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What happens on the fourth day?

What happens on the fourth day?


  • Revolutionary War-Era Time Capsule possibilities

    News broke earlier this week that a time capsule embedded in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts statehouse is being excavated to discover its Revolutionary war-era contents. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts will take the copper box and x-ray its contents before it is opened. While it is believed that the box contains such items as coins and newspapers, I excitedly began to ponder the possibilities of far greater treasure.

     

    1795 Time Capsule

    After all, they say great things come in small packages...

    After all, they say great things come in small packages…

     

    Given its 1795 time-stamp, my mind went immediately to none other than the Fox hit series Sleepy Hollow.

    The historians on site believe such luminaries as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams personally placed the time-capsule. On Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) personally knew Revere and Adams. This discovery should be the perfect opportunity for the writers of the show to segue the plot-line away from the apocalypse. They could have more flashbacks that involve Revere and Adams and the “mystical” item(s) they placed in this “time-capsule.” Seriously, Sleepy Hollow could even work the word “time” into all of this just to create an object or curse of some kind to mess with time. Really, the possibilities are endless and if I can see that, I hope the writers can, too.

     

    The moment he realized Samuel Adams stole his idea to use Paul Revere on a beer label...

    The moment he realized Samuel Adams stole his idea to use Paul Revere on a beer label…

     

    Another Fox show of course came to my mind. And while it’s not exactly Sci-Fi or Fantasy, I couldn’t help but wonder how Dr. Brennan of Bones would feel of this discovery. Just imagine that in that tiny box, bones were found and they asked her to solve the mystery; one in which I’m sure Revere or Adams would be identified as a killer and Booth once again crushed by the truth his American heroes.

     

    Mallory Douge loves finding treasure, but usually it’s just the little things in life that inspire her to create, whether that be poetry, or fantasy fiction. Check out her Pinterest boards that have a wide variety of interests and maybe you’ll be inspired, too!


  • You’re On a Quest

    1311883091_game-of-thrones (image credit - pep.ph)When I wrote about space opera last month, I called it “one of the most popular and potentially thought-provoking genres in all of fiction”.  This month, we’ll be covering epic fantasy, one of the oldest fiction genres in existence, and the spiritual ancestor of space opera and many other genres.  It’s enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with the popularity of Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice book and television series.  And it’s been a personal favorite of mine since I was in single-digit years of age.

     

    Epic fantasy exists on a somewhat larger scale than normal fantasy; and it’s a more difficult genre to pen “correctly” than you may think.  We’ll get into the differences between “epic fantasy”, “high fantasy”, “low fantasy”, and “sword and sorcery” in another article; we may even feature some of them in future spotlights.  For now, let it suffice to say that an epic fantasy often includes a quest of one kind or another.  The most popular breakdown of the proverbial quest comes from Joseph Campbell, mythologist and lecturer, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  In the book, he compares the form the quest takes across different mythologies down through the ages of human history.  He summarized his theory of the “monomyth” like this:

     

    A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

     

    Even if those boons only extend to good food and fellowship.

    Even if those boons only extend to good food and fellowship.

    Most fiction is about people on a quest.  It could be a mundane quest, such as a mystery to solve, a relationship to save (or form), a job or promotion to receive, or a game to win.  In more fantastic settings, it could be a lost treasure to find, a princess to save, a knighthood or lordship to receive, or a war to win; often, it’s all of these and more.  Take a moment to note the parallels between the mundane and fantastic examples.   Fantasy, of any variety, is simply life enhanced; and epic fantasy is the perfect metaphor for the lives we all hope we can live.

     

    Everyone has fantasies, and that’s perfectly normal.  Life is about aspiring to be more than we are.  No matter how happy and content we are with what we have, we always want something more.  Evolution tells us it’s the story of our past, the reality of life on Earth.  Religion teaches us it’s the story of the future, of our potential for life after death.  However the story goes, whatever the truth is, we don’t live so we can learn to stay in one place.

     

    Some of Stephen Monteith’s earliest influences, literary or otherwise, were epic fantasies.  You can read his own original fiction at Lulu.com.

     


  • Introductions, Not Origins: Wonder Woman

    WW (image credit - moviepilot.com)

     

    So, last October, there was a bit of a minor uproar on the Internet about Wonder Woman in the Zack Snyder-directed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; and, for once, it had nothing to do with her looks.  Charles Roven, a producer on the film, revealed a few details on Wonder Woman’s origins.  Whereas before, her origin was that she was made of clay and brought to life by the gods, now she’s the daughter of a god, a la the New 52 storyline.  How will this factor into her origin movie in 2017?  Honestly, I hope it doesn’t factor in at all.

