Category Archives: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday, 12 February. I can’t wait! How ’bout you? What’d you think of the mid-season finale? Were you happy with Shane’s actions? What will happen now? Here’s AMC’s sneak peek at Ep 208, Nebraska. [SPOILER ALERT: Video clip contains spoilers from Episode 07 of Season 2.]
For those who have missed some episodes, don’t fret. AMC is airing a two-day marathon beginning on Sat., Feb. 11 at 8/7c, covering the full series to date. They’ll show all six episodes of Season 1 back-to-back on Saturday starting at 8/7c. Then on Sunday, the marathon continues with Season 2 episodes starting at 1:30PM/12:30c, leading right into the Midseason Premiere, “Nebraska” at 9/8c. You can check here for the full recap schedule.
Word is the show’s third season has been extended to 16 episodes. While I’m thrilled I have more Walking Dead to enjoy, I hope the episodes are more intense that they have been so far in Season 2. Is it just me or where the episodes in Season 1 just a bit more edge-of-your-seat intense? That said, I have enjoyed Season 2’s more character-based episodes. They have allowed us to get to know them all a bit better, even if that means we like them a little less.
I have to say, the character who surprised me the most in Season 2 is Daryl. In season 1, he was just a background character and not one of my favorites. In season 2, we get to see him shine. He is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Who’s your favorite? Are you ready to see some changes in the group’s leadership? Or think all is as it should be?
If you’re not already a fan of the series, what are you waiting for? Catch-up this weekend and you’ll be hooked like the rest of us!
Be sure to check out AMC’s “10 Ways to Get Ready for The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere” for more videos. You can also take their “Which Character Are You?” quiz to see who you’d likely take after should you survive the apocalypse.
[The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Airs Sunday, 12 Feb]
In our Fiction 2 Film (F2F) posts, we will share news and tidbits we learn about author’s stories which have made the jump from paper to film.
~ Zombies … An Oral History ~
If you are a fan of zombie novels, you have already heard about Max Brooks‘ World War Z film adaption starting Brad Pitt. In fact, if you’re a major fan, you’ve already read the book. But, have you heard the major changes to the story? Kofi Outlaw writing for Screen Rant.com discusses the fact that, although it is a “tricky narrative format to transfer to film” the main character, who in the book is a U.N. employee that interviews zombie apocalypse survivors on their experiences, will be quite different in the film.
Paramount’s announcement stated, “The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.” This is indeed a different take on the story. How does author Max Brooks feel about the change?
He acknowledges how difficult it could be turning the book into a film during his interview with the Daily Record. He admits, “It doesn’t have a main character, the storyline is told from a hundred different points of view, would be prohibitively expensive filming in all these different countries.” He also realizes the challenge this brings saying, “You couldn’t pay me to turn it into a film.” However, he doesn’t seem worried about the changes, but rather excited to see how it all turns out. “I’m not involved so I just want to be able to enjoy watching the movie when it comes out,” he explained. “At least I know they did at least as much research into things as I did for the book.” In his 26 Aug 2011 blog post, after visiting the set in Glasgow, Max stated, “While I’m still largely in the dark concerning the overall story, it was reassuring to hear from Brad Pitt and Marc Forster that their goal is to make a smart, deep, geopolitical movie. I trust their talent and their intentions and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.” He also learned from the January 3rd LA Times article, that states, “Forster [the director] and Paramount Pictures each view “World War Z” as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.'” That’s a nice thought (for them financially), but will fans love the first film enough to support the making of a trilogy?
‘World War Z’, the Fiction
“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.
Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”
Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.
‘World War Z’, the Film
Will the film be a hit among Brooks’ fans? Zombie fans? Pitt fans? Only time will tell.
But, in E! News’ interview with actress Mireille Enos, who plays Pitt’s wife in the film, she said, “It’s like zombies are the new vampires.” And, it would seem she isn’t far off as we have seen the number of zombie-related books increase over the past year. “It’s taking over. But somebody said to me this movie might end the zombie genre because, after this, what else is there to do? It’s huge!” Now, this statement is not one with which I can agree.
I’ll watch the movie, I may even love it, but “end the zombie genre” because of its awesomeness? Nah, probably not. Romero has been doing good zombies for many, many years. Others will surely follow.
‘World War Z’ is scheduled to hit theaters on, you guessed it, 12/21/12. How apropos.
[Trailer can be viewed here.]
