A weapon used in live-action role-playing (“larping”) combat, designed to be utilized as in an actual battle, but not to inflict bodily harm. Swords, maces, axes and hammers are common foam weapons on a larping field of battle.
According to Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi in Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope, The Force is an enigmatic entity that gives a Jedi knight his power. It is “an energy field created by all living things.” The force “surrounds us, penetrates us,” and “binds the galaxy together.” See Kenobi, Obi-Wan (“Ben”); Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope.
Born on July 13, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, Harrison Ford brought to life two of Hollywood’s most iconic roles: Han Solo and Indiana Jones. He grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois, and after graduating from high school in 1960, Ford studied English and philosophy at Ripon College in Wisconsin. There, he accidentally discovered an interest in performing. Terrified to get up in front of people, Ford nevertheless signed up for a drama course, hoping for an easy good grade. Not the best student in college, he ended up leaving before completing his degree.
He made his way to Hollywood in the mid-1960s, and first landed a deal with Columbia Pictures as a contract player, earning $150 a week. He then ended up at Universal. In 1966, Ford made his film debut in a bit part in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. Studio executives were less than impressed with him, and Ford struggled for years as an actor, becoming a carpenter to supplement in his income, before George Lucas cast him in 1973’s American Graffiti. While he worked for Francis Ford Coppola as both a carpenter and an actor, his career failed to progress much. Then in 1977, Ford hit superstardom when he was again hired by Lucas to play Han Solo in Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope. That performance, plus the film’s two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), helped make him a star. During this same period, Ford played resourceful, swashbuckling archaeologist Indiana Jones in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg. The action adventure tale, written in part by George Lucas, proved to be a huge hit, and spawned sequels in 1984 and 1989.
Ford enhanced his reputation as a dramatic actor with several significant roles in the mid-1980s, including 1985’s Witness, 1986’s The Mosquito Coast, and 1988’s Working Girl. Returning to the role of action hero in the 1990s, Ford took on the role of CIA agent Jack Ryan in 1992’s Patriot Games, reprising the role in 1994’s Clear and Present Danger. By this time, Ford had become one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. After a few box office stumbles in the latter ‘90s, he starred in the very popular Air Force One in 1997. By the early 2000s, Ford took on fewer movie roles, and the films he did appear in didn’t receive much attention, until he revisited one of his classic roles in 2008, starring in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull. In 2013, he showed his dramatic talents in 42, a film about the life of African-American baseball legend Jackie Robinson, in which Ford played Branch Rickey, the baseball executive who signed Robinson to the baseball’s major leagues. Also in 2013, he appeared in the science fiction adventure Ender’s Game and the thriller Paranoia. In late April 2014, Ford delighted film fans everywhere with the news that he will appear in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, along with his Star Wars co-stars, including Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
Harrison Ford was married to his college girlfriend Mary Marquardt from 1964 to 1979, and the couple has two sons. He married screenwriter Melissa Mathison, whom he met during the making of 1979’s Apocalypse Now, in 1983. They had two children together before divorcing in 2004. Ford married actress Calista Flockhart in 2010. See Fisher, Carrie; Hamill, Mark; Jones, Dr. Henry (“Indiana”), Jr.; Lucas, George.
Fortress of Solitude
Superman’s base of operations was created by a Kryptonian Relic called the Eradicator as a monument to Krypton on Earth. The first Fortress of Solitude appeared in Superman #17. Hidden in the Arctic, the Fortress contains various keepsakes, such as objects that Superman’s enemies had used against him. Superman uses the Fortress as a source of information about his past and purpose on Earth, as well as a place of rest, a tactical headquarters, and a gym. During the Silver Age of Comics, Superman’s Fortress was built into the side of a cliff, with a giant keyhole at the entry. The origin of the metal entrance doorway was explained in Action Comics #409. The Eradicator’s basic program, designed by an ancestor of Kal-El’s, necessitated the change of Superman into the ideal Kryptonian, who was to eventually reform Earth into a physical duplicate of Krypton. Overcoming the Eradicator and throwing the relic into the heart of Earth’s sun, Superman kept the mysterious monument and used it as a headquarters and hideaway. The Eradicator once again used the Fortress when its energies physically reformed it into Kryptonian form. When Superman again resisted its attempts to overcome him, the Eradicator was destroyed when its energies were trapped by the very walls of the Fortress. When Doomsday killed Superman, the Fortress robots began a program designed to collect his very essence and reunite him with his physical body. Meanwhile, the Eradicator once again gained Kryptonian form and replaced Superman for a time. The Fortress was destroyed when this reformed Eradicator drew all of the available energies out of the systems to reform his physical body after nearly being defeated by the Cyborg Superman at Coast City (Superman #117). Later, Superman returned to the Fortress to find that the Robots had repaired the earlier damage completely. See Action Comics; DC Comics; Doomsday; Krypton; Kryptonite; Silver Age of Comics, The (1956-1970s); Superman.
