Archive for category science fiction

Avatar arrives

AvatarMoviePosterSo Deb and I don’t go to theaters any more, we wait for the Bluray. Today was the big day that Avatar arrived, and instead of chess night, we had a movie night (usual suspects.) Brian, Evan, Deb and myself settled in after a nice dinner to see what all the fuss was about.

If anything, I think the movie was under-rated. What a feast for the eyes, and what fun, too. I was able to ignore the silly native-American and global-warming themes and just dig on the whole sci-fi-ness of it; the only thing that sorta bugged me was the musical portion of the sound track, which I can only describe as the Lion King on crack. But the rest was so good that mostly, I just ignored the silly drumming and the crazed new-age sing-a-longs. Which, thankfully, didn’t make up a large part of the movie.

There was quite a bit of other eye candy of numerous kinds — the biota of the world, the corporate headquarters virtual mapping system, the blue folk themselves… really a tour de force. I am so glad we bought the hi-def Blueray; it looks bleeding awesome on our 1080p home theater.

I really loved the ‘Mechs, larger-than-human armed and armored exoskeletons that remind me of baby MechWarrior or MechAssault ‘Mechs from the video and table games. I have a pretty good collection of Mechs (about 2…3 inches high, from the table game) and it tickled me to see things like them handled so well in a movie — definitely for the first time.

There have been some rumblings about DRM incompatibility with el-cheapo and/or poorly supported Bluray players out there; I’ll repeat the advice I give everyone about Bluray players: You want a Sony PS3. You don’t want anything else. Period. There is no doubt, no decent competition, no comparable bang-for-the-buck. The PS3 is it. And the PS3 will play the Avatar Blueray without any problems whatsoever.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw this out there. Great movie. On the (very) off chance you haven’t seen it, you should. This one goes to eleven.

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Review: Galactic Odyssey – by Keith Laumer


Keith Laumer’s long and varied career as a science fiction writer has seen all manner of interesting stories come and go. No matter what you think of his writing style, his ideas are as varied as one could possibly wish for.

Some of his books are better than others, like any writer, and I want to say that if you have enjoyed anything he has written, you owe it to yourself to find a copy of this book.

Now, I don’t want to spoil the story – I don’t consider it the job of a book reviewer to tell you the plot, or even tease you with a little bit of the plot – so you will find no spoilers here. Instead, let me tell you that the book will leave you thrilled and awed, not to mention envious.
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Science fiction, Fantasy, Spec Fic…

I propose the following distinctions:

Science Fiction: Fiction with science and/or technology elements that, at the time of their writing, either match what we know about science, or aren’t ruled out by what we know about science. Ex: “Lucifer’s Hammer”; “The Two Faces Of Tomorrow”; “Neuromancer.”

Speculative Fiction: Fiction with science and/or technology elements that don’t match what we know about science, or are ruled out by what we know about science. Ex: “Star Trek”; “Firefly/Serenity”; “Star Wars.”

Fantasy: Fiction entirely unrelated to our reality, no matter how far you’re willing to stretch science. Ex: “Lord of the Rings”; “A Voyage to Arcturus;” “A Wizard of Earthsea.”

SyFy: Pitifully incompetent examples of any of the above three. Example: What Hollywood turned Harry Harrison’s excellent SF novel, “Make Room, Make Room”, into: “Soylent Green”; “Dr Who” in any of its manifestations; “Lost in Space.” When you say SyFy, you’re required to sneer.

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