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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

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100% confirmed by Bryan Fuller, it's in the original timeline.


I was hoping for more news at SDCC, but neither Hasbro nor Paramount have said anything about it so far, and with the film at least two years off that's not too surprising.


On GHOSTBUSTERS? No, it's at $90 million now. The budget is $144 million and with marketing the break-even point will be $300 million (or slightly less), so it's about a third of the way there. If it doesn't get to $300 million, Sony will lose money. With no Chinese release, I can't see the film getting that far unless the positive reviews keep it afloat longer then expected and it works as an alternative for people who don't want to go see something like SUICIDE SQUAD or STAR TREK. The weekend figures for this weekend will be very telling in that regard (but it sounds like STAR TREK BEYOND has opened at a much lower level than either of its predecessors; whether that will help GB is unclear).

Sony have been bullish about wanting to build a franchise off of GHOSTBUSTERS, but I can't see that flying unless this first movie at least breaks even and gives them confidence to do a sequel.

Merchandising will probably help a bit, but this Christmas is going to be dominated by STAR WARS and POKEMON. GB stuff will likely do okay but I don't see it being a huge factor.


The director was confirmed back in April. Since then, nothing new except that Hasbro are expecting to start shooting either late this year or the start of next, so I'd anticipate a late 2018 release.


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Belle Sorciere wrote:
Literally the only places I've seen this film discussed as a flop are this forum and MRA sites.

Thanks to Hollywood accounting, flops don't exactly mean what they used to anymore. SERENITY was a failure on initial release, but actually turned a profit once foreign sales and media releases were taken into account. PACIFIC RIM was pretty damn close to failing, but then got a lift from abroad and is now getting a sequel (although they had to fight for it). The new STAR TREK movies made, on paper, reasonable profits given their budgets and marketing, but under-performed against Paramount's targets which has caused them issues (and STAR TREK BEYOND is not looking great either at the moment). There's actually a very good chance that BATMAN VS SUPERMAN's profits were nowhere near as good as it first looks, as the film's marketing budget (especially internationally) was considerably higher than the norm.

GB is now passing $90 million, which means it'll certainly make its production budget back, but may struggle to get to marketing as well. It'll certainly recoup the rest on DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming. So the film being a flop isn't realistically on the cards. It isn't a slam dunk for a sequel though, and Sony will have to think hard on that. Sometimes studios will double down on a franchise and deliver new installments as a sign of good faith even if the franchise has not delivered as highly as you'd hoped. But it'd be tricky to do that if the film hasn't recouped on the initial box office run.

What they'd need to do is come back in a couple of months and see where the film stands once the theatrical run is over and then look at where the media release and streaming takes them.


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Every male character was an idiot or a jerk.

Like in the original movie (okay, maybe that was a little harsh).

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The villain gets powers out of nowhere.

Like in the original movie.

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Stupid fart jokes

Like the original movie had several stupid dick jokes and jokes about how hilarious it was to stalk a woman.

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No repercussions for their actions, like being suspects in a murder.

As the movie explained, rather clearly I thought, they were getting cover from the Mayor's office from the start.

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Violating their own rules where they end up flat out killing ghosts rather than trapping them.

I don't think you can kill ghosts (there may be a clue in the description there). Their equipment either traps them, disperses them or sends them to Michigan.

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They pulled super ghost fighting moves out of nowhere and never missed a single shot. Somehow even had pinpoint accuracy on an arced long range shot.

This isn't true at all. They constantly miss almost the whole time. They shoot up the subway tunnel before finally trapping the ghost and then he escapes anyway. They blast up the theatre (the manager screaming about the art deco getting shot) before managing to land a hit. They also somehow manage to completely miss the giant creature at the end of the film. Their hit ratio is way below that of the original film.

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The ghost driving their car to help them for no reason.

Slimer doesn't help them. He steals the car and at the end of the film they trick him into driving into the portal (rather conveniently).

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This was no where close to the dry subtle humour of the original.

Original what? Certainly not the original Ghostbusters. The original GB was certainly more restrained and grounded (to a certain degree), but it wasn't exactly a Noel Coward play.


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First trailer.

Nicely done, I thought.


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I feel Paizo should be leveraging the marketing benefits of the final episode guest star :)


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thejeff wrote:
It is still only going to be available on CBS's pay platform, right?

In the USA, yes. Space gets it in Canada and the rest of the world will get it on Netflix.

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Given the box office numbers that isn't likely. It is far more likely that they will continue to milk their cash cow in its current form.

The box office numbers for the new TREK films have been well below Paramount's expectations. They wanted to build up to a $1 billion franchise to go up against the Marvel movies and the STAR WARS films, and the fact they've not even gotten to half that took them by surprise. They dialled things up for INTO DARKNESS and that didn't work either, hence a budget cut for BEYOND.

Both of the previous films made profits, but it was a near thing (especially for INTO DARKNESS). BEYOND is opening at a lower ebb than either of the previous movies and has serious blockbuster competition with SUICIDE SQUAD, so it's questionable how successful it's going to be. At the moment it's Abrams's star power and Paramount's lack of an alternative franchise which is keeping talk of a fourth film alive, and if BEYOND is another modest success I can see Paramount either retooling altogether or only doing the fourth film if Abrams returns to direct.

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Still waiting for a 'Starfleet Academy' or 'Starfleet Command' series or something, taking up in ye olde continuity after DS9 and Voyager and continuing in the setting with a new cast and crew, and maybe the occasional cameo by an older character. (And ignoring the movie Trek reboot universe entirely.)

Is it too much to ask to see some Cardassians and Andorians and Borg again? And 100% less Beastie Boys?

The new TV series will be set in the Prime Continuity after DS9/VOYAGER/TNG (the anthology thing turned out to be a rumour, as did the idea it'd be set between ST6 and TNG). Bryan Fuller said they have the ability to bring back some of the characters and actors from those shows, which isn't possible if it's a fresh reboot or set in the Abramsverse (and CBS doesn't have the rights to the Abramsverse, unless they bought them behind the scenes which doesn't seem likely).

My take on the new film:

It's a very good film, blowing the other two Abrams pictures out of the water and comparing favourably to many of the older ones. It makes a lot of very clever choices which recall the older, slower-paced films whilst also delivering enough explosions and action beats to satisfy the modern casual cinema-goer. The two styles don't entirely mesh, but they do a pretty good job of it.

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The USS Enterprise is three years into its five-year mission exploring deep space. However, Captain James T. Kirk is feeling boredom settling in. The mission consists of a lot more diplomatic work and less boldly exploring the frontier than he was expecting. Whilst docked at the massive Starbase Yorktown, the Enterprise receives a distress call from the heart of a nearby, mysterious nebula. Kirk sets out, eager to see something new...only to get a lot more than he bargained for.

When J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek in 2009, he assembled an absolutely killer cast. Replicating the chemistry of the original crew was a tall order, but he somehow achieved it with the likable - if massively flawed - first reboot film. It was also pretty much the only thing holding together the appalling sequel, Into Darkness, in 2013. The diabolical quality of that movie lowered expectations for this third entry in the new series, especially when it was announced that Simon Pegg would be writing the script and Justin Lin would be directing.

To some degree that was counter-intuitive, given Pegg's geek credentials and his strong writing experience (especially on the Spaced TV series and his collaborations with Edgar Wright). But Pegg's recent writing work has been patchy and Justin Lin is best known for the Fast and Furious franchise, not known for its thoughtful exploration of the unknown. Fans may have been a little too quick to judge there: not only is Lin a massive Star Trek fan from his chilldhood but his F&F movies transitioned quite cleverly from just dumb action movies into actions movies with a strong sense of character interplay, family and heart.

