Tag Archive: sci-fi


right, i’d better do a proper blurb today, what with my pitiful offering yesterday. the only excuse i can offer is that i had been out the night before, and i was in a bit of a rush to get the picture for the 14th sorted before i hotfooted it off to work. still, somewhat ironically, yesterday managed to be the busiest day on my blog ever! so maybe i should just quit talking crap and get on with posting stupid pictures… this is the 15th day of my robot invasion advent calendar, and it’s time to get your christmas tree up soon, if you haven’t already. joyeux noel!

xmas tree robot

speaking of which, i could do with Nigel giving me a hand with ours. now where did he get to?

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14.

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still cold… still lonely…

seasons change

another deviantart offering today (yes, yes, i know, i didn’t look particularly far for some of my pictures!) from an artist called neilakoga. the picture’s called season’s change, and it’s a re-imagining of a picture by the artist called i will grow you a new home. it’s a gorgeous piece of artwork, both technically and emotionally. what a great robot.

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10.

day 10, and it’s time for another installment of the robot invasion advent calendar. this time we see a giant robot trying – and failing – to grasp what christmas trees are all about…

christmas tree robot

this is another pic from deviantart, created by an artist called Moragot. apparently, the story is “the robot doesn’t understand the concept of the Christmas tree, and just computes that lights + tree + star on top = Christmas.  at the end, the girl appreciates it anyways”. i think it’s cute, though i’m not sure how long this relationship is going to last. click the pic for a bigger version!

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9.

i don’t actually have a clue where this picture came from. i seem to remember from when i found it, that it was done for an art competition entitled ‘Christmas in Space’, but whether this was a large scale competition or not, i don’t know. i’d like to think the picture won a prize, but again, without knowing the providence of the piece, i can’t tell that either. all i do know is that there’s something quite lovely about it. the ambiguity of the robot’s gesture is quite touching. is he merely waving at santa or is he reaching out a longing arm, while he shares a modest christmas with his cat and a sparsely decorated spaceship? a part of me thinks the picture is quite sad in a way. i hope the robot got a present.

christmas in space

as usual, click the picture for the full sized version.

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8.

snow! finally, snow in Bristol! well… to be more accurate, there’s a bit of snow in some bits of Bristol. for some strange reason, mother nature has decided to sprinkle only selected parts of the city with a smattering of snow, but in commemoration of this joyful day, i’m going to present you with *yet another* picture of a robot in the snow. i promise i’ll put up something a bit more christmassy as the month goes on, but for now, i’m following the lead of the rest of the country in going snow mad. this picture is from deviantart again, an artist called n8package. it’s called New Best Friends. click the picture for the full size version!

new best friends

i didn’t notice him at first, but there’s a little guy just in front of the robot, completely stoked with his new friend! the little bunny rabbit is pretty cute too. hope you like day seven!

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6.

continuing the snowy, roboty theme for day six of our robot invasion advent calendar, and this time i’ve turned once again to an artist i found on deviantart, a guy called Corn-Muffin…

merry christmas lemaffin

he gives a bit of background to the picture in his blurb which i’ll repeat here…

  • how does the robot not freeze or rust? Well..err..*shakes magic 8 ball* try..again..later..
  • is the robot her pet? I think they’re friends, really. It makes more sense to me at least.
  • where are they? I don’t know. In the Netherlands, perhaps?
  • Who is recieving the gift? The robot. He has the ribbon hooked around his finger. (hint hint, he’s OPENING it)
  • what’d she get him? An oil can.

sorry for the lack of wanton robot destruction, but this picture just struck a chord that i couldn’t resist <emo>

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

one of my oldest memories is krullsettling down on a sunday afternoon to watch a piece of tacky 80s sci-fi or fantasy. films like Tron, The Dark Crystal and Willow are all films that i have faint memories of sitting down to watch between the ages of 5 and 10, only for them to disappear from my consciousness until years later when some rattle at the back of my head made me pick them up again. Krull was always one of the most mysterious of these films, for the simple fact that i’d try and describe it to people, “it’s got a big castle and they shoot lasers and ride around on horses!” only to get blank looks back, people obviously doubting the memory of a five year old viewer. i managed to tear the knowledge from someone on a long forgotten message board a few years back, leading me to finally get hold of the DVD and watch it again. this afternoon, i decided to relive those sunday afternoons of old and curled up in a chair to watch it.

