Science Fiction Thursday: 'Pacific Rim 2: Shirtless Jax Boogaloo,' 'Dragonriders of Pern,' and Joe Abercrombie
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Science Fiction Thursday: 'Pacific Rim 2: Shirtless Jax Boogaloo,' 'Dragonriders of Pern,' and Joe Abercrombie

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | July 31, 2014 | Comments ()

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Did you see the trailer for Interstellar yet? Do that. It’s in a separate post so it gets the exposure it deserves, because damned if that’s not what movies are meant to be as far as I’m concerned, but in spirit it’s in this column. Because it is the epitome of science fiction and today, indeed, is the holy Thursday of that order.

Pacific Rim was one of the most wonderfully fun movies of the last few years. It made not one bit of goddamned sense, but it was senseless in that sort of charming eye wink of a way that drags you back to when you were playing with giant robots in the canyons and gullies of your back yard. There’s a line I think, where you have to admit that something is fantasy and not science fiction. It’s hairsplitting to some, but there are things with robots and lasers and the trappings of science fiction that at their hearts are all fantasy. And they work.

In any case, Pacific Rim 2: Shirtless Jax Boogaloo is already in the early stages. And although del Toro has managed to drop essentially every project he’s been attached to for the last decade, the fact that he managed to squeeze the first film out seems to my hopeful mind to be evidence he’ll stick with the second. He says the script will be done next month, and had this to say:

We start designing in three weeks. We get the first draft of the screenplay in three weeks; Zak Penn and I are co-writing and then there’s a long, long, long journey of drafts and design. It took nine months to design “Pacific Rim”; it will take nine months or more to design the second one. We start scouting for the movie in the summer next year, July, and then we start shooting in November. Then it’s a long year of post after we wrap and we’ll probably be showing the movie in January/February 2017 to test audiences …

No, it’s all over the world this time. I want it to be different enough to the first one that you don’t feel you’re seeing the same movie. I’m doing a little more location-oriented stuff, there are night battles, but there are also daylight battles. The things we do in the action scenes is very different from the first one. We are expanding the mythology of the Anteverse. We are taking the characters into a completely different journey this time because Raleigh for me solved his problem the minute he was able to go full circle and save Mako by sacrificing himself, which is what he couldn’t do with his brother. He’s not on that journey anymore, he’s on a new journey.

(source: Blastr)

This next bit of news takes me back to used bookstore paperbacks: Warner Brothers has just optioned the entire 22 volume Dragonriders of Pern series. They’re wonderful books, the sorts that people of the time devour and then sadly they sit stale on old bookshelves as new generations come along and never even see them. The top tier stuff sticks, but the second tier fades in cultural memory like polaroids left in the sun. It’s not specific to science fiction and fantasy, but a universal sort of sadness. But I’m sure that Warner will do a fantastic and loyal job of retelling those stories, and didn’t just cynically snap it up to throw a low budget hail mary at the Game of Thrones crowd’s love of dragons. Perish the thought.

(source: Deadline)

In print news, there was a new Joe Abercrombie book released two weeks ago, and no one told me, so you’re all dead to me. Half a Kingis a new trilogy set in a new world from his previous novels. Dead to me.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • wonkeythemonkey

    My sequel idea (prediction?) With the kaiju threat eliminated, the world's governments turn on their own people leading to a brutal global dictatorship enforced by evil jaeger (are their pilots called "jaegermeisters"?)

    Charile Day and some of the survivors from the first movie are waging a small rebellion against the regime. It's not going well until they discover a clutch of eggs near the site of the last kaiju battle. Charlie learns that his jaeger training enables him to form a psychic link with the newly-hatched kaiju. He uses this ability to lead a kaiju army against the forces of evil and their giant robots.

    I swear that started as tongue-in-cheek, but I totally want to see that movie now.

  • googergieger

    First Law dude? Hasn't it been downhill since? Currently I am "re-reading"(book on tape) The Dark Tower series. Cause I read way too many random scifi/fantasy in the span of two months, that I'm kind of burnt out on new stuff.

  • Downhill? Red country is the best yet.

  • googergieger

    Don't remember it. Might be I haven't read it yet. Again though a bit burnt out at the moment.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Hmmm, I loved the Pern books. Though I don't look forward to the rape discussions after Ramoth's first flight.

  • mzblackwidow

    exactly :\ can't be adapted without people's heads exploding.

  • mzblackwidow

    The Pern series is not second tier. Nor is it anything like GoT. There is no one female protagonist so I have no clue who the Mary Sue is supposed to be. There are many main characters, all interesting, all different. The world is built to perfection, enough to imagine it, not so much that we know the shade of blue in the sky every time a new chapter starts.
    I first read them in my early 30s and in the past 20 years have reread countless times. Many other McCaffrey series are almost as enjoyable.
    I don't want them to make a tv show or movie. Most of the relationship between each dragon and their rider is internal. They share thoughts - not exactly something that can be done for MOST conversations in a story. Leave the books in peace. Like (almost) all Stephen King books, they should not be adapted.

  • Glory

    I assumed they meant Lessa - she is one of the more prominent female characters in the first handful of books anyway.
    I liked how homosexuality isn't even mentioned, your mate is just your mate and pretty much everyone was awesome.

  • FireLizardQueen

    Lessa is not a Mary Sue though, she's great in Dragonflight but downright unlike-able in other books.

