Reality is the playground of the unimaginative
Home Of Superheroes, Supernatural, and Star Stuff

Monday, 28 February 2011

Dining Room Watch: Day One...


The decorator and his mate put in a good day's work (and, hopefully, have also sorted out a separate guttering issue for us) - mainly filling in holes (left by the previous residents' music system speakers, picture hooks etc), sanding things down and a bit of undercoating.

The original estimate was "should be finished by Tuesday, maybe Wednesday morning", but with the best will in the world I can't see the whole job being wrapped up by tomorrow evening.

HeroPress Picture Parade (February)


Dreaming Of Hobbes...

 
I don't normally do this kind of post but when I saw this gorgeous mural on Calvin's Canadian Cave Of Cool I just knew I had to share it.

Perhaps it's because of my new status as godfather to baby Alec, but I'd so want a child of mine to grow with Hobbes looking out for him or her.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dining Room Watch: All Change!


Say 'good bye' to our dining room (the scene of monthly Tuesday Knights' games meetings and the occasional small scale dinner party) as it is because it is about to undergo a magical transformation.

If all goes according to plan, and there's no reason to think it won't, we've got "a man" coming in tomorrow to start the repainting and wallpapering.

This is the first major renovation at HeroPress Towers for quite some time as the last piece of "decorating" we did was the makeover of the garden back in 2009, while the last bit of interior work was the redecoration of the lounge in October, 2008.

Time slips by all too easily, and good intentions paved the road to distraction since we finished the garden, but Rachel - of course - took the initiative and got me to phone a gentleman who was recommended by our excellent electrician George. While the man was too busy for our job, he passed on our details to his son and it is he who will be transforming, and modernising, our dual-purpose dining and game-playing room this week.

Room ready for decorators to arrive tomorrow

Welcome To The Knight City Chronicles...

Knight City
The Knight City Chronicles, my campaign support site for the forthcoming Villains & Vigilantes game, featuring The Tuesday Knights as The Agents of C.O.M.P.A.S.S., has gone live.

Bruce Willis plays Nick Law
in forthcoming movie
I Am The Law
The first article up is a biography of the Agents' backer, boss, resident inventor etc: Nick Law.

If all goes according to plan, that blog will be reserved for "in-game" material, while "behind-the-scenes" articles will continue to appear here on the main HeroPress site.

I also hope to make the Chronicles as interactive as HeroPress and would welcome comments, suggestions and submissions - from both those involved in the campaign and interested observers.

There has been talk - and that's all at the moment - of introducing a postal element to the campaign (in homage to the roots of HeroPress), which would open up the setting to gamers who don't live within easy distance of HeroPress Towers.

But, as we don't even have an actual gaming session under our belts yet, it's a bit premature to be giving that more than a passing thought at present.

Poe Gets Interactive!

It’s been a long time coming, but the interactive comic adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum has been released online… and it’s free!

Seeking to plumb the depths of Poe’s thrilling tale of terror, Hand Made Heroes’s creative producer Marc Lougee expands upon his award-winning stop motion adaptation of Poe’s story using modern technology, social media and images from the film to lure readers into the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition.

Utilizing QR codes, hidden website links and social media, Lougee and producer Susan Ma created an ‘interactive digital comic experience’ allowing continual, free access to the comic on the internet.

The interactive digital comic book is filled with mysterious hidden links leading to images, historical information on the Spanish Inquisition and biographies of key players in Poe’s classic story of Gothic horror.

Creative Producer Marc Lougee, speaking about the convergence of traditional comic book media and today’s tech trends, said: “Current digital media technology, combined with social media, presents a powerful, modern means to tell stories.

"Most everyone uses handheld devices such as iPhones, iPads and tablets, so in releasing the interactive comic online for free we’ve giving readers complete access to our adaptation of  Poe’s classic story of  condemnation, madness, hope and redemption.

"Readers of the comic progress at their own pace, search for hidden links to delve deeper into the story, or decipher mysterious QR codes with their handheld devices to view previously unreleased video clips from our award-winning animated film, The Pit and the Pendulum.

"In converging our animated film and the interactive comic, we’ve developed a package to foster interest in Edgar Allan Poe’s literature through visual means.

"My aim in part is to help readers gain a more thorough understanding of  the political/religious climate of the Spanish Inquisition, its protagonists, antagonists and historical geography. Historically speaking, to help readers see the period (of the story) thru Poe’s eyes.”

