The Sci-fi Fantasy Reader's Review

My Comments on Science Fiction / Fantasy Books and other related media.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sci-fi Month: My All time Favorite Classic Sci-fi Films

I'm going to take a gamble that most of you haven't seen some of these classic sci-fi film so this is my list of my all time favorites starting from the 1950's.  When I was a young girl my family would watch science fiction, horror, and fantasy films on a TV show called Creature Feature. Most of the films on this list were watched on this TV show at the dinner table. I have listed the films in chronological order just so you see how this genre stretched throughout Hollywood's history. There are some of these films that have been remade, modernized but the originals are always the best or at least more fun.

1945- The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, is a terrifying movie about a town of people who go to sleep and wake up Pod People, cloned by an alien race who plans to invade earth.

1951- Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien ships lands in President’s Park in Washington D. C. to warn the people of earth to stop their violence so else. It's a wonderful science fiction movie for it's day.

1953- The War of the Worlds, a movie based on the novel by H. G. Wells. This one is the perspective of a scientist played by Gene Barry who witness's the first crash of an object from space which is thought to be just an meteorite but in reality a spacecraft.

1954- Godzilla, a creature created by the nuclear fallout of bomb testing by the Americans. and wrecks havoc to Japan.

1960- Time Machine, is another H. G. Wells novel set to film. Rod Taylor plays Alexander Hartdegen, scientist and inventor of the time machine, who proves it possible by traveling into the future.

1964- First Men in the Moon is another H. G. Wells novel that is set in 1899 where a scientist named Joseph Cavor has invented a substance that defies gravity and is going to use this Cavorite on a spherical spacecraft to go to the moon. It's a fun movie where we meet the Moon people that are ant-looking creatures.

1966-Fantastic Voyage is a futuristic movie of a team of scientist who are shrunk in a submarine then injected into a man who needs surgery but there's a time limit until they start growing back to normal. I saw this film in the movie theater when I was younger, I loved it.

1968- 2001: A Space Odyssey, this was a very strange film for me, I had a difficult time with some of the concepts. But it's basically a AI (artificial intelligence) that takes over a space station.

1977- This film has become a classic among science fiction fans, Star Wars: A New Hope.  I saw this one in the movie theater where I was amazed and subsequently have seen the rest of  the trilogy.

1977- Close Encounter of the Third Kind, is a journey of Roy Neary, a telephone line worker who one night has a close encounter with a UFO. This is a Steven Spielberg movie that is one of his best works.

Poster images from internet:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sci-fi Month: 6 Top Science Fiction Must Read Books

The 6 top favorite Sci-fi books are ones that I have read over many times and hopefully they will be your favorites too. I was going to recommend just 5 books but I had to add one more that couldn’t be left out of the list. These are my science fiction must read books.

1. Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, is a classic science fiction book with a twist, it also a murder mystery set in a futuristic Earth. It's centered around Elijah Bailey, a New York Police Detective and R.Daneel Olivaw, is humanoid looking robot as with the R in his name, both are assigned to solve the murder. It is one of my favorite books because of the interaction between Bailey and Olivaw. There's a theme that prevalent in most of Asimov's work, that humans seed the galaxy and that earth eventually will be uninhabitable.

2. This next book is a crossover between science fiction and fantasy, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight in the Dragonriders of Pern series. It's set in a planet Pern that was settled by Earthers, there the inhabitants encounter a spaceborne substance that plagues the planet in cycular intervals called the Thread that bombards the planet and kills in it's wake. The original settlers then genetically alter the native species into dragons. It is a fantastic story with love, treatery, comradeship, and dragons that can be ridden.

3. Neuromancer by William Gibson is the next on my list because it foretold the future with cyberspace (the internet). You can see some of Gibson future in the movie, The Matrix with jacking into the net. It's main character is a hacker named Case who jacks his consciousness into the cyberspace for information to sell.

4. My fourth pick is by David Weber, Basilisk Station the first book in the Honor Harrington series.  He portrays Honor as her name, honorable, straightforward, and a good officer in the Royal Manticore Navy. There isn't much romance or sex in this series but I haven't read all the books. It's not only a military novel where Weber regales his knowledge of battle and weaponry but there's the relationships among the crew.

