Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Book Review — Sci-Fi Shorts, by Nathan Dodge

Filed under: Reading, Reviews — Tags: — mikewb1971 @ 9:49 PM (21:49)


Sci-Fi Shorts by Nathan Dodge

If you’re looking for a quick, easy read, then Sci-Fi Shorts might be for you.

I read through all 28 pages on my phone in under 30 minutes, and was not at all disappointed.

Each of the three stories were short but solid and thought-provoking.

(NO, I’m not providing any spoilers!)


NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook / Gab / Minds / Twitter / VK
    2. Bubonicon Puppies Facebook page

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Friday, 17 May 2019

G.P. Eliot’s Reader Questionnaire

Filed under: Correspondence, Quizzes / Surveys, Reading — Tags: — mikewb1971 @ 1:30 AM (01:30)

What’s your age?

  • Younger than 18
  • 18 – 24
  • 25 – 40
  • 41 – 65
  • 65 or older

Where do you live?

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Other:

How did you discover G.P. Eliot?

  • An email from Amazon
  • Amazon “Also Bought”
  • BookBub
  • Other book recommendation service (i.e. Freebooksy, instaFreebie, BookSends)
  • You saw an ad on Facebook
  • You saw an ad on Amazon
  • Recommendation from family member or friend

What originally attracted you to G.P. Eliot’s books?

  • Cover
  • Blurb
  • Look Inside (free sample on Amazon)
  • Reviews
  • Other:

How many Sci-Fi books have you read?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6 – 10
  • More than 10
  • I don’t read Science Fiction

Which are your top three favorite Sci-Fi books?

I’ve read literally hundreds (see above), to pick just three from all of them is a bit of an injustice to so many of them.

Name your top three favorite Sci-Fi Amazon authors

Michael Flynn, Neal Stephenson, L. Neil Smith, and of course, the late great Robert A. Heinlein (again, too many to do proper justice to here)

Name your favorite(s) Sci-Fi movie(s)

The Matrix (the first one), Interstellar

How do you read your books?

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Print
  • Barnes & Nobles
  • Apple Device
  • Android Device
  • Kobo eReader
  • Audiobook
  • Other: Amazon Kindle, print, on my laptop

Are you in Kindle Unlimited?

  • Yes
  • No

What do you think G.P. Eliot should include more in his books?

  • Space Battles
  • Colonization
  • Alien Invasion
  • Exploration
  • Splatter
  • Humor
  • Action
  • Sex
  • Other: All of the above, with the exception of splatter (it gets tedious after a while).

What is your favorite Science Fiction category?

  • Space Opera
  • Dystopian
  • Galactic Empire
  • Military
  • Alien Invasion
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Colonization
  • First Contact
  • Space Exploration
  • Other: I’m a bit of a sucker for science fiction — I can go with just about any genre in a skiffy setting.

How often would you like to hear from G.P. Eliot?

  • Just when there’s a new book
  • Once a week
  • Once a month
  • Twice a month

Is there anything else you’d like G.P. Eliot to know?

Nada for the time being.


NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook / Gab / Minds / Twitter / VK

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Book Review — Dalida, by G.P. Eliot

Filed under: Reading — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 3:33 AM (03:33)

Emancipation, Book 1.0: Dalida by G. P. Eliot

As promised, here is my review. I tried posting it to Amazon, and received this error message upon making the attempt —

The other reviews posted to Amazon are spot-on, for the most part.

If you’re looking for swashbuckling adventure of the Indiana Jones variety, with tidbits of Star Trek thrown in, Eliot is your guy.

The good guys aren’t the angsty, indecisive types that so many other writers like to put out there for your entertainment FRNs. Sure, they have their flaws, but they’re basically good, stand-up people when it counts. You won’t find any socialist just-us wankers on the crew of the Dalida, insisting that everyone sing “Kum-bah-ya” with everyone that they encounter.

Likewise, I suspect that most readers would want to see the main bad guy (the “Jackal”) killed in a firefight at some point. He’s a conniving, backstabbing, untrustable son of a bitch, and makes no bones about it.

The only “bad” thing in the 500 pages of the ePub version that I saw was on page 343.4 —

Instead, the ansibles worked on encoding data into neutrinos—tiny sub-atomic particles that could travel faster than light. Without them, humanity would dissolve into a mess of disparate colony worlds, never able to talk to each other.

