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    I Read the Short Circuit Novel So You Don’t Have To (and here are the differences)

    Did you know there was a novelization of Short Circuit? I didn’t. And if you’ve been paying any kind of attention to this blog, you’d know that Short Circuit is my favorite movie. Has been since I was a kid. So when I found this on a used book site, I jumped at the shopping cart. Maybe I’d find some deleted scenes or altered information. Because novelizations are based on the shooting script, not the final product. For instance, the Independence Day novel includes more scenes of Randy Quaid and his family, enduring them to the audience. I’m sure these are deleted scenes on the DVD, but back in 1996,…

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    The Books I Read: November – December 2020

    Death of a Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Loewenstein I read this because my wife was reading it for book club. Plus the idea intrigued me–a mystery story set in a piece of history rooted in Americana. I had never heard of it, the author, or the publishing company before. But I thought I could use a break from the robots and aliens. The thing is, it’s just tedious. The characters are dull as dishwater. There’s no intensity to the mystery. There’re no stakes. It’s as dry as the dust bowl it’s telling about. The thing about a mystery book is that bad mysteries contain large swaths of…

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    The Books I Read: July – August 2019

    Year One by Nora Roberts This is the nicest apocalypse I’ve ever seen. It was advertised to me as a big epic story like The Stand, but with magic. It even has a mystery flu as the apocalypse-causing incident. But The Stand, this ain’t. Where’s the bleakness? Where’s the stakes? Where’s the beef? The blurbs and reviews made it out like the next best thing since Patrick Rothfuss, but really it’s just a standard novel that feels like it belongs on mass market shelves at the grocery store. I was hoping for a unique twist, but it’s underdeveloped. And all you get are a bunch of nice people doing nice…

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    Robots vs. Fairies

    So last month I read “Robots vs. Fairies”, a collection of short stories. I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t so much “versus” as “here’s robots and now here’s fairies” (except for one story at the end). But at the end of each story, the author declared whether they were “Team Robot” or “Team Fairy” and why. Even though the split is even, it felt like Team Fairy came out the winner. But I thought it’d be fun to declare my allegiance, even though I’m not part of the book. (They didn’t even *ask* me! *sniffle*) Even though I probably read and produce more fantasy than science fiction, I…

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    Robots and Kill Switches

    I’ve been reading synopses of Westworld episodes, thinking about robots. Why don’t people ever put in failsafes or killswitches in their robots? This seems like the first thing you should think of when you working with a complex machine that has potential to turn on you. They even got buzzsaws that can shut off when they detect your finger. Sure, you get a cut, but you get to keep your finger. But robots. No, they don’t need killswitches. We make ’em so perfect they don’t need ’em. Which leads to the cliche “moral of the story” about man’s hubris that we’ve been hearing about since Frankenstein (arguably the first robot…

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    The Books I Read: November – December 2016

    Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by David Porath I fell in love with this book immediately, which has never happened to me before. I am not an early adopter, and it’s the onus of every book to entice me. Of course, by the time I know that, I’m usually victim to time sink fallacy. But look at this cover. It looks like all the books in the old Disney movies. You know, like in Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty where a live-action book opens at the beginning and closes at “the end”. Now I have a book like that. I can look like I’m reading an…

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    What Went Wrong With Chappie

    Okay, let’s talk about Chappie. Since I saw its trailer, I’ve been through months of indecision about whether or not to put it on my Netflix Queue. I love robot movies, but reviews were terribly mixed – one YouTuber put it on his best of 2015 list and another put it on his worst list. When one critic called it a combination of “Short Circuit” and “Robocop”, I couldn’t say no anymore. Overall, it’s a highly flawed movie. The concept isn’t original, but it’s not a cliche. The story has peaks and valleys, like it should, but it’s overshadowed by hammy actors. I can’t help but see it as a…

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    The Books I Read: September – October 2014

    I Shall Wear Midnight (Tiffany Aching #4) by Terry Pratchett The last of the Tiffany Aching books and an excellent ending to the series. Besides the first, I think this might be my favorite book of the four. Tiffany has finished her “apprenticeship” and is now the resident witch of her hometown. This means she’s taking care of the community the way true witches do — helping the sick who have no one to take care of them, easing the elderly to the next stage of life, fixing domestic disputes so no one knows she’s really doing it. She’s confronting anti-witches and land-grabbers and old fundamentalist ladies who simply don’t…

  • five nights at freddy's fazbear jumpscare

    Why Am I So Damn Fascinated By Five Nights at Freddy’s?

    I think it got popular because of the Let’s Plays. It’s always fun to watch people freak out. Bill Cosby said when a person is scared, that’s the only time they’re really being themself. I’ve been watching Let’s Play’s, reading the entire FN@F wiki, playing the memes. Yet I don’t own the game, and don’t plan to. It’s all jumpscares. I hate jumpscares for two reasons. They’re cheap and meaningless ways to control the audience. And I hate the way jumpscares make me feel, like a weak little kitten, manipulated, afraid of everything. Just like elementary school. Yes, I have a double standard. Deal with it.* So why am I…

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    The Books I Read: May – June 2014

    vN by Madeline Ashby In the first chapter, a five-year-old child robot eats her estranged grandmother, python-style, and goes from kindergartner to adult in an instant from the additional biomass. Good opening, and there are some interesting WTF circumstances (like robots were created to fill out the Earth after the rapture) but the rest stagnates. Once again, it’s a book where the robots don’t act like robots. They act like people. The only difference is they know they were artificially created. But other than that, they eat, they fall in love, they procreate. You can’t tell the difference. The interesting things are just background — they don’t come into play…