Not hardcore enough to be ultra nerdy, but it's not that shallow, either.
I'm not super dedicated to science fiction. In fact, it's my escape from reality. However, even when escaping I have plenty to say on the subject. I'm not as devoted to it as some people I know. That said, it's not a shallow thing for me. I can overthink it like I overthink everything else under the sun (and moon and other planets). My ramblings will range from cerebral to silly and borrow random elements from seemingly nonsensical areas. Many have (and will) appear in my journals first. When they arrive here, there will be edits for language, typos and similar details. However, the 18+ rating will stay since sex, violence and similar topics will be addressed in this blog. After all, sci-fi includes these elements in various ways from time to time.
To get an idea of my science fiction background, I recommend this primer "Preferences in a nutshell" . Links are always relevant to my interests, and my favorites can be found in the lefthand column next to this blog. You'll also see links to my other journals if you want to browse the unedited versions of my rants and/or see who I am outside the science fiction realm. Comment as much or as little as you like. Just remember that I'm not here to take things too seriously, as that's just not how I roll in sci-fi discussions.
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|So you've heard about Heroes being resurrected, right? Here are a few details regarding that.
HRG is coming back according to initial reports.
I wasn't big on HRG, but I acknowledge that his role became more important with each season. As more characters gained powers, HRG became the eyes and ears of the audience. The thing is, the audience needs characters without abilities to be able to more closely identify with someone in the story. It aids with engagement. I may write about some very obtuse/cerebral topics, but I can recognize a need to bond with a character. This is actually something I discussed in a forum a month or so ago. I can't remember exactly how Heroes came up in the conversation, but I do remember stating that the minor characters were crucial. In that vein (and in light of this piece), I'm going to share some wishes I have for the reboot.
If a character is introduced and does not have powers, do not under any circumstances give that person powers later on. Keep them human in the way the audience understands the notion of being human.
Do not throw in minority characters for the sake of having minorities. Give them some metaphorical teeth (or at least a damn good reason for falling into the tropes).
The 13 episode order is a good thing. If this reboot ends up being successful, it would be wise to consider sticking with this format to control the writing.
Fan feedback is easier than ever to get thanks to Twitter. That said, the creative staff needs to grow a pair and not cater to the whims of the fans. It's what happened the last time, and things spiraled out of control.
Give us a little something (genetics, physiology, psychology, etc.) that at least hints how powers are acquired/manifest. Don't be afraid to do a little medical research. Hell, even I speculated (in a free write) that the abilities have root in the corpus callosum. Audiences have skewed geeky and will provide their own theories (some of which may actually have some truth). Providing them a little bait will help you stay ahead of the game. If you guide their research, you can get them to chase false leads at best or get super obsessed with research (thus ignoring spoilers) at worst.
Don't bring Sylar back. His characterization probably suffered the most out of anyone in the original series. The writers bit off more than they could chew with him. If you want a really good antagonist, stick with society as a whole. The amount of conflict there will keep everyone busy in terms of plot and character development for eons.
So...anyone else want to jump in on this and make some suggestions?
|One of the reasons that I teeter on being an Anglophile is because, frankly, British entertainment news is less likely to make me want to commit seppuku. Yeah, it has its share of trash, but somehow their entertainment refuse is easier to ignore. Likewise, when it gets irreverent, it feels less forced than its American equivalent. This is a great example.
10 Steps for Surviving Alien Contact
The list cites examples from a comprehensive list of films spanning a variety of genres that accompany the sci-fi elements. Curiously, I found this a few days ago but after April 5 (the day when Vulcans make first contact on Earth in 2063). While I don't believe in aliens to the extent of covering my entire condo in foil, I do like to think that there is intelligent life on other planets. Otherwise, it would be an awful waste of space. Yes, I quoted from Contact. Deal with it. But yeah, I think the attitude taken in the article is a good one. Be cautious but not reactionary. All the same, be ready to think on your feet.
|For those of you who haven't figured it out, I'm on a quest to cut movies completely out of my life. So while there will still be movie reviews in here, they will start to slide off as 2012 rolls on. So what will take its place? I've decided to go with science topics that would make for interesting stories but could also pose many logistical challenges. The first topic up for discussion? Coronal mass ejections.