  • mzblackwidow

    I assumed that too, then I wondered if I had misunderstood the Mary Sue reference made about so many female fictional characters. I thought it meant sweet innocent needing to be rescued. I can't think of many females less like that description than Lessa haha.

    Agreed about the gender thing also :) Your dragons mated, you mated, no big deal.


  • I was loaned three or four of the first Pern books some years ago.

    I read them all, and hated the fuck out of 'em.

    Maybe I was too old; or maybe having read Robin McKinley (totally awesome and believable female protagonists!) and the Earthsea trilogy ruined the Pern books for me.

    I know they have millions of fans who love them..but I just don't get it. There's just page after page of boring-ass descriptions, practically nothing happened, the protagonist was a transparent Mary Sue and the sex stuff was just...really disturbing.

    Maybe one of you fans can help me out?

  • BlackRabbit

    Yeah, I read them hoping they would get better as I progressed, by they really didn't. I guess I wasn't able to look at them "objectively." And characters didn't seem to have too much gray. I don't know, maybe I just felt like there wasn't much depth.

  • Salieri2

    Love Robin McKinley's published works, esp Deerskin.

  • mzblackwidow

    me too, especially Sunshine. Also love all McCaffery's series. They aren't mutually exclusive.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ursula LeGuin is my absolute favorite. But I do like Pern (they are rather different, but I enjoyed that the series morphed from fantasy to sci-fi.)

  • APOCooter

    Oh, Dragonriders of Pern. I loved those books when I was in junior high. Right up there with Xanth, Dragonlance, and Drizzt D'Urden. Sadly (at least in the case of Dragonlance and Drizzt), they do not hold up well at all.

  • BWeaves

    The Pacific Rim #2: West Coast Toilet Seat

  • narfna

    I read Half a King all in one go last weekend and it was bloody fantastic. Just so you know.

  • I haven't read it yet but I totally mentioned it's upcoming release in a SFT comment weeks ago so I better not be dead to you!

    Also mentioned (and will re-mention) that Mark Lawrence's Prince of Fools came out a few weeks ago and it's also bloody fantastic.

    PS. My "amazing books to read this summer" pile is getting alarmingly high and topply. It's like an embarrassment of riches.

  • narfna

    Also, books two and three are both coming out next year, and in the publishing world, that's practically instant gratification!

  • Dulce et Banana

    Given no one else has mentioned the header graphic, I can only assume I'm the only one who sees it. That would mean I probably shouldn't have eaten that expired yogurt for breakfast this morning.

    Before things start to sound green and taste yellow, I hereby request Peter Jackson not come within 300mi of the Pern script writers: I will not live long enough for a set of films that require a total of 50yrs to release.

  • emmalita

    You are not the only one to see the header. I was going to protest the lack of information about Sir Patrick Stewart and his Mohawks, but then I realized I was just happy to see the picture.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Man, I haven't read a Dragon Riders book since I was twelve. I a so fucking old.

  • emmalita

    I share that last sentiment.

  • The Butt

    Besides the fact that the whole 3rd act was jacked from "Independence Day," I enjoyed Pacific Room.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    This seems like a good place to reference my favorite snarky criticism of Pacific Rim, from the wonderful "Abridged Movie Script" (

    "We're going to revert to our most primitive technology, and build a giant wall. This way the Pacific can gradually fill up with huge rampaging monsters and everything will be fine."

  • emmalita

    But, don't you think that's a strong possibility if kaiju actually showed up? Considering the way our governments deal with a myriad of problems I'd be surprised if a wall wasn't a big part of the solution.

  • eskiimomo

    The wall was one of the major changes to the original script that irked me. If it were a highly militarized wall, Attack on Titan-style, that would have been better. But simultaneously scrapping the mech thing just to graft on a "one last mission" trope was a pretty silly break in logic in a universe where I was happy to accept Charlie Day, Interdimensional Monster Whisperer.

  • emmalita

    It was definitely rediculous, but there was so little internal logic I just whatevered it and hoped for another kaiju/jaeger fight.

  • Sassy Pikachu

    As my friend said when we watched that scene: "well, they are illegal aliens... Just bigger, so you need a bigger wall."

  • I'm hoping/praying they do right by Pern. I love those books (well, the good ones. Some are complete shite) and I want a movie soooooo bad.

  • nailpolishcolor

    PACIFIC RIM 2: The Pacificing OMGGGGGG
    Godzilla and Pacific Rim are filling my monster needs. so excited.

  • emmalita

    I hope they do a good job with the Pern series. I read the books published before 1987, and they were a big part of my teen years. It's an interesting world.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I loved the gradual reveal of the back story - that these stories took place during historically important times for this worrld. I loved that the world had NO religion - no faux pagan rituals. I even loved that in the settlement stories female officers were called "sir."

  • emmelemm

    Ditto. The problem was that when those books were really popular (80s/early 90s?), the technology to do the CGI dragons just wasn't there, and if they'd tried to make an adaptation it would have been clunky and silly and disappointing.

    Now, the technology is here (actually, I think Reign of Fire was where I went, OK, now they could totally do Pern), but we have Game of Thrones, so it's a bit of a moot point.

    Still, I hope they do it well. Respect my childhood!

  • John W

    The great make up artist Dick Smith passed away. He worked on movies like The Exorcist and The Godfather. People like Rick Baker (American Werewolf In London) mentored under him before going on to become great make up artists in their own right.

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    last saturday I bought a great Fiat Multipla from bringing in $6690 recently
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