5. Jack L. Chalker's Midnight at the Well of Souls is my fifth all time favorite science fiction book. It's about a planet called the Well of Souls that was a research lab for eventually seeding the best prototypes. The Marchovians have died off but left this planet operational where there are thousands of gateways into the planet. Once processed by the planet which changes you into a different being and you end up in one of the hive quadrants with similar beings. The main character is Nathan Brazil who has lived lifetimes, and he isn't what he appears to be, human.

6. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton has to be on this list. On July 4, 1993 I took my two girls to see the movie and we were blown away, dinosaurs really! But later I read the book and realize that the movie was good but the book is so much better. I delves into altering of frog DNA with samples of DNA of dinosaurs from insects petrified in amber. There’s also the relationships of the scientist who are caught in on the island and must survive their encounters with the dinosaurs. It was a fantasy that has become reality with the first cloned sheep, Dolly, in 1996 to the Japanese scientist today taking DNA from well preserved frozen Wooly Mammoth to eventually clone a living one.

Hopefully this list will inspire you to read one of these books and give you a sense of the variety in science fiction books.

Book cover provided by;

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sci-fi Month: Favorite Science Fiction Book Covers

As I was perusing my library for some of my favorite Sci-fi book covers, I realized that I haven't bought a new sic-fi book in a while in fact most of my books are fantasy related. These five science fiction books are about some strong women who are tough, brilliant, but get themselves into all kinds of trouble. These women are also spacers, either in the military, civilian core, or attached somehow working in the outer limits.

The first book is one that I have read many times and love that a man wrote this series about a strong woman who is an officer in the Royal Manticore Navy. She is bonded to a telepathic Treecat that is a species from her planet, Sphinx.
I think this shows Honor Harrington as cool 
and assertive with her Treecat,  Nimitz.  

Price of the Stars book one of Mage Worlds is another book about a woman from an influential family who wants to be a Captain of her own ship.  The cover shows her in cross dressed as in a dandy pirate garb and she does play tough.
Beka Rosselin-Metadi as Tarnekep Portree

This next cover doesn't have any reference to space but for some reason I love it.  The book is the first installment of the Miles Vorkosigan Saga books.  Cordelia's Honor is about his mother, Cordelia Naismith who is the captain on an astronomical survey ship. This book is an omnibus that has tow book, Shards of Honor and Barrayar.
Cordelia Naismith Vorkosgian

Kristin Smith wrote a sci-fi book, Code of Conduct but I like the cover of the sequel, Rules of Conflict.  Captain Jani Killian is the main character who's becomes a hybrid of human and Idomeni, an alien race. The cover is cool with just one black boot and a knife.

The last book cover is from Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series. The cover is from the first book, Grimspace, Sirantha Jax is a nagivator for the Corp who pilots ships through grimspace.  The cover has nice color and has a representation of Jax.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness

I remember watching Star Trek, the original series as a young girl and inevitabIy became a trekkie, of sorts. I never been to a Star Trek convention or had an urge to dress up as one of the characters either but I'm am a fan of Star Trek, the original series and all the spin-offs, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and all the movies. So I believe I have the knowledge to review the two newer Star Trek movies.

