Random Nerdery is a regular Opus feature covering the latest nerdiness from the worlds of film, TV, literature, comic books, video games, technology, web development, and more.
Bruce Lee and the Coolest Lightsaber of All Time
Well, everyone knows Bruce Lee didn’t fight with lightsaber nunchaku. What this video presupposes is… maybe he did.
Watch The Last Jedi’s Final Battle in 16-bit Glory
The Last Jedi has not been without controversy, and one of its biggest controversies was how the movie treated Luke Skywalker, particularly his climactic stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order. Writer/director Rian Johnson has explained this scene in detail, including the color of Luke’s lightsaber. So really, all that’s left is to watch it again, only this time in glorious 16-bit detail.
Black Science by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera
What if you had proof there were other realities out there and had the ability to travel to any of them? If you’re anarchist scientist Grant McKay, then you see it as the cure for all of Earth’s ills. Unfortunately, McKay’s obsession with interdimensional travel has destroyed his marriage and his family — and he’ll have to travel through countless realities to save his wife and kids from fates worse than death, while also preventing the potential collapse of all of reality.
That’s the basic crux of Black Science, an ongoing comic series by writer Rick Remender and artist Matteo Scalera. On its surface, Black Science feels like an homage to classic and pulp sci-fi, from the various terms bandied about (McKay’s team calls themselves “dimensionauts”) to the bizarre settings and aliens races (e.g., a nihilistic amphibian death cult, space gorillas possessed by energy ghosts, mech-driving Native Americans) to Scalera’s brilliant, florid artwork.
But at its core is one deeply selfish and broken man’s attempt to redeem himself and put things right with his family. This is both the series’ greatest strength and weakness. On the one hand, McKay’s slow realization of how his dalliances with forbidden science have ruined everything he loved is affecting. On the other hand, you occasionally wish there’d be less melodrama and more focus on the pulp-y sci-fi. Still, I’ve greatly enjoyed Black Science — if nothing else, I never tire of Scalera’s artwork — and I look forward to its final arc. (And now I want to check out Remender’s other series, including Deadly Class, Tokyo Ghost, and Seven to Eternity.)
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
My wife read this one first, liked it a lot, and then kept after me to read it, too. It took a few months before I finally cracked it open, but I’m glad I did. With The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell has written a brilliant modern fantasy that weaves in various genre tropes (e.g., psychic warriors, mysterious cults, bizarre phenomena) without ever feeling like a mere fantasy novel. That’s because his focus isn’t on simply checking the usual genre boxes (which he certainly does), but rather, on telling a fascinating and ultimately poignant story with those things woven skillfully throughout.
As it skips around in time, from the ‘80s to the mid-21st century, and between characters, The Bone Clocks gives us various perspectives on the life of Holly Sykes, a young woman blessed/cursed with psychic powers. These powers eventually lead to Sykes and her family getting caught up in an age-old war between two groups of immortals, the Horologists and the Anchorites.
To say more than that would be venturing into spoiler territory, but it might also simply be impossible because of the density of Mitchell’s timelines and narratives. Even if it doesn’t all make sense at the time, Mitchell is a master of tying things together, which fills the book with delightful little “a ha!” moments.
On a nerdy note, I particularly enjoyed how Mitchell described the various psychic powers and phenomena that appear throughout the book. While there are some just plain cool action sequences, Mitchell often takes a subtler route that reminded me of Haruki Murakami. He’ll throw out odd little details that seem trivial and commonplace in the moment, but their cumulative effect adds a layer of magical realism that always proves intriguing.