These sensibilities come into full force on Star Trek Beyond. Lin delivers explosions, impressive stunts and some great action set-pieces - and unlike the two previous movies, most of these are well-shot and comprehensible - but he also delivers on bringing the characters together and driving them apart and finding out what makes them tick as individuals and as a group. He is well-served by Simon Pegg's script (helped out by Doug Jung), the writer relishing his chance to finally write an all-out science fiction blockbuster and delivering. Pegg, like Abrams, is known to be a Star Wars fan much more than a Star Trek one, but whilst Abrams ill-advisedly set about trying to turn Trek into Wars, Pegg has actually sat down and worked out what makes Star Trek different and brought those elements into the script. For example, fans were bemused by the near-total lack of any decent Spock/McCoy banter in the Abrams movies but here get an entire, fairly substantial subplot focused on the two characters which works extremely well. Zoe Saldana's Uhura also gets a great (if a little brief) storyline as she gets under the skin of main villain Kraal (Idris Elba under heavy makeup) and tries to find out what makes him tick. Anton Yelchin's Chekov gets a fair few action scenes, so of the main cast it's only John Cho's Sulu that gets short shrift. And even he still gets to command the Enterprise, lead a prison break and is given the most personal stakes in the final showdown (nicely underplayed, as well).

Star Trek Beyond in fact tries to do something that is very clever: it goes for the all-out CG blockbuster stuff but then suddenly reins it in and goes for unexpected restraint. A lengthy (and slightly nonsensical) CGI space battle turns into a low-tech, far more relatable struggle on the surface of a planet. A major CG fest of phasers and spaceships in the finale gives way to that greatest of Star Trek staples: Kirk and the villain facing off with just their fists, but done in a near-zero gravity environment against a dizzying backdrop (if you suffer from strong vertigo, I would advise against seeing this film in 3D). The movie also sacrifices the shining Apple-influenced hallways and bridge of the Enterprise for a more primitive NX-class starship (cue the Star Trek: Enterprise fans cheering, although it's not that one) and brings back a genuine sense of wonder to the graphic design. Starbase Yorktown is a jaw-dropping creation, a multi-sided city floating in what is effectively a snowglobe, evoking not just previous Star Trek designs but also the Citadel of the Mass Effect trilogy.

The film also remembers it's the 50th anniversary year and uses the recent death of Leonard Nimoy to pay homage to that: young Spock learning of the passing of his older, other-dimensional self and then discovering a box of his possessions allows the movie to tip its hat at what came before in a surprisingly effective move which informs Spock's excellent character development throughout the rest of the movie. Zachary Quinto has less to do than in either of Beyond's two predecessors but his character arc is considerably more satisfying, emotional and, as some may say, logical.

New characters are surprisingly thin on the ground. The villain Kraal is well-played by Elba, but for most of the film lacks decent motivation. The finale finally explains who he is and what he wants, and it's a great moment, but comes rather late in the day. Still, Elba's villain satisfies far more than either Benedict Cumberbatch-trying-to-be-Ricardo-Montalban or Eric Bana's way too expositionary and over-explained Nero. Also impressive is Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, a native of the new planet who quickly becomes a key ally of Scotty (and later the rest of the gang). Boutella gives Jaylah just the right mix of badass warrior and slightly overwhelmed local girl, and her fascination with science and engineering plays well into the finale. I hope we see her back in the next film (if there is one; Beyond's opening numbers are looking a bit iffy at the moment). Shohreh Aghdashloo also gets a memorable cameo as a Federation commodore, a pick-up shot to help with exposition and sell Kirk's motivations a bit better. Given it was a late addition to the film, I do wonder if Lin and Pegg had seen her in The Expanse (or, more likely, the trailers) and decided to borrow her authoritative space leader charisma for their movie. In that case, good job.

It's not all a glorious bed of roses, though. There's a fairly obvious plot hole in why Kraal decides to stay on his rubbish planet long after he managed to take control of a swarm of warp-capable spacecraft which could have taken him anywhere he wanted in the galaxy. The Beastie Boys return to the soundtrack for a very well-explained (indeed, somewhat oversold) reason but it still feels out of place, and Star Trek Beyond tries to get a lot of mileage out of a joke that was a toss-off in a 1965 episode of Doctor Who (modern rock music is described as "classical music" by people in the future...BECAUSE THEY ARE IN THE FUTURE!). Kirk also gets to ride a motorbike because, hell, why not?.

But ultimately, Star Trek Beyond (****½) brings a surprising amount of heart to proceedings, doesn't entirely neglect the brain, engages in some great characterisation and team interplay, pays homage to its departed castmembers in a genuinely moving way (a toast to "departed friends" gains tremendous pathos during Anton Yelchin's reaction shot) and features Kirk punching an alien in the face, McCoy and Spock bickering like an old married couple, Scotty pulling off an engineering miracle, Sulu pulling off an insane piloting maneuver, Uhura figuring out how to communicate with an alien species (also: best depiction of the universal translator ever), and Chekov explaining how Russia invented everything, including Scotch. It is, inarguably, the best Star Trek movie in twenty years, since First Contact, and may even (much more arguably) be the best in twenty-five, since The Undiscovered Country. The film is on general release now.


Yeah, I've seen it now. Hilarious stuff.

Also, Jeff Davis starts each episode with a dramatic or OTT "casual" look at the camera, usually whilst holding the PF rulebook up in clear view :)


In a later episode they do mention the fact that they can say the phrase "Dungeons and Dragons" but cannot imply that the game they are playing is D&D (Harmon gets a bit panicky about it at one stage, possibly only for a laugh though).


The Expanse #4: Cibola Burn

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An alien artifact has opened a wormhole nexus leading to a thousand different star systems, all of them containing at least one Earth-like world. A mass exodus, the greatest diaspora in human history, is threatening to take place but one group of Belter settlers have already staked a claim to a world they call Ilus, although the corporation granted UN settlement rights prefers to call it New Terra. As the settlers and corporate representatives resort to violence, it falls to Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to mediate their dispute. This proves to be a lot easier said than done.

Cibola Burn is the fourth novel in The Expanse series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (writing as James S.A. Corey) and the first to take place outside the Solar system. The Expanse's big success in its opening novels was that it created a relatively restrained vision of the future, with humanity forced to employ slower-than-light travel between the worlds of the Solar system. After the events of Abaddon's Gate, the way to the stars has been thrown open, but it still takes months to get anywhere. For the colonists on Ilus and later the Rocinante crew, this puts them well out of the range of immediate help when things go disastrously wrong.

Each of the Expanse novels has taken a somewhat different tone, helped by Holden being the only continuing POV character, with the rest being exclusive to each novel. Cibola Burn feels like a Western (and more Deadwood than Gunsmoke), with the unruly settlers on the frontier being reeled back in by the mining company backed up by a reluctant sherrif with Indians and smallpox on the horizon. There's lots of hard moral questions and tough challenges posed by both the situation and the environment. This shift of tone is welcome and well-played as it allows a tighter focus on real, low-tech issues and solutions like the first (and still the best) novel in the series, Leviathan Wakes. The threat of the protomolecule, its creators and its even more enigmatic enemies does reassert itself towards the end of the book, along with a space-borne problem that feels a little too reminiscent of Abaddon's Gate, but it definitely takes a back seat for the most of the book.

The focus is on three new characters: a Belter settler named Basia, who is reluctantly drawn into becoming a terrorist; a security officer called Havelock on the orbiting corporation ship and a scientist named Elvi who just wants to be left alone so she can get on with cataloguing the planet's crazy flora and fauna. These are all well-crafted characters, if not particularly original. Havelock, as the company man who suddenly realises his corporate masters are useless, is an archetype that is looking dangerously overused at this point in the series. Other characters are less well-defined, and main villain Murtry is as cliched and uninteresting as they come: a rigid, dogmatic man unable to adapt to changing circumstances unless it involves shooting things. I get the impression that Abraham and Frank wanted to create a morally murky situation with sympathetic POVs on both sides, but Murtry's outright villainy soon means that the corporate side loses all sympathy and interest.

For a novel almost 600 pages long (in hardcover!) the pages fly past briskly and there's an interesting move away from the gunfights and set piece explosions of the previous novels. There's still a zero-G battle or three, but the writers dial back the more obvious shooting in favour of evoking the occasional SF sensawunda that represents the genre at its best. The social commentary on us bringing our baggage to the stars is well-handled, if a little obvious, and events run enjoyably up to a climax that hints at bigger things to come.

Cibola Burn (****) is the best book in the series since Leviathan Wakes, restoring focus and verve to a series that felt like it was becoming predictable. It'll be interesting to see how they adapt this book to the screen in later seasons of The Expanse, however. Although the producers will likely enjoy the far smaller scale (and hence budget) of things, I can't see viewers being too interested in taking a season off from the rest of the Solar system to see Holden and his crew dealing with frontier settler problems. But as a novel, it workers very well. The book is available now in the UK and USA.


