Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Must be about time for another drabble! Dig deep within your brain for your own 100 word story, and tag it with “friday drabble”.  Share by linking to it in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble. Happy Drabbling!


 

They say you can’t go home again.

They’re wrong.

In fact, with that D-Hopper you’re holding there, sliding through dimensions is as easy as falling off a log. Easier even, given how hard it would be to find a— no, strike that. You still have trees, here.

I could go home at any time. Back to the thick, choking air, noxious and burning in your lungs. Back to the toxic swamps under blood red skies. Back to the cancer that awaits, creeping inside you with every breath.

Yes, I can go home again. But why would I ever want to?

Fridays are the days I post one or two “drabble“, the 100-word stories that test your ability to convey an entire story idea in an extremely brief format.  Feel free to join in and write your own 100 word stories on Fridays, and tag them with “friday drabble”.  Link to them in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

ALSO! Some of the drabble I am writing are part of the 100 Word Stories Podcast Weekly Challenge! Because of this, I will also post an audio recording of my reading of any challenge submissions.  Hope you enjoy!


My Summer Vacation

My Summer Vacation
by Billy Jenkins

My summer vacation was neat. All 20 of my aunts and uncles came to stay with us. They were mad because they couldn’t live in their houses nomore. Uncle Steve said “Those goshdarn aliens should be shot back into space where they came from”. Momma told him “Hush”. Aunt Verna wanted to stay with us when everyone else caught the shuttle to New Montana, but she ended up going anyway. Mom and Dad and Janey went too, so now it’s just me and Xyzzybrax*CK living at my house. That’s ok with me.

The End

Ancestor by Scott Sigler
Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Scott Sigler's writing style reminds me of a cross between Stephen King's and Michael Crichton's.  Sigler has a grasp on modern science and technology, and uses it to invest the reader emotionally in the well-being of his stories' characters, creating gripping tales that leave you wanting to read "just one more page" all the way until the end of the book.

Ancestor, one of Sigler's earlier works, definitely feels a little less polished than some of his later books (e.g. Infected).  For a book whose main premise is supposed to be about primordial, ravenous monsters, the "ancestors" don't really show up until about 2/3 of the way through the story.  However, Sigler spends this time weaving a web of plot, characters, and settings that play out beautifully once the savage killing-spree begins.

Overall, this is a really engaging story with just enough science to make things seem plausible without going overboard and making most non-biochemistry students' eyes glaze over.  It showcases the potential perils of genetic engineering WITHOUT preaching them, and ties it into a plot with decent characterization, engaging the reader and keeping him/her on edge right up until the last page.

Note: This review refers to the eBook version released by Scott Sigler and Dragon Moon Press in March 2007.

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Rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this novel.  This is one of those rare few young-adult novels that adults will be able to read, appreciate, and enjoy as much as its "intended audience".  Like Heinlein's "juveniles", just because The House of the Scorpion's main character is a juvenile doesn't mean the writing, plot, and characterization have to be second-rate.

This book paints a very interesting picture of a quasi-future where Mexico and the US have made "The Devil's Pact"; they have turned over a tract of land between the two nations to a group of drug-lords known as the "Farmers" who grow and harvest poppies for opium in return for curbing all illegal immigration between the two surrounding countries.  In the 100 years of their existence, the Farmers have created a civilization of their own, rich and isolated and abusive of its workers, most of whom have computer chips implanted in their brains that turn them into "eejits", or zombie-like workers who won't even take a drink of water without being told to do so.

The main character is a young boy who is a clone, but a very special one: he is the clone and heir-apparent of El Patron, the despotic dictator of the country of Opium.  And as he grows and begins to learn about what makes him different from all the servants and other clones in this repressed land, the household cook Celia (his adoptive mother) and El Patron's most trusted and faithful bodyguard, Tam Lin, help him discover some shocking truths about himself and the world into which he has been delivered.
 
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From PJStar:

Science fiction author Philip Jose Farmer died this morning at his home. He was 91.

The Peoria-based writer had written more than 75 books and was awarded the top honors in his field. That includes the Grand Master Award for Science Fiction in 2001, an award also given to noted authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein.

