Oct 062014

I’m going to try something new and post a deal on a book that I plan on reading. There’s a Kindle edition sale on The Robot Chronicles for just 99 cents! This is a compilation of recent stories from a wide range of authors. I’m a huge fan of robot stories so this is sure to be a dollar well spent. Reviewing Asimov’s complete Robot & Foundation Universe was one of the main reasons I created this site.  One of the newer authors I’ve been reading is Hugh Howey, featured in this compilation. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his Wool/Shift/Dust series (sadly not reviewed yet) and look forward to his approach on this subject. This will also be a good opportunity to explore some other authors.

The print price is $15.99, with the Kindle edition going to $5.99 just over 5 days from the time of this posting. Buy now, for less than the cost of a soda!

Posted by Stettin
Jun 082014

For anyone interested in an “open Internet” (not as the big cable companies and wireless carriers define it), take a look at this entertaining coverage of the new Net Neutrality proposal by the FCC. Please comment on the new proposal at the FCC website.

You can also learn more at the Entertainment Consumers Association website here. Through the ECA website, you can provide your information and it will generate form letters for your local representatives in Congress, the President of the United States, and the FCC.

Posted by Stettin
Jan 022014

I just ran across an article on Isaac Asimov’s predictions for 2014 from 50 years ago. I was thinking of a blog post to start out the year, and this popped out as a good opportunity. As anyone that reads this blog should know, Isaac Asimov is my favorite writer. His birthday is unknown for certain, but he chose to celebrate it on January 2nd. More information here. Anyway, back in 1964 at The World’s Fair, he made a few predictions. Some of the more accurate ones are below describing video phones, Robots, vehicular robots (Google car?), “Wall Screens” (not quite yet but very close), and a eerily accurate population estimate.

“Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.”

“Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”

“Vehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver.”

“Wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.”

“The world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000.”

Some of the more comical misses are below:

“Mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014.”

“The most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!”

I also have a prediction for today, the birth of a friend’s baby that is now one week overdue. It would be awesome to share a birthday with Isaac Asimov, right?

For the complete list and link to the original article, click the links below.

Via Open Culture

New York Times

Posted by Stettin
Sep 012013

Star Trek Into Darkness

Ok, so it’s been a couple months since I went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness, but I figure I should at least give it a brief review. I managed to go see it almost at the last showing before it got pulled from the theaters. If I had to compare it to the original reboot [Star Trek (2009], which it appears I never reviewed, I would say it was almost as good. There’s quite a bit of action, a little comedy, and just a sprinkling of romance. I did not really read anything about the movie ahead of time, so was a bit surprised when the identity of the terrorist was revealed. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Mar 092013

Book Cover

Welcome to my extremely belated review of Borderlands 2. My quick review for those that liked the original Borderlands: BUY IT! It is bigger, badder, and funnier. That said, this game is rated M for a reason. There’s a lot of gore, crude humor, language, and suggestive themes. This is definitely not a game for the young ones.

Unfortunate for me, Borderlands 2 came out just a month after my daughter was born. Overall, right now I am playing just Borderlands 2 and Battlefield 3 in my spare time. One thing I learned by accident was that a Borderlands 2 session can survive through a standby/hibernation. That has come in handy many times when having to rush to sooth a crying baby.

This game is much more fun playing with friends, however I have had to play most of it solo. So far I’ve really only played the Assassin role, focusing on sniping. Now that I have just made level 42, I am strongly considering starting a different character before I hit 50. I really wanted to avoid “power leveling” my first character. I’ve been told that Soldier is one of the better classes for playing solo. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jan 012013

Well, we made it to 2013, narrowly avoiding the much anticipated Mayan Apocalypse. I’m not usually one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I am going to do my best to make at least two posts per month from now on. I’m still getting used to having much less free time since the birth of my daughter. Hopefully as she gets a bit older, I can incorporate some Science Fiction in her learning process. I’m already looking forward to Halloween. I’m not sure yet what to dress her up as. Any suggestions?

Anyway, I hope you all have a great 2013, and wish you will come back to see some more frequent reviews.

Posted by Stettin
Dec 022012

Sorry everyone for being MIA for the past few months. I have been having a very hard time dedicating time to this site since the birth of my new baby girl! Anyway, last week my wife and I found some time to watch the new Blood and Chrome web series on YouTube. Overall I think the acting, special effects, and plot are pretty good. I am glad to see that they didn’t try to make everything seem old. One thing that I found very annoying was the overuse of lens flare. I am pretty sure it was to hide the fact that there really weren’t any big sets to film on. Blood and Chrome is being released free on Youtube, then will air on SyFy then on Bluray, DVD, and digital download early next year.

I personally would have rather waited until all the episodes (~12 minutes each) were out, however my wife refused. I think it might be possible she’s a bigger BSG fan than I am. That’s saying a lot! If you are a big BSG fan like myself, you need to check it out.

Posted by Stettin
Jul 012012

DVD Cover
I saw a preview for Real Steel a while back and completely forgot about it until I noticed it at my local Redbox. I didn’t really have high expectations of the movie, but I love robots, so checked it out. Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) plays Charlie Kenton, a washed up boxer that now competes in humanoid robot battles. After the embarrassing destruction of yet another robot, some guys track him down and tell him his ex wife died and now custody of his 11 year old son Max falls to him. His sister-in-law that wants custody, and Charlie wants nothing to do with the kid. Just as he is about to sign over custody, he notices she is married to some rich old guy. Seeing an opportunity to buy another robot, Charlie makes a secret deal for 100K to sign over custody. Conveniently, the rich husband is planning a trip to Europe, so doesn’t want the kid quite yet. The deal is 50K now, 50K at the end of the summer. Charlie reluctantly takes Max on the road to explore the underworld of robot boxing.
Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jun 292012

I just ran across this excellent video on YouTube. I suggest watching in 720P if your connection can handle it. This music video parody of “Somebody That I Used To Know” sums up the feelings of a good percentage of fans that grew up with Star Wars, including myself. Check it out! Direct link or embedded below

Posted by Stettin
May 132012

A few years ago, the Science Channel aired an episode of SciFi Science, “How to Build a Lightsaber” hosted by theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. He explained some theories that might be used and developed a rough design that should be “workable in our lifetimes.” Of course almost all of his episodes end up with that qualification. Last month it looks like there was a breakthrough in the hardest part of making a lightsaber work, getting the blade to stop at a certain point.

Although the most prominent uses for controlling the depth of laser cutting are surgical and clinical, Fraser said the team is “very excited about the potential industrial applications,” especially since compared to clinics it’s easier to get new technology into industries.

Unfortunately, the goal is to make the lasers useful surgery, not chopping off alien arms at cantinas.

Via  National Post

If you’d like to watch the episode I’m referring to, use this Google Search: How to build a light saber on Youtbue

Posted by Stettin

All original content © 2006-2014 The Science Fiction Review