The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan and why it is the BEST fantasy series EVER!

2016-06-22 by Rincewind. 6 comments
Riyria Revelations book covers

Riyria Revelations book covers

Let us start with the two main characters, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater. Both are the best sort of characters one might ever wish to come across in a fantasy series.

Royce, a former member of the Black Diamond and Assassin, is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded by dead people who looked like they might one day be in the way. Or because they breathed, looked like they were up to something, or for any reason really. Royce has issues about not killing people.

Hadrian, on the other hand, is a open book who just might kill you. But unlike Royce he will feel bad about it afterwards and maybe even say sorry. The son of a small town’s Blacksmith, Hadrian is a Swordsman of great skill and in certain parts of Calis a rather famous one. He and Royce in the beginning somehow manage to not kill each other and one day become what one could even call friends. Although like all people they get on each others nerves once in a while.

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Doctor Who Series 9 Review – Part 2 of 2

2016-06-02 by Rand al'Thor. 2 comments

After an interval of eight weeks (or possibly eight seconds, or eight hundred years, or minus eight weeks, according to whose timeline you may be following), here we are again with the second of the two instalments of my Doctor Who Series 9 review.

The episodes in this series are on a steep uphill climb, with nearly every story being better than the last. We’ve already seen a two-parter involving Missy and Davros (which, despite some interesting aspects, was mainly fanwank), a “base under siege” two-parter (standard Doctor Who fare, plus a time-travelling twist), the first Ashildr episode (more standard Doctor Who fare, but a nice snapshot of the Doctor doing what he does best), and the second one (an even less interesting storyline, but with some fascinating exploration of the life of an immortal). Now it’s time to move on to the second half of Series 9, in which every one of the stories makes Doctor Who history while also being fantastic in its own right.

Once again, of course, SPOILER ALERT. more »

The Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown: Final Round

2016-05-31 by Rogue Jedi. 3 comments

Welcome to the final round of the Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown! Round 4 went very well, with a full 40 people participating.

Here are the results from Round 4. The bolded numbers give the scores.

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation made it to the final frontier by beating Daredevil. 28/11
  2. “Thor taught us to have no fear of death! But what did he teach you of pain?” Stargate: SG-1 lost to Firefly. 25/12
  3. “You don’t know the Bat. He don’t let up! He’s the dark angel of death, man, and he wants me!” Batman: The Animated Series beat Futurama. 19/14

And now, on to the Final Round of the Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown! This round will be a little different from previous ones. Members must vote for one of the three shows. Whichever show get the most votes is the final winner of the event.





To vote in the Final Round, just click here.

Remember, you can also chat about all aspects of the competition here!


X-Men: Apocalypse spoiler-free review

2016-05-26 by Dr R Dizzle. 9 comments

There is a short scene in X-Men: Apocalypse that sees several of the new characters discussing the quality of the films in the original Star Wars trilogy, all of them agreeing that the third film is always the worst. It’s an obvious piece of meta-commentary on the original X-Men trilogy that takes a shot at X-Men: The Last Stand while praising director Bryan Singer’s original two films, which is gaudy enough on its own – but those paying attention will remember that X-Men: Apocalypse itself is the third film in this new timeline. Is this just a staggering lack of self-awareness, or a direct acknowledgement from the film-makers that they’ve badly messed up? It really doesn’t matter. X-Men: Apocalypse is a bad film all the same.

The story this time sees the various characters we’ve been following over the last couple of X-Men films reunite in order to try to stop an ancient mutant named Apocalypse and his four horsemen from taking over the world. It’s a simple tale of good vs bad basically, far removed from the more soap-operatic, character driven drama of the previous films in the franchise, and unfortunately X-Men: Apocalypse suffers for it.

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The Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown: Round 4

2016-05-23 by Rogue Jedi. 3 comments

First up, the results from Round 3!

The bold numbers represent how many people voted for each series.

  1. Buffy may fight demons, but she couldn’t defeat this devil. Daredevil beats Buffy the Vampire Slayer21/12 
  2. Star Wars: The Clone Wars loses to Stargate: SG-111/15
  3. Firefly kept flying right over Quantum Leap24/3
  4. Farscape lost to Star Trek: The Next Generation. 21/5
  5. Futurama  resoundingly beat TMNT (Original) 26/2
  6. Batman: The Animated Series beats Supernatural. 19/8

And now, on to The Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown, Round 4!

I used to input the six properties. I then took the pairs to use for the brackets.


Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 6.12.52 PM

  1. Daredevil VS Star Trek: The Next Generation
  2. Firefly VS Stargate: SG-1
  3. Futurama VS Batman: The Animated Series

To vote for Round Three, just click here.

Remember, you can also chat about all aspects of the competition here!


The Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown! – Results and Round 3 (2nd Edition)

2016-05-10 by Rogue Jedi. 6 comments

First, an explanation and an apology. This is not the original Round 3. The first version had different rankings, that in retrospect, were not the best. After multiple people expressed their views on it, I decided to start Round 3 over. Sorry for the poor choice and confusion, and hopefully this will go better the second time around.

Now, the results from Round 2! I’m happy to write that 37 members voted, eight more than Round 1.

The bold numbers represent how many people voted for each series.

  1.  “I’m old enough to know that a longer life isn’t always a better one. In the end, you just get tired; tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone that matters to you, tired of watching everything you love turn to dust. If you live long enough, Lazarus, the only certainty left is that you’ll end up alone.” Doctor Who just barely lost to Star Trek: The Next Generation. 17/16
  2. “What do we say to the God of death?” “Not today.” Game of Thrones lost to Firefly22/12
  3.  “Pants are an illusion, and so is death.” Perhaps not, as Avatar: The Last Airbender lost to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. 13/11
  4. Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited tied.  Out of necessity, a coin was flipped and Batman: The Animated Series won. 9/9
  5. The man with no fear beats the fastest man alive. The Flash loses to Daredevil19/9
  6. Stargate: SG-1 beats Babylon 5. 13/9
  7. Transformers was apparently exactly what met the eye, and lost to TMNT. 17/8
  8. Futurama beat MLP:Friendship is Magic. 20/8
  9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy didn’t have anything on how to beat Quantum Leap. 20/9
  10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer beat X-Files. 17/12
  11.  Farscape was far more popular than The Twilight Zone. 13/8
  12. Supernatural beat Sabrina the Teenage Witch, (super)naturally. 13/10


And now, on to The Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown, Round 3: Back with a Vengeance!

I used to input the 12 properties. I then took the pairs to use for the brackets.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 7.22.19 PM

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer VS Daredevil
  2. Stargate: SG-1 VS Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  3. Firefly VS Quantum Leap
  4. Farscape VS Star Trek: The Next Generation
  5. Futurama VS TMNT (Original)
  6. Batman: The Animated Series VS Supernatural


To vote for Round Three, just click here.


Remember, you can also chat about all aspects of the competition here!

Batman v. Superman: Not a Review

2016-04-19 by Thaddeus. 2 comments
Spoiler-filled analysis from the point of view of one who reads comics, not who reviews movies.

This article originally ran on and was reposted here with the permission of Thaddeus Howze


For the record. I hate writing reviews. Why? Because criticism is easy. Any idiot can sit in a theater and have an opinion. Any art critic can, with the weight of their degree in art literacy, define why a thing fails to deliver whatever THEY think it should deliver to an “audience.” As a writer who struggles to find that proper beat to put a story to while I am writing it, I am always reminded movies are a special breed of writing.

Movies are a collaboration. They are a story written by at least one person, massaged by two or three other people, edited by another person before being turned into a script which gets changed daily. As the shots are reviewed and then taken from different angles, all that work is gathered together and digitally enhanced, cinematic effects added, CGI constructs placed and then this beast is edited down to fit a designated time pattern.

This is one of the most important parts of a movie’s creation: No matter what vision a director might have, arbitrary decisions made as to what stays in and what goes out are often made by executives whose reasons for doing what they do are completely their own but presumably were meant to make the film more “profitable,” based on some movie-making algorithm only they understand.

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Doctor Who Series 9 Review – Part 1 of 2

2016-04-04 by Rand al'Thor. 3 comments

After watching a few random episodes of Doctor Who over the previous several years (I saw the 2006 Christmas special live on TV, and then a selection of episodes from Series 4 and 5 around Christmas 2011), I started to get seriously into the franchise around Christmas 2014, and now consider myself a fully fledged Whovian, having watched over two-thirds of all New Who episodes in not much more than a year. Series 9, the most recently released, was the first Doctor Who I’ve watched week by week while it was coming out.

