and five other movies from Disney-ABC Domestic Distribution, Variety reported.

    “USA Network will pay more than $50 million for the network-window rights to National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Enchanted and five other movies from Disney-ABC Domestic Distribution, Variety reported.

    Disney previously sold the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to USA, as well as the first National Treasure movie. ABC-Disney and USA declined to comment on the new deal, the trade paper reported.

    Three of the four other titles in the Disney package will come to USA not as first plays but after another cable net takes a few premiere runs, including the fantasy film Bridge to Terabithia.

    As part of the deal, USA sister network NBC will be able to take a run of Enchanted, as will other NBC Universal-owned networks such as SCI FI Channel and Oxygen. But USA will get the first plays.”

    Variety says: “USA pockets Disney pics, Network nabs ‘Enchanted,’ ‘Treasure’ by John Dempsey

    'National Treasure'
    ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ was among the trio of pics USA paid over $50 million for.'No Country for Old Men'
    Bravo could get a run of ‘No Country for Old Men’ after USA.

    USA Network will fork over more than $50 million for the network-window rights to “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” “Enchanted,” “No Country for Old Men” and four other theatrical movies from Disney-ABC Domestic Distribution.Disney previously sold the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy to USA, as well as the first “National Treasure” movie and the hit family comedy “Game Plan.” ABC-Disney and USA declined to comment on the new deal.

    USA Network has finished first in primetime among all ad-supported cable nets for the past two years, and high-visibility movies are a key ingredient in its programming strategy. The cabler recently bought New Line’s “Hairspray,” Warner Bros.’ “Ocean’s Thirteen” and Universal’s “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.”

    Three of the four other titles in the Disney package will come to USA not as first plays but after another cable net takes a few premiere runs: “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Dan in Real Life” and “Becoming Jane.” The fourth, “Gone Baby Gone,” will make its debut on USA in November 2009.

    As part of the deal, USA sister network NBC will be able to take a run of “Enchanted,” as will other NBC Universal-owned nets such as the Sci Fi Channel and Oxygen. But USA will get the first plays.

    Sci Fi Channel is a likely destination for a run of “Terabithia” because of its fantasy elements, and Bravo could get a run of “No Country for Old Men.”

    As is customary with most movie deals these days, USA will allow Disney-ABC to carve out a window for another cable network to buy a run or two of the big titles.

    USA will get the Disney pics after their exclusive 18-month pay TV window on Starz, which has an theatrical output deal with Disney.”

    Kilmer In, Arnett Out Of Knight

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    A carmaker conflict has caused NBC to hire Val Kilmer to replace Will Arnett as the voice of K.I.T.T. on its Knight Rider TV movie/backdoor pilot, Variety reported.

    “A carmaker conflict has caused NBC to hire Val Kilmer to replace Will Arnett as the voice of K.I.T.T. on its Knight Rider TV movie/backdoor pilot, Variety reported.

    Arnett (Arrested Development) had already completed his part for the film, which is slated to debut on NBC in less than two weeks. Producers Doug Liman, Dave Bartis and Dave Andron–along with the network and studio–were all fine with his performance, the trade paper reported.

    The problem is, Arnett had a contractual conflict of interest. For the better part of a decade, Arnett has done voice-over work for General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks. NBC’s new K.I.T.T., however, is a Ford Mustang.

    Ford isn’t simply providing cars for Knight Rider: It’s taking an active role in the marketing and branding of the telefilm. Ford’s logo even appears all over NBC’s on-air promos.

    Not surprisingly, when GM found out about the Ford connection, it asked Arnett to pull out. Knight Rider airs as a two-hour movie on Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. (NBC is owned by NBC Universal, which also owns SCIFI.COM.)”

    According to Wordcarfans.com “Val Kilmer to Voice KITT”

    An unusual twist has scored a star for American television network NBC’s new Knight Rider movie. Due to actor Will Arnett’s conflict of interests Val Kilmer will now voice the show’s supercar, KITT.Arnett, of Arrested Development fame, was asked to step down from the role by General Motors because the actor has served as the voice for GMC Trucks over the last ten years. Despite having already recorded his voice-overs as the talking car, Arnett stepped down, according to Daily Variety.He told the entertainment industry publication, “I was very excited at the prospect of playing the part of KITT in the new Knight Rider movie. … However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respectfully withdraw from the project.”

    KITT, formerly a GM-made Pontiac Trans-Am, has been re-branded as a Ford Mustang GT500. Ford is also taking on a huge chunk of the marketing for Knight Rider.

    No doubt NBC is sad to see Arnett go, but happy to have Kilmer on board. Kilmer, well known for his work in Top Gun, Batman Forever, and Heat, should help generate some buzz about the movie.

    If the film is well received, NBC will use it as the pilot in a new Knight Rider series.

    Editor’s note: The author originally reported that the original KITT was a Pontiac Thunderbird. Obviously, and as many of our readers pointed out, this was not the case. A change has been made to the text to correct that error.”

    Shadow’s Web Mirrors TV

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    SF author Emma Bull told SCI FI Wire that her new collaborative Web fiction project, Shadow Unit, was inspired by her desire to write fan fiction for a television series that didn’t exist.

    “SF author Emma Bull told SCI FI Wire that her new collaborative Web fiction project, Shadow Unit, was inspired by her desire to write fan fiction for a television series that didn’t exist.

    “Elizabeth Bear has been urging her published writer friends to try writing fan fiction, because it’s a great way to remind ourselves that, ultimately, writing is fun, that that’s why we’re doing it,” Bull said in an interview. “I wrote a Criminal Minds novella [based on the CBS TV series] and had a great time. But it made me realize that what I really wanted was to write fan fiction about a show that was a little like Criminal Minds, a little like The X-Files, a little like Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible and Millennium and various other shows I loved–plus a few comics series.”

    Bull decided to create the show herself–with the help of some of her writer friends–but as a Web site rather than a TV series or a novel. She co-wrote the “series” bible with her husband, author Will Shetterly, and then started recruiting other authors to take part in the project. First, she brought Elizabeth Bear on board, then Sarah Monette, and she selected some other support personnel to help with the Web site and art direction.

    Bull and company started creating story and character arcs in August 2007, examining character backstories, outlining and assigning episodes for each of the authors to write. “We established that, like a TV show, the story would be told in seasons, with eight episodes per season,” Bull said. “Each episode will be a more-or-less stand-alone story; well, as much as stories in a series can stand alone. The ‘air date’ for the first episode of season one on the site is Feb. 18. After that, there’ll be a new episode every two weeks, until the novel-length season finale, which will appear in serial form, daily, starting on May 26.”

    In addition to the episodes, the site features character bios, vignettes from stray (possibly nonexistent) episodes, artwork and secret links that connect to more story and character fragments. “We have a bulletin board for readers/viewers to comment and share information and speculation,” Bull said. “We hope to have theme music, even. The site is still a work in progress, really; we’re coming up with ideas for potentially neat content pretty much every day.” –John Joseph Adams.”

    BoingBoing.net posted “Shadow Unit: award-winning sf writers create “fan site for a show that never existed”

    Shadow Unit is, more or less, the website for a serial drama in internet form. Or possibly it’s a fan site for a TV show that doesn’t exist.Over the next couple of months, the site will be updated on a weekly or biweekly basis with new information, vignettes, character sketches, character bios, a community message board, and other exciting things.And starting in mid-February, there will be a series of novellas and novellettes, and one complete novel. Approximately one story every two weeks for sixteen weeks (though we are still tweaking the schedule), comprising the first season (of hopefully many) of a television show that doesn’t exist.

    Some of the content will be free. Some will be by subscription. (Subscriptions will be extremely reasonable.) There will be DVD extras, deleted scenes, background information, character-based digressions, and I dunno what all else.

    The staff writers (as of today) are Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Sarah Monette, and myself. The Brilliant Web Ghoul and Fabulous Artist is Amanda Downum. The Technical Supergeek is Stephen Shipman.

    Link to announcement, Link to Shadow Unit) (Thanks, Bear!)”

    Kelly Wraps The Box

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    Director Richard Kelly wrote on his MySpace.com blog that he has wrapped production on The Box, his upcoming film adaptation of a Richard Matheson SF short story.”

    “I haven’t blogged in a long time because, well, … I’ve been in Boston/Virginia directing my third movie!” Kelly wrote. “And now I am back in L.A., and we have officially wrapped production on The Box.”

    The movie stars Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella in a story about a couple who receive a mysterious device that grants wishes–but at the cost of a human life.

    “My editors have been working nonstop, and we are beginning to work on the visual effects, signing a composer, etc.,” Kelly said. “As soon as Warner Brothers gives us a release date, I will let you know.”

    Kelly added that the DVD for his last movie, the apocalyptic SF movie Southland Tales, comes out March 18.”

    Flixster.com: “Richard Kelly Wraps ‘The Box‘”

    “Director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) has updated his official blog with some information about his upcoming sci-fi thriller “The Box.””Hello everyone… I haven’t blogged in a long time because, well… I’ve been in Boston/Virginia directing my third movie!,” explained Kelly. “And now I am back in LA and we have officially wrapped production on ‘The Box.'”In the movie, a small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a troubled married couple, who open it and become instantly wealthy. Little do they realize that opening the box also kills someone they do not know.

    “It was an amazing experience working with Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella and the entire supporting cast and crew,” Kelly added. “My editors have been working non-stop, and we are beginning to work on the visual effects, signing a composer, etc.”

    At this point, he has no idea when “The Box” will appear in theaters, but says that “as soon as Warner Bros. gives us a release date I will let you know…”

    Road Gets Its Young Star

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    Young Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee is hitting the post-apocalyptic road with Viggo Mortensen in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winner The Road, according to The Hollywood Reporter.”

    “Smit-McPhee, 11, will play Mortensen’s son in the tale of a journey across a barren U.S. landscape after a cataclysmic event has destroyed most of life on Earth. Charlize Theron co-stars in the Dimension Films drama.

    The Melbourne native recently starred opposite Eric Bana, Marton Csokas and Franka Potente in Romulus, My Father.”

    HollywoodReporter.com: “Smit-McPhee takes ‘Road‘ less traveled”

    By Leslie Simmons
    Feb 6, 2008

    hr/photos/stylus/16663.jpg

    Kodi Smit-McPhee

    Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee is hitting the post-apocalyptic road with Viggo Mortensen in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winner “The Road.”

    Smit-McPhee, 11, will play Mortensen’s son in the tale of a monthslong journey across a barren U.S. landscape after a cataclysmic event destroyed most of life on Earth. Charlize Theron co-stars in the Dimension Films drama.

    2929 Prods., Nick Wechsler Prods. and Chockstone Pictures are producing.

    The Melbourne native recently starred opposite Eric Bana, Marton Csokas and Franka Potente in “Romulus, My Father.” The Australian Film Institute nominated Smit-McPhee for best lead actor in “Romulus” and honored him with the Young Actor Award.

    Smit-McPhee is repped by WMA, Active Artists Management in Australia and Goodmanagement.”

    Iron Dragons Back In Babel

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    “Multiple-award-winning SF/fantasy author Michael Swanwick told SCI FI Wire that his latest novel, The Dragons of Babel, is not a sequel but is set in the same world as his novel The Iron Dragon’s Daughter. That book was inspired by a discussion he and his wife had about steam trains and fantasy novels.”

    “I made a joke about the Baldwin Steam Dragon Works, [my wife] Marianne laughed, and then I asked her to write that down–because it implied an industrialized Faerie, one that I could work my own experiences into,” Swanwick said in an interview. “That became The Iron Dragon’s Daughter. I never expected [to] write another book in the same world, but not long ago I had the image of young Will running to the top of Grannystone Hill to see the war-dragons flying by. I set it down on paper, and by the end of the first two pages, I knew I had a novel on my hands.”

    In The Dragons of Babel, young Will le Fey’s idyllic life is disrupted when an injured mechanical war-dragon crawls into his village and declares itself king. “Though Will kills the dragon, he becomes an outcast and then a refugee, who ends up in the monstrous heart of empire–the Tower of Babel,” Swanwick said. “There he rises from the lowest levels of society to its very peak. But the dragon is not entirely dead: He still carries it within himself.”

