Adecade ago, Dark Horse gave us the previously secret backstory of Book in one volume, “The Shepherd’s Tale.” Now we get a similarly classy (and expensive) hardcover volume for Hoban Washburne – Boom! Comics’ “Firefly: Watch How I Soar” (November) — and it’s good, but it can’t be quite as good because Wash is pretty much the opposite of Shepherd Book. Serenity’s pilot is an open book, so to speak. Continue reading “‘Firefly: Watch How I Soar’ is a flighty but fitting tribute to Wash (Comic book review)”
Tim Lebbon’s “Firefly: Generations” – the series’ fourth novel — finally came out in November long after its initial announcement, and while it’s not exactly worth the wait, at least it’s a new “Firefly” book. Lebbon, whose passion for the material also outstripped the quality on “Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi,” delivers a story where the questions are more compelling than the eventual answers.
Like most fans, I thought “Volume 22: Memories of the Futures” (2013) was the final “Valerian and Laureline” book, but artist Jean-Claude Mezieres and writer Pierre Christin came back with one last (for now?) book, “Volume 23: The Future is Waiting,” in 2019. As with the previous entry, this reads like a gift to fans; its five short stories revisit famous characters and tropes (and some weaknesses) of the saga. The collection is up to the duo’s usual storytelling and artistic standards but is not an entry point; it’s for already-hooked fans.
With the sequel “Screamers: The Hunting” (2009), we get further away from the Philip K. Dick source material adapted into 1995’s “Screamers”: the 1953 short story “Second Variety.” But not as far away as you might think. “The Hunting” is that old-school type of cheap horror sequel that repeats the story from the original, starting with a narrative excuse to return the same territory.
In “The Divine Invasion” (written in 1980, published in 1981), Philip K. Dick is done apologizing for being obsessed with religion, his search for God, and his quest to cogently spell out the nature of the supernatural as beamed to him via a pink laser in 1974. Both drafts of “VALIS” – “Radio Free Albemuth” and “VALIS” itself – tiptoe into the subject, but in “The Divine Invasion,” things really start to happen.
The “Total Recall” novelization (1990) by Piers Anthony is the only instance of a Philip K. Dick story being adapted into a movie and then back into book form. Dick famously declined to write a novelization for “Blade Runner,” instead insisting that “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” be reissued. And other than this one, no PKD film adaptations have been novelized; instead, Dick’s novel or short story collection is often reissued with a tie-in cover.
With many shows releasing entire seasons at once nowadays, I haven’t had time to watch full seasons yet, but I have checked out some first episodes and wanted to weigh in on them. Even with the pandemic limiting the number of new fall shows, there are still more than any one TV geek can watch, so here are my first-episode impressions of four September launches:
The last time we saw Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), in 1993’s “Jason Goes to Hell,” he is dead and buried at the end of a story centered on the notion of killing him for good, using the requisite magical dagger. So when he’s alive and in government custody in the 2008 of “Jason X” (2002), one might assume an explanation is forthcoming. It isn’t, and that will understandably take many people out of this movie from the get-go.
The Fall TV season gets off to both an early and an inauspicious start with “Raised by Wolves” (HBO Max), which at first blush has the traits director Ridley Scott also brought to his recent films such as “Prometheus” and “The Martian” – more polished than his early work, but still with verve. But the first episode doesn’t build in intrigue or surprises; it stays pat, offering little to admire beyond how it looks. There’s not enough story or character here from the pen of Aaron Guzikowski, who is also the series’ creator. “Raised by Wolves” did not hook me at all.
Our Friends from Frolix 8” (written in 1969, published in 1970) kicks off Philip K. Dick’s thematic police state/drug war trilogy, and although “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said” and “A Scanner Darkly” won more awards, this one is nearly as great. PKD satirizes and/or paints the likely progression of an all-seeing state, but for the first time the author finds an answer to why the masses don’t openly rebel.