Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

This pretty neat The Final Version novel page has been brought my attention. It has been going a few years and contains some good observations and facts about the book by readers. I’ve copied and excerpt below.

• It is difficult to pin point when WWIII occurs, however, whatever destructive device was used left buildings standing. This leaves the remaining survivors (who have converged on a few remaining city’s world wide) have whole buildings to live in to themselves. To benefit for this arrangement occupants seemingly have to adhere to the consistent surveillance/monitoring. It echoes Blade Runner and Aeon Flux in chapters, with hints of The Thing and Mad Max in others.
• Denton visits every continent.
• Given it is set post WIII the future appears quite habitable (excluding the wastelands and industrial areas). State Side while the rain beats down there are while plastic pavements/side walks and Neon lights have made a come back.
• It’s a ‘kitchen sink’ book as it has so much in it. However, it’s pulls off bringing the sci-fi elements, (not limited to) A.I, cloning, cryogenics and Robotics together with the historic chapters and the events that are touched on subtly which include the discovery of DNA, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Anastasia’s disappearance, Spanish Conquistadors encounters, painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s fate to name a few.
• Religion is outlawed and practised by underground sects. Notbaly the MJ and King sect.

Source: FanDom http://the-final-version.wikia.com/wiki/The_Final_Version_Wiki

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***This review contains spoliers***

Suffering from amnesia, confused and alone Melissa slowly discovers that the world isn’t what it supposed to be.

Award winning short film Mörkret Faller A.K.A Darkness Falls, not to be confused with Darkness Falls (2003) comes from Swedish director/writer Jarno Lee Vinsencius. I was lucky enough to view a screener of this well crafted little gem, Vinsencius offers a tight sci-fi thriller short with a filmactic feel.

Opening with an aerial shot in a chilly winter setting, we are introduced to an injured girl who awakes in dusted snow white forest. Hearing noises she fleas into the night to a café with no memory of who she is. Vinsencius’ offers a moody atmospheric piece which echoes the likes of Memento, Insomnia and the best of X-files, running just under a perfectly paced 15 minutes the dialogue driven Darkness Falls packs plenty in, mysterious letters and meetings, as Melissa tries to unravel who she is. The acting is first rate, the small cast have a respectable weighty presence, striking Joanna Häggblom is impeccable as Melissa and notable is Niclas Fransson as Felix.

Darkness Falls hots up when Melissa meets a man David (played by the talented actor Demis Tzivis) who knows what she is going through and they are chased by shady female agents. Vinsencius injects some interplanetary hi-jinks and effects used at just at the right moments. In addition, he throws in a twist loop ending with some impressive alien creature design from Ellinor Rosander and a sound scheme by Michael Tiedtke. With reminiscent Philip K. Dick story vibes and some DNA of my own novel The Final Version there’s paranoia mysterious leaders and tracking transmitter chips. Its dark, high concept stuff, with clones and duplicate planets but Jarno Lee Vinsencius reins it successfully on a personal level.

Intriguing, well scripted, grounded short – highly recommended.

Star Trek Beyond Movie Poster*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The USS Enterprise crew are tricked to a nebula in the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a ruthless enemy who wants to tear the Federation apart.

Director Justin Lin offers a fast paced third instalment with plenty of explosions and phaser laser shoot-outs. The action comes at full velocity especially after the Enterprise (is unnecessarily destroyed again). With the established cast of well loved characters Lin effortlessly helms what feels like a big budget Star Trek episode as they crash land on a planet. The effects are for the most part excellent, even if larger-than-life for epic set-up sake, especially in the opening attack and closing with the fleets star ship USS Franklin, zooming about a giant space station Starbase named Yorktown.

With Kirk regulars (Chris Pine), Spock, Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) the cast look more at ease, seemingly settled in their established roles and bring the well loved characters to life suitably. Echoing Wrath of Khan (1982) thankfully protagonist Idris Elba as Krall has a strong screen presence and is one of the better Star Trek baddies, for a moment in the closing it appears he’s going to become sickly honourable but appreciatively the writers were wise to avoid the trope. The new addition Sofia Boutella as Jaylah is excellent on all accounts, her character fits universe perfectly. There are flashy moments where she uses a holographic device similar to Total Recall (1990), Escape from L.A (1996) and Superman II (1980) etc, still, her character is well developed and Boutella breathtakingly executes the fight scenes (there is an opportunity for her to join the cast of characters with untimely death of the excellent actor Yelchin). Under Lin’s direction Elba and Boutella simply shine throughout.

