Category Archives: scifi

GeekDad: I See Black People On A Spaceship

geekdadnewlogoI think this was my best article to date. Discussion on race always brings out great comments. Check me out!

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/02/top-ten-african-american-characters-in-sci-fi/

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Revisiting Rama

The Internet. Click, click, click. And you end up on some purely random site. Sometimes you end up on the worst designed webpage ever (please if you have not been trained in web design, hire someone)! Other times, you stumble upon something that is pure genius.

I read parts of the Rama series way back. This great vid (via Slashfilm) brought back all of the memories. Created by Aaron Ross while a student at NYU, this makes me want to change careers. I’d love to bring some of my favorite sci-fi stories to vid  life. Especially, if I can get equipment and a room full of talent like James Cameron did.

My Daughter Reviews Avatar

The fam went to see Avatar this weekend. In a change of pace, my daughter is going to do the review. Enjoy!

Yesterday I went to go see the new movie Avatar with my family. I am 10 years old and this is my dad’s blog.

You should buy tickets for the movie Avatar because of the graphics. They were awesome! It even made it better with it in 3D. Only this 3D is different. Its not popping out at you, its more like you are in the movie with the characters.

You should also go see it because of the story. It was OK, not great. It was a familiar story line, a guy goes to a different place for some reason and he falls in love and loves it there. Over all I think it was a pretty good story.

In addition ,you should go see Avatar because of the characters. My favorite character was Neytiri. You’ll have to take your family to the movie to find out her role. The only thing I’ll tell you is that she plays a big role in the movie.

So as you can see, you should check out Avatar because of the graphics, the story, and the characters. My family might even buy it on Blu-ray when it comes out!

It’s On Now! Star Wars Celebration V

The anticipation is finally over! And in August 2010, Star Wars fanatics will descend on Orlando, Florida for Celebration V. Announced yesterday, the fifth iteration of the Star Wars mega-convention, the first in the US since 2006, will run from August 12 ~ 15, 2010. Tickets go on sale on Thursday, December 10.

Now mind you that the new Harry Potter theme park is set to open next year as well. My advice to any non-geeks, is to abandon the Orlando area next August. I can just imagine a large battle royale as members the Star Wars clan descend upon the Magical World of Harry Potter! Maybe we’ll see a repeat of scenes from Beat Street as the two groups battle it out B-Boy style with cries of “May the Force be with you!” mixed in with shouts of “Expecto Patronum”!

V: My First Impressions

My wife's eyes only fall on the right side of this image

There’s almost nothing worse than having to get some real work done when a great show is on the tube. Last night I watched the first episode of V (re-imagined) while trying to build a dimensional modeling tutorial. My initial thoughts were Wow! I loved the opening scenes and the setup.

The show did a great job of laying out the main characters, their issues, and the initial path along the V road. Elizabeth Mitchell was great! I thought she was good in Lost and she’s the perfect fit for this show.

The graphics (which get ever so cheaper to produce) were equally nice. A lot of the CG in TV shows today rival what was done in movies just 5 or 6 years ago.

And what I did not like. Too much, too fast. Yes, this is a re-imagining. But, there were just too many reveals in the first episode. Morris is Visitor. So is Elizabeth’s partner. The Visitor’s are really evil. They could have spread this out over a couple of episodes.

We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks. Hopefully, this can turn into a long running show. I miss BSG 😦

Space: Above & Beyond

A REAL woman!

A REAL woman!

I had a nostalgia moment while browsing the intertubes. Space: Above & Beyond was a hit waaay back in 1995 (still in college!)

I had high hopes for this series. Alas, it only lasted for a year. I especially had a jones for Lanei Chapman (Lt. Damphousse)! Hey this was before I was officially married!

BSG: It’s Over, So Say We All

It was a fun ride!

It was a fun ride!

Overall? I liked it. The action and the tie-up of many plotlines were on point. There are some still left open (more on that later), but Ron Moore hit the major ones.

I really liked the “this has all happened before” tie-in with today’s world. I thought it was funny that all of the “advanced” robots they showed in the clips were Japanese (we Americans have a lot of schooling to catch up on that one). So here are some of my highlights:

1. Best Moment

The Doc getting all choked up when Laura expresses her gratitude. Damn great acting! Had a brother tearin up seeing that hard callous of a man breakdown like that.

