While the three films that made up The Lord of the Rings were all critical and commercial successes, the trilogy that will comprise the prequel films have not been so fortunate. Even before release, many commentators felt that the decision made after principal photography had been completed to restructure the two planned films to three was motivated by a desire to generate ticket sales rather than an artistic need to allow the already slight story full room to breathe. While undeniably successful, with global takings of $1.02 billion, the global take for The Fellowship of the Ring, $871 million, if adjusted for inflation is $1.20 billion, whereas the adjusted global haul of The Return of the King is $1.45 billion. Suddenly Smaug's golden treasure does not glitter so. Will the second part redeem the failings of the first? The Geek Chocolate team weigh in with their opinions.
Geek Chocolate were recently lucky enough to sit down for a long chat with the profilic and innovative writer Charles Stross, and in that conversation, he shared with us the saga behind the saga of The Merchant Princes. Originally published in six volumes between 2004 and 2010, The Family Trade, The Hidden Family, The Clan Corporate, The Merchants’ War, The Revolution Business and The Trade of Queens, these have now been bound together in three volumes, The Bloodline Feud, The Traders’ War and The Revolution Trade as a prelude to the new stories in the same universes he is currently planning.
It’s been thirteen years since a low budget science fiction film shot in Queensland, Australia, stunned viewers across the world with its bold and uncompromising vision of the future, seen through the eyes of a convicted murderer who escaped from the confines of his cryostasis when the ship transferring him when it was struck by cometary debris and crashlanded on a desert planet inhabited solely by nocturnal alien predators. In his third cinematic outing, once again written and directed by David Twohy, Vin Diesel has returned to the role that made him an international star as we prepare for another encounter with Riddick, the last of the Furyans.
There can be no doubt that Marvel have a plan. Following the steamroller of their cinematic universe, with four characters launched in their own films and their sequels - Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America - before linking together to form The Avengers and further adventures already lined up, the next step in domination was the formation of Marvel Television. With several shows in development, the first to be greenlit for full production is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the first footage now released, the writers of Geek Chocolate have viewed the offering and expressed their opinions and expectations.
Alfonso Cuarón may not be a household name, but he has a solid career of well received films in his roles as director and writer, most notably on 2006's Children of Men, one of the best science fiction films of the past decade, even though the its inclusion in that genre is underplayed, and as a producer he has also worked on The Assasination of Richard Nixon and Pan's Labyrinth. For his first film in seven years, he boldly returns to science fiction though with an intimate tale of two astronauts caught in an outer space disaster.
The road to the silver screen has been a long one for Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, from the 1977 short story expanded to a Hugo and Nebula winning novel in 1985 which was revised in 1991, there have been attempts, mainly by author Orson Scott Card, to adapt it for fifteen years, and two directors and multiple writers later, including a failed 2003 attempt from Game of Thrones ' David Benioff and D B Weiss, it is Gavin Hood who has finally brought it to life as both writer and director. The cast is high profile, Harrison Ford returning to the genre that made his name after the failure of 2011's Cowboys & Aliens, Ben Kingsley, just seen in Iron Man 3, and in the crucial lead role is Asa Butterfield who has been acting since he was nine, all of seven years ago. The source novel and the author are praised and derided in equal measure for various reasons, but the questions are how faithful will the adaptation be and whether the teen cast will lead the studio to regard this as a film for children or whether the themes of warfare and genocide will draw an adult audience. Judging by the reactions of the Geek Chocolate Team, they have their work cut out for them.
It doesn't feel like two years since the release of Thor, though that is no doubt because last summer's box office was dominated by the Norse warrior's second face off with his adopted brother Loki in the company of The Avengers. This autumn, Thor will return in his second solo adventure, The Dark World, reuniting Chris Hemsworth with many of the cast of the first film, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo, but joining them are Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and the world created by Kenneth Branagh, an unexpected choice but wholly appropriate, has been handed to Alan Taylor, best known for his extensive work on HBO shows such as Deadwood, The Sopranos, Carnivàle and Game of Thrones. Here, the Geek Chocolate team discuss their first impressions of the new trailer.
