Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SciFi or Syfy

As some of you may be aware, the SciFi channel was re-branded last year as Syfy. The intent behind the move was, according to the executives of the channel, to distance the content from the negative preconceptions that are attached to the term Science Fiction. Put another way, they felt that SciFi was too "geeky". What do you all think about the re-branding effort? Was it a deliberate slap in the face to the fan community or a reasonable marketing move? Do you believe that this had any effect on public opinion at all?

Formidable Inception

I couldn't help thinking as I read Stephen Baxter's "Formidable Caress," "Has Christopher Nolan read this story??" The way the time stratification between the different levels of the world in which these people lived fascinated me and of course, reminded me of the way each layer of a dream in Nolan's latest masterpiece Inception worked in a very similar way. For each level one goes deeper into a dream, time slows down considerably. The same for the Lowlands, the Platform and the Shelf in Baxter's story. Is this idea an ancient one that I had just never come across before in other literature, etc? Does anyone have other examples of this idea?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Science and Art

One thing I find interesting is that many concepts and proposals use artists' renditions to provide a vision of what they are proposing. It goes deeper than that. Many artists create things with a decidedly sci-fi bent. Concept Ships is an example found here on Blogspot. Scifi-Meshes is a forum dedicated entirely to the creation of sci-fi related art. As the name suggests, it is predominately 3D artwork, although there are several 2D artists on there as well. While many of the works are related to one franchise or the other, there are several that base their works in their own universes. Many other sites have strong Sci-Fi communities that produce good art works as well, such as DeviantArt and ConceptArt. Be forewarned that Rule 34 is full effect for both and Sturgeon's Law for the former.

Note that I am not to be held responsible for hours lost by browsing those last two links.

Hope y'all enjoy the eye candy.

Of Dragons and Vampires

So I don't know how many others are going, but this weekend is Dragon*Con in Atlanta. I figured it was worth mentioning because Cherie Priest, the author of Boneshaker, will be attending this year's event. If anyone is a fan of her work, or has questions about Boneshaker this would be a great oppurtunity to get to question the author. They are also doing a science fiction and literature track held by other current science fiction and fantasy authors.
On another note, I was playing random songs on my media player, and ran across a song with sci fi and fantasy influences. It's Forsaken by the band Dream Theater about a guy who comes in contact with a vampire. This song is interesting because if you don't pay close attention to the lyrics it seems like a typical rock song. I have the link to the music video in the title of the blog.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Speaking of Zombies...

I know the last thing you guys want to do is read another story when I'm sure you all have plenty of work in other classes, but I found one that I thought some of you might want to check out, specifically if you really got into our zombie talk in class last week. This story was in a compilation of American short stories, and I was assigned to read it for my creative writing class. About halfway through the story, I thought WELL, this should have been in the sci-fi book. The story is called "Sea Oak" by George Saunders, and it's a neat view on portraying the whole zombie thing in a completely different manner than the standard animalistic, cannibalistic way we're all used to. Just don't forget, though... Rule #1. Cardio. #2. Double Tap and #31. Check the backseat. :) Have a nice day!

"The Ones that Walk Away from Omelas"

This short story is written by Ursla Le Guin, and is generally considered a sci-fi story. We recently read it in one of my other classes. It would definitely fall under the sci-fi definition of the realm and literature of the what if.

In this story the narrator describes a festival that is going on in a society that is seeminlgy perfect and happy. The narrator states at one point: "For instance, how about technology? I think that there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of omelas are happy people." I think that this really brings up the question of what the purpose of technology is. Why do we have it? Why do we need it? Is it for the evolution of mankind, or is it to fill up the void created by our own unhappiness?

Taking that into consideration while reading the stories for this week I thought that it was interesting in "Zeppelin City" technology had progressed to the point that they had these Zeppelins on which they could fly around, and that society was controlled by the Naked Brains, but that one of the main characters had just invented the "Universal Tuner"... the equivalent of a modern day radio.

Also, while reading "Zeppelin City" I was reminded of the Futurama episode where the Brains come and take over by making you live out a fantasy all in your head.

The Wind Blowing, and This Tide

So I just have to say that up until this story, I have enjoyed everything I have read in this class, even "Spar" which I would say was more, uh, interesting than something I usually enjoy reading. But, in my opinion (and sorry if you liked this one), I think that stories like "The Wind Blowing, and This Tide" is one of those stories that turns people off from the genre of science fiction.
Personally, I know that I am more of a English/History than a Science/Math person, so, for people like me, stories like this one can be a tad overwhelming. I feel like Broderick was under the assumption that most individuals that choose to read this story would know what the many scientific theories and references meant just from their own common knowledge. For me, I had to Google many unfamiliar terms such as "the Fermi Paradox". I found this paradox interesting once I looked it up, but I think that as an author Broderick could have reached more readers by including at least a vague, tiny explanations for many of these terms.
I also thought that the language of the story made it hard to read. For instance, we obviously have a futuristic-esque space station on Saturn. But, there were entire sentences describing futuristic features of the station by using other futuristic features of the station. As in, the description of his station was still things I had trouble comprehending. Now, don't misunderstand, I give him kudos for such a creative concept, it's just my opinion that he could have made his picture a little more clear for me.
All in all, I just found this story to be pretty frustrating for me to read. I had to put it down a few times just to take a break, and my boyfriend could not stop laughing at the perplexed look on my face while I was reading it. I think the creativity of the story was incredible, I just really think that Broderick could have made a few adjustments to the story to make it easier for people like me to grasp.

Did anyone else have issues with this story?

Zombie Faux Pas

So one of my friends sent me the link to this after I'd told him we'd had a discussion involving zombies in class last week. I know it's not exactly a credible website (but it's a funny one so worth a read), but it does bring up some unrealistic aspects of a zombie apocalypse that people don't always think about.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I don't know if you guys have seen this or heard about it, but I just came across this trailer for an upcoming movie called "Monsters." It looks like a pretty interesting take on the alien invasion sub-genre of Sci Fi. It apparently starts out 6 years after an alien invasion, and is a twist on the giant monster - horror type movies. Anyway, the title is the link to the US version of the trailer and if it looks interesting to you there are more videos available to the right of the video. Looks at least mildly interesting. Let me know what you think.

This Wind Blowing, and This Tide

When I first started reading this story, I subconsciously assumed the narrator was a woman. When it turned out that this main character is a man, I was caught completely off guard. I hadn't even realized that almost all of the other stories have had women as main characters until this story. So it make me wonder, why are the modern science fiction writers basing their stories around women?

Another connection I made between this story and the others we have read thus far was the way they referred to "humans" as if they weren't humans themselves. When we read anything our mind just assumes that the beings talking are human. But this is science fiction. Why on earth (or any other planet of your choosing) would we assume that? Yet it still begs the question, if they aren't human, what are they? Aliens? Robots? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Autobots? I'll let you come to your own conclusions.

The story as a whole seemed to me that it could have been an episode on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Their discussions about who/what killed his son and where they came from and where they went just reminded me of Captain Kirk having a discussion with his crew as to how they were going to spend the remainder of the show. The setting I envisioned while reading looked remarkably similar to the control room of the Enterprise.

The only problem I had with the story was the way it ended. It was very abrupt and left everything up in the air. What do you all think happened?