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Live on Mars!

by Tomas - 1 Comment(s)

Curiosity on Mars!

Whew! What an intense few weeks. Amazing performances by Usain Bolt, Christine St Clair, the reunited Spice Girls, hmm, what else happened? Oh yeah…. A ROBOT LANDED ON MARS! MARS!!!

Ok, fair enough, the Olympics were a thrilling spectacle of athletic prowess, but seriously consider for a moment the magnitude of sending a rocket flying through the vastness of space and safely touching down on another planet… I think there is a team of engineers and astrophysicists that deserve to bite down on a gold medal too.

Of course, this also isn’t the first contact we've had with the red planet. Curiousity (nice name!), the plucky little rover that is currently exploring the planet is the latest in a number of robotic explorers that over the years have given us a clearer picture of the planet. The similarities in size and climate to Earth, and the tantalizing possibility of water and life continues to stoke our imaginations and ambitions to one day reach the planet.

But what will happen when we reach it? Humans don’t exactly have an impressive track record when it comes to encountering and then laying claim to ‘uncharted’ territory…so after the initial thrill of discovery, what can we expect? .

Although set on a fictional planet, Monica Hughes' classic Isis Trilogy offers one possible scenerio. Olwen, and her guardian -until recently the only residents on the remote planet of Isis- now have to come to terms with newly arrived colonists.

Recently republished on account of it's 100th Anniversary (I wonder if CPL had this book in it's collection in 1912, hmmm...) The Mars Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a pulpy sci fi classic. Earth man John Carter finds himself mysteriously transported to a fantastically imagined Mars, complete with Martians! Skip the disappointing film adaptation and go right to the source for this one.

As the first book in a new trilogy by David MacInnis Gill, Black Hole Sun is a dark and gritty -and at times also humourous- story of sixteen-year-old Durango and his crew of mercenaries who are hired by the settlers of a mining community on Mars to protect their most valuable resource from a feral band of marauders.

Closer to home, in stories such as Girl from Mars and the critically acclaimed Manga series Mars, the planet plays a peripheral role, but also stands as a metaphor of the terrifying and wonderful emotional terrains of the strange world we currently find ourselves on.

Post-Batman Blues

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock you must know by now the third and final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, Dark Knight Rises, opened this month to massive audiences worldwide. And I mean massive audiences, like more than a half billion dollars in revenue massive. Now if you’re anything like yours truly this movie could not come fast enough. At midnight on July 20th I lined up with my fellow Batman fanatics to see the two hour and forty-five minute conclusion and suffice to say I was not disappointed.

That being said, I couldn’t help but want more (maybe I’m just greedy). So how on earth do I shake off these post-Batman blues? I mean there are the obvious answers like re-watching Batman Begins and Dark Knight for the nine millionth time. Perhaps I could go back to the Batman of my childhood and check out Tim Burton’s version of Batman and Batman Returns (in my world Batman Forever and Batman and Robin never happened). What to do? What to do?

Thankfully I found the answer where I find most of my answers in life, in a comic book. In an attempt to go further down the rabbit hole I decided to read about the physical and intellectual powerhouse known simply as Bane. Specifically, I began the series called Knightfall, which is Bane’s most notorious storyline in the Batman universe, and also earned him the title of “the man who broke the bat.” This series is an absolute must-read for those who are interested in learning more about the villainous character who stars in Dark Knight Rises.

Another must-read for anyone who enjoys the grittier side of Batman is Batman: Year One by Frank Miller (author of 300 and Sin City). In this incarnation of Batman, Miller tells the story of how a young Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City and attempts to find a way to restore justice and fight corruption by becoming a masked vigilante. This origin story also illustrates how Bruce Wayne’s relationship with a young Lieutenant Gordon was formed. Whether you are a lifelong Batman fan or still relatively new to the Batman universe this series will not disappoint.

Finally, if anyone has ever wondered what would have happened if Batman and Catwoman had a child then it’s worthwhile to check out the Birds of Prey series. This series features the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Kyle. In this series Helena Kyle, also known as Huntress, follows in her father’s footsteps and battles Gotham’s criminal element with the help of the other members of the Birds of Prey (including Oracle - formerly known as Batgirl). While this particular series may not appeal to everyone, it will certainly entertain anyone who would like to see some more women in Gotham get in on the action.

Hopefully this will help fight off those post-Batman blues, but hey, if more DC action is still needed there is plenty of time to brush up on Superman lore before the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in Summer 2013…