Reality is the playground of the unimaginative
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MORTAL ENGINES (December 22, 2018)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Week In TV...

There's a new Doctor is in the house.

Peter Capaldi, as expected, was superb in Deep Breath, last Saturday's opening episode of the new season of Doctor Who (BBC1) - although perhaps not as great as I might have hoped (I expect he's keeping a few tricks up his sleeve to give the character room to grow and develop).

Of course you can never go wrong by bringing fan favourites Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax into a story.

There were some moments of solid humour and the special effects (particularly when looking into the head of the half-face man) were generally superb. However, the plot itself was the typical trite nonsense we've come to expect from Steven Moffat with an overarching storyline denouement (in "heaven") that was totally groan-worthy and suggests that the "great changes" we were teased about could be largely smoke and mirrors.

On the whole, despite some stand-out elements, it was really just 'more of the same'.

That said, I was surprised to discover that one of the highlights of the episode was the unexpected cameo from Matt Smith (whose iteration of The Doctor I had been glad to see the back of thanks to Moffat's handling of the character).

Titles for the rest of the season have been revealed and you can see them here and there's a trailer for tonight's episode, Into The Dalek (which has Moffat as co-writer, so I'm not overly optimistic about) below:

Rachel and I have also started watching Resurrection (Watch), that I believe is an American reworking of the French serial The Returned, and so far we've been impressed.

Another of our 'family favourites', Under The Dome (Channel 5), returned this week as well, as did the fabulous Witches Of East End (Lifetime) - but that's more a "Tim only" show as Rachel doesn't go for all that "hocus-pocus or outer space" stuff that I like.

Not that she's adverse to a good mystery - even if it has spooky or sci-fi edge - as long as its primarily Earth-based and not too "out there".

So, I'm not exactly sure what she'll make of Twin Peaks (SyFy), which Rachel's agreed to watch with me when it is reshown on British telly from next week.

Australian drama Wentworth Prison (Channel 5) returns for its second season next week as well, which will give me my "women-in-prison" fix now that I'm up-to-date on Orange Is The New Black (Netflix).

While keeping Alice company this week, I finally got to finish Breaking Bad on Netflix. I'll confess I gave up - months ago - early on in season four, as I just wasn't "getting it", but I'm so pleased that I finally decided to see it through to the conclusion of Walter White's story.

And I couldn't be happier. The last season-and-a-half was incredible; tense, addictive, shocking and powerful. I now understand why people rave about it so much and will certainly go back, at some stage, and watch it again from the beginning.

In total contrast, I was pleased to discover that Star Wars Rebels is coming to the UK in October on Disney XD; they've been running the five-minute shorts and a variety of adverts recently to hook us in.

And I can't help thinking about cooking up a Star Wars RPG adventure about a dying tutor who turns to blue spice production to pay for his Imperial medical bills...

Star Wars Rebels: Entanglement...

Thursday, 28 August 2014

At Least They're Trying Something New...

I'm sure, like me, you're sick to death of "found footage" films, a trope that outstayed its welcome by several years.

However, the team behind Grace The Possession (which is out on DVD in the States in time for Halloween) are trying something new with this latest tale of demonic possession - it's filmed from the main character's point-of-view, so we get to "experience" the possession through the eyes of Grace (Alexia Fast).

Unfortunately, I suspect this gimmick will get annoying very quickly (I'm speaking as someone who loathes first-person video games), but at least - hopefully - the horror fraternity is exploring alternatives to the tiresome found footage shtick.

Modern Day Dungeon Exploration In Pair Of New Horror Flicks...

While I cannot attest to the quality of either The Pyramid or As Above, So Below (I suspect it'll be pretty poor in both cases), I have to confess I'm rather intrigued by the contemporary Dungeons & Dragons-y-ness of both stories, focusing on the exploration of old tunnels and passageways, while avoiding traps and supernatural fiends.

I Blame Charles Rutledge...

My Facebook friend horror, fantasy and crime author Charles Rutledge posted the other week about a friend who had written the latest outing of Mack Bolan - The Executioner (under the house name of Don Pendleton), Arctic Kill.

This piqued my interest because I read many, many Mack Bolan books when I was a fifth and sixth former at Skinners' School in Tunbridge Wells, but I hadn't realised they were still being published.

In fact, currently, at least one new Mack Bolan novel comes out every month!

I'll confess my favourites were the early books where he was systematically killing off various Mafia families around America to avenge the death of his family (Bolan's origin story was unapologetically ripped off by Marvel Comics when they created The Punisher).

So, I picked up Arctic Kill (I've read a few pages, but will get into it properly when I've finished Dan Abnett's Steal The Galaxy), but, me being me, I couldn't let it lie. I've set up my 'subscription' system of pre-orders for the next wave of new titles via Amazon, but then turned to eBay to score myself a bundle of "back issues".

