content by

Nick Abadzis

Classic Sci-Fi Cameos in Prometheus

There’s been a certain amount of backlash against Ridley Scott’s latest movie, Prometheus. Complaints about plot holes and unanswered questions, pacing, a muddled, patchy script and an overall hokey Erich von Daniken-esque quality compared to the dark, gritty universe of the original Alien and its subsequent sequels, Aliens and Alien3. (Let’s not include Alien Resurrection, which seems an entirely different beast to me).

[Spoilers, and a novel way to approach Prometheus]

Future Music: Station To Station

Once, in my early teens, my friend Caspar said to our mate John, “I’m going to get Nick into Bowie. I’m going to play him ‘Stay.'” I already knew who David Bowie was and liked some of his stuff, especially the ones that featured science fiction imagery like “Life On Mars?” and “Space Oddity.” But otherwise, my musical appetite was as eclectic as any curious-minded teen and I hadn’t yet got to grips with where to begin with the chameleonic Bowie and what seemed like a dauntingly vast back catalog. So Caspar played me “Stay,” which to this day is still my favourite Bowie song.

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Series: Bowie Week

LAIKA: Alternative Endings

There are always alternative endings, whether you believe in parallel universes or not. The parallel world has long been a staple of both TV and literary SF and of course there’s the whole genre of alternative history fiction. I always loved “What-ifs” ever since I watched the Doctor Who story “Inferno” as a child wherein Jon Pertwee faces off against the Brigade Leader, an alternate version of “our” universe’s beloved Brigadier.

Well, truthfully I didn’t understand it the first time I saw it, as I was way too young, but that, and the Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror” were my first exposure to the idea. Then there were the “What-If” takes in Marvel Comics – what if the Fantastic Four had different powers, or what if Doctor Doom had become a hero instead of a villain…? I loved that stuff. I soon became aware that you could apply it to yourself – what if I chose this way over that?

As you get older, you realize that the power of choice is what dominates us as human beings – it comes into everything we do. It’s the crux of the argument between predestination and free will. The power of conscious choice is what makes us different from animals (along with the conscious knowledge of inevitable death, but let’s not go there).

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My Sarah Jane: Remembering Elisabeth Sladen

Over the past year or so, the presence of Doctor Who in the offices has grown massively. New writers have come in with a pre-existing love for the show and others have discovered just what it was they were missing. The end result being an office that will talk at length about anything Who-related.

When the news came on Tuesday of Elisabeth Sladen’s passing, we stopped cold. This was Sarah Jane Smith, vibrant and indomitable, how could she be gone?

To say Sladen was adored is an understatement, and we simply couldn’t stay silent in this regard. Below the cut, you’ll find tributes to Elisabeth Sladen gathered from the staff and contributors here at, here to share their own memories and thoughts on the lovely Ms. Sladen.

Forever our Sarah Jane.

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Series: Doctor Who Series 6

On Blade Runner: More Human Than Human

If cinema loves depicting dystopian futures, then Blade Runner is the king of them all. Massively influential and often hailed as one of the greatest movies ever made, the future it portrays becomes ever more plausible with the passing of years. When Ridley Scott screenwriters David Peoples and Hampton Fancher were crafting their screenplay, Scott’s theory was that their world of 2019 would be run and owned by maybe three corporations in a kind of industrial imperialism. To exemplify this, he gives us a close up of a human eye, an enormous Orwellian orb filling the screen, gazing out at the infinite, fiery cityscape that opens the film. This isn’t just an eye though; it’s a mirror, a human sensory organ reflecting the toxic panorama of the world it invites us into. It’s a symbol of us, looking out at what we create, at what we might be.

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Series: Dystopia Week

The Disappearing Girl: Why I Love Kitty Pryde

The Confusion of Change

I’ve been rereading old X-Men comics lately. Back in the late seventies and early eighties, when there weren’t quite as many amazing and varied comics out there as there are today, Uncanny X-Men was pretty reliable for a bit of soap opera moralizing and intrigue—a big action sequence was never far away but those setpieces always seemed secondary to the complexities of the various characters’ lives. Back then, the X-Men seemed different from most other Marvel books. Amid the superpowers and spaceships, the players agonized a lot about their moral choices in a hostile world, the female characters, while often adhering to the usual physical stereotype for superheroines were strong; each had inner voices.

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The Future of Publishing

Print is dead. How can we make money from the Internet? [Everyone runs off screaming.]

Since, ooh, the early 2000s I’ve sat in various editorial meeting rooms of assorted major U.S. and European publishers and heard some iteration or variation of those statements. In 2010, publishing was characterized by inertia and fear. Budgets and lists were slashed while jobs were lost as the industry struggled to make it through lean times foisted on the rest of us by avaricious types over in Bankerland. Publishers sat around waiting for something to happen, for something to give, for the new thing to announce itself and drag all those scared, bored editorial bottoms on an inexorable slide into a well-moneyed future where people can make money out of the web.

Well, World-of-Publishing, it ain’t gonna happen! Not the way you think, anyway. There’s been too much evaluation and not enough imagination. Here are some predictions that may get a laugh in decades to come. Join me as I catch a few glimpses of the future of publishing…

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The Mystery of the Cosmic Hobo (or, Bow Ties Are Cool!)

This is a post in the Twelve Doctors of Christmas series. Click the link to peruse the entire series.

In 1974, my mother handed me a book saying, “I thought you’d like to try one of the old ones.” The book was called Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen, and it had the single greatest cover I’d ever seen in my young life. Against the backdrop of planet Earth, a giant, weird furry creature with fangs and eerily glowing green eyes menaced a young woman and man in a kilt. Over this was superimposed a black-and-white portrait of the Second Doctor, as played by Patrick Troughton. I knew he was the Second Doctor because I’d seen him on TV about a year previously, when he and the First Doctor had returned to help the Third Doctor out in the tenth anniversary story “The Three Doctors.” I’d really liked him then—he was kind, funny and sharp, a little man with an expressive face dressed in baggy, clownish clothes. There was something of the naughty schoolboy about him that I could relate to—he was a misfit whose charm hinted at great wisdom. He listened, but you wanted and waited to know what he had to say.

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Series: The Twelve Doctors of Christmas

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