Saturday, September 18, 2010

"As Women Fight"

I've already gotten a great start from Andy, but I'm hoping to get some input from classmates. I found it interesting from the beginning of class that so many women characters have been used. I want to develop that into a paper. Andy suggested I make it regarding "As Women Fight", since that is the most blatant portrayal of the use of the female gender that we have seen.

He offered questions such as "why is being a woman preferable?" and "will that belief change in that society?" I like these questions and it's a good start. Reading the story over a few more times will give me even more ideas. I just hope maybe some of you have some brilliant ideas. Your comments will be greatly appreciated :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


I meant to post this after we discussed Kevin Anderson in class a few weeks ago. Anderson and Brian Herbert continue to work together with a new series: Hellhole.
The government is colonizing a planet previously destroyed by an asteroid. The colonization is difficult because the terrain is very harsh. It seems very similar to Dune in that respect, but it also looks like an entertaining read.

The Cuban Revolution

So Little Brother got me talking to my grandfather and what he went through during the Cuban Revolution. There are a lot of parallels between the youth reaction in Cuba and the one in Little Brother...except the Cuban one was far lower tech and far less successful.

The Cuban Revolution did not happen overnight. There were skirmishes and battles for years leading up to Castro's victory. And even after Castro assumed power, he was unable to enact his total dictatorship immediately. So, for a while, people didn't completely understand how far Castro was willing to go.

Fairly early on, however, the regime put "the committee" on every block; someone to report back any contra-revolutionary behavior. My grandfather was in his mid-teens at this point. He and his friends very anti-revolutionary. They were losing their houses and their family businesses. They'd go around and shoot BB's at pro-Castro signs and do other crud like that. One of his friend's dads owned a store, and one day when a man on his way to a Castro rally came in asking for pineapple juice came in, they gave him a bottle full of pee instead. They did a bunch of stupid stuff, but nothing too serious.

At some point though, he saw "something" (and when I say something, you should think Cuban Missile Crisis and super cool Russian weapons). When the committee found out about this, they tried to make him join the army or go to jail. But the wife of the committee member on his block was good friends with his mother, my great-grandmother. She managed to convince the committee that my grandfather was just being a "teenage boy" and that he'd grow out his behavior shortly. My bis-abuela decided that she had to get my grandfather out of the country and about a year later he was able to come over as part of Operation Peter Pan, a program that brought Cuban children to the US.

During that last year, he was able to "fight the system" far more efficiently, though at a much small scale. They began to ration food in Cuba and they got very little meat. My grandfather began to go spear-fishing (the beach was right in their backyard) and so he was able to bring some extra food home for his family.

Paper Topic: Inception/Formidable Caress

So I want to do the paper topic we sort of discussed concerning the Time Lapse differences in different levels of the worlds of Formidable Caress compared to those in the dream worlds of Christopher Nolan's recent movie Inception.
I'm just not really sure how to turn it into an actual paper topic. I stink at doing this, so I'm asking for help from Andy or anyone who has some neat ideas.
I want to further research whether time differences like this have been used in fiction before, what their purpose is and how they really add an element of depth to a story. But that's really broad, obviously. Any ideas?

Also, here's a really cool info-graphic by dahahs at depicting the different Dream Levels in Inception. Neato, right?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Little Brother and Last Week

I know this post is coming a little late, but I had to throw this thought out there:

Did this book scare the hell out of anyone else?

I mean, I feel like some of the most plausible parts of the story are the most terrifying. I'm the sort of person who likes his privacy, and in the post 9/11 world we lost some of that. Imagine if it really did happen again. Would we lose even more? Mrs. Anderson (the replacement social studies teacher) believed that "the role of government is to secure of citizens the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In that order." That doesn't sit right with me. In fact, its just wrong. They are all equally important, because each makes the others possible. Life without liberty and happiness is no life. I loved this book, but parts of it truly freaked me right the hell out. Thoughts?

