Science-Fiction Weekly – Star Trek: Discovery, Dredd, The Way, Who Goes There?
In the 1938 novella Who Goes There?, author John W. Campbell, Jr. tells the story of a group of scientists that unearth a spaceship in Antarctica. The scientists extract the alien pilot and begin doing tests on it. Although they conclude the ship has been frozen in ice for at least 20 million years, the alien isn't dead, and is in fact hostile. The alien can take the shape and personality of any living thing it touches, leading to the scientists not trusting one another. Yes, this is the plot of John Carpenter's movie The Thing, which is a near direct adaptation of the book.
Who Goes There? is now the inspiration for a board game of the same name, which just smashed its Kickstarter goal of $54,000 with a hefty haul of $558,000. Holding true to the source material, the game begins with players cooperating, but as the temperature falls, trust becomes an issue; someone may be infected and working against the party. The game supports three to four players, but can be expanded to six, with the goal of surviving long enough to escape via helicopter. The "thing" has the same goal, only with the long prospect of global domination. You can take a look at a lengthy playthrough of Who Goes There? below, and can expect to see it on store shelves in summer 2018.
The first episode of Star Trek: Discovery beams to CBS on September 24, but it sounds like fans will have to set aside more than an hour to digest everything offered from this new voyage. On September 26, Simon & Schuster is releasing the first book based on the series called, Star Trek: Discovery – Desperate Hours, penned by New York Times bestselling author David Mack. The synopsis reveals its a prequel that follows one of the show's central characters:
Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.
She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet’s dark, uncharted sea. As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life — until now.
IDW Entertainment is also releasing an ongoing Star Trek: Discovery comic book series in October. Co-written by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson, the comics provide backstories for the Klingon characters, such as leader T'Kuvma. IDW has done good work with the Star Trek books, especially the prequel companion stories for the recent motion pictures. Following a TV show, book, and comic series at the same time is a lot to ask of fans, but it also shows a high level of confidence in this new era of Star Trek, which takes place 10-years before the first Enterprise missions. I'm in for all of it.
I wish the same level of confidence could be tied to Dredd, the exceptional 2012 film starring Karl Urban as the beloved Mega-City One enforcer, Judge Dredd. That film deserved a sequel, and despite much chatter of getting another one off of the ground, DNA Films hasn't produced anything yet. While we may never see Dredd on the big screen again, he may be coming to TV in the near future. Global Television and Rebellion Developments are working on a TV show called Judge Dredd: Mega-City One. While no release date is imminent yet, big pieces are falling into place, including the possibility of Urban reprising his role.
In a panel at this year's Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, NV, Urban was asked about Dredd, and he said, "I am in discussions with them about that. I told them that if they write the material and give Dredd something to do and give him a function, I will be there. I would love to."
Urban only did one Dredd film, so it's silly to say no one else should be the judge, jury, and executioner, but he did it so damn well, and it would be a shame not to have him back – especially for continuity between the film and series.
Are you a fan of classic titles like Out of this World, Flashback, and Heart of Darkness? If you answered with a booming "yes," you should take a look at The Way, which has been available for a year on Steam, but just released last week on Xbox One. I played through the opening hour of The Way, and can't wait to jump back into it. The inspiration it draws isn't just in concept; the gameplay is as old school as it gets, consisting of challenging timed platforming, and a variety of puzzles and locked door solutions. From what I've played, I am surprised just how much variety is offered in both the environments and challenges. The trailer also shows you'll be teaming up with some kind of alien beast when you leave Earth.
This game is well worth a look if you appreciate the slower moving, stealth-like games of yesteryear. If you want something a little faster (actually a lot faster), LawBreakers is officially upon us, and available for PlayStation 4 and PC. I haven't had a chance to dive into the final game yet, but I did play it months ago, and loved the freedom of movement, overall speed, and sheer brutality of the weapon play. I did not get the hang of the aerial component, which unfolds through zero-gravity pockets. I also enjoyed what I saw of the maps and modes, but again, I don't know how they differ from the final product. Dan Tack is playing as much of LawBreakers as he can for the review, but these shooters are huge and take a considerable amount of time to critique. I'll include a quote or two when the review arrives, hopefully in the next week.
That's it for this week, everyone. It's a fairly quiet week for sci-fi, but we are one week closer to Star Wars: The Last Jedi opening in theaters!