Even though I broke my cardinal rule of "set-a-price-and-stick-to-it", I managed to fight off a trio of snipers (appropriately), who all jumped on the auction in its dying seconds, hoping to snag a bargain, and came away with 11 books (in very good condition) for - even including postage - little more than a quid each.

The streamlining of my library, and general spring cleaning of the gamesroom, has taken a bit of a backward step with this nostalgic revival of of an old obsession, but at least I have someone to blame besides myself...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Comic Book Show Meets The Creators Of Star Trek: Axanar...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Nightwing: The Series - Trailer...

The fan-made web series Nightwing débuts on September 29.
After a falling out with Batman, Dick Grayson - aka Robin -  abandons Gotham and everyone in it.

Resurfacing in the City of Bludhaven years later, Dick takes on the guise of Nightwing, easily defeating the petty criminals who infest it. 
 But he soon realizes he may have bitten off more than he can chew when a mysterious and dangerous assassin only known as Deathstroke, begins targeting Bludhaven citizens. 

Can he defend his new home and the lives of its inhabitants from the most dangerous foe he’s ever faced!? Only time will tell in this epic five-part mini-series.

Alice Has Arrived - And Taken Over!

There is a new bundle of fun in our house - 13-week-old Alice Colin Knight, the hyperactive puppy we took ownership of this week.

She's been running Rachel and I ragged, but we don't care because it was love at first sight. Cue sleepless nights and early morning toilet trips to the garden as Alice gets used to her new home.

Every new discovery is a cause of enormous, Tigger-esque tail-wagging, bouncing excitement and even when she tires herself out during the day she only seems to need a few minutes of nap time to recharge her batteries.

Barney is treating the arrival of Alice with his usual blend of disinterest and disdain, while she doesn't seem that interested in her "brother-from-another-mother"... which is probably for the best.

But Barney hasn't been forgotten in the Alice-centric hullabaloo, and is still getting his food, water and mandatory strokes and cuddles.

Meanwhile, my blogging had already entered its summer recess (accented by issues with my computer), but Alice (named for my favourite book, Alice In Wonderland) is now making great demands on my time as, at present, she can't really be left on her own for too long.

Today Rachel is home and taking care of her (she's just getting Alice used to wearing a collar, so we can put her on a lead to take her to the vets for her all-important vaccinations), allowing me time to do a bit of typing, but during the week I'm on Alice detail 24/7 (well, until Rachel gets back from work each day).

So while I may not be doing much useful blogging on HeroPress at present, I'm still active on Facebook (as that's easy to update on my iPod Touch), clogging my newsfeed with pictures and videos of young Alice.

The next generation of gamers...

Star Wars Rebels: Art Attack...

Friday, 22 August 2014

Marvel 75th Anniversary: The 1960's & 1970's...

Gotham In The UK...

Gear & Garb Of The Guardians Of The Galaxy...

The Flash: Run, Barry, Run...

Fleamarket Friday: Gor Blimey, Guv, That Was Rather Unexpected...

The world of John Norman's Gor series of pulp sword-and-planet novels is coming to a tabletop near you thanks to the creative genius of James 'Grim' Desborough. He is working with the current publishers of the novels on an official, licensed roleplaying game and is currently seeking $5,000 of funding through an Indiegogo campaign to give the (already written) game a professional polish.

He will be publishing two volumes:
  • Chronicles of Gor: Gorean Roleplaying - A full tabletop role-playing game based in the Gorean world.
  • World of Gor: The Gorean Scrolls - A world guide to Gor, either usable as a resource for playing Chronicles of Gor, or as a separate book celebrating and describing the world of Gor for fans who don't want to role-play.
At present the books are only being offered in PDF form so I'm holding off from investing until print editions are made available. It's also worth pointing out that this is one of those Indiegogo campaigns where the money will be committed even if the fundraising goal isn't reached. This will go towards paying for art for the books.

For more information check out James' fundraising page where he also addresses the more controversial nature of the Gor series, the setting's attitude to sex etc

The campaign is running until the end of September.

I must confess I never expected to see an official Gorean RPG (because of its controversial reputation) and so I'm excited to see this come to fruition, even if just for nostalgic reasons. The first half-dozen or so Gor books (before they got overly kinky and bondage-obsessed) heavily influenced the fantasy RPGs of my youth (e.g. the tarns, giant birds used for transport and combat; the alien insect gods; the politics and feuding city-states etc)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Prelude To Axanar (Full Movie And Kickstarter)

Battlestar Galactica's Richard Hatch stars as Commander Kharn

Marvel at this 20-minute Star Trek 'fan film' then race at warp speed over to their Kickstarter which is seeking to fund a feature-length continuation of the story of the Battle of Axanar.