~ Zombies … A Love Story ~
Now, I have to admit that about a year ago, someone told me about a zombie romance and my first reaction was “Thanks, but no thanks.” Then, I decided to give Isaac Marion‘s Warm Bodies a go. The story is told from the perspective of R, a zombie who, try as he might, cannot remember much about his life before now. Then, he meets his (living) sweetheart. The book was a quick read, but one that proved in the end that Virgil may have had it right when he said, “Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love.”
I was happily surprised to see on that Isaac’s book is also being adapted to film. Unlike Brooks’ “fiction2film,” Marion’s appears to be more of a direct adaption than a variation on the story. Although director Jonathan Levine is writing the script, he consulted with Marion during the process.
In an interview with Jonathan Liu, or “GeekDad” of Wired Magazine, he explained, I’ve not been directly involved as far as collaborating on it, but I’ve been consulted a lot, a lot more than what’s normal, from what I’m told. When they first hired the director he had lunch with me and just chatted about his ideas and vision for the whole thing, and he’s been interacting with me as he wrote the script. He’d call me up and ask me questions: what’s this part about, or how do you see this and that.
I read some draft of the script — I’m not sure how far along it was — and then I got to give notes on that, and later read another draft and gave some notes. It seems like they’re really respectful of my opinion and they seem to really care what I think, which is cool. Very unusual, from what I’m told. Even major best-selling authors who have all the clout in the world, sometimes they just tell them: “Get lost, we don’t care what you think. Just let us make this movie.” Everyone I’ve told about this who knows how that works has been amazed, that they actually have involved me.
Do you think that will make a difference to those who have read the book and watch the movie? I know it will for me. As much as I enjoy seeing a film director’s interpretation of a novel, sometimes I want to see the author’s original story, as is, on the big screen. Of course, just because there has been so much director-author collaboration does not mean the film will be identical to the novel. It is always hard to completely translate one to the other, yes?
Either way, Marion sounds excited about the film. Although he did not have much say regarding the casting process, per the USA Today article, he didn’t see that as a problem because he wasn’t sure “how it would have been if [he] had hated them. But they worked out.” He plans to watch the film in the theater instead of with the executives because “If something bad happened, [he] wouldn’t want them to see [him] cowering.” That said, he wants to visit the production set as much as possible because, “The whole thing is fascinating and exciting.” He may even try to “… sneak in the background and get eaten by a zombie.”
‘Warm Bodies’, the Fiction
A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.
R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.
Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.
‘Warm Bodies’, the Film
As I said, it was initially hard for me to envision a zombie novel as a romance. However, either Marion’s writing changed my perception or love really does affect us all – living or undead. Marion can relate to our uncertainties about a romantic zombie. “I didn’t want to sanitize him into something I called a zombie,” Marion says. “You watch him kill people and eat people and do horrific things zombies do. There’s a germ of change in there, so you hear him give his distaste for things but this is what we do.
“A lot of people can relate to that mindless repetition, that people do things they don’t want to do all the time. It’s the starting point for his character, and he develops an awareness for what his options are. It seemed natural to make him sympathetic because everyone’s been there at some point, in a place of misery and wanting to get out.” The fact that R goes through his routines even while he dreads them was absolutely something to which I could relate. It made him feel more real, I guess.
Teresa Palmer, who plays R’s love interest, Julie, says Nicholas Hoult is “… so beautiful to work with. He does such an incredible performance. He’s playing a zombie, so he can’t say much, but he’s very expressive with his eyes.” And, he would have to be to pull this off. The book is full of R’s internal dialogue, so I’m very interested to see how that will be represented on screen. I’ve certainly seen that work well in some and not in others.
I wasn’t going to say this because so many others are asking the same question, but after seeing this picture I feel I have to ask … Will these two be the new Edward & Bella? It may not be too far fetched a question since Summit Entertainment, the production company behind Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight films, is also behind Marion’s film. The picture is certainly reminiscent of Twilight pics. I’d say they should try to be more original, but on second thought, it was most likely intentional as they try to lure young adult paranormal romance readers into the theater.
‘Warm Bodies’ is scheduled to hit theaters on 8/10/12.
[To date, no official trailer exists, but you can view the book trailer here.]
Related posts: “Fiction2Film” feature on Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ and our “Zombie Awareness Month” posts
Season two teaser of Game of Thrones narrated by Stannis Baratheon, the dead King’s elder brother.
Remakes are pretty popular with the movie-makers at the moment but not necessarily with movie-goers. Some are perfectly happy with the originals and let’s be honest, most remakes suck. Here are some of the remakes coming to the big screen in 2012.
Remake of: Judge Dredd (1995)
Release month: US ~ September | UK ~ tbd
Synopsis: In a violent, futuristic city, the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.
