Archive for August, 2020


The next concept artwork and special effects book in the Star Trek franchise arrives tomorrow, this time taking a fresh look at the success and failures in the visual effects created for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this past December.  It’s all in Star Trek: The Motion Picture–The Art and Visual Effects, by Jeff Bond and Gene Kozicki.  Diehard fans of the history of filmmaking will learn more about the most celebrated visual effects masters in the business as they did their best to rescue a floundering production back in 1979.  You have today left to pre-order the book at a discount here at Amazon–this will be a welcome addition to bookshelves for fans of the franchise’s first feature film.

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No author since George Lucas himself has captured the attention of Star Wars fans over the years as much as Timothy Zahn.  Zahn’s first run at the franchise, his Thrawn trilogy–Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Risingand The Last Command–excited a generation of Star Wars fans when the original trilogy was in the past and no future movies were planned.  Its greatest value was in its continuation of our favorite characters: Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, and the droids, but it also introduced two key players: Mara Jade aka the Emperor’s Hand who would one day become the object of Luke Skywalker’s affection, and a blue-skinned, white-garbed officer of the Imperial Navy called Grand Admiral Thrawn.  Thrawn became part of the post-Disney canon in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.  Zahn returned to the character in more novels, beginning with Star Wars: Thrawn (reviewed here) and later in Thrawn: Alliances (reviewed here) and Thrawn: Treason.  Zahn begins a new trilogy with this Tuesday’s release of Thrawn: Ascendancy–Chaos Rising, available for pre-order here at Amazon.

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The BBC and HBO revealed a new trailer for the second season of His Dark MaterialsDafne Keen is back as Lyra Belacqua, with Ruth Wilson as the vile Mrs. Coulter and Lin-Manuel Miranda as the friend to polar bears everywhere, Lee Scoresby.  The Great War is brewing as Lyra and Will (Amir Wilson) begin to explore their new worlds.  With season one roughly following the events of the novel The Golden Compass aka Northern Lights, the characters are now aligned to reveal the secrets of The Subtle Knife.  Mrs. Coulter has a new wardrobe and style, everything is getting a bit bleaker, and we at last get to see more of those steampunk dirigibles in action.

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Browncoat alert! 

It’s been 15 years since we last saw the Serenity crew on the big screen.  If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying every new Firefly tie-in novel since the first debuted in 2018.  Author James Lovegrove is a frequent mention on our borg annual best-of lists, and for the Firefly series he has penned Big Damn Hero (reviewed here), The Magnificent Nine (reviewed here), and The Ghost Machine, reviewed here earlier this year.  Fan-favorite author Tim Lebbon (whose work has been frequently reviewed here at borg, and we interviewed Lebbon about his Alien tie-in novel here five years ago) is stepping in for the fourth book in the series, Generations, available now here for pre-order.  And now we have a cover reveal below for the fifth Firefly novel.  James Lovegrove’s Firefly: Life Signs is now available for pre-order here at Amazon.

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From Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons is issuing a new set of rules options and subclasses for the “world’s greatest roleplaying game.”  Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything will be available on November 17, 2020, with a cover by Magali Villeneuve and an alt-cover by Wylie Beckert only available through local game stores. Pre-orders are available now here at Amazon (note: it’s not searchable by the title name yet, but can be found at this link).  Fans will get a chance to preview some of the new subclasses and more at D&D Celebration, an online gaming event open to fans all over the world, taking place September 18-20.

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Back in the 1990s when the dot-com revolution took off, it was difficult to find a telecom, Internet, or other tech start-up business that didn’t have a CEO at the helm who drove us all to accept Hawaiian shirt Fridays as the new norm.  I still have a closet full of Hawaiian shirts (historically, “Aloha” shirts, a fashion that dates back to the 1920s, popularized in the 1930s).  With this crazy 2020, why not resurrect the fad again?  We spotted three online outlets ready to answer the call.  One hails from the family of one of your all-time favorite comedians, another is a throwback to all things good and Hawaiian, and the third is where Magnum shops today.  This will have you pulling out your Israel Kamakawiwoʻole or Don Ho albums and re-start your next Magnum, p.i. or Hawaii Five-O binge.  Make no mistake, despite recent fringe elements trying to usurp this traditional Friday garb and 50th state trademark wear for their own political ends, Hawaiian shirts don’t go with guns or camouflage (see instead #HawaiianshirtsforPeace).

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In the first episode of Season 2 of BBC’s Sherlock, we met one of readers’ favorite characters from 130 years of fandom for Arthur Conan Doyle’s ultimate detective.  Initially published in The Strand in 1891 in A Scandal in Bohemia, Irene Adler first stepped into readers’ imaginations.  Of course Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss gave the story and characters their trademark modern twist with their episode A Scandal in Belgravia, and it’s that episode that gets the manga treatment in Titan Comics’ latest manga adaptation.  Fresh from confronting Moriarty in the end of The Great Game, Holmes and John Watson are called to save the royal family from blackmail at the hands of “The Woman,” and Sherlock is truly given a run for his money.  We have a special extended preview of the manga today from Titan Comics for borg readers.

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Where Marvel Comics has seen its pantheon of characters celebrated both in 20 years of X-Men movies and 11 years of interconnected movies featuring the other major characters from the comics, DC Entertainment has limped along on the big screen, choosing to either go darker than the traditional comics in its adaptations or overlooking the core of its characters altogether.  It’s had a better run on television.  What we all probably want is something getting closer to the heart of why we loved the characters as kids.  And if you want reminded of what that was, you’ll be happy to see that all nine seasons of the animated classic series Super Friends aka SuperFriends are streaming right now on DC Universe.

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Bueller?  Bueller?

If you think about it, who would have taken better advantage of staying home from school during a pandemic than Ferris Bueller?  (That’s some pretty good social distancing in the above museum image).  In advance of its 35th anniversary next year, the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of many groups that have reunited for fans in such an unprecedented way this summer in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  These great panel discussion events are a good start at sharing some positive vibes right when everyone needs it.  It’s like a year long comic-con.  This Ferris reunion definitely belongs on the top shelf of what not to miss.  This event was part of Josh Gad’s Reunited Apart videos.  The upbeat actor hosts Ferris himself, Matthew Broderick, along with co-stars Alan Ruck (Cameron) with great COVID hair, Mia Sara (Sloane), Jennifer Grey (Jeanie), Cindy Pickett (Mom), Lyman Ward (Dad), and some charming bits from Ben Stein (Ferris’s econ teacher).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In Architects of Memory, first-time sci-fi writer Karen Osborne creates an Alien-esque, Weyland-Yutani-inspired construct in outer space in Earth’s future, where corporations are competing for market share as salvagers acquire a laundry list of weapons of terrorism to pursue a pathway toward citizenship.  A race of unknown and unseen aliens (like those seen in Ender’s Game and Starship Troopers) are the threat, yet it may very well be the corporations themselves are humanity’s worst enemy.  Mad science has concocted the ultimate weapon.  Gruesome and invasive, humans become the experiment and the conduit to deliver destruction to the alien race, as a group of strong women struggle to understand their role in the corporations’ schemes.

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