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  • You May Have Missed This: Space Raiders

    space-raiders

    A few months ago, my Late Night Movie friends and I watched was an obscure 1983 science fiction film called Space Raiders.  Now, technically, this film was directed by Howard Cohen but, from the first frame, it was obviously a Roger Corman film.  It was also a lot of fun.

    Space Raiders takes place in the distant future, at a time when intergalactic corporations have colonized planets with sullen children and space criminals spend their spare time hanging out in dank space stations.  From the minute the film opens with a scene of robots doing menial labor in a factory while a the factory foreman assures the human workers that the next company picnic will take place on a planet where it doesn’t rain, there’s little doubt that the main message of Space Raiders is that the future sucks.

    10 year-old Peter (David Mendelhall) lives on the planet of Proycon III (which, if nothing else, is a great name for a planet).  Neglected by his wealthy parents and apparently being the only child on Proycon III, Peter spends his spare time sneaking into robot-filled factories and capturing space bugs.  That’s what Peter is doing when he witnesses a daring raid by a group of — wait for it — space raiders!  Led by the surly but kind-hearted Hawk (Vince Edwards), the raiders steal a spaceship from the factory.  What they don’t realize is that Peter (and the bug that he had just captured seconds before the raid) has stowed away on the ship.

    At first, Hawk is not enthusiastic about Peter being on the ship and Peter just wants to get home.  However, as the space raiders deal with both intergalactic cops and alien gangsters, Hawk and the kid start to bond and Peter gets to know the rest of the crew.

    Now, to be honest, the majority of Hawk’s crew were pretty interchangeable but my friends and I quickly decided that our favorite was the one that we named Capt. Forehead (played by Thom Christopher).  Capt. Forehead was an alien who had psychic powers and who carried himself with the wounded dignity of a head waiter having a bad night.  It was hard not to like him.

    captain-forehead

    Anyway, Peter’s parents want their son back and, since they work for an evil corporation, they have no problem hiring evil mercenaries to get their son back.  It all leads to a lot of people shooting lasers at each other and exploding spaceships.

    Now, honestly, we can get all technical and picky about whether or not the plot of Space Raiders made any sense or whether or not any of the actors gave good performances.  We can even talk about the logic of the scene where Peter –upon realizing that Hawk is on a different spaceship than him — responds by attempting to yell, “HAWK!” across the far reaches of space.

    But you know what?

    That’s missing the point.

    In the way that only a low-budget science fiction film produced by Roger Corman can be,Space Raiders was a lot of fun.  The movie moved quickly, the aliens were fun to look at, and the special effects were charmingly cheap.  Flaws and all, Space Raiders had more humanity than Man of Steel, more humor than Gravity, and it was a lot shorter than Avatar.

    And best of all, you can watch it for free on YouTube, just by clicking on this link!

    Space Raiders

    Lisa Marie Bowman is writer, dancer, and watcher.  You can read more of her work at Through the Shattered Lens, Horror Critic, Big Brother Blog, Survivor Blog, SyFyDesigns, and Praxis Magazine.


  • You May Have Missed This: Mystery Science Theater 3000

    It’s Space Opera Month at Fourth-day, a genre with aliens, planets, moons, asteroids, stars, exploration, and the occasional war.  From time to time, we like to highlight important examples of the genre of the month that people may not have noticed.  While I’m sure plenty of you have heard of today’s example, you may not realize that it fits in the space opera genre; at least, it does in the last few seasons.  I’m talking, of course, about the hit sci-fi comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

     

    MysteryScienceTheater3000 (image credit - blastr.com)

    “Space…the…final frontier. These…are…the voyages…of…Babylon 5.”

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  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

    In anticipation for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 premiere, I spent my evenings reviewing The Hunger Games and Catching Fire films. I’ve already read the books several times over but needed a refresher on where we were at with the cinematic adaptation.

     

    I also couldn’t help but enjoy these hilarious musical parodies.

     

    The fancy clothing and glamour of The Capitol from the first two films was definitely left behind for this installment of the final chapter of The Hunger Games. We’re thrust into the totally foreign surroundings of District 13, run by President Coin (Julianne Moore). Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is struggling with PTSD, terrified that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been killed by The Capitol. She wants to be left alone, engulfed in her grief, but President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee, portrayed by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, are rushing her into the role of The Mockingjay.

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  • “Wonder Woman” Has a Director

    After Gal Gadot plays the first live-action version of Wonder Woman in 2016’s Batman v Superman, she’ll team up with director Michelle MacLaren to film the Amazon Princess’ first solo big screen adventure, currently set for a June 23, 2017 release date.

     

    Gadot-MacLaren

    You don’t want to mess with these women.