Horror icon Tony Todd stars as Admiral Ramirez
Enterprise's Gary Graham reprises his role of Soval from the TV show

Doomed Romance...

Monday, 11 August 2014

Musical Monday Bonus: The Sounds Of Space...

Looking for an ambient soundtrack for your space-based games, then why not try the real deal? Recorded by NASA probes, such as Voyager, these are recordings of electromagnetic waves pulsating at the same wavelength as audible sound waves. They have been translated into relaxing, slighty-spooky, slightly-whale-song-like sound tracks.

I'm definitely storing these away for whenever I get my dream Space 1889 campaign off the ground!

Guardians Of The Galaxy Cast Interviews...

Map-A-Monday: Mystara...

Click to embiggen

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Iron Fist: The Dragon Unleashed...

A 1970s' style fan film featuring kung-fu action from Marvel's Iron Fist as he fights for his life in the back alleys of New York City (with a bit of help from Elektra).

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Just Having A Little Nap...

As mentioned the other day, computer issues have been frustrating my ability to maintain HeroPress to the standard I'd like, so I'm taking a short break and letting things rest for a while.

I shall be implementing some possible corrective solutions that have been suggested and hopefully we'll be bouncing back soon!

It's August, anyway, so there's nothing going on...

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Behind Of The Scenes Of Guardians Of The Galaxy...

Games? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Games!

Pete, Kevin and I toast Kevin's retirement

In the end Simon couldn't make it to last night's games' session and so, in the absence of Clare and Meredith as well, the actual gaming was knocked on the head and the evening devolved into one of chatting, breeze shooting, cud chewing, general joviality, laughter and giggles celebrating Kevin's retirement last month.

This also meant that Rachel, who usually bows out when the meal portion of the Tuesday Knights' games' night is over, stuck around and joined in the conversation, which she really enjoyed.

As for our Heroes & Others Worlds' campaign, it means that - as long we are back to (near) full strength next time - I can run the scenario I'd originally concocted (from a couple of +Tim Shorts' micro-adventures) without fear of an almost instantaneous TPK.

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Days Are Numbered...

My computer is dying. Slowly and painfully. It starts okay then rapidly slows as I type on through the day, stopping and starting in a most frustrating way.

It's been lurching towards this state for weeks, but as of yesterday it has tipped over the edge.

At the moment it seems to be okay, but earlier this morning it kept locking up until eventually everything froze (repeatedly). And it's not just when I'm online. Pretty much everything I try and do takes about 100 times longer than it should.

I've run malware detectors and anti-virus programs, I've deleted hundreds of old pictures and files, I've defragged the system. I'm running out of options now.

Hopefully, tomorrow, it will, at least, let me post my write-up of this evening's Heroes & Other Worlds' game session with the Tuesday Knights.

If HeroPress suddenly stops updating - except for fixtures like Wonder Woman Wednesday - then you'll at least know why.

But have no fear (if you care at all), it shall return, eventually. I'm not blogfading or nuking the site. I've still got plenty of waffle to share - such as my recent purchase of a load of fantastic, old Bronze Age Howard The Duck comics and the progress of our adoption of a puppy (who will be called Colin).

However, if HeroPress grinds to a halt it might possibly not be back in earnest until we've invested in a laptop for me (so I can pootle in the lounge and keep Colin company!).

[HOW] For Tonight We Game...

The hunt for Margesh Blackblood continues this evening. Unfortunately Meredith can't make the game session and Clare's triumphant return has been stymied by cold germs - so it'll be a "boys only" games night with Pete, Kevin and Simon joining me at the table.

Rachel has organised a "party atmosphere" for the meal part of the evening as we are celebrating Kevin's recent retirement. There will be wine (or Jack Daniels in my case).

Unfortunately, I might have to rethink the scenario I had planned as, without the ladies, I think the Tuesday Knights might be a bit outclassed in the adventure I had in mind.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Easter Eggs [SPOILERS AHOY!]

Between this short vlog and the comprehensive article on Screen Rant, I think pretty much all the Easter Eggs and comic book connections in the outstanding Guardians Of The Galaxy have been acknowledged.

Beware of spoilers though, especially as relates to the post-credit scene, which director James Gunn has acknowledged was "just a bit of fun" and - sadly - not an indication that one of my favourite, Bronze Age Marvel characters was about to make it big in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (although, of course, now his existence is recognised that means he could appear in a future movie. I'd love to see him simply teaming up with the Guardians!).

And there's a separate article here, on Guard The Galaxy, about a certain cocoon that first appeared in the Thor 2 mid-credits scene and then again in Guardians.
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MORTAL ENGINES (December 22)