The Star Trek movie of 2009 was a total failure for me. As I'm sitting in the dark movie theater watching a very young James Kirk driving a stolen Ford Mustang to the music of the Beastie Boys blaring from the radio.  I felt something was wrong with this scene, it is suppose to be over 100 years in the future so would this be possible?  For one thing, will the music of the Beastie Boys, who I like, be what Classical music is now? Maybe but it still wasn't right but it did reveil the nature of James Kirk which sets the pace for the entire movie.  
The Captain Kirk of old was definitely present in this younger incarnation with his risk taking, head strong attitude but he isn't a Star Fleet Academy cadet when we first see him as a young man. Captain Pike who in the original series Kirk doesn't meet him until later and Pike is a quadriplegic. Spook was assigned as an officer to Captain Pike before the being science officer to Captain Kirk on the Enterprise.
As I was watching the movie in the dark I was shocked and dismay to see that passionate kiss between Spock and Uhura. Spock in this movie is more at one with himself then the Spock of the original series who was forever fighting between being a Vulcan and a human. In the movie, Vulcan the planet is destroyed and Spock is now in two versions of himself. Can that really happen, wouldn't the older Spock disappeared with the planet being destroyed or isn't there a rule somewhere that states you can be in two places at once? In many sci-fi books where time travel occurs the universe will destablize when you meet yourself.  And his relationship with Uhura, well his mother was human and his father when questioned about his marriage just states "It was the logical thing to do".  
I do like the other characters like Bones, Dr McCoy who we see how his friendship with Kirk developes and Sulu is more of a main character in the movie then in the series, then there's young Ensign Chekov who is eager to prove his worth and Scotty, I love that he has an alien friend, of course Simon Pegg fits well as Scotty.
The first Star Trek movie stands alone as with some relevance to the original series but Star Trek Into the Darkness is another story.
I dislike when directors film remakes, do we really need to see it again when the first movie was such a hit with fans? This is what I would ask J. J. Abrams about his Kahn version in this Star Trek Into Darkness. I was not as it was before.
I didn't understand the begining of the movie when Chris Pine's Kirk and Karl Urban's McCoy are running through a forest with a scroll while being pursued by the native inhabitants. The world is going to explode and the Enterprise is there to stop it but what was the scroll about when in the end of the pursuit, Kirk leaves it for the inhabitants? The Kirk is reprimanded with Pike taking over as Captain of the Enterprise. The Prime Directive prohibits interference with a society so Kirk broke this rule when showing the for native society their starship. We see the natives then honoring the starship as a god. The rest of the movie had many unsettling issues.
Benedict Cummberbatch played his Kahn well but without the history that links him to Captain Kirk it wasn't a powerful movie this time. I remember when I first say the Wrath of Kahn in the theater, a week before that I watched Space Seed on the television. Space Seed is the episode on the original series that we are introduced to Ricardo Montalban's Kahn Noonien Singh and his other genetically altered companions on a drifting ship, the SS Botany Bay. So when I finally watched Wrath of Kahn in that dark theater it was had a stronger storyline then this newer version. I will admit that the Wrath of Kahn had some holes that I just gloss over when watching it but the main conflict is between Captain Kirk and Kahn Noonien Singh. The battle of wits in the final scene is engaging with the recital of Melville's Moby Dick, "To the last, I will grapple with thee...from Hell's hear, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!" (IMBD) Very poetic.  Leonard Nimoy's appearances in both movies did lend credibility as an old Spock from the older time frame, but it was weird when Zachary Quinto's Spock asking advise from Leonard Nimoy's Spock about Kahn.
In this incarnation, Kirk hasn't graduated from Star Fleet Academy but he's a full fledge captain. In the first movie he is suspended from classed because of cheating the Kobayashi Maru and then after saving earth they give him a Captaincy. This brings disbelief into this movie, to be a successful movie there needs to be a belief in the subject and in the characters.  Kirk then leaves the Bridge to Sulu and goes on an away mission to the Klingon homeworld. I hated that even in the original series, doesn't the captain go down with the ship? And in the original series, Captain Pike doesn't meet Captain Kirk like in the movie but in the future when Pike is a quadriplegic from an accident and is sent back to a Talos IV, where he can have an ellusion of being himself again. Spock was assigned to the Enterprise as Junior Science Officer under Captain Pike.
In the Wrath of Kahn, we are introduced to Carol Marcus and David Marcus who is Kirk's son, both are scientist on a research vessel out in space but in the Star Trek into Darkness, Carol Marcus is in a Lieutenant in Star Fleet and she cons her way to the Starship Enterprise as a Science Officer. In the end she stays aboard the Enterprise even though Spock is also the Science Officer. It is a cheeky way to advance the story of Kirk and Marcus. I also found the ending where Kirk dies from radiaction poisoning as Spock was in the Wrath of Kahn. They even did the pressing of hands through the glass wall and Spock crying "Kahn!".  Remakes are awful and unimaginative and this scene proves it. Then taking Kahn's blood which we are told repairs injury rapidly and injecting Kirk with it.  Earlier Doctor McCoy is experimenting with the blood on a dying Tribble and the blood reanimates it.
It would have been a much better movie if it was center around a Klingon confrontation or the Enterprise going on " a five-year mission: to explore strange and new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

I would not recommend either of these new Star Trek movies to anyone who is a true Trekkie fan. Only the unknowledgeable would enjoy them as stand alone Star Trek movies.

