The Invisibles Omnibus

The Invisibles

Here's a necessity for any Grailer's bookshelf, if they don't have it already: an omnibus of all 3 volumes of Grant Morrison's seminal comic book series, The Invisibles, released in the next seven days and available for pre-order now from Amazon US and Amazon UK. Comprising some 59 issues in total, it's a bargain. For those who aren't familiar with the series:

The plot follows (more or less) a single cell of The Invisible College, a secret organization battling against physical and psychic oppression using time travel, magic, meditation, and physical violence.[2]

For most of the series, the team includes leader King Mob; Lord Fanny, a Brazilian shaman; Boy, a former member of the NYPD; Ragged Robin, a telepath with a mysterious past; and Jack Frost, a young hooligan from Liverpool who may be the next Buddha. Their enemies are the Archons of Outer Church, interdimensional alien gods who have already enslaved most of the human race without their knowledge.

There's no shortage of references in the comics to topics that TDG readers will find familiar. Good fun! Though remember, not particularly suitable for children.

Kickstarter: The Numinous Place

Last week I linked to the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for The Silver Cord, a comic book seemingly made for Grailers with its fusion of spirituality and technology.* This week I've come across another Kickstarter campaign right up the Grail alley, so to speak: The Numinous Place, a futuristic book project combining topics from lucid dreaming to Da Vinci Code-like puzzle sleuthing:

THE NUMINOUS PLACE is not just the world's most technologically advanced book... It's a totally new way of storytelling... A chillingly realistic adventure that takes you to the afterlife and back.

THE NUMINOUS PLACE has the visual impact of a Hollywood blockbuster, and the pace, depth and intrigue of an irresistible work of fiction.

We use video, audio, images and text to tell the story of the greatest conspiracy of all time...

It's like if THE DA VINCI CODE came to life in your hands showing you actual video footage of the clues and interviews with suspects, presented the real life historical documents and artifacts, and played you recordings of crucial pieces of evidence.

THE NUMINOUS PLACE does all this in such an authentic way, you'll be swept along in the cosmic detective story like never before, as we show you the evidence that proves you are not who or where you think you are.

As is usual with Kickstarter campaigns, there are various pledge-level packages available for The Numinous Place - check out the TNP Kickstarter page for full details and more information about the project.

And for those that enjoy synchronicities: a few days after creator Mark Staufer emailed me about The Numinous Place, I received a few news links from Grailers regarding a green-lit feature film about the life of comedian Bill Hicks, to be directed by Russell Crowe. The script-writer? Mark Staufer. Down the rabbit hole we go...

(* Subsequent to our linkage, The Silver Cord - which had been struggling to make its target - got a rush of pledges and made its target! Not sure how much of a role we played in that, but we did at least get a thank you from the TSC team.)

Neil Gaiman Returns to The Sandman

There are few titles in the world of comics bigger than The Sandman. Neil Gaiman's chronicle of the adventures of 'Dream'/Morpheus, published from 1988 through to 1996, has become a modern fantasy classic, even making the New York Times bestseller list. Since then, Gaiman has continued his writing career with a string of other notable successes, such as his acclaimed American Gods. But today, [not] at SDCC, Gaiman made the announcement (via video) that he would be returning to series in order to explore some of the backstory that was neglected during the original series:

The new instalments are due to begin publication in November 2013, exactly 25 years after the initial release of the Sandman series.

While I'm eagerly looking forward to these upcoming releases, this latest announcement certainly puts an exclamation mark on the criticism, from some, that production companies in film and publishing are sticking to tried and tested formulas rather than trying new things. This Sandman reboot comes on the heels of the controversial Before Watchmen series, and the recent release of the Alien 'prequel' Prometheus. Hey, hang on a second - looking at Dream's iconic mask, I think I know the storyline of the new Sandman Series already. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...Promorpheus!

Dream + Prometheus = Promorpheus?

If I really wanted to start connecting dots, I might point out that J. H. Williams - the artist who will be working with Gaiman on the new series - is well-known for his work on Alan Moore's Promethea series. But I wouldn't do that...