When District 9
hit cinemas in 2009, it was a shock to a system accustomed to vacuous blockbusters of no greater purpose than product placement; it was science fiction, it had explosions, but it was also about race relations, exploitation and segregation of the working underclass, even slaves, into ghettos. Writer/director Neill Blompkamp's new film, Elysium
, has four times the budget, and with it commensurately larger expectations, though stylistically and thematically it seems cut from the same cloth, despite the presence of the major Hollywood talent involved. Here, the Geek Chocolate writers offer their first opinions of the trailer.
In 1976, two years after release, Brian de Palma's film adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel, Carrie, was released. The novel was groundbreaking, a novel set in a fully realised contemporary American high school with all the inherent horror therein, the vicous pecking order of the popular kids and the unfortunates, among them Carrie White, a girl with a fearsome secret. That film made a star out of Sissy Spacek, and this Hallowe'en, Chloë Grace Moretz will take the role in a new version directed by Kimberly Peirce, who made a star out of Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry.
Launched in late November 2012 at Thought Bubble, VS Comics has been a bold and interesting addition to the burgeoning digital comic scene. Showcasing a diverse range of story types from outstanding creators, when reviewing the first issue I was both excited by the work on show and eager to see how this endeavour would continue. With three issues now released, each of which has maintained and even raised the high standards set by its debut, I was lucky enough to find a gap in VS Comics’ editor Mike Garley’s schedule and he has graciously answered some questions about the project’s progress and future.
From the first film in which he starred in the role – thankfully recast when Dougray Scott was delayed by the overrun of the filming of Mission: Impossible II – Hugh Jackman has been irrevocably linked with Wolverine, playing him in the original trilogy, a show stealing one line cameo in X-Men: First Class and now in his second solo outing, The Wolverine. Directed by James Mangold and written by Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Frank, and Mark Bomback, inspired by an 1982 comic storyline from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, here the Geek Chocolate writers express their opinions on the first full trailer.
Attracting controversy over the graphic violence and explicit language yet winning an enthusiastic fan following, Matthew Vaughan’s 2010 hit Kick-Ass, based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, grossed over three times its modest $28 million budget and was destined to spawn a sequel. Based on the subsequent adventures of Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Dave Lizewski and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Mindy Macready, in their guises of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, it is scheduled for release this summer.
An established performer before she was even in her teens, Katharine Isabelle is best known for her lead role as Ginger Fitzgerald in Ginger Snaps and its sequels, but has also appeared in The X Files, Stargate SG1, Supernatural and worked with Christoper Nolan on his early film Insomnia. She recently undertook a hectic tour of Britain in the company of the Twisted Twins, directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, in support of their collaboration American Mary, and was gracious enough to spare a brief few moments with Geek Chocolate.
On the evening of Sunday 24th February, the ninth Glasgow Film Festival drew to a highly successful close, celebrating over 39,000 ticket sales a 12% increase over the previous year. The closing night gala was a sold out preview screening of the new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing directed by Joss Whedon, and starring a roster of actors with whom Whedon has worked on his many previous projects - Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher and Fran Kranz among them. After the screening, Whedon spoke with Allan Hunter, co-director of the festival and took questions from the audience.
Best known as the novelist behind the Rivers of London sequence, those of long memory may recall that Ben Aaronovitch has many other works to his name, including two scripts in the final years of the original Doctor Who, several popular spin off novels in The Doctor Who New Adventures, a slew of Jupiter Moon episodes and a quartet of Blake’s 7 audio dramas. On the evening of Thursday 10th January, Ben paid a visit to Edinburgh to speak at length about his work, including his upcoming novel Broken Homes, and Geek Chocolate were fortunate enough to share his company.
There is a blissful period of the year that fills the hearts of certain geeks with glee. It starts around mid May and continues right up until September the following year, and is the period when the television networks of the United States announce what shows will be airing over the coming year. Some are proposed but never make it before the cameras; some, like the ill fated Wonder Woman in 2011, Aquaman in 2006 and Global Frequency in 2005 have pilots filmed but are never picked up as series and most often are never even aired, Ronald D Moore‘s Virtuality being a rare exception to this trend.
Lucy Brett is the Head of Education at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the organisation responsible for rating films, DVDs and trailers released within the United Kingdom. In 2012, this encompassed 851 films, 9454 DVDs, 60 games and 1609 trailers/ads for cinema using the universally recognised ratings of U, PG, 12A, 12, 15 and 18. Originating in 1912, the BBFC is presently under the directorship of David Cook. A former film critic herself, Lucy meets with groups and individuals across the country, explaining the work of the Board, how they make their decisions and recommendations, and answering questions on her work.