Neutrinos usually travel at the speed of light, as far as the current research shows.[1]

So “neutrinos” should be changed to “tachyons,” the technobabble catch-all faster-than-light subatomic particles, for v.2 of Dalida.


NOTES

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrino#Speed
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurements_of_neutrino_speed
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook / Gab / Minds / Twitter / VK

Saturday, 11 November 2017

What Would Tyr Do?

Filed under: Life, Media, Viewing — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 7:29 PM (19:29)


Friday, 17 June 2016

Book Review: Dr. Adder, by K.W. Jeter

Filed under: Reading — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 8:09 AM (08:09)

Maybe it was beyond the pale for 1972 and 1984 . . .

I first heard about Dr. Adder while reading a review of it one of Jim Baen’s New Destines book-magazines. New Destines was published in the 1980s, but I didn’t discover them until the early 1990s at used bookstores.

Anyway, the reviewer said something along the lines of “this is the sickest, most depraved book I’ve ever come across,” and gave a short paragraph on why that was the case (basically, the idea that the title character, Dr. Adder, performs elective surgery on hookers to the specifications of their clients).

For what it’s worth, Dr. Adder might have been considered “sick” and “depraved” when it was originally written (1972) and then published (1984), but today, it’s kind of . . . stale.

For me, the least believable part of the book was the CIA-developed “flashglove,” a prosthetic arm which is placed on the stump where the user’s original arm used to be, where it then connects with the user’s nervous system. How this connection is made (beyond physically joining the unit to the stump) isn’t specified by Jeter. (I guess that’s what this edition’s cover shows — Dr. Adder with the flashglove connected to his arm.) After being attached to the user, the flashglove then gives the user extended sensory abilities (again, how isn’t specified), along with the ability to kill with a touch (the unit emits some some sort of “vibration” that causes flesh and bone to explode).

Why anyone would voluntarily give up an arm and hand for this sort of thing is quite beyond me.

Probably the most notable part of the book was the description of the “Vagina Dentata,” where Adder does his surgical bit and adds sharks’ teeth (filched from the local oceanography labs) to the genitals of a hooker intended for his arch-nemesis, such that said nemesis is castrated immediately after insertion (pp. 89-90). Later, it turns out that this was really the idea of said nemesis, but whatever (p. 201).

The idea of looking into the deepest, darkest part of a person’s soul and making those forbidden, taboo thoughts into tangible reality is a theme that Jeter visits again at least once. See his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Warped, where a special holodeck modification is used thusly.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. Dr. Adder on Wikipedia

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 9.5
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Amazon / Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook [page / profile] / Galaxy2 / Google Plus / Minds / seen.life / tsu / Twitter / WordPress.com

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

“Darth Lucifertas” on Politics

Filed under: Politics, Principles — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 2:33 AM (02:33)

I can roll with this.

[H/T “Sith’Ari Progressives” Facebook page]


NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 11.2
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook page / Facebook profile / seen.life / tsu / WordPress.com

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

DC and Marvel, Dumping on Their Dinner Plates

Filed under: Media, Reading, Viewing — Tags: , , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 8:04 PM (20:04)

Skimming through my Facebook feed, I found the following:

Cosmic Book News: Comic Book Retailers Sound Off On DC & Marvel As Sales Drop

Basically, the author explains how DC and Marvel are running their superhero franchises into the ground, and possibly poisoning that particular well for any other publishers, as well.

The interesting thing is that McGloin attributes this to Marvel and DC offering their same titles in both still-pictures-comic format as well as in audiovisual form (movies and television), when both Marvel and DC were letting their franchises be made into movies and TV shows back in the 1950s and 1960s.

Rather, I suspect that we’re seeing the same sort of thing that happened in the mid-1990s, when Marvel began rebooting its franchises (I remember them starting to playing these games with the X-Men in 1994.) and putting out multiple versions of the same issue, with different “collector edition” covers (especially the foil-covered ones!).

Big Bang Comics in Ireland put it rather succintly:

And I’ve heard the tired line before “justifying” the periodic reboots from these clowns:

These characters are so endearing and established . . .

To me, that’s equivocation for “we’re too lazy to develop any new characters.”

Case in point — the Star Trek franchise.

