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    Doctor Who is Fantasy, not Science Fiction

    Can we all agree that Doctor Who is about fantasy, not science? The things it’s about transcend the rules of the natural world. It’s not about scientific principles or technological premises. It pretty much fulfills the axiom “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Now look, I’m no Doctor Who expert. I’ve seen the first season of the reboot (Christopher Eccleston) and part of the second (David Tennant). I’ve never seen anything science fiction with a space/timeship that spends so little time in space and so little deviation from Earth’s 19th and 20th century. The Doctor is a wizard. He can die and come back to life.  That sonic…

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    The Books I Read: April – May 2011

    Dune by Frank Herbert This one’s on everyone’s must-read sci-fi books of all time so I figured I’d better read it or I’m not really an author. And I hadn’t seen the David Lynch movie before this, so I wasn’t ruined by that (I have seen it since, but I’ll get to that later) (And I did see the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series and read the comic beforehand, so I knew what to expect going in). And it’s a good thing I did — there is a lot going on here. It takes place in a very well-developed world. Almost too well-developed. There’s a lot of characters, a lot of factions,…

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    Why I Can’t Get Behind Tron

    The science fiction community and the computer nerd community cross paths on occasion.  And so it’s no wonder that movies like Tron get big accolades from my peeps.  I vaguely remember trying to watch the original Tron when I was a wee one, but I thought it was boring.  I tried watching it again when I got Netflix, to see what the hoopla was about.  And it was still boring.  It felt like someone filmed a game of laser tag.  I was looking for a video game element, but you don’t get it with UV light and frisbees.  You get it from brightly colored mushrooms and swords with laser beams.…

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    The Books I Read: July – August 2010

    Weaveworld by Clive Barker(unfinished) I wanted to read some Clive Barker. I read a short story of his called “Dread” that I really loved. But I couldn’t get into this story. I didn’t understand the stakes. I couldn’t care about the main characters or what they were doing. I couldn’t keep track of them. I’m sure they were good characters. Great characters, even. I just wish he had written a novel to go with them. The two main guys have no defining personalities. The two villains are pretty good. Gaimanesque. But the “Alice in Wonderland” other world concept has been done to death. And unless you’ve got something to spice…

  • Charlie Stross Hates Star Trek

    I just have a few things to say about this rant by Charlie Stross who says that he hates Star Trek. Why? Because they hate science. Instead of coming up with legitimate technology, they just have a consultant insert technobabble where appropriate and that drives the plots and pushes obstacles. Stross hates this because it’s poor story writing, in his opinion. His take is that first, he sets up a culture in the future. Then he creates characters that would be consequences of that culture (for example, cell phones and sexting). Star Trek is not like that – the future is background. The situation could take place in any time…

  • Interpersonal Relationships in SF Writing

    Let’s talk about this article by SFWA’s infamous Andrew Burt. Now, I don’t much like promoting this guy, but he presents some food for thought. The basic premise is that the best books have a good deal of their text dedicated to interpersonal relationships, and little science fiction focuses on interpersonal relationships. The ones that do are often the considered the best. Burt took a random sampling of books and did a very loose statistical analysis. The results are interesting but I feel that his method of randomly sampling pages for sentences involving relationships was iffy to say the least. I thought it would be interesting to take a look…

  • Starting Maelstrom

    Next book I’m reading is Maelstrom, the second in the “Rifters trilogy”. Honestly, I don’t have high hopes for me being able to complete this volume, because it’s very hard SF. That means lots of science, lots of terminology (although its based in fact), and lots of stuff regarding things I don’t understand with a great deal of assumption that I do. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get into hard SF. It doesn’t appeal to me. I feel like it’s meant for an audience of MIT professors. Most of the required vocab is “external impetus”, “vectors”, and “Gaussian feedforward algorithm”. Plus the fact that it’s a sequel…

  • Star Dragon: I Hope There’s No Midterm

    Today was a reading day, and boy are my eyes tired. I finished Star Dragon, which seems to echo a lot of what Mr. Scalzi has been saying about the state of Sci-Fi lit. He says that it involves a lot of science and physics and astronomy, and all that takes away from making a good story, and from encouraging newcomers to read it. In short, “it’s math”. Now clearly, Mr. Star Dragon did a butt load of research on his topic. It involves a space ship which generates acceleation through creating two singularities on each side and wobbling back and forth, then going to a binary star system where…