After The Closer morphed into Major Crimes, I wasn’t sure the new series could hold its audience. But the audience loyal to the team stayed with the series and this third season was the result. There are several dramatic subplots to augment the weekly crimes. Sharon (Mary McDonnell) wants to adopt Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin). Her family isn’t cooperative. Fitz (Jon Tenney) was having a heart attack in last week’s last episode. I’m sure tonight’s cliffhanger episode will expand on that. Fitz is also retiring from the FBI and about to join the LAPD…if he doesn’t get killed off by that pesky heart attack. Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) was shot. Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni) is dating an undercover detective. There’s a lot going on. TNT announced they’re renewing Major Crimes for a Fourth Season. That’s wonderful news!
I’m wrapping up MARS WEEK with this science fiction scary story, The Last Days on Mars. Liev Schreiber is part of a Mars expedition that’s about to rotate back to Earth. One of the team ignores orders and goes out of the dome to check samples before a massive Mars sandstorm hits. Of course, things go terribly wrong. The astronaut gets inflected by Mars bacteria that turns him into a murderous monster. Other members of the team make boneheaded decisions and–oops, they’re infected, too! More monsters than astronauts is the scary result. Liev Schreiber and his girl friend take one of the Mars vehicles and head for the rendezvous point with the replacement team that’s about to land. You can guess how that turned out. The Last Days on Mars holds few surprises, but I enjoyed Live Schreiber’s performance and the scenes of the Red Planet alive with ghouls. Hope you enjoyed MARS WEEK! Things come back to Earth tomorrow. GRADE: B
Alex Lomax is the only private eye on Mars. And, he gets some very odd cases. A wife hires Lomax to find her husband. You would think that would be easy given that the Mars colony is small. Lomax finds the husband, but that opens an entire Pandora’s Box of trouble. There’s also the case of the missing Martian fossils. Two Terrans found a mother-lode of valuable Martian fossils, but refused to tell anyone where the treasures were located. And, then, the two prospectors died. If you’re in the mood for a blend of private eye fiction set in a Mars colony, Robert J. Sawyer’s Red Planet Blues will keep you entertained for a few hours. GRADE: B+
Michael Moorcock, in his fine introduction to Martian Quest, calls Leigh Brackett the “Queen of Martian Mysteries.” I agree completely with Moorcock’s assessment. Leigh Brackett wrote some great Martian novels like Shadow Over Mars (aka, Nemesis From Terra) and The Ark of Mars (aka, Alpha Centauri or Die!). Brackett’s Eric John Stark adventures, The Secret of Sinharat and People of the Talisman, make up one of my favorite ACE Doubles. The other stories in Martian Quest take the reader all over the Solar System, but the best stories deal with Mars. If you’re looking for intelligent High Adventure, I highly recommend Leigh Brackett’s Mars stories!
Table of Contents
“Queen of the Martian Mysteries” by Michael Moorcock
“Martian Quest” (Astounding Stories, Feb ’40)
“The Treasure of Ptakuth” (Astounding Stories, Apr ’40)
“The Tapestry Gate” (Strange Stories, Aug ’40)
“The Stellar Legion” (Planet Stories, Win ’40)
“The Demons of Darkside” (Startling Stories, Jan ’41)
“Water Pirate” (Super Science Stories, Jan ’41)
“Interplanetary Reporter” (Startling Stories, May ’41)
“The Dragon-Queen of Venus” (Planet Stories, Sum ’41)
“Lord of the Earthquake” (Science Fiction, Jun ’41)
“No Man’s Land in Space” (Amazing Stories, Jul ’41)
“A World is Born” (Comet, Jul ’41)
“Retreat to the Stars” (Planet Stories, Nov ’41)
“Child of the Green Light” (Super Science Stories, Feb ’42)
“The Sorcerer of Rhiannon” (Astounding Stories, Feb ’42)
“Child of the Sun” (Astonishing Stories, Spr ’42)
“Out of the Sea” (Astonishing Stories, Jun ’42)
“Cube from Space” (Super Science Stories, Aug ’42)
“Outpost on Io” (Planet Stories, Win ’42)
“The Halﬂing” (Astonishing Stories, Feb ’43)
“The Citadel of Lost Ships” (Planet Stories, Mar ’43)
Meet the Author by Leigh Brackett (Amazing Stories, Jul ’41)
Back in 1972, The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars hit the music scene with the force of a neutron bomb. Ziggy Stardust was David Bowie’s 5th album. It is a concept album where Bowie plays a bisexual rock star who is a messenger for extraterrestrial aliens. Many critics consider Ziggy Stardust as the album that launched the “Glam Rock” era of the Seventies. Rolling Stone ranked Ziggy Stardust as the 35th best album ever released. The 40th Anniversary CD includes extra tracks. I think this album has one of the best titles ever! What’s your favorite David Bowie song? For me, it’s a tie between “China Girl” and “Under Pressure” (with Queen).