Photo of Star Trek crew by

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Doctor Who, revisited for the 50th Anniversary

My first encounter with Doctor Who was in the late 1970's.  It was shown on PBS and back in those days we were at least 2 years behind in the broadcasting of the series from the UK.  I have grown to love this science-fiction televison show over the years and this November marks the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.
The Tardis (toy)

Dr. Who started as a children's show back in 1963 but through popularity became an iconic science-fiction television show for all ages.  Watching Dr. Who revisited on BBC, I heard many who were great fans of the show.  The television show was family-orientated and some of the interviewees recalled being scared stiff as a child watching the Daleks on Dr. Who.  It's funny with the hooky special effects but at the time with low budget for the TV show, you have to admire the ingenuity.

I started watching when Tom Baker was the 4th Doctor.  We would be at a friends place watching the show while listening to  music and partying. I really didn't understand the whole concept until later when I would watch the show on PBS with my husband and children.  I got hooked, it was a well written sci-fi/ fantasy show and at the time I was devouring the genre in books.

We would also rent VHS cassettes of Dr Who starting with Tom Baker then progressed with the other doctors, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, all Doctors until 1989 when the show was cancelled.  Then there is a nine year hiatus of the show until 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Dr Who. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't a fan of the new show. I'm what is called a "Classic Doctor Who fan" so it took me awhile to start watching the new series which started for me with Matt Smith as the 11th doctor. So I worked backwards in time watching the other episodes. And I made me wonder more about the story line, it didn't make sense for this Classic Who fan.

There seemed to be gaps in the timeline.  With Christopher Eccleston, we're told all the TIme Lords and the Daleks were exterminated by the Doctor. He is now the only Time Lord left. But the Daleks keep coming back as the Doctor's nemesis. What happened to Ramona, the Time Lord that traveled with the 4th Doctor, who ended up in E Space? Then there's Susan, his granddaughter who was his first companion, what happened to her?  I also wondered why they started with the 9th Doctor, what about the 8th?

My grandson is a great classic Doctor Who fan and one day we rented the "Doctor Who" movie. It is an American made film from 1996, set in San Francisco on the New Years Eve of 1999.  I feel in love with Paul McGann as the 8th Dr Who.  He fit so well as the Doctor with his own set of quirkiness.  It sadden me that the eighth Doctor wasn't expanded into the new series in 2005. I'm told by my grandson, Aidan, that there was a debate going on in the Whovian world, if Paul McGann's doctor should count on the original timeline or if he was from an alternative universe. Then in the episode of "Family of Blood and Human Nature" with David Tenent as the 10th Doctor Who, the question was answered.  In the diary of the doctor it showed the 8th doctor as Paul McGann so now it was legitimized.

The 11th Doctor, Matt Smith will be regenerating in the Christmas Special. Now the question is how will Peter Capaldi portray the Doctor. Where will he get his character traits from?  Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy took different aspects of William Hartnell's charactor of the 1st Doctor Who. Matt Smith choose to emulate Patrick Troughton, the 2nd Doctor.  The Classic Doctor's were able to take the character of Doctor Who and make it their own.

50 years is a long time for a television show to be on air even with the cancellation.  Doctor Who spans generations, all with their own favorite Doctors. Lets hope it continues for many more years.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Sci-Fi Month- Intro Bio of Darlene Smith sci-fi/fantasy blogger

I would like to introduce myself, I'm Darlene Smith and I've been a science-fiction fan for over 30 years.  Yes, it's been along time of reading and watching science fiction. It's a journey for the imaginative.
 I wasn't a sic-fi reader until my husband, Larry introduced me to science fiction fantasy with Watership Downs and then he gave me a totally different book, I Robot by Issac Asimov.  I thank him for this, it started this joy of reading sci-fi books. This enjoyment of science fiction is that it takes you into the unknown where your imagination is guided to the stars.  The genre is one that you can leave your mundane world behind and be catapulted to another that can be an extension of humanity or to a far different one world.

The first book I read was I, Robot which is Asimov's collection of short stories, this is where the three laws of robotics is first introduced and is continued in his following novels.