    We all know how this plot is supposed to go, Swanwick said: The hero has a destiny of which he is unaware and winds up being crowned the king. “My problem with that is that as an American and a small-D democrat, I don’t think that the restoration of the monarchy is a good thing,” he said. “So I set myself the task of turning the conventions of fantasy on their head, while still providing the traditional satisfactions of fantasy.”

    Swanwick is currently working on a novel featuring the “post-utopian con men” Darger and Surplus, the subjects of his Hugo Award-winning story “The Dog Said Bow-Wow.” –John Joseph Adams

    See Flogging Babel for more info.

    Fourth Who, New Sarah Due

    Monday, February 04, 2008, 10:00:00 PM

    SCI FI Channel has acquired the fourth season of Doctor Who and its hit spinoff series The Sarah Jane Adventures from BBC Worldwide America. Both series are slated to premiere on SCI FI in April.”

    “The Sarah Jane Adventures is written and produced by the same creative team behind Doctor Who, including multiple-award-winning writer Russell T. Davies. The series centers on Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), former companion to the Doctor, who investigates offbeat mysteries with her young friends Maria, Luke and Clyde.

    The fourth season of Doctor Who, meanwhile, brings back star David Tennant as the 10th Time Lord, joined by a new companion, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), who reprises her role from the previous Christmas special. The Doctor’s previous companion, Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), also makes a triumphant return in the middle of season four.”

    Galifreyone.com (The Doctor Who News Page): “Sci Fi confirms April debut for Who and SJA”

    Broadcasting

    February 4, 2008 • Posted By Josiah Rowe

    The Sci Fi Channel has confirmed earlier reports that both Doctor Who Series Four and The Sarah Jane Adventures will begin airing on the channel in April. The channel’s news service, Sci Fi Wire, has the confirmation, and Sci Fi’s full press release is below.(Thanks to “GracieLizzy” of the Doctor Who Forum.)

    DOCTOR WHO SEASON FOUR AND THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES COMING TO SCI FI CHANNEL IN APRILNEW YORK – February 4, 2008 – “SCI FI Channel has acquired the fourth season of People’s Choice Award-nominated Doctor Who and the phenomenally popular series’ new spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures from BBC Worldwide America. Both series are slated to premier on SCI FI in April 2008.The Sarah Jane Adventures is written and produced by the same creative team behind Doctor Who, including multi-award winning writer Russell T. Davies. Having traveled the universe with The Doctor, Sarah Jane is used to alien encounters. Accompanied by her new young friends Maria, Luke and Clyde, she becomes embroiled in an offbeat world of mystery and danger.

    In season four of Doctor Who, David Tennant reprises his role as the tenth Timelord. For his latest adventures he is joined by a brand new companion, Donna Noble, played by award-winning actress Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show, BBC AMERICA) who appeared as ‘the runaway bride’ in the previous season. ‘Martha Jones,’ played by Freema Agyeman, the Doctor’s most recent companion, who had a dramatic role last season’s finale, makes a triumphant return in the middle of season four.

    “We are excited to have Doctor Who back on SCI FI for its 4th season,” said Chris Regina, Vice President of Programming, SCI FI Channel. “It’s an exciting franchise that continues to reinvent itself for new generations of viewers. The youthful appeal of The Sarah Jane Adventures will no doubt attract even younger new viewers.”

    Candace Carlisle, EVP Sales and Co-productions, BBC Worldwide Americas commented, “The imagination of Russell and the rest of the production team in Cardiff who have produced these two incredible shows is outstanding. We are so pleased that the loyal fans of the SCI FI Channel will be able to meet a whole new range of characters and aliens that are intrinsically linked to the Doctor’s history. Both ‘Sarah Jane Adventures‘ and the new season of ‘Doctor Who’ are jam packed with some of the most creative storylines ever produced by the BBC’s brilliant team.”

    The third season of the new Doctor Who averaged 1.3 million weekly viewers on SCI FI.

    The deals were brokered by Lisa Hofer, Vice President of Co-Production & Sales, BBC Worldwide Americas. Executive Producers for The Sarah Jane Adventures are Russell T Davies, Head of Drama, BBC Wales, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson. The series producer is Matthew Bouch. Doctor Who season four is produced by Phil Collinson; Executive Producers are Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies. Doctor Who season four is a BBC production in association with CBC.

    SCI FI Channel is a television network where “what if” is what’s on. SCI FI fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming, as well as a dynamic Web site (www.scifi.com ) and magazine. Launched in 1992, and currently in 93 million homes, SCI FI Channel is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies.

    BBC Worldwide Americas incorporates the U.S., Canadian and Latin American arms of BBC Worldwide, a commercial and wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). With offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Sao Paulo and Miami, BBC Worldwide Americas has five core businesses: Channels, TV Sales, Content & Production, Home Entertainment and Digital Media. Profit from BBC Worldwide is returned to the BBC public service.”

    Adams To Visit Museum 2

    Monday, February 04, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    “Enchanted’s Amy Adams is in negotiations to star opposite Ben Stiller in 20th Century Fox’s Night at the Museum 2, Variety reported.”

    “The movie kicks off when the artifacts from the Museum of Natural History are boxed up and sent to the archives at the Smithsonian in Washington. Adams will play an undetermined historical figure who has a crush on security guard Larry (Stiller).

    Shawn Levy returns to helm the sequel, which has a U.S. release date of May 22, 2009. Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon wrote the screenplay, and Scott Frank penned the most recent draft.”

    Variety reports: “Amy Adams visits ‘Museum 2’ Actress to costar with Ben Stiller in sequel” by Tatiana Siegel

    Amy Adams
    Adams

    Amy Adams is in negotiations to star opposite Ben Stiller in 20th Century Fox’sNight at the Museum 2.”

    Pic kicks off when the artifacts from the Museum of Natural History are boxed up and sent to the archives at the Smithsonian in Washington. Adams will play an undetermined historical figure who has a crush on security guard Larry (Stiller).

    Shawn Levy returns to helm the sequel, which has a U.S. release date set for May 22, 2009. Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon penned the screenplay, Scott Frank the most recent draft.

    Levy’s 21 Laps is producing alongside 1492 Pictures. Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will serve as producers. Studio is eyeing a May start date in Vancouver.

    Adams is onscreen in “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “Enchanted.” She stars in the indie “Sunshine Cleaning,” which bowed at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Adams is repped by Endeavor”

    Singularity Posits The Plural

    Monday, February 04, 2008, 10:00:00 PMGo to full article

    “SF author Paul Melko told SCI FI Wire that his novel Singularity’s Ring postulates a future Earth in which computers and networks are not the technological basis of human society.”

    “Humanity has been genetically altered to form pods–groups of two, three, four or five humans–which can share emotions and thoughts chemically,” Melko said in an interview. “These pods now govern a desolate Earth that has been vacated by the technologically advanced entity called the Community,” he said. “The main character is a quintet named Apollo, created to pilot a starship in search of what happened to the Community.”

    The protagonist, Apollo, is a pod of five humans engineered to be a single entity. “He shares thoughts and emotions among the five via pheromones and chemical memories that they transfer by touching,” Melko said. “Pods are a biological network that is larger than the sum of the parts; Apollo is capable of highly intuitive thoughts and analysis when he comes together to think, or, as it’s called in the novel, to consense. To come to any decision, they reach a consensus among themselves. As you might expect, pods think slower than a single human–a singleton–but their final decisions are more logical and consistent.”

    The structure mimics the makeup of the main character; each of the first five chapters is told from the point of view of one of the members of the pod. “The final chapter is told from their complete–omniscient?–point of view,” Melko said. “They can each act as an individual human, but together they are something more.”

    In the book, Apollo travels from Ohio to low Earth orbit and to the Amazon and the Congo, as well as to other places. “It was fun to research each of those places and extrapolate them into a world in which humanity as we know it has all but disappeared,” Melko said. “The dominant structure of this world is the orbital ring left behind by the Community. Designing and creating that was fascinating to me; I have spreadsheets of calculations covering gravity, centripetal forces and volumes.”

    Ten Sigmas and Other Unlikelihoods–Melko’s first short-story collection–will be out in March from Fairwood Press.” –John Joseph Adams

    Paul DiFillipo’s Review, as noted on Paul Melko’s Blog: February 04, 2008Singularity’s Ring” B+

    In the wake of the Exodus, a handful of remnant humans struggle to maintain and extend their gestalt civilization

    “As this debut novel opens, at some indefinite point in the Earth’s future, we find the state of human affairs to be summarizable thus:

    It’s no mean feat to build a five-sided hero …
    The whole planet hosts only 500 million people. They constitute the baseline humans who were left behind when the other billions of their compatriots, linked into a group mind called the Community, vanished down the rabbit-hole of the Singularity, an event called the Exodus. The Community left behind the Ring—a huge artificial habitat that girdles the planet, attached by a number of equatorial space elevators—and the Rift, a kind of mysterious wormhole portal in the distant reaches of the solar system.Did I say that baseline humans—the “singletons”—were the only survivors? Not exactly. Because before the Community vanished, they created “pods.” Pods are gestalt intelligences composed of two, three, four or five people, each specializing in a certain quality of mind or body. Pods seem to be the next step in the evolution of the species, although they are delicate constructs. Although each pod member has a unique personality when alone, both the incomplete pod and the separate individual are always less than optimal under these conditions. They need to be close, to exchange rich chemical data through their special organs.Oh, and let us not forget Malcolm Leto, the last member of the Community, who was left behind in cryonic suspension when his brethren evaporated.

    Our hero is a five-person pod called, collectively, Apollo Papadopulos: Meda, Moira, Quant, Strom and Manuel. They are in competitive training to captain a starship to the Rift. But once they’re in the orbital segment of their competition, things begin to go very wrong, and the pod is forced to flee for its life—into the long-uninhabited Ring itself!

    And baby makes five

    Despite dealing with the hot topic known as the Singularity, Paul Melko’s very nicely crafted and intelligent novel has a bit of an old-fashioned feel to it. I think this stems from two factors.

    First, Melko—unlike Rudy Rucker or Charles Stross—really doesn’t deal with the most mind-boggling issues of the Singularity. He takes the quite defensible course of focusing on those “normals” left behind, on the assumption that everything on the far side of the Singularity is unintelligible to us mere mortals. So even the token spokesperson of the Nerd Rapture, Leto, is hardly onstage.

    The second reason Melko’s book reads a bit old-school is his major trope: the gestalt personality. This is a venerable SF “power chord,” with, arguably, many ramifications left to explore. But for some reason it’s just not used much anymore. The Sturgeon novel More Than Human (1953) did such a landmark, seminal job of handling this concept that I think writers ever after have been a little daunted. Even Le Guin’s “Nine Lives,” which shares some atmosphere with Melko’s book, is no more recent than 1969.

    Finally, there’s a vaguely Simakian feel to Melko’s milieu: The vanished majority of the human race, an uplifted species (dogs in City [1952]; bears here). … Simak is one of my all-time favorite authors, but his quiet bucolic wisdom is not the razzle-dazzle flavor of the month.

    But enough of these comparisons to older works. Melko does some fine new things. He shows admirable daring in switching his narration during the first five chapters among the five different pod members. He conveys action well—although the formula of “one major crisis per chapter” gets a bit predictable. His dialogue is very believable, whether spoken or transmitted among the pod. He conjures up a weird cultural vibe a little similar to what John Crowley created in his dystopic tale “In Blue” (1989). But on the deficit side, Melko does throw away any exploration of the Ring. And Leto as villain is offstage too much.

    Still, it’s no mean feat to build a five-sided hero and put “him” through some thrilling adventures, as Melko cleverly does here.

    In my novel Fuzzy Dice, I postulated an alternate timeline where all humans existed as gestalt personalities consisting of 12 people in each pod. As you can imagine, cars and beds had to be pretty darn capacious! Paul

    From My Daughter’s Bookshelf – More Books for Pre-teens and Teens

    Here are some books from my younger daughter’s bookshelf that are books that we bought, liking the plot and/or the author. Although many of these have not yet been read (TBR pile), they are ones that even I find interesting (which is why I bought them!). A number of them are by well known adult mystery/fantasy/science fiction authors. It’s nice to see that trend. So enjoy another batch!

    Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 3-6-Jason has always thought that his cat Gareth could talk if he wanted to, so when Gareth speaks to him he is not surprised. On finding that Gareth does not have nine lives but does have the ability to visit nine different times and places, Jason eagerly asks to go with him. Together they travel to Ancient Egypt, Roman Britain, pre-Christian Ireland, Imperial Japan, Renaissance Italy, 16th century Peru, late 16th century Isle of Man, 17th century Germany, and America at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In each place they help someone, often rulers having problems with corrupt or evil officials. They meet St. Patrick, help Leonardo DaVinci convince his father that he should be an artist, witness the beginning of Manx cats, learn about Incan civilization, are nearly burned as witches in Germany, and participate in the opening battle of the American Revolution. Listeners learn much about history and the position of cats in various societies along the way. Originally published in 1963, Time Cat (Puffin, pap. 1996) is an early novel by Lloyd Alexander and less successful than much of his later work. Jason is not a fully developed character, but more of a device for enabling readers/listeners to see each time period through his eyes. Both the opening and closing chapters leave many unanswered questions and seem merely a frame for getting Jason and Gareth in and out of their time travels. However, young cat fanciers and fantasy readers will enjoy the story. Ron Keith reads the story well with an expressive voice, good pacing, and emphasis. Technical quality is excellent. The episodic nature of the book lends itself to audio, and it is equally suitable for both individual and group listening. The historic overview the story provides is especially appropriate for this year when many schools and libraries are looking at the past in preparation for the millennium.” School Library Journal

    Lloyd Alexander is the best-selling author of the Black Cauldron series (covered here before).

    Skellig by David Almond (Whitbread Award’s 1998 Children’s Book of the Year)

    Skellig

    Ages 9-12. “British novelist Almond makes a triumphant debut in the field of children’s literature with prose that is at once eerie, magical and poignant. Broken down into 46 succinct, eloquent chapters, the story begins in medias res with narrator Michael recounting his discovery of a mysterious stranger living in an old shed on the rundown property the boy’s family has just purchased: “He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he’d been there forever…. I’d soon begin to see the truth about him, that there’d never been another creature like him in the world.” With that first description of Skellig, the author creates a tantalizing tension between the dank and dusty here-and-now and an aura of other-worldliness that permeates the rest of the novel. The magnetism of Skellig’s ethereal world grows markedly stronger when Michael, brushing his hand across Skellig’s back, detects what appears to be a pair of wings. Soon after Michael’s discovery in the shed, he meets his new neighbor, Mina, a home-schooled girl with a passion for William Blake’s poetry and an imagination as large as her vast knowledge of birds. Unable to take his mind off Skellig, Michael is temporarily distracted from other pressing concerns about his new surroundings, his gravely ill baby sister and his parents. Determined to nurse Skellig back to health, Michael enlists Mina’s help. Besides providing Skellig with more comfortable accommodations and nourishing food, the two children offer him companionship. In response, Skellig undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis that profoundly affects the narrator’s (and audience members’) first impression of the curious creature, and opens the way to an examination of the subtle line between life and death. The author adroitly interconnects the threads of the story, Michael’s difficult adjustment to a new neighborhood, his growing friendship with Mina, the baby’s decline, to Skellig, whose history and reason for being are open to readers’ interpretations. Although some foreshadowing suggests that Skellig has been sent to Earth on a grim mission, the dark, almost gothic tone of the story brightens dramatically as Michael’s loving, life-affirming spirit begins to work miracles. Ages 8-12.” Publishers Weekly

    The Book Without Words: ATale of Medieval Magic by Avi

    Book Without Words, The

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8 At the dawning of the Middle Ages, Thorston, an old alchemist, works feverishly to create gold and to dose himself with a concoction that will enable him to live forever. The key to his success lies in a mysterious book with blank pages that can only be read by desperate, green-eyed people. Master Bashcroft, enforcer of law and order for the city, desires Thorston’s secrets for himself. Brother Wilfrid, a priest with green eyes, knows the dangers of the book and seeks to retrieve it. To this mix add Odo, a talking raven, and Sybil, a poor orphan girl whom Thorston has taken in as his servant, and you have an intriguing tale in which goodness ultimately triumphs. Avi’s compelling language creates a dreary foreboding, a grim backdrop against which the characters work out their fate. The old city always seems enshrouded in nasty fog and disgusting odors. Thorston keeps consuming part of his life-giving formula and repeatedly appears to die before resuscitating as a younger person. This, plus the fact that after each “death” Sybil and the others bury him, only to have him tromp up the basement steps covered in grime, will surely keep readers turning pages. Odo’s cleverness and cynicism make him a likable character, while Sybil’s innate goodness will endear her to readers. Clearly this is a story with a message, a true fable. Thoughtful readers will devour its absorbing plot and humorous elements, and learn a “useful truth” along the way.” School Library Journal

    Crispin : The Cross of Lead by Avi (2003 Newbery Award winner)

    The Cross of Lead (Newbery Medal Book)

    Ages 9-12. “Set in 14th-century England, Avi’s (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) 50th book begins with a funeral, that of a village outcast whose past is shrouded in mystery and whose adolescent son is known only as “Asta’s son.” Mired in grief for his mother, the boy learns his given name, Crispin, from the village priest, although his presumably dead father’s identity remains obscure. The words etched on his mother’s treasured lead cross may provide some clue, but the priest is murdered before he can tell the illiterate lad what they say. Worse, Crispin is fingered for the murder by the manor steward, who declares him a “wolf’s head” wanted dead or alive, preferably dead. Crispin flees, and falls in with a traveling juggler. “I have no name,” Crispin tells Bear, whose rough manners and appearance mask a tender heart. “No home, no kin, no place in this world.” How the boy learns his true identity (he’s the bastard son of the lord of the manor) and finds his place in the world makes for a rattling fine yarn. Avi’s plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns and treachery aplenty, but it’s the compellingly drawn relationship between Crispin and Bear that provides the heart of this story. A page turner to delight Avi’s fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel. Ages 8-12.” Publishers Weekly

    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

    Chasing Vermeer

    Ages 9-12. “In the classic tradition of E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, debut author Blue Balliett introduces readers to another pair of precocious kids on an artful quest full of patterns, puzzles, and the power of blue M&Ms. Eleven year old Petra and Calder may be in the same sixth grade class, but they barely know each other. It’s only after a near collision during a museum field trip that they discover their shared worship of art, their teacher Ms. Hussey, and the blue candy that doesn’t melt in your hands. Their burgeoning friendship is strengthened when a creative thief steals a valuable Vermeer painting en route to Chicago, their home town. When the thief leaves a trail of public clues via the newspaper, Petra and Calder decide to try and recover the painting themselves. But tracking down the Vermeer isn’t easy, as Calder and Petra try to figure out what a set of pentominos (mathematical puzzle pieces), a mysterious book about unexplainable phenomena and a suddenly very nervous Ms. Hussey have to do with a centuries old artwork. When the thief ups the ante by declaring that he or she may very well destroy the painting, the two friends know they have to make the pieces of the puzzle fit before it’s too late!

    Already being heralded as The DaVinci Code for kids, Chasing Vermeer will have middle grade readers scrutinizing art books as they try to solve the mystery along with Calder and Petra. In an added bonus, artist Brett Helquist has also hidden a secret pentomino message in several of the book’s illustrations for readers to decode. An auspicious and wonderfully satisfying debut that will leave no young detective clueless.” Amazon Reviews

    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs

    The House With a Clock In Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt)

    Ages 9 -12. “Lewis always dreamed of living in an old house full of secret passageways, hidden rooms, and big marble fireplaces. And suddenly, after the death of his parents, he finds himself in just such a mansion–his Uncle Jonathan’s. When he discovers that his big friendly uncle is also a wizard, Lewis has a hard time keeping himself from jumping up and down in his seat. Unfortunately, what Lewis doesn’t bank on is the fact that the previous owner of the mansion was also a wizard–but an evil one who has placed a tick-tocking clock somewhere in the bowels of the house, marking off the minutes until the end of the world. And when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead on Halloween night, the clock only ticks louder and faster. Doomsday draws near–unless Lewis can stop the clock!

    This is a deliciously chilling tale, with healthy doses of humor and compassion thrown in for good measure. Edward Gorey’s unmistakable pen and ink style (as seen in many picture books, including The Shrinking of Treehorn and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) perfectly complements John Bellairs’s wry, touching story of a lonely boy, his quirky uncle, and the ghost of mansions past. (Ages 9 to 12).” Amazon Reviews

    The Revenge Of The Shadow King (Grey Griffins #1) by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis

    Grey Griffins #1: The Revenge Of The Shadow King (Grey Griffins #1)

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8-Sixth-grader Max Sumner and his three best friends, Harley, Natalia, and Ernie, refer to themselves as the Grey Griffins. They enjoy sharing a fantasy role-play game called Round Table with elderly Iver Iverson, the proprietor of Avalon, Minnesota’s Shoppe of Antiquities. It is played with odd-shaped dice and cards that depict a variety of fantastic creatures and characters-spriggans, garden faeries, goblins, and more. Iver takes the game very seriously, and the Grey Griffins learn they must do the same once Max accidentally releases a spriggan, a shape-shifting faerie, from a magical book he finds in his grandmother’s attic. The game fades into the background as other characters from the cards start appearing around Avalon-the Black Witch Morgan LaFey, the Slayer goblin, and many others. The four friends realize that it is up to them to save the world as they learn, bit by bit, that Max is probably a descendant of King Arthur and the Knights Templar. Iver and many of the other adults in their lives are there to guide him in accepting his legacy, or, in some cases, to prevent him from doing so. Stilted dialogue and stereotypical cartoonlike characters abound as this plot-driven fantasy races to a predictable ending with plenty of room for multiple sequels. The action is gross and violent in the same way that Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak books (Little, Brown) are, and will appeal to the same readers.” School Library Journal

    Summerland by Michael Chabon

    Summerland

    Ages 9-12. “In his debut novel for young readers, Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) hits a high-flying home run, creating a vivid fantasy where baseball is king. Following the death of his mother, 11-year-old Ethan Feld and his father, a designer of lighter-than-air-dirigibles move to Clam Island, Wash. The island is known for its almost constant rain, save for an area on its westernmost tip called Summerland by the locals which “knew a June, July and August that were perfectly dry and sunshiny.” In Summerland, Ethan struggles to play baseball for the Ruth’s Fluff and Fold Roosters, with dismal results. But here, too, a mystical baseball scout recruits Ethan and escorts him through a gateway to a series of interconnected worlds that are home to magical creatures called ferishers and an evil, shape-changing overlord called Coyote. Ethan and two of his fellow teammates soon accept a mission to save these other worlds (plus the one they live in) from ultimate destruction at Coyote’s hand. When his father’s well-being is also threatened, Ethan’s quest becomes all the more urgent. To succeed, Ethan and his friends must find a way to beat giants, ferishers and others in a series of games where striking out truly has apocalyptic implications. Chabon unspools an elaborate yarn in a style that frequently crackles with color and surprise. He occasionally addresses readers directly, imbuing his tale with the aura of something that has been passed down through the ages. Impressively, the author takes a contemporary smalltown setting and weaves in baseball history, folklore and environmental themes, to both challenge and entertain readers. Images of the icy Winterlands and beasts like the werefox and Taffy the motherly Sasquatch recall C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and some of Philip Pullman’s creations in His Dark Materials. Devotees of the genre and of America’s pastime will find much to cheer here. All ages.” Publishers Weekly

    Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

    Half-Moon Investigations

    Ages Y/A “Grade 4-7-Diminutive Fletcher Moon may not be the most popular 12-year-old in his Irish town but he’s proud-maybe a little too proud-of the badge that he constantly flashes to let everyone know that he’s an online graduate of a private detective academy in Washington, DC. The other kids admit that Fletcher, aka Half Moon, has solved several tough cases at Saint Jerome’s Elementary and Middle School, so they come to him when they have a problem. But when super all-in-pink girly-girl April Devereux hires him to find a lock of a pop star’s hair that she claims was stolen by one of the Sharkeys-a family of well-known criminals-everything starts going wrong for Fletcher. His precious badge is taken, he finds a single huge footprint at every crime scene, and he’s picked up by the local police for arson when the Devereux playhouse burns down. When Fletcher goes on the run, who becomes his number-one ally? Young Red Sharkey. A typically funny Colfer offering without the mania of the Artemis Fowl series (Hyperion), the story wittily delivers the message that some people aren’t-for good or ill-who they appear to be. Kids who enjoy comic mysteries will have a great time with Half Moon, and the conclusion drops plenty of hints that this could become a series.” School Library Journal