Back in 1985 and 1986, Gene Roddenberry and associates were working on bringing Star Trek back to television, but Paramount wasn’t keen on paying the higher salaries that the 1960s Original Series could command. So they went with a cast of actors not known for being in the science fiction genre. Rather than trying to cast these actors in the roles of the Original Series, Roddenberry created a whole new cast, ship, etc.

Did it pay off for Roddenberry and Paramount? I’d say so. The Next Generation ran for SEVEN seasons, as compared to The Original SeriesTHREE seasons.

Even better — The Next Generation had two series spun off from it (Deep Space Nine and Voyager), each of which had a cast separate from The Next Generation, and each of which ran for seven seasons.

Hell, the prequel series to the franchise (Enterprise) ran for four seasons.

When Paramount / CBS (whoever owns the franchise at this point) did decide to reboot it in 2008 and “bring back the original characters” with new actors, they wrote the script in such a way that picked up from previous endeavours, instead of simply blowing them off wholesale.

Brian Hibbs at Comic Book Resources has this to say:

We have to be mindful that the marketplace is changing, and that we have to change with it. I see a market that is moving away from line-driven buying, that is growing tired of the constant cycle of relaunch and reboot, that has far more options for their time and mindshare than ever before, and that can meet their craving for superhero material increasingly in other media. And that has, most dangerously, had their long-standing habits interrupted by their very pushers.

So far, the ONLY franchise reboot that I’ve seen that was significantly better than the original was the Battlestar Galactica remake of 2003-2009.

So far, out of all of the superhero titles currently published by DC and Marvel, the only one that does anything for me any more is Injustice: Gods Among Us. That’s because when someone gets killed, the writers try to avoid coming up with some cockamamie excuse to resurrect the character(s).

It seems to me that the executives at DC and Marvel assume their customer base to be composed of idiots who will buy into anything with their (the executives’) stamp of approval upon it.

Basically, this is the same sort of logic that Heckler & Koch GmbH used when they pitched their neutered version of their G-36 (the infamous flop called the SL8) — they figured that the HK fanboys (I’m guilty of being a bit of one myself back in the 1990s) would shell out hard cash for anything with a red “HK” stamped on one side of the stock or pistol grip. If that wasn’t a miscalculation, I don’t know what does qualify as one.

Will this endless cycle of reboot and remake ultimately bring down the DC and Marvel movie and television businesses, too?

Should I even care?

H/T Kevin Tuma


NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 13.0
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – App.net / Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook page / Facebook profile / Google Plus / seen.life / tsu / Twitter / WordPress.com

Copyright © 2016 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Quote of the Day for Friday, 6 February 2015

Filed under: Life, Quote of the Day — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 9:59 PM (21:59)

“Being a freedom fighter, a force for good, it’s a wonderful thing . . . you get to make your own hours, looks good on a resume, but the pay . . . sucks.”

— Bester, Babylon 5, “Moments of Transition”


NOTES

  1. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Ello / Facebook / Google Plus / MeetMe / Tagged / Twitter
    2. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Twitter / WordPress

Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises. Webmaster Mike Blessing.
This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Book Review — Learning the World, by Ken MacLeod

Filed under: Fun, Media, Reading — Tags: , — mikewb1971 @ 1:07 AM (01:07)

Learning the World by Ken MacLeod

1st mass-market Tor edition (October 2006) – softcover, 364 pages

Learning the World won Ken MacLeod the Prometheus Award in 2006[1]. Should it have won? Considering that it was up against Vin Suprynowicz’s The Black Arrow, I don’t know. Still, Learning the World was a really good book.

Here’s the plot summary from the back cover:

Humanity has spread to every star within five hundred light-years, coloring the sky with a haze of habitats. But the universe has, so far, been empty of intelligent life.

Now the ancient starship But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! is entering a promising new system after a four-hundred-year journey. To their immense surprise, they detect patterned signals from the system’s Earth-like world.

Meanwhile, on Ground, second world from the sun, a young astronomer searches for his system’s outermost planet. A moving point of light thrills, then disappoints him. It’s only a comet. But something is very odd about that comet’s path . . . .

For the inhabitants of the starship and of Ground alike, the world has changed. “We are not living in the universe we thought we lived in yesterday. We have to start learning the world all over again.”