I "discovered" Philip Jose Farmer when my I was a kid – my father owned or gave me a copy of the first book of his Riverworld series To Your Scattered Bodies Go, and I remember really enjoying it, even though there was no way I was mature enough at that time to comprehend much more than the main plot of the book.  Any novel whose scope is so great that it includes all 36,006,009,637 people ever born on earth (from to origin members of homo sapiens through the early 21st century) is sure to make a lasting impression that stays with you.  My father told me that he read all of the Riverworld series and some of the other Farmer novels, and I planned to follow suit. 

Somewhere along the way I couldn't find any more books by Philip Jose Farmer at the library and forgot about searching for them until my interest was rekindled this month when I began to re-read the Riverworld series all over again (as you'll see from my GoodReads profile, if you're following me there).  Although the series does have some minor issues, it's as awe-inspiring now as the first time I read the novels.  Maybe even more so as I'm catching philosophical, theological, and historical references that totally blew by me when I was younger.

The world has lost a great author today, and is a little bit darker for it.  Farmer was one of those great authors whose works I could read over and over again.  There's a lot of his novels I haven't yet read, but now each one that I pick up will remind me of the passing of a writer who had such a strong influence in developing my love for reading in general, and sci-fi in particular.

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I posted this on my tumblr this morning but figured I'd get a better response over here.   Plus it's been ages since I've posted here, and the white space of the compose window is throwing up a writer's block right now…

More things promised to us “in the future” that haven’t showed up (yet):

  • Flying cars
  • The Thunderdome
  • Daily depilatory cream (i.e. Nair for beards w/ no side effects)
  • Hoverboards
  • Toilets/bathrooms that clean themselves
  • Soylent Green
  • An end to disease, ignorance, and poverty
  • Replicants
  • Big Brother
  • Holographic advertisements
  • Multipasses
  • Human-embedded computers (w/ brain interface)
  • Teleportation / matter transmission
  • Lunar / Mars Colonies

Others you’d like to add to the list?

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Variable Star
Robert A. Heinlein & Spider Robinson

Hold the phones, stop the presses – Robert Heinlein is writing new novels from beyond the grave!

Well, technically, it's a collaboration, but Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson reads like a Heinlein novel, and delivers everything you could want from a book written by two of the greatest writers of modern science fiction.

Set in the not-too-distant future, just a little while past Heinlein's Crazy Years period, the protagonist is a young musician (saxophone) and composer named Joel Johnston.  Joel's pride and stubbornness (and a whirlwind series of events) cause him to book passage on a colony ship destined to become the Earth's 20th colony, on a planet 85 light-years away from everything he held near and dear to his heart.  The novel is as much about humanity, kindness, love, music, and hope as it is about the Joel's experiences on his voyage to the stars.

The novel feels like a Heinlein juvenile, and for good reason.  During the period that Robert A. Heinlein was writing his juveniles, he put together a very dense-but-unfinished outline of eight typed pages and fourteen 3×5" index cards of extensive handwritten notes about Variable Star.  And then, for some reason, he never wrote the novel and instead put them in a desk drawer, where they sat undiscovered until members representing his estate went through all of his works, and in 2003 asked Spider Robinson to turn the outline into a full novel.

Spider Robinson, first called "the new Robert Heinlein" by the New York Times Book Review in 1982, eagerly accepted the challenge to turn the outline into a novel that would make the Grand Master proud.  He managed to follow faithfully in the classic model of a Heinlein Space Opera, complete with RAH's own trademark phrases and quips.  Yet Robinson also poured his own life and soul into the story, bringing about a depth to the characters and scenes that only Spider Robinson could dream up.  Although he restrained himself somewhat compared to other of his novels (like his Callahan series), Robinson still managed to sprinkle a liberal dose of puns throughout the story – but rarely, if ever, do they appear to be puns for punning's sake.

Readers should be aware that Robinson does bring a bit of the contemporary to the stereotypical '50s style of Heinlein's earlier works.  There are some references to sex & drugs, and some minor profanity that you wouldn't expect if the novel was solely authored by Heinlein.  However, these are not very graphic at all, and I would say the book is a safe read for anyone 13 years and older.

This book is a fantastic read that kept me up way too late for many nights in a row until I devoured it from cover to cover.  As a long-time fan of both authors, I could not think of a more enjoyable story to cap off Heinlein's long writing career.  This is a definite must-read for anyone who is a fan of Robert A. Heinlein's books, and fans of one of Heinlein's greatest students will not be disappointed with Spider Robinson's latest creation, either.

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