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Heir to the Jedi Star Wars cover

This week will see the release of the third novel in the new Expanded Universe of Star Wars under Disney ownership, with Kevin Hearne’s Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi.  As with the first new canon novel Star Wars: A New Dawn, (previously reviewed here at borg.com) the title carries some secondary meaning.  The first major tie-in novel years after Return of the Jedi was Timothy Zahn’s successful Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, and there is a certain subtle nostalgia element to the similar title here.  The novel recounts some solo missions by Luke Skywalker after he destroys the Death Star at the end of A New Hope, and it is all told by Hearne in the first person voice.

Telling a story in the first person takes some real mastery, and if not done right it can result in some clunky storytelling issues.  Telling a story from the mind of a key character like Luke Skywalker brings with it its own problems.  The biggest problem is that everyone who grew up with Luke has their own view of what makes the character tick, and giving readers a canon view–a “this is the right and only view of Luke”–perspective makes it easy to throw off a segment of readers.  Although I think Heir to the Jedi will certainly appeal to a new generation of readers, particularly those who have not read several of the newly labeled Legends novels, Hearne gives us a Luke that is not altogether that likeable, smart, or savvy a hero as you might hope for.

This may be because Luke is too close to being that whiny farmboy in A New Hope.  It could be because he has no mentor now that Obi-Wan is dead.  Too many times, however, I had to ask myself, “would Luke really say or think that?” or “Would Luke act that way?”  As an example, by the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke seems to have a real friendship with astromech droid R2-D2.  Yet here, he seems to treat R2 like an appliance or a tool, albeit a valuable one.  I had similar issues in the seventh Harry Potter novel with Harry’s response to the death of his owl Hedwig–Harry barely seemed to react at all, despite his earlier devotion to his good feathered friend.  I didn’t see the same camaraderie here between Luke and R2 as we find in The Empire Strikes Back.

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Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015)

Leonard Nimoy Spock

What more can be said about the man who portrayed the greatest science fiction icon of all time?  In the annals of Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock managed to live beyond 150 years into the 24th century.  In the 21st century you can count yourself lucky to have lived a happy life into your 80s.  Nimoy not only provided millions with decades of happiness via the character he created, he inspired generations and a legion of loyal fans.  So while the world mourns the loss of the great humanitarian behind our favorite Vulcan, what better time to celebrate what we loved so much about him?  This weekend, cable channels like EPIX will be holding many tributes to allow fans to join in and celebrate the life of Leonard Nimoy.

Many have commented in the past 24 hours about Leonard Nimoy’s passing yesterday, and they illustrate the influence he had on us all.  The finest came from our President:

Presidential Seal

Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy.  Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.  And of course, Leonard was Spock.  Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.
 
I loved Spock.
 
In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person.  It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.”  And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that.  Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.

NASA

And here is what NASA, via administrator Charles Bolden, had to say:

Leonard Nimoy was an inspiration to multiple generations of engineers, scientists, astronauts, and other space explorers. As Mr. Spock, he made science and technology important to the story, while never failing to show, by example, that it is the people around us who matter most.

NASA was fortunate to have him as a friend and a colleague. He was much more than the Science Officer for the USS Enterprise. Leonard was a talented actor, director, philanthropist, and a gracious man dedicated to art in many forms.

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Daniel Craig is James Bond in SPECTRE

The next James Bond film, SPECTRE, directed by Sam Mendes, is well into production, as shown in two short features released by the studio.  The new main cast will return, Daniel Craig of course as Bond, Ralph Fiennes in his first full stint as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as Q.

In one new video we see the first look at villain Mr. Hinx–Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista filming on snow-covered mountains along with the newest Bond girl Madeleine Swann, played by French actress Léa Seydoux.

Spectre clip

In the biggest year of franchise blockbusters probably ever, with a new Avengers, a new Mad Max, a new Jurassic Park, a new Ted, a new Fantastic Four, a new National Lampoon’s Vacation, a new Guillermo del Toro movie, a new Star Wars, a new Mission Impossible, and a new Quentin Tarentino movie all on their way, a new Bond will help keep our theater calendars full all year long.

