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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Bits of old stories were flitting through my head last night, like birds seen about their business out the window behind one’s desk.  A phrase here and there, in my peripheral literary vision.

This morning I set out to re-read a couple of the stories, couldn’t find them, and read, or re-read others instead.  I’m reminded once again of an essential quality of truly classic science fiction– it predicts the future in a timeless fashion.

In a yellowing paperback copy of “Nebula Award Stories Number Five”, edited by James Blish, I read Theodore Sturgeon’s first SF story, “The Man Who Learned to Love”.   I was utterly shocked by its relevance to today’s world, and heartened by it as well.  The path I’m choosing is similar, although I lack the protagonist’s invention.  It’s nice to be reminded.

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Some sci-fi novel series I'm fond of started with one really popular book, and then were expanded. The author ended up writing novels which were technically prequels to the series, but since they were written as a more mature, seasoned writer, they were actually better books (imho) than the ones that introduced everyone to that universe. I don't think I would have understood or enjoyed the published-first novels as much if I'd read them first.

Instead I stumbled upon a later novel, then looked up the in-universe chronological order of the stories and read the books in that order. The two examples that come immediately to mind are Catherine Asaro's Skolian series and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I think that Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series worked the same way for me.

Anybody got other series that fit this profile? I love finding new works where there are several books!

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If you haven’t seen me in person in a while, it doesn’t mean I am avoiding you– time is slipping by me in odd ways, and suddenly another week.. or month.. has passed. I’ve also been skulking a bit, and trying not to make plans that I’d end up breaking due to moodiness or family stuff. We had some stuff going on with both of Mike’s parents for a while, where his mom was in and out of the hospital (she is out now for over 2 weeks) and his dad picked up a hospital bug while visiting her, so then he was in and out of outpatient urgent care. All seems to be well now.

I’m enjoying various reading bits:

  • Norman Crowe, Nature and the Idea of a Man-made World (architecture and evolutions of building designs)
  • ATTRA publications on organic gardening
  • Designing California Native Gardens, Keating & Middlebrook
  • Hands-On PMP (book review for LOPSA)
  • The Machines’ Child, Kage Baker’s new Company novel– squee! I liked it, but (OF COURSE!) it ends on something of a cliff-hanger and now I’m in suspense again, grr.
  • re-reading Sharon Shinn’s ‘angel’ novels of Samaria
  • S.M. Stirling’s Oregon trilogy, ‘Dies the Fire’, ‘The Protector’s War’, ‘A Meeting at Corvallis'; making me want to actually suck it up and learn SCAdian or Marklander fighting; I really like the practical, non-fluffy paganism in the books too
  • new C.M. Kornbluth ‘Eater of Souls’, really enjoyed it (she did ‘Black Sun Rises’ Coldfire trilogy)
  • re-reading Catherine Asaro’s Skolian Empire books, need to troll used bookstores for them, they’re on the acquisition list nowAphids are getting my corn, but I may be holding them back enough to form ears, we’ll see. The first of the red kuri squash are ripening, stems going tan and getting woody, which is when they’re almost ready to pick. Beans, beans, more beans— have put up several quarts in the freezer, yellow, green, and purple. The latter will turn green when cooked, but are still fun.

    Mike fixed a clogged fuel line on the Bluebird today, and installed a new fuel filter. Last week he got all the batteries charging, after topping them off, and ran the generator. The previous week he took the generator battery out, cleaned it, and charged it here at home. Today he had the engine running long enough to bring it up to the normal 150F operating temp and rolled the bus back and forth a few times in the spot. Birdie is getting ready to ride the roads again– maybe to Burning Man, maybe to Oregon, certainly up to the Montebello Open Space Preserve for 10-meter contesting in the fall. Think biiig hamshack, with its own kitchen, bathroom, heat, air conditioning, roof-mount antennas, and genset. Plus a battery bank that can operate easily for those nice off the grid, off the gennie multipliers.

    See you in the future, whenever that actually gets here. Hugs to all n sundry.

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    Mike and I were expanding on the theme of ‘maybe they are ALL cylons’ (and which generations thereof) last weekend. He sent me http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2007/03/but_you_and_i_w.html a link to a nifty Chicago Trib column with LOTS of speculation in the comments.. Most of the variants I’m seeing are in sync with stuff we’re thinking about, so either we’re all right or all wrong together.