Another author that I really like is David Weber, his Honor Harrington series is wonderful because of his main character is a strong woman who was genetically engineered and is an officer in the Manticore Navy.  Weber also added fantasy to his novels with Honor having a telepathic bond with a tree cat from her native planet.

Then there's William Gibson who wrote Neuromancer, a futuristic novel where people can jack into cyberspace (the internet). By jacking in, there's a jack in your head and are directly have an interface with the net. I would think that The Matrix writers got many of their ideas from this book.

Star Wars is first trilogy were amazing for the time. The first movie, or IV to be percise, New Hope blew me away when I saw it in the movie theater in 1977.  It was the blend of sci-fi and fantasy.  I then went to see the next two movies with anticipation and excitement.  

And of course I have to mention the greatest sci-fi television show that launched generations to go where no one has gone before, Star Trek. It spawned 4 spin-offs, 9 movies from the original and the Next Generation, and two that are with same name of characters but has a different time line.

Science fiction is a wonderful genre for looking at the alternative futures of our species where we reach for the stars.  We may never gain the outer reaches of our solar system but it is nice to be able to read or watch the dreams of others.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anime Fullmetal Alchemist-Brotherhood

Anime, Japanese cartoons and Manga, Japanese comics, have been very popular in my household for many years. I was introduced to both media from my daughter but I never explored them till now. Through the years, anime has been talked about whenever my grown children are together, even my grandson has his favorites. Cruising Netflix for something different to watch, I started watching Fullmetal Alchemist-Brotherhood. What's amazing about this manga/anime is that is was written and illustrated by a woman, Hiromu Arakawa.

Fullmetal Alchemist is about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric and they can wield alchemy.  Alchemy is using the earth's crust energy to metaphysically change matter or called Transmutation. The main creed goes that you can't make something from nothing, it's an even exchange and you can't bring anything back from the dead. These two boys try to use alchemist circle to bring back their deceased mother and in the process, one lost his body and the other lost an arm and a leg. Ed, uses alchemy to put his brother's soul into a suit of armor and Ed got automail prosthetic limbs.   They then meet Izumi Curtis, who becomes their sensai, teacher in alchemy and in martial arts.

Ed is then recruited by the military and has to pass an extensive exam. Upon passing the test, King Bradley the Fuhrer gives Ed the symbolic title of Fullmetal. He is the youngest alchemist. The brothers learn about the Philospher Stone and about it's power so they go in search of the formula. But what they find in their research quite horrific.

The made up country is Amestria and is a military state so the alchemist are a line of defense because of their abilites of transmutation.

There are 64 episodes which each are 24 minutes long. The series is a continuating saga of the brothers and the other characters.  I'm over half way through the series. Fullmetal Alchemist is such a well written anime and well illustrated that I have gotten hooked.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jekyll, a 2007 British mini-series on Netflex

I am bored with network television so I cruise Netflix to find shows to watch. I found this really cool old BBC show form 2007, Jekyll, a modern day version of "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".
The show stars, James Nesbitt who portrays, Tom Jackman the Dr Jekyll and Hyde his alter-ego. Tom Jackman is a married man who has 2 young twin boys, at the start of the series he has a understanding with Hyde.  The understanding pertains to the fact that Jackman blacks out during the Hyde episodes so there's a need to communicate so Jackman devises a way of keeping tabs on Hyde.  First he moved out of his home and family to keep them safe, then in his flat he has a super security system, and a chair with constraints. He also carries a recorder at all times, in his form or Hyde the communication is suppose to go both ways. We find Hyde a child in a mans body who doesn't know cultural and moral right or wrong. Who many times doesn't use the recorder and Jackman "wakes up" not knowing where Hyde parked the car.
Jackman hires a woman to help with the dealings of his predicament, but she has secrets that aren't revealed till later in the series.
I hated the ending, it made no sense to me. Spoiler Alert! We find out that the woman who was after him is his mother. None of the question you have are really answered. Way to go Moffat, couldn't write a clean ending.  But in all the mini-series was reveting until the end.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

True Blood, Season 6, 1-6 episodes

I am totally blown away on this season's True Blood. It continues from last season but adds a new storyline. The Govenor of Lousianna has issued marshal law against the vampires, with the bombing of the True Blood factories, vamps have been going crazy and have been killing the folks for sustainance. 

