It has been months since my last rant about Hollywood, so I was thinking this morning that it’s time to rail against something Hollywood. No sooner had I thought that than I noticed how Transformers: Age of Extinction is simply making a killing at the box office. What’s more interesting about that is the fact that the critics hate it – hate it! – and have called the movie every negative thing under the Sun. And people are still flocking to go see it. I guess it’s best that I’m not some big shot in Hollywood because I would be doing things all differently, and most likely, as a result, I would go broke and be driven out in mere months…but at least in those months Hollywood would be putting out quality Science Fiction. So ends my rant.
First I need to start off by saying that I’m a huge Larry Niven fan, even though there is much of his works that I have yet to read. So when a friend gave me A Hole in Space, I was thankful and very excited to read the back cover, as this was a book of his I had not heard of. The description on the back is of a story that is not unlike a story that I have had floating in the back of my mind – although I never put pen to paper regarding this idea, and now it looks like I never will since Niven has beat me to the punch by forty years. The back cover describes a cryogenically preserved human being that is brought by to life, not when a cure for his disease is found, but when his consciousnesses (or physical brain) is simply put into another body. But there is a catch: he must pilot “a star ship to eternity…”
My first ereader which I purchased about three years ago was a nook. When I got it I wasn’t sold on the idea that the ereaders would amount to anything. It was hard for me to understand the appeal, especially in light that I could find almost any book that I wanted – old or new – at my local Goodwill. It might take some time, but the hunt is part of the fun. However, after a while my nook grew on me and I must say that when I went on vacation and was away from my vast personal library, having several dozen books in a thing that took up very little space in my suitcase was very convenient. I liked my nook so much, in fact, that when the nook HD+ came out I bought it right away. Like my first nook, I was immediately hooked on my HD+, but the problem was that neither were especially light to hold and read like you would a normal book. On a whim, I bought a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite and immediately fell in love with it. It’s light and, most importantly, readable in the sun. With summer coming, I’m enjoying the nights where I can sit out on my porch and read without my arm getting tired holding a heavy ereader. At the moment I’m reader A Game of Thrones.
There, that’s my two sense about my latest tech purchase.
I would like to take a minute and talk about what this blogs means to me. I haven’t posted on here as much as I would like, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten or don’t sincerely appreciate what this blog has done for me over the years. You see, I started this blog as an attempt to write more, consistently and as often as I could, but I have to admit that the first time I put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking of course) I was terrified that my writing would be met with harsh criticism. In part, this is what I wanted, although I think what I was truly afraid of was the internet equivalent of being booed off stage or pelted with fruit. However, since I started this whole experiment it has been anything but. Today, I have become more comfortable in my own skin and rarely think about how something I write will be received out there in the blogshere, which is, in part, one the goals I had in mind upon starting this blog. I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you world and internet at large for helping me at least get this far.
I have come to learn that it takes a lot of planning and…planning if you want to write a good story. Plot is a part of it, but so to is character development. And a good plot is built by character conflict however, many other characters go into writing a story, like knowing what in the hell you’re talking about. I have many science fiction ideas that I have floating around in my head, but not until I picked up this book did I realize that I know very little about space or even traveling in space, and I realized this only after I was reading just a few pages of the book, so I’m glad I picked it up and look forward to learning all the things that I thought I knew but I guess now I know I didn’t. Beyond that Ben Bova is one of my favorite authors and I look forward to reading this book because of that reason alone.
I found this article totally by accident and thought that I would share. It is basically a list of movies that are scheduled to be released next year (2015). I won’t go off on any rants about Hollywood (again), because the truth is that I’m looking forward to seeing some of the movies. Included in the list are Terminator 5, Jurassic World (Jurassic Park IV), Batman & Superman, and Independence Day 2.
I also came across a list of movies that have, apparently, been stuck in development for…forever. Surprisingly, on this list is Rendezvous with Rama which I didn’t even know was being made into a movie.
