Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Avatar spoilers

January 5, 2010

This is a comment I left on a review of Avatar on Dark Worlds blog that raises issues with the lousy science in Avatar:

Then there is the subject of evolution on Pandora. All the animals have six limbs. Four up front and two in the back. All of them, including the Pterodactyl like creatures. Four wings and pair of legs. Four eyes as well. One pair above sightly farther out than the inner pair.

Everything except the Terminator Smurfs. Two eyes, and four limbs.

Radically different biology, yet they could mesh their nervous system with the local animals.
Did the Terminator Smurfs braid their hair to protect the nerve bundle or did it grow like that naturally.

Oh, why did the Pterodactyl like creatures naturally develop stirrups for the Terminator Smurfs?

With all the “scientists” they had on that planet, why didn’t any notice that the Terminator Smurfs obviously didn’t evolve there?

Also published at the Urbin Report.

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Friday B-Movie Pick: The Running Man

July 17, 2009

The Running Man

An Arnold Schwarzenegger classic from 1997. California in 2017 has become a police state in the wake of the world’s economy’s total collapse. The hero is wrong accused and tossed in a brutal prison along with Yaphet Kotto’s character, who is there for teaching kids about the Constitution of the United States of America. Ya, I know, it sounds like where America is heading under the reign of our Dear Leader. Besides that, it’s a fun film with added bonuses like Jesse Ventura, Professor Toru Tanaka, Mick Fleetwood, and great performance by Richard Dawson. It was directed by Paul Michael Glaser, From the Starsky and Hutch TV show, and choreography by Paula Abdul.

Friday B-Movie Archive.

The Doctor’s Daughter really is the Doctor’s Daughter

June 15, 2009

Odd bit of SciFi trivia I hadn’t picked up on. Georgia Moffett, who played Jenny, the cloned daughter of the 10th Doctor, David Tenant, is the daughter of Peter Davison, who played the 5th Doctor. Keeping in the trend, Moffett’s best friend in school was the daughter of Colin Baker, the 6th Doctor.

Filming in the Arctic

May 1, 2009

I watched Stargate:Continuum last night. The coolest part was the extra feature about filming on the Arctic ice pack in Northern Alaska.

Monday Book Pick – On Basilisk Station

March 23, 2009

On Basilisk Station by David Weber

The first book in David Weber’s best selling Honor Harrington series. Often, and accurately called “Horatio Hornblower in Space,” this series tells the tale of an Officer in Royal Manticorian Navy. In this book, she is a Commander and has just received her second “Hyper” command. Set in the far future, the series has a definate “Age of Sail” feel, with missle broadsides instead cannon broadsides.

The Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick

March 16, 2009

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson.

In a departure from his classic Cyberpunk works, Pattern Recognition is a modern day story that involves the dark corners of the Internet and modern Guerrilla Marketing. Protagonist Cayce Pollard is an expert on spotting market trends and is hired to track down one of the latest bits of Internet culture.

Also available for the Kindle

The Monday Book Pick Archive

Monday Book Pick

March 9, 2009

To Your Scattered Bodies Go, the first book in the RiverWorld series by the late Philip Jose Farmer

PJF passed away recently, so this week’s pick is his Hugo award winning classic, To Your Scattered Bodies Go. The book features literally everyone who lived and died from early Man’s first appearance on Earth to 1985.

The Monday Book Pick Archive.

RIP Philip Jose Farmer

February 26, 2009

Philip Jose Farmer, one my my favorite SF authors, passed away yesterday at age 91.

He told grand stories of life, love lost and love found. If you haven’t read anything by him yet, you should.

Monday Book Pick

February 23, 2009

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

A well written tale of betrayal, revenge and englightment. A SciFi classic from the 1950s.

The Monday Book Pick Archive

An excellent interview with Dr. Pournelle

February 18, 2009

Stephen Euin Cobb has an excellent interview with Dr. Jerry Pournelle in his podcast, The Future and You.

The interview is spread across three episodes (1/28/09, 2/4/09, 2/11/09), and focuses mostly on his work other than writing science fiction novels.

From Mr. Cobb’s website about Dr. Pournelle,

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he acquired Master’s degrees in both experimental statistics and systems engineering, and Doctorates in both psychology and political science. He co-wrote a military textbook called The Strategy of Technology which was required reading at West Point and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He helped to write a portion of Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Address concerning a missile defense system which the media at the time enjoyed making fun of and calling Star Wars, since they believed the technology needed to shoot down incoming missiles with our own missiles was impossible. He worked in operations research at Boeing, The Aerospace Corporation, and North American Rockwell Space Division. He was founding President of the Pepperdine Research Institute. He was campaign manager for Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr., as well as for Mayor Sam Yorty. And he was a columnist for Byte Magazine beginning in 1982.

One of the more interesting parts of the interview, IMNSHO, was an explanation of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, and why it hasn’t taken hold very strongly in the US Military (and has in some other countries armed forces).

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Other fascinating items were Dr. Pournelle’s involvement in the SDI program (which my Senior Senator was flat out wrong about) and its effect on the outcome of the Cold War.