Coronal mass ejections (CME) are part of a star's life, and they appear to come in fairly regular cycles. That's good news for us when you consider what magnetized plasma can do to a planet. Now on uninhabited planet a CME will disrupt surface magnetic activity, but the planet itself will stay in tact. Earth, though, is a completely different story, as seen in this fantastic Popular Mechanics article . If an area loses complete control of its power grid, it's pretty much game over from there. And think of all the people who depend on GPS units to get around. Boy, would they be screwed. That's actually kind of funny.
All kidding, though, CME's are serious business. They're also serious candidates for becoming fodder for sci-fi stories. In fact, there are a fair number out there, although very few are even remotely popular. I actually received my first exposure to them through Daria fanfiction. The Daylight series depicts the (mis)adventures of the characters of this MTV classic as they weather the aftermath of a CME that came without any warning. The various stories depict how people get around; what they do for food; and how they protect themselves from other humans (who are the still the top predator in light of this madness). The breakdown of civilization is intriguing to develop from a writing perspective, as it takes creativity and unorthodox thinking to figure out how to survive without electricity. This is especially true in today's society. As the Popular Mechanics article shows, CME's that blasted Earth with great intensity in the past did not have as significant an impact on civilization due to the reduced amount of electricity use. Present day Earth would collapse in many parts of the world. Only the most remote areas would escape the most immediate effects. They could still experience the effects of air quality degradation brought about by fires that can't be extinguished due to water pumps that are non-functional without electricity. With both immediate and long term effects that are so devastating, though, it is questionable of anyone surviving for an extended period of time.
The other challenge with writing about CME is how you want to tackle it. There are a number of angles that could be taken with it, all of them ripe for investigation. Unlike the 20th Century's nuclear annihilation trend in sci-fi, CME's are a little easier to explore from a political standpoint (namely contemplating how to get different governments to prepare for them). This would involve a ton of research in various fields from electrical engineering to comparative politics. If you go with the social meltdown angle, you have to look into how quickly things would break down, covering a wide range of topics from telecommunications to emergency services and basic plumbing. The Daylight series suggests that a lack of electricity would lead to a huge spread of disease if everything went to crap. If that ends up being an element in a CME story, it could possibly take over and make the story more about the outbreak than the CME. And if you're really up for a challenge, you could always try your hand at writing about the effects of a CME in Somalia. THAT would be both interesting and very research intensive. On top of that, developing characters to be able to really depict the changes in Somalia would be a tall order. Since so little is known about Somalis, character development could go very wrong very quickly.
Until I get the guts to try my hand at a CME story, though, I might check out Ron Foster's Preppers books . They strike me as rather fascinating and have gotten decent reviews.
|Yeah, I know I've been terrible about posting in this blog this year. I admit I've been channeling more energy into my photo blog and trying to make my entries here a little more substantial. After all, I am a quality over quantity kind of girl. That said, I must write this entry to celebrate the fact that the new Star Trek movie is set to start filming on January 15, 2012. What is this entry? A veritable Star Trek link dump! Damn right. I am going to give you lots of Trek-related links to browse because they just seem to be everywhere these days (maybe as a far from subtle hint to J.J. and company that the fanboys/girls are getting restless). Actually, that parenthetical statement is a good place to kick off this hyperlink festival.
A general musing on turnaround time for sequels of genre movies
Stepping stones to building a true classic
The opening act for the day S.P.O.C.K. starts touring again?
I think the rest of this is worth seeing, if only the clip wasn't so short
Looks a hell of a lot better than most music today
Benicio Del Toro? Really? I have my doubts.