In season 5, Sookie finds out she has been sold a long time ago, to an old  vampire Worlo. Sookie's ancestor signed his next fae female to Worlo for some kind of payment. Bill has drank Lillith's blood and had become a God, so we thought. Vampires and locals of Bon Temp, tried to rescue Bill at the Authorities, only to find he didn't need help. Tara is a vampire since being turned by Pam and they have a relationship that of parent and child but also as two lesbian vampires. Luna died last season posing as Steve Newlin then shifts while on the tv and Sam promises to keep her daughter, Luna safe from the werewolves. Andy Bellefleur, local sheriff, had a one night stand with a faerie and she gave him four daughters.  Andy's cousin, Terry, killed his ex-comrad from the Marines because of a curse that was on the platoon in Afghanistan. Lafayette, is able to communicate with the dead and has used his powers to help a few of his friends.

I think I'm caught up so on to this season.
Jason hitchhikes for a ride after being left to walk from the Authority building and is pick up by an older man.  Niall, is Jason and Sookie's great great great and so on fae grandfather who is trying to kill Warlow. Jason takes Niall to Sookie's where they try to plan on how to kill Warlow when he comes through from another dimension. Niall finds blood from the fae safe house in the woods. All of the fae were killed and he suspects Warlow. The blood glows which is odd for a vampire. 
We finally meet Worlow and of course, he's good looking and can play the innocent. He is an anomaly and has lived a very long existence. Worlow wants Sookie for his wife but he must turn her. Sookie meets him when walking to Merlotte's and he introduces himself as a halfing fae, Ben.  Ben tries to date Sookie but she just isn't ready for romance yet.  Jason see's Warlow on Sookies couch and thinks and so we're lead to believe  Sookie is besotted but we'll know how much so next episode.
Bill has been turned into an apostle of Lilith, the first Vampire when he drank her blood last season.  He's trying to save his race from extinction. He has had some visions that reveals many being tortured. Lilith has set him on a quest to save vampires but there are still questions about where the storyline is going. Bill has his own research going on, get fae blood to infuse to vampires so they can walk in the daylight. He had Jessica kidnap the inventor of true blood so to have the scientist help the vampires with combining their blood with the fae blood. Bill also kidnapped Andy's daughters to do experiments on their blood. Jessica went crazy on their fae aroma while keeping them captive and drained them dead. He is now Lillith in proxy and with a twist of fate meets her first progenie, Worlo. He feels his pan as Sookie is trying to kill Worlo with her light. So Bill commands Worlo and takes him to his lab at his house. The doctor helps induce a trance in Bill so he can commune with Lillith, She commands Bill to help her vampires now upon awakening, Bill takes drastic measures and drink the vial of Worlow blood. 

Eric kidnaps the Governor's daughter then turns her with hope that she can change the attitude of her father's, he hates vampires.  In reality I think he turned Willow to screw with the Burell. But she later goes to the "research vampire camp" that her father is funding with tax dollars. The Governor, Truman Burell, also set up a True Blood synthetic plant to be able to spread a vampire virus that his scientists developed.
Bill is able to walk in the light and goes to confront Burell.  Bill becomes madden when Burell commands his guards to protect him then Bill shows is powers and kills the governor. 
Pam is captured for violation of curfew by the police and sent to the "camp". She is interviewed the camp psychiatrist where she reveals some knowledge about the vampire race. Tara and Eric get themselves captured in order to rescue Pam.

Hopefully that caught you up to this Sunday's episode. I might have forgotten some details but I gave you the main jess of it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Denver Zombie Crawl

If you are ever in Denver around Halloween a must event to attend is the Denver Zombie Crawl. I have been to two of them and had fun dressed as a zombie. At the  2011 Denver Zombie Crawl, I was zombified along with fellow family members, my daughter, sister, and grandson. My grandson decided to go as Dr. Strangepunk, a inter dimensional traveler who discovered the cure for the zombie affliction, my sister and I were his patients who were cured and we no longer craved brains but we were still rotting then my daughter was his crazy assistant.
It is such fun to watch the gathering of people dressed as their favorite zombie or monster. There was a family dressed up as Vikings, there were also many ninjas, the Ghostbusters have made an appearance on year, and there are many who aren't zombies but just walking the mall gawking at the shufflers. It's a great event before Halloween for us adults to dress down and parade our ugliness.
Dr. Strangepunk, his assistant, and
a Steampunk ex-zombie.

