Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This is my final post of 2010! I would like to wish you all a fantastic festive period, whatever you may be doing, and wish you all the best for the New Year.

Thursday 9 December 2010

An even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away

Guest post by John Rivers

Over the past sixteen years one of the biggest areas of expansion in the mythology of Star Wars has been the ancient history of the Galactic Republic, how it was formed and the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith, especially during the first Sith War.

This period is likely to become the focus of even greater attention next year when Star Wars: The Old Republic is launched. RPG specialists Bioware are developing the game having already created the amazing Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic as well as classics such as Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. This is the first MMORPG for Bioware, which will have hardcore gamers salivating as well as all wannabe Jedi.

This period of Star Wars history was first explored by Kevin J Anderson and his Tales of the Jedi series first released in 1993. The comic series expanded the ancient universe over the next decade while the books remained focused on the Clone Wars and adventures beyond Return of the Jedi. Then in 2006 Darth Bane: Path of Destruction was released. Focusing on a later period of the Old Republic* the Darth Bane novels tell of resurrection of the Sith and the institution of the ‘Rule of Two’.

This year the Bane novels were joined by The Old Republic series, commissioned to help promote the forthcoming MMORPG, with characters based on those found in the game, for a sneak preview I suggest you check out The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance. Even better is that you can get your Old Republic fix for free too. This year saw the release of Lost Tribe of the Sith a series of free ebooks available to download. The story of a downed Sith ship and a crew desperate to survive, the series is a prequel to the Fate of the Jedi novels but stands out in its own right as a good story in an episodic format.

I also recommend checking out Titan’s new Star Wars Galaxy series available from WH Smiths. As well as telling Old Republic stories, it also focuses on Vader’s hunt for any remaining Jedi following Revenge of the Sith and stories of the future of the Star Wars universe.

So by looking back there’s plenty to look forward to in the universe of Star Wars!

You can pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic now.

*The Star Wars universe has its own ‘Anno Domini moment’ with the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star. Therefore The Old Republic is set 3656 BBY (Before Battle of Yavin) while Darth Bane: Path of Destruction is set approx 1000 BBY. The Empire Strikes Back is set 3 ABY, you get the idea.

John Rivers is an award-winning digital marketing bod who lives in North London with his cat. A long time movie and TV fan, he writes a rather 'Angry' blog about Doctor Who, while also moderating on Gallifrey Base, the net's biggest Doctor Who forum. In a monster smackdown, he'd be on Gamera's side.

If you would like to submit a guest post, please email.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking on HBO

“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true…and that is completely unacceptable.” – Carrie Fisher

WISHFUL DRINKING, Carrie Fisher’s hit stage production of the intoxicating autobiographical tale of her life, comes to HBO as a feature-length documentary. Debuting SUNDAY, DEC. 12 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), the special combines archival footage with her one-woman stage performance, which was taped in June before a live audience.

An actress, screenwriter and bestselling author (“Postcards from the Edge,” “The Best Awful” and “Wishful Drinking”), Carrie Fisher is the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, known as “America’s Sweethearts” in the late ‘50s. She became a cultural icon at age 19 after starring as Princess Leia in the first “Star Wars” trilogy in the 1970s. Despite growing up with “Hollywood royalty” and experiencing early fame of her own, Fisher’s life had its challenges, as she reveals in this uproarious and sobering account. Combining wry wit and raw facts, WISHFUL DRINKING reveals her own hilarious slant on the not-so-glittering side of being a celebrity. It’s a show where she’s circling the drain singing.

From stardom to divorce, re-marriage to the death of a close friend, addiction to mental illness, Fisher recounts her peaks and valleys with unfailing candor and biting humor, referring to celebrity as just “obscurity biding its time.”

In WISHFUL DRINKING, Fisher details her complicated yet eclectic extended family tree in Hollywood Inbreeding 101, employing a blackboard and wooden pointer. Her father Eddie Fisher’s very public affair with Elizabeth Taylor ended what had been perceived and celebrated as a “storybook marriage,” and she and her brother Todd later watched both her mother’s and father’s “once white-hot bright star of celebrity slowly dim, cool and fade.” In 1973, at her mother’s urging, the 17-year-old Fisher enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London; two years later, her life changed forever when she donned a white dress as Princess Leia in George Lucas’ “Star Wars.”

Besides making her a star, the movie has resulted in Fisher’s image being merchandised as part of the “Star Wars” franchise for the past 30 years. Among the items she has adorned are dolls, shampoo, soap, Mrs. Potato Head and a PEZ dispenser. Fisher hilariously notes that among his many possessions, Lucas owns her likeness, “so every time I look in the mirror, I have to send him a couple of bucks.”

Aside from the strain from the high visibility of starring in one of the most beloved trilogies of all time, Fisher continued to face more than her share of challenges. With extraordinary candor, she discusses her subsequent bipolar diagnosis and the life-changing decision to have electric shock therapy (ECT).

In addition to the first “Star Wars” trilogy, Carrie Fisher’s numerous films include 1975’s “Shampoo,” her feature film debut, and later movies such as “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and “The ‘Burbs.” Among her TV appearances are “30 Rock,” “Family Guy” and the HBO series “Sex and the City” and “Entourage.”

Fisher is also a screenwriter and bestselling author. Her novels, “Postcards from the Edge,” “Surrender the Pink,” “Delusions of Grandma” and “The Best Awful,” were all critically acclaimed, with “Postcards from the Edge” being adapted for an Oscar®-nominated film of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Her memoir “Wishful Drinking,” taken from the stage show, was published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster, which will also publish Fisher’s novel “Shockaholic” in 2011.

Fisher’s one-woman stage performance “Wishful Drinking” was taped for the HBO special at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in South Orange, NJ. The play opened in Los Angeles in 2006 and was produced on Broadway in 2009 by Roundabout Theatre Company in association with Jonathan Reinis, Jamie Cesa, Eva Price and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. “Wishful Drinking” is currently touring Australia and will continue to travel to select cities through the end of 2010 and into 2011.

Along with the HBO presentation of WISHFUL DRINKING, exclusive additional material from a director’s interview with Debbie Reynolds will be available on HBO On Demand.

WISHFUL DRINKING producers and directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have produced a variety of acclaimed nonfiction programming, including 23 documentaries for HBO and CINEMAX, among them “Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal,” “Monica in Black and White” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”

An HBO Documentary Films presentation, WISHFUL DRINKING is written and performed by Carrie Fisher; produced and directed by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey; senior producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

Friday 3 December 2010

Open Planet Ideas: join the challenge

Sony, the creator of Walkman, PlayStation and Blu-ray disc, has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for the inaugural Open Planet Ideas challenge.

How can technology be used to make the most of our planet's environment and that's where you come in! Readers of this blog can Join the challenge and Find Out More About Open Planet Ideas.

There's a wealth of proofs of concept, using existing Sony technology, already available and waiting for mashup. How would you use a PSPgo to keep disparate communities in touch?

Sony is investing in engineering and R&D. However, this is not-for-profit and the results of the challenge will be made available to third-parties and benefit the environment, too.

Please get involved in anyway that you can and leave suggestions in comments. I'll update the post with links to your ideas.

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