Later this spring, Lougee will open a contest comprised of mind-bending cryptographs with which players can pit themselves to win several grand prizes, including signed posters, T-shirts and copies of The Pit and the Pendulum animated film on DVD.

Tentacles & Trains...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Zelda-licious!


Continuing our rather random celebration of the 25th anniversary of The Legend Of Zelda - and 'cos I know a lot of HeroPress readers will appreciate this - here's a link to a page of 41 young ladies with Zelda-themed tattoos on display.

Don't say I don't know what my readers want to see...

HeroPress Profiled In Geek Culture Interview...


This week I had the surprising honour and privilege of being interviewed by Jason Nodine for the website Gil Is Munny.

Although primarily a video game site, it branches out into other areas of geek culture, and this is why Jason wanted to chat with me.

The full text of the interview is over on their website (here), where you can find me rambling on about comics (and get in a plug for my not-so-local, but very friendly comic book store, Paradox), roleplaying games, zombies, Star Trek and Star Wars, movies and Villains & Vigilantes and Jason gets to describe me as "a heavy hitter in this world of geekdom".

I find this immensely  flattering and certainly don't consider myself a "heavy hitter" by any stretch of the imagination, reserving that description for such characters as James "Grognardia" Maliszewsk, John "Hardest Working Man In The OSR" Stater, Zak "Plays D&D With Porn Stars" Smith and gaming bloggers of their ilk; people who actually produce - rather than just 'consume' as I do - and give back to the community.

Hopefully though this will have the knock-on effect of not just driving some new traffic to my humble little corner of da Interwebz, but maybe even interest visitors - who wouldn't normally pass this way - to stick around and see what other geeky stuff is out there.

Oh, and I asked Jason what 'Gil Is Munny' actually means and he explained it was a catchphrase his boss, Shaun (who created the site), came up with.

"It kind of ties in with our motto 'Giving Gamers Gold'," Jason said. "We want to provide the best we can for our fans.  'Gold' as in the best articles, reviews, news, free stuff, contests and so on."

Playing The Game Of Thrones...



Game Of Thrones is set to debut in the UK on April 18 (the day after it airs in the States) on the excellent new HBO-dominated satellite channel Sky Atlantic.

While I'm finding George RR Martin's monstrous 800-plus-page, doorstop book rather intimidating (albeit enthralling at the same time), what I know of the story already, and what I have seen from trailers and clips, intrigues me immensely with its blend of a fantasy medieval world, Machiavellian scheming and old school Dungeons & Dragons gritty violence that will hopefully rival Spartacus: Blood And Sand, Deadwood, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire as powerful television drama.

Ladies & Gentlemen, We're Jammin', Jammin', And I Hope You Like Jammin', Too...


It's been a quiet few weeks on the recruitment front. We actually lost a Follower somewhere along the way (boo hoo!) but have picked up a self-proclaimed "big fan of the Spelljammer campaign setting" through my aborted From The Stacks feature - which only ran for one episode - reviewing the Spelljammer comics.

(I only ever covered the first issue and have now sold my collection on eBay - so apologies to all of you who were hoping one day there'd be an 'issue two' of From The Stacks covering further issues of the comic. There may, one day, be more From The Stacks, but it won't be about the Spelljammer comics).

In the meantime, please give a hearty HeroPress welcome to:

* David 'Big Mac' Shepheard

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Call Of La Sombra Prohibida...




Cthulhu himself appears in these amazing looking - but totally incomprehensible to non-Spanish speaking viewers - Lovecraftian trailers for La Sombra Prohibida (The Forbidden Shadow), a sequel to Jose Luis Aleman's 2010 horror flick The Valdemar Legacy (no, for my sins, I haven't heard of that one either!)

According to IMDB, La Sombra Prohibida has already been released in Spain, but no clue is given as to when it will appear anywhere else in the world.

However, this looks like it could be a very fine piece of work, perfectly capturing the spirit and atmosphere of HP Lovecraft's chilling cosmic horror.

Hope a subtitled DVD arrives soon...

Posterpocalyse: Zelda Celebrates 25 Years In Style...

Via
I've never played a Zelda video game, but that doesn't mean I can't be impressed and inspired by this incredible poster that has been produced to celebrate Zelda's 25th anniversary this week.



Old Zelda commercial found on Al's Beyond The Black Gate OSR blog. There isn't enough dancing in Dungeons & Dragons... or musical numbers...