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4/5 is a bit much for a movie with a weak plot, crappy villain, and a comedy where 2/3 of the jokes don't work

The original GHOSTBUSTERS had a weak plot, crappy villain and probably a fifth to a quarter of the jokes didn't work, and I'd be inclined to give that 5 stars ;)

Films can rise up above their weakness, and sometimes can rise up above them massively. This does so pretty well.


Did they need to get permission from Paizo to show PATHFINDER on the show or is it all fair use and Paizo just get some free publicity? Interesting to know.


$46 million was actually over projection (which was $40 million), so Sony are reasonably happy with it and making pretty strong sequel noises. What needs to be seen is the tail and extent of the drop-off and how that factors into Sony's plans. They may decided to press on anyway and take a moderate success on the first movie as a franchise-building exercise. Hell, they're letting Zack Snyder make more DC movies and people are still arguing over whether BATMAN V SUPERMAN made a profit, or much of one, because its marketing budget was so much bigger than the norm.

STAR TREK BEYOND has had pretty non-existent marketing and its first trailer was a disaster, but it has pulled back some goodwill and the early review buzz is mixed but generally positive-leaning. I'd expect it to do okay but I'm not sure why people are expecting it to go nuclear when neither of the previous two did and this one has far less hype and marketing behind it. In fact, I'd expect BEYOND to be much more at risk from SUICIDE SQUAD launching right behind it than GB.

As for what I thought of the film:

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Remakes and reboots are a controversial topic, particularly when it's of a beloved and iconic franchise. Ghostbusters, released in 1984, was groundbreaking in its special effects but what really sold the movie was the improvisational humour of Bill Murray and excellent judgement of tone, in which a generally serious situation (an evil demon prepares to arise in the city, sending two minions to pave the way) was reacted to with what can only be called the sheer apathetic, sarcastic attitude that only New Yorkers can fully employ. Throw in some astonishingly memorable one-liners and a warm-hearted camraderie between its leads (borne from years of working together on sketch shows and other movies) and you have an all-time modern classic.

Then, five years later, the exact same gang got back together and delivered the underwhelming Ghostbusters 2, which, a few solid scenes aside, threw away a lot of the lessons learned from the first film and killed the franchise (which had expanded to an excellent animated series and a pretty solid comic book) stone dead.

Twenty-seven years have passed since then - more time than between the Cuban Missile Crisis and Ghostbusters 2 - so the time is certainly ripe for a remake of the original movie. Normally I'm against remakes if there is a way instead of doing a continuation, even through a soft reboot, but in this case it's justified. If New York had suffered two massive, public invasions of the paranormal, then it'd be harder to sell the tension and scepticism that is a core part of a Ghostbusters movie, not to mention the problematic division of duties between the old castmembers everyone wants to see in action and the new, inevitably younger characters who will have to handle the franchise in the future.

As remakes go, this is a pretty decent one. It learns from the original film that New York is as much of a character as any of the actual Ghostbusters and if it doesn't quite judge the tone as well as the first movie, it makes a pretty decent fist of it. The four actresses deliver solid comic performances, although their dramatic chops are more variable (Melissa McCartney, perhaps unexpectedly, is possibly the best performer in the more serious moments of the film, although Kristen Wiig isn't far off). However, it's Kate McKinnon as eccentric engineer/inventor Jillian Holtzmann who steals every scene she's in and gets the best action moment in the whole movie. More of her in the sequel please.

There's a host of great side-performances from the likes of Andy Garcia, Charles Dance, MK Williams and Matt Walsh (catnip for everyone who's ever written fanfic where Omar from The Wire and Mike from Veep team up against a world-threatening danger...that's just me then?) and, as you'd expect from a film made in 2016, the effects are pretty great, if used to overload in the grand finale. There's also well-judged cameos from the entire primary cast of the original film (the retired Rick Moranis and late Harold Ramis excepted), and I'd like to see more of Sigourney Weaver's new character because 1) she's Sigourney Weaver and 2) she's Holtzmann's mentor. I mean, don't wait for the sequel, just give us a Weaver-and-McKinnon spin-off (kinn-off?). That'd be just fine.

There are negatives: for every two jokes that work there's one that doesn't, the running gag of sexually objectifying Chis Hemsworth to a degree that'd be creepy if it was a female character (and that thus being the point) is amusing for the first half of the film and then runs out of the steam in the second, the villain is pretty much a complete non-entity and there's much less of an attempt to justify how the the hell the Ghostbusters pay for everything (the first film spending so much time on something pedantic resulted in some hilarious gags). There's also that odd thing of establishing that the villain has an amazing power which should win him the movie instantly (he can mind-control an entire crowd of people) but then he forgets to use it on the heroes, allowing them to defeat him. But given how horrendously bad this could have been, it's actually a pretty fun picture.

Ghostbusters (2016) (****) certainly isn't as good a film as the 1984 original, but it's not as far off as you'd expect. There's good chemistry between the leads, most of the jokes work and at under two hours the movie doesn't outstay it's welcome as some recent effects films have. There's also a break-out performance from McKinnon and the establishing of a new paradigm (the Ghostbusters getting secret government backing and funding) that could drive quite a few future installments of the series. The movie is on general release right now worldwide.


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Wait, there's an episode where Aubrey Plaza plays PATHFINDER? And I still can't watch it.

HAAAAARMOOOOOOON!!!!

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"There's two things I know in life. There's dice...and there's no dice. This is no dice."


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"I call for the militia to form up."

"Three guys show up."

"Wow. Where is the rest of the g@*$&~ned militia?"

"They're all on vacation."

"During the Restoration? Who signed off on that?"

"We don't plan our calendar very far ahead."

"We have 99 years from the last Restoration to prepare for this."

"These are all reasonable points."

Every single time a player raises a well-argued and perfectly logical objection to something that's going on, the GM should now just say "These are all reasonable points" and just carry exactly on as before. It's going to be a meme.


The first episode was excellent. Very funny and reminded me of more than a few games of D&D that I've been in.

The only problem is that it seems to be impossible to legally watch the rest of the first season in the UK right now.


Book 2: Cold Fire

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Turmoil is brewing in Europa. The legendary general Camjiata has escaped from prison and is now building up an army-in-exile. Cat and her cousin Bee are still pawns in the plans of the rich and powerful, but Cat's otherworldly sire also has plans for her. For her part, Cat just wants to escape these machinations and forge her own path. Events bring her to the Antilles, the home of the Taino Kingdom and the Europan colony of Expedition. There she meets the powerful fire mages and becomes embroiled in yet more intrigue and magic, as her father prepares to use her to draw a powerful soul into his grasp.

Cold Fire is the middle volume of Kate Elliott's Spiritwalker Trilogy, which picks up shortly after the events of Cold Magic. Like its forebear, this is a well-characterised novel which eschews the normal conventions both of the epic fantasy and steampunk genres (whilst borrowing from both). There are elements in this book of the Victorian comedy-of-manners (and occasional, intriguing echoes of the likes of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell) and Celtic mythology, as well as the northern European legend of the Wild Hunt.

Elliott's masterstroke here is moving the story to the Caribbean where a whole swathe of other influences come into play, especially the culture and nature of the Taino people. This gives the book a very different atmosphere, especially the much warmer climate which moves us away from the Ice Age-afflicted Europa of the previous novel.

The clash of cultures, with Expedition and the Taino Kingdom presented as in some respects more egalitarian and liberal in matters of the power of women and sexual freedom but still ruled at the whim of an unelected elite, gives the novel a source of tension and debate. However, these tensions are not explored in depth, as the book devotes a lot of time to Cat and Andevai's relationship. Given that the first novel established the situation - them marrying against their will, initially disliking each other but eventually falling in love - this second book does feel like it retreads a lot of the same ground. For a novel almost six hundred pages in paperback, it also feels like not a lot of ground is covered: the opening chapters are interesting and the grand finale is excellent, but the middle third or so of the novel indulges itself in elements which feel a little too soap-operaish.

