Ten years of Firefly

First of all, let me apologize in the name of Grab them! for the lack of updates. We've been really busy the last two months, first preparing and then executing an epic journey around the UK. So there's that.

It's September 20th. Today marks the tenth anniversary of the premiere of Firefly in the US. Ten years of a series that lasted only 14 episodes and was cancelled because of bad calls on the part of the TV executives. A series that has one of the most loyal fanbases ever.

So, fellow browncoats, keep flying. They can't take the sky from us.


Epic: An anthology of epic fantasy

I read in Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews, that Tachyon Publications is publishing an epic fantasy anthology this November. Epic, as it will be called, will consist on 17 short stories by some of the most influential contemporary fantasy writers, compiled by John Joseph Adams.

Even the cover is epic.

These stories will be:

Foreword by Brent Weeks

"Homecoming" by Robin Hobb
"The Word of Unbinding" by Ursula K. Le Guin
"The Burning Man" by Tad Williams
"As the Wheel Turns" by Aliette de Bodard
"The Alchemist" by Paolo Bacigalupi
"Sandmagic" by Orson Scott Card
"The Road to Levinshir" by Patrick Rothfuss
"Rysn" by Brandon Sanderson
"While the Gods Laugh" by Michael Moorcock
"Mother of All Russiya" by Melanie Rawn
"Riding the Shore of the River of Death" by Kate Elliott
"The Bound Man" by Mary Robinette Kowal
"The Narcomancer" by N. K. Jemisin
"Strife Lingers in Memory" by Carrie Vaughn
"The Mad Apprentice" by Trudi Canavan
"Otherling" by Juliet Marillier
"The Mystery Knight" by George R. R. Martin

As you can see there are a lot of big names there. Of those stories I have only read "While the Gods Laugh", by Michael Moorcock, starring my favourite albino prince with a dark runeblade, Elric of Melniboné.

Epic is due this November and will be available both in paper and e-book format (MOBI, ePub, pdf).

Ant the to-read pile increases...

Some E3 trailers

God of War Ascension

Assassin's Creed 3


Elder Scrolls Online

Star Wars: 1313


90 years is nothing...

Today is great Sir Cristopher Lee's 90th birthday. From here, we, his minions, admire him more than ever and wish him (and us) a lot more years of success and total awesome badassery.

(I could have chosen thousand photos of such a prolific actor, but I think this is his most representative character in our geeky world)


Comic review: Dungeons & Dragons (IDW)

So, to take my mind off the fact that Diablo 3 is out and my computer is old as dirt and I could not get a new one yet, I will write the first of a series of comic reviews. This installment is about a comic that has been around for a while, but it's amazing and I don't think it has the attention it deserves. I'm talking about IDW Publishing's ongoing Dungeons & Dragons series. The series itself consists on different sub-series, so to speak: two ongoing series and some limited series (one of them by R.A. Salvatore - guess who's in it?). The one I'll talk about is the first of the ongoing series.

D&D tells the adventures of a ragtag, unlikely group of wisecracks from different races that can't spend half an hour together without making cruel fun of each other, all while keeping their secrets and trying to make a living as mercenaries. Sounds familiar? This band is led by Human Fighter Adric Fell, a veteran from the last war, now out of a job and trying to run a small mercenary company. He is joined by Elf Ranger Varis, an odd elf, who has a love for "pubs and song and buildings and cats" incompatible with his people and seems to be keeping quite a few things to himself, and by Khal Khalundurrin, Dwarf Paladin of Moradin and poet, out to prove himself worthy of his god and of his loved one's kin, of an upper social status than his. Together with Halfling Rogue Bree Three-Hands, who is everything a rogue should be in all aspects, good and bad, they welcome a new member to their team: a Tiefling Warlock named Tisha Swornheart, a powerful and secretive woman who is in a quest to find her parent's muerderer. Issue #0 tells of this last meeting near Fallcrest (where else?) and how the team passes to be called from Fell's Four to Fell's Five. Issue #1 begins to tell the first storyarc, Shadowplague, that spans for 5 issues.

At first sight it might seem quite stereotypical, but it is far from just a bunch of cookie cutter characters in a generic medieval fantasy environment. If you have ever played D&D you'll recognize some situations: your DM tells you you've been knocked unconscious and you wake up and when you ask what you see they tell you you are hanging upside down and all you can do is yell "Oh, come on!". Well, this is Adric's reaction in one of the issues. These characters are not part of a game, but you will find yourself thinking "This happened to me once!" a lot of times. The creators really took it to great lenghts to make you feel what you are reading really is Dungeons & Dragons, not just regular fantasy.