While it lacks any real Gene Roddenberry nebula exploration writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung offer a straight forward story, the usual fitting Star Trek speak and relationship touches, echoing past films and series of the original crew, notably Bones’ interaction with Spock and Kirk. If anything it on the nose honours the original outings a little too much while not investing time in investigating the planets vegetation or natural life forms in place of a survival piece. It retains the series’ sci-fi roots, but skimps on the science and discovery, replacing it with blockbuster exploits. The staging, sets and costumes are perfect; Star Trek Beyond has some great visuals and it is wonderfully produced. Michael Giacchino’s great Star Trek theme finds it way throughout out and his additional scored music is more upbeat and less sterile, fittingly taking chances like Lin’s Beyond in whole. It’s interesting that they use the Franklin an old Starfleet ship, with Pegg and Jung’s transparent twist being reminiscent of H. G. Wells’ Morlock or the Cave (2005) to name a few. Touchingly there’s not only a tribute to Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) but to the whole original time-line crew where Zachary Quinto’s Spock comes across his older alternative time-line self’s belongings. The joint mission statement brings it casually to a Star Trek 50th Anniversary fan servicing close, enticing a fourth adventure.

Overall, Beyond feels like an expensive and extended action packed episode, while not boldly going to places they haven’t been before, it’s an enjoyable comfortable stop.

The Martian Movie Poster

Thought to be dead an astronaut botanist has to live in the dangerous conditions of Mars, relying on his ingenuity to survive until the next mission arrives.

Matt Damon doesn’t understand why he was reduced to only saying his name in Team America, maybe it’s because the film-makers were being ironic, never more so in The Martian is this highlighted. Under director Ridley Scott’s auteur eye Damon shines here as Watney in Drew Goddard’s adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel. It’s tense, humorous and visually rich including planets, Martian landscapes, space crafts and NASA control rooms. It’s also smart and thrillingly realistic as they plan rescue attempts and Damon hones Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Grativy, Apollo 13 and the like. The sets, props, costumes and special effects CGI for the most part are excellent the locations both on Earth and the red planet really sell it.

The acting aided by Goddard’s first-rate script. Both Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig are notable here in serious roles. Memorable are Sean Bean as Mitch – a mission director, Benedict Wong plays Bruce Ng an engineer of the rockets for the rescue mission and Chiwetel Ejiofor is Vincent, a director and the first person to establish contact with Watney. There plenty of disco tracks as that’s all Watney has to listen to, but Harry Gregson-Williams’ Martian score is solid. Watney’s uses all his skills an intellect, stapling a wound, he rations food and grows his own in seemingly impossible conditions and uses different NASA equipment to aid him. Damon’s Watney at times is very witty and you warm to dryness and invest in his survival, rooting for him in his highs and lows. Back on Earth Scott offers digestible politics and PR but there’s a positive aspect with countries, individuals and departments working together with each other.

Goddard and Weir’s offering doesn’t contain any sci-fi metaphysical and/or horror tropes with The Martians realism and by default Scott remains focused on a humane elements and visual effects never delving into what made him a household name. It’s about human beings tackling problems and the exploration of Mars’ barren environment and like similar space disaster movies there’s plenty of emotion, even with its long running time it moves along at pace.

Overall, if red planet sandstorms, potato growing and space travel is your thing, it’s a must.

The Final Version is the third book I’ve had published; my first was a zombie chiller and the second was a vampire horror novel, and was better received reaching #13 in the fantasy horror chart. The Final Version is the first novel I draft, even though released third. I, who never in the first 30 odd years of my life, ever imagined would write one word for publication. I never could have predicted it would reach #12 in the charts.

