Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’
Browsing my blogs and the web last night had me finding some potentially interesting things, not sure what to use them for or how it’d be possible to link them all in a story but that’s not my problem I only put these things out there.
Let’s start with a bit of Star Wars on Not Always Learning. I recommend you absolutely do not continue browsing that site, it’s so easy to get lost there and I guarantee hilarity will ensue…or ensure depending on if I’ve got a typo or not.
I felt totally vindicated with Vaveros as I’m very specific about how my name is spelled and people get it wrong even though I’m telling them the letters. What really gets me is the parochialism of many native English speaking people who insist on pronouncing a name following English speaking rules (the rules that change so frequently) despite being told they’re wrong.
Talking about English and how she is pronounced, here’s a fabulous essay on unlocking the rules of pronunciation in English. This came to me via The Grammar Garden and they think it makes things clear while I don’t, somehow I suspect I’ll have to read it again.
Money is nice and Alexander McCall Smith seems to have enough of it. He’s gone and bought some Scottish islands, McCall Smith says they will remain as nature reserves and he’ll try to ensure this continues after is death. I’d love to own an island but how much do they cost? And he’s bought not just one but a whole string of them.
We’ve gone from fruit to drink so I could say they’re driving me to drink!. Baileys have replaced Orange as the official sponsor of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. That could mean we’re now officially allowed to get drunk while writing but only on Baileys. Funnily enough I was drinking a glass of the stuff when I found this last night.
Last but not least are a few words from Neil Gaiman. He reckons fiction is dangerous, go here to read the details for yourself.
Mr Willard Phule is no fool, he’s the product of several generations of money and while he’s unmarried has decided to join the Space Legion. He takes his butler with him and they both take Omega Company to new heights. In this book, Beeker, his butler takes off on a holiday with Nightingale so we get a tour of various planets while Captain Phule looks for him.
As with many of Robert Asprin’s other series this book is a light-hearted romp but this time based on science fiction. His name is Phule and the name he takes on as a member of the Space Legion is Jester. There are robots in this book which rival some of the robots in Isaac Asimov’s books, they work really well until something goes wrong when they work exceptionally well.
While I enjoyed the book I don’t plan on reading any others in this series as it was too similar to the M.Y.T.H. Inc series but without the loveable characters and without the magic. The planets we see are all parodies of different areas of Earth. One planet we visit is called Cut ‘N’ Shoot and is a parody on the wild west, they were told to put in some Indians but no-one specified what type of Indian so you’re got Indians from India, Indians from the wild west and unspecified Indians but highly likely to be different again. The white men on this planet were caricatures of the white men from the wild west. Another is a parody of the lowest socio-economic area in the western world and then we get to see Earth but that’s really nothing special and it’s where Phule gets kidnapped.
In which I attempt to interview a Sandworm from Arrakis. The Sandworm was called off by a thumper on a number of occasions and I’m not certain the same Sandworm came back, other than the size I had trouble telling them apart.
What do you read?
What is reading? Is it something you can eat? Does it make a noise? Noises are food, there’s one now…
thump, thump, thump, thump
Do you read for work or for pleasure?
What is pleasure? Is it food? There’s a noise, must be food…
thump, thump, thump, thump
Do you read to your kids or someone else’s?
I sense water, is that you? Are you good to eat?
At which point I gave up as the Sandworm or Sandworms were all totally distracted by the thumpers the Fremen were setting off, somehow I don’t think they approved of me interviewing a Sandworm and were trying to save me. Not sure why they’d do that.
Sometimes when I’m struggling to find something to write about I find some absolute gems and today is no exception. I decided to look at the list of birthdays I have for authors, this didn’t look very promising so I started googling the names I didn’t know and up popped some gems. There were some names I knew of but decided not to go any further with authors such as Sue Grafton, Elizabeth Goudge or Anthony Trollope and a good thing too.
First up is Eric Kripke. Who? I said to myself and I’m so glad I googled him as up popped his IMDB page and I discovered he’s the creator of Supernatural. Supernatural is one of those really great programmes, not as good as Firefly but still good and it stars Jensen Ackles who also played a couple of different roles in Dark Angel.
