Search Results for: sf

Speaking of SF

I have a totally bomb-ass mystery hunt plot idea. I have already shared it on my team's mailing list - somewhat ill-advised, since by the time IIF wins some of our current team is statistically likely to have migrated to other teams. On the other hand, any actual implementation of the idea will almost certainly end up looking quite different. (Julia and I have already been chatting about interesting variations.)

I'll just say that it's high time for another SF-themed hunt. ACME (containing, at the time, the core of today's IIF) did a bang-up Matrix hunt in 2003, and 2005 had a light-hearted superhero hunt. I really wanna help put one together in 2010!

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Astronauts report it feels good

There is a Star Trek movie teaser trailer coming out. I'm too lazy to link to it because it's basically nothing, just enough to confirm that the film's in production, and to signal the fanboys to commence the freakout. (Its audio is samples of Apollo mission radio chatter that you can hear in any dime-store trance mix, for pete's sake. OK, and Nimoy. All right, fine: here. Sheesh.)

If JJ Abrams can tell an entire SF story that has a satisfying ending in the length of a single feature film, all shall be forgiven. Until then, I'm skeptical.

Meanwhile I find myself really out of touch regarding movies. I saw a friend complaining in an IM status message that someone named Cloverfield made her feel sick, figuring it was a co-worker who should have stayed home.

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Christmas break

I'll be offline for a day or two while I make my annual Christmas visit to my 1960s-tech-level family in Fairfield, Maine. They are like unto a museum exhibit, a living piece of history. This is why I tolerate their ceaseless yet period-appropriate racist and panaphobic speech, which would make any of my bleeding-heart friends' hair turn white upon exposure.

I will attempt to lighten my visit by bringing games. Ricky enjoys playing Memoir 44, but last year's attempt to play it with him ended prematurely and poorly, as he used its theme (WWII) to start ranting about the WoT. So I am steering clear of militaristic subjects this time, and opting to bring Bohnanza, which I haven't played in ages and my family might actually both understand and like. Ricky, if he plays, will play according to however the UFOs tell him to, but the game supports this strategy.

All that said, my Zipcar reservation lasts only 48 hours, so I am guaranteed an out before things get too twitchy. I also made a late-night run to the Harvard Bookstore to pick up the second collection of the Brust saga, so I won't go insane from boredom from lack of internets.

I wish a most Merry Christmas to those who desire one!

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Starting to read Brust

I am now two books into the Brust canon, having finished Yendi last night. It's a good time, and not what I was expecting. (What I was expecting was unfavorably set by the front cover copy on my ancient Jhereg paperback - "A young man bound for adventure needs a faithful reptile companion!" Which makes it sound like a YA quest-type story. Which it isn't. (It might still count as YA, but I am doubtful.) )

Was Jhereg written as a winking reaction to Dungeons and Dragons? The author perhaps challenging himself to write a coherent story set in a world that seems to operate under D&D-like rules?

I mean, here we have a faux-medieval-euro-world where it's no big deal to suffer an untimely death, so long as your friends or family have access to a sufficiently high-level wizard and you don't totally blow your dice rolls on your way back. And characters conduct long-distance psionic communication with not just the ease but the conversational manner of cell phones, asking each other what's for dinner and such.

But it goes beyond simple parody by then starting to follow through with societal implications for this stuff. The main character is an assassin, a job suddenly fraught with unusual complications in a place where death is often non-fatal. Here is a world where, if you want to send a "stay out of the west side" message to someone, you kill them. This is actually hilarious.

And on top of all this, the protagonist and all his friends each have what some of my friends would call a PC glow that basically lets them hew effortlessly through most any physically dangerous situation, particularly fighty ones, but that's as much an artifact of adventure fiction as it is role-playing games.

I found it a fast and goofy read. Yendi I had to struggle with a bit more, since the first act feels like looking over someone's shoulder while they play Fantasy Underworld Tycoon on their computer. Reading a turn-by-turn account of how Vlad acquired new resources and moved his existing ones around the map made me want to play the game too, but it wasn't otherwise all that interesting. It got better once the plot finally kicked in.

Looking forward to starting Teckla soon.

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What I'm watching on TV.

Pushing Daisies joins Battlestar Galactica as an SF show (though we're talking very different flavors of SF) that I avoided because the premise sounded lame, but eventually peeked at from the insistence of friends, and then discovered I loved. I love this show! Amy and I have been watching it via the intertubes and we laugh and cry, it's so good.

It's fun to think of it as another story taking place in the same universe as the film Edward Scissorhands, everything hypercolorful with a macabre sheen. (And there's the same leitmotif of romantic frustration in both stories, stemming from two lovers being unable to touch.)

I'm eagerly awaiting BSG's fourth and final season, accepting whatever delays the WGA strike must add to my wait. Thankful that Razor was able to get done before the picket lines went up, at least.

Finally, Amy's drawn me into watching Jeopardy! again. I used to watch it every day after school in the 1980s, and I can't say I've seen in much since. The dollar values have all doubled but otherwise it's the same show, and even Trebek looks and sounds the same, though he's lost the 'stache. (Which is just as well.) He's also gotten a bit goofier, in a good way. In one recent example, when nobody guessed What is a ferret?, he illustrated it by pantomiming a little animal running up his forearm, saying "meep meep meep!" I had to hit the TiVo's instant-replay button a couple of times to fully appreciate this.

I was shocked to learn that Alex had a heart attack yesterday, but apparently he is OK. And he looks so healthy on TV! There is a lesson in this.

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