    The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer (Golden Duck Awards, Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades)

    The Supernaturalist (Golden Duck Awards. Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grades (Awards))

    Ages 9-14. “Grade 6 Up A suspenseful, cautionary science fiction tale. In a future dystopia, cities have become for-profit businesses. Orphanages are not exempt from the struggle to make money, and at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, kids are forced to endure product testing and frequently end up injured as a result. With orphans facing an average life expectancy of 15, 14-year-old Cosmo Hill knows that he is on borrowed time. Unfortunately, his escape attempt nearly proves fatal. While he’s lying there dying, a small, hairless blue creature lands on his chest and begins to feed. He is rescued by the Supernaturalists, a motley crew of young people who have dedicated their lives to destroying the Parasites, which feed on the essence of the living. Cosmo joins the group as a Spotter, someone who can actually see the creatures and thus destroy them. However, facts soon emerge that cause the Supernaturalists to question everything they believe in. Is it possible that the Parasites don’t feed off of the energy of dying people, but remove pain? Are they actually beneficial to society? The plot’s twists and turns will keep readers totally engrossed until the last page. Colfer’s futuristic world seems plausible; his characters have strengths, flaws, and histories that account for their points of view. The ending is satisfying yet open to the possibility of a sequel. For anyone who loves science fiction, or just an engrossing story, this novel is a must-read.” School Library Journal

    The Boggart by Susan Cooper

    The Boggart

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 4-7– The Volnik family inherits a rundown old castle on an island off Scotland and visits their new property. After returning home, 12-year-old Emily and 10-year-old Jessup notice strange things happening. Their detective work eventually discloses the cause–a mischievous boggart has accidentally become trapped in a piece of furniture the family shipped home to Canada. Unfortunately, no adults believe them. The children claim innocence on Halloween night as pieces of furniture fly through the air and a bucket of water soaks their mother. Eventually, the boggart’s pranks begin to cause serious problems; he becomes intrigued with the power of electricity, and causes a traffic accident that lands Emily in the hospital. Finally, he learns to communicate with the children by computer, causing the message– “I want to go to my own country”–to appear in Gaelic on Jessup’s screen. When he gets trapped in a black hole in a computer space-adventure game, the youngsters devise a daring, risky, and ultimately successful plan to help the boggart return home. The novel is fleshed out with numerous, vividly realized secondary characters, including various actors at the Chervil Playhouse, where Mr. Volnik is artistic director, as well as the novel’s true villain, Dr. Stigmore, a psychiatrist and a parapsychology scholar who insists that Emily is a troubled adolescent in need of hospitalization. The intelligently thought-out clash between the ancient folkloric creature and modern science guarantees a wide audience. A lively story, compelling from first page to last, and a good bet for a read-aloud.” School Library Journal

    Both Sides of Time by Caroline Cooney

    Both Sides of Time (Scholastic Classics)

    Ages Y/A. “Though narrated in the stylized, spine-tingling voice that has become a Cooney trademark, this tale of time travel and romance lacks the momentum of the author’s best work (The Face on the Milk Carton; Driver’s Ed). While her decidedly unromantic boyfriend tinkers with a car engine, Annie wanders through the soon-to-be-demolished Stratton mansion, longing for a more gracious way of life. Suddenly she “falls through” 100 years-landing in 1895 just in time to witness (albeit hazily) a murder. The first person Annie meets is Hiram “Strat” Stratton, slated to inherit both the mansion and the family fortune if he marries his plain but sweet and devoted cousin Harriett. Annie and Strat fall head over heels in love, thus reproducing in the 19th century a triangle loosely similar to the situation created by Annie’s father, who, unbeknownst to Annie’s mother, is conducting an affair with a co-worker. Along with the murder, the various affairs of the heart provide fodder for almost requisite musings on the position of women then and now. Constrained by the novel’s black-and-white approach, the truly intriguing social issues raised here never acquire real urgency. Ages 12-up.” Publishers Weekly

    For All Time by Caroline Cooney

    For All Time

    Ages Y/A. “The time-travel series that began with Both Sides of Time adds another breathlessly romantic whirl through the centuries. Experienced time-traveler and 20th-century high-schooler Annie ventures into New York City to see an exhibit of Egyptian art in which she hopes to find a photograph of Strat, her lost 19th-century love. With any luck, seeing Strat’s image will magically jolt Annie back through time. The jolting works a bit too well: instead of stopping in Strat’s era, Annie journeys all the way to ancient Egypt, where she is taken in (a la Moses in the bulrushes) by the pious yet independent-minded Renifer. Meanwhile, back in the 19th century, feisty Camilla Mateusz disguises herself as a young man and goes to work for a private detective. Assigned to hunt down Strat on behalf of his evil father, Camilla ends up in Egypt, at the dig where Strat works as a photographer. Narrated in the author’s characteristically breezily, intimate style, a series of swoopy, swoony plot twists links the various characters and time periods. Although the flap copy indicates that this installation will conclude the series, its end (featuring Annie’s nascent relationship with Strat’s great-grandnephew) certainly doesn’t rule out a sequel. Ages 12-up.” School Library Journal

    This is actually the fourth book in the series, the others being Out of Time, and Both Sides of Time.

    David Brin’s Out of Time: Tiger in Sky by Sheila Finch

    David Brin's Out of Time Tiger in Sky (David Brin's Out of Time)

    Ages 9-12. “In the world of comets far out on the Oort Cloud, impossible for adults to teleport to in the year 2345, children can become heroes. An entire space station run by teens and children, tracking and deflecting wayward comments, is beseiged by a strange alien life form called Thogs. Though these cute little one-celled furry balls are harmless singly, they reproduce rapidly and combine to be deadly to electronics and humans. Readers will side with Jerry, 15, and Nan, 14, abducted from our time to help in this emergency unrecognized as dangerous by the children running the space station. Jerry with his scientific mind and Nan with her practical leadership must use their wits and their reasoning to draw logical conclusions, make quick decisions, judge character and think up creative solutions to combat the Thogs, with the help of a saber-tooth tiger imported from extinction, and their vast, talking computer library. I like best the line: “Thanks, Library. You’ve given me a lot to think about.” Indeed. True in all times.” Amazon Customer Review

    David Brin, a well-known science fiction author, has created a framework for this Y/A series. The first volume, which we don’t have is Yanked! by Nancy Kress, and this one is followed by Game of Worlds by Roger MacBride Allen. This is one of the few true series by adult science fiction authors.

    Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    Just Ella

    Ages Y/A. “In Just Ella, Margaret Peterson Haddix puts a spin on the traditional tale of the glass slippers. In her version, Ella (sans “Cinder”) finds her own way to the ball (there was no fairy godmother, despite the rumors) and wins the heart of the prince. But now she is finding that life at the palace as Prince Charming’s betrothed is not as great as she thought it was going to be. In fact, it’s downright boring for a self-reliant and active girl to do needlework all day or listen to instructions on court etiquette from the strict and cold Madame Bisset. Worst of all, Ella is beginning to suspect that Charming’s beautiful blue eyes and golden hair are attached to a head with nothing in it. Her young tutor Jed, however, talks with her about serious things that really matter. Ella finally gets up the courage to announce to Charming that she doesn’t want to go through with the wedding, but when she finds herself locked in the dungeon she realizes it’s not that easy to walk away from a politically arranged marriage. In the end, as in all good fairy tales, our heroine and hero do manage to live happily ever after–but with a twist.

    Fairy tale retellings are an entrancing form of young adult fiction, as they add psychological insight and turn events around for a surprising contemporary angle. Teens who enjoy this delightful revamping of an age-old story may also enjoy Donna Jo Napoli’s Spinners and Zel or the Newbery Honor book Ella Enchanted, by Gail Levine.” Amazon Reviews

    Time Stops for No Mouse (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure) by Micheel Hoeye

    A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure (Hermux Tantamoq Adventure)

    Ages 9-12. “It’s impossible not to like Hermux Tantamoq, the watchmaking mouse. He relaxes in a flannel shirt printed with pictures of cheeses from around the world, he has a caged pet ladybug named Terfle, he writes endearing thank-you letters to the universe each night, and he has a big heart–a heart that aches for the fearless aviatrix Ms. Linka Perflinger, who unexpectedly visits his shop requesting an emergency rush repair of her wristwatch. Little does he know that this brief rendezvous with the jaunty adventuress will change his life forever. When a week goes by without word from her, he doesn’t know whether to be worried or angry. He drafts a slightly unpleasant, then desperate, then not-too-sweet, not-too-sour letter to her and awaits her response. Nothing. Even nasty encounters with his neighbor (the horribly garish and affected cosmetics tycoon Tucka Mertslin) and pleasant interludes with his artist friend Mirrin don’t distract him from his new heart-quickening obsession.

    His worst fears start to cement when a yellow-eyed, thin-lipped, sharp-tongued rat comes to his shop and says with a dreadful smile, “I’ve come for Linka Perflinger’s watch.” Hermux isn’t about to fork over his beloved’s watch without a claim check, and ends up following the rat… all the way to Linka’s house! And, what’s this? Is she being kidnapped? The plot thickens as Hermux boldly enters her apartment (what has gotten into him?) and discovers a mysterious letter from Teulabonari and an overturned spicy-smelling plant. As he says to his ladybug that night, “This is the beginning of a new career for me. Either as a detective or a jailbird. Only time will tell. If it turns out to be the latter I will be asking you for hints on decorating my cage.” Soon he begins to make a connection with these strange clues and the cosmetics mogul Tucka, who pulls him into her scheme to create eternal youth in a bottle (to be taken internally).

    Suffice it to say that gentle Hermux gets in way over his head with his detective work and proceeds to have fur-raising encounters involving spies, thieves, killers, betrayal, the Fountain of Youth, snakes, calliopes, and dramatic rescue attempts. Throughout it all, however, Hermux continues to thank the world at large: “Thank you for corner grocers. For sandwiches and honey fizz. For scary news and narrow escapes and trolleys and shopping bags. Thank you for loyal pets and bold adventurers (and adventuresses).” Readers will be disarmed by Hermux’s earnest, inquisitive nature and zeal for life–and thoroughly engaged by the suspenseful action adventure. Highly recommended! (Ages 10 to adult). Amazon Reviews

    Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse

    Phoenix Rising

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 6-9-A Vermont sheep farm seems an unlikely place to worry about radiation and its effects. However, Nyle Sumner, 13, and her grandmother are completely surrounded by the grotesque results of an accident at a nuclear-power plant. Because of the accident, Nyle’s cousin Bethany has radiation poisoning. Then Gran does the unthinkable: she takes in two fugitives who were exposed to the worst of the radiation, Miriam Trent and her son, Ezra, who is also sick with the poisoning. They stay in the back bedroom, the room marked by the death of Nyle’s mother and grandfather. Now it seems likely that it will be the place that Ezra dies too. The bleak setting of this book serves as a backdrop for the sensitive interaction among the main characters. Gran quietly acts on her principles, Nyle overcomes her own feelings to help Ezra, and her best friend, Muncie, forgives past wrongs for the sake of friendship. The characters overcome adversity, not through heroic deeds of epic proportions, but through simple acts of kindness. The message is poignant, but not overpowering. Hesse has displayed considerable skill in creating a contemporary tale of hope and love rising, like a phoenix, from destruction and despair.” School Library Journal

