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“When you cease to fear death the rules of war change.”
     -- Shel-la

The narrative of the first season of DS9, and it’s a point I’ve made over and over and will likely continue to make, is the writers trying to understand the kinds of stories they can tell within the format of the show.  Eventually, they’ll learn that DS9 is the great paradox of Trek shows: to work within the format, they have to break that same format, and we’ll end up with some of the most bracing, fascinating, and, yes, dark storytelling the franchise has ever seen.  With this first season, the writers are stumbling around, flirting with various elements that will grow to define the series, and many that will get mercifully abandoned.  To their credit, they recognize when something is working and when something isn’t (Haven’t heard from Primmin lately, have we?), and developing the show in that direction.  This week’s episode, “Battle Lines,” is nearly recognizable as the series I love.

"Welcome to Best Buy, what type of music do you like? Can I suggest some bands for you?"

Words you well never hear.

Let's assume for this article that J.C. stands for "Jaded Curmudgeon." Even if you were to shop for music at a store that doesn't require employees to wear name tags (assuming you want to leave the house and get a physical format), the best you may get would be a friendly, "Are you finding everything all right?" How can you find what you're looking for if you don't know what it is? You want something new that fits your tastes, but trying to describe it to someone who doesn't care about music is a bust. Maybe I can help.

“Did you like it?” He asked her.
“Am I supposed to?”
“I don’t know.” Mike said.
“Well, I did like it. I like it fine.”

This bit of dialogue comes from writer Ivan Infante’s new e-book, False Ransom: The First Mike Chance Novel, and takes place between the lead character, conman and bruiser Mike Chance, and the fugitive daughter of a local mob boss immediately after she has shot a man to death . . . an experience that is a first for her. While this smidge of Infante’s story may not seem like much on its own, it perfectly captures the dark tone, moral ambiguity and subtle sexiness of False Ransom, while also conveying the emotional turmoil readers will experience in this tight and suspenseful page turner. At first, it’s an acquired taste, perhaps a little more harsh and cynical than most are used to, but once you get accustomed to the flavor, trust me, you’ll like it. You’ll like it fine.


In the latest installment of L.A. Theatre Works’ syndicated radio theater series, Sherlock Holmes fans will undoubtedly take great delight in the California premiere of The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring Seamus Dever (Castle), Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Goeffrey Arend (Super Troopers, 500 Days of Summer), which will take place from June 12-15, 2014, at the James Bridges Theatre on the UCLA campus. 

Daniel Corey (Moriarty) has a new comic published by Image and drawn by Mark Dos Santos called Red City and Issue #1 is a blast!  Merging science fiction and noir, this genre-bending comic follows Cal Talmage, a former homicide detective in Mars Central, as he tries to navigate the complexities of a politically unstable NSS (New Solar System) to find the missing daughter of the Ambassador of Mercury.  Mercury, Mars, Venus, each of these planets are now bustling worlds with their own species and political ambitions, yet when it comes to greed, lust, corruption, and war, they are all too human.  There is a Federal government trying to unify the disparate planets, and, just days before the signing of an important accord between Mercury and Venus, the daughter of the Mercurian Ambassador goes missing in Talmage’s old stomping grounds.  So, Talmage, imprisoned for running a black market operation while working as a Federal Security Officer, is plucked from his cell to locate and return the young woman.  From here on out, we get a classic noir story with an interplanetary twist. 

After Sundance 2014, I was ready to discuss my favorite films I had the pleasure of seeing and share my overall views on the festival, like usual. As my time in Park City, Utah, drew to a close, I’d begun compiling a list of movies I wanted to recommend to our FBC community.  It all seemed pretty straightforward.

Shortly thereafter, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away. My overall experience of the festival and the films I saw there, in particular the two he starred in (A Most Wanted Man and God’s Pocket), films that I watched alongside him in the theater, has now changed considerably.

The fourth and final (for now, at least) chapter in this tale of surveillance, paranoia, and ultimate power ends in an epic showdown for control of the city—which leaves much of the city in ruins by the end of it. Ben, our intrepid hero who can control all of San Francisco’s systems with his mind, faces an army of drones sent to bring him down. As the minds behind the entire surveillance experiment go after not only him, but also his friends, people he cares about, and innocent bystanders, Ben is all that stands between them and a total police state.

The last issue of Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT ended with a huge cliffhanger. Somehow, this issue advances the plot and reveals some interesting backstory while keeping the stakes high. This arc has been focused on the magician, Professor Agement, and the attempts by the two factions to recruit her. It is not going well for Lyme and company.

Ray Bradbury said, “Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself . . . Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done.”  And, in the first annual Sci-Fest, this important literary genre is celebrated on stage throughout the month of May.  Initially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sci-Fest boasts two full evenings (which alternate week to week) of mostly original one-act plays written, designed, directed, and starring many luminaries of some of the biggest science fiction properties on television.  Unique and engaging, Sci-Fest is not to be missed.  I was fortunate enough to see Program A, which featured 3 original one-acts pre-intermission and a longer Rad Bradbury story called "Kaleidoscope" afterwards. 

The great folks at OSSM Comics are promoting their upcoming title, Monomyth, by deeming today #MonomythMonday, and they have some fun and interactive ways for readers to contact their local comic shops to pre-order the comic book as the characters depicted in the story.  

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