Foster, Alan Dean
Born in New York City in 1946 and raised in Los Angeles, Foster received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema in 1968 and 1969 (respectively) from UCLA. He spent two years as a copywriter for a Studio City, California advertising and public relations firm, but his fiction writing career began when August Derleth bought a long letter of Foster’s, written in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, in 1968. Much to Foster’s surprise, his letter was published as a short story in Derleth’s bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. Sales of short fiction to other magazines followed, then his first attempt at a novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was bought by Betty Ballantine and published by Ballantine Books in 1972. Since then, Foster’s work to date includes excursions into science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction genres. He has also written numerous non-fiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving, as well as having produced novel versions of many films’ screenplays, including the first three Alien films, Alien Nation, The Chronicles of Riddick, Star Trek, Star Wars, Terminator: Salvation, and both Transformers films. Other works include scripts for records, radio, computer games, and the original story (which he developed with Gene Roddenberry) for the first Star Trek movie. His novel Shadowkeep was the first book adaptation of an original computer game ever written. In addition to English, his work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and he has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first work of science fiction book ever to do so. He is the recipient of the Faust, the IAMTW Lifetime achievement award. He has taught screenwriting, literature, and film history at UCLA and Los Angeles City College, and has lectured at universities and conferences around the world. He is a member of the Science-Fiction Writers of America, the Author’s Guild of America, and the Writer’s Guild of America, West.
Five short stories published together as one novel by Isaac Asimov in 1951. It serves as the first installment of his Foundation trilogy. The first story in Foundation was written by Asimov (and was, in fact, the last part of the trilogy he wrote) in 1950, to serve as an introduction to the series. The other four stories were originally published in Astounding Science Fiction magazine under the titles “Foundation” (May 1942), “Bridle and Saddle” (June 1942), “The Wedge” (October 1944) and “The Big and the Little” (August 1944).
The story begins on Trantor, the capital planet of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Though it has endured for so long, the Empire has been imperceptibly declining for centuries. The only one who realizes this is Hari Seldon, a mathematician who has created the science of psychohistory, by which it is possible to predict future events by extrapolating from historic trends. Seldon’s project is increasingly harassed by Imperial officials, until they arrest him and his assistant. At Seldon’s trial, he predicts that Trantor will be destroyed within 300 years as the climax to the fall of the Galactic Empire, leading to a 30,000 year period of anarchy before a Second Empire is established. The purpose of his project is to influence events so that the interregnum period will be only 1,000 years and not 30,000. This will be done, he says, by the production and dissemination by his team of an Encyclopedia Galactica, which will contain all human knowledge. The commission is satisfied that Seldon’s project is not a threat to the Empire, but wants to quiet him. He and his team are exiled to Terminus, a small planet on the periphery of the galaxy, to work on the encyclopedia. Several fascinating conclusions are reached, including the revelation that the Foundation is an active rebellion against the authoritative Empire, which Seldon says, “has lost whatever virility and worth it once had.”
Four Tribes, The
A two-player card game in which players each take on the role of one of two battling empires, who must supply desperately needed supplies to their forces, while simultaneously waging war with their enemy. Combining strategy, tactics and luck, the fast and casual game is portable and playable anywhere.
See First-person shooter.
A never-ending complex pattern, created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Geometrically, they exist in between our familiar dimensions. Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, and so forth. Abstract fractals can be generated by a computer calculating a simple equation over and over.
A commonly used curse word in both the 1978-79 and 2004-09 versions of the television series Battlestar Galactica.