So as soon as I heard that this book was being made into a television series and then read the description, I went out and bought it. Same cover and everything. I had always been fascinated by Pohl’s books from reading the back cover but have never gotten around to reading one. The ancient alien that has left stuff around for humanity to find and try and figure out isn’t a new idea, but from the praise I have heard from Pohl’s fan, it sounds like Gateway will surely be a fun ride.
This somewhat expands on what I was getting at in my previous post and the fact (or, my opinion) that Hollywood is doing everything it can to ONLY put out mindless movies while an almost endless reservoir or material in the form of books, goes unlooked at. Again, CABLE television is taking the lead and putting into production a tv series based on Frederik Pohl‘s book, Gateway. This is a book that I haven’t read, but one thing that I have felt for a very long time is that there are many, many books in the science fiction realm alone that can be made into either movies or television shows but instead go almost completely ignored. The exception to that statement is The Game of Thrones and now Gateway. But what about other book that I have read, like The West of Eden trilogy by Harry Harrison? And I’m sure that there are many other books that I haven’t read that would be equally as suitable for tv and/or cable television?
More than two years ago now, the Syfy channel canceled one of the best shows, I feel, on TV at the time, Stargate: Universe. Since then, the Syfy channel has partaken in nothing but meaningless drivel in regards to their programming (i.e. Sharknado). Also since that time, Cable television has gone a long way to save the art and quality of the TV age. To see this look no further than The Game of Thrones, Black Sails, The Walking Dead, Vikings, Breaking Bad, and Dexter, just to name a few. However, even with all these shows and the various cable networks that have produced them, the Syfy channel has been left out and produced nothing, or at the very least, very little, in the way of quality programming (in my opinion, anyways). Looking at cables counterpart, Hollywood, we see an endless stream of crap in the form of Superhero movies and, well, more Superhero movies. Again, just my opinion.
I bring this up because this morning I’m reading that the Syfy channel has put in an order for 13 episodes of a zombie show called Z Nation. From the description is sounds pretty good. This is disturbing for me because I love Zombie and post-Apocalyptic themed movies, books and television shows. With the Syfy channel coming out with this new show it has a fifty-fifty chance of being half way decent, but also almost a 100% of the Syfy canceling the show just as it’s getting good, because that’s what they do. Which leaves me with a delima: do I watch or don’t I? Because, more than likely, in the end I’m probably going to be disappointed one way or the other. All I ask from the Syfy channel is that they give this show at least a chance of being successful. Don’t move around the night and time when the show is on, like they did with Stargate: Universe, that is a show killer! Don’t make it stupid! I’m sorry but Sharknado is stupid! Sure everybody was talking about it and a sequel is even being made, but my God man, talk about brainless television. And lastly, when producing this show, don’t behave like the Syfy channel, because, like I have already said, you have a propensity of producing crap or killing shows altogether when they are good, and simply making bad decisions.
Okay, I’m done ranting.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time and place were the late, great Carl Sagan was still alive and the show Cosmos was filling the next generate, such as myself, with ah and wonder. I remember being in middle school and even high school and coming to class only to find out that the teacher was sick. Most of us geered because many thought this meant we could leave. And sometimes that’s exactly what happened. But every once in awhile, instead a TV monitor would be roled in and an episode of Cosmos would be shown instead. Many complained, saying they would rather ditch class and hang-out with friends. I was exactly the opposite and looked forward to watching Carl explain the mysteries of the universe. That journey continued when I read Carl Sagan‘s Contact and I knew that while I may never be an Astronomer or space explorer, I would always wonder and have a keen interest in space and the universe, an interest whose seeds were planted by Carl Sagan and Cosmos.
Last night Neil deGrasse Tyson rebooted the show Cosmos and with it my interest to explore the wonders of the universe. The most touching part was Tyson’s tribute to Sagan where he retold of a story of about the first time he met the late, great scientist and how he treated him – a nobody high school kid from Brooklyn – like he was the center of the universe.
I never got the chance to thank Carl Sagan for the things he taught and showed me – all of us, really – and how he set me on a path to always want to learn and know more. I do, however, I have the chance to say thank you to Neil. Thank you. Thank you for carring the torch and inspiring a whole new generation.