krull actors

David Battley (left), Freddie Jones (second left), Liam Neeson (third left) and Alun Armstrong (right)

now this is probably the point at which (if you hadn’t read the title of this post, anyway) you might expect me to confess its utter rubbishness, ‘best left as a fond memory!’ i hear you cry. well actually no! because while i can watch it now with a far more critical eye, it hasn’t actually lost any of that magic which made me think about it year on year through the 90s. looking at the cast list now, it reads like a who’s who of british actors, yet in 1983, this was a breakthrough role for many of them. Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane have probably gone on to have the most successful careers, but Alun Armstrong (New Tricks), Todd Carty (Eastenders), Freddie Jones (Emmerdale) and the gorgeous Lysette Anthony (Corrie, Hollyoaks and others) all star, along with David Battley, bassist in Eric Idle’s comedy band The Rutles. for the proper geeks like me, we even spot Ken Marshall in the lead role, who later went on to star as Commander Eddington in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

as has been noted in countless reviews of the film, a cross between The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, we see the heroes embark on their epic quest to rescue the captured princess, battling against cyborgs and clones, while encountering giant spiders and seers. there’s something quite quaint about the basic special effects, though the faceless slayers provide an element of horror, with their inhuman wails upon dying remaining as clear in my memory as the day i first sat down to watch the film on that rainy sunday afternoon. krull filmupon reaching the lair of the The Beast, the heroes start dropping like flies, with most of them meeting a grizzly end at the hands of slayers. this fantastic (meant in the literal sense) yet slightly naff world, coupled with the appearances of many a future soap star, is why it remains such a favourite of my youth though. there’s something quintessentially British about the film that makes it charming even now, and while it doesn’t really stand up to its yank counterparts of the time (Star Wars, Blade Runner, E.T., Star Trek II, Dune were all american contemporaries), it’s one of those films i can’t help loving. having snored through a viewing of Blade Runner the other day in yet another attempt to see what the fuss is about recently, there’s no doubt which one i’d rather be watching. sure, it’s technically inferior in almost every way, but that’s not necessarily what i want from a film every time. Krull is funny, it’s exciting, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and it contains just the right amount of british silliness to make it a classic in my eyes. i might be alone in that, but meh, i’ve never been a trend setter.

Back to the Future marathon

so i had a spare afternoon, with Back to the Futuremy study done for the day, and what i really needed was a heavy dose of 80s sci-fi. wasn’t feeling in the mood for anything too deep and the trilogy box-set has been staring at me from the shelf for ages. the lure of a six hour geek fest was too good to turn down, so i settled in for the afternoon and made myself comfortable. it’s easy to forget quite how good these films are until you watch them again. they’re like lots of those 80s sci-fi franchises, like robocop, terminator etc that form a big part of my early years, yet i never seem to go back to them enough. anyhow, it was time to go back, back to the future! or do i mean back to the past? whatever.

the first film in the trio is, in my opinion, the best of the lot. structurally, it’s just so perfect, with the classic ideas of the dysfunctional family, the mad scientist, libyan terrorists, marty’s mission to make his parents fall in love coupled with his ultimate goal of returning home, culminating in the epic lightning storm at the climax. not only is the story perfectly planned out, but it’s shot beautifully and the cast absolutely nails both the comedic and dramatic elements of the script. the rapport michael j fox and christopher lloyd enjoy shows that the late decision to replace eric stoltz with fox after 5 weeks of shooting, really was the right decision.

delorean time machine

the coolest time machine ever?

although, in my opinion, part one is the perfect film, part two is where it starts to get really clever and interesting for the geeks. the way the separate timelines interact with each other in part two is simply genius. as we see events from the first film unfolding in the background of the second film, we get that hint of realisation in our mind that turns us into active instead of passive consumers of the film. while part one delivers us a ready made classic, part two gives us something a little bit more challenging, that we have to work at a little ourselves to really get complete audience satisfaction. what’s also great about this film is we get the classic ‘what the 80s think the future is going to look like’ thing. generally, it’s done really well, and even the slightly naff bits are done with that bit of 80s coolness which you’re just about able to get away with nowadays, the power nike boots for example.

doc's new time machine

though this one runs it close...

moving onto the final film, the one many people consider the weakest, i was really hoping it wasn’t going to disappoint like some of my friends had suggested. luckily, it did no such thing, and the change of setting to the wild west is a welcome one that enables them to film a great cowboy romp, with lovely little touches like the confrontation between marty and buford tannen reminiscent of a classic spaghetti western. i actually enjoy part three more than part two, as it follows the structure of the first film a lot more closely. yet again, lloyd and fox utterly excel in their roles, with the comic moments providing some of the biggest laughs i’ve had in ages. i think what i find so charming about the whole trilogy is the way they are interwoven so closely with each other. whether that’s through the interlocking timelines, or simple cinematic details such as the spinning numberplate after each of the delorean’s first and last trips through time. tiny things like that, coupled with the amazing storyline, add up to make it such a beautifully constructed trilogy, combining just the right amounts of excitement, comedy and every now and then, tragedy too.