    Favorites–

  • Everybody is a Cylon, and some Cylons periodically renew the humanness of the programming by setting up sleeper colonies and subjecting them to evolutionary pressure.
  • Rebellion within the cylon ranks, whether everyone is a cylon or not– the four cylons revealed are part of a group that has major policy differences with the others.
  • The Lords of Kobol are/were renegade cylons who founded the colonies and gave up their reincarnation/upload technology.
  • Roslyn is not a cylon, but can join the visions because of her blood infusion from Hera; she will be an important link.Stuff we totally didn’t think of, and has potential…
  • The four ‘revealed’ cylons are actually NOT cylons, they’re human incarnations linked to the Temple of Five, of which Kara is either the fifth party or a messenger intermediary.
  • There’s some big 3rd party out there, and the humans and cylons will be forced to ally to survive. Hmmm. I don’t like that one much, but it’s an idea.
  • *We* are all cylons. The events are happening in Earth’s past; when the Fleet and the Cylons arrive, Sol 3 is basically ook-ook territory, with the possible exception of Atlantis. The two fleets shred each other and then the survivors end up scattered around the globe to form the nexus of modern humanity. Explains the old deity name matches, like Hera, Athena, etc. ;-)
  • Leoben saying “Adama is a cylon” in an earlier episode actually referred to LEE Adama. Starbuck never really died, as Lee-cylon’s programming actually either imagined her death or faked her death report. (My follow-up idea, reading this– some ancient Lords-O-Kobol device reacted to Lee-cylon and faked her death; she doesn’t yet know that Lee-cylon is a cylon. The wormhole/vortex *is* a gateway of some kind. But I still think it’s far-fetched.)Whew. There are even more theories, but I’m tired of typing!

    Not giving up? Here’s an interview with Exec Producer Ron Moore, which may shed light on some of this. Then again, it may be ‘ha ha, made you blink, now which cup is the pea under?’ kind of light. :-D Or read http://sepinwall.blogspot.com/2007/03/battlestar-galactica-let-us-not-talk.html some highly abstruse musings by a blogger or even the <http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?s=aded39589ddd0414bb97e6d431667ab2&showforum=746 Television Without Pity BSG Board from which all wisdom may or may not have sprung.

    Or go put your knickers in a serious twist with classic BSG in mystical mode, and wonder how much of it Ron-boy has snuck in there. Yeep.

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    OK, so you’re a good egg, kinda like me. You can’t do the Eed Pebnista out loud either without using the Schoolhouse Rock riffs.

    Let me warn you about something.

    There is something worse than being unable to read Tennyson’s Lady of Shalot out loud to oneself without drifting into Loreena McKennitt.

    Namely, getting about 3.5 lines into a 5 line stanza and realizing you have actually drifted into “Both Sides, Now” and can’t find your way back.

    And then you start to…doubt. Now you’re singing softly to yourself. Did she do the whole poem? Do you remember? It’s all kinda background music until you get to the part you know. Was the song really that long? Don’t you wish you had it digitized, instead of in the closet somewhere in a CD notebook?

    Anyway. Don’t every let ‘em tell ya that reading science fiction is uncultured. I actually found the poem because 3 lines of it are excerpted in an Eric Frank Russell story (Eustace) that I’d been reading since I was a kid. I put them into either Alta Vista or, heck, I don’t remember the other one at the moment, back in 1993 or so and found it.

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    Someone has, of course, posted it already. As they say, the dialog in the background totally enhances it.

    Just be sure to buy the Season III soundtrack when it comes out in August, eh? I sure will, and this better be on it!

    Oh yeah, the dialog contains spoilers out the wazoo, so if you haven’t watched Season III yet, stay back. Damn. It’s not often a season-ending has me on the edge of my seat, shouting “what the F**K?!?!” during the last couple of moments. Sheesh!!!

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    I’m pretty shocked that my top picks for the fifth member of the Final Five don’t appear in the Battlestar Wiki’s speculation page. Let me tell you why I think that the 12th model is…

    Laura Roslyn

  • No other humans have had visions of the Opera House unless guided by a Cylon projection (eg, Baltar guided by Caprica Six). Also, her self-image in the Opera House is visibly younger-looking.
  • Her earlier cancer was cured by an infusion of cylon-hybrid blood. My guess is that there’s a flaw in her biology and that she had a ‘refresh’ via that infusion.
  • There is more than one way that a ‘dying leader’ can die– her self-image as a human can be dying, or her body can be dying but perhaps she can be downloaded.
  • She is in a key position in the fleet, like the other 4 of the final five (although that would make Tory’s position as her advisor possibly superfluous).
  • Roslyn could be the bridging cylon between the final five and the other models. She shared the dream with Sharon Agathon and resurrected Caprica Six, but didn’t share the song (afaik– now I want to go back and listen to all the times she’s been humming to herself!!!).
  • Her increasing closeness to Adama (are they lovers who are merely highly discreet, or have they not taken that final step yet?) puts her in a good position to create another hybrid, as they are forming a real bond.
  • Her hatred of Baltar could also be that he ultimately betrayed the cylons as well (manipulating Three/D’Anna, etc); she may not realize where the hatred comes from, as she’s a deep sleeper cylon if she is one at all.
  • She sensed the other cylons in the beginning of the Season 3 finale before the DRADIS picked them up.
  • Can she interact with the chart table? She lays her hands on it often– and while it’s not a cylon-style water table input device, RDM confirms that cylons can interact electro-optically with computing devices with their bare hands.the Galactica itself
  • As the screen capture that posted ages ago shows, the cylon virus DID get through all the Galactica’s firewalls before they pulled the computer networks apart.
  • Mysterious events involving the Galactica abound.What do you think?
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