Writer John Rogers brings us charismatic characters, both the titular characters and the support cast, and the story jumps from adventure to adventure in the same fashion a D&D game does. But I think it is the dialogs that make this comic so enjoyable. The adventurers take every opportunity to poke fun into each other, even in the most unlikely moments. The characters speak in a very modern way, with modern idioms and expressions, which might put you off a bit at first, specially if you have a classic fantasy background. But if you keep in mind that what you're reading is "common", not English and the characters address each other in a rather rough, informal manner, then you'll end up getting used to it. Adric's first person narration is also witty and fun to read.

I love that elf

The main artist (there are a lot of guest artists and guest cover artists) is Italian Andrea Di Vito, who gives the characters unique characteristics and detail. The colours are amazing too and each issue comes in several different covers, many of them resembling a D&D manual.

A series I really enjoy and recommend.


Happy Diablo III Day!!!

I'll play a Demon Hunter as soon as I have my hardware in condition. How 'bout you?


Review: Avengers

Ever since the hint at the end of the amazing Iron Man film planted the seed of a possible Avengers movie in the future, expectation has been growing greater and greater. Then the project became a reality, and the comic geeks out there rejoiced at the announcement of Joss Whedon as the director. The stakes were huge: probably the most ambitious superhero movie to the date, led by a director/writer known for his clever plots, unique vision and first hand experience in comic books. It just had to be amazing.

Fortunately for all, Mr Whedon and his team lived up to their reputations and brought us what I can only describe as the single greatest superhero movie ever made. I'll keep this 100% spoiler free, so all I'll say about the plot itself is that Loki is back, hell bent on bringing the Earth down with the help of a powerful army from another world. So S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Nick Fury gathers the titular heroes to help him deal with them. But it's not all group hugs among them: these guys have their own visions, their own interests and their own attitudes, which makes Fury's task quite a difficult one, all with the clock ticking.

So what makes this film so awesome? Visually it is impeccable. Everything a high budget action film should be: full of detail, fast paced action scenes, believable special effects. The 3D is very well done as well. Eye candy all over. But as we know well, that does not guarantee a film's success. I think it is the script and the cast that has made me want to go see it again.

The cast is amazing. Most we know from previous films: Samuel L. Jackson has kicked up Nick Fury's already considerable badassery a few notches. Robert Downey Jr excels as Tony Stark, unapologetically smart, confident and arrogant. Chris Evans gives a new meaning to Lawful Good as Captain America. As he did in his own film, he makes the character so much more than just a super soldier. You can clearly see that his main power is not whatever the serum gave him but what he had all along. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) seems to have matured a bit since the last time we saw him. He is back on Earth with a goal and he will achieve it no matter what. Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner / The Hulk (or the other guy, as he refers to his greener, meaner side) in a way that makes both characters interesting. Banner is so haunted, so stressed you can tell by just looking at him. He is far from just standing there as a placeholder for the Hulk. And the Hulk, many writers make the mistake of portraying him as a dumb giant, while here he truly, really is an unstoppable rage monster.

Black Widow is back too, played by Scarlett Johanson. If you are familiar with Whedon's work you'll notice that he never fails to deliver strong female characters. She never falls into the “damsel in distress” role (that is, she needs no more rescuing than the rest of her teammates). She and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) both have no superhuman powers: they're just incredibly skilled. They share a strong bond between them, a “brothers in arms” sort of bond that works very well. He also has a very personal grudge against Loki. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is also back, a great character. You can't help but feeling sorry for him trying to get these superpowered superstars with egos as great as the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier to work together without tearing the place apart. And then there's Loki. Tom Hiddleston gives new life to the character. If you loved him in Thor, you'll love him even more here. Stellan Skarsgård, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany resume their roles and there is of course the ever present cameo by Stan Lee.

Ever from the moment the movie started I had the feeling I was watching a film made by one of us for the rest of us. Joss Whedon was given a great deal of creative freedom for this film, and it has worked amazingly. The whole film is full of hints at comic book culture and geek culture in general. I personally loved seeing Tony Stark wearing a Black Sabbath shirt for half the movie.

Avengers will entertain you whether you only know the characters from the previous films or you have been reading them for years. I enjoyed it from start to end. And the ending... it shall leave you breathless.


Sorry for the inconvenience... We are working for you!

We know it. It's a little bit silent lately in this blog.
Understand us, Game of Thrones starts on April 2nd.
That's all.

Over and out.


Trailer: Frankenweenie

And somewhere in between Brave and The Hobbit there is this. Enjoy.

Frankenweenie, by Tim Burton, opens October 5th in USA.


DC announces Watchmen prequels. Mixed feelings arise.

