Tag Archives: sci-fi

Book Review: Alien (Out Of the Shadows) by Tim Lebbon


Okay, so I’ve read this new Alien series from Titan Books completely arse-about-face. I started with the middle one in the trilogy, James A. Moore’s Sea of Sorrows, and then moved onto the third instalment, Christopher Golden’s River Of Pain. And here I am now reviewing the first in the series, Tim Lebbon’s Out of The Shadows. It doesn’t matter, of course, as while they’re all billed as being somewhat connected, they’re not – each is a self-contained story. In fact, the only thing they share in common is the fact that, at least when released, they were sold to the readers as canonical. And that’s very important because, having read all three now, for me the most striking thing about them is how authentic they feel. As I said in my review of Sea of Sorrows, that alone does set them apart from some of the earlier tie-in-novels (ALIEN HARVEST by Robert Sheckley, I’m looking at you) which, while perhaps entertaining in their own right, have felt nothing like the movies.

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EVENT: Southcart Books Signing/ Talk (with David Moody)

fight night

Back in 2011, fellow genre hack David Moody (HATER, AUTUMN, STRANGERS) and I did a few signings at various conventions and book stores. As more dates were added, it became a sort of tour thing, rolling on another year… and then another…  as we found ourselves travelling up and down the country. Someone referred to it as the ‘Never Trust a Man with Hair’ tour and the title kind of stuck, even generating its own t-shirt and poster.

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Farscape-01 Dymond Dark Side-Tor

Tie-in novels generally will only appeal to fans of the franchise they relate to and this book is no different. If a living spaceship called Moya means nothing to you, then best look elsewhere (or better still, go grab yourself a complete Farscape box set to watch then come right back!).

For the initiated, DARK SIDE OF THE SUN is a Season 2 based Farscape tie-in novel. We follow our favourite ragtag crew as they seek out a cure for an ailing Moya. Trader, Jansz, has that cure but is the price he offers our heroes too high?

DSotS is a mixed bag: beautifully written in some places but overwritten and bloated in others. It’s like two writers were involved and one of them I like, the other not so much. The characters are all quite well represented, even if some, like D’Argo and Zhann, are seriously underused. There’s a definite quirkiness to the story, a la the TV series and, in general, this book will do the job just fine if you’re craving a little more Moya in your life.

In short: DSotS is a good read, albeit at times overwritten. Some great ideas and, in its finer moments, perfectly captures the mood of the TV show.

Dredd vs Dredd

So, DREDD (2012) vs JUDGE DREDD (1995)…


There’s no contest, is there? 2012′s DREDD, starring Karl Urban, wins hands-down. Urban captures the morose, no-nonsense Lawman perfectly and who better than Wagner and Esquerra themselves to ensure Garland and Travis whip up a credible Dredd without all the cardinal sins of the 1995 Stallone outing (removal of helmet/ grinning/ romancing the ladies).

But for all its faults, Stallone’s JUDGE DREDD does have some redeeming features.

In terms of capturing that old-school cyberpunk vibe of Mega City One,  the 1995 movie is probably the most faithful to the comics. Urban’s Mega City One is less vivid, going more for a dystopian, noir vibe which very much suits the movie. But, geez, no kneepads?

The cast isn’t the worst, either. Max von Sydow actually makes a great Fargo and Stallone, while definitely a more pantomine Dredd than Urban, does on occasion capture the character quite well; that forlornness; the blending of Dredd’s brutality and humanity; the chin.  Ultimately, it all goes too far, but with a better script and less hammy direction, could Stallone have been a more successful Joe? Maybe.

But let’s not get too carried away: Since watching it, 2012′s DREDD has become one of my all-time favourite movies, period. Like many, I’m hopeful for a second outing for Urban, signing the official petition to try and make that happen.


In the meantime, we have UNDERBELLY, the official comic book sequel released just this week by 2000AD. We have a couple of interesting fan films; the excellent JUDGE MINTY and  2013′s promising CURSED EDGE.  And last, but not least, we have the Prog and Meg themselves; while the vast majority of brit comics have long since bitten the dust, 2000AD remains strong.

And that’s something, right?