Fleamarket Friday: Boldly Gown Where No Man Has Gown Before...

From Monday, Captain Kirk (command department gold) and Mr Spock (science section blue) dressing gowns will be available from Find Me A Gift.Co.Uk for £49.99.

Mr Spock's dressing gown of choice can be found here.

I think they're very cool - I like the piping found the wrists, as a nice bit of detailing - but given that I already have a Superman dressing gown I can't see Rachel springing for one of these officially licensed Star Trek robes any time soon.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

My New "Pastime"...

Thanks to the bountiful links posted by new HeroPress follower Porky (of Porky's Expanse), I have  recently discovered an old school 'concept' I was previously oblivious to: crowdsourcing results for random tables!

Just today I've been adding potential results to and his earlier Where Have You Been? table (which explains why a character misses an adventure session if his player doesn't turn up).

Clearly these tables are primarily geared towards Dungeons & Dragons style adventures, but are almost certainly adaptable to other genres.

If nothing else it keeps my mind occupied while I'm out on my afternoon walk and stirs the otherwise atrophying creative juices if I don't have another project to work on at that instant.

Right, Gorgonmilk is soliciting ideas for his "dungeon-crud/disease" table, must put my thinking cap back on...

This Weekend On Outcasts...



The sixth episode (out of eight) of Outcasts will air on BBC1 on Sunday at 10.25pm, but rather annoyingly not on the BBC HD channel until Monday at 10.30pm!

The promo blurb for this week's yarn is: "When missing expeditionary Josie Hunter walks back into the settlement, unharmed, the jubilant air quickly takes a darker tone. Josie is different, her children cannot communicate with her, and reports of her violent behaviour circulate. Tate and Stella must find out what is behind this changed Josie, and begin to come to terms with what is really at work on the planet."

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights!


Featuring the vocal stylings of geek favourite Nathan Fillion, Elisabeth Moss, Henry Rollins, and Rowdy Roddy Piper, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is due to hit DVD shelves on June 7.

This is definitely one for the collection!

New Adventures In The World Of Mortal Engines...

Even before the next volume of the Fever Crumb prequels to his epic Mortal Engines sequence is published next month, author Philip Reeve releases his latest story from that fantastic world a week from today.

Traction City is being released on Thursday for World Book Day - in a back-to-back, flip book format, with Teacher's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley - for the princely sum of £1.

Over on his blog, Philip explains that: "Traction City is a bit of a departure for me, in that I hardly ever write short fiction, and this is the first time I've written anything to order. 

"The brief was fairly tight: I was asked to do a 10,000 word story set in the London of
Mortal Engines, with boy and girl protagonists. 

"That sounds simple enough at first, but when I thought about I realised it was going to be quite tricky, since whatever happened in the story would have to be interesting enough to make people want to read 10,000 words about it, but not so interesting that the characters in
Mortal Engines would have mentioned it."

For more information on this prequel to Mortal Engines, and a couple of illustrations from the book, visit Philip Reeve's blog here.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Prepare To Be Punched!


Another evocative trailer for Sucker Punch. Slightly worryingly I've read that early test screenings reported this was a bit of a confusing mess, but I've learned long ago not to believe everything you read on the Interwebz.

However, I still have my oft-stated concern that while it looks totally awesome from the trailers (and may well be "the greatest film ever"), it could all be totally undermined by the rather obvious "but it's all a dream" twist.

COMPETITION: What Does C.O.M.P.A.S.S. Stand For?


Those who have been following along at home will have learned that my gaming group, The Tuesday Knights, have formed a superhero group known as The Agents Of C.O.M.P.A.S.S. for our new Villains & Vigilantes campaign, which will start next month.

However, no one can decide what C.O.M.P.A.S.S. actually stands for... so I'm opening it up to the intelligentsia of the Interwebz.

You've got just under two weeks (until 12 noon GMT, March 8, Mardi Gras) to come up with a suggestion and post it in the comments section below - or the Facebook mirror of this entry.

It can be an English acronym, a Latin motto, whatever, as long as the initials spell out the word C.O.M.P.A.S.S. and it could have some (vague) connection with a group/organisation of crimefighters (possibly an ancient masonic order or something like that).

