August Sci-Fi Round Up

Hey folks. Seems like a lot of sci-fi releases or announcements for movies, TV shows and books came out in August. So let’s get right to it with an announcement of my own.

My eBook is now on the following vendors:

Awesome, right?? As for iBooks, I couldn’t submit Star Brigade: Resurgent directly to Apple. I’ll explain the reason why next week when I break down the pluses and minuses of each eBook vendor I’ve submitted to.

I’m very late to this party but still wanted to add my thoughts to the mix. Guardians of the Galaxy, one of Marvel’s lesser-known comic properties even by geek standards, is breaking bank at the box office and made crap tons of dollars. Its gotten to the point that Marvel could put out a film about broomsticks and it would make tons of money. That’s how strong the Marvel Brand is now.

Guardians of the Galaxy

I first heard about Guardians way back when I was a more avid comic collector, only that this older version of the team featured much different members, each the last of their respective races. But I was more of an X-Men fan, never diving too deeply into the cosmic arm of the Marvel Universe. Obviously the Guardians of the Galaxy team has gone through a variety of cancellations and reboots, as is typical for any comic book. But like even the most rabid Marvel Movie fan, I was scratching my head when they announce that this minor C-list at best superhero team would get their own film.

I did begin to grow more optimistic the more I heard about Guardians, and that Parks & Rec star Chris Pratt was the lead. Been a fan of his since Everwood. So how was the actual film?

Very good. I enjoyed myself throughout the majority of the team. Chris Pratt did a great job as Peter Quill, adding just the right amount of roguish smarm mixed with humorous likability to his role. Zoe Saldana brought the right vulnerability to what could have been a very one note femme fatale role. Groot was probably one of my favorite characters, the mind of a puppy dog inside a very dangerous adversary that would do everything to protect his friends. Plus that dancing baby Groot was EVERYTHING. As for Rocket Raccoon and Drax, they were also great, each in their own ways. The chemistry between the team really made this whole thing work, every single member adding something to the film. On another plus side, I liked that the film finally gave some explanation behind the Infinity Gems and noted that we’ve now seen three of the six in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This way, even non-comic fans will grasp that they have some greater significance to Thanos.

Its been a long time since I’ve seen some good, straight up space opera that’s not based Star Wars or Star Trek. Guardians of the Galaxy was exactly what the post-Star Wars and Star Trek generation needed.

Were there issues that I had? Absolutely. Most of my issues came from my familiarity with the source material as a comic fan. And yes, the film did its best to introduce an entirely new arm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with no recognizable characters. That didn’t mean the execution was faultless.

I felt that there should have been more fear behind the mere mentioning of Thanos’s name amongst the greater universe. If Thanos is the big bad that we’re supposed to believe, everyone should be scared shitless when the Mad Titan is even somehow brought into a conversation. We saw that only once when Quill was trying to sell his ill-gotten gains to a random alien dealer. The minute he heard Thanos was even indirectly involved, he not-so-kindly showed Star-Lord the exit.

On a larger issue, the Kree, a major intergalactic races in many of Marvel’s books, were given almost no development. That’s a shame because if Marvel plans on expanding their cosmic realm beyond Guardians of the Galaxy, the Kree have a fantastic library of stories they could mine from. This wouldn’t have been much of an issue for me if Guardians’ villain wasn’t Ronan the Accuser, who in the comics one of the most biggest advocates for the Kree Empire’s laws. In the film he was written off as a fanatic who refused to accept the Kree signing a peace treaty with the planet Xandar. Why did Xandar bug him so much that he had to make a deal with Thanos? We never really find this out. Guess it doesn’t matter now because like every other Marvel Movie villain not named Loki, he’s a one-and-done affair. But again, those are just minor issues that didn’t fully detract from what became one of the best films of 2014.



The new STARZ show Outlander is based on the Outlander book series by author Diana Gabaldon. It tells a tale about post-World War 2 nurse Claire Randall getting transported back into 18th century Scotland. Apparently the series, which combines historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and romance, has been around since the early 1990s and there are about eight novels in total.

The first thing I noticed was how cinematic the show looks. Outlander’s visual aesthetics definitely are several steps above any original series STARZ has done in the past. The premier starts by establishing Claire’s life in the late 1940s. She and her husband are both Brits who contributed to WW2 in different ways, her as a nurse and him as a spy for an early incarnation of British Intelligence. The War has put a strain on their marriage, so they’ve gone on their second honeymoon in Scotland to reconnect. The episode was a bit slow in the beginning as it did a lot of world-building and established Claire as a character we should be invested in. Things get interesting once Claire gets transported back to 18th century Scotland and has a near fatal run-in with the occupying British forces. She’s rescued by a clan of Scotsmen who are at war with the Brits and we immediately see the chemistry between her and a young fiery-hair Scotsmen whom she helps heal. I’ll stop here so I don’t spoil anything. In my opinion, Outlander has promise and I’ll probably be watching the next couple episodes. The premiere episode is still up on YouTube, so you can watch it below if you’re interested.

Outlander, Series Premiere:

This new sci-fi flick has a dystopic/robotics theme Antonio Banderas. It smacks of Asimov in the way that it talks about AIs and the bigoted humans that refuse to recognize their sentience. CGI looks great. The premise reminds me a bit much of the recent misfire Elysium. Regardless, I might give Automata a look once it comes out.Trailer is below.

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