Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ring(s) around the genre

Not every item to follow is SF news, but all are recent and (IMO) interesting looks at matters of interest to genre fans. For today's purposes, I'm going with the broadest meaning of SF, speculative fiction rather than my usual focus on science fiction.

Let's begin with a BBC essay, "Can science fiction ever get the science right?" It wraps up by quoting science-fiction author Neal Asher:

"In the end," Asher concludes, "science fiction is not there to make accurate predictions about the future, it is there to entertain and stimulate the imagination. There is absolutely no doubt that many of the imaginations it stimulates belong to scientists. To some extent it drives and directs science."

Not disagreeing with Asher, I'd add that (some) SF also sets out to illuminate implications of  possible futures. That's a good and worthwhile function, too.

Want to broaden your reading? io9 offers us a list of "11 Most Prolific Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors of All Time.

Next up, a Star Wars tidbit ... on DC's National Cathedral, high up, among the grotesques, you can find... Darth Vader.

Alas, if you should visit, Darth is very difficult to spot with the naked eye. Bring binocs.

With Halloween upcoming, you'll want to match your preferences against (from Live Science), "Rankings: America's Favorite Monster Is …"
Zombies didn't made that list. (My guess is people nominate specific creatures, not creature types. If you're into the category vampire you might nominate, for example, Dracula -- but who is the poster child for zombies?) Still, you won't want to miss the slide show for World Zombie day.

And with Halloween almost upon us, it is already (sigh) the Xmas et. al. shopping season. For your likeminded friends (and yourself), you'll want to consider "Funny Science T-Shirts a Nerd Will Love." My favorite tee is nearby.

Finally, from Gamer's Guide (Kotaku.com), you must check out "Every Sci-Fi Starship Ever*, In One Mindblowing Comparison Chart." It's got starships by the dozens, some huge ones among them.

Somehow, though, DeviantARTist Dirk Loechel omitted the biggest ships of all. What the three striking omissions have in common is the wild imagination of my colleague Larry Niven. In order of size, from smallest to largest, I give you some truly impressive starships ...

by Larry Niven and Yours Truly
The Fleet of Worlds ... a formation of entire Earth-sized worlds (the number varying over the fleet's history) hurtling through space at relativistic speeds.

Ringworld ... a ring a million miles wide and 600 million miles around. In the interest of minimizing spoilers, I'll say only that far enough into the series, it does travel.

Bowl of Heaven ... a hemisphere 100s of millions of miles in diameter using its star as an engine.

by Larry Niven

by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven

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