A key factor of this competition is that I have to be able to contact whoever comes up with, what I deem to be, the best suggestion as they will win a minty fresh copy of Hate You Forever: How To Channel Your Rage Into Effective Supervillainy by King Oblivion, Ph.D., Co-Founder of The International Society Of Supervillains.

As with my previous competition, I am willing to ship this book anywhere in the world - as long as you can supply me with a valid mailing address!

There's no limit to the amount of times you can enter, by the way.

And to get things going, and possibly spur your imagination, I've already received a couple of entries.

From Seaofstarsrpg:

  • For a quasi-Government group: Comprehensive Oversight Monitor of Presently Active Super-Systems
  • As a source of powers: Command Operation Module / Power Amplifying Sub-Stratum
And from Steve, of The Tuesday Knights:
  • COMPany of Allied Super Soldiers
Get those super-thinking caps on!

En Garde!


As a geek gamer - and former fencer - there's nothing that gets my old heart racing quite like a sweet sword fight (not that I'm fit enough to participate these days, though).

Scratching my itch this week is OnlyKnives' (the website of knives, swords, blades etc) newly published list of The Most Incredible Sword Fights In History.

The list is divided into five groupings - Ancient Fights, Duels, Battles, Martial Arts Masters (which is dominated by the legendary Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto) and Historically Significant Fights - with each contest graded out of five stars for Destruction, Skill and Honour.

Plenty of fuel there to spice up your old school sword fights and battles in games of Dungeons & Dragons etc

R.I.P. Nicholas Courtney And Dwayne McDuffie...

Nicholas Courtney 1929-2011

Geekdom lost two of its greats this week with the passing of Nicholas Courtney, 81, and Dwayne McDuffie, 48.

Courtney was, of course, beloved by Doctor Who fans for his long-running portrayal of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, serving with the majority of The Doctors, as well as making an appearance (his last) in The Sarah Jane Adventures.

He
worked with more versions of The Doctor than any other actor, having appeared in 107 episodes of the show, several TV shorts and a number of Big Finish audio plays.

I hope his loss will be acknowledged in some way in a forthcoming episode of Doctor Who. In recent years, it was often said, in the Whoniverse, that the Brigadier was "in Peru", so perhaps he will be there for all eternity now.

Dwayne McDuffie 1963-2011

Dwayne McDuffie was a major writer and innovator in the world of comic books and animation, writing countless titles, co-founding Milestone and producing the immensely popular Justice League Unlimited animation, among his many achievements.

Sadly he died yesterday, from complications due to an earlier surgical procedure, on the day his latest direct-to-DVD animated movie, All-Star Superman, went on general release.

Spellfury - "All-In-One" Special...



While we patiently await the second season of the great Dungeons & Dragons-inspired, live-action, Spellfury web series, sit back and enjoy all the bite-sized episodes of the first season edited into a single 25-minute mini-movie, by writer/director Travis Gordon.

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Bonding In Bedlam...


Sky Living's Bedlam just goes from bad to worse as it continues to dredge the very bottom of the barrel for ghost story clichés and generally preposterous scripting.

This week there was - unsurprisingly - a new resident in the sparsely populated Bedlam Heights complex, the pill-popping artist Sadie Novak (Lily Loveless), fresh from her release from a mental health unit. And so she moves into a converted lunatic asylum (as you would). She is - of course - haunted by a guilty secret which, in turn, attracts the ire of one of the building's resident ghosts.

Sadie and Jed (he who sees ghosts) bond over their common mental illness and become lovers, Will Young's character, Ryan McAllister, is revealed to be gay (no great surprise and so far totally irrelevant to the plot) and bitchy landlady Kate Bettany (Charlotte Salt) goes a bit loopy while doing the nasty with her married boyfriend Sean Maguire (of Meet The Spartans and Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire fame, but best known in this country as Tegs from Grange Hill).

Meanwhile Kate's father, Warren Bettany (Hugo Speer) continues to lurk around in the background like a sinister pantomime villain - if he had a mustache he would be twirling it and cackling!

Then let's not forget there's a mad baglady - and former asylum patient - living, undetected in the cellar, who tells Ryan about the large number of missing girls in the area and Jed (Theo James) a secret about his mother that turns his world upside-down.

I have this sinking feeling that I am possibly the only person left in England (besides the cast and crew) watching this.

I just can't see how anyone who has watched a couple of episodes of Supernatural or Being Human, or more than a handful of ghostly horror movies, could find anything even vaguely original in this. Even the set-up - an abandoned lunatic asylum, closed under a cloud of abuse allegations, converted into a block of up-market flats - is quite laughably ludicrous and B-movie stereotypical, before you get to the dull and droning characters themselves.