Frankenstein, Dr. Victor
The title character and narrator of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor is the creator of the nameless monster that he spends most of the novel trying to defeat. He attends the University of Ingolstadt, where he develops an interest in the physical sciences, and begins to seek a way to combine the best of old and new science to create a new being. Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of creating a living human form from dead tissue, and eventually sees his vision come to life. Immediately after creating the monster, Victor falls into depression and fear regarding his decision to create life. He refuses his monster’s demands to create a mate for it, but when Victor’s young brother is murdered, the scientist suspects that his creation has committed the crime, and sets off to find the creature. Not fully aware of the consequences of his creating a new race of humans, he spends the length of the novel trying to destroy the same creation. See Frankenstein’s monster.
As written by Mary Shelley in her original 1818 novel Frankenstein, the nameless being created from parts of corpses and brought to life by Victor Frankenstein was an intelligent, articulate and sensitive being. Shelley did not write him as an ugly creature, either: “His limbs were in proportion, and I selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriences only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips.” It was only with the 1931 classic horror film of the same title that Hollywood made the creature a childlike brute. In fact, thanks to posters for the film, showing Karloff’s face made up as the creature with the word “Frankenstein” underneath, most people have come to think that the title refers to the monster, when it actually refers to the doctor. See Frankenstein, Dr. Victor
Freaks and Geeks
Set at McKinley High in the 1980s, the plot focused on two different groups of teenagers: the cool Freaks and the nerdy Geeks. Touching on normal teen/adolescence problems, including acceptance, drugs, drinking and bullying, the 1999-2000 series filmed only 18 episodes, but earned a cult following. Future film stars James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel were among the cast members.
Depicting the tale of Jack the Ripper, and mixing in the social class struggles of Victorian London, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s 1989-1996 graphic novel series received critical and popular acclaim for its stark images of sex and violence, shown as integral parts of life and death in Victorian England. The collaboration has been praised for its clever point-of-view switches, as well as the high level of fact mixed in with Moore’s imaginative fiction. The plot follows a once-popular (though later debunked) conspiracy theory involving Prince Edward’s secret marriage to a Catholic girl named Annie Crook, the daughter they produce, and Queen Victoria’s loyal physician Sir William Gull, who is called upon several times to perform gruesome acts in order to keep the family scandal from being publicized.
From Hell’s highly researched text includes biographies of major and minor characters, as well as non-fictional accounts of Victorian living conditions. Eddy Campbell, well-known within the comic field for his work on the Eyeball Kid and Deadface series, aptly depicts 1888 London, bluntly displaying the sex and violence of the era with no attempt at concealment or apologies are made. The series was originally serialized in Tundra Publishing’s anthology TABOO. With the demise of Tundra and TABOO, Kitchen Sink Press opted to continue the series as separate volumes. It was later published in a 1999 collection, and made into a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp in 2001. See Jack the Ripper.
Frye, Kaywinnit Lee (“Kaylee”)
Portrayed by Jewel Staite, Kaylee is the resident mechanic on the cargo ship Serenity from the Fox sci fi series Firefly and the follow-up film Serenity. She has a natural talent for fixing and patching up engines, and was, in fact, hired on the spot after she explained how easily a part could be fixed that the then-current mechanic had deemed unfixable. Kaylee is rarely seen without a smile, and does her best to see the good in every person and situation. As her captain Mal Reynolds once said, “I don’t think there’s a power in the ‘verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful. Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.” A tomboy most of the time, Kaylee does have strong girlish tendencies. She can make the crew’s occasional illegal behavior appear to be adorable, and she was the culprit behind the floral wall pattern in the ship’s dining area. See Firefly; Reynolds, Capt. (Sgt.) Malcolm.
Funeral for a Friend
Directly following the death of Superman at the hands of the mysterious Doomsday, DC launched this epic 8-part series (plus its epilogue) throughout 1993, which included the following issues:
- The Adventures of Superman Issue #498 (January 1993)
- Justice League of America Issue #70 (January 1993)
- Action Comics Issue #685 (January 1993)
- Superman: The Man of Steel Issue #20 (February 1993)
- Superman (1987 2nd Series) Issue #76 (February 1993)
- The Adventures of Superman Issue #499 (February 1993)
- Action Comics Issue #686 (February 1993)
- Superman: The Man of Steel Issue #21 (March 1993)
- Superman Issue #77 (March 1993)
- Superman Issue #83 (November 1993
The story arc begins as The Man of Steel is pronounced dead. Injured and devastated, the Justice League struggles to stay together in the aftermath of Superman’s death. Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Clark Kent is missing in the wake of Superman’s tragic battle with Doomsday. In the Man of Steel’s absence, Supergirl moves to take up his position as guardian of Metropolis. The funeral for the defeated Man of Steel draws crowds of DC Comics’ most famous heroes to his side, while in Smallville, Ma & Pa Kent hold a symbolic funeral for Clark. Elsewhere, Superman’s archenemy Lex Luthor becomes paranoid that Superman is faking his own death. Supergirl opens Superman’s tomb to find it empty, and his body stolen! The body turns up at Project Cadmus, where even they fail to detect any signs of life! But maybe they can learn what made him so special. Also, the strain of losing his son becomes too much for Pa Kent, and he suffers a heart attack. After seeing his son in the afterlife, the word spreads: Superman is back! As the Man of Steel makes his rounds to announce his return, he soon learns that the world is a much different place than the one he left a few months ago….
