*Short Stories is a ongoing collection of original weird and wonderful works from Nerd Bastards creative writing team. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy dreaming them into being.
All it takes is one drop of blood.
Cari yawned as she perused through her least favorite material, oceanic Selachimorpha. It was easy to roll her eyes as the video notes explained more on the subject. She never quite understood her mother’s fascination with fish-eyed, sharp-toothed predators. Half her notes were on the creatures, despite the fact that all known Earth permutations had died out decades ago. Large predators had a hard time around aggressive, invasive species with two long legs.
After that sixth extinction, Earth was no place to be a zoologist. That’s why Dr. Zahn, her mother, took to the stars. Cari had grown up marveling at new species, falling in love with the small avian herbivores that lived in forests, flying gracefully with wide eyes like hers.
Yet her mother always held some strange reverence of these violent predators. Killers. Monsters. Cari learned the facts, observed and recorded dutifully, but they both knew she’d never feel anything but ambivalence.
Before the recent advances in Hollywood due to the #metoo and #timesup movements, there were science fiction films that showed strong women. Characters like Ripley in Alien and Sarah Conner from the Terminator franchise showed women that were smart and capable without turning into damsels in distress at the sign of the first man who could help them. While women in sci-fi films of the past were often just eye candy, some films are so misogynistic that it is either painful or hilarious to watch them (often both).
In the 1950s, as the feminist movement gained traction, some films seemed intent in showing strong women that were only waiting for a man to come along and melt their cold hearts. Others showed that when women had power they became either crazy, violent, or both.
These movies all felt feminist to viewers when they were released but to the modern eye they really support the patriarchy of the times. Here are the most egregious examples.
French science-fiction hasn’t had too much luck with international cinematic releases: from the gloriously jumbled mess that was the Fifth Element, all the way to the recent toss-up that was Immortelle, French science fiction comic books hasn’t managed to stick with audiences. It could be the large concentration of nudity, the weird approach they take toward implementing religion in their stories or just their shaky morality play, but this latest adaptation might actually stand a chance…
“Why don’t more people know about [INSERT GRAPHIC NOVEL TITLE HERE]? [INSERT GRAPHIC NOVEL TITLE HERE] is the best thing ever!
~Every cheated comic book nerd ever.
With almost a century’s worth of tradition, comic books have absolute metric craptons of excellent, well thought-out content, even after you have subtracted the 90% of crap that infests every medium, as predicted by Sturgeon’s Law. And while this 10% might sound pretty damn promising, a lot of it just has simply been lost to time and lack of reprints, mostly due to their lackluster sales.
Which makes sense, from a market perspective: how many newfangled nerds know about the work of Rick Veitch? Who among the steampunk nerds have even heard of the unbridled lunacy that’s in the work of Bryan Talbot? Heck, how many otaku do you know that know the work of Boichi or even Kago Shintarou? Even if you factor in those creators’ excellence, their work often slips through the cracks, by virtue of simple logistics. (more…)
Hidden treasures are always a given in the sci-fi genre. From the post-apocalyptic deconstructive metaphor of Hell Comes To Frogtown to Mark Hammil’s lost road-trip classic Slipstream and all the way up to 2009’s MOON, there are metric tons of films that are labors of love that never quite make it into becoming proper mainstream hits.
Air and Terminus are two such films, released in 2015, both deeply rooted in old-school science fiction tradition, each sporting a different flavor in its iteration of the genre. Where Air is loose hard science fiction with a bittersweet lean, Terminus is a Cold-war style story that, while lacking the higher-budget finish of the other movie, still manages to give a great, contemporary story.
Neither movie is perfect: far from it, both suffer from a number of flaws, which we will address. But they are damn good examples of science fiction and they deserve a better chance than what they got. So strap on in and start playing that special end-of the-universe playlist. Stuff’s about to get dreary…
Westworld is one of those science fiction TV shows that have become development hell teases, almost on par with Preacher and Arrested Development. Over the years, the series has gone through considerable rewrites, production issues and delays starting all the way back in 2013, when HBO first ordered a pilot episode and the production of a complete season in 2014, only for it to be halted halfway through 2015, just when it was about to hit the small screen. HBO went ahead to attempt to make amends for the delay, promising that the series would finally air in early 2016.
But now, with 2016 well underway, it looks like we might have to curb our expectations…
Bird Bird can do wrong. The Iron Giant is a masterpiece, The Incredibles is perhaps the best comic book movie ever made, Ratatouille is endlessly charming, and his first live-action movie, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, is the best of the series and the one that best captures the aesthetic of the original TV show. So when Bird shirked directorial responsibilities on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and dared to make something original, a giant mystery box called Tomorrowland, it was a bold choice, a daring choice. But a batting streak like Bird’s was bound to run dry sometime, and while Tomorrowland isn’t a mess on par with, say, Chappie, it does show tremendous strain in its execution. (more…)
I saw The Fifth Element during it’s opening week in the theater, and unlike the relatively small crowd who were also there in the cinema to watch, I got it! I read critical reaction and saw the box office returns. Words like “train wreck,” “flawed,” “overblown” and “misfire” were thrown around, but none of that sounded like the film I had watched and enjoyed from beginning to end. Was I crazy? It turns out I wasn’t so much because almost 20 years The Fifth Element – like The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Blade Runner – it’s got more fans than detractors now. Time, as John Lennon once said wounds all heels. Does the same fate await Jupiter Ascending? I don’t want to speak too soon, but I would argue that it’s not as bad as everyone is letting on. (more…)
Prometheus was an adequate enough introduction back into Ridley Scott‘s Alien universe. A lot of questions were left unanswered, but that is part of the beauty of the Science Fiction genre; a sense of mystery, room to theorize, to talk with others and debate and learn in a reciprocal manner. It’s not any secret that Ridley Scott is a Sci-Fi auteur; master of his craft. He creates movies that have individuals’ thinking for themselves and developing their own interpretations (Blade Runner and whether Deckard is a replicant or not anyone?). With Prometheus, it seems one of the main problems that irked some of the fans was the fact the movie wasn’t a direct prequel to the Alien series as was originally planned. Some were annoyed that Damon Lindelof had been called in to tinker with the script (which makes one wonder how Lindelof haters feel about Green Lantern‘ scriber Michael Green penning the sequel) . The fact it is set in the same universe should have been enough to suffice no? Apparently not! Apparently people wanted more of the same. Well, word on the street is that Ridley Scott has been dishing some dirt on his plans for the highly anticipated sequel. (more…)
There was a time when Doug Liman was an interesting filmmaker, but it seems so long ago that I can barely remember why I enjoyed his early movies. Swingers and Go belonged to the stable of ’90s indie “dramedies” that the decade became so synonymous for. Then came The Bourne Identity, which was slightly better than competent and helped launch the Matt Damon/Robert Ludlum franchise, only to be overshadowed by Paul Greengrass’ superior entires. After that, Liman seemed to run out of gas, churning out vanilla PG-13 action fare like Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Jumper, both of which I know I saw yet couldn’t describe a scene from either to you in order to save my life (there was an elevator in Mr. &. Mrs. Smith? Maybe some cake?). The rest of the aughts found Liman Executive Producing TV shows like Suits and I Just Want My Pants Back, the latter of which sounds like a serialized Nick Nolte biopic.
Now comes Railhead, an adaptation of a yet-to-be-released children’s novel for Warner Bros. which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is set in “a futuristic world where trains run through space via portals.” I guess that sounds like a Doug Liman joint. Then again, a live-action Care Bears adaptation sounds like a Doug Liman joint at this point.