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Friday, December 30, 2016

F3 New Year's Diner

            Most people with any sense were either home or at some party to celebrate, probably up in the Heights, but not me. Eva and I were at a diner with the cook and two winos nursing a bottle in the corner.
            It was that kind of diner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Storytelling Science

            Okay, Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for seven months and change ago. It’s the end of the spring semester, when I get an email from a former student and friend who invited me to see Neil DeGrasse Tyson, live. I kind of geeked out at the offer. The guy is one of my heroes. I will meet him in person and thank him for all the work he’s done not just in science, but in education, and, well, the world.

Monday, December 26, 2016

M3 GoT Old Gods

            These opposing forces are mythologically based, an interesting blend of the faerie and Norse mythology. The fae—as they are also known—hold a summer and winter court, which informs on the seasons of the series.
            The two courts are each ruled by a queen, popularized by Shakespeare’s plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. In these we meet Queen Titania of the summer court, and a reference to Queen Maab, the sovereign of the winter court. These two courts struggle with one another for ascendancy, but it’s always inevitable that one gives way to another as the seasons progress.

Friday, December 23, 2016

F3 The Wait

            “Come in, Nikki,” I said. It didn’t freak me out to invite her into the office, anymore. The fact that I didn’t freak out was beginning to freak me out, but that was another matter.
            My invitation popped the invisible bubble of the consecration, and Nikki walked in. She took off her sable coat, hanging it on my tree in the corner with my hats. She wore a dark green blouse and pencil skirt over hose and heels. She looked like she was there for business. She sat down in one of the two chairs in front of my desk, and looked at me.
            “Nothing,” she said.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Scientific Possibilities

            I’m now reflecting on the criticisms I gave to my beloved science fiction shows. I stand by them. It would be easy to berate myself for taking it too seriously—it’s all fiction, after all, right?—but the thing is, that in doing my research, I’ve discovered something important. I’ve entertained a lot of weird ideas for my own sci fi. Some of which had to be shot down because it simply wasn’t feasible. But almost always when that was the case, I would learn about something else that was more feasible, and had more story potential along the way.

Monday, December 19, 2016

M3 The Fire & Ice Gods

            It’s no secret that George R. R. Martin examined several religions and mythologies when creating his world in the series A Song of Ice and Fire—and the Game of Thrones HBO series. What is fascinating is how he blended these particulars together, and use them in plain sight to enrich the series.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Time Shenanigans

            The timeship glided effortlessly back through the hours. There’s no hurry. Torin thought. Plenty of time. Besides, what good is it being able to travel in time until you’ve decided when you want to be?
            “What if we make Mona Lisa a redhead?” Pau’lo said.
            Torin shook his head. “What are we, twelve? Come on. We need to be able to do better than that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Booze & Sci-Fi

            I’ve been revisiting various sci-fi franchises, and I’ve noticed a common thread in many of them: alcohol. Cultures of the future, and even alien races, love their booze. I don’t personally indulge, but I find it fascinating. Not about their love for it, but by the impracticality of it.
For one thing, almost always, the booze is still stored in nicely fragile glassware. Given the frequency with which the space-faring vessels are struck by explosions and energy blasts which repeatedly throws the crew across the room, this adds up to a lot of broken glass and loss of product. Why are they not stored in metal bottles (props to Klingon Bloodwine for doing this)?
And while it’s possible that these are futuristic materials, I don’t buy into it. Unless it’s specifically stated, then it’s ordinary glass, especially because nearly every one of these franchises has a moment where the glassware is broken in dramatic fashion. But, okay, it’s a maybe.
Now, the big one are the stills. Battlestar Galactica and Stargate Universe both feature stills. For BSG, it’s a very poorly guarded secret, but it seems to be tolerated. For SGU, it’s actively encouraged. Given the dire straits both shows face, that of being stranded and low on supplies, this doesn’t make sense. Creating alcohol uses up a lot of otherwise serviceable food in order to make a little bit of booze. This doesn’t even account for the energy used up. Moreover, where are they getting the fermenting bacteria?
I know, too much thinking about this stuff. But I think these stills are more about capturing the feel of rebellion that Prohibition America represented. The rules say no alcohol, so no alcohol. The enterprising (no pun) American would simply make his own, sticking it to the Man. But, practically speaking, it makes more sense for a spaceship simply to load up on booze at a nearby port then to try and make it themselves. Of course this rules out both BSG and SGU, but shouldn’t that be part of the drama? Why do they make mention of not having coffee (or coffee ground from algae) but still have plenty of alcohol? I think those offer more interesting plotlines than the stills do.

Monday, December 12, 2016

M3 Twilight of the Gods

            This is it, the end of the worlds as we know them. Despite all of Odin’s efforts (and there are more covered in some of the heroic sagas), Ragnarok will arrive. Loki, of course, is the primary mover and shaker, here, who breaks free from his bonds, causing earthquakes and other destruction. Next comes Fenrir, with more of the same. All of this destruction isn’t just in Asgard, but throughout all of the nine worlds, particularly Midgard, AKA Earth.

Friday, December 9, 2016

F3 The Interview

            Nina sat awkwardly, trying to figure out what to do with her hands while the sound technician wordlessly adjusted the boom microphone in front of her.
            “Live in three, two, one,” the man in the sound booth said.
            “And welcome to Science Talk. This is Linda Heinz, your host. We’ve got a good show lined up for all of you, today. We’ve got Duncan Thomas, an astrophysics professor from Columbia, who will explain how the Tyson deep space array is able to capture not just images of other stars, but allow us to peer back to the origins of the universe in ways that the James Webb telescope could only dream of. But before we get to Professor Thomas, we have here Dr. Nina Elsbeth who works for ISA’s Extra Solar Conditions Group. Welcome, Doctor.”

Thursday, December 8, 2016

BSG Water

            Continuing my critique of sci-fi shows, I’ve gone back to Battlestar Galactica, the reboot. The two-part arc of how the Galactica loses and regains its water is what I’m looking at here. In the first episode, “Water” a bomb blows one of the water tanks, spilling the water into space.

Monday, December 5, 2016

M3 Nature of Norse Fate

            Ragnarok looms on the horizon of Norse mythology at every turn. The story of Fenrir is not done, even after his chaining. We’ll even set the scene.
Fenrir took the hand of Tyr. Though noble Tyr willingly sacrificed his hand to chain the monster, the gods retreated. Fenrir lashed about trying to break the silken band. The earth did tremble, and the band quivered, but its strength proved the greater. In fear, the gods retreated. There, on the peak, did Fenrir calm himself, hunter’s eyes did narrow on the last of the gods. “Flee from me, Aesir. I will bide your time, and in the end of days will I break my chain and have my revenge.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

F3 Theft

            (This will have tie-ins to a future Flynn book)
            Commander Jane Hutchins contemplated the steps that led her to command of the station, wondering if she had offended the stars or celestials in some way that she ended up in a dead-end command. Four Winds Station carried a certain amount of prestige, certainly, but it was the prestige of a dead career. Since Jump drives were invented, there was less demand for a sailing fleet, and the station to service that fleet.
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