Oh, and in regards to last week, I encourage all of you to look up the documentary "Love Me, Love My Doll" on youtube or google. I brought this up last week when we were talking about "Eros, Philia, Agape," but these are people who truly love a personified, inanimate object. Very interesting stuff (or at least I think so).

Revolution or Radicalism in Little Brother

As a huge fan of Cory Doctorow, I was excited to read Little Brother again. This time however, I attempted to view the plot from the position of an average citizen, rather than from the viewpoint of a student. Disregarding the element of the Treasure Island facility and the plot to allow the terrorists to strike again, very little of what the DHS did was unreasonable. Until the Xnet got involved, there was very little disruption of daily living patterns.

Philosophically, I tend to agree with the protagonist as to the intrusion of government into our daily lives. But looking at it from another perspective, one has to wonder to what extent rebellion was justified. Assuming no knowledge of the aspects I mentioned, would you be willing to disrupt society over the invasion of privacy that occurred in Little Brother?

Shaking Marcus

So I wonder, was I the only one who felt like shaking Marcus? Sooooo much could have been avoided if he had just talked to his parents. I understand that he was traumatized by Gitmo on the Bay and if he had told them, the X-net probably wouldn't have happened the way it did. But he let his best friend's parents think their son was dead. For a long time. This just doesn't sit well with me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little Fight Club

After finishing Little Brother I feel like it had some similarity to Fight Club. It reads like a more coherent version of the novel and the basic story of the "abnormals" being oppressed by the man definitely fits with the story of the movie. I didn't think Little Brother was quite as nihilistic or anarchistic as Fight Club, though, and I can't really stress enough that the stories only spark superficial similarities for me. I thought it was interesting that the first story I was reminded of after reading Little Brother wasn't a strictly science fiction piece.

No Ordinary Family

So this isn't Little Brother related, but I just keep hearing about and seeing ads for shows starting in the fall that have sci fi leanings (like "The Event," which I posted about last week).
Another new show coming out is called "No Ordinary Family," starring Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz (of "Dexter" fame, among other awesome shows). The show is about a super hero-esque family. At first glance I wasn't sure whether it would really be sci fi or more of a fantasy thing, but it according to wikipedia, the family gets their powers after a plane crash in the Amazon River, which seems to lean it towards sci fi, as I assume some chemical property of the river is responsible for the change. The link to the video section of the official site is in the title. Lots of clips and such.
Anyway, it looks like a fun, live-action version of "The Incredibles," plus Julie Benz is awesome, so it might be worth checking out. However, as with "The Event," I have a strong feeling that it may not last very long. These types of shows seem to disappear very fast.

On the Fringe

So I'm sure many of you have seen this show before now, but one of my friends recently turned me onto the Fox sci-fi series Fringe, and I gotta say, I'm lovin' it!
This show definitely seeps far into that area of "what if" that has been so prevalent in our class discussions. I'm only a few episodes into season 1, but I really wanted to say something about it to you guys. Maybe some of you want to catch it as well if you haven't already. I believe the show just finished up its second season. You can find full episodes on Ohhhh I also JUST discovered that you can watch Pushing Daisies there too. That's sort of sci-fi... anyway, I digress.

Let me know what you think about this show if you've watched it. I already encountered several sci-fi themes that have appeared in other works, including a chemical dream-sharing moment not totally unlike my beloved Inception, haha. I included a YouTube clip of the lead-up to that in the title of this post, just for funsies. Enjoy!

Also, I really like Little Brother. That is all.

Andrew "bunnie" Huang

So I'm not really a very tech-savvy person, so when I got to the end of Little Brother and saw a bit written by the guy who actually hacked the Xbox originally, I thought it was pretty neat (truth be told I didn't know you could hack an Xbox, go figure). So I went through and googled him to see a little bit more about it, and I came across his actual blog. it is quite interesting to look through (even if half of the jargon isn't understandable to me) so I figured it was worth posting a link to. My favorite part: the Contact bunnie section. It just blows my mind a little bit.

