Tag Archive | "sci-fi"

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Short Story Collection 2

Posted on 28 August 2013 by VinnieAve

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Podcast: Genericon XXVI Roundtable

Posted on 12 March 2013 by VinnieAve

Roundtable Includes:
Genericon XXVI’s Con-Chair Ani-Gamers’ & OtakuUSA’s Evan Minto
Convention VIP Vertical Inc.’s Ed Chavez
Ani-Gamers’ & OtakuUSA’s Ink
Ani-Gamers’ Dave Estrella
Convention Featured Panelist Walt Amos
Convention Featured Panelist Reverse Thieves’ Alain Mendez
Convention Guest Sci-fi Author Tim Maughan

Please note that I, Vincenzo Averello, was given a press pass by the convention free of charge. However, in no way does the convention effect the content of the podcast.

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Tim Maughan Interview from Genericon XXVI

Posted on 06 March 2013 by VinnieAve

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Being a Better Geek: Helm

Posted on 26 November 2012 by VinnieAve


I cannot tell you when I read Helm for the first time.  I can tell you that I have read it once a year since then and it has been quite a few years.  That in itself makes it so that it deserves a slot on Be a Better Geek.  It is by no means a classic. It is a novel of clashing themes.  A science fiction novel that does not really contain very much science fiction.  A romance that hold little romance, or at least little perfect romance.  I could go on but I am sure Vincenzo will tell you what the book is about.  Whatever else you can say about helm, I can tell you that it contains the perfect mix of elements to keep me coming back year after year. Everyone else is on their own.


Vincenzo’s Take

The basic premise behind this book is that the earth has been essentially destroyed due to a nuclear war that was started because of mind-control or something and now a small group of scientists are sending off some colonists with instructions imprinted in their mind (or at least some colonists get imprinted) for how to run a society, essential be literate, clean, and eat well are the plan. This seems like it could be a neat book, and that is just the prologue.

Then we jump forward a few hundred years to one of these colonies. Leland de Laal (terrible name, anime level bad) gets imprinted when he climbs a mountain where the device is kept (the titular helm) and gets all sorts of crazy knowledge about lost languages like German and martial arts skills as well as other stuff that the novel hasn’t covered too much.

Because Leland puts on the helm his father punishes him because this is forbidden and is sent off and learns aikido (which has survived for some reason). This is where my first issue arises in full force. There had been a large us of Japanese words earlier in the book with the translation next to them, I had assumed that when this was with the scientists that it was to give diversity to the group. However, this is a constant problem in the book, sensei and kohai (among other words) can be easily translated and it comes off as this author showing off his knowledge of aikido which just annoys me hear like it does when I see it in translations of anime and manga.

Leland returns and is sent off again to fight in the annual war with the neighboring nation (this seems like a bit of a contrivance). He had already fallen in love with some noble daughter passing through and he stays in the capital while they prepare for war. Here, like in good old Game of Thrones we have to deal with nebbish young boy having sexual feelings, everyone knows this is my favorite thing to read, good god!

There are plenty of elements that I like in this, like stories about nobility and generals and court intrigue, information about troop size and training regiment, a post-apocalyptic setting and plan to save civilization, I love all of these thing then why is it that I this novel isn’t doing anything for me other than causing me brief bits of intense anger. I have to think that it is because our main character is pretty dull. It doesn’t seem to have any flaws and always does the right thing. There haven’t been any big challenges thrown at him thus far. Also while there are elements that I like they aren’t done particularly well, his main rival and the villain of the whole book just seems mustache twirling. This also applies to his father who is more evil and more mustache twirling.

The second half does follow-up and build on what happened in this story. Sadly it did little to change my perception of the book. I wish recommend this book but with a near total lack of character. I never felt that the character could fail at his task which is an important element for me. The sad part is that Leland really has no major flaws that impede his success.

I find that difficult especially where there is a great world for those characters to exist. I would actually like to see more of this world but probably more as a role-playing game source book than another novel.

The next Being a Better Geek is a bit of stretch since I’m going with 3 movies connected by a theme. The theme is World’s Best. For this we will be looking at Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Golgo 13: The Professional, and Black Jack the Movie.

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NASA: Sci-fi Publisher

Posted on 06 September 2011 by VinnieAve

In what might be the longest post based on a few words, I will be talking about NASA’s new initiative. They have teamed up with a publisher to start publishing hard sci-fi works. The reason for this is quite possibly the best reason I’ve heard for starting this initiative, to get students and other younger kids interested in science and technology. In this short podcast, two names are invoked, that of Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. These are both authors that I have enjoyed greatly and I personally consider a major influencing force in works that I enjoy.

With many things I write about, I have some reservations. I do not particularly keep up with too many sci-fi writers that are active today. Also, in much of the hard sci-fi I’ve read it can be really boring. Too often it gets bogged down in the tech and doesn’t really tell a story. It just tells you about the world and how a few things work. I know there are people who really love this stuff but I do not really enjoy them. Asimov and Bradbury wrote works that were grounded in reality but there were things that went more or less unexplained. In the early robot books how the positronic brain worked never was really discussed, it was just the technobabble that kept things moving. As similar thing that can applied to Bradbury.

What makes the greatest of sci-fi works great is not that there is technology but its the people that makes things great. Having a lush and full setting and improve a story but first and foremost there needs to be a story. Sci-fi has influenced the real world in so many ways, every few months on History or Discovery there is a special about this, they can be fun but these things that have shifted into our world were not plot points. You don’t want Star Trek to hear Scotty talky about dilithium crystals but to see Kirk be a badass. I fear that the way this is talked about it could end poorly for the line. I hope for the best with this line and I may pick up the first of these books to see if this is going to be a successful project. If this fails though Seth McFarlane and Neil Degrasse Tyson are remaking Cosmos for Fox (NYT citation).

Scientific American 60-Second Podcast

For additional reading about how science influences Sci-fi check out this New Scientist article about Bradbury and how his works were influenced by the goings on in his day.

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