Does the modern world need a 007?

With No Time to Die finally out in cinemas and Daniel Craig’s era of James Bond concluding, today I am addressing a very important question about the character…  does the modern world need a 007?

There is no denying the impact James Bond has had on the film industry and the impact he has made across the globe. The character, first appearing in print in 1953 and on screens in 1962 has defined the genre of spy films. Now it is hard to imagine a spy film without a fast car or  a cool gadget. All Bond fans (most notably British fans) have their favourite actors, normally the one they grew up with and their favourite James Bond film. For me I’m most familiar with Daniel Craig’s Bond although my favourite film is actually Die Another Die which is generally agreed to be the worst Bond film in the series (I like it because it has a terrific fencing scene and it’s the first James Bond film I saw) but that’s by the by.  As Daniel Craig’s era draws to a close, James Bond is no longer considered the global icon he once was. With the character receiving criticism in the media and by fans, today I will be looking at what went wrong with James Bond and how it can be fixed.

(Disclaimer: I wrote this post before seeing No Time To Die and so will be excluding it from this article.)

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Top 5 authors who regretted publishing their novels

Somebody asked me a very strange question the other day. ‘Jack, do you regret publishing Empty Nights three years ago?’

The answer, quite simply, is no. I’m still tremendously proud of my first novel but I’ll admit that there are things I would do differently. For example I would publish via a traditional publisher instead of a Indi publishing company, I would make sure that the physical novels were normal sized and not the size of a textbook (although I always chuckled when someone said ‘wow Jack, that’s big isn’t it?”) and I maybe would have delayed the launch to complete one more draft. Overall I’m still proud of the novel and if you haven’t already brought a copy please click on the Empty Nights tab above that will direct you to Amazon.

The conversation, however, got me thinking. How many authors regretted publishing their novels? I researched the question, found the answers fascinating and decided to write a top five article on what I found.

I hope you enjoy.

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Top 5 real stories that are completely false

Here is a strange fact about the human mind. If you tell yourself a lie over and over again eventually you will come to believe it. For example, citizens of North Korea believe ridicuous lies about their ruler (such as he found a unicorn lair) because they have been told the lie repeatedly over several years. On a smaller scale, if you told a friend about a childhood memory in which you fell off your bike and cut your knee but you didn’t mention how you burst into tears and ran to your Mum, this new altered memory would eventually replace the original. Isn’t that strange? You wouldn’t remember the part where you cried, you would remove it from your mind. 

The entries you will see below follow these two example. These are my top five real stories that are completely false. I hope you enjoy.

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Top 5 unmade Doctor Who episodes

On Monday 7th July 2007 The Guardian labeled Russell T Davies as the fifteenth most powerful player in the media industry. Although you have to question the use of the word “player”, many would say that Doctor Who was at the peak of its popularity at this time. With the two spin off shows, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures targeting viewers above and below the average age of a Doctor Who viewer, you could argue that the franchise between 2005-2010 was a TV empire.

Another Doctor Who spin off show that was considered but ultimately dropped was Rose Tyler: Earth Defence. This spin off show was inspired by a conversation between the Tenth Doctor and Rose at the end of Doomsday in which Rose revealed she joined Torchwood on the parallel universe. The series would have followed Rose and her family on the parallel Earth facing alternate versions of aliens from series one and two including Slitheen, Captain Jack Harkness and previous companion Adam Mitchell. Despite the appeal of the program and the fan support it received Russell T Davies cancelled the show before it could be green lighted. His reasoning, and I have to agree with him on this, was that seeing Rose alive and having her own adventures would lessen the impact the audience felt from her departure in Doomsday.

If I don’t mention Rose returned in Series 4 and Day of the Doctor I’ll be crucified. There, I said it.

Since writing my previous article on Lost Doctor Who episodes I thought it would be fun to write about episodes that never made it to the screen. These episodes were cancelled for a variety of reasons, there was no time to develop the scripts, there was problem booking actors or the core idea of the story was just a bit daft. Either way here for my top five unmade Doctor Who episodes.

Disclaimer – Because these episodes were never made information on them is scarce. I will also be focusing on episodes primarily from the rebooted series as that is the era of Doctor Who I am more familiar with.

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Top 5 missing episodes of Doctor Who

On December 31st 2020, to round a dreadful year off, all episodes of Doctor Who broadcast since 2005 were removed from Netflix. This is something many Doctor Who fans feared but expected as Britbox, who currently own all classic episodes of Doctor Who, had previously shown interest in owning the complete collection. Despite this purchase, neither Britbox nor the BBC have a collection of every Doctor Who episode to be made. Between the years 1967 to 1978 the BBC junked one hundred and thirty seven episodes of Doctor Who. All of these episodes span the show’s first six series and consist of adventures with the first, second and third Doctors. Thankfully forty of these one hundred and thirty seven episodes have been recovered and the current number now stands at ninety seven. Today we are looking at how five of these episodes returned to the BBC because their adventures could rival even the Doctor’s.

