Archive for March, 2011

 Another twist on the tale of Arthur geared toward the young adult crowd. A quite impressive young movie level cast have signed up to new TV series Camelot for the US Starz channel and GK-TV. Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green, Jamie Campbell Bower and Tamsin Egerton will lead the show, based on the Arthur legend, and suddenly we’re paying attention to it.

Once-and-future vampire Campbell-Bower will take the role of Arthur himself, with Egerton as his unfaithful Queen Guinevere. Green will play Morgana le Fey, half-sister to Arthur, bad-ass sorceress and occasional incest fan, with Fiennes playing a less wrinkly than usual Merlin.

If you don’t know the King Arthur legend, well, you need to get a bit more into your culture, frankly. But Arthur was the once and future King of the Dark Ages who (according to legend) managed to fit a bit of protecting the country in between marrying a wife who cheated on him with his best mate, shagging his half-sister (accidentally, in fairness), pulling swords from stones and being a High King with a taste for circular furniture. And if that doesn’t say serial drama to you, we don’t know what does.


20th Century Fox’s upcoming Rise of the Apes has went from being a potential summer release to becoming a potential Thanksgiving release and now back to being slotted into the summer calender. While Fox never really revealed their reasoning behind pushing it back to the November slate a few months back, it seems they’ve changed their minds and now have it premiering into theaters August 5, 2011.

The new date means the Planet of the Apes origin tale will open up against 3D releases, The Smurfs and The Darkest Hour. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman also have a body-switching comedy called The Change-Up striking that weekend. Can “Apes” hope to pull in strong numbers against that 3D competition? Sound off with your theories below.

The film will star James Franco, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and David Oyelowo.  Helmer Rupert Wyatt led the direction based on a screenplay by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

Plot Concept: Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

The FOX series has officially been renewed

Despite some sources suggesting the mighty cancellation axe was hanging over the genre series throughout this latest season, all is right in the world for Fringe fans. The network has ordered a fourth season of the show which is lead by executive producers J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

In mid-January, Fox moved Fringe from the ultra-competitive Thursday night time period to the otherwise-dead Friday slot, with Kitchen Nightmares as its lead-in. That seems to have been a wise move because since changing to Fridays, the series has averaged 4.1 million viewers.

Though ratings have slid since the first season, the show tacks on significant DVR numbers. Through Feb. 20, Fringe has seen a 44 percent increase in its key demo rating, rising to a 2.6 (vs. a 1.4) when live-plus-7 numbers are factored in.

Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly made his case for the series’ survival at the Television Critics Assn.’s semi-annual press tour earlier this year. “It’s a fantastic show,” he said, “and honestly I’d be heartbroken if it went away.”

Executive producer J.H. Wyman tweeted the news Friday evening, saying, “Fringe was picked up!!!! Thanks Fringedom!”


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School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Picking up after the surprising revelations of Incarceron (Dial, 2010), Fisher abruptly returns readers to the dystopian world and its living prison. Still trapped inside, Attia and Keiro are doing whatever they can to survive on their quest to find the Outside. Finn, meanwhile, has escaped and is now preparing to take his place on the Realm’s throne. Not completely convinced, Claudia and Jared are attempting to groom Finn to take his place as Prince Giles. Things are almost on track when a Pretender makes a bid for the throne, threatening both Finn’s and Claudia’s lives. Amid the discordance in the Realm, Incarceron itself hunts for Sapphique’s famed glove, an object that may help the prison gain a human body. Now, Attia, Keiro, and the Warden are attempting to keep the glove from Incarceron, while Finn, Jared, and Claudia are trying to hold the Realm together from the Outside. Fisher again crafts a dark, interesting foray into vivid imagery, danger, surprising twists, and intriguing revelations. This story is not quite as strong as Incarceron, but return readers will nonetheless enjoy it; new readers should, however, be steered back to the first volume. Readers will be left breathless hoping for another installment to explore the repercussions brought on by everything that happens in Sapphique’s final chapters.—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT

Tobii and Lenovo’s Eye-Controlled Laptop Tobii/Lenovo

Lenovo and Swedish eye-control company Tobii have teamed up for a laptop prototype that uses eye-tracking tech to trigger certain actions on the computer. We’ve seen this idea before with smartphones, but the laptop’s bigger size and increased power makes it much more suitable–even useful, if Engadget’s hands-on is any indication.

Shown off at CeBIT today, the prototype is still a long ways off from actual production, if it gets there at all–Tobii estimates two years at the earliest, both for hardware and software considerations. But according to reports, it works flawlessly, able to recognize even very small movements with impressive accuracy. The prototype uses a sensor bar, rather than webcams like Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect, which is implemented as a thick bar at the bottom of the laptop’s screen. Tobii notes that the sensor has to be of a certain size to work properly, but that it could eventually be about the same thickness as a laptop’s natural bezel, which would obviously be ideal.

The demo was running on Windows 7, and had a few interesting ideas as to how to use the new input method. You can’t just have the cursor follow your eyes–it would be incredibly distracting, with the cursor flitting all over the place, and would lead to a lot of accidental movement and reaction triggering. Instead, there are specific places where the eye-tracking can be used, and many are triggered with a button press to avoid inadvertent selection: Look to the bottom of the screen to bring up the taskbar, or to the left of the screen to bring up a custom-made sidebar of recently-used media. It can also be used in concert with a Mac Expose-like app preview window–just look at the app you want, tap a key, and the app at which you’re gazing is selected.

If we’ve learned anything from the Kinect, it’s that this kind of sensing is a natural fit for games, and Lenovo put together a simple (though apparently very responsive) game in which you can shoot asteroids by looking at them (a superpower we’ve all wanted at some point). Of course, any kind of development is a ways off–hopefully we can see some implementation of this tech in computers soon, so we can see what it can really do.


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Amy is not being forced to undergo cryogenic freezing and join her parents’ three-hundred-year voyage to a new planet, Centauri-Earth; the thought of living on Sol-Earth without them, however, is so horrendous that she consents. When she is awakened fifty years prematurely, she is unprepared for what she encounters: a community similar to that in Lois Lowry’s The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993/VOYA August 1993)—people who are mono-ethnic, robotic, unthinking. Elder, the spaceship Godspeed’s future leader when Eldest dies, is intrigued by Amy’s differences (although Eldest says the first cause of discord is differences)—her red hair, her energy, her independent thought. When three other passengers are found thawing and two of them die, the mystery begins: who is attempting to kill this cargo and why? This begins to haunt Amy and Elder. As they delve into life aboard Godspeed, they uncover more than they bargained for. Might Eldest’s iron fist be the right way to rule, or are differences and independent thought to be cherished? Revis’s debut novel is well written and suspenseful. Readers will understand Amy’s concern during the freezing process and after waking up, alone, in an alien environment. Elder, only sixteen, has not been trained to be Eldest, and as he explores Godspeed, he discovers how much is hidden from him. Eldest, as the older generation, is tyrannical, while Elder is open to change. The secondary characters add color to this fast-paced story. Across the Universe will appeal to boys and girls, science fiction fans, and anyone interested in a good story. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg