Friday, October 1, 2010


Not sci-fi, but I think it bears mentioning that the latest open movie project has finally been released to the public. The Blender Foundation, which supports the development of the 3d modelling and animation package, Blender, supports these movies and uses them as a way to introduce new features into the program. Previous movies include Elephant's Dream, which borders sci-fi and fantasy, and Big Buck Bunny. All three are worth a watch and I highly recommend that you watch it in HD, the visuals are pretty amazing. Also, maybe Elephant's dream might make an interesting paper topic.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Humans vs. Aliens

So, as I read and reread Pelican Bar, I have a hard time figuring out why everyone else saw them as humans. I personally saw them as aliens from the second page and had my idea confirmed, to me at least, throughout the story. However, to write my paper, I feel that I need to be able to understand everyone else's perspective. So, if you're bored or need more posts or just feel like commenting anyway, tell me: What did you see, alien or human? Why?

Science Fiction in Commercials

This weekend I was sitting in the auditorium of the Cobb Theater waiting for The Town to start. One thing that I noticed, as a result of this class, was that three of the advertisements before the start of trailers featured heavy SciFi themes. I don't know what the other two products were, but one of the commercials was the linked to car commercial (click title of the post). Has anyone else noticed a recent spike in SciFi ads?


One of the things I like about Syfy is that is doesn't take itself that seriously. This is a station that plays some of the hokiest movies ever, and also professional wrestling. I think I've spent whole weekends watching their original movies.
The newest SyFy original, Sharktopus, aired this weekend, and I missed it. For those who don't know what it is, I've linked the trailer in the title (fair warning: it's so great it could cause temporary blindness). It combines two of my favorite things: large, arbitrarily violent predators and late nineties computer effects. Did anyone happen to see it? Is it as wonderful as I think it is?

women and science fiction

We have all noticed the recent trend in female narrators and some feminist themes in our readings. I doing a bit of research as to why this trend is taking place and I found this article (link in the title) that I thought was pretty interesting. It talks a little about feminism in science fiction and some important gender bending stories. I thought some of you might enjoy it. I found it really interesting that one of the key stories mention "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" by James Tiptree was actually written by a female, Alice Sheldon, who was writing as a male.

The article is rather long, mostly because it summarizes a story entitled "When It Changed", but I think the article overall is pretty interesting and definitely relates to our discussions of feminism in science fiction.

The Thirteenth Floor

Good evening all! (or should I say Good Morning?)

I watched a really sci-fi movie the other day which typically isn't my thing if I'm completely honest. But it was very good. Its called The Thirteenth Floor. The 1998 version. It was pretty awesome.

Basically this computer company builds a virtual reality of 1937 LA and they can connect into the system by downloading their minds and personalities into a simulated person in the VR. One of the characters has to go and investigate the world because his colleague was brutally murdered and he left him a message "in the system". The message goes astray and one of the 1937 characters discovers that his reality isn't a reality at all and has a major identity crisis.

The movie is loosely based on the book Simulcron-3. It was quite a good movie, but also slightly scary. It got me thinking-- how do we know that our world isn't just a computer simulation?

This got me to reading. Here is an article from the Philosophical Quarterly that I hope will work. I had some issues with it earlier.

It's basically an article that Nick Bostram wrote trying to prove via math that we do actually live in a computer simulation.

If you click on the title you should be able to watch the preview of the movie. Enjoy!

Geocaching in Alabama

So I was just interested by this idea of geocaching from Andy's story so I looked it up to give me a better idea of how it's used and such. One of the sites I found has all sorts of examples of geocaching and "puzzle caches" including quite a few from right here in Alabama.
I put the link to one of these puzzle caches in the title. It's one that I found particularly interesting, as it is entirely based around the UA campus. Just thought I'd share it as it seems pretty cool.
Scroll down the link to get to the good stuff.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Law and Order and Geocaching

Ok, so I don't know if anyone else is as much of a Law and Order: SVU nerd as I am, but I'm watching it on USA right now, and guess what! The first ten minutes of this episode ("Sugar" from season 11) was all about geocaching. A couple of young guys got hauled in for questioning because there was a body found right by where the treasure they were after was located.

Andy's Story

So Andy, I really like the fact that you set the story in such a familiar setting, and I like that you referenced the university you're at. Very nice. I have to ask though, is geocaching a hobby you've ever been into? I'd never heard of it so I was wondering where that idea came from.

Tragic Hero Revisited

After my presentation of my topic at the end of the class, Andy had some questions on why I chose to relate Zeppelin City to 300 and Sin City rather than a tragedy like Oedipus. One point that I am going to make in my essay is that even though all three stories end with the main character dying, the story as a whole is not entirely tragic. I believe that even though each story contains a tragic hero, the world in which they occupy becomes a better place upon their death. The characters in 300 and Sin City capture the two sides of Amelia's heroism, from the heroic defence of a nation to just plain insanity. I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

Because you can never be too prepared...

Well the last post about the UN preparing the planet for our contact with an alien race (a fake, sadly) made me think about this picture. I found it a while ago and it made me laugh, so I thought I would share it here.

Clicking the title will take you to an image providing a pretty detailed description of what you should do if YOU are the human to first make contact with the aliens. The image is pretty big, so I thought a link would be best. Enjoy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

First Contact

So the United Nations has announced its intentions to prepare for alien contact. It has placed Mazlan Othman as the head of a committee that will handle any "take me to your leader" situations. This action occurred after the discovery of several hundred more planets. So I'm wondering what everyone thinks on this matter. Does anyone think this is actually necessary, or is the UN taking this a step too far?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


So I'm sitting here reading Andy's short story as my delicious home cooked chili simmers in the crock pot (yes I just said that to make all of you jealous)...anywho....

Observations: I can see the science fiction in it with the geocaching, but Andy claims he could not call his piece science fiction. Is it because this is science and not so much fiction? I know a portable GPS can be found just about anywhere, but I don't know if anybody actually does "geocaching" for fun. I am also noticing the same things I noticed about our earlier readings. Women women women. It's nice that we have the author easily accessible this time, so we can get clear answers to my seemingly repetitive questions: Why the female main character? Would a male character in this role work as well? And the slightly more disturbing question: why the lesbian love affairs? Would a gay male love affair be nearly as interesting?....probably not. Gross.

Also, has anyone else figured out exactly what we're supposed to do with the readings?