    Kokopelli’s Flute by Will Hobbs

    Kokopelli's Flute

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8? This unique and compelling fantasy/adventure is set in northern New Mexico. The mood is created immediately as Tepary Jones, 13, sets out to view a total eclipse of the full moon from the ruins of a cliff dwelling near his family’s farm, but the quiet mystery of the Ancient Ones is shattered by illegal pothunters. Tep finds an eagle-bone flute they leave behind, and his adventures become complicated by a magic older than the ruins. He finds himself changing into a bushy-tailed woodrat each night, which both hinders and helps him to find the pothunters; develop drought-resistant seeds with his father; and save his mother from the hantavirus, a disease thought to be contracted from rodent droppings. Both parents are scientists and have encouraged their son to enjoy and respect nature, and to help preserve the variety of life on earth as well as the beauties of the past. They are both fully developed individuals who capture and hold readers’ interest. Even Dusty, the dog, has a rare personality. Hobbs vividly evokes the Four Corners region and blends fantasy with fact so smoothly that the resulting mix can be consumed without question. Subplots flow together naturally, and ancient stories and sensibilities become one with modern lives. Outstanding characters, plot, mood, and setting combine in this satisfying and memorable book.” School Library Journal

    Indigo by Alice Hoffman

    Indigo

    Ges 9-12. “Fans of Alice Hoffman’s first novella for children, Aquamarine, will be thrilled to discover Indigo, another watery tale that blends fantasy with reality in a surprising coming-of-age quest. Thirteen-year-old Martha and her best friends, brothers nicknamed Trout and Eel for their fishy tendencies and webbed fingers and toes, long to escape from their dull, dry town. Their ambivalent feelings about running away, though, are reinforced when a fierce storm interrupts their journey and helps them begin to answer their questions about who they are “at the deepest core”–and who they will become. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time for Hoffman to develop her characters here, and an implausibly pat denouement may leave the reader wishing the book were longer–or shorter–but the elements of friendship, loss, and hope will come through for those who take it for the parable it is. (Ages 10 to 14). Amazon Reviews

    Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques

    Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (Firebird)

    Ages 9-12. “Fans of the Redwall series eager to sink their teeth into the latest adventure from Brian Jacques will be surprised to find that the cover of Castaways of the Flying Dutchman belies the contents of this fine mystery novel. A handsome young lad, sporting a billowing, ripped shirt, gazes off into the distance, while behind him a ship founders on an eerily tempestuous sea. It’s true, the first (brief) section of the book does tell the tale of a stowaway orphan on the legendary, ill-fated ship, the Flying Dutchman. And that’s as swashbuckling a story as they come. But as soon as the boy and his newly adopted dog are tossed into the sea during a ferocious storm, the book takes a sharp turn. Ben and his dog, Ned, given eternal life by a sympathetic angel, now set out to “bring confidence and sympathy, help others to change their fate.” Two centuries later, they arrive in the village of Chapelvale, which is filled with quirky, affectionate citizens, who immediately welcome the mysterious but kindhearted and brave boy and his dog. The impending destruction of their village by the blustering, bloated Obadiah Smithers, an industrial speculator, propels Ben and his new friends into a thrilling search for a solution, involving ancient Byzantine gold chalices, mysterious coded messages, and some fierce tete-a-tetes with hired bullies. Illustrator Ian Schoenherr’s intriguing line drawings at the beginning of each chapter hint at the upcoming clues to the mystery. Redwall fans be warned: you’ll find no warrior mice here. But readers will find a satisfying story that never leaves a doubt as to the ability of good to triumph over evil. (Ages 9 to 12).” School Library Journal

    A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones

    A Tale of Time City

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 6 Up. High-spirited time travel fantasy that is sure to delight its readers. When 11-year-old Vivian Smith is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to end up in the peaceful British countryside. Instead she is kidnapped by two youthful time travellers who mistake her for the “Time Lady” and whisk her off to Time City, a richly imagined alternative world which exists in time but not in history. Time City observers, Viv learns, have reason to believe that the Time Lady, the wife of the founder of Time Citya mysterious Merlin figureis at large in history and is busily altering it, thereby endangering not only the historical world but Time City itself. If Vivian is to return to her own world and time, it will be necessary for her to help her kidnappers foil the Time Lady first. That almost nothingwhether person or incidentis precisely what it appears to be at first encounter both complicates Vivian’s task and delights readers. This ability to surprise has become a Diana Wynne Jones signature, as have her unflagging inventiveness and almost uncanny ability to create imaginary worlds of resounding reality, a capacity based in part on her attention to detail and in part on her capacity to create believable and sympathetic characters. All of these gifts are in abundant evidence in A Tale of Time City which is, accordingly, absolutely first-rate entertainment. And to her fans, this will be one of the few things about her new book which will come as no surprise!” School Library Journal

    Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults)

    Woman in the Wall

    Ages Y/A. “Anna is more than shy. She is nearly invisible. Most of the time her mother and sisters don’t see, hear, or pay attention to her. At seven, terrified of the prospect of school, Anna retreats within their enormous Victorian house, and builds a house of her own: passageways and hidden rooms become her world. As the years go by, her family forgets she ever existed. Then a mysterious note is thrust through a crack in the wall, and Anna must decide whether or not to come out of hiding. Her life may seem like a fantasy – but there is nothing more real.” Book description

    “Kindl, who brought readers an unforgettable, offbeat protaganoist in her first book, does it again in this not-quite -fantasy…How Anna finds herself and her family again is a tour de force of extraordinary drma and wicked humor.” Kirkus Reviews, pointer review

    School Library Journal gave this a somewhat poor review, but it’s obvious others didn’t agree, based on the reviews and awards.

    Shipwreck (Island, Book 1) by Gordon Korman

    Shipwreck (Island, Book 1)

    Ages 9-12. “Being on a sailboat in the warm waters of the Pacific with a bunch of kids the same age could sound like a vacation dream come true. However, when this month-long trip is part of a strict program called Charting a New Course, and each participant–or inmate–is there for disciplinary problems, things don’t look quite as rosy. And then, of course, when a big storm strikes, and the captain and first mate disappear, and the boat seems to be sinking… the whole idea becomes less and less appealing. Still, for Luke, Will, Lyssa, J.J., Ian, and Charla, this is the way the cards have been dealt, and whatever problems they may have with each other, however much they don’t want to be there, it’s time to start working together to save their own lives.

    The first book of Gordon Korman’s exciting new trilogy introduces readers to the six troubled kids who will become unwitting partners in their desperate bid for survival. A steely captain and a gruff first mate who calls every boy “Archie” and every girl “Veronica” keep order and attempt to turn their charges into young sailors–an effort that may pay off more than any of them ever anticipate. A hint of menace permeates Shipwreck, along with humor, angst, and mystery. Readers won’t want to miss the continuation of the riveting saga in books 2 and 3, Survival and Escape. (Ages 9 to 13).” Amazon Reviews

    The Capture (Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky

    The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book 1)

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 4-8-At the beginning of this new series, a young Barn Owl named Soren lives peacefully with his family, participating in rituals like the First Meat ceremony, and enjoying legends about the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, knightly owls “who would rise each night into the blackness and perform noble deeds.” After he falls from his nest, his idyllic world transforms into one of confusion and danger, as he is captured by evil chick-snatching owls and taken to the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Soren and his new friend Gylfie work to develop strategies for withstanding “moon blinking” (brainwashing), while secretly striving to learn how to fly. The legends of Ga’Hoole help them to survive, and they are able to escape to find their families and warn the world about the dangers of St. Aegolius. While the owls have human characteristics, such as Soren’s determination and Gylfie’s creative ideas, their actions and culture reflect Lasky’s research into owl behaviors and species. The story’s fast pace, menacing bad guys, and flashes of humor make this a good choice for reluctant readers, while the underlying message about the power of legends provides a unifying element and gives strong appeal for fantasy fans.” Amazon Reviews

    Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore) by Ursula K. LeGuin

    Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore)

    Ages Y/A. “Gifts, in the context of Le Guin’s newest novel, inspire fear more often than gratitude. But this book is a gift in the purest sense, as the renowned fantasist’s admirers have waited 14 years since the release of Tehanu (1990) for another full-length young adult novel. Providing an intriguing counterpoint to the epic third-person voice of Le Guin’s Earthsea novels, this quieter, more intimate tale is narrated by its central character, Orrec. Born into a feud-riven community where the balance of power depends on inherited, extrasensory “gifts,” Orrec’s gift of Unmaking (which is wielded at a glance and is as fearsome as it sounds) manifests late and strangely, forcing him to don a blindfold to protect those he loves from his dire abilities. The blindfold becomes a source of escalating tension between Orrec and his stern father, and its eventual removal serves as a powerful metaphor for the transition from dependent youngster to self-possessed, questioning young adult. Although intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory, Orrec’s story is also rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics. One would expect nothing less from the author whose contributions to literature have earned her a World Fantasy Award, a Nebula Award, and, most recently, a Margaret Edwards Award for lifetime achievement.” Booklist starred review

    LeGuin is one of the top fantasy writers in the genre and it is nice to see a quality book, not a throw-away for teens, come from her pen. One could only wish there were more who followed her example.

    The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

    The Two Princesses of Bamarre

    Ages 9-12. “After stealing the hearts of middle-grade girls with her delightful Newbery Honor-winning Cinderella retelling, Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine here creates a fairy tale of her own and gives it a characteristic grrrl-power twist. Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys–along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending. Young fans of princess stories will gobble this one up. (Ages 10 to 14).” Amazon Reviews

    The Merchant of Death (Pendragon Series #1) by D.J. MacHale

    The Merchant of Death (Pendragon Series #1)

    Ages 10 and UP. “In Pendragon: The Merchant of Death, D.J. MacHale, the creator of several popular television series and Afterschool Specials, transplants the Pendragon name from Arthurian legend to modern-day junior high school. Fourteen- year-old Bobby Pendragon has it all; he’s smart, popular, and a star basketball player in quiet Stony Brook, Connecticut. But a visit from Uncle Press soon topples all of that as Bobby learns that he is a Traveler, someone who can ride “flumes” through time and space. Bobby lands in Denduron, a medieval world where the gentle Milago are enslaved by the Bedoowan, and it’s Bobby’s job to free them. He reluctantly teams up with Loor–a girl his age from the warrior-territory of Zadaa–and other Travelers, recounting his adventures in journals that are magically transported back to his friends Mark and Courtney in Stony Brook. These first-person journals at times feel contrived–they’re riddled with terms like “coolio” and “bizarro” and gnarly descriptions of vile sights and smells–but the book’s thumping story soon scrubs away all such concern. The Merchant of Death keeps the pages flipping with steady action and near-constant mortal peril for its heroes, promising that both this and future volumes in the Pendragon series should be eagerly devoured. (Ages 10 and older). Amazon Reviews

    Cut by Patricia McCormick

    Cut

    Ages Y/A. “Burdened with the pressure of believing she is responsible for her brother’s illness, 15-year-old Callie begins a course of self-destruction that leads to her being admitted to Sea Pines, a psychiatric hospital the “guests” refer to as Sick Minds. Although initially she refuses to speak, her individual and group therapy sessions trigger memories and insights. Slowly, she begins emerging from her miserable silence, ultimately understanding the role her dysfunctional family played in her brother’s health crisis.

