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ANT-MAN wasp

Under the microscope with Marvel’s tiniest heroes

sci-fi 303

Missing Westeros?

Plus!

the hottest new sci-fi and fantasy

Fill that Seven Kingdoms-shaped hole with our epic celebration

the meg Jason Statham vs giant shark!

cast interviews Final season preview

new sandman Back to Neil Gaiman’s world of dreams

What we know about the spin-off shows The science of dragons more!

PLUS!

the greatest spy-fi gadgets • STARSHIP TROOPERS THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS • THE DARKEST MINDS RICK AND MORTY • doctor who • FANTASTIC FOUR

castle rock The TV town that Stephen King built


Red Alert Aug 2018

sci-fact!

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While the majority of The Outpost was shot in Utah, part of the pilot filmed in Ireland last December.

Jake Stormoen plays Captain Garret Spears.

ON SET IN UTAH

final frontier town

The creators of The Outpost introduce their post-apocalyptic fantasy

Ushering a new fantasy series into the world isn’t an easy prospect given the pop cultural embrace of all things sword, sorcery, dragons and demons. But the creators of The Outpost aren’t worried about that. Jason Faller and Kyle Griffin dreamt up the show as an amalgam of different genres that they love, from post-apocalyptic science fiction to the cinematic worlds conjured by directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone. “We wanted to take fantasy in a direction that hadn’t been done,” says Faller. “The Outpost is this remote town where nothing is supposed to happen. Yet it becomes the nexus of all the important things set to occur in this world.” We learn this as Red Alert stands on the show’s main outdoor set, a place that is part-Western settlement, part-Iron Age fortress that has been built to nestle within an otherwise unremarkable business park in the Utah city of South Springville. With dramatic mountain views and close to the famous red rock countryside, it’s the ideal place to shoot a series that takes place on another planet, where development beyond the pre-industrial stage was nipped in the bud by some awful disaster. Here, creatures such as the rocky Greyskins threaten to encroach and a terrible pandemic is turning people into infected Plaguelings with seemingly no cure in sight. Oh, and did we mention there’s real dung on the streets? Into this unforgiving, poo-strewn metropolis comes Talon (Jessica Green), sole survivor of a humanoid race called Blackbloods, carrying a fateful prophecy, impressive fighting skills and

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Andrew Howard was previously in Agents Of SHIELD. a yearning for revenge after the all-powerful, Taliban-alike Prime Order destroyed her home and people, fearing their abilities. “She has this terrifying power to summon demon-like beings,” Griffin explains. “A lot of the story is her self-discovery of what that means. We compare it to nuclear power – what are you going to do with this horrible destructive force you can harness?” Sounding like a successor to characters such as Buffy, the role demanded someone who could convincingly pull off fight scenes. Green got the part when the producers (who include Independence Day’s Dean Devlin, no stranger to apocalypses himself ) saw her MMA and sword-fighting demonstration reels alongside her regular audition. “That was hard to find,” admits Faller of the search that yielded the Australian actress. “It couldn’t be that the actor had some dance background. Jessica is doing a large portion of the combat scenes – she’d do more, but we won’t let her do everything because of the danger!” Finally, it’s hard not to talk about a new fantasy drama without broaching the 800-pound gorilla that is a certain series set in the world of Westeros. Are the Outpost duo ready for such comparisons? “We want to make a show for a fairly broad audience, one the whole family can get together and watch,” explains Griffin. “We’re very light on the bizarre sex!”

“There are some obvious connections with something like Game Of Thrones, given the genre,” adds Faller. “We’re an original thing. We’re more action driven, faster paced and more fun.” Fighting words! Let’s hope Talon – and her creators – are ready to rumble. JWh The Outpost is now airing on the CW in the US, and airs on Syfy UK from 13 August.


Red Alert Aug 2018

SCI-FI Y M

Jessica Green stars as Talon, a young woman out for revenge.

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“In my career of some 30-something years, I have worn more latex than a cheap hooker.”

Salvation for Lucifer as Netflix rescues the show from cancellation. Fan campaign to save Timeless fails as NBC axes it – though talks are ongoing about a two-hour movie to conclude the story. Fox cancels spooky comedy Ghosted. Alex Kurtzman takes over showrunning duties on Star Trek: Discovery. He’s also developing other Trek TV shows. Damon Lindelof’s HBO Watchmen spinoff adds Tom Mison, Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson and Louis Gossett Jr to the cast. Halo’s Master Chief coming to TV in a 10-episode series for US cable network Showtime. MTV lines up Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis for Aeon Flux TV reboot. Amazon Studios developing series based on Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel Of Time book series. Season two of The Terror will be a ghost story set in World War 2-era California.

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SCI-FI TV ROUND UP

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THE Mock The Week regular reveals his sci-fi side... FORMATIVE SF FILM I remember watching ET through a veil of tears and being quite distressed by it. You can put a spoiler warning here but when you think he’s dead and then he’s not – I remember that being the biggest rollercoaster of emotions I’d ever been on at that point in my life. I was in tears. I remember thinking, “Well, the world is awful if you can show me this wonderful film about a weird alien and now he’s zipped up in a bag.” Then he’s fine and saying he’s going to phone home and suddenly I was the happiest I’ve ever been. FAVOURITE SF/FANTASY TV I’m enjoying Westworld. I’m a bit behind with it because I was watching it with my girlfriend – now she’s decided she doesn’t like it but hasn’t properly vocalised it. So we’ve stopped watching but we’re going to have to have the discussion where I say I’m going to take the journey alone. I think it’s time for me to go rogue. I watched Happy! on Netflix as well, about an alcoholic ex-cop who has to save a child’s life with the help of the child’s imaginary best friend who’s a flying blue unicorn voiced by Patton Oswalt. It’s pretty outrageous. SF/FANTASY GUILTY PLEASURE I’ll tell you the specific type of thing I really enjoy regardless of the quality of the film: high-concept time travel. The Butterfly Effect is the biggest guilty pleasure I have. I really like it because it has a high-concept time travel thing at its heart. Ashton Kutcher absolutely pulled it out of the bag in that one. I’m not sure he’s ever done it since then but I really enjoyed it. SBl Ed Gamble is performing his new show “Blizzard” at Edinburgh Fringe. Further dates can be found at edgamble.co.uk

Star Trek: Discovery’s Doug Jones gets nostalgic. august 2018 | sfx magazine |

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game of thrones

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game of thrones

Can you remember a time before Westeros? We’re struggling too. From groundbreaking ratings to Twitter meltdowns, headline-making controversy and beyond, Game Of Thrones blasted television into a new era. Joshua Winning investigates...

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ant-man and the wasp

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ant-man and the wasp

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sandman UNIVERSE

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sandman UNIVERSE

Some of the hottest talents in comics are reviving Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

saga for a new generation. Stephen Jewell enters the Dreaming... ith its gothic heritage and spooky vibe, there can be few better places in the world to discuss the adventures of the Dream King than New Orleans. But after Simon Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters and Kat Howard were assigned to write The Dreaming, House Of Whispers, Lucifer and Books Of Magic – the quartet of titles that make up Vertigo’s new Sandman Universe line – they were invited out to the Big Easy to meet with the Prince of Stories himself, Neil Gaiman. “Once the four of us were chosen, we were told that if we could get our asses straight out to New Orleans, we could spend three days with Neil just sitting and talking it over with him,” says Simon Spurrier, who is penning The Dreaming for artist Bilquis Evely. “None of us had expected that but it just ended up being mind-blowingly useful.” Gaiman also produced a two-page document, detailing the main premise of the four series. Spurrier describes it as “quite loose

in some places but weirdly specific in others. It was like a series of starting places, from which one or a billion stories could quite cheerfully emerge.” He insists that Gaiman also gave them the freedom to make the books their own. “We all went into it thinking that we would have to be quite respectful of all these toys as they’re not our toys and we were just playing with them in the sandpit we’d been given. At the same time, there was an expectation that our role was to create quite a coordinated game

with these toys, as all four of our books are kind of dancing around each other. We approached it from a very crossover-esque mentality, but what actually happened when we sat down with Neil was that he told us not to worry too much about the gross realities of monthly comics. We all then got very excited – and still are – by the idea of these delightful shared moments of resonance between the four titles.” Those links are certainly evident in Sandman Universe #1, next month’s 48-page one shot that features contributions from all of the various writers and artists. “The special sets up all four books to come,” says Dan Watters, who is teaming up with brothers Max and Sebastian Fuimara. “And although Neil constructed the spine, there was space for us to head out on our own little drive into the territories that our individual books will be stomping through.” Opening with Daniel, the Lord of the Dreaming, having gone missing alongside one of the tomes from his mystical library, the special sees a new house, the House of Whispers, materialising in the Dreaming august 2018 | sfx magazine |

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the meg

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the meg

muc e You’r gonna need a e h bigger boa as T h e M g t... taub c e t r o i r d Jon Turtel tells R ich d Edwa r ds ar august 2018 | sfx magazine |

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castle rock

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castle rock

It’s the town populated by the dark imagination of Stephen King – and now it’s prime TV real estate. Bryan Cairns hitches a ride to Castle Rock . And may never leave... august 2018 | sfx magazine |

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Brought

the sfx author interview

To Book

Becky Chambers The American writer tells us why space is for everyone Words by Jonathan Wright /// Photography by Bara Hlin Kristjansdottir

