30 Years Ago Today: Max Headroom Television Hack

An event which has come to be known as the Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion occured on November 22, 1987 on two separate Chicago television stations.

The first hack took place during the local news on WGN-TV. It did not last long and showed little more than a person in a Max Headroom mask and glasses standing in front of a metal background.

The second hack came later that night, at 11:15PM local time. It was during a broadcast of Doctor Who on WTTW. This second intrusion lasted longer and included some difficult to understand speaking and strange actions. It’s probably best just to see it for yourself (keep in mind it’s NSFW):

This incident is famous today and has grown even moreso, thanks to the internet. Also, unless you believe one redditor, it remains unsolved to this day.

You can read more here and here.

Matthew Gomez NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a spec fic writer living in Maryland. I’ve had work featured on the Dark Futures website in the past (see especially the Burned Lands series), as well as Phase 2 magazine. Most recently, I co-launched a new pulp magazine, Broadswords and Blasters that is currently three issues strong. The website also features a weekly article covering different aspects of “pulp” fiction and its descendants.

I’m also a participating podcaster for the Hollow9ine brand, mostly for “What Am I Watching?!”

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?
I’ve attempted and completed NaNoWrimo twice now. Once was back around 2002, where I wrote a fantasy piece, and last year when I wrote a cyberpunk novel. Both times were a slog, but I definitely feel like I ended up with a more complete manuscript the second time around. Not saying that it’s perfect by any stretch, but its less “better off at the bottom of a desk drawer worthy.”

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

I decided not to participate this year in NaNoWrimo as I’ve got a few other projects on the fire that I really should be paying attention to. I’ve two separate serials I’m working on (both fantasy based), as well as working on an outline for a dark space opera novel that I plan to tackle in full in 2018. 

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

The best advice I can give is set your goals and keep to them. End of the day, you are only competing against yourself to see if you can churn out the words. And that’s the other thing. It is all about word count. NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the best words, but just getting words down. If you can’t think of the exact word you are looking for? Jot down a word close to it. Getting hung up on a scene? Put in brackets and say something like [Infodump about history of molecular disintegrators goes here]. The ideal word goal is 1,667 a day. If you can, pad that out to 2,000 a day. November comes with enough built in distractions that it can be damn hard to write every day for the thirty days. Give yourself some wriggle room. 

That said, intertia is also a thing. The more days you spend not writing, the harder it is to get going again. Likewise, the more days in a row you set out to write, the easier it gets. View it as an endurance test. You have to pace yourself.

Final piece of advice? End your writing for the day with a question to be answered. Stop writing in the middle of a scene, not the end of one. That will help you when you go back and have to keep writing. Rather than having to start by establishing a scene, you start your day by finishing a scene, answering a question. Stay curious about your own writing, and don’t get frustrated when it seems to be going off the rails. 

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

The best way to do that is at my blog at mxgomez.wordpress.com. They can also follow me on twitter at @mxgomez78. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

When you’re done with your first draft, let it sit for a month (at least) before going back to edit. Give yourself some space from it. The holidays are stressful enough without looking at a manuscript you belched forth in a month. 

X-Files Return Date Announced

This Wednesday, the return date for The X-Files was announced.

This will be the 11th season of the sci-fi/horror series and, as she has previously stated, Gillian Anderson’s last. It will be 10 episodes in length.

Are you a fan of The X-Files? Would you like to see the series continue or is it time to wrap things up? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

New Doctor, New Look

The BBC, via the Doctor Who Facebook page, has just given us the new Doctor since her reveal back in July

It seems this Doctor has a style all her, in addition to being the first time the character has taken the form of a woman. 

It’s worth noting the look of the TARDIS has also changed, as the ambulance symbol is no longer on the door.

What do you think of the look? Do you think Jodie Whittaker will make a good Doctor? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on social media.

Be A Part Of Our 2017 NaNoWriMo Interviews

Long time readers may remember back in 2015 we published a series of interviews with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) participants. While we didn’t get around to repeating that in 2016, we’d like to bring it back for this year.

These interviews will be much the same as before. They will focus on a writer’s motivation and methods for tackling the event, with some attention given to advice for those who may wish to participate in the future.

If you are a writer and would like to answer some questions for us, get in touch on social media or send an email to editor(at)DarkFuturesFiction.net.

Star Trek Discovery News

This week started with some great news for science fiction fans. StarTrek.com announced Star Trek Discovery has been renewed for a second season.