Next on the list was Damon Lindelof, the most prolific writer of Lost, he only wrote 44 episodes. He’s also been a producer of Star Trek and Crossing Jordan.
Somewhere in the list was David Morrell, the original author of First Blood the book that was done to death in the Rambo films. He also wrote the Captain America comic book miniseries The Chosen.
Last but not least is Doris Burn. The author of Andrew Henry’s Meadow, Zach Braff is trying to make this book into a movie, Barry Sonnenfeld has signed on as a director.
Mondayitis tried to ask the Towel some questions, the results were interesting.
Books? Books? There’s only one book worth reading and thank goodness it has audio as I don’t have eyes.
Always know where your towel is! That’s nice, I don’t like being lost especially when someone decides to hitchhike to another galaxy but who said I wanted another galaxy! What about staying at home and having a break, maybe giving me a wash? Don’t just suck on one corner, gross!
But how can I listen to that book when I don’t have ears? Hang on, how come I’m talking? Am I so dirty that I’m able to talk now?
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Mazagine is pulp fiction at it’s best. It takes submissions from all sorts of people across Australia and New Zealand and only publishes the good ones. I got involved with ASIM within the first dozen or so issues and then managed to acquire most of the rest, they look really nice on my shelf.
One story in Issue 48 caught my eye and rereading it just now I understand why.
The Whims of my Enemy by Amanda J. Spedding
The story opens with people on a train, our protagonist is talking about blood and how much she’s seen of it in defence of her land. Despite the words ‘defence’ and ‘invaders’ my first thoughts with the first two paragraphs were of the Holocaust and how Jews were sent on trains to death camps. Then as I read further I was reminded of The Hunger Games. The similiarity is due to the people in the carriage needing to be whittled down from 26 to 10 by the end of the final leg of their journey, they are given little food and most of the conversation centres around bullying to bring down their opponents spirits to make them easier to kill.
“Meet the quota and life is our reward.” I read this and wondered if this was true and if they would be allowed to live at the end or if there would be another train journey with a similar end, we don’t get to find out. For Jael, our protagonist it feels more like a battle with herself as she fights not to kill and leave the killing to others.
I have a love/hate relationship with this story just like Hunger Games. It is brilliantly executed, every word is correct and fits in beautifully with the rest. The characters are well drawn and the writing as a whole is just right. I have a problem with the content, it is totally horrifying to have to kill in order to stay alive, I understand this has happened in wars throughout the centuries but in this case it’s to demoralise the captives and I feel to provide amusement for the victors of the war.
The problem with ASIM is the stories are addictive. Having finished writing about one story I’m now being seduced by another and I have so much to do today. Do yourself a favour and get a subscription as unless you find them second hand somewhere that’s the only way you’ll be able to read them. Go straight to their website now!
The Abs Award is something I give to books that have caused me much pain and is named after my dearly departed abs. This time I’d like to give it to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Don’t be fooled by her deceptively nice name she has some horrible ideas. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was good, the characters well drawn and the whole situation well thought out but the idea of each district having to choose two of their teenagers at random and then send them off to kill or be killed is just horrific.
I had some idea of the storyline but I felt I needed to know what everyone else had been reading so when I found the book I put it near the top of my To Be Read Pile, after reading I made it a priority to watch the movie so I could write about both at once. I’m so glad I didn’t see the movie in the cinemas I don’t think I could have watched it all the way through in one sitting.
For those few of you who have been living under a rock and know nothing about it the storyline goes like this. Each district has to pick two people, one male and one female, between the ages of 12 and 18 to travel to the Capitol and fight to the death. The one who survives the mayhem is feted and made rich. Their names are pulled out at random but some of them have been forced to have their names in multiple times due to needing to take food from the council. Gale Hawthorne is 18 and his name is in 42 times, he is lucky as Peeta Mellark is called, Gale’s good friend Katniss Everdeen is not so lucky as her sister, Prim, is called, Katniss volunteers in her place.
