Posts Tagged ‘Robert Heinlein’

Starship Troopers: Invasion

September 24, 2012 2 comments

Starship Troopers: Invasion is not half bad.  It is basically a reboot of the movie, at least as far as I can gather. I do like the CGI, which is always better when its moving rather than still.

Casper Van Dien is a producer on it, guess he has an affection for Starship Troopers. He does not however voice General Johnny Rico, like I said, it’s a reboot and I am not sure how it fits into the whole continuity of the franchise.

Funny thing, when I picture my character, Oberon zu Kreis, he looks like an older, war scarred Casper Van Dien, and oddly enough how they designed Johnny Rico here is pretty close to that, though Oberon is blond, but the scars, and eyepatch are all Oberon!

Three Books That Left An Impression

March 25, 2012 4 comments
Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune, by Frank Herbert (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Or, three of my favorite books. Whatever title serves you best.

1. DUNE by Frank Herbert. This novel, more than any other has had a direct influence upon my writing style. It’s a book which I find myself going back and rereading over, and over. I find it poetic, and the world Frank Herbert created engaging. Not only Arrakis but the whole of the Imperium.

2. Shogun by James Clavell. I like thick books! A sweeping romance which also helped me become interested in Japanese culture. Also its one of those books which I internalized and am pretty sure you can see fingerprints of it on my own writing style. I do know at least one of my characters owes their existence to this book.

3. Stranger In a  Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. A book which made me go, “Wait! You can do that?”. Whenever I am considering pulling back a bit on some of my metaphysics, I flip to this books ending, and remind myself its A-OK to include  the stuff I do.

Honorable mentions. The three books above I read when I was young, around 9-12ish. This book I’ve read recently within the last few years, and its style also did have some impact on my own, as well as it helped me realize that my own writing sort of fits into this series category, that of Scifi-Romance.

Skyfall by Catherine Asaro. I picked this up in a dollar bin, found it an easy read and completely fell in love with Roca Skolia who reminded me in some ways of Frederika/Arshira from my Falcanian Legacy Series.

Is It A Science Fiction Writers Job To Be A Visionary?

February 28, 2012 6 comments
English: This image is a reproduction of an or...

Image via Wikipedia

Neal Stephenson seems to think so… 

Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place. A good SF universe has a coherence and internal logic that makes sense to scientists and engineers. Examples include Isaac Asimov‘s robots, Robert Heinlein‘s rocket ships, and William Gibson’s cyberspace. As Jim Karkanias of Microsoft Research puts it, such icons serve as hieroglyphs-simple, recognizable symbols on whose significance everyone agrees.

Researchers and engineers have found themselves concentrating on more and more narrowly focused topics as science and technology have become more complex. A large technology company or lab might employ hundreds or thousands of persons, each of whom can address only a thin slice of the overall problem. Communication among them can become a mare’s nest of email threads and Powerpoints. The fondness that many such people have for SF reflects, in part, the usefulness of an over-arching narrative that supplies them and their colleagues with a shared vision. Coordinating their efforts through a command-and-control management system is a little like trying to run a modern economy out of a Politburo. Letting them work toward an agreed-on goal is something more like a free and largely self-coordinated market of ideas.That’s fine and all. And I’m all for science fiction writers providing us with a positive version of both humanity and the world in which we inhabit… 

That’s all fine and good, and everything. I’m  all for depicting humanity, as well as its technological abilities in a positive manner, I try to show in my own work that humans hold great potential and that they need to strive for that “Shining City” which is their inheritance as sapient beings. That’s the whole reason I created the Morningstars, and Falcanians.

But really, is not a Science Fictions writers first purpose to entertain? I don’t think the responsibility for the worlds lack of innovation should be placed on science fictions writers, moreover, I’m thinking that Mr. Stephenson is suffering from a case of seeing a problem where there really is not one.

The world keeps on turning, and shall continue to do so, I don’t think it requires Science Fiction writers to guide it. There’s just a bit of elitism, and maybe longing for a technocracy going on here…

This sort of thinking places science fiction, as well as those who make it way up on an undeserved pedestal. Really, its bad enough that the sci-fi community often as a whole thinks way too highly of its intellectual capacity, because of the feedback loop which many parts of fandom live in, said thinking about sci-fi fans “super intellects” only gets wrongly reinforced. I’ve interacted with fandom for a decent enough time to learn that many so-called smart sci-fi fans – aren’t nearly as brilliant as they like to think of themselves as being. And I also see leaders of the community, such as writers try to push that same propaganda, usually with an ulterior goal or agenda in mind.

Make no mistake, group think is alive in well among Science Fiction fans. Kind of the same way it is among the writing community, as well as Neo-Paganism… often the group think extends toward matters which have little as to why such communities come together and extends into issues of politics or religion.

No really, it’s not a science fiction writers job to layout a road map for the future. Yes its true people read or watch sci-fi and it spurs them on to do other things. All of that is good, but I really think there is a danger when a writer wants to first and foremost be a visionary, rather than simply just a good storyteller. If what you write about provides a springboard for someone else that’s great, but it should be way down the list of why you’re even telling stories.