 The following is a statement from CABS about the renewal: “In just six episodes, Star Trek: Discovery has driven subscriber growth, critical acclaim and huge global fan interest for the first premium version of this great franchise,” said Marc DeBevoise, President and Chief Operating Officer, CBS Interactive, referring to the fact that Discovery set new CBS All Access records for subscriber sign-ups in a single day, week and month. “This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the Star Trek legacy. We are extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series.

What do you think of the news? Have you watched any of the first season? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Fallout 4 GOTY Edition Releases Today

Not long ago, we brought you news of the planned release of a Game of the Year Edition of Fallout 4 from Bethesda Game Studios. Today, we’re back to remind you of its release.

As of today, September 26th, Fallout 4 GOTY should be available from anywhere you would usually buy games. This Game of the Year Edition collects the base Fallout 4 game and the six DLC add ons in one package but includes no new content.

Will you be purchasing Fallout 4 GOTY? Do you already have the game? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Past Stars Returning For Sixth Terminator Film

Last night, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Linda Hamilton will be returning to the Terminator franchise to reprise her role as Sarah Connor. She previously played this character in the first two Terminator movies.

James Cameron will once again be producing and hopes to use Sarah Connor to once again make a statement about gender roles in action movies.

Also returning is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tim Miller, who was recently attached to the Neuromancer film in development, will direct.

Fans of the franchise may be interested in the review of Terminator Future Shock we published some time ago.

Are you a fan of the Terminator franchise? Are you glad to see Linda Hamilton back? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Wanted Earth

This is NOT a paid advertisement.

“From the beginning Earth has remained unnoticed…until now. Various alien races desire Earth for their own reasons and will do anything necessary to dominate the planet and its inhabitants. For the first time in history; humans have a common enemy. Are you ready?”

Wanted Earth is a new miniatures-based strategy board game from Shadow Squirrel Games. It first came to my attention about a week ago through a sponsored post on Facebook. I read the little blurb, was immediately interested, and thought it was something our readers may be interested in as well. The game is currently on Kickstarter (but only until Tuesday.) It just hit 100% funding so, if you jump in now, there’s no risk. You will be getting what you pledge for and there are still a number of stretch goals not yet unlocked. In addition to that, Shadow Squirrel Games is offering a 30-day money back guarantee. If you decide within 30 days of receiving the game you don’t like it, you can return it and they will refund the amount you pledged. That’s a level of confidence you don’t see a lot from game companies and especially not on Kickstarter.

I got in touch with Shadow Squirrel Games and had them send me some photos of just what you can expect from the game. One of the first things they sent was this photo of everything that comes in the base game. You’ve got a play mat, character cards, dice, of course the miniatures, and even a bit more. That comes with the $69 pledge level (shipping charged later) on the Kickstarter and as a bit of miniatures addict, I can attest to that being more than a fair price for a game of this apparent quality.

Once I got to take a closer look at some of the sculpts, I was really impressed. They’ve got a sort of over-the-top style that doesn’t quite reach the level of cartoony. The detail looks great (assuming that holds up in the final molding process) and there’s a nice variation in appearance and even size while still allowing factions to appear distinct.

This is a painted prototype. The models will be supplied unpainted,

Other than the miniatures, one thing that really appeals to me about Wanted Earth is that it’s designed for 1-7 players. I’m of the opinion there aren’t enough games that can be properly played with just two people, and a single player option is rarer still.
Check out the Kickstarter page and see for yourself. There are several add on options as well as comic books set in the universe of the game.

Below, we’ll have some other samples from the game for you to take a look at, including one of the possible add on heroes and the next planned alien faction, which has yet to be finalized.

Here are the character cards for two of the Earth-defending heroes from the base game:

And for the alien invaders from the base game:

The hero character known as Dead Squirrel is one of the possible add ons during the Kickstarter campaign:

Finally, here is a sampling of the cards for a pirate-inspired alien faction planned for the future of Wanted Earth:

What do you think? Does Wanted Earth seem like the sort of game you’d play? Are you going to pledge to the Kickstarter, or maybe wait until the full release of the game? Would you like us to cover more traditional games with a science fiction theme in the future? We’d love to hear from you in the comments or on social media. Also, be sure to check out Wanted Earth on social media while you’re at it.

Star Wars IX Writer and Director Announced

It was announced on StarWars.com this morning that JJ Abrams will be writing and directing Star Wars episode 9.

JJ Abrams wrote and directed episode 7, The Force Awakens as well as being the person behind the rebooted Star Trek movies.

What do you think of this decision? Let us know in the comments or on social media.