this post isn’t really intended as a review, though i could probably proselytise for a lot longer than i have already on the films. for a really great article that goes into much greater depth on the films, i recommend visiting this piece… 52 Reasons Why BACK TO THE FUTURE Might Just be the Greatest Film of all Time i guess i just wanted to let you lot know how great i think this film is. it forms a pretty big part of my early childhood sci-fi memories, and it feels so good to be able to go back to something like that and think, ‘wow, this is actually even better than i remember it’. totally high on life after this particular six hour marathon.

The First Men in the Moon – review

wow! how good was that? Mark Gatiss has long been one of my favourite comic actors, ever since he burst into the mainstream consciousness with the League of Gentlemen. his dedication to the sci-fi genre is well documented, with him being the author of several Doctor Who books in the 90s, but his CV has been well enhanced in recent years with writing credits on the Sherlock Holmes remake, The Quatermass Experiment, the new series of Doctor Who and his History of Horror trilogy, currently showing on BBC4. Gatiss has proven his credentials as a connoisseur of the peculiar, and this didn’t disappoint.

as you might or might not know, i’m a big fan of sci-fi, and i’ve recently started to check out a few of the old sci-fi classics. while i’ve worked my way through The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, The First Men in the Moon is not one i’ve got round to reading yet. that wasn’t going to stop me tuning in for this show though, and from the start we were introduced to the eccentric british gent that we’ve seen Gatiss performing before in previous shows. Gatiss plays that slightly twee and offkey character so well, and his part as Doctor Cavor has a charming air of buffoonery, not least as he frequently proclaims that he and his fellow adventurer Mr Bedford (played by Rory Kinnear) will be absolutely fine… probably.

the low budget for this gives the adaptation that distinctive lo-fi BBC feel, but that doesn’t detract from the piece, as it’s for precisely these kind of productions that BBC4 gets its good reputation. as well as Gatiss’s usual excellent performance, his script contains no mean amount of humour, delivered excellently as he proclaims the moon to be some kind of desolate outpost, like Wales.

i’ve always been fascinated by the novels of HG Wells and his early brand of science fiction. it always delivers that curious mixture of modern science fiction ideas before their time coupled with edwardian Britain. it’s clear where much of the modern steampunk genre takes its influence from, and yet many of these ideas are contained within damning allegories of imperialist rule and human society at the turn of the 20th century. this adaptation plays on that splendidly as intrepid scientist and explorer, Cavor, battles against his businessman companion, Bedford, who appears determined to seek some kind of advantage from his visit to the Moon, whether it be in the form of requisitioning treasures or returning with guns to conquer the civilisation they discover. it finished on a sad note, with no little amount of pathos in Gatiss’s familiar acting style.

as i’ve already mentioned, i’ve yet to read the original novel myself, but i’d love to hear from anyone familiar with it who watched the adaptation, with your views on how successful you thought it was. i’m going to chalk it up as another success for Gatiss and his ever increasing pedigree in all things weird. good job BBC4 and more like this please! by the way, don’t miss The Quatermass Experiment (original film version) on BBC4 tomorrow at 10.45pm!

The First Men in the Moon

just a quick heads up that a new BBC production of The First Men in the Moon is going to be televised tomorrow! the TV adaptation of HG Wells’ classic novel has been written by self confessed sci-fi geek Mark Gatiss and should be worth a look, if it follows the Gatiss trend of turning out great television, with his recent series, A History of Horror and the remake of 1950s classic, The Quatermass Experiment. Gatiss takes a leading role in this remake, along with fellow League of Gentlemen stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton who will be playing the Moon and Sun respectively! (should be interesting seeing how that works out…) fingers crossed, this is going to be a faithful adaptation of the original novel, and another show to add to Gatiss’s growing reputation as a sci-fi/fantasy afficionado.

it should be appearing on BBC4 tomorrow night (that’s Tuesday 19th October) at 9pm, though as with most of my televisual viewing, i suspect i’ll be catching it on iPlayer at a later date. possible blog to come when i’ve watched it. let me know if anyone who reads this manages to see it!