Basically, humanity has become somewhat posthuman (or transhuman) to varying degrees – the people on board But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! have genetically-inheritable virtual-communication systems. Think of surfing the web, reading emails, posting to Facebook, whatever, all in your head, and you’re born with that capability. Among other things – some of those on board are so adapted to the microgravity life that living on a planetary surface would be extremely inconvenient, at best.

And then there’s the aliens, who also think of themselves as “human.” They seem to be evolved from bat-like creatures in the same sort of way that humans here evolved from primates. Their architecture reflects this, as well as the comment some of them make that “if the gods wanted us to build flying machines, they wouldn’t have given us wings.” Wings they do have, and not the vestigal, atrophied kind that ostriches have – the “humans” of Ground are perfectly capable of flight.

Of course, the “comet” that Darvin discovers behaving in a peculiar manner is But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! (a miles-long and miles-wide generation ship) entering the star system, decelerating as it goes. Since when do comets slow down?

Anyway, the “humans” of Ground are closer to us present-day humans in terms of technology and social development than the humans of Learning the World – they’re about where were in the early Twentieth Century (discovering radio transmission and heavier-than-air powered flight), where the humans of the book have been going about settling various star systems for 15,000 years, albeit limited to 0.01c[2].

As the story progresses, the “humans” of Ground and those on board But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! provide plenty of intrigue to keep the reader engaged and guessing.

OK – enough spoilers – if you want more, you’ll have to read it for yourself.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. MacLeod’s blog site – The Early Days of a Better Nation
  2. March 2006 interview with SFRevu
  3. Wikipedia pages – Ken MacLeod, Learning the World, Prometheus Award

NOTES

  1. Here’s the full list of Prometheus Award finalists in 2006.
  2. The lower-case letter c stands for the speed of light – 299,792,458 meters per second (186,282.39 miles per second, or 670,760,005.47 miles per hour) in a vacuum. Light goes 9,460,730,472,580,800 (9.46 x 1015 in the short form) meters (5,878,625,373,183,607.73 miles) in one year, hence the term light-year.
  3. Approximate reading level – 9.4
  4. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs, micro-blogs, etc. – Blogspot / Facebook / Google Plus / Medium / MeetMe / Tumblr / Twitter / Xanga

Copyright © 2013 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

TV Review — Doctor Who — Blink

Filed under: Viewing — Tags: , , , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 3:27 AM (03:27)

Television show review –

Doctor Who – The Complete Third Series

Blink is “only” to be a “filler” episode, but it’s one of the best episodes of the “Third Series.” Hell, it’s one of the best episodes of the Tenth Doctor’s tenure (played by David Tennant). Doctor Who is like the Star Trek and Stargate franchises in that the story quality bounces all over the place – one episode (or novel or comic or anything else) it’s fantastic, and the next one can be total crap. (SighYes, I know that Straczynski is working on new Babylon 5 material, but still . . .)

Some examples of the lousy side of the Tenth Doctor’s reign –

Gridlock – The Doctor and Martha go to “New Earth,” and find the population locked up in a thirty-year-long traffic jam, with a car moving a few feet being an occasion for its driver to celebrate, and people having kids while stuck in the jam.

The Lazarus Experiment – Professor Richard Lazarus hosts a cocktail party, the highlight of which is the part where he steps into a “genetic manipulator” booth, and steps out a few minutes later looking forty years younger. A short while later, it turns out the experiment went wrong, and he turns into a giant spider / scorpion creature that sucks the life out of people so he can continue to survive. This episode goes wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin.

I’m digressing here – back to Blink (Spoiler follows).

Blink is about a group of murderous aliens known as “Weeping Angels” or “Lonely Assassins.” They are unable to move while anyone is watching them. When anyone is looking at them, they’re frozen in place – “quantum-locked” – and appear as gargoyles and other statuary. It’s only when you’re NOT looking at them that they can move – if you turn your head, blink your eyes (hence the title), fall asleep, etc., that’s when they move in for the kill.

This episode worked not only on the basis of a novel approach to the bad guys, but that it was shot from the viewpoint of someone who wasn’t a companion of the Doctor, and only meets him and Martha at the very end of the episode.

I had one real quibble with Blink – the “Angels” “kill” by casting their victims back in time, and feeding on a person’s time energy, expressed as the days that person would have lived out had they not been cast back in time by the “Angel.” This seems like a rather inefficient method of killing and/or feeding.


NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 11.9

Copyright © 2013 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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