After the break, see two new behind the scenes looks at the making of the latest Bond:

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Android friends ad Oo-De-Lally

Every once in a while at borg.com we have to make a shout out to those advertisements that rise above all others (like here and here and here).  First off, you win all the points if you include even a single frame in your commercial with a black and tan or blue-tick coonhound and an orangutan.  Second, if you have a great message, even if it doesn’t seem to tie so obviously to your product, that’s a plus.

But if you also include a classic tune–one that sticks in your skull for several days–well then you have a keeper.  And if you can’t place the song, it’s “Oo-De-Lally” from Disney’s animated Robin Hood, sung by Roger Miller.  You can pick it up easily along with a bunch of other classics like “I Wanna Be Like You” from Jungle Book on CD or digital download such as on this Classic Disney album on Amazon.com.

And we’re not even going to mention that the commercial is just too cute (oops).

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D4VE_01-pr-1    D4VE variant cover 1

It’s not every day a cool new mash-up comes your way.  When you think comedy meets sci-fi, Spaceballs, Galaxy Quest, Men in Black or Guardians of the Galaxy may come to mind.  Today IDW Publishing is releasing the first book in a new limited edition comic book series that has a new spin on sci-fi comedy, called D4VE.

D4VE (not D-A-V-E) is a robot in our future.  Hey–all good robots must have a number in their name.  (Ain’t that right, B-9, B-4, R2-D2, C-3PO, IG-88, and 4-LOM?)  D4VE is also everyman.  Or at least everyrobot.  And he’s going through a mid-life crisis.

D4VE excerpt

Imagine a world with a Planet of the Apes ending for mankind, but with humanoid robots left to run the show–as if that friendly android Chappie, from the coming film of the same name, is fruitful and multiplies and his kind decimate the Earth.  Only in a light-hearted way.

Check out a preview of Issue #1, after the break, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

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Orphan-Black1   orphan-black-issue-1-cover-2

Fans of the BBC America’s Orphan Black just can’t get enough of one of the best science fiction series around.  Tatiana Maslany, the series star who plays every variant of the show’s clones, has the toughest job on television, playing in nearly every scene of its first two seasons.  The “Clone Club”–the name of the show’s fans–has cheered the series into its third season, returning to TV this April.  Tomorrow, the Clone Club gets to pursue the further adventures of Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena and all the rest as Orphan Black, a new monthly comic book series, begins.

We’re read a review copy of Issue #1 and writers and show creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett with Jody Houser have matched the voice of Sarah perfectly with Maslany’s character on TV.  In fact Issue #1 is a recap of sorts, an introduction to the characters and world of Orphan Black for those new to the series that made borg.com‘s Best of lists for 2013 and 2014.

OrphanBlack_01-pr_Page_1   orphan-black-issue-1-cover

Szymon Kudranski serves as series artist.  His style is very simple, yet his take on the characters easily evokes the images of the actors behind the roles.  As for variant covers, look for at least a dozen variants coming your way.

After the break, check out a preview of Issue #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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Feast Oscar winner Disney Osborne

Strange how you can be completely in sync each year with the supporting acting categories and the “other” categories at the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and walk away from the Oscars scratching your head over the rest of the wins.  Highlights of the night were those TV-actors-turned-movie-actors-turned-Oscar-winners J.K. Simmons (Skoda!  Chief Pope!) and Patricia Arquette (Alison Dubois!) getting their wins, long-time working actors who have paid their dues and finally got recognized for it.  And I admit I love not being in sync with the Academy each year, and never as much so to their selection of Birdman as winner for this year’s Best Picture, a positively abysmal, unwatchable flick that rested on the acting of Michael Keaton, who the Academy snubbed.  Go figure.  But Hollywood likes to pat itself on the back for its own idiosyncracies so it’s no surprise they did it again (full disclosure: I hated A Chorus Line, too).  You can see how I really feel in my earlier review at borg.com here.

