Legion Pilot – A (Mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

The newest addition to the ever-growing series of television shows based on Marvel properties arrived last week, with the FX show Legion.

Legion

The show, co-produced by Marvel and Fox, is the first live-action adaptation of Fox’s X-Men and mutant roster. (At the moment, it’s unclear if the show is going to tie into the X-Men Cinematic Universe or not.) The show follows the life of lead character David Haller, based of the Marvel character of the same name, who’s comic alias also gives the show it’s name. At the start of the show, David is a middle-aged man who has been diagnosed with  a severe case of schizophrenia from a young age — he constantly hears voices and sees things that don’t exist. David is currently being housed in a long-term mental health facility, where he meets the show’s lead female protagonist, a mysterious young woman named Sydney with a severe phobia of physical contact.

As the show progresses, David begins to form a relationship with Sydney, who largely rebels against the hospital’s treatments. Things go awry, however, when Sydney is set to be released, setting off a chain of events that leads David to start to believe what we, the viewer, probably already knew: that he’s not crazy, but he (and Sydney) seem to have super powers.

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The Rise of the Red Shadow – Prequel to the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo Review

The rise of the red shadow

As promised, here is the review of the prequel to The Book of Deacon Trilogy and all I can say is that it is one of those rare things. A prequel that is leagues better than the original series. However much I may have enjoyed the Deacon series I enjoyed Rise of the Red Shadow more.

In this novel we follow Lian as he becomes the famed assassin that we all knew from the original series. We get a brilliant view into the history of the story as well as a great action and emotion packed set up for one of the best characters in the series.

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The Book of Deacon trilogy by Joseph Lallo (spoilers)

The Book of Deacon series covers

So I have just finished the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo. All in all I enjoyed it hugely. It was a nice quiet light fantasy with all the favorite magical elements, Dark, Light, Grey, Elemental, a little bit of Healing and some scary crystals and really bad dudes. I feel that it was a good solid trilogy that makes a nice filler between heavy series or just a nice holiday series when you don’t want to think too much. You can just read the story and let the events unfold in front of you. There were some issues with the series but I will get into that in a little bit!

The characters are all mostly likable (Ether being the exception) and even though the bad guys are truly evil, one can’t really hate them. They are all simple characters that are easy to understand (maybe a little to simple but…) and in the case of Myranda and Deacon, easy to get behind. You feel for her point of view about the war and about what it has done to her homeland. This being the driving factor for her as a Chosen.

Personally I rather liked Leo/Lian, he was for me the most well drawn character and the one that I felt that the series could easily have been based more on (on a side note I am looking forward to the prequel Rise of the Red Shadow as it follows Lian). He was certainly the most complex character, with his past as a slave and career as a famed assassin turned reluctant hero.

But I may be a little ahead of myself! I have not even told you what the series is about… shame on me! Let me put that right, right now.

There are two countries, the Northern Alliance and Tressor. They have been at war for about a hundred and fifty years… During that time things have gotten a little out of hand with evil beings from another set of worlds having come through a portal and slowly setting themselves up to take over this world as well. The only issue is the Chosen, Five heroes that were touched by the gods and made for the purpose of protecting the world. So the story starts as we follow the Chosen as they find each other an slowly all agree about what needs to be done. We have have Ivy, Myn, Leo/Lian, Ether and Myranda.

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Review of the Duncton Chronicles by William Horwood

Duncton chronicles
Duncton Chronicles covers

Duncton Wood is in my opinion one of the most under-read fantasy series in the world. I think that it is mostly overlooked as all the characters are moles. Yes moles, as in those wonderful creatures that leave little dirt mountains on your lawns. Although anthropomorphized and given their own history and a  written form of communication as well as social order. The moles of Duncton Wood are still moles and as such have no clothes, technology or weapons. In essence this is a brilliant low fantasy series. 

Duncton Wood is a true epic fantasy series in the most classic way. It is set in the fictional Duncton Wood in Great Britain where the moles of Duncton are under the rule of the rather evil  Mandrake and Rune who are actively squishing the old traditions, namely those surrounding the Duncton Stone, the center of their religion. But along comes a hero: a young mole named Bracken who leaves to find himself and a way to win his fight against the evil of Rune and Mandrake while winning the paw of his love, Rebecca, Mandrakes daughter.

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Why The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks Is Worth Reading

Talismans_covercleanversion Scions_covercleanversion Elf_Queen_covercleanversion

On the surface it may seem like another fantasy series and one that has been around for a while so nothing new… But you could not be further from the truth. The many books of the Shannara series is a first glimpse into a number of genres, fantasy and otherwise. Within its epic fantasy there lies hints of science fiction, epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy, urban fantasy, low fantasy and even a little post apocalyptic fiction. It is a series that is molded by elements of many genres and it is a series that has within its unassuming covers something for everyone. That can’t be said about many series.

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The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan and why it is the BEST fantasy series EVER!

Riyria Revelations book covers
Riyria Revelations book covers

Let us start with the two main characters, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater. Both are the best sort of characters one might ever wish to come across in a fantasy series.

Royce, a former member of the Black Diamond and Assassin, is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded by dead people who looked like they might one day be in the way. Or because they breathed, looked like they were up to something, or for any reason really. Royce has issues about not killing people.

Hadrian, on the other hand, is a open book who just might kill you. But unlike Royce he will feel bad about it afterwards and maybe even say sorry. The son of a small town’s Blacksmith, Hadrian is a Swordsman of great skill and in certain parts of Calis a rather famous one. He and Royce in the beginning somehow manage to not kill each other and one day become what one could even call friends. Although like all people they get on each others nerves once in a while.

