The City on the Edge of Forever is often described as the best episode of the original series of Star Trek,The review will be crossposted at my site.
The City on the Edge of Forever is often described as the best episode of the original series of Star Trek, and it’s hard to argue against that. The script, written by Sci-Fi legend Harlan Ellison, won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1968, and also the Writer’s Guild of America award of the same name. That those awards were actually for different scripts is where the comic book adaptation comes in (here is some background). As you can see, Ellison – never one to stay calm in the face of even imagined slights – famously criticized the edits done by Trek’s writers to his story, a “fatally inept treatment”. I remember discovering this after seeing Ellison doing his best ‘Andy Rooney of Sci-Fi’ in remarks on the old Sci-Fi Buzz show on the Sci-Fi channel, and being curious about what his story was like.
BlockQuoteCityEdgeForeverI no longer have to wonder, as IDW has published a faithful adaptation of one of Ellison’s drafts of the script. (spoilers possible from here) Many of the story beats are the same – Kirk and Spock must travel back to fix the timeline after a crewman screws it up – but the devil is in the details. Here, a drug-dealing crewmember is the one who mucks things up, something that probably wouldn’t have flown with Roddenberry’s vision of the future. His treatment also dealt more with the racism of the time, which was present but toned down in the TV episode. Gone, also, on TV was the fact that the Enterprise changed after the crewman escaped to the past. Ellison’s script actually has a rather badass picture of Yeoman Rand standing with the redshirts on this other ship in the changed timeline, phaser-blasting and elbow-dropping dudes to buy Spock and Kirk time to beam back down to the Guardian of Forever.
But the most intriguing change is to the end, with what happens to Edith Keeler. In this story, the crewman (this vile drug-dealing killer) attempts to save Edith from the truck while Kirk stands dumbfounded. Spock knocks the crewman away, and Edith dies as she is meant to. It provides a bit for Spock and Kirk to ponder at the end, debating how good and evil can come from the same place.
I enjoyed the book quite a bit. Scott and David Tipton ably adapted the story, and the JK Woodward art comes across as a series of paintings, expertly capturing the actors in their youth. I could’ve used some smoother transitions from scene to scene or panel, but it does the job well. Of course, this version would’ve been impossible to film at the time it was written. Too long to film, too much stuff to make. But hey, now you can see the story as Ellison meant it.
Thanks again to NetGalley for the early review copy. Pre-order your own trade at Amazon. Or check on the individual issues at your local comic shop....more
Remember how strange it was in Ocean’s Twelve when it was revealed that Danny and the boys had won because they had outsmPosted originally at my site.
Remember how strange it was in Ocean’s Twelve when it was revealed that Danny and the boys had won because they had outsmarted the bad guys off-screen? Yeah, pretty much what you have here. We begin Tarkin, by James Luceno, with an attack on a station Moff Tarkin is familiar with, so Palpatine (now the Emperor as the book is set not long after Episode 3) sends Tarkin and Vader to go check out what happened. BUT! It turns out it was a ploy to get Tarkin out there, as Rebels steal his badass stealth ship to go rampaging. It’s up to Tarkin and Vader to get it back.
Unfortunately, ‘getting it back’ mostly involves Tarkin being outsmarted at every turn, and Vader mostly being there as a threatening presence. How many of you buy a book about the bad guys on the threat that Vader might force-choke a dude? Tarkin spends most of the book getting outsmarted and relaying to Vader barely-related stories from his childhood, until the end when it’s revealed that no, I meant to lose all along. He and Palpatine had a plan to ferret out some traitors in their midst and deal a blow to the barely-formed Rebel Alliance. But we are really only told about this as an after-the-fact taunt.
Tarkin is really hard to justify. Grand Moff Tarkin was a great villain in part because of the mystery. We have the amazing Peter Cushing on screen for a few minutes, he orders a Princess tortured, snarks at Lord Vader, and blows up a whole damn planet because it makes a good example. If you are removing the air of mystery surrounding a character like that, you would do well to make them a heck of a lot more interesting than this. As always, thanks to NetGalley for the chance to check this out....more
Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King is my first book of his, and it’s great, if not ground-breaking. It follows young Prince Yarvi, who has a withered arm,Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King is my first book of his, and it’s great, if not ground-breaking. It follows young Prince Yarvi, who has a withered arm, content to step away from the throne and dive into a life of books and study. Not strong enough to fight, he hones his mind, but everything changes when his father and brother are killed and the throne is thrust back upon him. It goes from bad to worse when he is betrayed and left for dead. What follows is a quest for vengeance, and to retake the throne he didn’t even want.
Joining Yarvi are a cast of odd crooks and malcontents, forming an uneasy alliance while fleeing captivity. Undoubtedly a YA novel, it’s not nearly as dark some of Abercrombie’s other work from what I’ve seen, but the book serves as a great palate cleanser between heavier reads. There’s action and humor and twists you may or may not see coming....more
I think the Hellboy comics are going to be something I read in trades. I love reading the story arcs all at once, and going back over and over to checI think the Hellboy comics are going to be something I read in trades. I love reading the story arcs all at once, and going back over and over to check out the art. As an aside, if you haven't checked out Mignola's concept art for Disney's Atlantis yet, go see it. Really cool stuff.