And now we're apparently waiting for the movie until 2013. Some people claim that a lot of fans have moved onto other things. I think the ones with short attention spans probably have, but I suspect there are more fans that initially watched 11 and decided to fully board the Star Trek train, embracing all of its incarnations in some way. Star Trek endures, and I for one am willing to wait for the next movie. After all, I'd rather they take their time to make a good movie. They better bring their A game, though, if they really want to impress this quality-over-quantity girl.
|Another movie review?
One of my co-workers recommended this movie to me because she knows I like sci-fi. This is a kid's movie, and the sci-fi elements are a bit cliche in nature. On the other hand, it is rather funny. It lampoons the UFO-believing crowd with some of the most humorous lines in the film, and Doctor Harlan's shenanigans make me wish he got more screen time. The plot, admittedly, is rather thin to make room for all the chase scenes, but the characters are endearing. The subplot involving the guys going after Jack Bruno could have been scrapped without his characterization suffering, but the teen extraterrestrials were solid all around. Those kids were kind of cool. It's hardly cerebral; it isn't meant to be. However, if you're looking for a little sci-fi fun, this is actually a pretty good choice.
|If anyone's looking for me on Saturday, well, I'm going to be in the theater watching Star Trek on an IMAX screen. It's too bad it's not an Omnimax showing. THAT would blow my mind. So, um, yeah. Star Trek. IMAX. My Saturday afternoon just got booked. I can't decide if I should be ashamed or not. Whatever. Regardless of what the fangirls are following these days, I'm going to be a Trek fan to the very end. The haters know for sure where to go.
|WARNING: This entry is somewhat spoilery. If you have seen Season Three of nuWho or do not plan on watching it, you should be good to go here.
As work continues to drain me of my sanity, I keep thinking about fanfic, namely reading it. Aside from a roughly 1500 original () story, I haven't really had time to write. However, I have been considering what project to tackle when I do get some time. There are original projects, to be sure, but I have been revisiting fanfic WIPs. Now I have written fanfic since I wrote "I don't own them. I'm just borrowing them." , but it hasn't been much. I did write a Doctor Who fic prior to my wedding, and I did develop the skeleton outline for a series branching from that piece.What is that story? Sleep to Dream . Despite not many people liking the episodes that inspired this story, I felt the two parter had a lot of diamonds in the rough. In particular, there was a characterization aspect that I felt was lost on a lot of people. See, when watching these episodes, I thought Martha was a lot more competent and less focused on the Doctor Who...because of Frank's presence.
Some people may bitch about Frank's accent not being accurately Southern, but I have no quibble with it. I think the decision to cast an Anglo-American actor was smart, and Andrew brought a refreshing intelligence to the role, making Frank a force to be reckoned with over the course of the story. With that, Frank also struck me as somewhat ahead of his time. True, there is the fact that the leader of his particular Hooverville camp was black. However, Frank took to Martha and could keep up with her mentally right off the bat. I thought Frank was a very fascinating character that deserved a lot more exploration than he was granted, which is one reason I wrote "Sleep to Dream". The thing that really grabbed my attention when rewatching this episode, though, was that whenever Martha was with him, she seemed more confident and focused. Her unrequited affection for the Doctor was a constant undercurrent throughout Season 3, and it really muddled her characterization. Most of the time, she seemed to either be mooning over the Doctor in a melodramatic fashion or being frazzled when he wasn't there to tell her what to do. These two episodes were an exception. When she was in Frank's presence, she could think on her feet and perform under pressure. I think Frank's genuine respect for her catalyzed a boost of confidence that faded as soon as he was out of the picture. Even in a platonic sense, Frank was a surprisingly good match for Martha. "Sleep to Dream" leaves the door open for interpretation for the dynamic between these two, although the plan for the series is to have them grow closer.