It’s been twenty five years since the publication of Consider Phlebas, the novel that introduced readers to the Culture, a highly advanced interplanetary civilisation, its Contact branch and the more elusive agency that handles Special Circumstances. In addition to this, Banks has published three standalone science fiction novels and maintained a parallel literary career. In 2012, he published two novels, Stonemouth and the latest Culture adventure, The Hydrogen Sonata, and on Thursday 6th December he was kind enough to spend a few minutes discussing his work and career.
If there has been one trend that has defined cinema over the last fifteen years, it is superheroes, from the individual heroics of Spiderman and Batman to the all conquering teams of The Avengers and The X Men, and the somewhat less than Fantastic Four. Independents have been represented by Hellboy, but the two giants Marvel and DC have been the dominant forces, and next year DC return with arguably the most recognised superhero of all, an orphaned alien who fell to Earth over seventy years ago and embraced the values of the country he adopted as his home, defending both it and the planet. The first full trailer for Man of Steel
was revealed this week, and the Geek Chocolate team all have their opinions of it.
The marginal outings of Mission: Impossible and Vanilla Sky aside, Tom Cruise doesn't often dabble in science fiction, but his two previous outings, the Philip K Dick adaptation Minority Report and the update of H G Wells' The War of the Worlds, both directed by Steven Spielberg, grossed $950 million worldwide, a more successful take than his sole fantasy outing, Ridley Scott's Legend, which only recouped half of its $30 million budget on original release. Set in the aftermath of an alien attack that has left the Earth ravaged, Cruise is Jack Harper, a drone repairman who visits the surface from his base in the clouds as part of a "mop up" crew, but finds the surface not so deserted as was thought. As usual, the team have weighed in with their opinions on the first glimpse of this upcoming release.
Star Trek is the very cornerstone of Geek Culture, and without it this site wouldn't even exist; Kevin and Michael met at a Star Trek convention in Glasgow, Brian sat behind Michael on opening day of Star Trek Generations, and we met both Maggie and Les through their involvement in local fan groups. Prior to the release of JJ Abrams' 2009 Star Trek film, opinion was divided even before a single frame had been released to the hungry public, but upon release it won over many who had been prepared to dismiss it by virtue of the excellent casting choices, his affectionate appreciation and enthusiastic understanding of why the original show was so beloved, and for making the film just so darn enjoyable and exciting, a key factor which George Lucas and Michael Bay have forgotten to include. The first teaser trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness was released today, and we asked our writers for their first impressions. Please feel free to add your own opinions in the comments section.
Depending on the interpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, 21st December 2012 is allegedly either the end of the world or the herald of a significant change and rebirth into something new and, it is to be hoped, better. In 2009, Roland Emmerich’s eponymous film of the year of destruction horrified audiences, not so much through the terrible fate of the population as mutated neutrinos overheated the Earth’s core but with how awful the film was. Elsewhere, Special Agent Fox Mulder has known since at least 2002 that the final stage of the plan for the recolonisation of Earth by the alien virus Purity was to be set in motion on that date.
Novelist Joe Abercrombie burst on the British fantasy scene with his trilogy The First Law, a grim and bloody epic of characters equally damaged and damaging. His reputation established, he visited the world again with two standalone novels, Best Served Cold and The Heroes, and has just released Red Country. While touring the country to promote the book, meet his fans and talk about his work, on the evening of Thursday 25th October he passed through Edinburgh and spared a few moments to talk to Geek Chocolate.
Described as "Britain's best selling science fiction author," Peter F Hamilton is a prolific writer of epic space opera. Best known for the Greg Mandel Trilogy, the Night's Dawn trilogy, the Commonwealth Saga and more recently the Void Trilogy, he is currently touring to meet his fans and promote his new standalone novel, Great North Road. On Wednesday 10th October, his schedule took him to Edinburgh where he was kind enough to spare a few minutes to talk to Geek Chocolate.