    Patricia McCormick’s first novel is authentic and deeply moving. Callie suffers from a less familiar teen problem–she cuts herself to relieve her inner frustrations and guilt. The hope and hard-won progress that comes at the conclusion of the novel is believable and heartening for any teen reader who feels alone in her (or his) angst. Along with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and E.L. Konigsburg’s Silent to the Bone, McCormick’s Cut expertly tackles an unusual response to harrowing adolescent trouble. (Ages 14 and older).” Amazon Reviews

    Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay

    Saffy's Angel

    Ages 9-12. “McKay’s (The Exiles; Dog Friday) sparkling novel once again introduces an eccentric, entirely engaging British family whose members readers will immediately embrace. The Casson parents, both artists delightfully distracted Eve paints in her backyard shed and comically distant Bill spends weekdays painting in his London studio named their children from a paint color chart: Caddy (for Cadmium), Indigo and Rose. All but Saffron, “so fierce and alone,” who learns at the start of the story that she is actually the Italian-born daughter of Eve’s twin sister, who died in a car crash when Saffy was three. Eve explains that Grandfather had been visiting Saffy and Saffy’s mother in Siena at the time of the accident, and delivered the girl to the Cassons, who adopted her. Now elderly and catatonic after two heart attacks, beloved Grandfather sits in silence when he visits the family, as the children hover around him, endearingly sharing news of their lives. When Grandfather dies, “They felt as if they had lost a battle they might have won if only they had tried a bit harder.”The man leaves something to each of the children: Caddy receives his crumbling cottage on a cliff in Wales; Indigo his aged Bentley (which Bill dismisses as an “absolute wreck”); Rose his remaining cash (L144). Attached to the will by a rusty pin is a note scrawled in a shaky hand, “For Saffron. Her angel in the garden. The stone angel.” As McKay shapes an intriguing plot around Saffy’s angel, the Cassons’ capricious capers and understated, droll dialogue will keep readers chuckling. Especially entertaining subplots include: reckless Caddy’s driving lessons with her patient instructor (who fabricates a girlfriend to keep his flirtatious student in check), aspiring polar explorer Indigo’s sessions sitting on his bedroom windowsill, hoping to cure his vertigo, and Rose’s efforts to create works of art using such unlikely materials as “the entire contents of the refrigerator” and the pound coins that constitute her inheritance. An unlikely friendship with Sarah (“the wheelchair girl”), a neighbor, brings out another side of Saffy as the two attempt to find her angel in Siena, and Saffy makes all kinds of discoveries, including her love for the Cassons. The author blends a generous heaping of humor and joy with a dose of pain in a memorable portrait of a vastly human family.The only disappointment for readers may be that McKay’s affecting conclusion arrives too soon. They’ll close this book hoping for the Casson clan’s swift return. Ages 8-12.” Publishers Weekly

    Standing Up to Mr. O. by Claudia Mills

    Standing Up to Mr. O

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-7-Seventh-grader Maggie McIntosh is a good student and loves biology class. She especially loves the teacher, Mr. O’Neill. She feels she can talk to Mr. O. about anything, except her reluctance to do dissections in class. The other kids don’t seem to mind killing worms, but Maggie feels it is wrong. When she takes a stand and refuses to do the dissection, Jake, a good-looking troublemaker, is her only ally. Later, her lab partner stands by her when he feels that her anti-dissection essay should have won a prize and Mr. O. was one of the judges. Maggie’s inner struggle is well drawn as she attempts to articulate her beliefs and what she is willing to fight for. Her pain in disappointing, and possibly alienating, her favorite teacher is believable. Her arguments with her friends provide other viewpoints in a natural way without any didacticism. The tension is maintained until Maggie and Jake are caught “rescuing” the frogs that are next to undergo dissection. Maggie’s fight to follow her conscience will hold readers, and her growth as a person will be applauded even when she makes mistakes. Her interest in Jake forces Maggie to make other decisions, all of which help her define her beliefs. A thought-provoking book.” School Library Journal

    War Horse by Micahel Morpurgo

    War Horse

    Like Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful (2004), this searing World War I novel reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. The story is told by an English farm horse, Joey, and, as in Cynthia Kadahota’s Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam (2007), the first-person narrative blends the animal’s physical experience with what men say. On the farm, Joey has close ties to Albert, who is too young to join up when his dad first sells Joey to the army. Charging into battle under machine-gun fire, Joey is captured by the Germans, who train him to haul ambulances and guns. His reunion with Albert in battle is sentimental and contrived, but the viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man’s Land to save the wounded horse. Joey’s ability to understand the language wherever he is–England, France, Germany–reinforces the novel’s antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace.” School Library Journal

    This book my youngest daughter, who loves animals, stopped half-way through. She was devastated by the picture of war and the horse that was painted. I eventually talked her into finishing it, on the grounds that she needed to due the horse justice, and she did. It turned out she loved it, although she still finds it sad – even though the ending turned out fine. We have an old battered paperback. It’s nice to see that there is a new hardcover edition – it deserves it!

    Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

    Sirena

    Ages 12 and up. “Donna Jo Napoli thoughtfully and poetically reexamined the story of Hansel and Gretel from the witch’s point of view in The Magic Circle. Here, she retells the Greek myth of the Sirens, whose sweet, beckoning singing caused countless shipwrecks. But did the Sirens (who Napoli imagines as mermaids) really mean for the sailors to perish? Or were these sultry singers cursed themselves? In Napoli’s tale, because they are half-human, the 10 Sirens are doomed to lead short mortal lives–unless they can convince men to become their mates. But after witnessing a shipwreck in which the survivors kill one of her sisters, 17-year-old Sirena decides she would rather lose her chance at eternal life than trick a human into loving her. She vows to live alone on “an island where the first rays of sun bring sight to blind eyes…. I am going there to find new sight. I will wipe from my brain the sights I have seen and start over.” Little does she know that due to a jealous goddess, a sea-serpent bite, and a dead hero, a man will come to her island and love her for herself, not just her song. Sirena is the perfect teenage heroine–questioning authority and falling in love no matter what the consequences. In creating this beautiful story, Napoli brings mythology alive for today’s young adults. (Ages 12 to 15). Amazon Reviews

    The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #6) by Frank Peretti

    The Deadly Curse of Toco-Rey (The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #6)

    Ages 9-12. “Lila and Jay Cooper have joined their dad on a mission to the jungles of Central America, where a group of American treasure hunters have already become the victims of the deadly curse of Toco-Rey. Before Dr. Cooper can solve the mystery, his children are kidnapped and his integrity is put to the test. What price will he pay to get his children back? Is the treasure in the burial tomb of Kachi-Tochetin really worth more than gold? Follow the Coopers as they explore unknown ruins, plunge through dangerous jungles, face hostile natives, and battle ancient evil forces. Will their courage and faith in God bring them through? Book description

    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (winner of the Newberry Medal, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and an ALA notable Book)

    The Westing Game (Puffin Modern Classics)

    Ages 9-12. “One fateful day, sixteen people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. To their surprise, the will turns out to be a contest, challenging the heirs to find out who among them is Westing’s murderer. Forging ahead, through blizzrds, burgalries, and bombings, the game is on. Only two people hold all the clues. One of them is a Westing heir. The other is you!” Book description

    “A supersharp mystery…Confoundingly clever, and very funny.” Booklist, starred review.

    Downsiders by Neal Shusterman

    Downsiders

    Ages 12 and up. “Meticulous 14-year-old Lindsay isn’t exactly thrilled about moving to the chaos that she believes is New York City. Her flighty “career college student” mom, now divorced, has dumped her on her city engineer dad, “a man who lived his life twenty minutes behind schedule and in a perpetual state of apology.” Lindsay is certain that nothing better awaits her than prep school boredom and constant battles with her evil stepbrother Todd. But she is wrong. Quite by accident, Lindsay discovers an unusual boy named Talon who resides in a secret city beneath New York–a kind of underground Oz called the Downside. Talon and Lindsey are fascinated by the differences in their dual worlds and soon grow equally fascinated with each other. But when Lindsay’s dad’s construction project hits a snag that reveals the Downside, it is not only the blooming relationship that hangs in the balance, but the entire future of the Downside as well.

    Downsiders is both funny and compelling. But while Lindsay and Talon’s observations of their distinct environments is humorous (Talon compares Lindsay’s French braid to a “gator’s tail” and, despite Talon’s explanation that “time is of low importance,” Lindsay still thinks it’s strange that Talon wears his watch around his ankle), Neal Shusterman also uses their relationship to illustrate how much a particular culture both shapes our identity and affects how we view people from backgrounds other than our own. This call to look beneath the surface is cleverly and subtly woven through an original story with broad appeal. (Ages 10 to 16).” School Library Journal

    “History and urban folklore are wittily combined in this well-wrought fantasy, centering on an alternative society that thrives undisturbed in the subterranean recesses of New York City.” Publishers Weekly

    Sasquatch by Roland Smith

    Sasquatch

    Ages 9-12. “Grade 5-8. When Dylan accompanies his father to a meeting of the Bigfoot International society, he’s sure that it’s just another of Dad’s odd hobbies. Soon after, his father joins the society’s sinister leader in an expedition to hunt down a Sasquatch specimen, and Dylan decides to go along. He hooks up with an old hermit who seems to be familiar with the area and the legend. When it appears that someone is following the old man, Dylan begins to suspect that his companion may be hiding a mysterious past. In addition, evidence that the Sasquatch may be more than a legend begins to accumulate and Dylan realizes he must prevent the society from killing them. With an exciting climax set amid a Mount Saint-Helens eruption, this fast-moving, suspenseful story provides lots of action and appeal.” School Library Journal

    Cayman Gold: Lost Treasure of Devils Grotto (Harbor Lights Series) (A MacGregor Family Adventure) by Richard Trout

    Lost Treasure of Devils Grotto (Harbor Lights Series)

    Ages 9-12 and up. “Thrust into a race for lost Spanish treasure, four teenagers rely on their courage and scuba diving skills to survive. Sinister international forces plot to destroy a natural barrier reef in order to stake a claim to gold doubloons and Colombian emeralds hidden for nearly four hundred years.

    Amid the exotic waters and beaches of the Cayman Islands, this tale conveys an exciting mix of pirates, strange and timeless creatures of the sea, and the hospitable peoples of the Caribbean. Fast boats, mini-subs, undersea scooters, hurricanes, and even teen romance accentuate the fast tempo of this techno-thriller, the first in a series.

    The MacGregor family’s respect for life and the sanctity of the environment, along with their thirst for adventure, drive the teens through a series of challenging and surprising events. Along with page-turning excitement, Cayman Gold delivers gentle doses of history and geography along the way.” Book description.

    Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen (Winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best Children’s Msytery)

    Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

    Ages 9-12. “Look out Harriet the Spy! Here comes Sammy Keyes, a resourceful, brave, too-curious-for-her-own-good young sleuth who gets into trouble with her grandmother’s binoculars. Sammy was just killing time when she looked across the avenue with the binoculars. She certainly didn’t imagine that she would see a thief in the act of stealing something from one of the rooms at the Heavenly Hotel. The worst part is that the thief saw Sammy spying! And what did “smart” Sammy do then? She waved at the thief! Now Sammy is in loads of trouble. Can she solve the mystery of the hotel thief before the thief finds her and before the police discover that she has been living illegally with her grandmother? (Oh, don’t ask–it’s just another stressful situation in this young detective’s life.) Teens of all ages, shapes, and persuasions (especially reluctant readers) will adore Sammy and her crazy adventures. She is much more than a brilliant detective: Sammy Keyes, who is curious in all the right ways, is the sort of person you’d love to have as a friend.” Amazon Reviews

    Double Helix by Nancy Werlin (an Edgar Ward Winner and ALA Best Book for Young Adults, School Library Journal Starred Review, and Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review).

    Double Helix

    Ages Y/A. “Grade 9 Up–Eli Samuels’ mother is dying of Huntington’s Disease and he is aware that it might be in his own future. Yet his father seems certain Eli does not have the fateful genetic marker and maintains a secretive silence. An excellent science student, Eli is hired to work at the famed Dr. Quincy Wyatt’s lab, foregoing college and defying his father. In some way, Wyatt is tied to Eli’s parents and to their genetic mystery. Thus Nancy Werlin has set the stage for a suspenseful thriller whose seamless boundary between science and fiction keeps listeners totally involved (Dial, 2004)… Teens interested in science will be caught up in the intrigue as Eli pieces together clues and redefines himself and his relationships with both his father and girlfriend. His sexual relationship with Viv is apparent although not a major part of the story. The themes of genetic engineering and bioethics will interest teens and appeal to the same audience as Ann Halam’s Dr. Franklin’s Island (Random, 2002) although Werlin’s plot is much more believable.” School Library Journal

    The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

    The Bar Code Tattoo (Point Thriller)

    Ages Y/A. “Grade 6 Up – It’s 2025, and the thing to do on your 17th birthday is to get a bar code tattoo, which is used for everything from driver’s licenses to shopping. Kayla, almost 17, resists because she hates the idea of being labeled. Then the tattoos begin to drive people to commit suicide, Kayla’s father among them, and she soon finds out that the markings contain detailed information about their bearers, including their genetic code. When the government, controlled by a corporation called Global-1, makes the tattoo mandatory, Kayla joins a teen resistance movement and falls for a gorgeous guy, unaware that he’s a double agent. She discovers she has some psychic ability and has confusing visions of future events. Forced to run away after being implicated in her mother’s accidental death, she eventually joins other resisters hiding in the Adirondack Mountains, finds romance with an old friend, and learns to harness her psychic powers to fight Global-1 and fulfill her visions. Like M. T. Anderson’s Feed (Candlewick, 2002), this novel examines issues of individuality versus conformity and individual freedom versus governmental control. Because it also deals with the ethics of enhanced genetics and cloning, it tries to cover too much territory and relies too heavily on coincidence and far-fetched plotting. Stick with Feed.” School Library Journal

    Growing Wings by Laurel Winter

    Growing Wings

    Ages 9-12. “When 11-year-old Linnet discovers she is growing wings, her bewilderment is confounded by her mother’s obvious distress. As it turns out, her mother also grew wings on the cusp of adolescence, only to have them cut off by her mother. Linnet’s life seems to speed up rapidly after her shocking discovery; she soon finds herself alone on her estranged grandmother’s doorstep, and shortly thereafter, at a type of secret residence for winged people like herself. As she tries to adapt to a life she never expected, Linnet struggles with desires common to anyone who has ever wanted desperately to fit in, while simultaneously seeking to embrace uniqueness.

