Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Quest for Fun Sci Fi

I took a look at  this a while back:


So that's part of the equation why the Hugos and other recent award winners have been boring as hell. The most important part of this manifesto:

This bonfire of the stupidities includes, but not exclusively:
  • Aliens: especially those aliens who act like feudal Japanese/American Indians/Tibetan Buddhists/Nazis or who look or behave like human beings except for latex.
  • Alien invasions
  • Alien Jesus/enlightened beings
  • Flying Saucers
  • Area 51
  • Any alien who is a vehicle for a human failing or humor
  • Aliens who speak English
  • Devices that can translate any language
  • Radio communication between star systems
  • Traveling between galaxies without relativity effects on a consistent scale
  • Slipping sideways into worlds other than this one where just one thing or all of history is different, only the clothes look a bit better, the hero is more powerful, the drinks are more delicious, and Hitler…
  • Continue at will
That's what I love about Sci Fi, what this movement finds dull or irrelevant, I find to be the bread and butter of what I look for in the genre. Based on those points, these workshop individuals probably found B5 to be out of date or very basic droll entertainment. The fact that people paid money to attend this workshop astounds me.

Hard Sci fi isn't supposed to be infected with the Mundane Manifesto but some of it is. Luckily I have found quite a few series that have ignored this roadmap and went all out on excitement and character arcs. Akin to Interstellar or the Martian.

We also recognize
The harmless fun that these and all the other Stupidities have brought to millions of people.
The harmless fun that burning the Stupidities will bring to millions of people.
The imaginative challenge that awaits any sf author who accepts that this is it: Earth is all we have. What will we do with it?
The chastening but hopefully enlivening effect on imagining a world without fantasy bolt holes: no portals to medieval kingdoms, no spaceships to arrive to save us or whisk us off to Metaluna.
A new focus on human beings: their science, technology, culture, politics, religions, individual characters, needs, dreams, hopes and failings.

What's funny is that most real Hard Sci fi will have a very human focus but also showcase whats great about humanity too. Not just focus on the frack ups like most "modern" sci fi. When I say modern I mean most stuff after 2005 or so. The Boring Rate didn't get really bad until after 2010. Based on how my own reading and recommendations tapered off from Trad Publishing. Besides Baen.

If they are going to call my flavor of science fiction fun Stupidities, then Ill return the favor, the Hive of Lackluster Entertainment.

To produce a collection of mundane science fiction consisting of stories that follow these rules:
  • No interstellar travel – travel is limited to within the solar system and is difficult, time consuming, and expensive
  • No aliens unless the connection is distant, difficult, tenuous, and expensive – and they have no interstellar travel either
  • No Martians, Venusians, etc.
  • No alternative universes or parallel worlds
  • No magic or supernatural elements
  • No time travel or teleportation
These guys really hate the Pulps don't they. To me, that's what will save sci fi. To make future scientists and engineers. To make something like Babylon 5 a reality. You have to engage the children in order to create the future. Forcing kids to read mundane books will kill that passion of reading. I almost lost it to a "Tale of Two Cities" in High School. Thank goodness dad gave me John Carter of Mars.Then he gave me Dune. Goodbye to the mundane. Say hello to the Fantastic and Entertaining.

Hmm, should I put more recommendations in? Why not! Almost done reading more Galaxy Ascendant goodness. Will probably have the review up in the next day or so. Keeping to my promise!

 Read More Space Operas 2020!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Space Opera

I loves me some space opera. Lots of times that will genre blend into military scifi or a bit of cyberpunk here and there but that subgenre is my bread and butter. The cookie that swallows my reading piles.

What really got the space opera bug for me rolling?

"It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where Humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call – home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five-hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5."
– Commander Jeffrey Sinclair 

Thanks dad! Addicted for life! Man, I was only a wee thing when this series started. Got to see it on regular tv: UPN I think? Then to TNT. But we wont talk about TNT for the moment. Plus they loved changing the time slot a whole lot.

As a kid this was my gateway into the wider world of sci fi. So naturally I did my best to find things like it. Luckily for me dad had some books to help fuel that. Like Dune, when I got older. He started me off on Lensmen and LoTR/The Hobbit. The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Read John Carter of Mars when I got older, early high school.

Why I love B5:

  • Kosh is a cat in Vorlon Form
  • It really is a Book on Screen
  • Excellent Worldbuilding
  • Ancient Space Races and Relics
  • Mass Effect should have ripped B5 off more. Esp with how the Shadows/Vorlon War was handled. A good way to solve the Reaper Issue rather then use that fracking Star Kid.
  • Character Arcs and people to care about
  • Politics served the setting. Not the other way around.

The story really did come first. If it happened to make some allegories, then it was natural and not hamfisted. Really love that show. Doing my daily re-watch at the moment. Already on Season 3 again. Sheridan and the rest are about to go through the big crucibles.

So time to show my big favorites of Space Opera:

I hope everyone finds something fun about any of these series. I usually like a balance of character interaction, drama and pew pew "EXPOSIONS!" space battles.

Superhero Lit. Books

I love my comics but I also love seeing super-heroics in the written format too. Plus Ill link some publishers I've found so far that specialize in that arena.

I realize that many writers want to make this a main job. I totally get that. It's just that...well, the amazon tags for paranormal fantasy/urban and the superhero sub tag in fantasy on the website is flooded with things only barely related to those genres.  IMHO.

I have no qualms with people enjoying Lit RPG books or even Harem books but I think both need a sub tag of their own on the Kindle Program. I've been pretty successful at finding Superhero Lit novels so far but I know there must be 100s more buried under the spam of people riding the algorithm of Amazon Bot to get the money they need.

Its a double edged sword. On one hand, providing funds to keep writing but on the other, genre readers and writers like myself have to sift through the sands of unrelated material to find what we are really Indiana Jonesing for.

Me? I want a superhero space opera mashup. SO I'm currently writing that. About 45,000 words in and I've been at it since mid November. Gonna follow the advice of Nick Cole and write the whole series first, then edit, then release. Because I'm a whale of a reader that sucks in whole series at a time. So 2020 is going to be an adventure.

Soon Ill put in some rounds with indie comics and other sci fi comics I love but I figured Id do that in segments. Otherwise this blog would have unending entries!

Here's some of their twitter handles:

  • @MichaelILowell
  • @SilverEmpirePub
  • @LocalHeroPress 
  • @OneLastEcho 
  • @CJCarella
  • @brandedkristen 
  • @BloodyRedBaron
  • @dmrbooks(I love pulp, they print pulp) Plus I figured I give a shoutout b/c they galvanized me to make this blog. WEEEE!

In the Beginning: There was Pew Pew!

When I want to be entertained that's what I'll post. Sci-fi, Pulp, Fantasy, anything that pings on my radar as fun. Might even throw in some movie reviews ever so often. Ill include comics and any other medium that makes sense.

A list of things I find fun:

  • Space Opera
  • Superheros
  • Golden and Silver Age
  • Pew Pew *Of course da Pew pew would be here!
  • Hard Sci Fi because I miss the Space Shuttle Program
  • Old School Pulp Adventures
  • Even some Choose your own Adventures. That was key when I was a kid to get me reading.
  • World Building
  • Table Top, might throw in some R20 misadventures here and there.
  • Gaming, again bring me da Pew Pew. 
  • Favorite Food Recommendations or Discoveries. 
Who knows? Maybe Ill find all sorts of new things to add to my Ringworld sized TBR pile. 

I know for sure, Ill be starting this lovely collection, along with XO Manowar. Because da Pew Pew Train is eternal!