It certainly doesn't help that everyone is so po-faced and serious all the time, yet totally oblivious to all the weirdness going on around them.

As a gentleman of leisure, and a bit of a glutton for punishment when it comes to trashy genre television, I have the luxury of being able to waste the odd hour on this garbage, but if there were genuine demands on my time I would have abandoned Bedlam about 10 minutes into the first episode, convinced - seemingly correctly - that it wasn't going to improve.

By the end of this third episode it's almost like even the writers had given up trying to make sense of what's going on when Sadie finds herself - with no explanation, at all, of how - shut in a wooden crate, that has been put in a hole outside the block of flats and is being filled in by workmen. You have to ask: how come the workmen didn't see it there? Surely they might have wondered why there was this wooden crate suddenly in the hole they were filling?

Given that Bedlam is Sky Living's first stab at original drama I can't see them commissioning any more in the near future - unless they get a new commissioning editor, perhaps - and instead sticking to their bought-in fare which deals with the same genre, just more convincingly.

The Towering Tale Of Skyscraper...


After yesterday's revelations about The Watchman and Nightshade (and this morning's contribution of my own GMPC Kokopelli), I now bring you the origin story - and artwork (above) for Simon's size-changing construction worker, Skyscraper.

Backstory:

Joe Mc Govern was a bad sort. At least that’s what his dear old ma told him.

“Son, if you don’t stop hanging around with that gang of yours, you’ll be coming to a bad end.”

“Mammie. Don’t you fret, I know what I’m doing. If it wasn’t for what I brought home, we’d be out on the streets and starving.”

It was hard growing up in the slum area of Knight City, Devil Heights. It was even worse when Daddy didn’t come home one night. At the age of thirteen, Joe took to being the man of the family; somebody had to provide for Mam, and his two younger sisters, Bridget and Kathleen.

Joe joined the neighbourhood gang, the Shamrock Diaries, and within a few years had moved up to being the lieutenant of the gang. He was young, but he was big, with a size that belied his youthfulness. Life was better, there was food on the table, and who cared that a few people has to get their heads busted up to provide that.

One night the gang rolled a drunk. Nothing unusual about that, the guy was staggering home with a few notes left in his wallet after a night out – the gang did that sort of mugging a couple of nights a week. What was different was that the scientist was going to stand for that. Within a year the group who’d beaten the scientist up, were getting beaten up themselves. About a month after the beatings had started, Joe was the only one left who hadn’t been beaten up.

Joe was walking home after a night on the tiles, when a shadowy figure stepped out towards him. Joe had visited enough of his friends in hospital to know the drill. He ran. And ran. Right until he got to the tenement that he lived in. Straight up the fire escape.  The fire escape collapsed.

Joe woke up in hospital. He’d been comatose for a month. The first thing he saw was his mother’s face. The second was the neighbourhood priest.

“Joe, son, you’ve had us so worried. We can’t go on with you running with that gang anymore.” Joe’s ma gestured to the priest. “Father O’Malley from St. Margaret’s has something he wants to talk to you about.”

Father O’Malley had a brother who was a foreman for Knight City Construction. “If you like, when you’re back on your feet, I could have a word with him. Put in a good word for you, like.”

Joe started work with the construction team. Knight City was entering an unprecedented boom of building work. Devil Heights remained untouched by any gentrification, but the steady pay cheque helped.

His gang weren’t impressed that he’d quit them, to say the least, but at least he could take care of himself in a fight. Some of the gang though, really don’t like Joe much anymore. Neely Flynn is one of these – one of the other gang lieutenants he’s a right nasty piece of work.

All seemed to be okay in Joe’s world until the day everything changed. Neely Flynn had come by the site. He wanted Joe to come back to the Diaries. “You’ll be coming back to us, Joe, or you won’t be seeing your family no more. What’s the answer?”

“I won’t be coming back to the gang, Neely. Things have changed. All these drugs, and who knows what else.”

Flynn grinned. “I thought that would be yer answer. To tell the truth, I was hoping that would be yer answer.” He drew his knife and went at Joe.

The two men grappled at each other. It would have been an even enough fight but Flynn had the advantage of his blade. As he cut at Joe, he gradually took the advantage – until he had Joe up against the wall, blade at his throat. “This’ll be the finish for you then, Joseph.”