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any years into the future, humanity has made contact with aliens and become part of the intergalactic community. Despite this, a flotilla of generation ships, the Exodus Fleet that carried the last humans to leave Earth, is still travelling through space, and still provides a home to the descendants of those who left. But why stay aboard? It’s a question that intrigues even Becky Chambers, from whose head the Exodus Fleet originally blasted off. As she herself puts it, “If the point of a generation ship is to carry you away to a more hospitable planet why would you stay? Why have they continued to do so when they could move to alien cities or colonise other worlds? Why are people still living there? What makes this way of life special? And is it worth preserving at all?” As the sheer number of questions here suggests, Record Of A Spaceborn Few, Chambers’ third novel in her Galactic Commons sequence doesn’t offer just one answer. Rather, as Chambers explores what happens after disaster befalls the fleet, it’s a question she answers from multiple viewpoints. For some, not leaving is down to a love of tradition and pride in a communal way of life. Less happily, fear and xenophobia play a part too. “It’s the same as for us, do you stay in your hometown or not?” says Chambers, “and the answers to that question are often very individual.” Nonetheless, it’s difficult not to see the book’s themes as especially resonant in the wake of Trump’s election and Brexit, and in an era when political populism that plays on people’s fear of the other is on the rise. “I didn’t sit down and say I’m going to write an allegory here, no, but I think it’s impossible not to write about those themes right now,” says Chambers. “Science fiction, or any genre really, is always a reflection of the time it’s written in and there is this big question, in my country, in your country, do we face inward or do we look outward?”

family issues

It’s the kind of question that doesn’t often get asked in space opera, a genre more associated with big space battles, yet one of the reasons Chambers’ voice is so fresh is that her fiction combines spectacle with kitchen-sink drama. “There’s more to the future than finding new and inventive ways to kill each other,” she says. “So even though war exists in these stories, that’s not the focus. I’m interested in the people who stay home, I’m interested in the people who are worried about taking care of their families and figuring out their careers, and all of these normal things that most of us are doing every day.”

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But not everyone’s version of normal is the same. Chambers is the daughter of an aerospace engineer and an astrobiology educator, and her maternal grandfather was a mathematician who worked for NASA. “For me, space was just sort of what people do,” she says. “It wasn’t until I got older that I realised this is not what everyone’s family does.” As she jokingly tells it, though, Chambers was the black sheep of the family, who developed an interest in theatre in high school. But going to work in the theatre professionally revealed a problem. Where her colleagues would spend their leisure time going to plays and readings, she “read science fiction, played videogames and watched Star Trek”. It was time to reconnect with the girl who, as a teenager, fell in love with SF not just through Trek and Star Wars – “I don’t discriminate between the two” – but the work of Ursula K Le Guin, whose fiction made Chambers want to write. “It was this [sense of ], ‘Oh my God, science fiction can be about anything you want it to be.’ And it can be about these social themes, and it can be about culture, and it can be about biology.”

blast off

After unsuccessfully trying to write short fiction, but failing because, “I’m wordy is what it comes down to,” Chambers eventually began work on what would be her debut novel, The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, but ran into problems. Freelancing, she found herself without work for two months around the time she was two thirds of the way through the novel’s first draft. She decided to raise the money she needed to carry on via Kickstarter. “To my eternal surprise it was a success.” When the finished book initially failed to find a publisher, Chambers self-published a novel that would eventually, via a Worldcon meeting with editor Anne Perry of Pornokitsch fame, be picked up by Hodder & Stoughton. Even now, Chambers says, she’s still processing how having a beer with someone translated into her biggest break. While Chambers does that, the rest of us can only be grateful that her democratic take on SF, which has an overarching idea of debunking the notion that space is the preserve of military, scientific or business elites, is loose in the world. And beyond the world. “That’s a big drive for me in telling stories about ordinary people, what the universe looks like to the rest of us, because the truth is we all belong to it and it belongs to all of us equally.” Record Of A Spaceborn Few is published by Hodder & Stoughton on 24 July.

Biodata Occupation Novelist Born 3 May 1985 From California Greatest Hits The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet (2014) is the first of three novels set in Chambers’ Galactic Commons universe. Random Fact In her spare time, Chambers keeps bees. Not because she likes honey, but because she’s interested in animal intelligence and in non-human communities. “Social insects are a perfect fit for me”.


brought to book becky chambers

“There’s more to the future than finding new ways to kill each other” august 2018 | sfx magazine |

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time machine starship troopers

d th e s f a n d th e s to r y b eh iny es te r y ea r fa n ta s y o f

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time machine starship troopers

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Reviews cinema

INCREDIBLES 2 More than up to Parr released OUT NOW!