I find myself in a tough place, reviewing these. If I try to explain the story, it would take the fun out of it just a bit. Creepy puppet show versions of Ebeneezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley, Hellboy's half-brothers, the princes of Hell fleeing before him, the army that would be commanded by HB's red right hand...suffice it to say there's tons of cool stuff to see. And if it doesn't tell a super-cohesive story, well, I can forgive him that as the art is amazing. Mignola, with colorist Dave Stewart, can evoke so much from a single panel. Love it.
It might seem like an odd combination, Hellboy getting the cutesy 'Itty Bitty' treatment, but if you enjoy HB and want to get your younger ones in earIt might seem like an odd combination, Hellboy getting the cutesy 'Itty Bitty' treatment, but if you enjoy HB and want to get your younger ones in early, this is a good way. The bright, simple shapes are indeed cute, reminding me a bit of the Powerpuff Girls. Art Baltazar and Franco do a solid job with the art and stories, most of which are a few pages long and have simple kid-friendly jokes (Johann sneezes himself out of his suit, jokes about Roger's underwear, and so on)....more
I keep an eye out on NetGalley for books that may some day interest my kids, and I became curious about Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen FoxleeI keep an eye out on NetGalley for books that may some day interest my kids, and I became curious about Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee when I saw it was one of the most requested books on the site. What I found was a fast-paced reimagining of the Snow Queen story that the intended audience will love, but doesn't quite reach the level of all-ages classic.
Ophelia is the sort of quirky girl that is the star of books like these - she has asthma, she pulls on her braids when nervous, and she has no time for fantasy. She's all about science. That is contrasted with the story of the Boy, whose name was taken for safekeeping when he was picked as the child of prophecy to take down the evil Snow Queen. Giant owls, magic swords, eternal winters - you know the drill. He has to find the 'One Other' to help him, and if you are like me you already know where this is going. But for the 9 to 12 year old set, it should work.
As I was reading this, I kept thinking that it felt a lot like one of Gaiman's adult tales edited down to be palatable to 10 year olds. I don't mean that as a negative. I can see easing your kids into Neil's more brain-melting works by starting here. I'd probably consider this 3 stars for adults, but 4 for kids....more
What, is this some sort of repeat? Nope! I got a copy of a totally different adaptation of the 47 Ronin story via NetGalley, this time drawn by Stan SWhat, is this some sort of repeat? Nope! I got a copy of a totally different adaptation of the 47 Ronin story via NetGalley, this time drawn by Stan Sakai (of Usagi Yojimbo fame). I won't rehash the gist of the story but I will say I enjoyed this version quite a bit more. It's written by Mike Richardson, with editorial assistance by Kazuo Koike of Lone Wolf and Cub, and the prose here seems clearer, with fewer abrupt shifts into stereotypical 'shouty Samurai' the previous version I read had. The team included a few more character moments and a bit more insight into the pain and suffering the 47 endured while waiting for their vengeance, and it makes all the difference. Definitely well worth the time and effort (the link above is to the forthcoming collection, due out on March 4th)....more
Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson, is a spin through a dystopian world where an event (the Calamity) has given a smalThis review appears at my website.
Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson, is a spin through a dystopian world where an event (the Calamity) has given a small number of humans super powers. The problem is, they are ALL evil. Even though not all 'Epics' are equal in power, there are enough that they pretty much carved the world up into chunks they rule with impunity. It's in this world that we see our protagonist, David. He witnessed Steelheart, now ruler of a large swath of the former United States centered around what once was Chicago, kill his father. David's dad was one of the Faithful, who believed that with villains around, heroes would come. His father died for that belief...but not before he wounded Steelheart. David is the only one who knows what happened that day, having escaped the purge by Steelheart that followed, and he's trained himself for years to hunt the villain down and kill him.
To make that happen, David finds and worms his way into a group called the Reckoners. Normal humans who hunt down and kill Epics by studying their weaknesses. Every Epic has one, of course, and it's their most guarded secret. Our hero believes he's the only one who can figure out Steelheart's weakness, since he was there on the one day he was hurt.
This book was quite a bit of fun, even if you're not into comic books. Steelheart is an obvious 'evil Superman' stand-in, though comic fans might feel Black Adam is a closer fit. The world is interesting, I'm very curious about the Calamity and what caused it, why all heroes go bad, and the fate of one of the characters left at the end. The supporting characters (the typical band of misfit rebels of the Reckoners) don't get far beyond basic characterization, but for a YA novel, that's not the end of the world. The action is fun, and as a whole I was engaged enough that the plot twists worked on me. 4 of 5 stars. Definitely want to know what happens next. Steelheart is $4.99 as of now on the Kindle and Nook....more