Archive for category science fiction

Star Wars

Here’s how the Star Wars franchise has hit me over the years; I saw each movie when it came out. I consider myself a fan. I almost never see a film in the theater; but I saw every Star Wars film the first day I could get to the show.

☆☆☆☆☆ 1977 Star Wars ep. IV “A New Hope” Wow!
☆☆☆☆☆ 1980 Star Wars ep. V “The Empire Strikes Back” WOW! Again… WOW!
☆☆☆ 1983 Star Wars ep. VI “Return of the jedi” Wait, what? Ewoks? Who stimulated that think? When did the target audience become drooling three-year-olds?
☆☆ 1999 Star Wars ep. I “The Phantom Menace” Jar-Jar, “Gungans” featured, the spirituality-diluting idea of the “midi-chlorians”, Darth Maul, a great character, barely a cameo… this is not good…
☆☆☆☆ 2002 Star Wars ep. II “Attack of the Clones” Overall better, Jar-Jar nearly vanished, thank the force. Meesa thinks someone needs to kill him. Horribly.
☆☆☆☆☆ 2005 Star Wars ep. III “Revenge of the Sith” Okay, we’re back to Wow!
2015 Star Wars ep. VII “The Force Awakens” Disney grotesquely fumbles the ball. BB8: Sigh… 3y/o-level (attempt at) cute (but only achieving ridiculous.) Again. Ex-stormtrooper Finn is a monumentally weak character, and the poor acting of that character helps the film out not at all. Then there’s the very lame “monster on a freighter” scene with Solo and Chewbacca. Darth Angst… is angsty. Then Solo dies, poorly, at the hands of Darth Angst. Can you say “sucks”? The only redeeming major character in the entire show is Rey.
☆☆☆☆☆ 2017 Star Wars ep. VIII “Rogue One” Ooo, much, much better. Damn, these movies are so variable. It keeps me going back, though, so there’s that.

R.I.P. Peter Cushing
R.I.P. Carrie Fisher
R.I.P. Alec Guinness

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,

Review: Galactic Odyssey – by Keith Laumer

g_o

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,