Written by Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern, with art by Jon Bogdanove, Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Dan Jurgens, Denis Rodier and Joe Rubinstein, Funeral for a Friend was a highly successful story arc for DC, along with the entire “Death of Superman” campaign. See Action Comics; DC Comics; Doomsday; Kent, Clark; Justice League of America; Luthor, Lex; Superman.
A person with the peculiar fetish of dressing up in full-body animal costumes as part of a sexual act. See Scritching; Yaff; Yiff; Yip.
Alias “The Man in the Mystery Mask” and “Mr. Anger” among others, Nick Fury debuted in Marvel Comics’ Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1 in 1963. Fury became a legendary hero in the early years of World War II, taking missions into Europe alongside his friend Red Hargrove, under the command of Lt. Samuel Sawyer. Fury fought the Nazis in Northern Africa, then was reunited with now-Capt. Sawyer, who made Sgt. Fury the leader of the U.S. Rangers’ First Attack Squad, aka the “Howling Commandos.” A close friend since a mission in Holland, Timothy “Dum-Dum” Dugan served as Fury’s second-in-command. The Howlers occasionally worked alongside Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Bucky (James Barnes), who became significant allies. Fury’s left eye was damaged by a grenade, and lack of medical care eventually aggravated the wound. At one point, Professor Berthold Sternberg gave Fury the “Infinity Formula,” which retarded Fury’s aging process. Late in the war, Fury joined the OSS (which would later become the CIA). Fury was selected as director of SHIELD, an international intelligence agency equipped with state-of-the-art technology by Tony Stark, and as the leader of SHIELD, Fury faced the likes of Hydra, AIM, Scorpio (his own brother Jacob) and the Hate-Monger (Adolf Hitler’s clone). When SHIELD was beset by a conspiracy at its highest level by the Deltite, Fury allowed the organization to disband and later rebuilt it as a smaller unit he could more closely monitor. Fury also discovered he had a son, Mikel, who took the identity of Scorpio at first, but later joined SHIELD.
Nick Fury was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in a string of Marvel hero films, including Iron Man and The Avengers. See Captain America; Hate-Monger; Iron Man; Marvel Comics
Brainchild of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Futurama was a popular animated series on the Fox network that aired 1999-2013. New York City pizza guy and slacker Philip J. Fry was making a delivery to a cryonics lab on New Year’s Eve 1999 when he was accidentally flash-frozen. Reawakened in the year 3000, 31st Century New New York, he finds work at his great-great-great-(etc.)-grandnephew’s Planet Express delivery service. Together with hedonist robot Bender and one-eyed love interest Leela, Fry travels to the farthest reaches of the universe. Along the way, the crew discovers strange alien life forms, freaky mutants, intergalactic conspiracies, and the jar-preserved heads of 20th Century celebrities. Using contemporary culture and science fiction alike as comedy ammunition, Futurama was originally cancelled by Fox in 2003. However, after a few successful direct-to-DVD maxi-episodes and a rerun deal on Comedy Central, Fox revived the cartoon, and it lasted until the fall of 2013. See Groening, Matt.
In this 1976 sequel to 1973’s popular Westworld, a few years have passed since the scandal that cost several lives at the original Delos resort. Since that time, the company has spent billions of dollars revamping their resort and safety measures, re-opening as Futureworld. Two reporters are sent to cover the grand opening, but an insider leads the pair to believe the attraction is not what it seems. Their investigation leads them into some dark motives involving robots and human cloning. The film starred Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner, with a cameo by Yul Brynner, who reprised his famous role as The Gunslinger. See Westworld.