1 Five Years (4:43)
2 Soul Love (3:33)
3 Moonage Daydream (4:39)
4 Starman (4:13)
5 It Ain’t Easy (2:57)
6 Lady Stardust (3:21)
7 Star (2:46)
8 Hang on to Yourself (2:38)
9 Ziggy Stardust (3:13)
10 Suffragette City (3:25)
11 Rock & Roll Suicide (2:58)
The Emperess in The Empress of Mars is a bar. In fact, the Empress is the only bar on Mars. It’s run by Mary Griffin and her two beautiful daughters. Corporate interests try to manipulate the outcasts and eccentrics who make up most of the Mars colonists. Kage Baker creates an ensemble cast of quirky characters who out-fox the bureaucratic powers and stamp their independent ways on the Mars colony. I lift my glass of sweet red wine (doctor’s orders) to Kage Baker and her engaging, rag-tag group at the Empress of Mars. I have a feeling we would all fit right in. GRADE: B+
Total Recall 2070 pursues the same themes that the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie had: the manipulation of memory, the creation of false memories, and the impact of intelligent androids on humans. Like the movie version, this TV series is based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” and by Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. This 1999 series first appeared on Canadian TV and then on SHOWTIME. Detective David Hume (played by Keanu Reeves clone Michael Easton) and his android partner, Ian Farve (Karl Pruner) investigate murders and conspiracies involving androids and memory manipulation. All 22 episodes are included in this box set of DVDs. If you’re a fan of the original movie, Mars, and Philip K. Dick you’ll enjoy this quirky series.
Episode/ First airdate/ Plot
1. “Machine Dreams” (part 1) January 5, 1999 David Hume and his new partner Ian Farve must track down a gang of androids. To be continued…
2. “Machine Dreams” (part 2) January 12, 1999 The detectives’ hunt for the androids takes them to Mars.
3. “Self-Inflicted” February 2, 1999 CPB investigates a potential biohazard situation.
4. “Infiltration” February 16, 1999 Hume and Farve investigate the murder of an Uber-Braun employee.
5. “Allure” February 9, 1999 Hume investigates a puzzling suicide.
6. “Nothing Like the Real Thing” January 19, 1999 A motiveless murder leads Hume to investigate black-market memory implants.
7. “Rough Whimper of Insanity” February 23, 1999 Farve starts behaving erratically.
8. “First Wave” March 2, 1999 The CPB computer network goes haywire.
9. “Baby Lottery” March 9, 1999 A baby is taken from his parents because of a genetic disposition towards crime.
10. “Brain Fever” March 16, 1999 The head of the Mars Miners Union is shot by a member who then attempts to kill himself.
11. “Begotten Not Made” March 23, 1999 Dr. Latham is starting to cooperate, when a lawyer from Rekall shows up demands his release.
12. “Brightness Falls” March 30, 1999 Farve and Moralez investigate the death of a cult leader.
13. “Burning Desire” April 6, 1999 CPB investigates the death of a man who was fried in his sublimator.
14. “Astral Projections” April 13, 1999 Hume and Farve investigate a cargo transport that went down in the freezing “New Territories”.
15. “Paranoid” April 20, 1999 Farve and Hume investigate the murder of the head of the Nexus dating service.
16. “Restitution” April 27, 1999 Brant is kidnapped on his way to a Mars safe house.
17. “Bones Beneath My Skin” May 4, 1999 Farve and Hume investigate the destruction of an android at a chemical company.
18. “Assessment” May 11, 1999 Farve and Hume are ambushed and captured by a rogue section of the assessor’s office.
19. “Eye Witness” May 18, 1999 Olivia finds a friend’s rich husband standing over a bloody corpse.
20. “Personal Effects” May 25, 1999 Olan decides to keep a vial found on a corpse in a crashed shuttle out of her report.
21. “Virtual Justice” June 1, 1999 After witnessing a fellow cop kill a cornered prison escapee, Hume looks into the dead man’s case.
22. “Meet My Maker” June 8, 1999 Farve takes Hume to meet the alpha-android’s creator.
I’m launching MARS WEEK with this fun science fiction adventure novel, In the Courts of the Crimson Kings. S. M Stirling’s alternative universe presents a continuing Cold War between the Sino-Soviet bloc and the U.S with their political strategies working their ways to the Red Planet. Mars has an atmosphere (sort of) and water resources. The Martians are tall and thin (think NBA) and conspiring for the advancement of their schemes. Amid the ruins of ancient cites, Mars holds another alien artifact that holds astounding power. Archeologist Jeremy Wainman is sent by the U.S. Aero-Space Force to explore the lost city of Rema-Dza out in the “Great Beyond” (think desert). Along with a beautiful Martian mercenary, Teyud za-Zhalt, Wainman discovers secrets that various factions attempt to steal. Plenty of action, intrigue, and romance make In the Courts of the Crimson Kings entertaining with a Sense of Wonder. GRADE: A
The Buffalo Bills take on the New York Giants in this 2014 Hall of Fame Game tonight. Yesterday, Bills wide receiver Andre Reed was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Andre Reed joins fellow teammates Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, James Lofton, and their head coach, Marv Levy. It will be more than 20 years before another Buffalo Bill gets into the Hall of Fame. The Bills haven’t made the NFL Playoffs in 15 years. They have defined mediocrity for over a decade. Poor drafting, poor coaching, poor management produced few wins and fewer stars. But a new owner of the Buffalo Bills is on the horizon. Will it be Donald Trump? Or Jon Bon Jovi? We’ll have to wait and see.
I saw Guardians of the Galaxy in a Regal Theater with about 30 other fans, half of them kids. This is a movie for 12-year-olds (or the 12-year-old inside many of us). A team of misfits are thrown into a high security alien prison. Of course, they break out. The plot involves an alien artifact called “The Infinity Stone” that grants incredible powers. But, typically, the Infinity Stone falls into the hands of a villain who plans to use it to destroy a planet. There’s plenty of action and silliness. I liked Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana. Karen Gillian (the Best Dr. Who Companion ever!) goes to the Dark Side in this movie. If you’re looking for an entertaining Summer Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy qualifies. GRADE: B+