Jane Rogers is a literary novelist and scriptwriter whose credits include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Writers' Guild Best Fiction Book, BAFTA nominations and an Arts Council award. Professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University, she is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. After struggling to find a publisher for her most recent novel, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, it was picked up by Sandstone Press, and went on to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and in 2012 won the Arthur C Clarke award. The novel has subsequently been reprinted in a new edition by Canongate books. On Saturday 25th August, after her talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, she was good enough to spend a few minutes talking with Geek Chocolate.
On the sunny afternoon of Monday 20th August, shortly before he was due to take the main stage at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in conversation with Patrick Ness, acclaimed novelist and three time winner of the Arthur C Clarke award China Miéville was kind enough to sit with Geek Chocolate to discuss the origin of his most recent novel, Railsea, his second aimed at younger readers, his work on the revived Dial H for DC Comics, the streets of London, the footsteps of Lovecraft, the shadow of Tenniel and the lure of videogames, among other matters. At China’s request, we warn that there may be minor spoilers contained herein.
Having studied mathematics and physics in his native Finland, Cambridge and Edinburgh, Hannu Rajaniemi has been based in that city for several years where he was a founding director of ThinkTank Maths, a mathematics innovation company. Active on the Scottish science fiction scene for almost a decade, his debut novel The Quantum Thief was published to great acclaim in 2010, nominated for a Locus Award and winning the Tähtivaeltaja Award. On the afternoon of 7th August, he spent an hour with Geek Chocolate, enjoying the festive sunshine off Edinburgh's Old Town and discussing his new novel, The Fractal Prince, and what may lie beyond.
Having worked on The X Files for eight years where he wrote or co-wrote forty episodes, Frank Spotnitz has amassed a colossal body of high profile work, also working on the associated shows Millennium and The Lone Gunmen alongside Harsh Realm and Night Stalker. His new show is Hunted, the explosive new drama from Kudos, the production company behind Spooks, Life on Mars, Hustle and Outcasts among many others. On Friday 24th August, as part of the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, executive producer Alison Jackson, director SJ Clarkson and Frank attended a screening of the premiere episode at the Edinburgh Filmhouse where they spoke about the international flavour of their ambitious new show, the ambiguous morality of the characters, and the extensive casting search that led them to Melissa George. Afterwards in the bar, Frank was kind enough to spend a few minutes with Geek Chocolate to talk about Hunted and his work on the FBI's most unusual cases.
A true polymath, Neal Stephenson is a prolific writer who
spans genres, spinning together computer science, mathematics, language and history in his epic tales. Coming to prominence with his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash
in 1992, this was followed by The Diamond Age
before the release of The Baroque Cycle
. Set across centuries, nations and disciplines, Quicksilver
, The Confusion
and The System of the World
featured a cast including Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, King Charles II, George Handel, Louis XIV and Samuel Pepys among others, each of the three volumes were nominated for the Locus Award, with two wins, and an Arthur C Clarke award. On Saturday 18th
August, while attending an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, he was good enough to take time to talk with Geek Chocolate.
A frequent visitor to Edinburgh's Festival Fringe where he has performed his shows Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf and Now I Know My BBC, Toby Hadoke is something of an authority on all things Doctor Who, having presented features on several recent DVD releases including The Sensorites, The Robots of Death and Resurrection of the Daleks and contributed to several commentaries including the recently released Patrick Troughton story The Krotons and the Jon Pertwee story Death to the Daleks plus the forthcoming Ambassadors of Death. In Edinburgh with his new show My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver, Toby was present at the screening of Asylum of the Daleks at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on Saturday 25th August, and chatted with Geek Chocolate afterwards over a pot of peppermint tea.
A strong voice of science fiction since the seventies, Vonda N McIntyre's novelette Of Mist, and Grass and Sand won her a Nebula, and her expansion of that story into her second novel Dreamsnake won both the Nebula and the Hugo. She has also written the standalone novels Superluminal and The Moon and the Sun, which also won a Nebula in 1997, and the four novels of the Starfarers series, but to many she will be best known for her Star Trek novels, The Entropy Effect which launched the Pocket series and Enterprise: The First Adventure which launched Pocket's line of "giant" novels in 1986, as well as the novelisations of The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home. Active and vocal in promoting new and established writing via the Book View Café, she kindly took time out to have a chat with Geek Chocolate about her career, some of her milestones, and some of the luminaries she has encountered.
Last weekend saw the second Glasgow Comic Con take place in the Rennie Macintosh Church, in Scotland's second city.