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Languages in the Star Wars universe

I love languages. That doesn’t mean it is easy for me to learn new languages (just ask my old French teacher) but I do love studying them.

Here are some statistics for you:

  • There are over seven thousand recognised languages spoken on Earth today.
  • Out of these seven thousand languages half of the world’s population speak at least one out of the most popular twenty three. The most popular languages include, Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindustani, Spanish and Arabic.
  • Words that exist in one language but not another are called lacunas or lexical gaps. My favourite example of this is the fact that in the Romanian language they don’t have a word for shallow. If you was talking about a swimming pool in Romanian you would say “the deep end” and “the not so deep end”.

Fictional languages are common place in films, most notably Fantasy and Sci Fi. While the casual audience member may believe that the other races or species seen in these films are speaking gibberish with their dialogue subtitled beneath, in many cases the actors have learnt and are speaking an actual language.

The following are all languages you can study if you have the time on your hands:

  • Alienese from Futurama.
  • Na’vi from Avatar.
  • Dothraki from Game of Thrones.
  • Klingon from Star Trek.
  • Elvish from The Lord Of the Rings.

These languages are popular at comicon, it isn’t unusual to hear two strangers speak to each other in Dothraki in the convention corridors. You can even take a degree in Klingon at a select few universities in America.

While all these languages are fascinating and I  suggest that you investigate them at a later date, today I want to talk about the languages of the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars logo

The phrase “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” is at the start of most Star Wars films (Footnote 1) and to create the impression of an endless galaxy the many different species of the Star Wars universe speak their own languages.

Due to the sheer number of different lifeforms and languages, protocol droids such as C3PO were created, to act as guides and translators (Footnote 2). While C3PO claims he is “fluent in over six million forms of communication” today I just want to focus on just one language, Binary otherwise known as Droidspeak.

My question is this: Who exactly can understand R2D2 and other non verbal droids?

R2d2

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Top five Easter Eggs in Literature

Happy Easter, everyone.

I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. I don’t normally take much notice of Easter. I’m not religious and I don’t enjoy chocolate so I normally just enjoy the extra long weekend. There is one kind of Easter egg I do enjoy, Easter eggs in films and literature. I’ve spoken about these kinds of Easter eggs before, they are a joke or a secret that you have to search for. Arguably the most famous Easter egg in film is the number A113. The developers at Pixar Studios worked in a classroom called A113 and have hidden that code into most of their films.

A113 as seen in Toy Story 3, Cars, Monsters University, Finding Nemo, Wally, Bug’s Life and Car 2.

While Easter eggs hidden in films are more prolific that those in literature today we’ll be looking at the latter. There are hundreds of lists dedicated to Easter eggs in films and I wanted to do something a little different.

These are my top five Easter eggs in literature, I hope you enjoy.

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Five surprising origins of fictional mascots

Full disclaimer. I wrote this article while I was hungry.

We don’t generally consider mascots as characters in their own right and maybe that’s a shame.  These mascots, particularly if they are humanoid in appearance, often have a detailed backstory that is overlooked by general members of the public. Here are the surprising origins of five fictional mascots. I hope you enjoy.  Continue reading

Top 5 Fictional places that may have existed

The word Wanderlust is defined by the English Dictionary as a strong desire to travel. I think it is fair to say that many of us in the UK are experiencing Wanderlust at the moment, myself included.

In 2017 I published two website posts about fictional places you could visit in the real world. You can read those article here and here. This is a sequel to those posts, of sorts. This time we are looking at fictional places that may have existed. Their existence is neither proven nor unproven.

I hope you enjoy.

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Five science fiction gadgets that have become reality.

If you believe the adverts on TV, January is normally the most exciting month of the year. You can exchange unwanted Christmas presents in the January sales and make a bargain, you can plan out your goals throughout the year and if you don’t enjoy Christmas then you can celebrate the fact that things are returning to normal.

Actually, statistically speaking January is the most depressing month of the year. The weather is normally miserable, many families face financial hardship following Christmas and by 21st January a majority of people  have already broken their New Year’s Resolutions.

Bit of a downer. Let’s go back to how exciting the year is suppose to be. You know what I find adorable? How optimistic humans are for the future, in particular how optimistic historical authors were for our present. In Back to the Future Part Two, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 where he encounters hover boards, flying cars and giant holograms. Do you want to know what the most sophisticated gadget of 2015 was? A remote control BB8 toy from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While it was a cool toy, it proves that we are a long way from flying cars.

Occasionally however, science fiction films will get something right. Here are five Sci-Fiction gadgets that have become reality.

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