Stars: Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Judge Dredd , Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Makers also worked on: I Am Number Four (2011), Never Let Me Go (2010), 28 Weeks Later (2007), Sunshine (2007)
News & Trivia: Filmed in South Africa. Currently in post-production. Estimated $45m budget.
Remake of: Total Recall (1990)
Release month: US ~ August | UK ~ August
Synopsis: As the nation states Euromerica and New Shanghai vie for supremacy, a factory worker (Farrell) begins to suspect that he’s a spy, though he is unaware which side of the fight he’s on.
Stars: Colin Farrell (Phone Booth) as Doug Quaid / Hauser, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Ethan Hawke, Bill Nighy
Makers also worked on: Fast & Furious 5 (2011), Die Hard 4.0 (2010), I Am Legend (2007), Underworld (2003)
News & Trivia: Currently in post-production. Preview of a Total Recall car.
Remake of: Dark Shadows (1966-71, TV show)
Release month: US ~ May | UK ~ May
Synopsis: A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Based on the cult TV series.
In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better…
Stars: Johnny Depp as Barnabas, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Alice Cooper
Makers also worked on: Rango (2011), Inception (2010), Sleepy Hollow (1999)
News & Trivia: Directed by Tim Burton. Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, both of which are being turned into feature films. Currently in post-production.
Pick of the Lot:
This is the one I want to see. The infamous threesome of Tim Burton, his other half Helena Bonham-Carter and friend Johnny Depp are always up to something interesting. I loved Sleepy Hollow, it’s one of my favourites. I’ve also never seen the original TV show or any of the reincarnations since then which is perhaps why I’m looking forward to it the most. You see, I’m still quite fond of the original movies of Total Recall and Judge Dredd even though they’re not the best films and haven’t aged particularly well.
Breaking assassin Jonathon Decker out of a maximum security prison on Trakis One seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, pursued across space by the two most powerful factions in the universe, the crew of El Cazador are having second thoughts. They’d like to give him back. Unfortunately, that no longer seems an option.
Jon is used to working alone. Now, he’s stuck on the space cruiser El Cazador until he can work out just what he’s supposed to know that puts him on everybody’s most-wanted-dead list. He s not happy that the crew includes a runaway priestess with designs on his virtue such as it is. Jon likes women, but he gave up the role of protector a long time ago, and Alexia, High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, is an accident waiting to happen.
After twenty-four excruciatingly boring years of doing her duty, Alex is finally having some fun. She never meant to run away it was a rash impulse and she means to go back eventually. But first, she’s going to squeeze enough excitement out of the situation to last her a lifetime. And what could be more exciting than a stunningly gorgeous werewolf?
Meanwhile, the Church are chasing their missing priestess, and the Collective are pursuing their escaped assassin. Being hunted has never been more deadly…or more fun.
Deadly Pursuit (Blood Hunter #2) by Nina Croft
Firefly with a paranormal twist. Better than Break Out, Deadly Pursuit continues from where BO we left off.
Al, the small teenage boy, turns out to be Alexia High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, the 24 year old woman. Suffocating from boredom and lack of control over her high profile life she escapes, disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the spaceship El Cazador.
Both the Collective (people who’ve taken the expensive immortality treatment Meridian) and now the Church (believe in immortality of the soul which goes to heaven when they physically die) are chasing the crew for the recapture of Jon the werewolf assassin and the return of the High Priestess.
Despite her deception, the crew immediately defend Alexia. She’s one of them and they’re not going to hand her over if she doesn’t want to go. Jon, on the other hand, is wanted for an unknown reason, pointing to a conspiracy so they’re not giving him up after they were hired to risk their lives breaking him out of prison until they get some answers.
Alexia is instantly attracted to Jon. Unfortunately her disguise worked only too well, looking like a scruffy child. Her innocence is compounded by the fact that she’s a virgin who’s lived a sheltered life, and Jon doesn’t do virgins. He’s a rough, tough, manly 6ft 4 werewolf to her doll-like 5ft 1. He’d break her. But she knew what she wanted and was determined to experience as much of life as could before she was forced to return to her duty so the predator became the prey. Poor man, he had no chance. At least he has a new pack now i.e. the crew and a buddy in Rico despite him being a vampire.
Similarities to Firefly (Rico is Mal with fangs and a lust for blood) and the introduction of shapeshifters, my favourite supernaturals, meant I quite liked this. However, I’m slightly uncomfortable with how Alexia, seconds after being almost raped and killed on two occasions, jumped her mate-to-be’s bones. That struck me as wrong since she was beaten and manhandled. I doubt I’d feel up to it if I was in her shoes.