The World of 2050

Sci-fi novelist David Brin has a new book out titled Existence (Amazon US and UK) which touches on a number of topics we enjoy discussing here, perhaps most prominently the possibility of alien contact. Here's the trailer and short summary for those interested, following which I have a question for you all, and would love to hear your answers:

Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an “alien artifact.”

Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, the Artifact is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

This io9 write-up mentions some of the setting of Brin's future world of the 2050s, including "the mesh, a virtual reality that exists on top of the real world and is viewable through glasses, contacts and eye implants collectively". Reading about such ideas, and agreeing completely with things such as 'the mesh', prompted me to wonder what you all think we will be seeing in four decades (if we're still alive)? Where will we be at technologically, spiritually, and politically? Tell me how *your* Earth of 2050 looks.

Blues for a Red Planet's Visionary

Acclaimed Science-Fiction legend Ray Bradbury has departed our world. The writer of classics like The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451 & Something Wicked This Way Comes passed away last night at the age of 91.

Forever a Luddite, it seems the Red Planet's visionary opted for Venus as a much suitable transport than an airplane for his next destination.

 

 "In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create," the statement said. "A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time."   

Feel free to share your admiration for his work, and how it influenced your life's journey.

Rest in Peace.

Kara

When does a machine stop being a machine?
When does it become a person?

Kara, a impressively-moving short video intended to portray the power of the Playstation's graphic engine, makes a clever use of the limitations in accurately rendering a human character --the famous Uncanny Valley-- as a powerful narrative element that adds depth to the story of a self-aware android.

[H/T Boing Boing]

Rosa

For the post-apocalyptic sci-fi lovers: check out Rosa, an epic sci-fi short film set in a future where all natural life has disappeared (warning - violence):

From the destruction awakes Rosa, a cyborg deployed from the Kernel project, mankind’s last attempt to restore the earth’s ecosystem. Rosa will soon learn that she is not the only entity that has awakened and must fight for her survival.

Unbelievably, Rosa was created entirely by young comic-artist Jesús Orellana over the course of a year with no budget. Happily, after the feature won prizes at a number of festivals, Hollywood got interested and Rosa is now in development to be a feature film. Certainly, a number of aspects of the short film hint at a much larger storyline and already-constructed fictional world...so I'm looking forward to seeing the full deal.

Neonomicon Limited Edition

A quick heads-up for any Grailers who are interested: Comic Cavalcade have just put on sale a signed, limited edition (200 copies) hardcover of Alan Moore's Lovecraftian-themed Neonomicon (illustrations and wonderful cover by Jacen Burrows). If interested, I'd get in very quickly (I did!):

Alan Moore's Neonomicon

A warning note for the uninitiated (pun unintended): Neonomicon certainly puts the graphic into 'graphic novel' - it is full-on, adults-only, murder and (beast-)sex fare. Consider yourself warned...

Would you, Could You, Read Cthulhu?

Well this is just wonderful: The Call of Cthulhu, by H.P. Lovecraft, channeled by Dr Seuss:

In the month of March '25 it occurred
(amongst other ills of which you might have heard)
Wilcox asked Professor Angell to explain
the visions of R'lyeh assaulting his brain.

Call of Cthulhu

Browse all of the pages via Dr FaustusAU's Deviant Art gallery.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Flowchart

Last month I linked to NPR's list of the Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books. For those, like me, who thought it might be a good idea to work through the (unread portions of the) top 100 as a future reading list, here's a handy tool to help you out with individual selections: SFSignal has posted an awesome flowchart "designed to help you follow your tastes, provide context, and fulfill (indeed exceed!) any need for pithy commentary you might harbor".

The flowchart starts with the simple choice of sci-fi or fantasy, and then narrows down the selection based on what subjects you'd like to read about (e.g. Sci Fi/Not Cyberpunk/Space-Based/Not Military/Peaceful Aliens/"Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke):

Science Fiction and Fantasy Flowchart

Update: Now also available in an interactive version.

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