In some respects this is a typical middle book-of-a-trilogy syndrome, with the pace faltering as the story switches from an introductory to a concluding mode. But Elliott is a fine enough writer - one of the best in modern fantasy - that she overcomes these issues and delivers a cracking finale in which all of the carefully-set-up elements come into play and sets the scene for the final novel in the series, Cold Steel.

Cold Fire (***½) is an interesting and original epic fantasy novel which does things rather differently from the norm for the genre and is all the stronger for it. However, the pacing feels sluggish at times before returning to form in an excellent ending. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.


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I'd lovelovelove a Tuf Voyaging series, I just can't imagine who'd play the title role. I read all the Wildcards books up to a certain point, but never related to the characters on an emotional level.

Conleth Hill seems like a good choice, but he might be bored of playing bald dudes by that point :)


Bethesda "borrowed" a NEW VEGAS mod's storyline for a FAR HARBOR quest. Nothing illegal about that, as Bethesda automatically own everything from fan-created FALLOUT mods. But they didn't credit the creators of AUTUMN LEAVES or acknowledge it in any way, despite their questline using near-identical characters, events and locations. Disappointing behaviour.


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Speaking of winter in King's Landing, anyone else notice how much earlier their white raven arrived than Winterfell's?

Different season, different raven. That was back in Season 2, when the raven signified the end of summer and the start of autumn. It's now 2-4 years later (seriously, the timeline of the show is rather screwed up by this point) and winter has arrived.

Damon Griffin wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:
Dunk and Egg has the biggest chance of becoming a prequel series.
What gives you the impression that anything has any chance of becoming a prequel series? Where have you heard a prequel series being discussed?

It hasn't as a serious concern. However, GRRM did sign a development deal with HBO three years ago and they've talked to him about his other books which don't have deals with other studios, specifically TUF VOYAGING. I think HBO want to ease into science fiction with WESTWORLD first, they're still a little way from producing a space opera, so that's likely on the backburner. More likely is WILD CARDS, since HBO would like an adult-oriented superhero series and the rights just lapsed at SyFy. That will probably only happen if HBO decide not to do the WATCHMEN TV series with Zack Snyder though.

For a GoT spin-off series, GRRM actually still owns all of the rights to the other material and he's already said he doesn't want to do a series about Robert's Rebellion but would be happy to discuss Dunk & Egg. I think his preference would be an occasional TV movie following the short stories, but there's no reason they couldn't do a full series mixing the short story adaptations with original stories. It'd be far cheaper than GoT and a lot less intense. The only problem is if the audience would want to tune in without any dragons, magic, Jon, Daenerys or Tyrion.


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Sara Ran wrote:
I am so hoping this does not disappoint. I have liked the other two films so far (not that I had seen a lot of Star Trek before seeing the first film). Isn't there a new TV series coming out soon?

Yes, January 2017.


The EU is deeply aware of the risks of doing anything to relaunch the Troubles or being blamed for it, so some kind of compromise is possible. But they'd also be worried that any UK-RoI exclusive deal could then be taken advantage of by other states wanting to trade with Britain to their benefit.


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Has there been any discussion on this thread about how N.Ireland is affected by this? Ot affects the greater part of my family (militarised border? Good Friday agreements still valid? Etc.) but I'm too drunk to go into it

So far various people in government have looked at the rhetoric in Northern Ireland about what's happened, the risk of a return to violence, and the mind-boggling expense and practical issues involved in putting border checks back in place, and gone for a stiff drink in the bar. Like Gibraltar, it's something that they didn't quite think through before the election and now the very thought of addressing it is causing migraines.


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Thanks - that "Complete Chronicles of Conan" collection is exactly what I'm looking for!

I forgot about Jack Vance, but I should absolutely have a Jack Vance collection!

Do you happen to know the actual names of the Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber Newhon, and Elric collections

Jack Vance: "The Complete Lyonesse" and "Tales of the Dying Earth".

Fritz Leiber: "The First Book of Lankhmar" and "The Second Book of Lankhmar"

Michael Moorock: "Elric of Melnibone"


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Rumours from the EU meeting today that Hollande suggested a compromise: giving Britain a free trade deal in return for limits on migration, but that the EU should withdraw the financial passport, removing the ability of the City of London to trade freely in stocks and capital in the EU. Paris, Amsterday, Frankfurt and Dublin would then benefit as they take over various EU finance roles currently handled by London.

Quite clever, since it gives the UK government what the people voted for (an end to EU immigration) and it apparently punishes only "the nasty big banks." Of course, it would completely undermine the economic foundation that Britain is currently built on so it should be laughed out of the building, but I can see it appealing to some.

Steve Geddes wrote:

My understanding is that (amusingly) England have to ask for Scotland's consent and Scotland can refuse to grant it, but that the term "consent" doesn't actually mean anything since it has literally no legal effect, no matter how the Scottish parliament responds. My reading (admittedly cursory) was that some overexcited journalists thought Scotland might have some kind of veto power, but that there weren't any* lawyers who thought so.

* With the usual lawyer caveat that they can argue for or against pretty much anything.

There is some angst over this issue. It very much looks like Scotland has to pass the separation from the EU as law as a devolved issue. It can refuse. Britain can overrule the Scottish decision if it chooses, but the only 100% legal way of doing that is to repeal the Scotland Act which allows devolved power to Scotland. Effectively, it would have to abolish the Scottish Assembly. That would spark an enormous constitutional crisis in the UK. It would also drive the chances of Scottish independence towards probable. Devolution - giving Scotland much more autonomy but not outright independence - took the wind out of the sails of full independence in the 1990s and this would put it right back in.

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I saw nothing that indicated the referendum was actually binding and never imagined that with or without a nonbinding referendum the PM could unilaterally withdraw the UK from the EU. Do you think he could do so without the referendum?

The referendum is nonbinding in itself, but Cameron had promised that its results would be respected by the government. That's been taken to mean that the results would be accepted as binding, unless it was supersceded by a second referendum (now off the table) or a general election result where the winning party had campaigned on a platform of remaining part of the EU.

Just completely ignoring the results would be highly controversial. Both Labour and the Tories would think hard about doing that, because they would hand an enormous propaganda coup to UKIP if they tried and would suffer the consequences at the next election.


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Ajaxis wrote:
Questions from an American. How many times has the Supreme Court of the UK and its predecessors been overturned by the EU's Court of Justice? And what does the return of sovereignty do to those decisions?

Rarely. The British Supreme Court was required to "take note" of rulings from the EU Court but was not legally bound to accept them. It did so due to convention. The one thing that got people so enraged - us not being able to deport terror subjects to countries where they would be tortured - was actually down to Britain's own laws prohibiting rendition, and the EU merely reinforced the fact that it'd be illegal under both UK and EU law.

The issue here - another factor not really explained very well during the referendum - is that EU law is decided upon by European nations together. In fact, many of the laws regarding human rights were originated by British legal experts and then adopted in Brussels and replicated in our courts here.

The principle power of the EU was that UK law could not contravene the four pillars of membership of the EU (free movement of goods, people, capital and services). After leaving the EU, we will then be able to adjust those rules and prevent, for example, free immigration to the UK from anywhere in the EU. The problem is that all four factors are interrelated: you can't have one without the others. We've actually spent an enormous time talking about two of the pillars, people and goods (i.e. trade) but not much on the other two which are just as important. The EU over the weekend said that Britain's ability to trade capital and services in the EU (the so-called "financial passport") will also be withdrawn in the result of Brexit, limiting the ability of British banks and financial instituions to operate in Europe. Since Britain's economy rests firmly on the bedrock of financial services and the movement of capital this is an absolutely massive problem and is what has gotten the markets in a furore.


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Fabius Maximus wrote:
This is relevant to my interests, but sounds like young adult fiction, which I'm generally not a fan of (anymore).

It's been marketed at YA, but it's certainly not written like it. It's quite an adult book in a few ways. No graphic sex or anything like that, but it is quite violent. The Battle Royale comparison I think is apt for that: just because most of the cast is teenage kids, that doesn't make it a kid's book.


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Regarding Valyrian steel:

Spoiler:
It's widely theorised that forging Valyrian steel requires a human sacrifice. The Westerosi blacksmiths have lost the knack of it forging it because they don't know about it - fire and blood is needed, not just fire itself - and might balk at sacrificing people to forge more blades.