It was another ceremony of young presenters you’ve never heard of all showing their deer-in-the-headlights inexperience with public speaking, making you wonder just how many takes directors had to slog through this year to get anything out of them worth putting onscreen.  (More polished presenters next year like Zoe Saldana, Dwayne Johnson, and Eddie Murphy, please).  When was the last good year of Oscars anyway?  2013.  Contrast this year’s films with the films of 2012 and the corresponding winners at the 2013 Oscars ceremony (Argo, Brave, Skyfall, Django Unchained, Les Miserables all took home at least one statue) and this year seemed pretty shabby by comparison.

Feast poster 2015 Disney

But all is not lost.  Take a look at the winner for Best Animated Short Film, Feast.  It’s from Disney, which can be good or bad, but this time their short film harkened back to some of the best of the classic cartoons produced by the studio.  It’s a love triangle about a little dog, his love of food, and his owner.  It’s full of solid artistry, great animation, humor, action, and best of all–heart.  And you can (and should) watch it now via Amazon Prime or the link below, after the break, via YouTube (a deal at only $1.99).

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PKD cover art

Have you ever tried to track down a specific edition of your favorite book, or wanted to remember a great cover from a book you no longer have?  If you’re a fan of the works of Philip K. Dick, you now again may be able to find any classic cover image from his short story compilations and novels.  That’s when a great online archive of hundreds of covers of Philip K. Dick artwork vanished from the Internet, presumably through the cancellation of the web domain kept by the archivist.

Several Philip K. Dick fans on message boards have searched for the old links and website, and why it is gone, to no avail.  We thought it was a shame that this scholarly information was not readily accessible.  Thanks to the Internet’s Wayback Machine (that’s Wayback, not WABAC, Mr. Peabody fans) and a heads-up from borg.com writer Jason McClain, we were able to not only capture the links to each photo preserved in the Wayback Machine, but also clean up lost references that were not visible to viewers on the old website or via the Wayback Machine.

So after the break, here it is, for your research or art-admiring pleasure, an archive of links to hundreds of U.S. and international images of the covers of the books of Philip K. Dick, searchable by title and country.  If you notice any broken links, please let us know in the comments and we’ll try to update them here (but obviously not on the source site).  And if you find any of the handful of missing images noted below, let us know as well.  The original archive has not been updated in two to five years (at least), so more recent covers are not included below.  And one more note: If the Wayback Machine is under maintenance these links will not work.

Happy viewing!

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Mulligan and friend in Far from the Madding Crowd

If you haven’t yet seen Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow in the David Tennant era Doctor Who episode “Blink,” then you haven’t seen one of the top episodes of television from any genre.  We placed it in our Best of the Best category here at borg.com back in 2012.  Mulligan went on to star in another critically acclaimed genre film, Never Let Me Go, where she played one of several clones created solely to serve as a supply of replacement organs should the original person ever need them.  It’s a must see if you’re a fan of Gattaca or The Handmaid’s Tale.  She’s also starred in Inside Llewyn Davis with Star Wars Episode VII star Oscar Isaac, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in An Education.

Mulligan has taken on plenty of historical costume drama films, and adaptations of classic novels in particular, including Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  This year Mulligan adds Thomas Hardy to her repertoire with the big-screen adaptation of his 1874 novel Far from the Madding Crowd.

far-from-the-madding-crowd

Check out this first trailer for Far from the Madding Crowd, after the break:

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Mia Crimson Peak

Victorian gothic romance directed by Guillermo del Toro with ghosts?  Yes, please.

But unlike previous Gothic haunts like Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Watcher in the Woods, The Others, or Wolfman, genre favorite director del Toro is amping up the gore and violence in Crimson Peak, his latest and–reportedly–the greatest of his trademark visually spectacular fantasies so far.

And it adds another movie to that sub-genre of horror we keep talking about featuring creepy little girls.

Chastain Crimson Peak

Not for the faint of heart, check out this trailer for Crimson Peak, after the break:

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