Parking can be difficult but if you go early there shouldn't be any problems.  Once there, downtown Denver is amassed with zombies shuffling down the 16th St Mall some looked professionally made up while others could take a lesson or two on applying makeup. Earlier in the day there are family-friendly events that lead up to the zombie parade. It is estimated that each year the event out numbers the past years in zombie attendance.


The local businesses welcome the patronage and are happy to serve any zombie, monster, or human.

Enjoy the Denver Zombie Crawl, and have fun in full costume!

16th Street Mall
Zombie bananas, O My!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Locke and Key,"Welcome to Lovecraft" written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

As of late my interest in reading books has been a zero but my son-in-law recommend this graphic novel, a series he has been enjoying and thought I might like it. Locke and Key is also a comic book series.

At first I was confused with the beginning of the story as it traveled between the present and the past but as I read the graphic novel, I started liking the story and the characters.

I'll not give out too much of the plot away but it starts out with the murder of Rendell, a father of the main 3 characters, on the family vacation to Mendocino, California.   Ty is the eldest who is lamenting over the fact that he tried to kill in self defense the one of the two murderers of his father, then there's Kelsey who hid away with their younger brother Bode, on the roof of the cabin scared out of her mind.  Bode seems oblivious to to violence that had happened to his family but we find out differently as the story unfolds. The Molly is the wife and mother who also fought back with an axe to the head of the intruders is in terrible shape after all the violence that has happened to her family so she uses alcohol as a way of forgetting.

The family moves from California to Lovecraft, Massachusetts into the Locke's family home. Each person is trying to recover from the ordeal of Summer on their own.  Bode is the most inquestive of the three Locke children and finds a key, so spend days trying to find the door to unlook. As this is happening the children are starting the year in new schools, Ty and Kelsey in high school and Bode in grade school.

Bode eventually finds the door and upon entering it becomes a ghost who can travel throughout the house. He also befriends an echo in the well house, more like a being who later on in the story we find out who this really is.

This series is not for the young, it's definitely an adult comic with the violent depictions of the storyline. The graphics aren't overly detailed but I wouldn't say the book was beautifully drawn with the muted colors but it does set the tone of the plot. There are 4 books with another to be released in hardback soon.

Joe Hill comes from a literary family, his father is Stephen King.  His work is different then his father's but I think you King fans will enjoy this series.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Game of Thrones trilogy, Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin

I finally finished the trilogy and I must say they are intense. The poor Stark family along with the Lannister's have had a their numbers decimated with treachery, parenticide, homelessness, and all in the name of loyalty to the crown.

In the end the Stark children are orphans, Sansa, Arye, Brandon, and Rickon are scattered in hiding throughout Westeros. Jon Snow, bastard brother of the Stark children has his own difficulties as a Brother of the Night's Watch.

The King is dead and Tyrion is accused of his murder along with his wife. Jaime Lannister is a captive of the Northerners but due to betrayal becomes a prisoner that is to be exchanged for the Stark girls. Cersei is the Queen regent to the King and is struggling to keep her position from being taken away by her father, Tywin Lannister who is the Hand to the King.

Two marriages are performed at King's Landing but none see the consummation of the wedding night. One of the groom's dies a horrible death at his wedding reception and the other is too kind to his wife to force her into his bed.

As I alluded to earlier there are many deaths in this book. The war has many causalities of the battlefield and due to betrayal over the family honor, as well over status positioning, and just for the power. There are many bit part players in the book who share in the problems of the main characters. Try not to get too confused if your watching the HBO version of the books, because there are differences between the show and the book.

I recommend this trilogy for anyone who likes reading intense but engaging novels.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Denver Comic Con 2013

It is going a really fun time at the Denver Comic Con this year, which starts on May 31-June 2. There are some really cool guest that will be at the Con. If you're attending for out of state, the Con will be at the Denver Convention Center again which is in the heart of the city.