2. Best Moment #2

Athena not hesitating to smoke Boomer. Damn, don’t mess with her kids and her man!

3. Corniest Moment

The “chasing the baby to the CIC” flow. They had to tie it in somehow, but that was kinda lame…

4. Awww Dude! Moment

Chief snapping Tory’s neck. We know the Chief had anger management problems, but yo!?

5. Questioning My Manhood Moment

Thinking too much about how Lee was rocking that mini-beard and shaggy hair…

6. WTF Moments

– Cavil eating a bullet! Dude just gave up, said FRAK!, and was done…

– Starbuck ghosting (what was she Ron! tell us!)…

And now, things to look forward to:

1. BSG: The Plan

This should answer some of the plot holes that the finale did not cover. The commercial said coming this fall. So now I have some good TV to anticipate over the long “rerun” summer.

2. Caprica

The commercial for this was nice too. Looks more like a little less spacey stuff and more drama/conflict/ethics. I’m willing to give this one a go too.

So what do I do between now and “this fall” (is that like September or November?!). Go frakkin’ crazy!

Cover Artist Appreciation Post

Kurt

Kurt Miller's artwork for The Last Centurion

Last week, I blogged about the ongoing development of exoskeletons which was inspired by mechas that were in a book about Mars that caught my eye because of the cover art (whew!). After writing that post, I thought I’d find the artist and drop him/her an email and let them know how badass I think their work is. It was a little hard to find, but I eventually found my way over to Kurt Miller’s KMI Studios site (note: Kurt also did the cover for The Last Centurion (image at left), which was a bangin read too). After browsing around his art gallery (his work is pretty prolific), I sent him some SMTP love. To my surprise, he wrote back and showed a lot of gratitude. Classy…

So this post is dedicated to those cover artists that help us to visualize the stories we love. Here are a few artists whose work was featured on some of my most recent reads:

Don’t see you favorite in this list? Then check out this great summary from Locus Magazine.

Bring On The Mechas

Travis Taylors One Day On Mars

Travis Taylor's "One Day On Mars"

Last summer, I was looking through the “new books” section at my local library and I was instantly intrigued by the cover of one of the books (and the title BTW, I’m an admitted Mars junkie). After reading the inside cover blurb, it sounded like a good read.

I blew through the book in three days! It was great! I loved the sci-fi element as well as the military aspects. Two major features of the story were mecha-based aeroplanes for the space jockeys and mini-mecha suits for the Marines. Now, I grew up on Robotech, which in my opinion still is one of the best anime series around (I need to get that on DVD). I was really digging Mr. Taylor’s detailed description of the mechas and the soldiers that went to work using them.

This morning, I was catching up my Google Reader and read a Wired article (via the Danger Room) about an exoskeleton head-to-head rivalry going on between two scientists, Stephen Jacobsen and Hami Kazerooni. In recent years, both have made tremendous progress in the development of human-augmentation suits. I wonder how soon we will develop something as robust as Taylor’s mechas? His story takes place in 2383. I hope I don’t have to wait that long…

BSG: Blood On The Scales

Rest in peace Felix

Rest in peace Felix

INSTAPOST: Another bangin’ episode! Even though I already knew they couldn’t let Adama go out like a punk, I was still on the edge of my seat during this entire show. I must say that Starbuck is bad as hell! She cold cocked dude while he was taking a pee break. How come Lee didn’t take em out? Hilarious.

In the end, I felt sorry for Felix. He really did think he was doing the right thing. And Zarek deserved a bullet. How do you smoke the whole quorum? Maniac.

So here are my questions:

We know Sam can’t be dead, but where is he, Starbuck, and Romo?

What did Tyrol see in the FTL engine room on the wall?

When are the other Cylons going to catch up to the fleet? I miss the coniving Cavil.

