A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: M.A.N.T.I.S.

MANTISLike an eclipse in the dark night sky, the Obscure Sci-Fi Primer makes its periodic reappearance. And speaking of things that emerge in the night, our subject this month is a vigilante-by-night superhero series M.A.N.T.I.S. A 1994 series, it debuted on Fox and, surprise of all surprises, lasted only one season. That might not sound like a recipe for success, especially given that better known superheroes had been failing to find an audience on TV for years at the time, and M.A.N.T.I.S. followed an original character that no one had any preexisting reason to care about. But this show had some interesting creative forces behind it–namely Sam Hamm (writer for Batman 1989 and Batman Returns) and Sam Raimi (known at the time for Evil Dead, but who would go on to spark the modern Superhero Movie craze with Spider-Man 2002). While it’s largely remembered today for being one of the first film or TV productions to focus on a black superhero, this aspect was… well, a big part of why the show struggled to find an audience, unfortunately. This didn’t factor into the plot or character as much as the creators wanted it to, which leads one to ask: did the show that made it to air deserve to find an audience? Let’s find out. Read more

Lance Canela’s Dossier Files #075-A: The Arin Group

The Arin Group

click to enlarge.

RetroPhaseShift’s 2 Year Anniversary!

Data CakesOn June 4, 2014, RetroPhaseShift went live for the first time. It’s been 2 years since then, and boy, has the site been through a lot of changes, from posting schedules and topics of focus to huge influxes of visitors and changes of hosts. I thought I’d share some of what I consider to be the site’s most important moments today, and some interesting statistics I’ve collected.

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4 Methods to Take Out the Master Computer–Friday Four

Tron Master Control ProgramWelcome to the automatic society. We all knew that machines were going to take our places in the workforce, however gradually, doing the work that we humans didn’t want to do. The list of what we didn’t want to do kept growing, though, and soon the computers were doing jobs that no one ever expected them to–like running the world, for example. It’s quite a bit different from the Robot Revolt–we gladly handed over the reins. For some people, it’s a paradise, where no one has to do anything they don’t want to do. Their days are free to be filled with fun and joy, spending all their time on friends, family, and entertainment.

Others, however, view the machine with suspicion… have we sacrificed something innately human for a life of luxury? Are people losing their drive and curiosity, becoming complacent with the status our civilization has reached? Does mankind die not with a nuclear bang, as we once feared, but a slow whimper as we become so distracted by what we’ve built that we cease looking outward?

Not if you have anything to say about it. It’s time to free human civilization from this pampered tyranny–time to take out the Master Computer that rules this land.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Retrospective

ReentryAs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. draws its third season to a close with the promise of a fourth already secured, it’s coming into its own as a quality production within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there are quite a few people who, these days, might question where SHIELD really is within the MCU at all any more. The stakes are always getting higher, and the question becomes harder to deny than ever before: how are these events not catching the attention of the Avengers?

Let’s take a look at how SHIELD season 3 developed and what it means for the MCU as a whole, and the connection between TV and film projects within it.

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Another update…

Hello readers. I’m so sorry about the lack of posts recently. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been pretty sick for the last few weeks and finally got over it just now. I tried to put together some posts during this time, and I have a few that were half written, but nothing I was confident about posting without more effort than I could dedicate to it at the time.

No worries, as I’m doing just fine now and it’s not a chronic condition or anything. To be honest, I’m pretty bummed that I’ve had my first month pass by with no posts… not a good start for any new readers who made their way here from The Arcology. I hope the sizable backlog has been enough to entertain you!

The site’s second anniversary is quickly approaching, and I hope I can make up for the lackluster May with some really special content in June, starting with a SHIELD season 3 retrospective this coming week. As always, thanks for visiting, and I hope you’ll keep coming by for some time to come.

What Could Have Been: The What-Ifs of The Arcology–Friday Four

The ArcologySomething different comes our way this week–as I’m running low on TV shows I can actually scrape up some research on, I thought it might interest some of my newfound readers to learn the alternate paths the story of my novel, The Arcology, could have taken. It went through a lot of revisions, some of them radically different. It seemed like a better way to present this was in the list format, so why not do it that way? I swear I’m not just trying to kill 3 birds with one stone…

Buckle in as we move through some possible versions of The Arcology and I give a bit of an idea as to why I didn’t go with them.

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4 of the Coolest Cyberpunk Clubs–Friday Four

Dafk Punk TronCyberpunk these days is often heavy on the aesthetics–there’s a look to the whole genre that’s often considered crucial (and sometimes that’s one of the only things separating it from the present). What better way to showcase that style than by going to the local night club, one of the most obviously fashionable places around? While most of our heroes aren’t exactly the types to party in a cyberpunk club, their story will usually find a way to get them in the door, looking for a bad guy, or an informant, or hacker. Of course, these are way cooler than any place you or I have ever seen: lavishly decorated, crowded yet spacious, and playing some really loud (often really awesome) music.

Here are 4 of these hippest places to be, pulled straight from the dystopian cities in which they thrive.

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The Arcology is Now Available Everywhere!

Cyberpunk Book The ArcologyAfter much paperwork and hassle, my first novel, a cyberpunk detective story called The Arcology, is now available from every online retailer I plan to make it available to. It’s been in the works for a long time, and I didn’t give much info in the previous post since it wasn’t released yet, so here’s the book summary:

 

In the oppressive city of Kindred, circa 2052, Lance Canela tries a little too hard to fulfill the classic image of a private detective. Living in the shadow of the enormous Arcology and barely scraping by, he’s happy to sit in his office all day, reliving the adventures of his hardboiled heroes from a century past. But when the wealthy Fiona, a woman he thinks is the femme fatale he’s always waited for, knocks on his door, Lance gets a taste of life-or-death reality as he faces off against ruthless goons for the first time.

Shaken by the experience, Lance lays low for a few months until a new case thrusts him into the world of the super-rich high atop the Arcology, and that of the impoverished masses living at its base. In search of a missing girl with only the name “Ascended Employment” to go on, Lance must reconnect with Fiona and navigate the world of the wealthy to find her. Fiona, however, has problems of her own, and her past is more intertwined with Ascended than anyone could predict.

A cyberpunk detective story and the start of a new series, I hope that my visitors will give the book a shot and tell their friends if they enjoy it. The ebook is only $2.99, and available on Nook, SmashWords, iBooks, and more in a variety of formats. The kindle and paperback versions are available from Amazon (or directly from CreateSpace, if you want a bit more of your money to go to me). If you really want to help out, you can leave a review on any of those sites, or on GoodReads. Few things are more powerful than a positive review!

As always, thanks to all my readers and I hope you stick around. We’re just getting started.

4 Ways to Conceal Your Immortality–Friday Four

Jack ImmortalWho wants to live forever? Some people don’t get a choice… and it looks like you’re one of them. Being “blessed” with immortality comes with all kinds of crazy problems that normal people wouldn’t have to deal with. Like making you a local curiosity, at best, or being studied, poked and prodded (or worse) by scientists who want to find out just how you’ve done it at worst. If you’re lucky enough to have been granted eternal youth as well, then people are going to catch on sooner or later. If not, well, you have a whole basket of other problems to worry about…

No, what’s best for you is to take this secret to your grave–so to speak, anyway. And to help you with that, here are 4 potential options to help you keep out of the public eye and live a quiet, normal (if exceedingly long) life.

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