Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/5/2019

Free Short Speculative Fiction

Filed under: Fun,The Infinite Library — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I love free and I love speculative fiction.
This week, I have both for you.

One of, if not THE, premier publisher of fantasy and science fiction currently, is TOR. Their excellent website, TOR.com, is a treasure trove of reviews, publishing announcements, essays, and, as you might have guessed, short fiction. It’s free, too, though that’s not always a given on any website these days. And, this week, I wanted to highlight an author who I somehow have not read much of yet; Michael Swanwick. I’ve read some of his excellent reviews and interviews of other authors, mostly via LOCUS, but, from Internet Science Fiction Database profile, he’s far more prolific than I’d realized! And that’s great news because the stories I’ve read from his Mongolian Wizard series are fantastic! They’ve got a very good steampunk feel to them, but in very much an original setting, while still, somehow, remaining so very familiar and comfortable that the reader just slips right into the most delightful suspension of disbelief that we hardly notice. They’re little miracles and a brilliant demonstration of short-form speculative fiction.
Go read them! All of them! Right now!

Then come back next week and see what I have for you next!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words, where I hope to write fiction one day as well.

6/14/2019

Starship Troopers Bugs Explained

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I love Starship Troopers, the movie!

I’ve read plenty of science fiction, including a lot of the classics. And, yes, I have read Robert Heinlein’s book, Starship Troopers, and, yes, I did actually enjoy it, even with it’s absolutely not ironic depiction of militarism and authoritarianism. But, honestly, the Paul Verhoeven movie is genius. Taken at face value, it’s a gorgeous, low-budget, sci-fi, military action movie. At that level, it’s fun and huge and really kind of great. But, there’s a deeper level that makes it even better, in my opinion. A saterization of our hyper-patriotic propaganda that recent political trends have weaponized make this movie even better. It’s great.
But, it’s also a pretty detailed exercise in world-building and goes beyond even what Heinlein managed in his book. Granted, I think the “arachnids” are more metaphorical than they are realistic aliens. They’re certainly at least fairly consistent in their depiction. But, don’t believe me, instead, take a look at this video from Offworld titled The Science of Starship Troopers’ Space Bugs. Actual scientists take a close, critical look at these creations. And it takes nothing at all away from my enjoyment of the movie! Nothing!
It’s also a fun way to waste about 30 minutes of your Friday. So, there’s that.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

5/25/2018

Pulp Archive

Filed under: Art,The Infinite Library — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Pulp is the perfect flavor of fiction for holiday weekend.

Yes, I know, Memorial Day is about honoring those who died to preserve our freedoms. Of course, I would never want to lose sight of that. But, it’s also a day off for most of us and I know, personally, I need an extra day off to unwind a bit. I know my stress is nothing like our military faces in combat theatres, but it is still stress and I do still feel it. My favorite way of escaping that stress is to read. Mostly the least-common-denominator of fiction. And, let me tell you, pulp fiction is the most “empty calorie” fiction imaginable. That’s why I was thrilled to see that Archive.org had shared their Pulp Magazine Archive. It’s all free and downloadable as PDF, straight text or either of the popular ebook formats; epub or mobi. And, it’s not just science-fiction! There’s plenty of detective fiction and movie magazines and more! Just the thing to distract you from the world for a few minutes.

And, also, take a break from your life for a couple minutes on Monday to consider those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can complain about our politicians and taxes.

 

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

4/20/2018

Hyperlight

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

A short film about a classic sci-fi problem.

It’s another Friday, and, as usual, my poor, little brain has been cooked pretty well this week. If you’re feeling the same way, we’re both in luck because I have the perfect 20 minute distraction from your week. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this very well done science-fiction short takes a fresh look at a classic paradox. The production values are high, as are the stakes. It’s thoroughly engaging and doesn’t talk down to the hard-core, old-school fans of science-fiction. If that sounds like a great way to take a break today, check out Hyperlight by Nguyen-Anh Nguyen on Vimeo via IO9.com.

And, hopefully, you’ll come back next week for something else cool for your Friday afternoon!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

3/30/2018

Prospect

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

A brilliant sci-fi short film.

You all know how I love free stuff and that I love science-fiction. This is both. And, it’s a film which debuted just recently at South by Southwest in Austin. It’s about prospectors on an alien planet, though exactly what they’re prospecting for is somewhat questionable. The risks they’re taking, however, are not questionable. Like all good science-fiction, Prospect explains nothing and just jumps right in and immerses you in the world the filmmakers have created.
It’s fun, definitely worth checking out and, frankly, if you’re reading my blog on a Friday, you don’t have anything better to do anyway.

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words by J K Hoffman.

7/28/2017

“Good Business”

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I love science fiction film.

Or videos. Or books. Pretty much anything science fiction related is worth a look from me.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a science fiction author. Not just a writer, but an author, which, to me, implies publication. I wanted to scifi’s answer to Ernest Hemingway. Instead, I became a professional computer geek and a consumer of science fiction in all its forms. Well, you win some and you lose some. At least I have that business degree to fall back on, right?

Anyway, that’s enough about my broken dreams for a Friday. How about a look at a scifi short, instead? That’s what I have for you this week, readers, via Boing Boing it’s a short titled Good Business, about an arms deal in the future that, frankly, goes about the way I sort of suspect every arms deal goes or has gone ever. But this one’s with aliens and pretty good special effects. And, it’s only about five minutes long, so you can sneak it in on a Friday while you’re pretending to work.

Have a great weekend and follow your dreams!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

5/20/2016

Science Fiction Short Films

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Also, they’re free.

In 2015, Sploid, a sub-site of Gizmodo, had a short film festival. Just to be clear, that’s a festival of short films. There were 21 films, many of which include some actors you may recognize. All the films were creative and, frankly, pretty amazing.
And, let’s face it, it’s Friday and you’re reading this blog, which means you weren’t doing any actual work anyway, so you might as well head over to YouTube and watch all of them. They are, after all, short films, so it won’t take too terribly long.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this week, because I’ve been a bit sick and didn’t have a chance to get anything better together.
But, I think this will be good enough.
Enjoy, and I’ll see you back here next week!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

11/14/2014

Genre Writing Rules

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,NaNoWriMo — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

First of all, there are no rules.

No, seriously, this is fiction we’re talking about here, so the rules are what you make them.  At this point, pretty much every “rule” you can think of when it comes to writing fiction has been broken.  For instance, when I was more dedicated to the craft (ie. fresh out of high school), I read a book titled Mister Johnson, which was written in the present tense.  Generally, that’s a “no no” in fiction,…
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3/21/2014

Fast Fiction

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

In this case, really fast.

I’ll be honest, I’m not normally a huge fan of gimmicky flash fiction, but I do make exceptions.
The basic idea is to write a story with the fewest number of words possible.  According to literary legend, Ernest Hemingway did it with just six words; “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn”.  That was allegedly to win a bet with Ezra Pound, as I recall.  In any case, it’s still a gimmick and one that’s gotten a little…
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11/15/2013

Turkey City Lexicon

Filed under: Art,Fun,NaNoWriMo,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

The infamous science-fiction workshop lexicon of “things to not do”.

Over the years, so much has been written about what to do and what NOT to do in fiction that it’s a little overwhelming sometimes.
Personally, when I write, I’m almost always trying to write fantasy or science-fiction, or what is sometimes referred to as “speculative fiction”.  On the surface, that seems easier, since, essentially, a writer can make up virtually every and any aspect of their fictional universe, but, good speculative…
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