The Martian Novel by Andy Weir (Spoilers)

2016-07-27 by . 7 comments

The Martian by Andy Weir

After seeing the movie was I was all hyped to read the novel, I thought that it would be great! I was wrong. Here follows why and yes there is going to be mentions about the movie throughout because I just can’t help be compare the two. They are joined in my mind and the movie is what got me reading this novel.

It was a perfect example of why the first person does not work for a whole novel. In places maybe but for a whole novel? Nope. The characters were cold and besides the many and long rants about how much of what and science stuff (more than there needed to be) there was little to entertain the eye around the story. Mark Watney did not make up for this lack. Without a face to show emotion or a third person narrative to show the reader the emotions there was nothing much to connect to. In truth, I was bored. It just ran along in a dull day to day entry log that was filled with stuff that had could have been said with half as many words and gotten to more interesting things faster. In a way this was a novella stretched to the length of a novel. For the worse I feel.

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Review – Star Trek Beyond

2016-07-24 by . 5 comments
The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. – IMDB

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond opens nearly three years into their five year mission to explore deep space. Except for the occasional bout of failed diplomacy, life on the Enterprise has becoming fairly routine. One might almost say boring. Fortunately for them they are getting some much needed ship leave and they head off to the newest Federation Space Station, named Yorktown.

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Doctor Who isn’t really about time travel

2016-07-20 by . 8 comments

The purpose of this article is to support the possibly controversial claim that for a show which claims to be all about time travel, Doctor Who doesn’t actually involve all that much time travel. Oh, sure, the Doctor has a time machine, but it tends to be used only as a means of getting to wherever he wants to go (or, as she herself once put it, wherever he needs to go), rather than time travel actually being relevant to the plot of the episode. Most episodes start with the Doctor and Companion turning up somewhere in the TARDIS and then staying in the same time zone all the way through; as we shall see, very few involve time travel which couldn’t be removed with no effect on the storyline.

I’m going to examine all the episodes of the Russell T Davies era, i.e. the Ninth and Tenth Doctor stories. Mainly this is because I haven’t finished watching the whole of the Moffat era yet, but I also suspect my point will be better made here since the show has tended to go further into issues of time travel, time paradoxes and so on under Moffat’s leadership.

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Jack’s Bad Movies – The Fifth Wave

2016-07-13 by . 3 comments
Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. – IMDB

Fifth-Wave

The movie opens with a teenager (Chloë Grace Moretz) exiting the woods and approaching a gas station. She is carrying an AR-15, so this is either a post-apocalyptic society or the Deep South. She starts looking around for supplies and stumbles upon a guy who is wounded. He’s asking for help, but our presumptive heroine seems pretty nervous. He’s reaching for something, is it a gun? Too late, she shot him. Turns out it was a crucifix.

This movie is called The Fifth Wave, so we clearly need a recap of the first four (since we don’t know them). Aliens show up unannounced and hover silently over major cities, just like in other movies you’ve seen (Independence Day, District 9). Ten days later a massive EMP hits the whole Earth (presumably) and knocks out all the power. Planes fall from the sky (a la Revolution). This is the First Wave.

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Review of the Duncton Chronicles by William Horwood

2016-07-06 by . 7 comments
Duncton chronicles

Duncton Chronicles covers

Duncton Wood is in my opinion one of the most under-read fantasy series in the world. I think that it is mostly overlooked as all the characters are moles. Yes moles, as in those wonderful creatures that leave little dirt mountains on your lawns. Although anthropomorphized and given their own history and a  written form of communication as well as social order. The moles of Duncton Wood are still moles and as such have no clothes, technology or weapons. In essence this is a brilliant low fantasy series. 

Duncton Wood is a true epic fantasy series in the most classic way. It is set in the fictional Duncton Wood in Great Britain where the moles of Duncton are under the rule of the rather evil  Mandrake and Rune who are actively squishing the old traditions, namely those surrounding the Duncton Stone, the center of their religion. But along comes a hero: a young mole named Bracken who leaves to find himself and a way to win his fight against the evil of Rune and Mandrake while winning the paw of his love, Rebecca, Mandrakes daughter.