    This unusual novel will strike a chord with young readers who long to both blend in and stand out. Linnet is a sensitive, strong, fallible girl, easy to relate to (in spite of her unusual physical traits). Her adventures as she tries to learn how to fly (just having wings isn’t enough–it takes hard work and practice), make friends, find her mother, and, with her winged community, avoid being noticed by the media, make for an entirely new kind of science fiction-fantasy story–one that soars.” Amazon Reviews

    Dealing with Dragons: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One by Patricia C. Wrede

    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One

    Ages 9-12. “Cimorene, princess of Linderwall, is a classic tomboy heroine with classic tomboy strengths–all of which are perceived by those around her as defects: “As for the girl’s disposition–well, when people were being polite, they said she was strong-minded. When they were angry or annoyed with her, they said she was as stubborn as a pig.” Cimorene, tired of etiquette and embroidery, runs away from home and finds herself in a nest of dragons. Now, in Cimorene’s world–a world cleverly built by author Patricia C. Wrede on the shifting sands of myriad fairy tales–princesses are forever being captured by dragons. The difference here is that Cimorene goes willingly. She would rather keep house for the dragon Kazul than be bored in her parents’ castle. With her quick wit and her stubborn courage, Cimorene saves the mostly kind dragons from a wicked plot hatched by the local wizards, and worms her way into the hearts of young girls everywhere.

    While the characters are sometimes simplistically drawn, adults and children will have fun tracing the sources of the various fairy tales Wrede plunders for her story. Dealing with Dragons is the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and most young readers will want to devour the entire series. (Ages 10 and older).” Amazon Reviews

    Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville

    Armageddon Summer

    Ages Y/A. “On the heels of Paula Danziger and Ann Martin’s P.S. Longer Letter Later (Children’s Forecasts, Feb. 16) comes another novel (on a very different subject) co-written by a pair of popular YA authors. The two alternating narrators, Marina and Jed, are both children of religious fanatics, so-called Believers who dedicate themselves to the Reverend Beelson. The Believers have brought their families to the top of a mountain to prepare for the end of the world, only two weeks away, according to Beelson. Marina and Jed are instantly attracted to each other, even though Marina believes the world really will end and Jed thinks the whole thing is a hoax. Their different points of view?and occasional interleaved “memos” from FBI agents, excerpts from sermons, etc., yield a multidimensional description of cult dynamics and dangers. As Beelson predicts, there is a type of Armageddon on July 27, 2000 (Marina’s 14th birthday), but, as Marina sadly concludes, it is one “made by man. Not by God.” Yolen’s and Coville’s styles and narrative voices, though different, complement each other well, so that both protagonists emerge with the same depth and the action builds smoothly and steadily. Providing action, romance and a provocative message, this novel could well get teens talking. Ages 12-up.” Publishers Weekly

    This is the end of part on of our teenage bookshelf. Another one will be forthcoming. Many of these books have others in the series, so if you like one, check out for more by the same author in that series, or just other ones. Read, have fun, enjoy!

    Greg Egan’s Distress – a SciFi book review

    Here are two “jokes” from my Cracker Jack “prize” (when did they stop with the toys?) that are not half-way bad – they made my daughter laugh?

    1. What did the alien say to the plant?

    2. What do planets read?

    Answers below!

    Distress

    Now for a critique/commentary on Greg Egan’s Distress. I warn you, the book is full of existentialist introspection; bio-technology and it’s impact on people; Utopian ideals set in motion/reality; and most of all, the field of TOEs, ATMs, and SUFTs, all described with lots of math, physics, and incomprehensible stuff for the layperson. I don’t know if you can summarize those concepts for someone with no math background, but if you can, he didn’t do it. I have only a rudimentary understanding of it all, so if this review is a bit crazy, then so am I on this subject. Still, the book worked, until the end. I started writing this piece when I had about 100 pages to go, and I was still puzzled about the disease that is the title of the book – so far it was merely a bit-player. I loved the existential feel and discussions in the book, and the way it made you stop, put down the book and actually think! about your life, and how you view it. Good read, at that time. How 100 pages can change your perspective 180°!

    Don’t forget the answers to the jokes are below.

    First of all the plot: a journalist, who has trouble with relationships, is finishing up a piece for the netzine he works for, SeeNet, called Junk DNA. It consists of four parts – one on VAs, voluntary autists – a cult group of people with mild autism who want to surgically remove part of their brain in order to make them fully autistic and free of society’s falsehoods and relationships. The same operation can cure autism, but they want to be made more autistic.

    The second part is on a revival process. If a victim of a violent crime is clinically dead, past all hope of resuscitation, and might have witnessed the crime that killed him/her, then that person can be biologically/chemically reanimated for a short time, in order to be able to tell the detectives who “done it.” Revolting in some ways, but the piece is all about what the protagonist, Andrew, calls frankenscience – or science gone wrong.

    The third is about a man who is a walking biosphere – a man who’s body was “swarming with engineered algae and alien genes.” In short, he is a walking recycling machine. His body can convert sunlight to glucose, and the “symbionts” living in his blood can turn carbon dioxide to oxygen in any amount – thus assuring him of clean air even in the worst cases of pollution. His 37 symbionts can “eat” just about any matter, from paper to old tires, and convert it to the needed energy. He’s immune to famine, mass extinctions, and he has engineered himself total viral immunity (more on him later).

    The last piece is on the HealthGuard implant – an assay chip embedded in the subject’s body, sending back information on the owner’s state of health at any given time for actuarial (insurance) purposes. That part of the piece has some relevance to another “project” I’m working on – Clarke’s 3rd Law about when technology becomes sufficiently advanced so as to be indistinguishable from magic. This has been a subject of some controversy on my HardSF book group, and I hope to do a post on it later on. But for now here’s what Egan says:

    “It was a technical advance worth communicating, worth explaining, worth demystifying. Whatever the social implications of the HealthGuard implant, they could no more be presented in a vacuum, divorced from the technology which made the device possible, than vice versa. Once people ceased to understand how the machines around them actually functioned, the world they inhabited began to dissolve into an incomprehensible dreamscape. technology moved beyond control, beyond discussion, evoking only worship or loathing, dependence or alienation. Arthur C. Clarke had suggested that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic – referring to a possible encounter with an alien civilization – but if a science journalist had one responsibility above all else, it was to keep Clarke’s Law from applying to human technology in human eyes.”

    This is a powerful idea and one that I will explore at a later date – for now, just think of how some people today can’t even program a VCR or use add someone to their MyFaves. To them, some of the technology on the drawing boards is an incomprehensible as a light-bulb would be to one of the founding fathers. Using magic in it’s broadest sense.

    In Andrew Worth’s world, he is surrounded by technology – notepads that function as a wireless computer, with a built in dataminer, called Sisyphus. He has an implant in his eye, that he can “invoke,” called Witness, and it will date/time stamp and record any event for future use. It is then later simply downloaded, through an umbilical implant attachment, to his notepad, or other device. The cities are deserted as nearly everyone works at home on-line. The cities are figurative”ruins” that can be full of gangs and criminals, but a few have tried to revive parts and brought in theatres and restaurants, many featuring “experimental cuisine,” a bio-engineered food substitute, made from various things that are made to taste like regular food, although they look completely different.

    The book is full of existential themes and angst. In one crucial scene, while he is going over the demise of his latest relationship, his friend, who had long ago declared he would never marry, but now has a wife and kids, said: “‘I meant it, though. At the time. The whole idea of a family–‘ He shuddered. ‘It sounded like being buried alive. I couldn’t imagine anything worse.’ Andrew replies: ‘So you grew up. Congratulations.’ His friend replied ‘No one grows up. That’s one of the sickest lies they ever tell you. People change. people compromise. People get stranded in situations they don’t want to be in … and they make the best of … glorious preordained ascent into emotional maturity. It’s not.’ Andrew asked him if everything was okay with his wife and kids. he replied: ‘No. Everything’s fine. Life is wonderful. I love them all. But … only because I’d go insane if I didn’t. Only because I have to make it work.

    ‘But you do make it work.’ ‘Yes!’…’and it’s not even that hard, anymore. It’s pure habit. But…I used to think there’d be more. I used to think that if you changed from … valuing one thing to valuing another, it was because you’d learned something new, understood something better. And it’s not like that at all. I just value what I’m stuck with. That’s it, that’s the whole story. People make a virtue out of necessity. They sanctify what they can’t escape.’

    ‘But I do love Lisa, and I do love the girls … but there’s no deeper reason than the fact that that’s the best I can make of my life, now. I can’t argue with a single thing I said when I was nineteen years old – because I don’t know better now. I’m not wiser. That’s what I resent: all the f&*^ing pretentious lies we were fed about growth and maturity. No one ever came clean and admitted that ‘love’ and ‘sacrifice’ were just what you did to stay sane, when you found yourself backed into a different kind of corner.'”

    This passage made me really think – to put down the book and examine my own life. Did I truly love my family, or was it only because that’s the path I followed, the “right” thing to do, given the situation I wandered into, letting life sort of pull me along. I never made any conscious decisions to marry or have children – I was brought along for the ride, so to speak, by my ex-husband, who at around age 45 had a mid-life crisis, and decided there had to be more; dumping me faster than a hot potato and leaving me with the girls and no future. So what could I do? I couldn’t be selfish and say no thanks! I did what was right, what was expected of me. And I realized that there was no one else to do it – to love and cherish these girls. I love my children to death, but I also was “trapped” into it. I didn’t have “free will” and was backed, like many, into this corner of family life. I think that this is one of the reasons the divorce rate is so high. It’s not because of a decline in social morals, but rather a realization that there are/were other choices that could have been or still be made, and often people discard those old corners they were backed into, and break out on their own, for better or worse. So, an existential question – does “life’ have meaning by itself, or is just a series of compromises we make with what we have?

    The title of the book comes from a disease called “Distress,” a disease that is growing, and has nightmarish consequences – the victims live in a perpetual state of distress – sort of a PTSD taken to the limits, and are filled with dread, fear, and anxiety, which manifests itself in thrashing about, muttering and moaning, etc. The importance of the disease seems to be irrelevant for most of the book – which makes the title puzzling, even after the book is done.

    Andrew is asked to do a piece on Distress, but is seemly afraid (the reason he chooses not to do this prestigious piece is not fully realized in the book) and instead “steals” a different piece from a junior reporter on a major conference on TOEs (Theory of Everything), ATMs (All Topology Models), and SUTFs (Standard Unified Field Theory), and Egan does a fine job (although maybe not from a lay perspective) on describing these mathematical and physics models, and the reason for their importance in both physics/math, but in life as well. The heart of the conference is that one of the speakers might present a true, complete TOE, and that might be the “end” of physics as we know it. Of course that’s not true – it is just the starting point, but all sorts of “ignorance” cults have come to the island nation of “Stateless.”

