We at J For Jetpack get excited about a lot of things and each month there are a few things in particular that we just cannot wait to get our hands or ears or eyes on so we decided to share them with you:
Nine Worlds Convention
Nine Worlds is a brand new convention that has been created by lovers of genre with the backing of fans via Kickstarter. It’s happening THIS weekend and the JFJ Crew are going to be there! I’m so excited for this thing and what’s even cooler than just being there (for me anyway) is that I’m hosting a panel. Yippee! We are going to have a blast! There are so many awesome things happening at the convention from Game of Thrones dancing and panels and video games to My Little Pony (yeah I know…?) and cosplay. Man I love cosplay! This weekend is gonna rock!
Find out more about Nine Worlds here.
Lots of books
This month is a beauty for book lovers with brilliant things coming out every week. The 01 August alone (yes it’s in the past now but it’s still August) saw the release of Tom Pollock’s The Glass Republic (more on that from Celeste), Snorri Kristjansson’s Swords Of Good Men and Rich Ford’s excellent epic, Herald Of The Storm which was released in paperback.
But there are two debut books out this month that you simply must check out. They are Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human and The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd-Jones. I’ve been lucky enough to read both of them and I was totally blown away.
The Strings Diaries is claustrophobic, intense and despite crossing three centuries it moves like a movie with each chapter perfectly paced and ending on a cliffhanger.
Apocalypse Now Now on the other hand is just a bowl of fireworks and bananas and exactly the kind of thing I love to read. It has porn-peddling adolescents, ginger bearded monk ninjas, killer crows and zombie-filled sex dungeons ruled over by parasitic mega-spiders. What’s not to love!?!
James’s Top August Pick!
This month I’m probably most looking forward to Elysium, because it has Matt Damon running around and shooting things, which is something we’ve never seen before. No, in all seriousness, I enjoyedDistrict Nine and Neill Blomkamp’s new film looks like it shares a number of similarities beyond the obvious SF elements: visually, it has the same gritty textures and costume design, and with the film’s entire premise being built around class division there’s hopefully room for a bit of social commentary.
Failing that, well . . . we’ve got Matt Damon running around and shooting things. Which, as a huge fan of the original Bourne trilogy, is fine with me. I’ve also got a bit of a thing for utopias (especially when they explode) and near-future thrillers, so Elysium manages to tick both these boxes. Early reviews seem to have been fairly mixed but lean towards the positive, which is encouraging. SF has featured strongly at the box office this year, but has ranged from the good (Pacific Rim) to he bad (After Earth) to the indifferent (Oblivion). Time will tell which category Elysium falls into, but I’m optimistic.
Elysium aside, the other obvious highlight for August is the epic Nine Worlds convention in London this coming weekend, which promises to become a major new fixture in the SF calendar. There’s all sorts of panels and events going on, and the event covers all forms of media from TV to books to games, so there’s something for everyone. It should be a blast!
Last year, I was given The City’s Son by Tom Pollock which I immensely enjoyed so after attending the book launch this weekend I’m excited to start the sequel in the Skyscraper Throne Series, The Glass Republic which follows Pen into the reflected city of London-Under-Glass which promises to be as bizarre and fantastical as Pollock’s secret London.
There are some great events in August. I’m excited for some Late Night Revelry at Wilderness Festival and popping into the Secret Forum Fiction Tent which will have an entire day of workshops and talks focusing on the world of graphic novels and comics. To find out more click here.
The Memory Palace
I’m also planning to visit the V&A this month for the Sky Arts Ignition: Memory Palace Exhibition which has created an immersive ‘walk-in’ book. Author, Hari Kunzru has produced a SF novel “set in a future London, hundreds of years after the world’s information infrastructure was wiped out by an immense magnetic storm. Technology and knowledge have been lost, and a dark age prevails. Nature has taken over the ruins of the old city and power has been seized by a group who enforce a life of extreme simplicity on all citizens. Recording, writing, collecting and art are outlawed.”
Artists from various backgrounds; from comics and illustration to advertising and typography have contributed to the exhibition and Kunzru’s story is written in a series of short passages that move in a non-linear way through the dystopian world he created. Each of the designers and illustrators worked on a different passage of text and the resulting commissions vary from intricate hand-drawn works to large three-dimensional environments.
If you’re interested in going to the V&A in London for the Memory Palace Exhibition then click here.
First, I must confess. I have not read the Kick-Ass graphic novels. They are most definitely on my TBR pile, but I haven’t got hold of them yet. All I have to go on is the movie and that was so bloody awesome I’m really excited to get my hands on the original graphic novel. But, until then, all I know is what I’ve seen. When I watched the first film I hadn’t heard of it so I went in with no expectations beyond thinking it was going to be a cheap knock-off cashing in on the explosion of super-hero films at the time.
I was wrong.
After the first brutal beating of Dave and how it ended in his getting crushed by a car so unexpectedly that I think I may have actually laughed (and then been a bit shocked that I could laugh) at how crazy it was, I realised this was going to be different. Everything about Kick-Ass subverted expectations or met them joyously by taking them to extremes you wouldn’t have thought possible. The ultra-violence effectively mimicked the unreality of the comic because it was just so extreme. Anyway, I was hooked.
I’m excited to see how the world will have changed since the first movie and what other characters will now come out the woodwork to be either super-villains or super-heroes (batteries not included – or superpowers for that matter). Mindy a.k.a. Hit Girl really made the movie for me.
A kung-fu doll in purple and pig-tails spinning through the air and kicking the shit out of hulking thuggish henchmen, she was great.
From the trailers I have checked out, she seems to feature quite prominently in the sequel, which was a good move on the director’s part. And, of course, it’ll be good to see Jim Carrey in another costumed comic-book role (maybe it’ll finally wash the image of him as the Riddler from my brain). And the return of Red Mist! With his whiny voice and penthouse apartment! That’ll be great, and…oh, damn…this could go on. Let’s just end it with saying this is going to be awesome and I’m definitely going to be watching it!
Kick-Ass 2 is released in the UK on the 14 August 2013 and in the USA on the 16 August 2013.