     

    Like Gadot herself, MacLaren is mostly untested, at least with movies.  She’s been confined, so far, to directing television episodes and TV movies which, while beloved by fans, are much different from directing a full-length blockbuster film that may or may not include a fair amount of CGI and practical effects.  Still, MacLaren has a history in sci-fi circles, serving as a co-executive producer on The X-Files for two years and directing several highly-regarded episodes of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.  The challenges of directing Wonder Woman will undoubtedly be different, but with Zack and Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven producing, she’ll have all the help she needs.  Maybe she and the former soldier-action movie star can show Hollywood (and not a few fanboys) what a pair of wonderful women they can be.

     

    Stephen Monteith is delighted by this news, and eagerly awaits more news about the expanding DC Cinematic Universe.  You can read his original fiction at Lulu.com.


  • New Episodes 11/22/2014 (Cracked/Cinema Sins Crossover, Honest Trailers, and More)

    There’s kind of a “girl power” thing going on in some of these videos.  In others, it’s definitely a “destroy things” vibe.  In other words, it’s entirely appropriate for the weekend that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 reaches theaters:

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  • Villains: Suicide Squad

    suicide_squad___logo_by_mrsteiners-d70de8s

     

    This is the second in a series of editorials about comic book movie elements, using the DC movie schedule as an outline.  Last week’s article was about heroes, using Batman v Superman to explore the nature of heroism, as we hope the movie itself does.  Today, we’re going to discuss villains, using the 2016 movie Suicide Squad as a (possible) example of how a movie can be all bad guys, no good guys.

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  • After the Movie: Interstellar

    Interstellar Beyond Time and SpaceI posted my review of Christopher Nolan’s space opera Interstellar earlier today, and if I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be “epic”.  If you’ve seen the movie, then you know what I mean; if you haven’t, then go see.  Either way, after having seen the movie, you should read Mark Cotta Vaz’s behind the scenes book, Interstellar: Beyond Time and Space.

     

    BTaS is a fascinating look at all the work that went into the making of what may become known as the most original sci-fi movie of our time.  Early work on the story was done by science advisor and executive producer Kip Thorne as far back as 2006.  Steven Spielberg was originally attached to direct, but Nolan was already interested in the project since his brother Jonathan was helping write the script.  The Nolan brothers’ early fascination with space travel is noted in the book, along with pages and pages of insights into this brilliant movie.

     

    Christopher Nolan wrote the Foreword, in which he relates the influence movies like Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey had on him from the first times he saw each in theaters.  The “making of” materials were particularly influential, as they inspired his later use of practical special effects in his movies over CGI.  Indeed, the book later mentions that VFX supervisor Paul Franklin estimated Interstellar to have just under 700 CGI shots.  For comparison, earlier this year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was estimated to have around 2500 CGI shots.  Yes, the Marvel Studios movie this year that didn’t feature a talking tree and raccoon pair still had about three and a half times as many visual effects as a movie in outer space with a wormhole, a black hole, and three alien planets.

     

    I’m not saying TWS didn’t need all those shots, necessarily, but it’s a testament to what Nolan can and is determined to accomplish.  Not only are he and his brother deeply interested in space travel, but their almost reverence for science fiction is inspiring by itself.  As Nolan puts it:

     

    We wanted to live up to the great science fiction of the past, and add our own chapter to this epic book from storytellers who have tried to imagine where we might go and what might be out there.

     

    In his quest, as I mentioned, he is guided by professor of theoretical physics Kip Thorne, who wrote the Introduction for the book and was involved in nearly every aspect of production.  In my review, I noted that some scientists had problems with the finished product, but Prof. Thorne notes the pains they all went to from the start to preserve “function over style”.  Nolan, he notes, “has remarkable intuition” about science, and Academy Award-winning actors Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway impressed him with their “smarts…dedication…and wide-ranging curiosity” about the subjects their characters know by heart.  Even Michael Caine’s character, he suspects, is based directly on himself.  And, he notes with a detectable amount of joy, Interstellar is “the first Hollywood movie ever to accurately depict black holes and wormholes and their environments.”

     

    Who'd've believed a black hole could look so beautiful?

    Who’d’ve believed a black hole could look so beautiful?

     

    And virtually all these insights come out before you even finish the Introduction.  In the book itself, you see fantastic concept art brought to life in imaginative ways.  There are interviews with production staff and actors, including the aforementioned McConaughey and Hathaway.  It’s an incredible read, and you should look for it in bookstores; very soon after you’ve seen the movie.

     

    Stephen Monteith is often found in bookstores after he sees movies, for one reason or another.  Someday, you’ll see his own books in stores.  For now, you can read them online at Lulu.com.



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