Category: Sci-Fi Café


To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek Voyager, the bridge crew of USS Voyager (NCC-74656) will be making an online appearance this week.  Together virtually, an online panel will feature Captain Kathryn Janeway, Commander Chakotay, Lt. B’Elanna Torres, Lt. Tom Paris, Neelix, the EMH, and Ensign Kim, along with Seven of Nine, who recently joined Captain Picard in the Star Trek Picard series.  That’s right, the actors that portrayed these characters are reuniting for charity.  And it’s all happening via YouTube.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

This week a cat from outer space joins author Ellie Patterson (formerly known as Ellie Bethel) and artist Alexandra Columbo′s successful kids’ picture book series Michael Recycle IDW Publishing is moving back into more normal production of comics and books, including the publication of the Michael Recycle Meets Borat The Space Cat, the latest 24-page, colorful hardcover book to help kids learn the importance of protecting the environment.  You need only look out the window to see the lack of jet trails in the sky, cleaner looking and smelling air, and flowers flourishing like never before to see the significance of reducing pollution.  Borat the Space Cat has come to Earth–and brought a few friends–to help earthling Michael Recycle spread the message of saving the planet high and far before it’s too late.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

On the heels of the surprise completion of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series on Disney+, a new comic book series launches this week from IDW Publishing as part of its return to normal production of comic book titles delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars Battle Tales carries the kid-friendly Star Wars Adventures title into new–but not unfamiliar–territory for Star Wars readers and anyone who can’t get enough of the animated tales of Obi-Wan and Anakin, Captain Rex, Commander Cody, the Jedi, Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku, and more.  In five issues the mini-series will add new, official canon content set early in The Clone Wars animated series.  These are tales from the clone troopers themselves.

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It’s a graphic novel that can’t be easy to translate to either the big or small screens, yet the first episode of a new TNT television series gets off to a good start.  First a series of graphic novels we discussed five years ago here at borg, then a movie starring Chris Evans (reviewed here and discussed here), the futuristic, post-apocalypse universe of Snowpiercer is now here and the first episode wastes no time maneuvering its very allegorical existence into something intriguing.  Academy Award-winning actor Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Alita: Battle Angel, The Princess Bride) takes the baton from the movie cast’s Tilda Swinton in the leading female role, a different twist than you’ll expect if you’re familiar with the previous incarnations.  And though he’s not Chris Evans (who is?)–who starred in the film–male series lead Daveed Diggs (Ferdinand, Zootopia, Star Wars Resistance) jumps right into this insane, preposterous setting and gives it all to make you think it’s real.

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Like the split between fans of the third Star Wars trilogy and The Mandalorian, fans of Star Trek probably see themselves aligned to prefer either Star Trek: Discovery or Star Trek: Picard Or maybe there’s even a better contrast between Star Trek: Discovery’s first season worldbuilding vs. that series’ second season’s throwback concepts.  Was your favorite character the badass Mirror Universe Emperor Philippa Georgiou (formerly Federation Captain), played by the sly and fabulous Michelle Yeoh (the only actor onscreen who could actually immobilize someone in real life with her martial arts skill and the highest paid actress in Asia)?  Maybe it was the very Original Series-inspired engineer Jett Reno, who got the best dialogue and had the best style of any character in this decade of Trekdom, played by the brilliantly funny Tig Notaro?  Maybe it is the series lead, the very straight-laced Ant-Man and The Wasp-inspired sci-fi-meets-superheroine, Captain Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green?  Or maybe it is Anson Mount giving his own superhero performance as an early (and later?) famous Captain Christopher Pike of the familiar good ship Enterprise?  Turns out, if any one of the above fits the bill for you, Star Trek has something for you heading your way.

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The sestras are returning.  BBC America’s sci-fi drama Orphan Black ran five seasons, wrapping in 2017, but the key cast members and creators will be back Sunday, this time online for a table read of two episodes of the series.  Tatiana Maslany, who earned an Emmy for her role as several clones, is leading the effort, along with actors Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Dylan Bruce, Evelyne Brochu, and more.  Based on the episodes selected, expect some great scenes with fan-favorite couples Donnie and Alison and Delphine and Cosima.  And it’s all to raise money for charity.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

One of the year’s best military sci-fi novels awaits you in the next Gears of War tie-in novel, Gears of War: Bloodlines Author Jason M. Hough creates a gritty tale of an unthinkable mission by current lead game character and former Gear soldier Kait Diaz and a forgotten, impossible mission by her father, Lt. Colonel Gabriel Diaz.  The story begins in the future at war, after the destruction of Settlement 2.  Kait’s comrade J.D. Fenix is severely wounded.  While Kait awaits his outcome, she is approached by an old man who claims he fought with her father years ago.  The man slips her a secret file, which recounts a mission that determined the fate of her father, marked a turning point in his life, and may influence who she may become.

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A military sci-fi adventure begins this month in the pages of a new Oni Press comic book series created by Cullen Bunn.  Rogue Planet is the next intergalactic journey of a crew similar to the Colonial Marines of the Alien franchise.  Similarly bloody and also set among a world of strange fantasy world elements, readers will meet a hardened team as they awake from a long-term space sleep, and step right into a horror story.  It’s not just a catchy title–their destination is a rogue planet, a planet not connected to any star or planetary system.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Now that everyone has seen it who likely was going to watch CBS All Access’s next Star Trek incarnation, Star Trek: Picard, it’s time to delve into the series.  If you haven’t yet, take advantage of the free CBS All Access offer while you can.  Series star Patrick Stewart has said he decided to bring his character back to the screen because of the role he performed for even more years than Picard–Charles Xavier in the X-Men series–specifically because of the strong finish he was able to give the character in James Mangold’s Oscar-nominated finale Logan, possibly Stewart’s strongest performance in his film and TV career opposite Old Man Logan as Old Man Charles.  Stewart succeeded, as Star Trek: Picard, already expecting at least another season, showcases the beloved character as Old Man Picard and wraps far better fans’ last meeting with not only Picard, but Data, Riker, and Troi, too.  And surprisingly it does that for Star Trek Voyager, specifically for Jeri Ryan′s Seven of Nine, who also had a rather anticlimactic finale in the last episode of that series.  Her new take is very different from before, but still lots of fun.

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It’s a blend of Altered Carbon and Defending Your Life except it doesn’t look anything like that at all.  In Amazon Prime’s new series Upload, the afterlife is hell, or close to it, because it’s gone digital.  And if you want to have a good afterlife you better be rich, because otherwise you risk weeks a month without service.  Like Altered Carbon, your memory becomes uploaded after your body dies and like Defending Your Life you get some help, not via heaven’s legal counsel as revealed in that film, but by customer service agents standing by to help via virtual reality.  But it’s the chemistry of the story’s two lead characters that is touted as the reason viewers will come back after the first episode.

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