So after a lot of rumours DC Comics has finally confirmed a series of Watchmen prequels for this year. According to The Source the series will consist of:

-      RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
-      MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
-      COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
-      DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist:  Adam Hughes
-      NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
-      OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
-      SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner

Also the announcement states that:
Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

I... don't know what to think about this. Maybe it is because Watchmen is a masterpiece on its own. It has stood for 25 years as a reference and a must-read for comic fans. Maybe because there is a small part of my mind that makes me cringe every time I read the word prequel. Well told, a prequel can dig further into the characters' ideas and motivations, give us an insight on how they came to be where and who they were the moment the original story began. But they can also become a screw up of biblical proportions, and then return to haunt you in 3D.

On the other hand, the choices of writers and artists are quite promising. Big names all over. I'm sort of curious about the Minutemen issues. I always wondered how they worked as a group.

Alan Moore has expressed his dislike of the idea, while Dave Gibbons wished the new stoires well. So what do you think? I just hopes it works and doesn't end up like this:

The Gutters

Bonus: Because I can't discuss Watchmen without linking this:

Via: DC Women kicking ass
Full announcement by DC
Images via whatculture.com


The fantastic (and unexpected) world of Roller Derby.

In our pursuit of the fantastic and the unexpected, we don't only sit behind our computers orshield ourselves with our books, but we go for it and take it. That's why I practice Roller Derby, almost a year now, a fantastic (and unexpected) sport, if possible. And last Saturday, I attended my first bout, at Sheffield City, right here, round the corner.

Hereby given, my impressions on the matter...

For an early start, gates opened at 1, so, as we live 2 hours away from the place, and my coach was playing in one of the teams, we set off at 9 in the morning. Temperature: 1 degree. So I grabbed whatever warm cloth I had and there I went, with other 3 girls from my team, to defy the road... half asleep in the back seat.

I was really surprised by the venue where the bout was taking place. To be honest, I thought it was going to be some sort of big depot, or football club, with high metal ceiling (and almost frozen, to speak the truth). But oh noes, an amazing sport centre, with everything and heating!!! (which I thanked for the whole day, believe me). The theme of the day was "Murder in the flat track express". Everything in some sort of 1940's England environment, with jazz music, people dressed in the fashion of the era, Poirot picture included. Awesome!!!

And this is what I like the most in roller derby: the people. Let's say that the sport itself is not the most tender and sweet of sports, more exactly, some sort of mosh on wheels, where the objective is to throw the opposite team into the deepest abyss of hell, by hip checking them. Nevertheless, the contenders, the audience and collaborators they all embrace in some sort of "derbyan" family (if the neologism is permitted). Everybody helps everybody, there are smooches and hugs, smiles and the odd joke about their favourite teams, but all of that in the best of vibes. The famous derby love. In every training session, scrimmage, bout, we break our noses and rip our thighs, yeah, but after 15 minutes we are all together eating cake. The whole day was like that.

The first bout, where my coach was playing, was real tense and warlike. In fact, it ended 109 - 110 to Tyne and Fear, and me eating my nails and so shaky I couldn't even make an update in our team's group. All of this, from our "suicide seats", just next to the line that separates the track area from the rest of the venue, so it's very possible to have a skater flying right to you face. in any moment of the bout. But, hey! THAT adds up in adrenaline. I got my first derby crush on Jammie Dodger, the jammer for The Inhuman League (where Benni Lugosi, our team's coach was playing), a cute and deadly little man who passed everyone like a lighting and left every blocker wondering what happened. That, and the fact that Benni stepped in our shoes (sorry, skates), going out there on track and living it, not just coaching from the outside, was outstanding to my eyes. Our team lost (and I mean "our" because we were there cheering for him), but just for one point. And we won a competing coach.

The girls bout, Sheffield Steel Roller Girls vs Big Buck High Rollers, wasn't as tense as the other but very entertaining, with good moves and tactics. The BBHR won 144 - 113. I had the chance to learn a lot, observing both teams, strategies, communication, situations, everything.

It was a real long day, but an awesome one. The second bout ended, and some voting was in order, for the best players. Then raffles, derby love, coffee and cake, more derby love, a Lego bout, even more derby love, farewells and goodbyes, and as such said Mickey Mouse, everybody to their house..

I hope to write soon, about how a bout is from the inside, I mean competing.

As it is said here, Loves and Shoves.

La Vikinga, writing today as Stomp Trooper #777 of H.A.R.D. (Hulls Angels Roller Dames)

Links to the teams:
H.A.R.D. Hulls Angels Roller Dames
Sheffield Steel Roller Girls
The Inhuman League
Tyne and Fear
Big Buck High Rollers

Lego LOTR minifigs

Look at them! I mean LOOK AT THEM! I want them all. I wonder if there will be more figures, of the likes of Saruman, Galadriel, Éomer and the Rohirrim, etc.

Via: pretty much everywhere: Geekologie, The Daily What, Forever Geek, Dragonadas Varias


Rock on, girls!

