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Previous News

'Star Wars' robots wouldn't survive the real world

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Beloved "Star Wars" robots wouldn't fare too well in the real-life desert, according to an analysis in the journal Science Robotics - but they may be onto something with their iconic beeping communication. The new monthly column by Texas A&M University roboticist Robin Murphy took as its first subject the beloved droids R2-D2 and BB-8, rolling robots that play a major role in "Star Wars."

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The ambitious project Hasbro is undertaking for Star Wars fans

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Throughout its franchise history, the Star Wars saga has innovated the way that movie tie-in products are created and marketed. But at the heart of all of those efforts has always been one important and overriding factor: fan satisfaction. It's what's motivated Hasbro to create their new HasLab initiative, a platform with the die-hard collector in mind.
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Willis' macabre and amusing science fiction classic

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How would we interact with those from the distant past?

By Yang Guo

How might one interact with people from the distant past if one were allowed to time travel there? This was the question posed by Connie Willis in her science fiction novel, The Doomsday Book. The novel is set in Oxford University, at around Christmas time, 2053.

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'Annihilation' is an unsettling science fiction fever dream

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Writer-director Alex Garland has said that his adaptation of Annihilation isn't a straightforward retelling of the book - instead, he's described it as "true to my subjective response to the novel."

That's a fair warning: The movie's details don't really match the book, which was written by Jeff VanderMeer. What carries over, however, is a sense of dread and unease; readers of the novel and watchers of the film will both feel a pervasive discomfort that they can't quite put their finger on.

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John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction Vortex #4 review: delightfully disgusting body horror

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The team at the mining facility is left reeling from the discovery of Sinclair, the young woman who was a part of Dixon's initial investigation team, still alive. The facility was left decompressed and vulnerable to the deathly cold of space after Dixon and Cheron escaped in the initial visit. Her survival should be impossible. Plus, there are communication problems between the mining facility and the space station.

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Science in pop culture

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What is first thing that you can think of about dinosaurs?

Where did you learn this information? Was it from a museum, a book, a documentary, or the internet? Or did you learn it from Jurassic Park? Maybe some other fictional depiction?

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Welcome to this week's StarWarrior 

Another mixed bag for you this week: I never knew Peaky Blinders' star Tom Hardy was a Stormtrooper like my dad was, and who knew Laura Dern made gunshot noises when she was filming? There's some more sci-fi reviews, and interestingly, an idea about why aliens look like us. Is it because we 'created' them (in TV and films at least)?

Enjoy the issue - see you next week. 

And if you have any related news you'd like to share, perhaps an upcoming Cosplay event, please let us know. Email: news@starwarrior.space

We really look forward to hearing from you.

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Thomas Austen
thomasausten@starwarrior.space


This Week's News

Why we imagine aliens the way we do

* Grey-aliens.jpgWhen you picture an alien, what do you see?

No one really knows what aliens look like, but we all have similar ideas about them. It's often a creature with a big head, long arms and legs, and big, buggy eyes. We see these common images of aliens depicted in movies, books, and on TV shows - which are made by us.

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The final frontier: how female directors broke into sci-fi

* Final-frontier.jpgCritical reactions to Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time may have been mixed, but there's no denying it is a cinema landmark. DuVernay is not just the first woman of colour to direct a $100m (£72m) movie, but a member of a very exclusive club - female directors of big-budget science fiction.

It is sobering to realise that Kathryn Bigelow's $42m sci-fi noir Strange Days was released nearly a quarter of a century ago. It was a resounding flop, which no doubt convinced studios that women should not be allowed to direct the genre at all.

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The 'Game Of Thrones' spinoff budgets plan to go big or go home

* GoT.jpgWith 'Game of Thrones' coming to a close in 2019, HBO is looking toward the future and what to do about the potential prequel spin-off shows which are in the works. While both the network and actors have confirmed that they wouldn't be reprising their roles, that doesn't mean we'll have a complete drop in the budget for these shows as the production costs alone will be huge. Thankfully, if HBO plays their cards right, they could potentially re-use some of their sets and filming locations to help cut costs.

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Watch Tom Hardy's very weird Star Wars: The Last Jedi deleted scene

* SW-scene.jpgTom Hardy's cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi has become the stuff of legend. It leaked well before the movie's release last year that the Peaky Blinders actor had filmed something for director Rian Johnson's sequel, apparently alongside John Boyega and surprise set visitors Princes William and Harry.

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Roundup of new science fiction and fantasy books, March 18

* Sci-fi-fantasy-books.jpgThere has been no shortage of Jane Austen-based literary mashups and sequels, from P.D. James' "Death Comes to Pemberly" to Seth Grahame-Smith's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Austen's novels provide a solid armature on which to hang a plot from another genre or time period.

John Kessel, author of "Corrupting Dr. Nice," arrives later to the party with his new novel, "Pride and Prometheus," but he benefits from having taken the time to develop an ingenious premise. A shorter version of the tale won the Nebula award for Best Science Fiction Novelette in 2009.

