Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Geek a Week

ScalziArtist Len Peralta (of Monsters by Mail fame) has begun a project called Geek a Week: For 52 weeks he’s going to interview a notable geek and then create a trading card with their likeness and “fun facts” about them.

John Scalzi was the most recent geek, providing the secret to his success (“Exploit Your Laziness”), and his trading card is completely wonderful: Front | Back (in particular I love the tattoo on his arm).

Peralta also has a running list of geeks he’d like to “collect,” and says he’d be grateful to anyone who can help put him in contact with them.

(via Whatever)

Posted in Books & Authors March 31st, 2010 by Chip
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Link Dump

Goodnight Forest Moon – “Goodnight Ewoks/and goodnight macrobinocs.”

Calavera Vader – Limited-edition print.

Nerdy “Yo Momma” Jokes – Your momma’s so fat that the probability that she is in an arbitrary point in a room is 1.

Alien vs. Pooh – An odd little Webcomic…thing that’s about just what it sounds like it’s about. I think my favorite panel involves the thing that Tiggers do best.

Monster Squad Remake – Topless Robot sums up my sentiments better than I could.

Popular Science Archive – The entire 137-year-old archive is now online.

Ewoks Playing Poker – And other geeky variations on the “dogs playing poker” paintings.

Neill’s A to Z of Awesomeness – Comic book artist Neill Cameron has been drawing the “Alphabet of Awesomeness” based on suggestions from fans. See Aztecs in Atomic Armour Attacking Anomolous Amphibians and Doctor Who Defeating Doctor Doom in a Deadly Disco Dance-Off.

Posted in Ephemera March 30th, 2010 by Chip
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That’s No Moon…

Death Melon

I’d never run into Death Melons before this one was mentioned on CRAFT, but apparently they’re kind of a thing. Evil Mad Scientist Labs has suggestions for making a less-intricate cantaloupe version, GearFuse has a pumpkin-based Death Star (blowing up a pumpkin Alderaan), and one even makes an appearance in Store Wars:

If you’re looking for a theme for Easter brunch, a Death Watermelon might be just the thing.

Posted in Ephemera March 29th, 2010 by Chip
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Move Beyond the Web

Savage Chickens has a great idea for a high-tech social interface methodology. I’ll be recommending this to our IT staff right away.

Savage Chickens

Posted in Humor March 26th, 2010 by Chip
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Trivia Thursday

  1. This 1963 film involved most of England’s population being blinded by light from a meteor shower and a small unaffected group trying to cope with lethal attacks from 7-foot, mobile vegetables. Name it.
  2. In Jack Chalker’s Well World series, what was the name of the god-like supercomputer?
  3. What was the title of Isaac Asimov’s first published story?
  4. What is known as “Clarke’s First Law?”
  5. This author wrote the vintage late ’60’s – early ’70’s VAMPIRELLA novels, and his ghostwriting shows that he hasn’t strayed far from his pulp tendencies. Who is he?
  6. Mars has received much notice in fact as well as in fiction lately. So here’s a fact-based question: Name the most prominent geographical feature on Mars.
  7. What do the short stories, “The Alien Machine”, “The Cosmic Frame” and “The Racer” all have in common?
  8. This first novel of a Brian W. Aldiss trilogy is about a planet whose sun eccentrically orbits a much brighter star and thus has a “great year” extending over hundreds of generations. Its societies undergo vast changes, interrupted by periodic plagues, and the relationship between humans and the cold-loving phagors also alters dramatically. Name this novel!
  9. Harry Stubbs wrote SF novels under what name?
  10. In what Twilight Zone episode do aliens come to Earth and disrupt a neighborhood’s electrical appliances?

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Ephemera March 25th, 2010 by Chip
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A Movie That Needs to Be

Super Punch recently pointed to this Photoshopping thread on Fark, featuring the theme, “Movie poster for movie that never existed, but should have.” Some of them are kind of awesome, like this rather poignant one for Ender’s Game.

(I also love this one.)

Ender's Game

Posted in Movies & TV March 24th, 2010 by Chip
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Star Wars in Old Norse

Because why not?

