Movie Review: Gravity

Gravity, Director Alfonso Cuaron’s follow-up to his 2006 sci-fi masterpiece Children of Men, at times feels more like an amusement park ride than movie; often sending audiences careening and tumbling through deep space, the film allows only small moments of rest before starting all over again. Those expecting a more thorough exploration of space travel … Continue reading Movie Review: Gravity

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Adventure! Excitement! Angst!

"...later on I hit a dirt road and I tried it, and pretty soon I came to a place that wasn't on the map. It was just a little settlement. There were log cabins there, and horses pulling carts, and it looked physically as if I'd driven back into the 19th century."Roger Zelazny, from the … Continue reading Adventure! Excitement! Angst!

Upward, not Northward

The Annotated Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott, notes by Ian Stewart "I find science more subtle, more intricate and more awesome than much of science fiction." --Carl Sagan, "Science Fiction--A Personal View" (1979). Published in "Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science" (1993) "...the whole tale is much too imaginative to have been invented--certainly … Continue reading Upward, not Northward

Asimov’s Robots and Empire (and how to read it)

Inspired by historian Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy tells the story of a future humanity, and a small group of scientists struggling to maintain their galactic civilization over hundreds of years. Even though Asimov never quite completed the series, the story--set millennia in … Continue reading Asimov’s Robots and Empire (and how to read it)

You should read this: Rule 34

As you're reading the review, it's quickly apparent to you that the book in question is a bit of an experiment. Not only are there multiple viewpoint characters, but the text is written in the second person. I found it somewhat jarring at first, you read, but after a few chapters it seemed normal, almost … Continue reading You should read this: Rule 34

Book Review: Dying Inside

I recently left a note in a writer's manuscript, letting her know that she was mixing tenses and persons. Most of the chapter was in past-tense third-person: "he", from the view of an outside narrator following along not quite inside the character's head. However, there was one long paragraph where the future came into focus … Continue reading Book Review: Dying Inside

Neutron Star

Neutron Star, by Larry Niven The first thing I read by Larry Niven was a short story in the anthology Where Do We Go From Here. Soon after, I picked up the 1968 collection Neutron Star. It was to be the start of a lifelong addiction to Mr. Niven's writings. This isn't a review so … Continue reading Neutron Star

Guest actors on Star Trek who saved the day

Many lists of favorite Star Trek episodes feature stories such as The Enemy Within, The City on the Edge of Forever, and Mirror, Mirror. These are all excellent stories, but this 1960's in-full-color show told many other excellent tales that don't get the same attention these do. Star Trek is filled with silly moments that … Continue reading Guest actors on Star Trek who saved the day

Heinlein’s World as Myth (and how to read it)

The Number of the Beast is a novel with a reputation for being brilliant, impossible to read, and even a work of supreme authorial conceit. I concede that the latter is possible, and the book has problems, surely; but it's a fun and easy-to-read (if long) book that I reread often. There's a theory that … Continue reading Heinlein’s World as Myth (and how to read it)

Cowardice and Espionage

Betrayer of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner It's worth noting that there are now as many books in this prequel series as there are in the "Ringworld" series itself: This is fourth novel in the "... of worlds" prequel series, and it brings Louis Wu, the future protagonist of Ringworld, into the … Continue reading Cowardice and Espionage