The preview for next week looks like a lot of reveals. Damn.7 more days…

Baby Cylon, Not Baby Cylon

Baby Nicky, the not half-cylon baby

Baby Nicky, the not half-cylon baby

There is a scene in the Color Purple, where Celie finds out that the man she thought was her daddy, is not her father after all. Which is especially good news, as the man got her pregnant and had two kids with her. In the movie, she says “Pa not pa”. I thought of this when last night’s episode revealed that Baby Nicky was not a half-cylon after all.”Baby cylon, not baby cylon“.

In my opinion, this was another great episode! For the most part, things were being setup for later in the season. The President stopped taking her meds, Zarak is up to no good as usual, the Good Cylons are making a powerplay, and Adama is trying to keep it all together. And we can’t forget Felix going off the deep end and starting to plan a mutiny (I was just waiting for him to bust out in song!).

I am definitely looking forward to next week. I get the feeling that the writers have really put some thought into how all of this closes out. I am going to miss good TV like this, once the show ends. 😦

I Wish I Could Draw :-(

Sometimes I get full of myself over my technical prowess. Being the GoTo guy in my family (and extended family) for all things computer related, being adept in a number of programming languages, exhibiting my highly advanced skills in Oracle, MS SQL Server and MySQL at work.

But I have no artistic skill. Can’t draw squat. Can’t act my way out of a sleeping bag. Can’t sing worth a lick. Can’t play an instrument (at least not now, but I think I can learn).

So when I come across something so nerdy, yet so artsy at the same time, I get a little jelly.

I saw this over on Boing Boing today. Mr. Fleming, you sir are dope! I may have to order me up something from his Big Cartel shop and give the guy some financial love!

Almost here!

bsg

I’m really looking forward to the next season. Although, it’s going to suck that this is the final set of episodes. I’ve really enjoyed what Ron Moore has done with the show. Very edgy, a great cast, and a great story. I hope that the new Caprica prequel will be just as good.

The SciFi channel has a great (and very funny) three season recap to get you through the essentials, if you’ve never seen the show. But I recommend, you purchase the DVDs and get caught up the old fashioned way.

Official gripe: I love Lt. Dualla and Simon, but can we please get a few more major Black characters. I know in the future, race won’t matter, but damn…

Do you do hardcore sci-fi?

Ben Bova - TitanI’ve been a sci-fi fan since way back. And being a big tech-head, I’ve always been into hardcore sci-fi.  For the uninitiated, hardcore sci-fi are stories rooted in the real world (as in the currently understood physical laws of the known universe). They could possibly happen. For example, Aliens, Predator, and Star Trek (most episodes anyway) are hard-core. Most comics, Star Wars (gasp, the Force!), and anything to do with “portals” are another flavor. But as a kid, I would read and watch anything.

As I age into mid-adulthood, I’m finding myself becoming more antagonistic towards the semi-fantasy-sci-fi genre. There have been books that I just refuse to finish reading. I think part of the reason is that with our technology being so close to “making things happen”, I can envision a day when what I read becomes true in my lifetime. I WANT to see it happen dagnabit! I just don’t have the patience for anything less.

For example, I classify the techno-military genre as sci-fi. One of the leading, techno-military kings is Dale Brown (dude, get a web designer, no offense). The other day I picked up one of his latest, Shadow Command. I’d read Dale before (Flight of The Old Dog, Battleborn) and was pleasantly entertained. But this latest?! Oh sweet baby Jesus!

The novel was chock full of super-high-tech-ultra gadgets, planes, and military equipment. Most of it was plausible, but it was like genies came down to Area 51 and granted three wishes to Dreamland. Now, I could be way off base. Hell, who knows what the US has in its arsenal. But just the sheer pace of stuff Dale rolled out in this book, had my eyes glazing over and forgetting what the book was supposed to be about. I couldn’t even finish the book.

Now for some good hardcore sci-fi, here are some of my recommendations:

  • our solar system – anything by Ben Bova
  • this area of the galactic arm – Alex Benedict series from Jack McDevitt
  • near future – Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (good for older kids and teens too)
  • apocalyptic future – Dies the Fire series by S.M. Stirling (Sunrise Lands gets a little fantasyish)
  • techno military – the early Tom Clancy (especially Red Storm Rising)
  • honorable mention – okay, chances are zombies are not real, but you have to include World War Z by by Max Brooks (check out the kick ass video for the upcoming graphic novel sequel)