Last week we saw Juliet's amazing video of her singing about how much she loves her dog and her fishes, which is what 8 year old metallers consider as something larger-than-life and worthy to sing about. That and dinosaurs. Now we bump across this awesome girl's guitar skills. Can we safely assume that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the future is safe?

Here's Zoe playing her guitar:

And Juliet's first hardcore song:

Via: WIN!

*Note: As we grow old, metalheads add things to our larger-than-life list, but our love for our pets stays right on top. Dinosaurs too.


Some thoughts on internet freedom

Unless you have been living under a rock you know why today Wikipedia, Google and other major sites are either blacked out or display messages about the SOPA and PIPA legislations.

Other places will explain better than me why these laws are just plain wrong. This is not about piracy, this is about censorship, about freedom of speech, of equal access to information. If these bills pass things like what we do here will be impossible. User interaction will be almost inexistant. Imagine if your site could be shut down beause someone in the comments section posted an image belonging to whatever corporation. That is not the internet we want. That is putting economic interests before freedom and search for knowledge. And will do nothing against piracy. The only way to effectively combat piracy is to revisit those outdated business models corporations seem to be clinging to.

The internet is a tool without precedents in the history of mankind. It has given people a means to express themselves, to learn, to share and keep in touch with one another. Bad things have come with it, too, and they should be addressed, but not that way. And other threats, like detecting and stopping pedophile networks,  should be addressed first.

Wheteher you are in the USA, or, like us are somewhere else, this concerns you.

The Fantasy Reader profile

As you probably know by now, your fabulous geek girl hosts read pretty much anything that they can get their hands on, with emphasis on fantasy literature. The reason for this might be subject of another post. Maybe. But the thing is, we have often found that we are not alone in our quest. Phil, from the fantasy literature blog A Fantasy Reader (check it out if you haven't) has recently used the answers to his various polls to shape a fantasy reader's profile.

According to his research, the fantasy readers:

  •     like to read epigraphs at the start of a chapter
  •     are a minority who also listen to audiobooks
  •     were introduced to the genre by Tolkien's work
  •     prefer series over stand alone novels
  •     like to have maps included in their books
  •     have bought at least one book for the cover alone
  •     do not finish all the books they pick up
  •     don't read extract before reading a novel
  •     have a backlog of at least 25 to 50 books
  •     read 25 to 40 books a year
  •     like completely original but simple names for their characters
  •     read only one novel at a time
  •     don't think they should diversify their reading habits from the usual genre
  •     already read e-books and if they don't it's because of the loss of physical book feeling
  •     are not influenced by author quotes when buying a book
  •     would like to see their favorite author write a sequel instead of a new idea
  •     read the same novel more than once on occasions
  •     would mostly like to see The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie made for TV
  •     don't wait for a series to be completed to start reading it
  •     don't watch book trailers
  •     are not embarrassed of reading Fantasy publicly
  •     are also reading YA novels
  •     think that the prodigal youngsters in Fantasy are too young

I think it quite hit the spot for me. I do not listen to audiobooks, though, and I'm not really into YA, with a few exceptions. I haven't read The First Law series either, but whatever brings more fantasy to TV is fine with me. Well made, of course, not another Earthsea shipwreck.

So what do you think?

Link: Original post by Phil


Ta'veren Tees succeeds at awesome and gender fairness

So one day I picked up a copy of The Eye of the World. And nothing was ever the same for me. But I'm not here today to speak about Robert Jordan's epic, which will come to an end this year by the pen of Brandon Sanderson. I'm here to talk about the official T-shirt line based on the Wheel of Time series: Ta'veren Tees, and why they're awesome.

First of all, they are made by people who really care about the series. It's not like some guy slapped a log on a T-Shirt and began to sell it. The shirts are well designed and well made. Currently there are over 10 designs to choose from (which is a lot - I almost had to resort to my lucky d20 to pick one) and they're hinting at more and some other items as well (Mat's hat please, let it be Mat's hat).

I love this shirt.

But one thing got my attention: ladies sizes availability. Pretty much all of the shirts come both in men and women sizes and cuts, except for some designs that refer to gender-specific components of the story. Even so, they are balanced. That is a lot, considering that most T-Shirt shops, whether online, physical, booths outside a concert, etc. nowadays have several awesome designs for men and one or two (if any) "girlie" alternatives which are way less attractive. It is great we are being considered as an equally important part of the fandom than men.

The Light illumine you, Ta'veren Tees! Keep up the amazing work.

Link: Ta'veren Tees site


Deathwing cake

My birthday's more than a month away, so my family has plenty of time to make me a cake like this:

This awesome Deathwing cake was made by a very skilled lady member of WoW guild Molten Core Swim Club to celebrate their recent ownage of a certain former Earth-Warder turned Worldbreaker. Me, I'm still so poorly geared I haven't even come close to his backyard. And in a whole year he hasn't burned me even once!

Via: The Daily What