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
Feb 282012

After looking through my media center PC, The Adjustment Bureau happened to be the highest rated movie that I hadn’t seen in the science fiction category. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, other than a 7.1 metascore from IMDb. About 20 minutes into the film, I realized that this was probably one that my wife would enjoy. The best I could categorize this movie would be romantic science fiction.

The Adjustment Bureau starts out by following the end of a political campaign for Senate. David Norris (Matt Damon) ends up losing the election because of a leaked photo of him mooning someone at his college reunion. Seeking some privacy, he goes to the men’s restroom to prepare his speech. After a while, a woman pops out of a stall, apologizing for the intrusion. She was hiding out in the men’s room to avoid security for being a wedding crasher. They begin to exchange witty banter about her situation and his unfortunate downfall. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Feb 272012

Where have I been lately? A number of factors have resulted in me not posting since December. One of which was that over the past few months I’ve been chipping away at The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke. At just shy of 1,000 pages, it has been my lunch time reading for a while now. There are a couple short stories that I plan on reviewing, as soon as I can remember to bring the book home from work. I’ve also been filling most of my free time, 177 hours now, with playing Battlefield 3 (my stats).

I’ve watched a few movies, but I didn’t get around to reviewing those. One was Gamer, which I didn’t expect much from. The other was Battle: Los Angeles, a cookie cutter “aliens attack, let’s fight back” movie. I didn’t really “watch” these as much as listened to them as I cleaned out my office. After going through my recent posts, I noticed that I never reviewed 28 Weeks Later. This was actually one of the sequels I’ve seen that I liked more than the original. I might have to re-watch, then write up a review. I watched a decent movie last night though, The Adjustment Bureau, which I plan on reviewing in the next few days, if not tonight. My goal for myself is to have it done before the end of the month. Thank goodness for leap years!

OK, enough excuses. Thanks to all of you that still have me in your newsreader. I’ll try to be better about posting updates in the future.

Posted by Stettin
Mar 182011

This review for King’s Test will have a few spoilers for The Lost King. If you haven’t read The Lost King yet, stop now and check out that review, which is pretty much spoiler free. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Mar 062011

I’ve said here many times that Isaac Asimov is my favorite author. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I read “The Last Question,” Asimov’s favorite short story written by himself. Last night I stumbled across a story called “The Last Answer.” At first I thought, “hey, I’ve read this before,” then did a double-take. It was “Answer,” not “Question.” This story focused on the afterlife instead of entropy. They are both good stories, however I agree with Asimov in his opinion that “The Last Question” is better. I highly suggest reading them both, but I’m not sure what order to recommend. I’ll list the links in order of publication, so you decide. Read both stories before looking at the comments on either one, because they are filled with spoilers.

“The Last Question” – Isaac Asimov (1956)

“The Last Answer” – Isaac Asimov (1980)

Posted by Stettin
Jan 302011

The Lost King Cover

I am always open to suggestions when it comes to discovering new authors. By new, I mean to me, not new to writing. For example, I discovered Isaac Asimov a few years after his death, when he had already written over 400 books. Recently, one of my friends suggested I read the Star of the Guardians series by Margaret Weis. He had read it a long time ago, but was rereading the series again. I figured if it was good enough for him to read twice, I should give it a try. Weis offers an eloquent introduction to the series by first clarifying the genre her books fall into. Many fantasy readers might recognize her name as a co-author of many of the Dragonlance books.

If Fantasy is a romance of our dreams, then Galactic Fantasy is a romance of our future

Galactic Fantasy is certainly not science-fiction. Sci-fi often deals with the romance of plastic and chrysteel; our love and worship of technology.

I believe that man will reach the stars. When he does, the ‘science’ of how our spaceship gets from place to place will ultimately be less important than how we, as people, act when we get there. Galactic Fantasy explores how we deal with our own fears, ambitions and passions as we soar among the heavens—not the technicalities of getting there.

It is my understanding that George Lucas did not intend to write hard science fiction, but rather Galacitc Fantasy in Weis’s terms. Another word that has been used to describe Star Wars is “Space Opera.” I think either of these would be suitable descriptions.

Why do I mention Star Wars? As the first few chapters unfolded, I noticed quite a few familiar themes. I detected obvious influences from Star Wars and Dune very early on. For example, the Guardians seemed to be very similar to Jedi. They are an elite group, loyal to protecting their leaders. Their weapon, for example, is the bloodsword.  There is selective breeding for the “Blood Royal” kind of like in Dune, however it is combined with genetic research and with a slightly different goal. There are a few others that I won’t mention because I consider them to be spoilers. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jan 092011

I just got a Stumble to Pharyngula’s science blog that has a link to a YouTube video of Isaac Asimov. He is speaking about what he thought the top science story of 1988 was. I like running across videos of him speaking because it is nice to put a voice and face to my favorite author. The video goes out of sync about half way through unfortunately. Check it out!

Via Pharyngula

Posted by Stettin
Dec 302010

Black Market Memories Book Cover

Black Market memories is a story about a settlement many light years away from Earth named Jamestown. The residents can be individuals that had crippled bodies of some sort, then were given the opportunity to be “free” in a Stellar Unit (SU). The brain is scanned over a period of time then digitized and placed into a mechanical body. I would not classify these as cyborgs, but essentially AI that controls a ship of sorts. Some use the settlements as a base for research trips to find new worlds. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jul 112010

Timequake Book Cover

This book was my first experience with writing by Kurt Vonnegut. His writing, at least in this book, is very original and unconventional. The “Timequake” according to the dust jacket is an event where on February 13th, 2001, everyone is thrust back to February 17th, 1991. Vonnegut treats this as a contraction of the Universe, not simply time travel in the traditional sense. In many time travel stories, the characters look for ways “to put right what once went wrong,” a la Quantum Leap. Vonnegut doesn’t give the characters in this story that opportunity. Everyone is forced to live their lives on autopilot, doing the exact same things they did before, but with the knowledge of what was to come. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jul 052010

Contact Book Cover

If I remember correctly, I saw Contact (the movie) in the theater when it came out. I enjoyed it and always wondered how it compared to the book. It turned out that my future wife owned the book, but I didn’t get around reading it until now. Of course movies rarely ever measure up to the novels they are based on, and this was no exception. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was good, however it just scratched upon the surface of what the novel contains. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin

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