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Highlights from 2016 – 2nd Quarter

2016-07-05 by . 1 comments

Top Stats:

Top Question and Most Viewed

Why are ships in Star Wars so ridiculously easy to steal? asked by Rogue Jedi with a score of 129 and viewed 25182 times, answered by Probst.

profile for rogue-jediat Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts profile for probstat Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

Top Answer

Top answer was a tie at 150 between Probst’s answer to the Top Question, and Curtis Frederick’s answer to Potatoes were alive and sprouted on Mars: How were they preserved on the journey there? asked by Fiksdal.

profile for curtis-frederick at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts profile for fiksdal at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

Bounties

There were 124 bounties awarded last quarter for a total of 29,150 rep.

User Favorites:

profile for amaranth at Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, Q&A for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts

I’ll break convention and nominate a meta question:

I like this question because it makes our tagging look awesome. Our messy tagging that’s been known to cause arguments also creates a tag map with clusters of tags and surprising connections all over the place. Sites that enforce cleaner tagging sometimes have tag maps that look more sterile. Scroll through the tag map and revel in our messy tagging!

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Why The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks Is Worth Reading

2016-06-29 by . 6 comments
Talismans_covercleanversion Scions_covercleanversion Elf_Queen_covercleanversion

On the surface it may seem like another fantasy series and one that has been around for a while so nothing new… But you could not be further from the truth. The many books of the Shannara series is a first glimpse into a number of genres, fantasy and otherwise. Within its epic fantasy there lies hints of science fiction, epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy, urban fantasy, low fantasy and even a little post apocalyptic fiction. It is a series that is molded by elements of many genres and it is a series that has within its unassuming covers something for everyone. That can’t be said about many series.

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The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan and why it is the BEST fantasy series EVER!

2016-06-22 by . 6 comments
Riyria Revelations book covers

Riyria Revelations book covers

Let us start with the two main characters, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater. Both are the best sort of characters one might ever wish to come across in a fantasy series.

Royce, a former member of the Black Diamond and Assassin, is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded by dead people who looked like they might one day be in the way. Or because they breathed, looked like they were up to something, or for any reason really. Royce has issues about not killing people.

Hadrian, on the other hand, is a open book who just might kill you. But unlike Royce he will feel bad about it afterwards and maybe even say sorry. The son of a small town’s Blacksmith, Hadrian is a Swordsman of great skill and in certain parts of Calis a rather famous one. He and Royce in the beginning somehow manage to not kill each other and one day become what one could even call friends. Although like all people they get on each others nerves once in a while.

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Jack’s Bad Movies – Automata

2016-06-15 by . 0 comments

IMDB’s description:

Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

automata1.1

The movie opens saying in 2044 massive solar flares attacked the Earth, killing 97.3% of the population. Humanity took a turn for the worse, losing both technical prowess and being whittled down to about 21 million people when we catch up with them. Just after the calamity, some company (ROC?) made the breakthrough in humanoid robots. These robots were supposed to be the saviors of mankind, but I guess they amounted to a whole lot of nothing. They also have only two laws, which makes for a 33% discount from those manufactured by US Robotics. Law one, don’t hurt anything living. Law two, robots aren’t allowed to repair or modify themselves.

Now we are taken to a police man (Dylan McDermott) in a car. His radio says it will start raining in ten seconds, and it does, so this might be a Back to the Future 2 kind of future. He drives a short distance and then decides to walk around in a subway or something. What should he uncover, but lo and behold, a robot. And this robot seems to be fixing itself! This cop decides to go all Judge Dredd on the robot and shoots it in the face.

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Doctor Who Series 9 Review – Part 2 of 2

2016-06-02 by . 2 comments

After an interval of eight weeks (or possibly eight seconds, or eight hundred years, or minus eight weeks, according to whose timeline you may be following), here we are again with the second of the two instalments of my Doctor Who Series 9 review.

The episodes in this series are on a steep uphill climb, with nearly every story being better than the last. We’ve already seen a two-parter involving Missy and Davros (which, despite some interesting aspects, was mainly fanwank), a “base under siege” two-parter (standard Doctor Who fare, plus a time-travelling twist), the first Ashildr episode (more standard Doctor Who fare, but a nice snapshot of the Doctor doing what he does best), and the second one (an even less interesting storyline, but with some fascinating exploration of the life of an immortal). Now it’s time to move on to the second half of Series 9, in which every one of the stories makes Doctor Who history while also being fantastic in its own right.

Once again, of course, SPOILER ALERT. more »

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