Then everything went crazy. The air was filled with a strange buzzing. Flynn looked away. Joe took the opportunity to push back. The air itself looked strange – as if in a photo negative. Then everything exploded.

Joe came to pinned in rubble. He couldn’t see. All was dark. He strained and strained against the rubble, but couldn’t budge it.

“I’ve got to get out of here”, he thought,“I can’t stand it.”

A mighty surge of power flexed through him. It was as if he was growing, pushing the girders and concrete away from him. He saw daylight before he blacked out.

He came to in what looked like a small aircraft hanger, lying on the ground. Next to him stood a very small man only a foot tall.

Nick Law, the CEO of Law Industries explained the situation to Joe.

Joe was stuck at forty feet tall, but Nick could help with that. He knew a maverick doctor with an odd bent for science that had worked with the mysterious chemical known as Reducto. With a supply of this, Joe could lead a normal life.

Nick could go one better than that though. He offered Joe a job – a job where he could use his immense size to make a difference to society – a job as an Agent of C.O.M.P.A.S.S.

“But what does C.O.M.P.A.S.S stand for?”

 “Truth, justice, the fight for what’s right and so on.”

“No. What do the initials stand for?”

“Ahh..”

Joe now fights the good fight as the towering crusader known as Skyscraper.
Gotta love the way Simon has tied his character's origin in with Kevin's (he was the scientist the gang rolled) and Nick (even though Nick will primarily be an NPC, he's still a key member of the team as their backer, resident inventor etc).

Lost In Translation...


Hot on the heels of the news that Outcasts is being shunted to a late night, Sunday slot for the remainder of its run, we get one of the strongest, but also most frustrating, of episodes.

On one hand the show has fallen into a cheesy 'freak-of-the-week' pattern, starting with Mitchell Hoban, then the ACs, the whiteout, then Elijah and now Pak, yet on the other it's still capable of pulling off some genuine surprises.

While still paying homage to its Battlestar Galactica roots, with this episode we began to realise that Outcasts also has Lost-style aspirations, with the arrival at Forthaven of the John Locke-ish figure of Pak (Gary Lewis), the first human to set foot on Carpathia and long-thought dead.

He turns up at the town's one bar (really, one bar for the whole community?) and hangs around just long enough to scatter a sack full of diamonds about the place, get in a fight with the military expeditionaries, and then run off with Cass and Fleur in pursuit.

It's never exactly made clear why they follow him out into the wilderness - as their jurisdiction is Forthaven itself and outside the perimeter is supposed to be the responsibility of the expeditionaries - but Pak leads them on with Lockesque claims that "you don't know the planet", "I'll show you the bodies" and "the planet doesn't want you".

Stella and Jack eventually set out in pursuit of the security officers and, the possibly psychopathic, Pak, and end up running into the ACs and a swarm of poisonous horseflys.

However, Stella is just an interested in investigating the possibility of earlier human habitation on the planet as she is in rescuing her officers. For a moment, on the beach towards the end, I thought we were heading into Planet Of The Apes territory and half expected her to stumble across the half-buried remains of the Statue Of Liberty!

The main sub-plot this week focused on the continued the rise of Julius Berger, as his congregation increased and he took advantage of the wave of greed that swept the town, following Pak's diamond haul, to undermine President Tate a bit more.

It's never really explained why anyone would care about the diamonds - except that they're sparkly - because they have no monetary value on Carpathia. I think this was an attempt to show how mankind's 'wicked' impulses will endure even in the "new world".

Other mysteries that this story brought up included the (first?) mention of vast areas of radiation (The Closed Zone), which I guess might explain why the settlers haven't explored much of the planet, and the revelation that Carpathia has at least one ocean (Pak lives on its coast) - although in 10 years people have been on the planet no-one seems to have thought of giving the ocean a name (surely that's one of the first things explorers in a 'new world' do? Leave their mark by naming places after themselves?).

Although Pak - and his 'imaginary' dog (almost certainly a corollary of President Tate's "ghost children") - was a fantastic, character-driven, piece of atmosphere-building, it was the episode's left-field, revelatory, cliffhanger that was the true 'what the frak?' kicker.

To say "this changes everything" is a slight understatement and I continue to wonder how, with just three episodes now remaining (a second series is looking very unlikely), everything is going to get wrapped up.
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