The series was largely well received, having been hailed by various critics as the best Moffat season yet, the best since Eccleston, or even the best season of New Who. Personally I think Series 4 is still my favourite New Who series, but I did very much enjoy this new one, and Capaldi could now give Tennant a run for his money as my favourite Doctor.

This series contained more multi-episode stories than any other for a long time. This allowed more time for each story to develop, mature, and conclude without feeling overly rushed; on the other hand, it detracted from the self-containedness that many of the best Doctor Who episodes have, and made it harder for casual viewers to ‘drop in’ for just a single episode.

Jenna Coleman secured the title of the longest-serving Companion of New Who towards the end of this series before her eventual departure. Peter Capaldi has now really settled into his role as the Doctor, bringing some of his own flair to the show and ensuring his place in the annals of Whovian history. In Series 8 he had to spend too much time acting grumpy and proving that he wasn’t Matt Smith, but now he’s been able to spread his wings, let his hair down a bit, and establish himself as (in my view) the best speech-making Doctor in all of New Who. Oh, and speaking of hair, was I really the only one to notice the swap in hair length between the two main characters?

Hair in series 8-9

Good hair day or bad hair day?

Now without further ado, let’s start on the episode-by-episode summaries. Naturally, SPOILER ALERT.

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Daredevil Season Two

2016-03-23 by Dr R Dizzle. 0 comments

Most people (myself included) thoroughly enjoyed the first season of Daredevil. It wasn’t perfect by any means, hampered by an increasingly meandering story as it went on and a finale that dropped the ball in a multitude of ways, but as an introduction to this new part of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe? It did a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the Netflix shows, something followed up by and capitalised on by the significantly better Jessica Jones.

Although the second season of Daredevil fails to reach the heights set by Jessica Jones, it’s still an improvement over the first season in nearly every way – primarily thanks to the way that show-runners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez seem to have listened to and acted on criticisms of the first season. The most obvious strength that the second season has over the first is also the most simple – the second season of Daredevil has enough going on to actually justify it’s length.

There are two fairly distinct stories at play in the second season of Daredevil. The first sees the introduction of fan-favourite character Frank Castle (also known as The Punisher) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a murderous vigilante who is terrorising Hell’s Kitchen as he seeks revenge for the death of his family at the hands of criminals. The other sees Matt reunite with Elektra Natchios, an old girlfriend from Matt’s time in college who is significantly more dangerous than she may appear at first glance. more »

Deadpool Review

2016-02-12 by majorstackings. 5 comments

I went to the 9:50 screening of Deadpool last night. I managed to get the center seat in the back row. The theater was about 1/4 full, and even then there was a buzz in the air.

Deadpool, Marvel’s latest comic book character to receive the R-rated movie treatment due to violence and subject matter, drew genre appropriate previews. I couldn’t even absorb the body count before the actual film even started. If you like “shoot -em up bang! bang!” movies, this summer might be your best summer yet.

Deadpool can be a bit of a smart-ass.

Deadpool can be a bit of a smart-ass.

I have been enjoying the Deadpool teasers as they have been released, so I had a pretty good idea of how the movie was supposed to be, but we know how that can work. Best laid plans and all that. However, this particular movie delivered. Yeah, sure, this movie is about a wisecracking immortal a-hole comic book character, but the immortal wisecracking a-hole comic book character has style, and the film even managed to give us enough backstory to make Deadpool three dimensional. The movie felt like it was crafted by both the people in front of and behind the cameras. It comes across as the movie they meant it to be and wanted us to see.

It was entertaining from the opening credits all the way through the closing credit scroll (and beyond), so don’t be in a rush to leave your seat. Ryan Reynolds admirably breaks down the 4th wall, and this movie is most definitely a feather in his cap. 2016’s Deadpool is a far cry above the version he played in X-Men Origins, and the supporting cast, CGI, stunts and dialogue come together to make this film funny, action packed, and maybe, just maybe, my new favorite comic book to movie translation.

It is full of helpful life lessons, like math and advice on relationships, delivered with his never say die attitude. I’m just going to say it. If you like the comic books, you will love the film.

Your friendly neighborhood Major Stackings.