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A Guide to the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse

In a previous blog post, we examined the history and future of the various DC Comics cinematic franchises that make up what I (apparently alone) am calling the DC Cinematic Multiverse. But DC isn’t the only company to have a massive tangle of cinematic universes under its belt. It’s long-time rival Marvel has been even more prolific when it comes to adapting their material for the large and small screen. Unlike DC, though, Marvel gave up control over much of it’s catalog during the dark times (the 1996 bankruptcy and subsequent reorganization), resulting it several different studios having access to bits and pieces of the Marvel world. To this day there is still a lot of confusion over who has what rights, who can be in which films, and on-screen with who else, and which films belong to which shared canon.

Note: As with the DC post, I am mostly ignoring the animated parts of the Marvel multi-verse. There have been 36 (to date) animated shows and about a dozen animated movies.  In general, with two notable exceptions, these shows all exist in their own separate universes, with their own separate designations in the Marvel reality catalog, and otherwise play no role in the live-action TV or movie worlds.

So, as we did with DC, lets see if we can make some sense of of the tangled mess that is the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.

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A Guide To The DC Cinematic Multiverse

As we prepare for the first in a long line of tightly-integrated films based on popular DC characters, this seems like a good time to take a look at the current state of DC Comics foray into television and movies. In this post, we’ll take a look at the history, and the current status, of the DC Cinematic Multiverse (a term I just made up.) That is, we’re going to look at all of DC’s movie and television adaptations, and see how they are (or aren’t) related.

A quick note: I’m intentionally excluding animated shows from this discussion. While I’m a huge fan of DC’s animated work, for the most part these shows played by a much looser set of rules (Batman and Robin meet Scooby Doo, for example), which tend to muddy the waters. For our purposes here, we’re going to define cinematic as meaning live-action adaptations only.

With that out of the way, let’s start with…

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Space Saga – Chapter 1: The accident

Chapter 1: The accident

Cara Miller stared out of her lifepod window into the vastness of space. For all she knew, she was the sole survivor of the ill-fated Astral Light, a rescue ship that ultimately would need its own rescue. It was all supposed to be routine. The Astral Light had been called out to assist a mining freighter which had suffered a major collision with a dislodged piece of asteroid. Systems were failing and the freighter sent out a general distress beacon.

When the freighter came into sight, Cara could hardly believe anyone was still alive. The ship was a mangled mess, with pieces of the hull splayed out in all directions. Clouds of gas, probably oxygen and fuel, were billowing out of the ship. It would be a miracle if anyone had survived. Still, they had to make sure, so the Astral Light glided up alongside and attempted to hook to the docking port.

Sometimes bad luck is all a question of timing, she thought. The first boarding crew had barely crossed the docking arm when a stray asteroid fragment crashed into the beleagured ship. This evidently was the final nail in the coffin. What little air remained in the ship was enough for a massive explosion. Tethered, the Astral Light took heavy damages. The evacuation siren went off and Cara raced to an escape pod. The last thing she remembered after diving into a pod was a violent explosion. She awoke some time later, drifting in space.

The lifepod had preprogrammed behavior depending on the circumstance. If near a planet it would attempt a landing, if in deep space it would power down nonessential systems, minimize life support, and wait for a pickup. The standard lifepod was designed to support life for up to one week. Cara peered at the controls, a small battery of indicator lights and the thruster controls. The pod was in pickup mode. So no one was near.  Originally the lifepods contained enough sensors, advanced communications, and propulsion to make them into their own little spacecraft.

However, people had a tendency to panic after a catastrophic event. They tended to make irrational decisions, and would constantly be turning on the sensors to see if anyone was coming, draining power from the life support system. They would broadcast message after message, pleading to be rescued, only to use up their oxygen faster. And sometimes they would point their lifepod in a direction they believed to be home and shoot off to some unknown place, making them very hard to find. Eventually the people in charge of such things decided it was better to give them virtually no options– a couple of maneuvering thrusts to keep them from crashing into something and an indicator if a ship responded to the distress beacon. This dramatically increased recovery rates of lifepods and their passengers, but for some made the experience more stressful.

There were lots of stories floating around about people’s experiences in lifepods. People told them like ghost stories. Being trapped for days in the tight space meant the likelihood of cabin fever or a nervous breakdown was high. To combat this some crewmen would stash a little nap sack in a lifepod, usually the one closest to their station or to their bunk. They’d toss in a few odds and ends, books, tablets, games, whatever they thought would help them get through a bad situation.

Cara had never bothered to do this, but as she looked around the pod she noticed someone else had. She reached down and pulled up an old cloth sack and pulled out the contents. A very old tablet computer, a few protein bars, and a yo-yo. Cara examined the tablet. Not surprisingly the battery was dead, no charge cable, and even if it was there, it wouldn’t be wise to use the lifepod’s power anyways. Next she examined the protein bars, the date on them was several years old. I guess this little sack has been here for awhile, she thought. Longer than she had served on the Astral Light. And finally, the yo-yo. Cara stared at the yo-yo. The lifepod was little more than a reclined chair in a cylinder, there was essentially no open space. She couldn’t even see her feet without a great amount of effort. She wondered at the rational of a crewmate who would place a completely useless toy in a cramped lifepod. Stupid yo-yo.

Frustrated, Cara powered up the thruster. She wouldn’t use too much power, just enough to turn the ship so that she could see the wreckage from the explosion. But no matter how the pod turned, all she saw was empty of space set to a background of stars. Strange. She wouldn’t have expected the lifepod to take her very far, but she saw neither the debris from the ruined ships nor the asteroid belt. Where am I?