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Transcendence

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“Maybe it was inevitable, an unavoidable collision between mankind and technology,” warns the voiceover of Max Waters (Paul Bettany), setting the scene as he visits the near derelict home of his former colleagues Will and Evelyn Caster before recounting the events that changed the world, how Will, an artificial intelligence researcher and futurist, was murdered and his memory uploaded to a virtual environment, and of how the world reacted to that leap in the blending of technology and humanity, questioning whether the simulation was truly sentient and what it would mean for the future of the world, many reacting with unthinking hostility against an entity smarter and more capable than they could compete with.

 

Gordon Mclean and Andrew Docherty – Taking on a Jumbo Task

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The Glasgow League of Writers have been given permission to resurrect some classic, iconic and some cases, lost characters from the D C Thomson archives who will feature each week in the digital pages of Comic Review, the digital version of Comic Heroes, the magazine dedicated to the world of comic books. Continuing his series of interviews with the Glasgow League of Writers and the creators behind the comics, Gordon Robertson, director of the 9th Art Festival, talks to Gordon McLean and Andrew Docherty about taking up the not inconsiderable challenge of breathing life back into one of D C Thomson’s most loved and most iconic characters, General Jumbo.

 

The Quiet Ones

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“Inspired by actual events,” claims the latest release from the revived British studio Hammer without offering any indication of the source or veracity of the groundless statement, the first desperate indication that the film may be more of an exercise in marketing rather than storytelling. With both eyes firmly on the American box office where The Woman in Black claimed over 40% of its global takings, director John Pogue (previously writer of U S Marshals, Ghost Ship and The Skulls and its two direct to video sequels) has opted for a narrative of long interludes of boredom interrupted by sudden loud noises, a drift from the traditional story based horror on which Hammer built its reputation, emulating the current Stateside form of the genre.

 

By Blood We Live - Glen Duncan

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It’s the end of the line, for Talulla Demetriou and her unexpected wolfpack, for Remshi, the oldest living vampire, dating to 18,000 BC and woken with his memories in disarray to find he has lost two years to the long sleep without realising it, and for Glen Duncan, with the conclusion of his Bloodlines trilogy, following on from The Last Werewolf in 2011 and Talulla Rising in 2012.

 

The Double

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The train carriage is bleak, functional, barren of ornamentation and other life, yet still Simon James gives up his seat when asked by the stranger who appears out of nowhere, conditioned to be subservient and obedient, to not challenge. What he does not realise is that the stranger is his double, a conniving and opportunistic parasite who will inveigle his way into his life, his home, his workplace, claiming credit for his work, displacing him and emasculating him as all around are oblivious to his resemblance to the man who calls himself James Simon.

 

The Lego Movie

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Perhaps it is no surprise that in the sixty years since the launch of Lego, it has permeated almost every corner of popular culture. As children, Action Man, Barbie and Dinky may have provided more accurate facsimiles for playmates or replicas of Thunderbird 2 and Eagle transporters, but Lego was adaptable and reusable, endlessly reborn as increasingly complex creations as the minds of the children using it grew in complexity and ambition, and unlike many cherished possessions now turned to rags and debris, Lego was practically indestructible.

 

Gordon Robertson and Cuttlefish - Smashing down cancer

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Continuing our exclusive series of conversations with the creators of the Glasgow League of Writers and their resurrection of classic D C Thomson characters in brand new adventures featuring some of the great names from the history of British Comics, the past weeks have discussed the return of Invisible, Johnny Jett and the Scarlet Star, and this week writer Gordon Robertson, director of the 9th Art Award, and robot loving artist Cuttlefish tell us all about the joys of creating giant robots which smash things up as they resurrect the “remorseless tin demolition machine” which is the Smasher. Each strip appears in Comic Review, the digital version of Comic Heroes, the magazine dedicated to the world of comic books, and the Smasher will also appear in the next print edition of Comic Heroes.

 

Veronica Mars - The Thousand Dollar Tan Line – Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

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Having broken Kickstarter records with the fan-funded motion picture continuation of his cancelled television show, it was clear creator Rob Thomas wasn’t going to stop there, so his announcement that the next story would take Veronica Mars into the natural home of the private detectives who inspired her was no surprise. Written by Jennifer Graham from an outline Thomas had originally intended to form the basis for the movie had the production been realised sooner after the final episode, she has captured the feel of the show and the characters.

 

Lauren Beukes - Using Words to Break Down Barriers

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On the sunny evening of Friday 23rd August, South African novelist Lauren Beukes was attending the Edinburgh Book Festival to talk about her acclaimed new novel The Shining Girls, and was gracious enough to spend a few minutes with Geek Chocolate to talk about that, Zoo City which won the 2011 Arthur C Clarke award, currently being developed as a feature film, her work in the world of comics on Fables and her love of women in comics.

 

Muppets Most Wanted

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If ever there was a brand in family entertainment which crossed generations, it is the Muppets, created by Jim Henson and coming to prominence first in Sesame Street in the late sixties then being given their very own Muppet Show in the mid-seventies with a roster of guest stars designed to draw adult audiences who would appreciate the wit beneath the slapstick which entertained their children, this led to a stream of feature film spin-offs adapting the self-referential theatrical variety show format for the big screen before reinventing themselves in two adaptations of classic stories in the nineties with The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.

 

Dead by Dawn 2014

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Now celebrating its 21st year, Edinburgh’s horror film festival returns to the capital this year over the last weekend of April, from the evening of Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th, with the continued promise of chills, bloodshed, shenanigans and inappropriate behavior. Previous years have seen the UK premieres of such major films as The Cabin in the Woods, Stake Land, Los ojos de Julia, Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Mother of Tears, Bubba Ho-Tep, Dog Soldiers and Pitch Black among many others alongside critically acclaimed debut features such as Jug Face and The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, both of which were show in 2013.

 

Edinburgh International Science Festival

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It’s now less than a week until the opening events of Edinburgh’s International Science Festival, which this year runs from Saturday 5th to Sunday 20th April with a variety of events, talks, workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations and activities across the city. With a new hub at the beautiful Summerhall complex on the south side of Edinburgh’s old town, the festival still maintains a strong presence at the City Art Centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Museum of Scotland, and with the Field of Light installation having taken over St Andrew Square, the now traditional outdoor photography exhibit, this year titled Living Light, has been moved to the Mound Precinct, beside the National Gallery of Scotland.

 
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