With the New Horizons space probe making it’s flyby of Pluto, it’s interesting to note that everything we thought we new about the planet is quickly being re-thought. For example, many suspected that Pluto was like the Moon or other dwarf and/or minor planets, in that it was grey and pock marked by craters, but had little else in the way of “character” that the real planets do. But as we get closer, and learn more, we see that this is far from the truth. Pluto is red…ish, not grey like the Moon. And far from being riddle with impact craters, Pluto has what appeared to be sand dunes(?), just like Mars, the largest of which is in the shape of a heart. There are also hints that Pluto may have at one time had an active geology, but still there is a lot to learn and interpret about the dwarf Planet. This is all kind of fitting since I just started reading The Martian, which is soon to be hitting theaters in movie form this October. Maybe some day somebody will right a book about going to and exploring Pluto?
Even though Pluto has been downgraded from planet to dwarf planet, Pluto has nothing but love for the New Horizons space probe as it makes its flyby.
I’ve been a fan of Ben Bova since I was in High School and have read many of his books including Mars and Jupiter, but it’s been a while since I have read any other of his works. I decided to jump back Bova‘s Grand Tour series after reading the description for the Farside novel. I’m three quarters of the way through the book of the story that follower a group of scientists trying to build a large telescope on the far side of the Moon in order to get the first images of a Earth-like planet discovered around a distant star and the challenges that are standing in the way of them accomplishing their goal. One thing that I love about Bova‘s works is that his stories are easy to read, as well as well written and thought out. Farside may not be as good as Mars was all those years ago, but I am enjoying what I have read so far. I am also looking forward to reading New Earth, Titan, Saturn, and Venus at some point in the future.
More details are being learned about that 2018 movie in pre-production. It is now know that this film will be a anthology film based around the Han Solo character. What’s interesting about this is that means that in the next four years we will see three new Star Wars films. Furthermore, if you go to the Star Wars Wikipedia page there is a hint that a film anthology centered around Boba Fett’s character is also in the works.
Looking back at just the previous year in space exploration and news, it is amazing how far we have come. In the past year we have landed a probe on a comet and now we are about to get the first look at Pluto, a planet that everybody knows exists but has thus far been nothing more than a distant planet with unknown features and geology (and I don’t care who disagrees with me, Pluto is still a planet in my mind). But having said that, it baffles me how far we could have been but aren’t. Forty-six year ago we landed a man on the Moon, and while I was still almost a decade away from being born at that point, I think many felt that it was only a matter of time before he had Moon bases, and/or permanent humans settles on either the Moon or in space, and, who knows, maybe even a man expedition to Mars. Looking back, almost half a century later, almost none of that has happened. So really, should we be amazed by how far we have come, or should we be amazed by far we could have been if we applied ourselves properly? Or maybe we should be amazed by how far we still have yet to go?
I almost wrote this entry several weeks ago, but life happened…you know how it goes. But what I wanted to address was Game of Thrones and more specifically, the Unbowed, unbent, and unbroken episode. Most already know, that this was the episode where Sansa Stark marries and is later raped by Ramsey Bolton. Now, it shouldn’t have to be said, but for the sake of argument I will say it here: rape is never a good thing. Luckily for us, Game of Throne is a fictitious show and not real. Kind of sad, but I shouldn’t have to point that out either, and yet here I am doing exactly that. And yet, after the episode aired many took to social media claiming that they were never watching the show again and how Sansa‘s rape in no way added to the plot of the character nor the storyline. As for me, I love the show and will continue to watch as I saw nothing wrong with the episode in question or any other episodes. You see, people often forget that television is not only about entertainment, it is also about exploring and bringing to light aspects of our society that we feel need to be addressed, talked about, explored and in general, torn apart in order to gain a better understanding of it. I’m not saying that is what happened here, but rape has been a buzz word in the media lately – especially in the last election – so it is not out of the realm of possibility that this is what was going on. Secondly, we don’t know that this horrible act didn’t add anything to the character, that will be determined later on down the line as the show continues and the character grows. And lastly, the books, in George R. R. Martins own words, “[R]eflect a patriarchal society based on the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages were not a time of sexual egalitarianism. It was very classist, dividing people into three classes. And they had strong ideas about the roles of women.” In his books Martin has made several of the main characters women, giving them a tremendous amount of influence power in the goings-on of the story. That’s saying a lot since many women in history had tremendous sway and power in their day – the Mistress Diane De Poitiers of Henry II, comes to mind – but many of them only had that power behind the scenes and through a man, they rarely had the opportunity to get up and speak their mind. So in that sense, while Martin, I believe, is trying to mesh together a little history in his fiction, the role of women in his books aren’t historically accurate. They have power, they’re outspoken, and they openly challenge the men that get in their way. Lastly, for the second time, there is plenty of violence against men in this show as well. Jamie gets his hand cut off; Joffrey is poisoned; many other men were burned to death at the hands of Stannis, and yet I have said nothing about that. Why? Because it’s fiction. Now if the producers of the show had created a scene where Sansa was raped and they tried to make the scene lighthearted or comical, I might have had a problem with that, but everything in that one scene shouted this is bad, even the music was somber.
As for me, I have continued to watch the show and love it as much today as I did when I started watching it. And, I plan on buying this latest season on blu-ray when it comes out.
Everybody is excited about the new Star Wars film, and despite my criticism about how Disney is handling the franchise, I must say that the film does look pretty awesome. Which is why I’m surprised to learn that a year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters is released, Disney will release a spin-off movie entitled Star Wars: Rogue One. This film is said to be a prequal of Star Wars: A New Hope, but other than that, details are few and far between. Oh, but wait, there’s more! A third movie it seems is in the works, although nothing is known about it except that it will be directed by Josh Trank and is scheduled for release in theaters in 2018.
And if you’re a gamer of Star Wars games, get ready by Star Wars: Battlefront being released this November. It would appear that this game is the third installment in the Battlefront series but why they named it Battlefront (which already exists as a game) instead of Battlefront III is unknown. Whatever the reason, as a huge Star Wars: Battlefront fan I’ve been looking forward to this game for a long time.
What I would really like to do is get Jar Jar Abrams and the heads of Disney Corporation in a small room and tell them what worthless pieces of Bantha Fodder they are. Yeah, then I would like to tell them where they can shove their new movie. For real Star Wars fans, you know that the events that took place after Return of the Jedi and even before The Phantom Menace, and even everywhere in between, have all been scribbled out in details in numerous books, comics and even television series. But apparently the powers that be at Disney are considering that massive body of work null-and-void as they plan on re-writting the entire Star Wars universe. I took this to even mean Timothy Zahn‘s Heir to the Empire trilogy, which I have a special place for in my heart. So just so everybody knows there will now be two Star Wars universes – the real one that has been their since the beginning, and the new one that Jar Jar Adrams and his cronies wrote. But I’m not bitter.
So everybody got excited last month when Sony announced that they were making new Ghostbusters movie that in part was going to star Melissa McCarthy, and as far as I know that is still in the works. But now I am also hearing rumors that Sony is looking to make a second Ghostbusters movie, however, this one is going to star Crhis Pratt and Channing Tatum. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that don’t believe anything until you actually have a theater release date. God knows that I have heard about some book being made into movies/tv shows that have yet to bare fruits, and probably never will. Still, it sounds like a good idea and I look forward to see what comes of it. Besides, any break from the Bahzillion comic book movies that are supposed to be coming out this coming year will be a welcome change.