Monday, September 28, 2009

Cool vid!!

This one has been making the rounds of the blogosphere and no exception here! Someone did a damn good job. Carl Sagan + vocoder = radness!

I've been listening to this all day now and love it! Sagan's speaking voice always had it's own distinct rhythm that fits in perfectly with the mellow backbeats. A fitting tribute. Even long dead the man still inspires creativity.

Mad props to the author. For that I will give him an absolutely free website plug. Check him out at

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Books on my plate right now

I'm rarely able to read a book all the way through without a beginning another one halfway or so through the first. Sometimes I'll have 4-5 books going at one time, and the first one will be the last one finished. Not the most efficient way I guess but that's how I roll.

Here is what I'm in the middle of reading or is queued up for the near future

Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner
The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle
Downbelow Station - CJ Cherryh
Moon of Skulls - Robert E Howard
The Quincux of Time - James Blish

I told a friend about this blog and he recommended Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Apparently it is quite the epic. Also This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, recommended by my first commenter Craig B. So with that and the above I think I'm good for October. Anyone else have recommendations? I'm all ears...

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Science in Science Fiction

1982 Peter Nicholls

This non-fiction book from Australian writer Peter Nicholls is an intriguing book that examines the elements of popular science fiction through the lens of science. It is very readable and does not go deeply in to technical terms, but treats concepts with sufficient depth for the layman. There is a lot of ground covered here - space travel, terraforming, nuclear fusion, teleportation, time travel, cybernetics, cloning, future ice ages, and much more sci-fi good stuff. In some cases it is shown how some sci-fi concepts, like invisibility, are pretty much outright impossible, but for most it is shown how science can theoretically support them which I found highly interesting. It's the kind of cool science writing that can really spark an interest into further study. After reading this I knew about Dyson spheres, Dirac transmitters, space arks, and that the movie Scanners has an exploding head scene.

Some might find this book a bit dated now as it was first came out in 1982, but much of it is still relevant. It is well-illustrated throughout and has a lot of pictures from movies of that era, which appeals to the inner child of the 80's. I first read it in my high school library in 1993 or so, and decided to hunt down a copy on Amazon earlier this year and it was great fun to re-read it. An excellent addition to any sci-fi fan's library.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I love this site! It is so rad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ronald Reagan sees the upside of an alien invasion

Wonder if the Gipper got a chance to see Independence Day before his dendrites disconnected...

Saturday, September 12, 2009


1999 Robert Sawyer

Sometimes novels more or less languish in obscurity, then all of a sudden they are everywhere at once. Such is the case with Flashforward. I ony recently picked up this book earlier this year from a bargain bin at Half-Price Books, mainly because it was cheap and I really liked the premise (again - start with a great premise, and the book practically writes itself).

In the book, hapless scientists running an experiment with the Large Hadron Collider inadvertently cause a spacetime shift wherein every human being objectively experiences their future self at a point some 20 years ahead of the present for roughtly two minutes. Note this is the same supercollider in the news last year - the one some folks thought might cause some collosal cosmic neutron fart to humanity's detriment and sued to stop it from being activated.

The actual story results from the ramifications that follow from such an experience. All of humanity has experienced a fragment of the future and returned to the present. Some saw nothing - because their future selves have already died before that point. Some see murders, stock market quotes etc, whatever their future selves where doing at that time. The themes that arise are primarily of free will and determinism - many don't particularly care for their future selves' condition and vow to change it. Some realize they've been killed and vow to survive. Sawyer is not a particularly strong character writer though, so none of these are especially compelling, but he sticks with the core premise enough to carry it through to the end.

As I started reading it an interesting coincidence was that the novel, written ten years ago, is set in almost the very same week I was reading it, in April 2009. No cosmic meaning here, I just thought it was a cool coincidence. I guess he was also somewhat optmistic as to how fast work on the LHC would progress... it was only turned on for an initial test last year.

And now it is the basis of a new ABC tv series. What is it about TV execs that takes them 10 fucking years to get with it? (Same thing with Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule, which I would plug if I didn't think it sucked). Of course they are taking all kinds of liberties with the characters and plot and it is only loosely based on the novel, but who knows it might still be watchable. I won't know though as I don't have cable. If it turns out to be worth a damn let me know.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


a piece by John Berkey - one of the giants of sci-fi art. Click for high-res sweetness!

Intrusion-An Unpleasant Visitor 1990