This is the thing that irritates me about characterization in Doctor Who. Fans and showrunners alike overlook characterization tactics that can really develop female characters. I'm annoyed that Martha got shafted as she did because she could have been a great character. As it is, I prefer her because she's a more intellectually ambitious sort (moreso than Rose, who I can deal with but don't necessarily like). From an emotional development standpoint, the creative staff chose to have her focus on the Doctor too much, who I was okay with at first but find kind of nauseates me now. On the other hand, the only way they could have gotten more out of Frank is if he somehow got on board the TARDIS. Hey, I wouldn't mind, but it certainly would have altered some career trajectories. Actually, that's not so bad sounding. It would have kept Andrew out of that multimillion dollar hot mess known as the upcoming Spiderman movie, and he'd get more roles like Boy A (not at all sci-fi but definitely worth watching). Um, anyway. The point is, Martha could have gotten over her puppy crush on the Doctor more quickly with Frank's help, and from what I've heard about Season 4, she would have been less delusional/neurotic. I also think Frank would have been able to adjust to the 21st Century. It might have taken a bit, but I think he could have managed.
So of all the fanfic ideas I'm tossing around in my head, the next story in this Martha/Frank series is most likely to come next. I don't know how long it will take, though. I'm taking about half of Season 3 and rewriting the adventures to include Frank in some capacity. This involves numerous rewatchings and trying to figure out how I can make this work with the Doctor having two companions. And there is that little issue of the Doctor. Characterizing Ten is difficult, and I'm not sure why. I do think him witnessing the developments between Martha and Frank would throw him off his game and force him to face some of his other problems. Did I also mention there's another non-Timelord who can see across time? She will be introduced in this next story, once I figure out how to approach 42. Martha's characterization in that episode was as flimsy as tissue paper, and I'm not standing for that shit.
|Science appears to support spoilers .
I'm thinking I should add io9 to my links list, because I keep stumbling upon great stuff from that site. Anyway, while the study itself doesn't directly use sci-fi stories, sci-fi has been one of the most notorious genres for spoilers running amok like corporate donations to political campaigns post-Citizens United. As I've said before, I can go either way with spoilers. The more I think about it, though, I'm like many of the people who participated in this study. I was very much spoiled for The Sixth Sense but still enjoyed it. I think for me, the spoilers put me in a frame of mind where I ask myself when this spoiler is going to happen or perhaps look on with a sense of dread/excitement/what have you as the story works toward a conclusion that might have been "spoiled" for me. The article also omits another possibility: that spoilers pull the focus away from the plot and onto character development, which many are taught as the heart of the story, anyway. So perhaps spoilers are a good thing.
On a lighter note, the comments (so far) are fairly silly, lighthearted and almost fail at trolling because they're so irreverent. They're worth a quick glance in this case. Unless you don't like spoilers, of course.
|Hey, look! It's a movie review!
I actually watched this movie way back in January. In this case, though, I feel my procrastination made a difference. Why? It has to do with the film's pacing. When I first watched it, I thought the pacing of . To some extent, I still feel that way. The time spent on Charlie didn't do a whole lot in establishing his importance. It mostly painted a picture of an addict that was beyond help and didn't do much else. I personally felt Robert Downey, Jr.'s character more effectively drove this point home while also shedding light on Substance D. On the other hand, I felt the role of Bob Arctor really played to Keanu Reeves' strong, quasi-silent type strengths. It really suited him. I also enjoyed the big reveal. It took me by surprise and sped up the pace. I just wish it'd happened sooner so we could see this reveal play out a little bit more. Because the ending was so intriguing, my thoughts sometimes focus more on that than the pacing issues. I may have to rewatch it to see if time really has tempered my views on the pacing. And even though, reviews I've seen of this movie state it's a faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's work, I'm thinking that reading the source material is the best way to go. But still, the movie is worth a look. Even if you can get past the pacing issues, you have to admit the rotoscope animation is fun to watch.
(Oh, and this thread needs love. "Open season on Spider Man!" Just sayin'.)
|I found this on the AV Club site not too long ago. Prepare to squee in three, two, one....
I want one. Oh, and for those of you that are into robotics, you can learn about the EZ Builder robot controller and other building information. Still, the point of this video and its sequel can be boiled down to one word: adorable.