Little Brother

I just finished reading Little Brother and I just wanted to say that I truly enjoyed reading this novel. One thing that I really look for while reading is the writing style. If I hate the writing style I will most likely not finish the book because I don't feel as though I am completely captured by this world on paper. I was able to fully understand what was going on throughout this whole novel. The characters were interesting and the situations created tension that I could feel while reading. I especially liked that the entire novel was written as though it was a journal of the main character, Marcus. Does anyone else know of books that follow this writing style. If you do, let me know.

Copy Rights

So, I have to ask what you guys think of Cory Doctorow's view of copyright laws.

I personally completely agree with most of his views. I don't think anyone should be allowed to take another person's creation and make money off it without sharing the wealth and credit. I'm studying to become a teacher and we are constantly drilled about copy right laws. If we find a picture we really like that ties into our lesson plan, we can't use it more than once and we most certainly can't post our notes from that lesson on-line without permission. But I'm not using that picture for personal gain or profit, I'm using it to teach, so what's the problem?

And now to tie this more into sci fi: How do you think copy write laws will change as our technology becomes more advanced? Do you think Cory Doctorow is headed in the right direction? Or do you foresee problems with making more information freely open to the public?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Brother

Guess I'm blowing up the blog this week but I have been finishing up Little Brother and just wanted to comment on Doctorow's writing style a little bit. I think it's interesting how he writes the novel from the viewpoint of Marcus, yet still manages to defend both sides of the argument for DHS security measures vs. free speech. The classroom debate in Chapter 13 is a really good example of this, as well as the various fights Marcus has with his dad on the subject. I find that it is easy to see both sides, and occasionally I find myself wondering which side I want to take.

The entire book seems to ask what if? of the Patriot Acts and paranoia following 9/11, and the entire thing has really hit home, especially since we happen to be reading the book right on the 9 year anniversary of 9/11.

And gotta love those teenage loves scenes too. Macking at a youth riot. How romantic.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

SciFi for the weekend

My mom was in town for the weekend, and since my mother and I are strange, we opted to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show on friday night. While I have made previous commentary regarding the opening song ("Science fiction... double feature...") I never realized how much the film actually is science fiction. I don't know if I have any fellow Rocky Horror fans in this class, but if you know anything about it, then you probably know that it involves Tim Curry starring as Dr. Frankenfurter, an alien from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. And, yes, he is dressed completely in drag, which in this case involves glittered high heels, man panties, and a glittered front lace-up corset. (Hopefully you all want to check it out if you haven't before)

But the Science Fiction aspect was what I noticed the most when I watched it this weekend. The alien doctor creates life, turns people to stone and then revives them and commands them to his will, and his former alien servants rebel, take command, shoot him down with a laser beam of pure anti-matter, and beam the entire castle back to their home planet.

Take out all the drag and we have just another science fiction film. But the cross-dressing, the time warp, and the dramatic musical numbers definitely make it more fun.

Here's the original TRAILER. Enjoy!

Picture's worth a thousand words.

Title links to a blog a mentioned in one of my earlier posts.

I was a little surprised when I saw this post in my watch box. I guess I shouldn't be, considering the amount of work and skill that went into those renders. Though they are pretty, that's not what I want focus on. The artist has worked on the back-story for these as much, if not more than, the renders themselves. If your interested, you can see more of his work here. I also posted some links to his website and the threads on Scifi-Meshes below. There used to be a site for the entire back-story, but I think it's gone now, anyway, enjoy.

What I should have realized about Little Brother from the beginning...

I am working my way through Little Brother and it has been great so far. I just don't like reading on a computer. But hey, it saves some money.

I realized about ten pages into the book that the title is significant. From what they've gone through so far, all I can think is "Big Brother". Oh how I hope we never end up in a world where we have cameras in schools measuring each person's gait. But that was a realization that made me want to slap my forehead. Of course a book named Little Brother would have some connection back to the concept of "Big Brother". Anybody else make this connection?