Unlike last year, this was a two-day event. And I'm sorry to say that unlike last year it was rather underwhelming.
Filmed in the stunning scenery of County Donegal, Grabbers returns to its spiritual home at the Galway Fleadh Film Festival on Tuesday 10th July, but two weeks before that director Jon Wright hosted a screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival where an enthusiastic crowd greeted him, writer Kevin Lehane and stars Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley. Geek Chocolate accosted Jon in the bar afterwards to congratulate him and learn a little bit about the film. Beware minor spoilers on the last page!
Though his name is not as well known as some of the big names of horror, Eduardo Sánchez is responsible for one of the biggest cinematic phenomenons of our generation, The Blair Witch Project, which he cowrote and codirected with his friend Daniel Myrick. In Edinburgh to celebrate the launch of his new film Lovely Molly, on Thursday 21st June he was kind enough to sit down with us for a long chat about those films, his influences, and the legacy of his work in modern cinema, and his next project, Exists. Beware minor spoilers for the final scenes of Lovely Molly!
The month of June may fail to bring summer to Scotland's capital, but more reliable is the Edinburgh International Film Festival, now in its 66th consecutive year. Under the guidance of new artistic director Chris Fujiwara, major premieres have included Killer Joe from director William Friedkin, who also hosted a screening of his classic The French Connection and spoke of that film and The Exorcist, the new Pixar film Brave and talks from Hollywood legend Elliott Gould and British stalwart Jim Broadbent. While there was an absence of science fiction programming on the festival this year, a generous serving of modern horror has been served up under the strand Night Moves.
[WARNING! SPOILERS beyond this point! ^KG]
While the exquisite face is unmistakable, the woman underneath is a chameleon, having starred in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse as the in-demand active Sierra, taking on a new personality every week, before moving on to guest roles on Torchwood and the American version of Being Human. In person, however, she is never anything other than lovely, and on Sunday 13th May, while attending the science fiction convention Starfury Inva2ion, Dichen Lachman was kind enough to kind enough to make time away from the gathered fans to sit in a quiet corner of the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel, Heathrow, to discuss her career and her current projects.
This June sees the release of Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s return to the realm of science fiction. Only twice before in his career he has turned his camera to the genre that is so rarely well represented in cinema, but both those works are regarded as genuine masterpieces. It is thirty years since Rick Deckard fled his apartment, the replicant Rachael in his care, and Scott has indicated that he may be prepared to return to the world of Blade Runner as early as next year if he is satisfied with the script, but this summer he returns to the earlier work that established his reputation.
A recent study conducted by consultancy group IHS has suggested that by the end of 2012 American film lovers will have paid for 3.4 billion films online, a massive increase on the 2011 total of roughly 1.4 billion. The increase has been driven principally by the surge in subscriptions to Netflix’s streaming site as the company transitions from a DVD-by-post outfit to the current library of rentable streaming content.
Netflix now boasts 24 million subscribers, which, combined with Amazon Prime’s 10 million members, accounts for around 94% of all purchased film online. The only other contender is Hulu, with just over 1.5 million customers on its books.
When I say RPG, in this age of advanced video gaming many peoples’ thoughts immediately turn to massively multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, or single player epic adventures like Skyrim or Fallout 3.
But these games are the descendants of a far nobler gaming tradition and one which, despite competition from its electronic offspring, is still alive and well today – the beloved table-top RPG.
Best know for presenting the shows Atom, Science and Islam and Shock and Awe: The History of Electricity, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, OBE, has been awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for science communication and is an Honorary Fellow of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. On Thursday 12th April he was kind enough to spend some time with us after the Edinburgh International Science Festival event Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Science where he was launching his book of the same name.
On Saturday 31st March, the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh played host to Robin Hardy, best known for his landmark 1973 film The Wicker Man, as he attended a screening of his new film The Wicker Tree a thematic sequel to that work, which features a cameo from Christopher Lee, who starred in the original as Lord Summerisle. After the screening, he participated in a Q &A session with the audience, some comments from which are included below, and in the bar afterwards he was kind enough to talk to Geek Chocolate. He begins by explaining why he has revisited this story after almost forty years.
As thousands of Doctor Who fans descended on Cardiff at the weekend, the glorious Welsh capital took on a slightly TARDISy shade of blue.