Similar thing with the dragon eggs, they only hatched after Mirri Maz Duur was sacrificed along with them and Dany took her walk of faith into the flames. It does beg the question why the eggs at Summerhall didn't hatch, but that may have been because the deaths were accidental rather than a deliberate sacrifice.


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One thing I have noticed watching the BBC is that people (politicians and experts) are either ecstatically happy or doom and gloom depressed. This leads me to think that nobody has a deep understanding of all the implications of this vote. Reactions are too simplistic, not nuanced enough.

That was a major problem. Exiting or remaining in the European Union is an insanely complicated question. People have said it's a divorce but it isn't: it's separataing conjoined twins who have fused together almost at a cellular level, but instead of doing it in infancy it's trying to do it at age 45 and hoping against hope that both survive the process without long-lasting damage.

This is why Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even a lot of the Conservative Party vehemently refused to put this into a referendum, because they did not believe that the majority of voters - whether a mechanic from Gloucester, a banker in the city or a doctor in Liverpool - would have the time to sit down and read through every single possible outcome of the consequences and then make a considered judgement. If there was ever an issue that we voted career politicians to take a position on having sat through five hundred Parliamentary briefings on it and taken the advice of hundreds of civil servants and experts, it's this one.

It's true, as with most things that the people cheering it probably won't be very happy in five years when they realise what they've lost, and it's also true that the doom-mongers may be sighing with relief in five years that things did not go as badly as they could have done. But I don't think there's many people, apart maybe from the most insulated Leave campaigners, who genuinely don't believe that this decision has profoundly damaged Britain's social cohesion, sense of national identity, economy and political landscape. If we bounce back fast, it's not a major problem. But I don't think anyone really believes we will bounce back that fast.

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At least that's the excuse used by the Labour MPs resigning from Opposition Shadow Cabinet, in a bid to force out Corbyn as leader.

Which seems to have backfired on them spectacularly, now evidence has been found, that they planned to do this regardless of the referendum result, and their local party members have come out in support of the leader.

Lots of petitions out there, for the rebels to be ousted from the party, and telling them they will never be elected again.

Apparently there's now a legal question in play. Corbyn thinks, as the sitting leader, he can gain re-nomination for the leader automatically. But the rules were changed a while ago and apparently the current understanding is that Corbyn needs to re-gather the nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party as everyone else does. As it stands, he cannot get enough nominations to stand again.

Exactly how that pans out with the party at large is unclear. Labour supporters may abandon the party in droves, or it may turn out that rather more people share the PLP's position than the hardcore Corbynites suppose.

If Corbyn does manage to stand again and then win, de-selecting the rebellious MPs will be extraordinarily difficult. Each one of the 140 local Labour party committees will have to deselect the MP in question which is actually far harder than you'd think mid-Parliament, especially for those MPs who have been there for decades. You also have the problem that it may trigger by-elections in each constituency and the Labour Party having to fight lots of little elections. It'd actually massively simplify the process to just wait for the next election if a snap one is going to be held in November or February and then re-select the MPs then. However, realistically the Labour Party can't be paralysed for those five or eight months or whatever, that would just help it be wiped out at the election.

Labour have got to sort this out ASAP. Contrary to some beliefs, they actually can turn things around incredibly quickly and win (such as Tony Blair transforming Labour into New Labour in just three years and going from winning what may have been a very modest victory into a landslide) but to do so they're going to need the Conservatives to implode, to find an articulate and charistmatic leader with a strong, easily communicated vision and stop the infighting.


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Never say never ! It will all dépends on how things turns out in a few months time... The EU is nothing but pragmatic, and the last economical crisis led it to construct on the fly new mechanisms ; even the ECB chose to ignore its own rules to do what was needed. If UK goes out of its collective way to wreck other economies for selfish reasons, nobody will object to its forced exclusion : all in the name of democracy and of the collective will of the british people.

Any such move would require the EU to change its fundamental rules to allow it to kick a member state out. Britain itself - which remember is still a member until the process is completed - will simply veto it. I suspect others - maybe Greece or Poland - would be starkly tempted to as well as the precedent would be alarming.

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A third way of explaining Mr Cameron refusal to issue a formal declaration (despite having said before the vote that he would do so at once) could be that he refuses to personnally assume the responsability of the referendum he asked. Letting the next PM handle the matter could be a way of getting back at his Iago, BoJo. Of course, it can be argued that a continent-wide economical crisis is a harsh price to pay for personal revenge, but hey, politicians can be as insane, immature and mean as any other guy.

Yes. As Cameron walked back into Number 10 after announcing his resignation, he apparently said "Why should I do all the hard s**t?" He was also under the impression that the Leave camp had a plan all ready and waiting to roll.

Later that day Sky News political editor Faisal Islam asked a prominent Leave campaigner what the plan was for Brexit and they replied, "We haven't got one."

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All of this is like a train wreck, all in slow motion.

Yup. We live in interesting times.


Gollancz have got an excellent "Complete Chronicles of Conan" collection, along with great one-volume collections of Jack Vancer's LYONESSE and DYING EARTH series. They also have the complete Fritz Leiber Newhon tales, but in two volumes, and an Elric collection which brings together the novels but not all of the novellas and short stories.


The Call by Peadar O Guilin

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The island of Ireland has been sealed off from the rest of the world by a mystical barrier. Technology cannot penetrate it. The people of Ireland, the division between north and south no longer mattering, are under constant attack. Every teenager is "Called", summoned to another realm where they do battle with the Aes Sidhe, the ancient rulers of Ireland before they were banished in a great war. The Sidhe have a day in their realm (three minutes in ours) to hunt down and kill the child, otherwise the victim escapes. Sometimes the Sidhe spare the victim, to return them home mutilated or "changed" in some horrific fashion. Most of the time, the Sidhe kill them.

Nessa is a teenager at school, but in this age schools do not teach algebra or humanities. Instead they teach each student on how to survive in the Sidhe realm, how to kill the fairies and how to escape back home. Nessa's prospects are dim due to a childhood brush with polio and the resulting weakening of her legs. But Nessa has made a vow to survive, no matter the cost.

It's been nine years since Peadar O'Guilin released his debut novel, The Inferior, an SF story of high-tech and savage, cannibalistic societies coexisting next to each other. Since then, he's made a habit of writing stories that combine mythology, SF and horror, told with verve and intelligence. The Call is an evolution of that storytelling style, and should be a major step forward for his career.

The Call is a rich story mixing horror, survivalism and deep-rooted Irish mythology. "Hey, this sounds a bit like The Hunger Games," some may say, and I suspect the comparison will become a cornerstone of future reviews. However, I would argue that the story is less like The Hunger Games and, at least in spirit and tone, more like that's novel's considerably darker, superior and more adult inspiration, Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. Like that novel The Call channels many of the real issues, challenges and emotional turmoils of being a teenager, given greater resonance by being studied through the lens of an extraordinary situation that transforms the foibles of adolescence into a grim and deadly game of survival.

The result is a mash-up of Battle Royale, Terry Pratchett's Lord and Ladies and an Irish version of Skins, but parsed by O'Guilin's signature dark wit and expert pacing. The book moves like a rollercoaster from the off, but has time to delve into Irish mythology, reflect on teenage angst and sexuality (this is a pretty frank book in that regard) and develop its key characters, not just redoubtable protagonist Nessa but also her friends, the teachers at the school and her sworn enemies. O'Guilin has developed that most enviable knack of dropping us into a character's head for a few moments and establishing them as a full-realised person in just a page or two. He does this so well that it's hard not feel sympathy even for the "bad guys" when they get offed.

It's a short novel at 320 pages, but it moves fast, is extremely bloody-minded and has a body count that might make even George R.R. Martin wince. It's also very smart, with its premise and "rules" interrogated by the characters as much as by the reader, and tremendously adult. It may be marketed as a "YA" book but it does not pander to presupposed juvenile tastes. It treats its audience with respect and credits them with intelligence.

There's not much to say that is negative. It's another one of these books that's the first of a series but the marketing doesn't really mention it (a sequel, The Cauldron, should follow in due course). It also feels like the danger of "sleeper agents", people sent back by the Sidhe having apparently survived their Calling but in reality transformed into their slaves, should have been more properly considered by the Irish authorities and protected against. But these are less than minor issues.