The latests news is that the doctor will be in the house, Colin Baker aka the 6th Dr Who will be there along with Paul McGann's (8th Dr Who) companion, Daphne Ashbrook.  This coincides with the 50th anniversary of Dr Who. I am so excited, not that Colin Baker was one of my favorites but that a Dr will be at the 2nd Denver Comic Con is huge.

Of course there are many other reason to attend this years Denver Comic Con.  The father of comics will be there, Stan Lee along with Mr. Solo, George Takei.  I'm not knowlegeable of comic artists or writers but the Denver Comic Con website will have a list of those attending but I can tell you who are the TV stars that will be there.  Eddie McClintok of the SyFy series Warehouse 13 will be there. Eddie plays the goofy character, Pete Lattimer who is a Secret Agent.  Erin Gray from Buck Rogers of the 25th Century will be there. She was Colonial Deering in the series. If you watch, The Guild or Eureka, then you will know this actress, Felicia Day.  For the vamp fans, Nelsan Ellis of True Blood will definitely be on my list for an autograph. Will Wheaton from the Star Trek Next Generation will be a Con favorite.  He has appeared on some top series such as The Big Bang Theory, as the nemesis of the character, Sheldon Cooper.  I have just mentioned a few of the guest at this years Denver Comic Con, for more info check out the website.

The Denver Comic Con is family friendly and children are very welcomed. There is a cosplay contest, panels on subjects related to all genres, autograph booths where you can get photos or your comic signed for a small fee, artist alley is a where you can meet comic book artist, and then the trade alley with booths selling all related products.

I enjoy the most is watching all the fans of comic, sci-fi fantasy, and gamers who cosplay as there favorite character. The costumes can be quite intricate in realism.  I will be there taking photos at the Con so I will be updating this post.

Denver Comic Con 2013 is produced by local based Comic Book Classroom were every ticket sold goes toward socio-economically challenged communities in Colorado that helps with after school learning to read programs using comic books.

Denver Comic Con- Convention Center
700 14th St

Friday, February 22, 2013

Galaxy Fest 2013

I consider myself a science fiction nerd but a couple a weeks ago I knew that I was so far removed from  it when I went to Galaxy Fest in Colorado Springs hosted at the Antler Hilton.  Galaxy Fest is a convention for science fiction, steampunk, anime, fantasy, horror, and more.  It's a venue to cosplay a favorite character or make up one in a safe fun environment.  Galaxy Fest is also a family friendly con with events for the everyone.  The reason I was going was that this is the Dr. Who's 50th anniversary and my grandson, Aidan who is a classic Dr. Who fanatic.

We were only going to be there over night but it was a four day event that started the preceding Thursday.  Arriving early Saturday morning, we were privileged to have met at the registration station, Frazer Hines, who was a companion of the 2nd Dr. Who, and two other English personalities, character actor Colin Spaull, and Peter J. Wacks who is editorial director for Telos Publishing in the UK.  My grandson has watch the 2nd Dr. Who DVDs many times over and was thrilled to be able to have his picture taken along side Frazer Hines.

At 11 am was the first panel we were attending with Frazer Hines and Colin Spaull. Panels are in a large convention room where they talk about themselves, the genre they are famous in, and for answering questions from the audience. We were surprised to find that they added another celebrity from Babylon 5, Claudia Christian.   It was a very entertaining panel with Claudia Christian speaking about an incident at the NY Comic Con where she was shot by a fan of hers. She referred that all was in her autobiographical book and that we should buy it.  Frazer Hines also referred to his autobiographical book but he was hilarious in his stories about his days on Dr. Who.  Colin Spaull is a character actor who has been in the classic Dr. Who series with Colin Baker and in the newer version with David Tenant.  My grandson even asked a question for Frazer Hines.

The con has multiple rooms; convention ball rooms for guest speakers, a vendor room where you can buy toys, cosplay accessories, books, DVDs, and more, the celebrity room is where the special guest sells their books, autographs, photos, and more. Throughout the hotel are hallways where vendors sell special items like artwork, armor, like the one vendor who was selling Boba Fett gear from Star Wars, and a bakery that will make any kind of sci-fi/fantasy bake goods.

Like I said before, this con was very small but with the popularity of science fiction genre, Galaxy Fest will grow. I'll catch you at Galaxy Fest 2014 in Colorado Springs.