"Whovians" from across the world came to the city to attend the convention and to get a chance to see the cast and crew in person and discuss their views on why their job is the best in the world.
Concealed under heavy makeup as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Knight of House Baratheon in Game of Thrones, Rory McCann may not be immediately recognisable, yet he has an impressive list of credits stretching from the drama of Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher, Oliver Stone’s Alexander and Shameless to the comedy of Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz and The Book Group for which he won a Scottish BAFTA award. On Sunday 18th March the imposing yet personable actor was kind enough to sit down to a pint of Guinness in the bar at Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole Hotel while attending Starfury Throne Con.
Though a decade passed between Alastair Reynolds publishing his first short story, 1990’s Nunivak Snowflakes in 1990 in Interzone and his first novel, Revelation Space, the past decade has more than made up for that initial hesitance, with a major novel almost an annual event, leading up to his tenth, Blue Remembered Earth, launching a new trilogy. He was good enough to take time out to talk to Geek Chocolate about his past and future work, his inspirations, and keeping up to date on science.
There’s no business like show business, allegedly, but increasingly it would seem that the business that show prefers to be like is itself. While sequels, remakes and spinoffs have always been a part of the movie business, never before have release schedules been so dominated by material that seems to sidestep originality and innovation in favour of more of the same.
This week saw the unveiling of two of the most anticipated films of recent years, Ridley Scott's Prometheus, and the first part of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, due next June and December respectively.
Released June 8th 2012, Prometheus stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce and Idris Elba, from a script by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Originally promoted as a prequel to Alien, later statements asserted it would be an independent piece, but the trailer has confirmed that there will be very direct links to that masterpiece from 1978.
This week saw the unveiling of two of the most anticipated films of recent years, Ridley Scott's Prometheus, and the first part of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, due next June and December respectively.
Released December 14th 2012, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stars Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage and Benedict Cumberbatch, from a script by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. It will be followed in December 2013 by There and Back Again, based on the beloved novel by JRR Tolkien, and will feature many of the cast of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
With the Peace and War trilogy, the Worlds trilogy and the standalones The Coming, Guardian, Camouflage, Old Twentieth and The Accidental Time Machine and two of the 1970s Bantam Star Trek books, Joe Haldeman is a prolific author who has consistently delivered intelligent, exciting and engaging novels. In his career he has won the major science fiction awards for best novel, the Hugo and the Nebula, twice and three times respecively, and in 2010 received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. His new novel, Earthbound, completes his latest trilogy, and he graciously took time to answer a few questions for us.
Richard Morgan was winner of the Philip K Dick award for Altered Carbon, the John W Campbell Award for Market Forces and the Arthur C Clarke award for Black Man before moving to fantasy with The Steel Remains, the first volume of A Land Fit for Heroes. On Saturday 15th October, while touring to promote the second part, The Cold Commands, he took a few moments out to enjoy a beef pastrami and Emmental sandwich and talk to Geek Chocolate about painting with words.
This Hallowe’en weekend, runners will take to the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, with two aims: raising money for charity, and avoiding the ravenous hordes of the undead. Sound like something you would like to be involved in? Get your running shoes on and join us for a chat with Wes May, one of the organsiers.
Very late on the evening of Sunday 2nd October 2011, after a long weekend at the Second Starfury Vampire Ball held at Heathrow’s Renaissance Hotel, acclaimed comic illustrator Georges Jeanty was kind enough to spend a few moments with Geek Chocolate to talk about his love of superheroes and his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons eight and nine. We invite you to grab a drink and join us at the bar.
On the evening of Saturday 28th August, rather than sitting down to enjoy Let's Kill Hitler, Geek Chocolate took the opportunity to spend time with Mark Kermode, not only film critic for BBC News 24 and The Culture Show and author of the recently released book The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex, but also a man with a deep love for film, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject. Join us as we talk movies...
On Tuesday 16th August, the Scottish novelist Chris Brookmyre was kind enough to take a few minutes before the RBS sponsored event at the Edinburgh Book Festival A Fictional Journey into Glasgow's Gangland to talk to Geek Chocolate about his latest novel, Where the Bodies are Buried, the first in a new trilogy, his back catalogue, his next projects, and his love of gaming. Join us as we take shelter from the rain.