The Call (****½) will be published by David Fickling Books in the UK and Ireland on 30 August this year, and in the USA by Scholastic around the same time. I very strongly recommend it.

Edit: I've now had a couple of people ask about this. The term "Aes Sidhe" is the original Irish term ("Aos Si" is a more recent form) for a mythological species of fairies or elves who originally ruled Ireland before being defeated by men. The Book of Conquests (also The Book of Invasions or The Book of the Taking of Ireland) is an account of this conflict, dating back to the 11th Century but based on considerably older oral traditions.

Needless to say, the term massively predates the term "Aes Sedai", which Robert Jordan borrowed from the Irish for his Wheel of Time sequence beginning in 1990. O'Guilin is simply using the original term from Irish mythology.


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The EU has given the UK more than enough already. And they are still not satisfied. No point in trying to coddle them any further as they will always want more and are not even able to be reasonable about this. Playing with the EU's existence and the risk of yet another grave financial and economical crisis just to advance individuals' political carreers.

I fully agree. Britain got a colossal amount back from the EU for putting not a massive amount in. This message was not even remotely communicated at all by the Remain campaign during the referendum. A lot of British people think we put in less than we got out. Many of those same people have now been told that EU funding for their (often poor and neglected by London) regions will now be pulled and that nice new business centre or sports complex won't be happening and they're confused and angry about that.

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All I'm saying is that if UK aims to use the letter of article 50 to hold hostage all EU, it's not completely impossible that other countries agree to go for the spirit of the text and cut it short. Certainly not tomorrow, but maybe in some months time, especially if the Financial crisis goes deeper and drags all of the continent down.

This won't happen. There is no legal mechanism in the EU for forcing a country out against its will, and introducing one quickly and in a knee-jerk reaction to Brexit would ring alarm bells across Europe, not to mention being tremendously out of character for an organisation that prefers a more measured, careful response to issues. They will instead enact pressure through other means (perhaps a hint of a moderately better deal if we invoke Article 50 sooner). This morning, in fact, they seemed to be saying that they'd be - relatively - happy as long as Article 50 is enacted by the end of this year, two months after when it is being proposed.


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The voyage from Dorne to Mereen across the narrow sea is what, a couple/few days? It would have taken the dragon queen's armies weeks to prepare for their voyage, which is plenty of time for Varys to return.

Nope. Meereen is three thousand miles from Westeros. It's not even on the Narrow Sea, it's on the Summer Sea along Essos's south coast. On a medieval sailing ship, it's maybe a month's voyage with favourable winds. And it's not a trip you make easily, as you have to sail right around the volcanic peninsular of Valyria through pirate-infested waters. The show has seriously lowballed the logistical challenges faced in moving armies around by sea. There's a reason why, 1066 excepted, Britain has never faced a successful nautical invasion despite being only 25 miles from Europe across the Channel and often massively outnumbered by its enemies.

Of course, Daenerys now has a safe landing spot in Dorne which will help things a lot.


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Exactly. The EU was never meant to be an actual nation. But it's been moving further and further towards that, and I sympathize with those that do not want their national identities watered down to the point of non-existence.

This has always been a massively overblown fear.

The United States of Europe, as a theoretical concept, is grounded in the idea that the European mainland is dominated by two principal powers, France and Germany, and that the continent cannot survive as long as those two powers are in competition with one another for land and resources. The first and second world wars resulted from that, along with the Franco-Prussian War and the Napoleonic Wars. After a century and a half of conflict, France and Germany found a way around the problem by sharing economic goals, getting rid of their borders and creating a shared currency (also, ditching fascism helped). Great for them. But of course there are a few other nations on the European continent other than those two who weren't happy with them working in lockstep for their own interest.

That is actually why Britain signed the Maastricht Treaty without going for a referendum (and that was massively controversial at the time), because the Conservative government under Major absolutely did not want a Europe dominated by the Paris-Berlin axis (rubberstamped by Brussels and Luxembourg) with nothing to stop them doing whatever they wanted. And Britain was rather more successful than it's often been credited for at getting in there and making sure that not everything went their way.

Since 2008 Britain's power in the EU has actually grown: France elected Hollande, whose left-wing political viewpoints are completely incompatible with Merkel's pragmatic economics, and as a result France and Germany have gone through an ideological separation. Britain has stepped in, its economy has surged past that of France and the for the last few years it has done an excellent job of getting things done in Europe. Most notably, cutting the EU budget a few years ago during the height of the economic crisis. During the Paris/Berlin lockstep days, that'd have been impossible. But Britain made the argument and carried it. We've actually been helped by this by the new eastern European member states who likewise don't share the enthusiasm for a United States of Europe, most notably Poland.

Right now, there is far less chance of a United States of Europe ever coming into existence. Euroscepticism is rife across Europe, even in France and Italy, and is a small but influential force now in Germany. Britain had effectively won the argument on stopping the ever growing union. In fact, we really should have started redefining what the European Union should be: a trade alliance of nations with some common laws to enable trade and travel to be easier and an inner core of countries with the single currency (which, to be frank, is looking increasingly unworkable in the long run). And Britain's ability to define the EU and taking a leading role in it was only growing: under previous forecasts and remaining in the EU we would have overtaken Germany by 2030 at the latest as the primary economic power in the EU.

Of course, we've just thrown that possibility out of the pram.


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Smarnil le couard wrote:
I'a afraid that to derail the Brexit now, your next pro-Leave PM (Boris Johnson ?) would have to renege, admitting that he didn't meant what he said during the campaign (that is, utterly wrecking his political career and taking the bullet for the greater good).

The Leave campaign has reneged on its two primary campaign promises in less than 72 hours, so they're getting there.

Interesting reports suggesting that Boris's thinking was that Britain would vote Remain, he would congratulate Cameron and they'd hug it out, Boris would then dutifully and loyally support Cameron for three years, glowing with praise for him, hinting at a peerage, and then be ushered into office with the EU matter at rest, the economy improving and able to begin the Glorious Golden Age of Boris.

The fact that Leave won and he is now expected to negotiate the UK's departure from the European Union has left him with a rictus grin on his face as he's realised that he has absolutely no clue at all on how to do that. That's why he went off to play cricket yesterday rather than talking to anyone and has spent today apparently in emergency meetings with Gove and other Leave Tories trying to work out WTF they are going to do. Becoming PM and having to negotiate Brexit amidst a suddenly declining economy and the potential breakup of the United Kingdom was not in his script.

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I think it's sad that many of the pro-leave are already regretting their vote. In fact quite a few younger people who voted to leave have since been interviewed by various agencies and even stated they voted to leave because they thought their vote wouldn't matter.

Apparently it was not communicated well that the rules for the referendum were different to a general election (where the Tories won majority control of Parliament last year with just a third of the vote) and that some people thought that if their area got a majority their vote wouldn't count, so they protest voted or didn't bother voting at all.

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That the same petition that is all over social media and anyone in the world can sign?

Nope. You need a UK address to sign the petition. In theory people can simply use a friend's address, but their vote would then be discounted if too many people use the same address and if they do not appear on the electoral register.

The petition does allow non-UK-born residents of Britain and also 16 and 17 year olds to vote. Both groups were unable to vote during the actual referendum, amidst great controversy.


ericthecleric wrote:
Werthead, the agreement (about the border) is the result of a bilateral agreement and won't change, even as a result of Brexit. Here's a link to the relevant story.

It's a bilateral agreement that either side can terminate at two years' notice. So far the Mayor of Calais and the representative for the whole region have said they now see no logical reason for France to continue shouldering the bulk of the costs of maintaining the camp on their side of the tunnel. Others in the French government have said that they won't be rushing to change agreements without further discussions with Britain. They COULD choose to terminate it and we would have no say in the matter. How that pans out depends a lot on French internal politics and the Brexit discussions.


A petition for a second referendum in the UK has reached almost 3 million signatures.

Despite that extraordinarily high figure, I would agree that it would be undemocratic to rerun the referendum. The result has to be taken as it is. The only grounds on which to rerun the decision would be if there was a material change to the premise of the referendum.

Of course, part of the premise of the referendum was that the government would spend £350 million a week more on the NHS and would also halt the free movement of people from the EU. And in the last 36 hours senior members of the Leave campaign have rolled back on both of those promises. Is that enough to justify a second referendum? Maybe. The new Tory leader has to agree that both of those promises are enshrined in the Brexit negotiations or I think they will come back to bite them.