Jackson Crawford is a PhD student in Scandinavian Studies, specializing in Old Norse and its descendant languages. He was trying to find a way to sharpen his linguistic skills in a creative way, and when a colleague pointed out how well Star Wars would work as an Icelandic saga a ljósapera went on.

His efforts are being posted at the Tattúínárdœla saga blog, along with an English translation. He’s beginning from Chapter 1 with the story of Anakinn himingangari and his childhood as a slave in Tattúínárdalr. Eventually he’ll become the disciple of Viking Víga-Óbívan, meet Queen Paðéma Rúvísdóttir, and father the twins Lúkr and Leia.

The “familar but somewhat garbled” story and faux-scholarly footnotes remind me a bit of Crichton’s warped retelling of Beowulf in Eaters of the Dead.

Víga-Óbívan commends Leia to the care of a local goði and Lúkr to a man whom he believes to be Anakinn’s brother, but who is probably a disguised Óðinn. Déor speaks of the son of “Anacan” as having been raised by “Owen,” which may suggest that this interpretation is correct, but if this is in fact the name of the god, it is unclear why the form should lack the initial glide of Anglo-Saxon (unless this part of the story originated in the Danelaw; for full discussion of this and other problems of the text in Deor see Nashat 2010).

I also really like the fact that in this version of the story, the character “Jarjari inn heimski” is mentioned only in passing as a local fool slain by Anakinn in a childhood berserker rage. Now that’s quality storytelling.

Posted in Movies & TV March 23rd, 2010 by Chip
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Lost Star Trek Episode Discovered

Posted in Humor March 22nd, 2010 by Chip
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“The Laundry” to be an RPG

Laundry CoverCharles Stross has announced that Cubicle 7 Entertainment is going to to publish a role-playing game based on his Laundry Files series.

The Laundry is a branch of the British secret service, tasked to prevent hideous alien gods from wiping out all life on Earth. Players take the part of Laundry agents, cleaning up the mess after things go wrong or, sometimes, even managing to prevent the manifestation of ultimate evil. Agents have access to the best equipment they can get their superiors to approve, from Basilisk Guns to portable containment grids to a PDA loaded up with Category A countermeasure invocations.

The game will use the Basic Roleplaying System (Call Of Cthulhu) by Chaosium Inc., which makes sense, as the Laundry stuff is kind of Cthulhoid in character. Since Stross has explored online RPG-type games in books such as Halting State, I’m curious how much of a hand he might have had in designing the gameplay as well.

The press release describes the Laundry as a “Lovecraftian spy thriller,” so if you’re a fan of either genre this might be a fun game system to pick up.

(via @wilw)

Cross-posted at The Art of Darkness

Posted in News March 19th, 2010 by Chip
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Trivia Thursday

  1. This 1979 film marks Mel Gibson’s first widely-distributed appearance on the U.S. silver screen. Mel played Max Rockatansky, a policeman in a post-apocalyptic society bent on revenging the deaths of his wife and child at the hands of a renegade motorcycle gang.
  2. This 1963 novel by Clifford D. Simak concerns a Civil War veteran who comes home to the family farm only to discover it’s become a stop for interstellar travelers.
  3. What Federation outpost did V’Ger “zap” at the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture?
  4. Which is not the title of one of John Varley’s trilogy about a literally alien planet?
    A) Titan
    B) Wizard
    C) Dragon
    D) Demon
  5. In this 1960’s movie, fire works against the aliens temporarily, but the real key is salt water, which reduces them to a chlorophyllic pulp.
  6. Hugo nominee The Space Merchants originally appeared in a condensed version in Galaxy Magazine under what title?
  7. In Max Headroom, what is the name of the person whose mind Max is generated from?
  8. In what Olaf Stapledon story does a super-dog have a love affair with the woman who helped raise him?
  9. Which of these comic heroes was not sheltered by monks before becoming a costumed adventurer?
    A) Amazing-Man
    B) Airboy
    C) The Flame
    D) Plastic Man
    E) Black Condor
  10. In the Stanley-Kubrick-by-way-of-Steven-Spielberg movie A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), what mythical being is David searching for?

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in News March 18th, 2010 by Chip
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