I first encountered Farscape
after a hectic day at a convention. My wife Brandy and I were flipping mindlessly through the TV. Nothing. <click
> Boring. <click
> Stupid. <click
> WHOA! A show featuring a blue woman and a dude with tattooed tentacles on his face captured our interest. Over the next hour we learned the blue woman was the priestess Zhaan and the tentacled warrior D'Argo. We met the human John Crichton, the aggressive Peacekeeper Aeryn, Rigel (a regal puppet[!] with some questionable manners), and a very large alien (another puppet) who was symbiotically linked to the living ship Moya.
Quite by accident, we had stumbled upon one of the most exciting science fiction shows we'd ever seen. After four seasons, the Sci Fi Channel (not always known for using the best judgment) canceled the series.
In celebration of the show's 10th anniversary, the Farscape set compiles the four seasons in a handsome box set, complete with over 15 hours of bonus material including audio commentaries, documentaries, interviews, deleted scenes, and the original TV promos and trailers. The only thing this extraordinary set lacks is the climactic Peacekeeper Wars mini-series. Unlike the recently departed Battlestar Galactica, Farscape maintained its superior quality throughout and finished on a high note.
I refer to myself as a passive Trekkie (or Trekker . . . whatever). I know a lot about the Star Trek
universe. I can name major characters, discuss individual episodes. I've seen every Trek
movie in the theaters (including, to my dismay, Final Frontier
). But I won't re-arrange my life to see an episode, don't write fan fiction, haven't read the novels and you'll never catch me dressed up as a Klingon.
The new collection of all six TOS films with over 2 ½ hours of special features speaks to all that I love (and yes, hate) about Trek. Sure, there is the unwatchable fifth film, the Shatner-led abortion Final Frontier, but any set with Wrath of Khan (my third DVD edition of the classic) and the underrated The Undiscovered Country deserves consideration.
Throw in the seventh disc, The Captains' Summit, a 70 minute roundtable event with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, and Jonathan Frakes, moderated by Whoopi Goldberg, and the Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection propels the set into a must have for any Star Trek fan.
Fresh from his climactic return to novel-length fiction (last year's Black & White
), Shiner's Collected Stories
offers 41 of the finest short stories from his three decade career. Tackling a wide variety of subjects (serial killers, tennis, Kennedy assassination, Tesla, music, to name just a few), and genres (sf/f, mystery, horror, and dare I say it, even literary), the often-unheralded Shiner produced some of the best written and most interesting tales of his generation.
Edited by Peter Straub, the two book set, part of the handsome Library of America, offers an extraordinary survey through the best of American fantastic fiction from Poe to the current day. At over 1500 pages and featuring works by Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Robert W. Chambers, Kate Chopin, Lafcadio Hearn, F. Marion Crawford, Ambrose Bierce, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, John Collier, Tennessee Williams, John Cheever, Jack Finney, Shirley Jackson, Paul Bowles, Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Vladimir Nabokov, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Crowley, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, Michael Chabon, Steven Millhauser, Brian Evenson, and Kelly Link, this may be the best collection of American fantastic fiction ever.
Earlier this I year, I lamented the fact
that no one (re: Dark Horse) had collected the brilliant six issue mini-series, The Sword of Solomon Kane
. I stand corrected. The Robert E. Howard Chronicles Slipcase
features three volumes of classic REH comics. The middle book contains the extant Marvel-produced color Solomon Kane strips including the entire run of The Sword of Solomon Kane
. The first book reprints the beautiful first eight Barry Windsor-Smith rendered issues of Conan the Barbarian
. Featuring the art of Berni Wrightson, the finale offers Kull tales from Monsters on the Prowl
#16, Creatures on the Loose
! #10, and the first nine issues of Kull the Conqueror
The incredible three hardcover boxed set celebrates one of art's funniest and most disturbing cartoonists. Including not only all the legendary artist's cartoons, prose fiction and text-and-art features from Playboy but also all his strips from The New Yorker, Punch, The National Lampoon, and many other magazines, Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons
is the most comprehensive Wilson book ever produced.
I promise every geek would be thrilled to find this under the tree. I just hope Santa doesn't throw out his back out delivering this massive collection.
Earlier this year, Bossa Nova Robotics
unveiled the initial groundbreaking releases from their line of "personal entertainment" robotics. The first, Prime-8, provided further support of author Chris Roberson's insightful axiom that “everything is improved by the judicious application of primates.”
The 12” tall, yellow ape uses specially-designed robotic arms and legs to “knuckle-run” at high speeds.
The gorilla's personality transforms from serene, friendly, and blue-eyed to a crazy, beating the floor, roaring simian. When he gets really pissed off, the ape rips a loud, obnoxious fart. In Guard mode he shoots rubber tipped missiles at intruders (perfect against little sisters).
The robot receives commands through a video-game style remote. Two users can even engage their individual 'bots in combat! Intended for ages 8-12, the Prime-8 can and should be enjoyed by ape-lovers of all ages.
It's a farting, robotic gorilla. 'Nuff said.