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

So, I've seen this being trotted around; most glaringly, I watched a piece yesterday with Alex Scrivener from the Another Europe is Possible Coalition arguing against a member of the Socialist Workers Party and their Lexit campaign in which the former claimed that "One thing it has definitely done is it's secured peace on this continent since the Second World War."

And, of course, the first thing I thing of is the Balkan Wars in the '90s. Now, I'll grant you, going from lots of wars to only one war in seventy years isn't too bad, but why does it seem like some (many?) people are ignoring them.

As mentioned above, neither Yugoslavia nor its successor states were part of the EU (a lot of them still aren't), which was part of the problem, and then suffered arguments over borders, which the EU effectively nullifies. The religious disagreements were also quite strong, but the EU has also done a reasonable job of keeping those issues under control.

This has been borne out in the last 36 hours. Britain controls the peninsula of Gibraltar, which borders the far southern tip of Spain, and has done for centuries. Spain has argued that it should be part of its own country because of proximity. Prior to the EU there were lots of arguments and threats over the issue. The EU nullified that because, well, it doesn't really matter when they're both part of the EU and then the UK and Spain made lots of money from Spanish workers who could cross the border freely to work in Gibraltar (at rather higher rates of pay than they could get locally, in some cases).

Almost immediately post-Brexit, Spain said soothingly that the estimated 800,000-1 million British expats living in Spain would still be welcome and could stay with no problems. And then, of course in a competely unrelated statement, said that they expected "joint sovereignty" over Gibraltar with the UK as a transitional stage before the colony completely joined the Spanish state. There was an interesting undertone there, "Give us Gibraltar and we won't force a million mostly old codgers to return to the UK and collapse your economy - er, more than it has been - overnight."

In addition, Britain helps pay for a migrant camp in Calais to stop illegal migrants crossing the Channel to Britain. To make that work legally, the border between Britain and France is at the edge of the migrant camp (as a bit of legal busywork to ensure that Britain has to pay for it, not just the French government). France has said that this arrangement - which can be terminated by either side - is no longer in their interest post-Brexit and they could choose to terminate it, which would allow migrants to enter the Channel Tunnel or even legally hitch a lift in vans to the far side at Dover, where a new migrant camp would have to be set up, 100% at the British taxpayer's expense.

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The EU didn't do anything to prevent or mitigate the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Years of Lead in Italy, or ETA in the Basque country, either.

The worst excesses of those campaigns all took place before the modern EU was effectively founded with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. In addition, the EU actually is at a cornerstone of the resolution of the Troubles.

Technically, continued co-membership of the European Union by both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is stipulated in the Good Friday Agreement (which effectively ended the Troubles), and the EU provides an important forum for discussions between Dublin and London. On paper, at least (the UK PM and the Irish Taoiseach usually have no problems just talking to each other direct), the EU provides an important forum for discussions between the Republic and the UK. The UK leaving the EU means that the Good Friday Agreement has to be reworked, which no-one really has engaged with because the mere thought of it causes politicians to break out in hives.

The Troubles (probably) wouldn't restart, of course, but the reintroduction of a physical land border between the Republic and the North and the end of free movement at will between the two states is going to be politically sensitive, problematic and migraine-inducing.

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the UK breaking away from the EU is good. It may present some terrible consequences in the short run, but in the long run it will be good for the UK.

What do you base this on? A long-term good result for the UK requires the UK to either start building something to sell to the rest of the world - which there is no realistic prospect of - or for it to be allowed continued free access to the EU market, which there is also no realistic prospect of.


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I assume HBO will have them film both seasons back to back.

Negative. Benioff and Weiss have simply hit a wall in being able to film 10 episodes a year with the production requirements that the final two seasons will need. The two seasons will need to be shorter or one super-sized season could be filmed, but we'd have to wait 18-24 months for it, which damages HBO's income for the next financial year. Two shorter seasons is the apparent compromise.


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Yorkshire now expressing concern that leaving the EU means it will lose its EU funding.

I am at a loss as to why these people think that they are either 1) going to get EU money despite not being part of the EU or 2) going to get the same amount from a British government voted into office on a mandate of reducing spending to all-time record lows.


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Damage Report: Day 2 of the New Order (Hail, Boris)

$2.1 trillion wiped off the world economy. Er, sorry about that.

Britain loses its 5th position in the world GDP rankings to France. India not far behind.

British stock markets collapse by 8%, but recover 2%. Worries of further losses next week, but some suggestion there could be a further recovery. However, the markets overall think there will be two years of volatility due to the Brexit negotiations and then a further period of volatllity as the impact of Brexit is measured.

British currency and economy crashes in the worst one-day decline since Black Monday in 1987. In perspective, this was far worse for the UK economy than any day of the 1990s recession or the late 2000s one.

Britain credit rating downgraded to "Negative" by Moodys. Standards and Poor strip Britain of its AAA credit rating.

Morgan and Stanley reveal they have a contingency plan to shift 2,000 UK jobs to Dublin and Frankfurt and will enact it if we don't get a free trade agreement with the EU. HSBC apparently has a similar plan.

The investment sector will have to stop trading in Euros. This was already annoying the Eurozone. When we're out of the EU altogether, we simply won't be able to do it which will hammer investment banking. Which would be less of a problem if the British economy wasn't overwhelmingly based around services.

The ECB confirms that Britain will lose its EU financial passport if we don't allow free movement of peoples, which will impact Britain's ability to offer financial services to Europe. Since that's the underpinning of our economy (we actually make nothing in this country that others can't do instead) that's "mildly" worrying.

Spain confirm that the c. 800,000-1 million British people (mostly elderly) living in Spain won't have to worry and they probably won't be deported back to the UK. Oh, and by the way can they start having some discussions about the control of Gibraltar? Not that the two are related, at all. Oh, and all those people living in Spain will now have to buy private health insurance because they won't be protected by the NHS any more.

EU funding for the British regions (which basically keeps Cornwall, a large chunk of Wales and parts of Northern Ireland afloat) will be terminated. £1 billion+ EU funding for British scientific projects, including our contributions to the LHC, will be terminated.

But, good news! The government has indicated that it will take over the EU subsidies for private landowners, so the British taxpayer will shortly be paying Iain Duncan Smith £150,000 a year for no readily explicable reason.

Kazuka wrote:
That's what makes me worry about this. How bad are they going to make things for the people?

Very. Cameron and Osborne's policies have inflicted colossal economic and societal damage on the UK, and there's always been the fear that they - coming from the centre-right of the Conservative Party - were actually the least worst option from the party. The likes of Iain Duncan Smith, whose policies at the Department of Work and Pensions drove hundreds of people to suicide, and Michael Gove, who almost destroyed the British education system, are not going to hold back on taking things much further. Boris Johnson is actually much more centrist and liberal than people give him credit for, so if he emerges as PM things may not be quite that bad.

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The vote to leave was mainly by the older generation - that is, the people who won't have to live with the long-term consequences of this. On the other hand, the younger people voted overwhelmingly to stay - and they're the ones who will be impacted the most if the UK actually decides to go through with it. (The resolution is non-binding, and Parliament technically could ignore it if they wanted to. They may still choose to do so if they decide it's politically acceptable.)

It's worth noting that 16 and 17-year-olds were barred by voting, which was hugely controversial because they were allowed to vote in the Scottish referendum two years ago. They were overwhelmingly for Remain, and of course this will affect their long-term prospects.

EU citizens who'd been living in the UK for over 5 years - in some cases more than a decade - were barred from voting. A lot of British voters overseas, who were also overwhelmingly for Remain, also found themselves unable to vote due to complications in arranging it. So given the narrowness of the victory, yes, it's more than slightly controversial.

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All this talk of the Youth getting shafted - what is the youth unemployment like in the EU again...? Oh right.

That's down to the Euro, which was a hideous mistake and should be abolished, and to the internal policies of each country. Britain was actually highly praised in the EU for how it's handled the economy and weathered the financial storm, even Germany took some inspiration from it and France's current problems stem from being unable to do the same thing.


