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.
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.
Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.
The movie opens saying in 2044 massive solar flares attacked the Earth, killing 97.3% of the population. Humanity took a turn for the worse, losing both technical prowess and being whittled down to about 21 million people when we catch up with them. Just after the calamity, some company (ROC?) made the breakthrough in humanoid robots. These robots were supposed to be the saviors of mankind, but I guess they amounted to a whole lot of nothing. They also have only two laws, which makes for a 33% discount from those manufactured by US Robotics. Law one, don’t hurt anything living. Law two, robots aren’t allowed to repair or modify themselves.
Now we are taken to a police man (Dylan McDermott) in a car. His radio says it will start raining in ten seconds, and it does, so this might be a Back to the Future 2 kind of future. He drives a short distance and then decides to walk around in a subway or something. What should he uncover, but lo and behold, a robot. And this robot seems to be fixing itself! This cop decides to go all Judge Dredd on the robot and shoots it in the face.
After an interval of eight weeks (or possibly eight seconds, or eight hundred years, or minus eight weeks, according to whose timeline you may be following), here we are again with the second of the two instalments of my Doctor Who Series 9 review.
The episodes in this series are on a steep uphill climb, with nearly every story being better than the last. We’ve already seen a two-parter involving Missy and Davros (which, despite some interesting aspects, was mainly fanwank), a “base under siege” two-parter (standard Doctor Who fare, plus a time-travelling twist), the first Ashildr episode (more standard Doctor Who fare, but a nice snapshot of the Doctor doing what he does best), and the second one (an even less interesting storyline, but with some fascinating exploration of the life of an immortal). Now it’s time to move on to the second half of Series 9, in which every one of the stories makes Doctor Who history while also being fantastic in its own right.
Once again, of course, SPOILER ALERT.