Yesterday, while prepping my next novel Darkest Moons (out October 2016) I looked over The Final Version digital eBook edition which is available is on Amazon (shameless plug). After rereading some of it was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I didn’t recognise half of what I’d written. Had no recollection of writing it. “Where did those words come from?” I questioned. “Who did they come from?” All I can figure is I went into some kind of writer’s trance. There’s a Bladerunner feel, but a plastic and neon one in and in contrast to crowded over population there’s an emptiness, loneliness where people have buildings to themselves and go about there business under big brother’s eye. The suburbs are different again, policed ravaged and dangerous.

But what came out is something that makes me laugh today after UKs decision to leave the EU because of the way the political landscape in the World especially the shift in UK and USA, which echoes in the  subtext of the novel’s backdrop. The Final Version, centres around a hearty mix of cyberpunk, DNA, A.I. Robots and Cloning, but its also a post war story of sorts, a warning if you like – which I hope doesn’t come to pass. Where the elite chose not to revive their fellow people (in cryo status), to keep power and resource across the remaining cities to themselves. Of course there’s assassinations, conspiracy, but never more has a piece of fiction I’ve written become a step closer to reality not just with DNA, advancements in technology and transatlantic travel but the blurred warped political agendas and unity of humankind.

For less than a coffee check out the future… Are you unique or simply the final version?

Amazon The Final Version

The Final Version Trailer

Synchronicity Movie Poster

*** This review contains time travelling spoilers ***

A partly funded experiment creates a wormhole, that the lead scientist hopes will usher humanity into a new scientific frontier.

Independent writer/director Jacob Gentry’s Synchronicity is a sci-fi noir that attempts, on a very low budget, to channel Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Gentry is smart enough not to disguise or apologise for low budget short comings and like the recent Automata and The Machine it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, avoiding the pitfalls of many recent low budget with ‘named actor’ science fiction films.

Michael Ironside extended cameo as Klaus, a domineering, super-rich businessman who’s bankrolling Jim’s experiment is excellent and unintentionally upstages actor Chad McKnight’s best quirky effort as a Jeffery Combs-like Jim. Abby Brianne Davis does her best to out do Sean Young’s Rachel as a nonchalant woman who may or may not be assisting Jim or Klaus. Davis really nails this curious absorbing role thanks to a good performance and fitting dialogue.

The budget does enough to create a doomy atmosphere with a dystopian stylishness thanks to some interesting locations, special effects and Ben Lovetts’ score unashamedly reminiscent of Vangelis.

Complications arise at once the time travel begins and with only a handful of characters Gentry keeps the viewer engaged with some intriguing narrative twists. It’s clear the viewer is on low budget feature ride, the minimal psychological and symbolic flower wormhole gives it an artsy Kubrick and Tony Scott feel, without overblown special effects, that may give sub-genre fans a buzz.

Its very much a character piece. When Jim goes through the wormhole proving the viability of time travel it becomes a doppelgänger tale akin to the effective Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes, incidentally also not reliant on flashy effects.

If time travelling speculative science fiction with video calls, heels, high rise buildings and shafts of light is your thing, you’ll a kick out of this low budget – less is more sci-fi.

51ovzzepxdl-_sy450_*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A Dallas man is witness to the death of a cop and there’s more to his story.

With a video cover in the vain of the Vindicator, echoing The Wraith, The Terminator, Mad Max and Robocop, this low budget tail end of the 80s is like none of the above.

Cullen Blaine’s offering Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research (R.O.T.O.R) has an informative title voice over, packed with exposition and flashback that adds very little to the proceedings. What it does have is a nostalgic soundtrack from synthesiser beats to some country music. It’s also nicely framed.

There’s a robot which looks its just rolled out of Buck Rogers, and R.O.TO.R, correctly dubbed “a tin marionette,” is like a stop motion endoskeleton with daft Punk shades.

The dialogue is a pretentious and cheesy as it comes. Even when the motor bike patrol cops goes all Westworld/Hitcher stalker-ish it sadly remains one of the most uneventful films of 1987. Not even some toy robots or The Terminator P.O.V shots can help. With Dallas’ 80s fashion R.O.TO.R never lives up to or delivers on its premise of a directorate driven, judge and executioner super cop.