PG | 125 minutes Director Brad Bird Cast Holly Hunter, Craig T Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener

While not the lengthiest wait for a sequel in the record books, 14 years is, by any measure, A Long Time. With a film as well-crafted, respected and loved as The Incredibles, the anticipation has built expectations to a height you’d need an oxygen mask to survive. So, can Incredibles 2 actually live up to them, or does it come crashing down to earth under the weight of all the pressure? Fortunately, when Brad Bird said that he’d only make a follow-up when he had a story worth bringing to the screen, he wasn’t just cranking up the hype machine: the second outing for the Parrs delivers. Picking up right where the original adventure left off, the new one rockets us straight back into the action, as the family works together to defeat the Underminer (voiced, as before, by Pixar’s vocal lucky charm, John Ratzenberger).

But that doesn’t mean an automatic happy ending: in the Parrs’ world, superheroes are still outlawed, and the fallout from the encounter with the Underminer means they’re brought in by the police and then relocated once again – partly because their home was destroyed in the last film. Hope arrives in the form of tech mogul Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), who wants to throw his support behind getting the law changed and supers returned to their former, governmentapproved heroic status. If the idea of a tempting offer sounds similar to the plot from the 2004 outing, you’re not wrong. It could smack of Bird just going back to the same well. Yet he’s cannily figured out a way to make that work for him, subverting expectations by having Holly Hunter’s Helen (aka Elastigirl) be the focus of the attention. This allows for a rich new vein of storytelling, themes and humour to arise, all while continuing the considered story of a family that is like so many others, just with a little something extra. Incredibles 2 also finds Bob (Craig T Nelson) struggling with parenting, feeling just a bit

The microwave had caught on fire again.

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There was a tiny piece of bubblegum stuck to her hand. emasculated now that his wife is off fighting crime while he’s getting headaches with the maths from son Dash’s new school and looking after baby Jack-Jack. Speaking of whom, the infant member of the family steals several scenes as his powers manifest in fun ways; a particular highlight is his battle with a garden creature boasting the physical comedy abilities to rival Scrat from the Ice Age films. And the child’s need for something to keep him from burning/shooting/ transporting through anything around also means a funny,

The world around the Parrs is full of imagination and wit touching visit back to fashion designer extraordinaire Edna Mode (Bird, reprising the role to great effect). She’s best used in small doses, something the sequel remembers.


Reviews TOON TITANS Four more animated super-teams

THE IMPOSSIBLES

(1966) W  hen called by boss Big D, HannaBarbera’s rock ’n’ roll trio would spring into crimefighting action – quite literally, in the case of Coil-Man! Completing the line-up: Multi-Man (who could duplicate himself) and Fluid-Man (have a guess).

THE MIGHTY HEROES (1966)

B  rainchild of Ralph Bakshi (Fritz The Cat/ Wizards), this Terrytoons show was somewhat ironically titled… its heroes included Rope Man (who kept getting tangled up) and Diaper Man – a baby packing a bottle that shot a powerful jet of formula milk!

THE GALAXY TRIO (1967)

While the family faces challenges, so did the technical team working behind the scenes, faced with bringing the characters to life in the same stylised fashion as their previous appearance, while also taking advantage of advances in animation technology in the decade plus that has gone by since. Suffice to say, the Incredibles still look great as characters, and the world around them is gloriously retro while full of invention, wit and brio – complemented by yet another funky, pulsing score from composer Michael Giacchino.

All that attractive wrapping, however, would mean nothing if you didn’t care about the story, and Incredibles 2 certainly gives most of the family and Samuel L Jackson’s Frozone something to do. Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) is slightly underutilised again, as he’s mostly just excited to be in action, but even he gets some nice grace notes. Daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), meanwhile, is still struggling with adolescent dating pains and enjoys the chance to embrace her heroic side. While there are one or two familiar beats lurking within and it

doesn’t always exactly re-invent the superhero wheel (a far trickier needle to thread in this Marvelheavy world), Incredibles 2 was well worth the wait. About as far from a lazy cash-grab as possible, this new superhero outing bottles the same lively vibe as the original and makes you glad the Parr family has finally returned to our screens. “You’re not good,” Violet says at one point, “you’re super.” The same can be said of the movie. James White Isabella Rossellini voices Ambassador Henrietta Selick – a nod to The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick.

S  andwiched between segments of Birdman (nowadays an Attorney at Law…) came the adventures of three more HannaBarbera heroes: Vapor Man, Meteor Man and Gravity Girl. These extra-terrestrial lawenforcers patrolled space in their ship, the Condor One.

THE SPACE SENTINELS (1977)

B  ased in a spaceship inside a volcano, this Filmation team was comprised of the superstrong Hercules, the fleet-of-foot Mercury, and Astrea – an African-American woman capable of transforming into any kind of animal.

august 2018 | sfx magazine |

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