Some of the districts train their teens so they are more likely to win but Katniss and Peeta have spent their lives just trying to live as they come from a poor coal mining district. Katniss’ father died in an accident in the mines and she has spent her time looking after her mother and sister, hunting in the forest and being quite successful, Peeta grew up in the family’s bakery. It was more of a struggle for Katniss than Peeta but he’s still made of strong stuff.
The movie is a really good representation of the book. They’ve made a good job of taking out most of the important parts and showing them to us. Many things have been moved around as we don’t see Katniss talking to herself and we can’t hear her mind so they’ve had her speaking these concepts to others but I feel it all works out nicely. The actors are all really good and they’ve done a good job of filling in some of the behind the scenes parts that we don’t see in the book such as the times when Haymitch Abernathy (the only previous winner of the Games for district 12) actively seeks sponsors for Katniss and Peeta, managing to send them items they really need.
I found the whole concept to be really disturbing, the idea of sending two of your future to these games knowing they have little chance of coming back. I know I wouldn’t survive and I doubt my kids would. The people in The Capitol enjoy the whole spectacle immensely, watching every move on their TV screens while the people in the districts watch more in horror and hoping to see their tribute win. The first few minutes after the tributes are let loose are a blood bath.
Having panned the entire book and movie I really struggled to put the book down. The writing was really good, I don’t give it the Abs Award due to the writing but entirely due to the whole concept which reminds me greatly of the wars we have except that our youth have a much better chance of coming back than they do in The Hunger Games.
The movie of the second book is due out in November and I’ll be making sure I read the book before then as I really need to find out what happens. Not only do I like to read the book first but in this case I feel it’s mandatory as I need to have all the back story.
Today is something special in the Mondayitis series. I tried to interview Pixel, the cat from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert Heinlein. It was an interesting interview and the results speak for themselves.
What do you read?
I don’t read I don’t need those skills, people read to me whenever I want. I can go anywhere and when I want so I can have anyone read to me about any subject. I do prefer books about Cats but they’re all so wrong, none of them by the Cat unless you count such travesties as Gobbolino; such a dreadful Cat, Working With Humans! Cats don’t work, they have humans for such things.
Do you read for work or for pleasure and is there any difference between the two?
I have humans read to me whenever I feel they need to do something useful. Sometimes it’s hard work listening to them so I just go to sleep, I’m perfecting the art of looking half awake to keep them occupied.
Can you do the Safety Dance while reading?
I have nine lives so I don’t need to worry about safety.
Are you a rabid Discworld/Twilight/Harry Potter fan and would you attend a flash mob dressed as your favourite character?
What a horrible idea! I do not approve of Cats wearing clothes we have fur and that’s good enough. Although, I might make an exception for those Sphynx Cats it must get very cold.
No more questions; stroke me, feed me, brush me I don’t want furballs. Let me out, let me in, pick me up, no let me down.
Thank you to Pixel, it’s been a pleasure being your slave…as always.
Just for a change I’m pinching the description from the author’s website.
The town centre has been turned into a concentration camp, and the last free people in Phoenix have been forced into hiding. Unless Jordan and the others can figure out where the Co-operative is keeping Tobias, everything they’ve fought for will be for nothing.
As Peter spins further out of control, can Jordan find a way to save Luke’s life, or is history doomed to repeat itself?
With only weeks left until Tabitha is released, Phoenix’s biggest secrets are still yet to be revealed.
And the clock is still ticking.
There are 14 days until the end of the world.
Tension mounts and gets ready to ride away in this book. Jordan’s visions are getting more concrete, Peter gets worse while Luke continues to develop normally in stress situations without developing a super power.
Who is Bill? I know who Bill is but you have to read the book.
It’s September already and I’m getting withdrawals, I need to know the end of the story but the last book isn’t finished yet. Talk about putting pressure on the author.
I’ll try and be a bit more coherent. Chris Morphew is an author to watch, this is his first series and he’s burst onto the book publishing scene in a fabulous way, I have big hopes he’ll write more books just as good as this.