Tannis is next to be matched up with her crush Callum Meridian, the man who first took the immortality treatment and has been transformed by it. They’re hired as his bodyguards in the next book.
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life…
Touch of Power (Healer #1) by Maria V. Snyder
Please, Sir. May I have some more?
Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’t feel repetitive. This world is far larger and more complex than that of the Study trilogy.
Avry has been in hiding and on the run for 3 years and she’s tired of it. After people blamed the spread of the plague on healers, they’re captured and executed whenever they’re found. However, Avry can’t stop herself from healing fatally ill children and each time she does she must move on in case the child’s parents turn her in, though this time the sickness she’s assumed overcomes her and she’s captured. While in prison awaiting execution she’s approached by a man called Kerrick who breaks her out so she can heal his “friend”.
Unfortunately this friend is hundreds of miles away and with a bounty on her head the journey is dangerous even with Kerrick’s men accompanying them. When Avry is informed of who she’s to heal, she refuses because it’s a prince accused of inhumane crimes. Assuming his illness, the plague, would mean certain death for her. Sacrificing her life for a child is one thing, they’re innocent but for a cruel and powerful man -no. Kerrick reacts badly, punishing her until she changes her mind. She’s too stubborn so they try to change her mind in other ways while they travel.
On the journey she gets to know each man, saving her hate for the mysterious Kerrick. They teach her survival and fighting skills so she can defend herself. Along the way they begin to understand more about the plague, it’s link to the sentient network of huge human-eating venus flytrap flowers and the healer’s guild. They also encounter a real madman, Tohon, who can influence and read thoughts and emotions using it to gain more territory and power. His experiments are nightmarish and genocidal. Politics and intrigue ensue. There are many fighting for power in the game of
thrones kings in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.
The hundreds of miles Avry & co travel, and on foot, makes my feet ache in sympathy. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building and Avry’s journey spanning about 6 months. I loved the high level of detail involved and the intricacies of the characters’ magical abilities. I laughed at the Men in Black moment when Avry shouts “Eat me!” to the mutant plant. In fact, I did a lot of laughing. Avry and her merry men grow to be a tight-knit family who jump at the chance to tease, compete and help each other. I was sad when a character died but I have a feeling we’ll see them again though I’m worried about how they’ll be changed by the experience. I wish I had a Papa Bear and friends like these who’d die for me if need be, and vice versa.
Kerrick and Avry’s relationship develops and evolves slowly as he learns how to handle his emotions. His desperate 2-year search for a healer and Avry’s stubborn refusal turns him into an unlikeable man but with the persuasion of his men he pushes back his anger and gets to know Avry and comes to understand what makes her tick. He shares his skills with her and they come to find they can share and enhance each others magic, something they never thought possible. I enjoyed their slow-burning combustible chemistry, Kerrick’s jealousy and finally his realisation that not every woman is like his ex Jael.
And can I just say I love these covers! It’s rare when I want both. One shows pure grit, determination and “power” (LEFT). The other, the delicate yet beautiful effect a “touch” can have (RIGHT).
I definitely look forward to the next installment of this series. Bring it on!
An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.
Julia Roberts – Evil Queen
Lily Collins – Snow White
Sean Bean – The King
Also starring: Nathan Lane
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Kristen Stewart – Snow White
Chris Hemsworth – The Huntsman
Charlize Theron – Queen Ravenna
Also starring: Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Lily Cole, Bob Hoskins
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
For me, this is the one I want to watch. Gothic, action-packed, exciting plus fantastic actors make this a must-watch movie. I can’t wait!
A behind-the-scenes look at season 2 which premieres April 2012.
Well-known fantasy author Neil Gaiman famous for Coraline and Stardust will be appearing in “The Simpsons” episode titled “The Book Job” to premiere this Sunday. The English author’s role required “a bad American accent”. According to FOX the synopsis of this episode is as follows:
“Lisa becomes disheartened when she learns the shocking truth behind the ‘tween lit’ industry and her beloved fantasy novel characters. But Homer decides to cash in on the craze and forms a team to group-write the next ‘tween lit’ hit, with the king of fantasy, Neil Gaiman (guest-voicing as himself), lending his expertise to the effort. After catching the eye of a slick industry publisher (guest-voice Andy Garcia) at the Springfield Book Fair, the team gets an advanced copy of their work and discovers that the corporate lit business is a bigger operation than they imagined.”