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So the Leave campaign won by forging an unholy alliance between the hard-right of the Conservative Party and the older, disenfranchised, northern working class citizen who hasn't voted since the Thatcher years, on the basis that the Tories would massively invest in public services and local resources.

In terms of unlikely alliances, this probably isn't quite up there with the Nazi-Soviet Pact but may certainly be in the Sauron-Saruman ballpark.

There is a slight problem here, namely what happens to those disaffected working class voters when the Tories continue to sell off the NHS, continue (if not double down on) austerity and keep shrinking government and public services. Maybe a resurgent Labour under Corbyn, having survived the new leadership challenge and vanquished the last remaining Blairites, sweeps them up and delivers this country to a socialist utopia in 2020. Or UKIP starts hoovering them up at a rate of knots as part of its potential new raison d'etre, "encouraging" immigrants already here to start going home.

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Seriously? (1) Could this be true? If so, how widespread is Bregret? (B) When you cast a vote, make it the one you actually want.

Anecdotally, quite widespread. This morning, the people of Cornwall - which voted for Brexit - suddenly asked if leaving the EU meant they'd lose their EU funding (hint: yes). And if so, would the small-government, ultra-capitalist, free market-obsessed Conservative Party step in and replace that funding (hint: no)?

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That was far from being the sole argument of the Leave side.

It was the predominant argument once it became clear that they had comprehensively lost the economic one. At one point in the campaign the Brexit camp looked completely beaten because they had tried going toe-to-toe on the economy and were crushed. They had to double down on immigration, immigration and immigration (with a dash of sovereignty, which the Tories didn't want to get into too much because of how they won the last general election but UKIP was happy to) because the second they tried to fight on any other ground they dipped in the polls.


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"It's not all about you, Jon."


Sort of. They implied you were captured at that point and the rest of XCOM (and ENEMY WITHIN) was you constantly rerunning the original war as a battle simulation that the aliens could learn from.


Remember there'll probably be an XCOM 3, maybe even in 2018. XCOM 2 has a pretty massive cliffhanger ending.

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Three wildly different endings??? Cool! Do we get red, green or blue again?

Nope. Apparently it's more of a NEW VEGAS deal, where you have three major end-states and then several dozen variations to each end state depending on how you interacted with the other factions. You can win outright by conquering everyone, or win through an alliance with other factions or, er, presumably just losing. There's also different methodologies for defeating the Mist which will have different results on the endings.

It's got to be an improvement on XCOM and XCOM 2 which had one ending each, which was a bit poor. Especially when XCOM 2 (kind of) completely ignored the ending from XCOM 1.


Terrible, sad news. Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the new movies, has passed away following a car accident at his home :(


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Julian Gollop, the original creator of X-COM (along with LORDS OF CHAOS and LASER SQUAD, and advising on the new Firaxis XCOM games), has announced a new X-COM-esque strategy game called PHOENIX POINT.

The game will play in a similar way to the original X-COM, with a world map from which you can organise research, recruitment and procuring equipment and then a turn-based battle mode where you fight the enemy in procedurally-generated landscapes. In a twist, there will also be procedurally-generated monsters and enemies, assembled on the fly from dozens of body parts and types to form hundreds of potential enemies.

The plot is that the melting permafrost has released a virus known as "the Mist" that mutates both people and creatures into terrible monsters. The Mist has also spread across much of the globe, destroying civilisation and reducing it to pockets surviving in Mist-free enclaves scattered over the globe. There are numerous factions of survivors, some of whom are more interested in fighting each other than the Mist, and you have to guide your faction - the titular Phoenix Point - to victory by arranging strategic alliances or even outright conquering other factions to help gather resources to drive the Mist back.

Gollop has taken inspiration from several sources: the original X-COM (and the third game, APOCALYPSE) for the strategic layer, which will be more involved and dynamic than the Firaxis games. The other factions will be fighting one another, researching and doing other stuff regardless of your actions, so if you kick back too much you might let other factions wipe one another out but you might also end up out-resourced, outnumbered and outflanked. The second inspiration is ALPHA CENTAURI, for the very different factions and their goals and ways to appear them. The third is survival horror: although the game has lots of combat and action, the monsters are disturbing and genuinely monstrous, constantly mutating and evolving to adjust to your tactics. The Mist is also active on the battlefield, capable of warping or mutating your soldiers if you don't find ways of defeating it. Some of the monsters are also absolutely huge. The final inspiration is the modern XCOM, which Gollop has praised for its approachability and accessibility, but thinks there is a way of getting a more complex and malleable game underneath. PHOENIX POINT will have at least 3 wildly different endings (possibly more) depending on how the campaign unfolds.

PHOENIX POINT's release date will apparently be in 2018 on PC, with console versions possible.


Clearly we disagree on the issue, so rather than carry on with that dead end, I'll drop that there.

For those who may be interested, here's a selection of other reviews of the series:

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Pat's Fantasy Hotlist - "So if you are looking for a new voice, an original series, set in a world that is fascinating and different than what is currently the norm in the fantasy genre, populated by deeply realized characters and societies, then The Darkness that Comes Before is definitely for you!"

I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending - "Taken as a whole, The Prince of Nothing series is a true masterpiece of speculative fiction, the most enthralling trilogy fantasy has been gifted with since 1959, and I envy all who have the opportunity to read these words for the first time."

Sandstorm Reviews - "This series distinguishes itself with a very dark and serious take on the subject, and is a long way from being by-numbers fantasy froth, for all that the landscape looks familiar."

The Atlantic - "These are brutal stories, with complex and often unsympathetic characters thrown together in a harsh and unforgiving world. For serious readers, Bakker's work is also quite a lot more philosophical than many of his contemporaries. Between fierce battles and sometimes truly chilling violence, there is plenty to keep you thinking."

Nethspace - "The Prince of Nothing trilogy stands apart as the single best completed fantasy series that I have read to date."

Mark Lawrence - "A book with depth, complexity, written with skill, and well worth a look."

George R.R. Martin - "I have read and admired his first trilogy." (GRRM's usual measured enthusiasm at work here)

John R. Fultz - "I’ve been singing the praises of Bakker’s fantasy work for awhile now. His is a fantasy on the scale of Tolkien without stealing any of the usual tropes that go with that scale. His work is brilliant, illuminating, and challenging. In short, it is literary fantasy…i.e. fantasy with literary qualities. “What exactly does that mean?” I hear somebody asking. Well, here’s what I tell my students on the first day of any literature class: Literature is a written work of art that explores what it means to be human."

Victoria Strauss - "To properly appreciate the scope, sweep, and power of this series, not to mention its complex thematic structure, it must be read from the beginning. And it should be read. Violent, passionate, darkly poetic, seethingly original, these are books that deserve attention from all true connoisseurs of fantasy."

Steven Erikson - "Exquisitely intelligent and beautifully written, R. Scott Bakker’s first novel in The Prince of Nothing series inspires both confidence and anticipation–this is fantasy with muscle and brains, rife with intrigue and admirable depth of character, set in a world laden with history and detail. Take note, one and all, something remarkable has begun here.…"

John Marco - "The Darkness That Comes Before introduces a vast and richly detailed world for lovers of good fantasy. Bakker’s imaginative creation is an impressive addition to the genre."

The Toronto Star (print review) - "One of the finest new fantasy creations in recent memory, a dazzling epic that breaks utterly free of the conventions of its genre."

The Globe & Mail (print review) - "Bakker has been praised by fans and critics around the world for his thoughtful, complex and meticulously detailed world, his colorful and credible characters, and his deviously intriguing, action-packed plotting."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer - "A fine example of the new anti-epic fiction at its best . . . This is one of the more brilliant pieces of writing that you’re liable to read for a long time."

Blogcritics - "A journey unlike any other you have experienced. Part Dante’s Inferno and part Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, this is fantasy literature like you’ve never read before."

January Magazine - "What Bakker does that his contemporaries do not and that those SFF luminaries did was completely imagine — from the ground up — a universe so satisfyingly detailed you felt as though you could slip inside."

Edmonton Journal (print review) - "It is a profound and massive achievement, a work of both narrative and philosophical imaginative sweep."

The Guardian (print review) - "Intelligent is a term trotted out so often by publishers that it has become almost worthless – which is hard for the likes of Bakker, whose The Darkness That Comes Before truly is intelligent, and original, and all those other overused words."

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