It picks up briefly in the last half hour as leather clad, moustache sporting, ChiPs sunglasses cop takes on some locals and later blows up when his arms and legs are tied up. There’s a little twist killing that amounts to nothing, with a twist ending that won’t make you spill you coffee.

Despite its faults it’s better filmed than 90 percent of the DTV films produced these days. Worth watching for nostalgic value only. Stick on Class of 1999 instead.

 

 You can also get my top ranking scifi ebook as an independent paperback or free on Kindle unlimited here: The Final Version

Journey through the history of genetics and be catapulted to a post-apocalyptic future, a conflicted dystopian utopia of cyberpunk, cryogenics and government-conspiracy. 

London… The future, Jan Denton is abducted close to Big Ben Redux and is taken across the Atlantic Tunnel to the Oval Skyscraper, New York. He is accused of various murders of famed figures throughout history. Is Denton really Vasco, the killer of these prominent individuals? How could one person live so long? Time is running out as Denton must try to unravel the mystery before an assassin who knows the truth tracks him down. 

Are you unique or simply the final version?
  

Saturn 3

Posted: February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

saturn-3-usuk-release-posterTwo lovers stationed on a remote moon base of Saturn are intruded upon by a murderous man and his malevolent 8-ft robot.

Its production issues, changing of directors (one of which was the late great John Barry) and budget cuts aside for a film that was made in 1980 it feels like late 60s/70s. That said, the sets that take a leaf from Alien (1979) are partially effective and the blue ominous lighting works but is sadly used sparingly.

The late Farrah Fawcett is still a major draw and although there’s a cringe worthy age gap between leads it is fitting to the narratives themes. Acting legend Kirk Douglas is a little inconsistent and not on form possibly due to the script or production woes. Harvey Keitel has been unconventionally re-dubbed which is a shame, but he still is effective as the homicidal sociopath, off beat, boorish Earth Captain Benson. Although choppy, there’s some great set-ups with the interestingly designed Hector robot and Elmer Bernstein’s score if fantastic.

It’s not purposely ambiguous, but it leaves many questions and loose ends. It’s by no means the worst science-fiction movie, John Barry’s story offers some great ideas and has clearly influenced subsequent scifi’s notably the Matrix (1999) plug-in.

It’s flawed and inconsistent but still worth viewing for the concept alone.

The ultimate resort: VICE, where customers can play out their wildest fantasies is shaken up when artificial inhabitants becomes self- aware.What starts off as a respectable sci-fi thriller never really explorers or develops its interesting premise turning into a chase picture with guns being uninspiringly fired left right and centre poorly imitating The Matrix’s (1999) modish feel in the latter half.

It’s reminiscent in part of Michael Crichton’s West World (1973) and Future World’s (1976) concept that then delves into the realms of a staged The Purge: Anarchy (2014) mixed with a pleasure park gone wrong and carbon copied Blade Runner dialogue scattered though out. What sits uncomfortably in Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore’s dialogue and Brian A Miller’s depiction, is that the park goers fantasies are either excessively sexual or sick and awfully violent in contrast in tone to the exaggerated gun play action.

With great physique not even Ambyr Childers’ look and performance as Kelly lighting up each scene as the park’s on the run self-aware artificial robot can help the clumsily action and expository sequences. With a lack of back story Thomas Jane tries his hardest with a clunky script and given his performance in the comparable Surrogates (2009) Bruce Willis is flat and looks bored. Bryan Greenberg’s Evan and Brett Granstaff’s James feel miscast and actors Charlotte Kirk and Johnathon Schaech are sorely underused.

As well as the classics there’s The Machine (2013), Automata (2014), Impostor (2001) and other quality low-budget movies or the Almost Human TV Series to name a few which have tackled the themes in a superior fashion.

Even the sequel enticing ending feels forced. Aesthetically Vice looks great and the score is fitting to the well-lit sterile environments. If only Vice we’re half as good as the actors cast, lighting and locale it could have been an entertaining A.I film to add to the shelf.