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Laura Dern said "pew" every time she fired her blaster in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

* Laura-Dern.jpgCharming evidence has emerged of Laura Dern saying "pew" every time she fired her blaster while filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

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The latest major 'Star Wars' game finally dropped its most controversial aspect - but it may be too late

* SW-game.jpg* Nearly six months after launch, "Star Wars Battlefront 2" is finally addressing its controversial "loot box" system.
* After an update scheduled for March 21, virtual prize boxes in "Battlefront 2" will only contain "credits or cosmetic items, such as emotes or victory poses, but nothing that impacts gameplay."
* When it launched in late 2017, "Battlefront 2" became the most egregious example of an ongoing trend where paid video games charged players extra money for so-called "loot boxes."

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Bestselling science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer talks Mary Shelley, the rise of Trump and what he'll be reading in 2030

* Robert-Sawyer.jpgRobert J. Sawyer is one of the bestselling science fiction writers of his generation - and he's from Toronto. He's the most decorated such writer in the country - being the only Canadian to win the sci-fi trifecta: Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell awards. The Star spoke to him about his latest honour, the Order of Ontario, science vs. fiction and Mary Shelley.

Science fiction can so often be inaccessible. Is part of the secret of your popularity that you can make people not only feel smarter because they can find a way into your work, but that they can be smarter cause they learn stuff?

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Celebrate Women's History Month with a science fiction focus - Telling My Stories: the pioneering fiction of Octavia E. Butler

* Octavia-Butler.jpgJoin Natalie Russell, Assistant Curator of Literary Collections at the Huntington Library and curator of the recent Huntington exhibition, Telling My Stories: The Pioneering Fiction of Octavia E. Butler, for a lecture in celebration of Women's History Month and in conjunction with the new exhibition Dreaming the Universe.

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York faculty member's first book is science fiction

* Kip-Trout.jpg"When I Opened My Eyes - The Dwovian Encounter" is a new science fiction book by Karl "Kip" P. Trout, a faculty member at Penn State York. Trout's book, released in late 2017, is a story about scientists on Earth struggling to save life on two planets from extinction.

A lecturer in mathematics and physics at the York campus, this is Trout's first book. He has taught at the campus since 1987, including courses in physics, mathematics and astronomy.

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Previous News

'The Flash' Review: "Subject 9"

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The focal point of the episode is Izzy Bowin. As with Ralph and the others DeVoe is after, she received her powers on that same bus incident. It just so happens that, as an aspiring musician, Izzy's powers would indeed be sound-based.

Her ability is that to control sound waves and fashion them as weapons. Barry and Ralph experience her power first-hand on their initial attempts to bring her into the fold. Used to being on her own, Izzy is strong-willed, fearless, and focused on making it big.

Full Story

'Annihilation' is fiction, but the science 'isn't bullshit': Alex Garland's scientific accuracy explained

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Doctor Adam Rutherford probably doesn't mean much to you, but if you're a fan of writer-director Alex Garland and his brand of challenging science-fiction, he should.

Garland's directorial efforts "Ex Machina" and "Annihilation" are two of the best reviewed sci-fi movies of the decade, and it turns out they owe a lot to Rutherford, a British geneticist who is Garland's trusted scientific adviser.

Full Story

'Orphan Black' creator boards 'Snowpiercer' as showrunner

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Extensive background in the sci-fi genre coupled with his brilliant work behind Orphan Black made him the perfect choice for this series. He is the best conductor to navigate the thought-provoking and delicate themes of the series while bringing this frozen, futuristic world to life."

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Best science fiction and fantasy books out this month

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The Feed (Morrow), Nick Clark Windo's debut, quickly establishes this is not your typical post-apocalyptic scenario. Readers are introduced to Tom and Kate, a couple living in the very near future; they are trying to establish dominance over the Feed, technology implanted in their brains that allows them instant access to social media and the Internet.

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3-D printed metal antennas are no longer science fiction

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The combination of so-called additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, electromagnetic simulation and mechanical design software is enabling innovative antenna and radio-frequency components. Engineers are harnessing these tools to design, fabricate, test and manufacture lightweight, highly complex antennas and radio-frequency products.

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Doctor Who' unveils a new logo

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This year's new season of 'Doctor Who' brings with it a new showrunner, new companions, and of course, a new Doctor. All told, it's the start of a new era for the venerable series, so what better time to introduce a new logo? And that's exactly what they've done.

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Joss Whedon departs 'Batgirl' film

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Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn't have a story. I'm grateful to Geoff (Johns) and Toby (Emmerich) and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I... uh, is there a sexier word for 'failed'?"

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Science fiction law - still reeling: Minority Report, sixteen years later

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Michigan Law Professor Nicholson Price is teaching an interesting seminar this semester merging science fiction and legal analysis. We agreed that his students should write blog posts and that I would publish the most worthy on Patently-O. The first post comes from Lauren Kimmel and is focused on stopping future crimes.

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20 stellar science fiction after effects templates

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We've assembled a collection of sci-fi After Effects templates most likely to induce awe and wonder and tried to pick ones that show a wide range of visual styles. 2017 was a banner year for science fiction and its popularity is at an all-time high.

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More rumours about what could be the next Star Wars show

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Get a brief teaser of Zachary Levi's Shazam appearance. Our first look at Terry Gilliam's long-awaited The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally here. Some familiar faces will be showing up in Legends of Tomorrow's season finale. Plus, more footage from Ash vs. Evil Dead's return, and new iZombie pictures. Spoilers now!

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