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New Escapist Column! “The Last of Us” is Solid, Sturdy Worldbuilding…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s fourth episode.

The third episode of The Last of Us was a highlight of contemporary television, one of the best episodes of television produced in recent memory. The fourth episode is nowhere near as transcendent, but suggests that the show has found something resembling a groove. The fourth episode is a lot of what might be described as “shoe leather.” It’s largely dedicated to set-up and world-building. However, it also feels much more assured and comfortable in its own skin.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

126. Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) – Anime April 2019 (#216)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guests Graham Day and Marianne Cassidy, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every second Saturday at 6pm GMT, with the occasional bonus episode between them.

This year, we are proud to continue the tradition of Anime April, a fortnight looking at two of the animated Japanese films on the list. This year, we watched a double feature of Hayao Miyazaki’s Kaze no tani no Naushika and Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s Akira.

This week, the first part of the double bill, Kaze no tani no Naushika, celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary.

Unofficially and retroactively folded into the Studio Ghibli canon, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was only Hayao Miyazaki’s second film. Nevertheless, it demonstrated remarkable confidence. It also signalled a lot of the director’s interests, with its tale of a strong young woman navigating the aftermath of a horrific environmental disaster and trying to prevent a new war from breaking out.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 216th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Star Trek – The Galactic Whirlpool by David Gerrold (Review)

The first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, was produced in 1964. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, this December we are reviewing the second season of the original Star Trek show. You can check out our first season reviews here. Check back daily for the latest review.

David Gerrold is one of the very few Star Trek writers to become an established science-fiction writer after his work on the television show.

Sure, writers like Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga have continued to work in genre television and film, but Gerrold is unique in that he has built up a reputation as a formidable science-fiction novelist. “By any reasonable definition David Gerrold is a major figure in science fiction,” the New York Times has argued. It seems hard to disagree. If Roddenberry had produced Star Trek a decade or so later, he may have been approaching David Gerrold the same way he approached Ray Bradbury or Theodore Sturgeon.

Gerrold joined the writing staff in the second season of Star Trek, following a number of failed pitches. The writer managed to sell The Trouble With Tribbles, which became one of the most iconic and memorable Star Trek episodes ever written. He was such a success that he was drafted in to punch up I, Mudd – the script going into production before The Trouble With Tribbles. Gerrold would hang around for the third season of the show and would become one of the defining voices on Star Trek: The Animated Series with D.C. Fontana.


Gerrold remained busy in the long gap before Star Trek: The Next Generation, writing a string of well-regarded one-off science fiction novels in the seventies; however, perhaps his best-known work in the interregnum was The War With the Chtorr, his series of novels documenting an alien invasion of Earth. When he fell out with Gene Roddenberry over the production of The Next Generation, Gerrold would launch his popular Star Wolf series – a bunch of novels adapted from a television pitch that feel very much like his vision of The Next Generation.

However, despite this success outside Star Trek, Gerrold remains quite attached to that massive shared universe. Indeed, he recently adapted his own infamously lost Next Generation script – Blood and Fire – for Star Trek: Phase II. However, this was not Gerrold’s first “non-televised” piece of Star Trek. The author was responsible for The Galactic Whirlpool, the fourteenth Bantam Star Trek novel published in 1980. The novel was published shortly before the license was handed over to Pocket Books, and is a remarkable accomplishment.

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