Thirty years ago, science fiction on television was largely aimed at children, or at most, a family audience. In Britain, Doctor Who and the shows of Gerry Anderson dominated a sparse landscape, with only Blake’s 7 and Sapphire and Steel attempting to raise the bar. In America, the output of Glen A Larson was superficial and generic - gadgets, women as objects, cute kids and cute animals, distracting the audience from the stock footage. Join Geek Chocolate as we examine how the landscape was terraformed and ask – what will come next?
With its British premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Stormhouse is a new horror film bearing the tagline "The military have captured and imprisoned a supernatural entity, and now it wants to play." Director Dan Turner, writer Jason Arnopp and actors Grant Masters, Major Lester, unstable head of the project, and Grahame Fox, Lieutenant Groves, first to be possessed by the entity, were kind enough to chat to Geek Chocolate while promoting this gory and claustrophobic film in Edinburgh.
Brad Fraser, enfant terrible of Canadian theatre, has been creating controversial and groundbreaking plays for over twenty years, and has recently lectured on censorship and his personal battles to see his work produced. A comic book fan since childhood, he has worked that interest into his plays, most notably Poor Super Man and Martin Yesterday, and was a writer on the American production of Queer As Folk. He was kind enough to spend time with Geek Chocolate on his recent visit to Manchester.
On Sunday 26th June, Thomas Dekker was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule at the Starfury T3 Convention at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel to sit in the sunshine with GeekChocolate to look back on all the roles he has played, including the iconic role of the man who will save the future from Skynet.
Once again, June brings around the arrival of the world’s longest continuously running film festival, now in its 65th year. As with so many other arts events the world over, this year the festival is on a smaller scale due to budget considerations, but there are still a few premieres and retrospectives of interest to the discerning geek.
On a particularly rainy afternoon in central London, GeekChocolate sat down for a chat with author Joe Hill. The son of world-famous author Stephen King, Joe also wrote the best-selling short story collection 20th Century Ghosts and the wildly successful Heart Shaped Box. He is known in the comics world as the author of Locke And Key, a property which was optioned for a television adaptation by Fox but turned down for the new season. Despite being at the end of a long morning of interviews, Hill was keen to talk to us about the show, and it’s (apparently strong) chances of airing in the future.
To meet one noted science fiction author and share their wisdom and insight is always a privilege. To have three gathered together is a rare honour. Please join GeekChocolate as we meet Iain M Banks, creator of the wildly successful Culture sequence, Ken Macleod, author of the Fall Revolution and Engines of Light series, and Charles Stross, writer of The Atrocity Archives and Saturn’s Children in an event organised by the Edinburgh International Science Festival and Blackwells Bookshop.
This weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May sees the Bristol International Comic & Small Press Expo. Spread over two sites as well as two days it promises some excellent events both in the mainstream comic event and in its Small Press and Manga section.
The most interesting aspect of this year’s event, for me at least, is a chance to sample some of the truly excellent small press publications that have been produced in the UK over the past year.
On Sunday 8th May, Terry Farrell, Lieutenant Jadzia Dax of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, the headline guest of the Starfury Invasion convention at Heathrow's Radisson Edwardian Hotel spent a few minutes with GeekChocolate to share her memories of that character and her work on the show.
On Sunday 8th May, Aaron Douglas, Chief Galen Tyrol of Battlestar Galactica, was good enough to take some time out from entertaining the attendees of the Starfury Invasion convention at Heathrow's Radisson Edwardian Hotel to chat to GeekChocolate about his work on that show and the other items on his extensive science fiction resume.
GeekChocolate was recently in the presence of three noted science fiction authors Ken Macleod, Iain M Banks and Charlie Stross, at a talk at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, moderated by Andrew J Wilson editor of Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction, a 2005 anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories. A full report on the talk will be available shortly, but in the meantime, we wanted to share with you their answers to the three questions we put to them about the best novel to introduce them, their upcoming work, and what classic science fiction novel they would most like to see filmed.
Lord Martin Rees, the astronomer royal, and former president of the Royal Society, recently attended the Edinburgh International Science Festival, and honoured GeekChocolate with a few moments of his time to share his thoughts on the future of space travel, the future of British science, and future of the planet. Please join us as we share in his insight and wisdom.
