Tag Archive: Planet of the Apes


Review by C.J. Bunce

Is it possible Ursula K. Le Guin’s first novels were her greatest works of fantasy and science fiction?  The author, one of both genre’s greatest contributors, revisited the “Hainish” world she created multiple times over the course of her 60 years as an American novelist  The scope of these stories is grand and her writing style immediate and urgent.  Is this a world of our own future, or of a future combined with other worlds?  She keeps the possibilities open, something like Planet of the Apes.  In three novels, Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions–published from 1966 to 1967 in lengths that likely would be considered novellas today–she exhibits a deep understanding of all the important components of culture, while digging mercilessly into what traits best define mankind across time.  The trilogy, re-issued with a new foreword as part of MacMillan Publishing’s Tor Essentials library under the title Worlds of Exile and Illusion, is now available here at Amazon.  What does it take to be able to present brilliant fantasy and science fiction in a single vision?

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Did you know Jurassic World was a trilogy?  The last film in the trilogy–and sixth in the Jurassic Park franchise–makes its way to theaters this summer.  Jurassic World: Dominion, which sees a new trailer this week (watch it below) follows 2015’s Jurassic World and 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  It looks to be a franchise bookend of sorts, with Jeff Goldblum returning as Ian Malcolm–the character that would define Goldblum’s trademark style thereafter–and digging even deeper to bring back Sam Neill as Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Ellie Sadler.  BD Wong is back, too, as Dr. Henry Wu.  So far only the first movie, Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1993 CGI and special effects spectacle, Jurassic Park, has matched the excitement and thrills of Michael Crichton’s original novel.  But what could executive producer Spielberg and director Colin Trevorrow do to light a fire under this franchise?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The fourth and latest novel in the expanded Firefly universe is the closest story fans will have encountered since the short-lived series’ first season.  Tim Lebbon’s Firefly: Generations leans into its science fiction roots as Mal Reynolds and his crew find themselves balancing the life of a crew member and her desire to fulfill a destiny promised from the first episode.  Two keys put them on their next adventure across the ‘verse: one key they’ve had all along, and the other is a bit of a treasure map that goes to the very heart of understanding the old Earth-That-Was.  Only they may find it’s not treasure waiting, but a ship.  And not just any ship, but a seemingly haunted ghost ship.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Stirring up international relations on the heels of a pandemic is the theme of the latest Pike Logan novel, End of Days, following up on 2020’s Hunter Killer and 2021’s American Traitor (discussed here at borg). Writer Brad Taylor is back with the sixteenth novel in his series, which follows special ops agents Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill, a duo that keeps getting drawn into foreign lands for missions involving international espionage.  Fans of the series will learn in this entry whether a wedding is in the cards for the lead pair, as they try to thwart a group of militants aiming to bring on a religious war through a string of terrorist acts.  As with prior novels in the series, get ready for that 1980s world-at-war vibe, with Pike Logan as a character you’d have once seen played by Steven Seagal.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Get ready for your next immersion into adventure and fun, and it’s in 3D.  I love classic storytelling methods that surprise the reader, from the Victorian to modern technology, whether it’s stereoscopic images, View-Master reels, lenticular images, pop-up books, or state-of-the-art digital animation.  One of my very first books as a young boy was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, with 3D diorama artwork and a lenticular cover.   I’ve reviewed several 3D movies here at borg, too, from The Creature from the Black Lagoon to Jaws 3D, and Predator and Rogue One French artist Matthias Picard’s roving young adventurer Jim Curious returns after his debut in 2014’s Jim Curious–A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea in his next book, Jim Curious and the Jungle Journey It’s a complete 3D adventure using anaglyph 3D, that classic blue-red 3D style and includes two pairs of 3D glasses–just like the kind from 3D movies in the 1920s to the 1980s.  The eye-popping images will take your breath away.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Rod Serling, eat your heart out.  Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone writers could take some pointers from Eddie Robson′s new novel, Hearts of Oak It’s a far-out science fiction novel with all the right notes of a good supernatural fantasy.  And it has an easy pace and an impending, looming darkness waiting ahead that will keep you planted firmly in your seat until you get to the last page.  Borrowing its title from the popular, age-old song of the British Navy, here the cryptic “hearts of oak” says a lot about the rollercoaster ride for readers that lies ahead.

Taking a cue from the stark, detached, and quirky science fiction mysteries of Adam Christopher’s robot detective in books like Killing is My Business (reviewed previously here at borg), readers, and the protagonists, never quite know what is real and who is real.  What we do know is Iona Taylor has been an architect so long everyone knows her and respects her as the very best there is.  But she is having a particularly bad week as her colleague has died in the collapse of a building.  As she contemplates attending his funeral a new student inquires about private tutoring, and when the student leaves her hat behind the feeling of felt texture in the hat conjures something surreal for Iona–a strange feeling tugging at her, maybe even loosening some long forgotten memories.  After a strange event at the funeral and the destruction of yet another building, Iona is called by the authorities not for her advice, but for questioning, becoming a target of the investigation.  When the prospective student vanishes, Iona must play detective to clear herself, but she might not like what she finds.

Eddie Robson, a writer of Doctor Who and other radio plays and non-fiction works about movies, is a good storyteller.  His narrative reads like a fantasy fable of a king with a talking cat who advises him, in an enchanted city of expansive buildings and replenished resources centered around creating ever higher architecture so the king may relocate his rooms at the very top.  The book evokes parts of great science fiction stories and films of the past without pulling too much from any of them.  But fans of all these works will find some surprisingly good fun in Hearts of Oak: Planet of the Apes, Tron: Legacy, Humans, Alien, Snowpiercer, The Truman Show, Philip K. Dick’s Time Out of Joint, a flip on Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and The Matrix, and a few episodes of your favorite sci-fi TV shows, especially The Twilight Zone.

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Steve Rogers.  John Spartan and Simon Phoenix.  Han Solo.  Austin Powers and Doctor Evil.  George Taylor.  Mr. Scott and Khaaaaaan!  

Now meet Chen Andalou and Dark Horse Comics’ new mini-series, Astro Hustle.

Not just another Space Station 76, it’s a four-part tale of space pirates out beyond Cosmic Coffee and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  It has the space action of Killjoys and the fun of 1980’s Flash Gordon. The lost ship Sinnematica has been adrift in space, and with it one Chen Andalou, preserved for the past 60 years in cryo-freeze.  Another sci-fi fish out of water, Chen is unstuck in time, surrounded by a future costumed like Barbarella meets the 1979-81 Buck Rogers, and filled with the more off-the-wall elements of Spaceballs and the animated version of Space Ghost, all thrown in for good measure.  And then what?  Chen runs right into the cop–Captain Igor, a mix of Javert and Prince Barin who is all ready to arrest him.

Plenty of aliens are around to judge him, too–robots like the crazed guard in Logan’s Run and a mix of everyone else you might find aboard the Fhloston Paradise.  Lucky for Chen he meets up with Carbon John the space pirate and his trusty Number One, Svetlana.  But he soon learns while he was asleep his brother became President of the Galaxy.  Wait–are they going to end up like the princes of England or the Kim Jong brothers?

 

What’s missing?  The Cannon Films adaptation and a soundtrack by MECO (that’s the band with Tony Bongiovi, cousin of the Bon Jovi brothers, and Mr. Fabulous Alan Rubin of The Blues Brothers), and it should ship with one of those MPC model kits of a van with the space logo on its side.  Astro Hustle has the crazy/cool of both Vandroid (the comic) and ManBorg (the B-movie), thanks to a creator-owned story by Jai Nitz (El Diablo, Toshiro, Kato Origins, Tron: Betrayal), artwork by Tom Reilly, color by Ursula Decay, and letters by Chris “Crank!” Crank (Rick and Morty, Ciudad, Toshiro).

Take a look at this preview:

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Since the announcement of the retro-style Kenner action figures in 2013 from Funko and Super7 (now exclusively produced by Super7), we’ve been excited to see the next license to find its way into the 3.75-inch, five points of articulation format (we’ve discussed hundreds of the licensed figures in the ReAction line here at borg over the years).  At each New York Toy Fair, Super7 has amassed everything from Alien to CW’s Arrow, and this coming weekend’s New York Toy Fair 2019 will be no different.  The biggest moneymaker for Super7 will no doubt be a series of twelve Major League Baseball action figures, including the great #42 Jackie Robinson, plus three mascot figures, all expected to be released this year during the All-Star Game to commemorate the centennial of Robinson’s birth.

But there’s more in store for movie fans.  As previewed here last year and first seen at New York Toy Fair 2017 via prototype sculpts, final versions of Wave Two of the Planet of the Apes action figure line will be on display (and see below to pre-order now each from Entertainment Earth, which just opened pre-orders for the series).  You’ll need to decide for yourself which is the coolest of the bunch: Cornelius in the ancient American spacesuit as seen in the opening to Escape from the Planet of the Apes, or the 5.5-inch Lawgiver statue from Beneath the Planet of the ApesOther figures include General Aldo from Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the creepy Mendez XXVI from Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and two Gorilla Soldiers, a Patrolman and Hunter to build your armies from Planet of the Apes.  The carded figures feature original card art by Ed Repka, the Lawgiver comes in retro-style packaging and all of the figures come with accessories.

Attendees of New York Toy Fair at the Super7 booth will also find early looks at a new line of figures from Rocky IV.    The series includes Rocky and Ivan Drago (both in ring attire), Rocky and Ivan Drago (in final round outfits), Rocky (winter training), and the figure you didn’t know you wanted: Sico the Robot.

Here are images of other figures in the new wave of Planet of the Apes:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The writer behind the graphic novel Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes has returned with a new novel of connecting stories, sporting another great Planet of the Apes title, Death of the Planet of the Apes (believe it or not, this title had not yet been used in the franchise).  Andrew E. C. “Drew” Gaska dug into the original movie series and provides all the connective material that fans of the film series didn’t see on the big screen.  What happened to Charlton Heston’s astronaut George Taylor when he left for the Forbidden Zone in Beneath the Planet of the Apes?  What is his backstory before he lands with his crew and first confronts a strange, simian-ruled planet?  But Death of the Planet of the Apes does more than follow Taylor around.

The best new features in the POTA-verse include Gaska showing us how our favorite chimps Zira, Cornelius, and Dr. Milo make the ANSA spacecraft work again, connecting the dots between their run-in with astronaut Brent in Beneath of the Planet of the Apes and their arrival at Earth of the past at the beginning of the most fun film of the series, Escape from the Planet of the Apes.  Gaska provides some great prequel material, intertwining the ANSA space agency with the real-world NASA (something he began in his Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes).  Taylor becomes a Chuck Yeager-esque flight pioneer in one of the subplots, a man with determination, insight, and the stoic outlook of a Scott Kelly.  We follow more of Ursus, Zaius, and Nova, and meet a new gorilla and a new part human/part ape hybrid living far beyond the realm of the apes that appeared on film (a callback to an unused production concept from the films of the 1970s).

Official ANSA crew photograph.

With so many stories focused on Cornelius and Zira’s son Caesar, in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and the latest reboot trilogy of films, it’s refreshing that Death of the Planet of the Apes returns to these core characters.  Gaska moves back and forth in time in his storytelling, weaving all the segments from the different eras into a grand-scale adventure.  More so than the original, readers will revisit concepts of science fiction’s past: the Philip K. Dick-inspired telekinesis concept from Beneath the Planet of the Apes is fleshed out, the Forbidden Zone travels and robots conjure images of Logan’s Run, and Planet of the Apes as a retelling of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine becomes even more clear.
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