    Stateless is a “rogue” nation, boycotted by most countries because of it’s origins. A group of scientists stole some bio-specimens and bio-tech, and “grew” their own island in the South Pacific. The island is full of artists, musicians, and scientists, etc. There is no government, and people have formed into various knots of cultural ties/religions, but there is no government – it’s an “anarchy” in the basest sense. What Andrew can’t figure out is why it stays that way, and why the residents feel it always will – why they don’t worry about the next generation dissolving into absolute anarchy. Part of it is in the fact that the people who emigrate there do so voluntarily – they have a vested interest in the “state,” and in part, of the nature of the island itself, something you’ll have to discover yourself. But the island works, which is apparently in the best interest of the group the bio-tech was originally stolen from – that their “product” can be so used, and be so useful, can only enhance their stature (which brings us to a point in the last 100 pages that I will explain later).

    Andrew is assigned to interview and tape one of the TOE presenters, Violet Masala, from South Africa. What starts out as being an easy “vacation” piece becomes fraught with information overload, bizarre fringe cults that impact the conference and himself, and various other things that bring the focus away from the “easy” interview and into the realm of a major assignment. He was not prepared for what he found, and the reporter who did all the background work won’t return his calls.

    What he makes of it all, you’ll have to read. But, except for a lack of information on the titular disease (later explained in the book in some part), and a few other missing details, Egan does a marvellous job of world-building in the near-future. The ubiquitous cults, the island, the existential crises his friend, and later himself, go through, are all intricately detailed and held out for our inspection, and it passes mine. It’s the ending that left be feeling that I’d been robbed.

    And the characters were flat to me (mentioned by someone years ago in a discussion of this book in my HardSF group), and I agreed with their assessment – to me, I have to have someone I can root for, and I just couldn’t get anywhere with Andrew – although his personal life, and existential crises are detailed out, it never rings quite true, and indeed, his one rant (when he was ill) was rather odd. And Violet Masala – she started out as a witchy sort – later became “cool,” and at the end finally, seemed to thaw. But she never was more than a buzz in his ear, and his ostensible reason for going to the conference, as well as a vehicle to truly describe the TOE that is the heart of the book.

    I’d give it a 6 (originally an 8, and that was because it’s premise is slight, but it’s treatment was first class, until those last 100 pages).

    So, SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Read at your own risk, because in order to do justice to my opinion of the book, I have to give some stuff away. I’ll try and limit it, but if you plan to read the book and love surprises, don’t read further, but scroll to the bottom for the joke answers.

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    SPOILERS AHEAD:

    There is much discussion of some of the cults that exist, throughout the book, and in particular, a few which attend the conference to protest the TOEs. One of these Mystical renaissance, is a front-runner, but in the last 100 pages, sort of disappears, and you’re left wondering why they were given so much space.

    Another important cult are the Anthrocosmologists, one of the cults embracing “technolibération, which means the “empowerment of people through technology, and the ‘liberation’ of the technology itself from restrictive hands” – in other words, supporting technology in all it’s bizarre applications (like in Junk DNA), but also taking it away from the White Male West, and into the hands of the people, especially science starved Africa. The term started there, with a distinguished scientist.

    ACs, as they are called, believe (at least the moderate wing) in merging information theory, an old science, with the TOE, to achieve what they believe is the “end” result. As the books explains “Imagine this cosmology. Forget about starting the universe with just the right finely-tuned Big Bang needed to create stars, planets, intelligent life, and a culture capable of making sense of it all. Instead, take as your ‘starting point’ the fact that there’s a living human being who can explain an entire universe, in terms of a single theory. Turn everything around, and take it as the only thing given that this one person exists.”

    “From this person, the universe ‘grows out’ of the power to explain it: out in all directions, and forward and backward in time. Instead of being blasted out of pre-space – instead of being ’caused’ inexplicably at the beginning of time – it crystallizes quietly around a single human being.”

    “That’s why the universe obeys a single law– a Theory of Everything. It’s all explained by a single person. We call this person the Keystone. Everyone, and everything, exists because the Keystone exists.”

    “We can’t watch the universe emerge; we’re part of it, we’re trapped inside the space-time created by the act of explanation. All we can hope to witness, in the progression of time, is one person become the first to hold the TOE in vis [an asex term for him/her asexual humans] mind, and grasp its consequences, and – invisibly, imperceptibly – understand us all into being.

    So this group of moderates wishes to “protect” the TOE presenters, in particular, Mosala, who has had threats against her for many things, in order that she might be the Keystone that unlocks the universe, and “understands it into being.” Without it, we’re locked into the same dead space we still occupy.

    Then there are extremist ACs, who believe that only ONE person is designed to be the Keystone and that person is predetermined. So, no matter what they, or who they kill, the real Keystone will still exist, because they can’t get it wrong. But other extremists believe that having NO TOE is the more desirable state, as it leaves no end to the possibility of transcendence. Some of the TOE theories leave open (to them) the possibility of other universes, other cosmologies. But these people want more – transcendence.

    They believe that “information space,” at the time the Keystone comes the Keystone, in it’s initial configuration, is called the “Aleph.” The Aleph is the pure information preceding all physical things. “The Keystone’s ‘knowledge’ and ‘memory’ come first. The brain which encodes them follows.” The Keystone doesn’t have to think everything into being – it follows by logical implication.

    In Violet Masala’s TOE, she uses the concept of forgetting the fine-tuning of the Big Bang theory. Taking our own existence as given, which in some ways parallels the AC’s views, she uses various experiments in which she knows the variables, etc., and assigns them a probability of existing as 100%, something the other TOE theorists won’t do – they want to start with a clean empty slate of physical constraints, and bring it down to pure mathematics. She takes these established facts (the results and conditions of known experiments) as a kind of anchor, and then she “reach[es] down into the level of the TOE, down to the level of infinite sums over all topologies. I calculate what the consequences of my assumptions are, and then I follow them all the way back up again to the macroscopic level, to predict the ultimate results of the experiment.”

    And here’s where it starts to get a little mystical, cosmic energy sort of thing, to me – Masala explains to Andrew that (and she reaches out to hold his hand) “without pre-space to mediate between us – without an infinite mixture of topologies able to represent us all with a single flicker of asymmetry – nobody could even touch. That’s what the TOE is. And even if I’m wrong in every detail… I still know it’s down there, waiting to be found. Because there has to be something which lets us touch.”

    The extremist AC’s believe that physics, without information, and vice versa, is meaningless, and so the TOE needs to take both into account, and Violet’s TOE does that – she is the only one that does. But once the TOE is completed by the Keystone, the universe will unravel, as complete understanding goes back onto to itself into the beginnings of the universe, effectively obliterating our universe. So they try and stop her – by a bio-weapon.

    The last 100 pages differed dramatically from the first 400+. At the place of Egan’s “departure” from normalcy, the island is being closed in on by mercenaries, backed by the company that the bio-tech was stolen from. Now why this is has suddenly become an issue for the company, after about 10 years of lawsuits and small petty attempts of harassment, is unclear; either he glossed over it, or Egan changed his view completely that the island was a living testament to the bio-tech, and as such, it did no harm for the company. The only thing I can think of is that there has been a boycott of the island by most major countries, due to it’s questionable origins and the desire of the nations to stay on the good side of the bio-tech companies, and now Violet Masala, a leading South African scientist, is contemplating a permanent move there – to become a citizen of Stateless. This is supposedly a move on her part, because of her stature in the world’s eye, to try and add credibility to the island and help force the hand of those who boycott the island. But how and why this will hurt the company that owned the stolen bio-tech, I must have missed, when I turned a page. Actually, I just found it – it’s a short paragraph where our hero theorizes that the company, although not wanting to turn Violet into a martyr by killing her (see radical ACs later), wants to reduce the island to panic and “anarchy,” thus proving to the world “that the naive experiment had been doomed from the start.” But how this helps the company is still murky for me. And why Violet’s move is so controversial, must be a small footnote, somewhere.

    It turns out this self-same company (En-Gen-Uity) is behind a group of mercenaries who have seized the airport in a bloodless coup (to start a panic and reduce the island to complete anarchy, and later takes to shelling the city; driving the people, in orderly fashion, and by their own volition, to the edges of the island – for the islanders know something the mercenaries don’t; but you, the reader, will find out. Not that it has anything to do with the plot, except that we/I seem to have a vested interest in the success of this tiny island. When our hero Andrew keeps asking them if they are afraid, they say, don’t worry – it’s all been taken care of and planned for.

    But then Violet turns sick – from the same kind of bio-warfare that hit our hero earlier – his goes off too early- the bio-weapons seem to be “timed, – and they are able to get an antidote onto the island, which has primitive medical capabilities, by the rest of the world’s standards, and he is saved from a horrendous case of cholera, which gave rise to many of his existentialist musings, as he lay dying. But now Violet is brought down with the same type of bio-weapon, although a different strain/disease, as did one of the Japanese TOE presenters, who never even made it to the island and eventually died from it, and no antidote can be flown in, due to the boycott, plus she is sicker. Just where and how they contracted these disease is a mystery until the end (you find out a part, but not all). Violet is flown back to South Africa, after much wheeling and dealing by our hero with the mercenaries, for safe passage and her government for transportation (a private jet) to the boycotted island (no direct flights there from almost anywhere – you just can’t get there from here). On the way to the airport, in the ambulance, she records for posterity her visions of the TOE, and what she has done with it – she has made a “clonelet”, some type of computer software, and has given it the instructions needed to complete her TOE, once the calculations that will confirm her theory are shortly finished, and to publish it simultaneously to every scientist and university on the planet, in an attempt to bypass the “killing” orders of a radical branch of the group of “Anthrocosmologists.”

    What happens next, in the crazy environment that is Stateless during the “siege” and Violet’s extreme illness, and the clonelet’s work on finishing the TOE by a specified time, becomes, in those last few pages, an exercise in self-indulgence, even “self-stimulation” if you get my drift. It’s as if the author is experiencing an orgasmic religious fervour – a mystical look into the cosmos. He describes it in lyrical prose, and while it may feel right to him, it simply doesn’t fit the tone of the earlier 3/4 of the novel, which relied heavily on science and physics/mathematics in particular. It’s as if “The Little Prince,” “What the Bleep! Do We Know,” and “The Secret” have all melted into one small section of a SciFi novel to become an author’s over-indulgent rapturous look at the cosmos, the universe, ourselves,and the interconnectedness of it all. For when the Toe is eventually “read,” what happens is pure New Age. and the epilogue is bizarre.

    Some earlier parts from the book just sort of “pop” back up, with no real excuse, except perhaps as red herrings – but this isn’t a mystery novel, it’s Hard SciFi. Take his Junk DNA piece – the human genome experiment guy turns out to be manufacturing viruses for which he of course has total immunity. His “species self-knowledge” had allowed him to make himself the definition of what Egan calls the “H-word” or humanity. So what? There are several instances of this “mystery” theme. The journalist who was supposed to be doing the piece, and from who he stole it, and had collected so much information, seems to be missing, etc. The book is replete with little “mysteries” and lots of red herrings that have no real part of the story – they are interesting in their own right, but end up just “floating” in the story line – not a part of it at all.

    It was an extreme disappointment, in a novel that held much promise, from an author that has been widely touted. It was just too touchy-feely, too mystical, too New Age for my tastes. It spoiled the book for me, and I doubt I would ever re-read it. Indeed, it’s going back to be traded in, something I rarely do.

    And now for the answers to the Cracker Jack jokes of the week:

    1. What did the alien say to the plant?
    a. Take me to your weeder!

    2. What do planets read?
    a. Comet books!

    LOL! A somewhat enjoyable book, and you can skim across the more detailed math and physics (if you are a lay person – I couldn’t even begin to know if he was writing it in a manner that most could understand – I’m that lacking in basic math and physics – it’s the big picture stuff, or should I say the quantum level, that I am interested in) and focus on the interactions, the sociological implication of the ubiquitous cults, and the notion of a “stateless” state. The book is a study in near-future – what SciFi SHOULD be, when done right (at least the first part). This is the first book of his I have read, and it definitely will NOT be my last, as I’m curious if this is a fluke, since others have thoroughly enjoyed his books, and even gone so far as to say “since when is there a BAD Egan book.”? Well, I might quibble with that, but later reflection might find that the ideas presented outweigh the negative ending, and move it up a notch.