Robin Ince, comedian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association was recently at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, presenting Funny Way to Make a Living, and was kind enough to spare a few minutes to talk to GeekChocolate about good books, bad books, the sceptical movement, and his upcoming tour with Professor Brian Cox, Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh, the Uncaged Monkeys.
Professor Iain Stewart, of the University of Plymouth, and presenter of the BBC shows Earth: The Power of the Planet and How Earth Made Us was good enough to take time out of his busy visit to the Edinburgh International Science Festival to talk to GeekChocolate about presenting science on television, the frontiers of geology, and what the future holds for him and the planet.
Admittedly this is more science fact, than science fiction, but when GC was offered the opportunity to chat to Andrew Cohen, head of BBC Science, before the Edinburgh International Science Festival screening of Wonders of the Universe, we jumped at it.
So we sent the resident GC brainbox, Michael Flett, a.k.a. Pixel, along to the Edinburgh Filmhouse to do just that.
- Kevin Gilmartin GC Ed
The comic world has been all of a flutter recently with rumours of a possible dream team reunion of Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. The pair met for a pint on the 18th of November, sending Millarworlders into a foaming trousered frenzy.
Bleeding Cool reported the meeting the next day speculating on a Millar/Quitely title for Marvel Icon for late 2011.
Petrol was then chucked on the fire from where the smoke was coming by Miller’s promise of some Huge comic news by Thursday (25th), which was then put back to the Monday after Thanksgiving (Monday 29th.)
The two thousand odd views of the thread on Millarworld could only cogitate and agitate over the possibilities.
The pair did a joint appearance tonight at Glasgow’s excellent new graphic novel store Plan B and again Bleeding Cool ran a piece on the possible team up. A new DC imprint, a new deal with Image or a Titan backed thing. The smart money is on one of these it seems.
GEEKchocolate’s man in the know attended the soiree in Plan B tonight and spoke to both Millar and Quitely. We know the truth, straight from Frank Quitely’s mouth.
In true Millarworld style. We’ll tell you tomorrow....
...no...we couldn’t do that to you!
It seems that Mark Millar’s other half is arranging a comic book themed exhibition in London. Millar wanted to talk to Quitely about using some of his stuff, and that’s all there is to it. Unless of course, he’s keeping it all under wraps and had a cover story ready....
Welcome to what we hope will be the first of many bite-sized little interviews here on GEEKchocolate.
In our first one, Scottish sci-fi author Iain M. Banks took a few minutes out of his touring schedule - having just released his latest Culture novel, Surface Detail - to answer a few questions for us, and for a couple of you guys, too.
If any Hollywood types or video game producers are reading - take note!
When James Corden's character told the Doctor in a recent episode of Doctor Who that he could, if he wanted, bring boyfriends round to stay, for one fleeting moment it looked as if the good Doctor may have been about to come out of the closet.
He didn’t of course, and of all the characters in a major TV science fiction shows the Doctor isn’t high on the list of those likely to be coming out. However it did serve to highlight one stark omission from the otherwise egalitarian world of Science Fiction TV and film - the openly and actively gay male character.
Although the Edinburgh Film Festival had more to offer than this brief selection, commitments and finances, not to mention scheduling clashes, prevent even the most dedicated of reporters from attending every screening that sounds of interest, so I was only able to snatch a few moments of geek friendly entertainment. But what fine moments most of them were…
In the last few years the Science Fiction genre of entertainment has seen a surge in popularity. It has gone from geek to water cooler chic and broken into the mainstream. People who would once have balked at watching or reading anything remotely science fiction based were settling down every week to watch Lost or Heroes or Flash Forward.
They're getting on the train to work and reading The Time Traveller's Wife, Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight.
Non-Trekkies raved about the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movie, District 9 was a an understated work of genius, and Avatar was a box office smash (if a wee bit crap).
These are all advancing the genre in popularity and lore, but what about the video games?
The trailer for the remake of Let the Right One In - based on the book of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist - got resident GC writers Gordon Robertson and Michael ‘Pixel’ Flett in a bit of a flap when it was released. The remake is entitled Let Me In, and stars Chloe 'Hit Girl' Moretz.
Since our Editor, Kev, hasn’t seen (and is currently reading) the original he asked them to keep their discussion spoiler free… so read on: