Diary of a Network Geek

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

9/20/2013

Pretty SciFi Art

Filed under: Art,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:53 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

No, not mine.

I got nothing this week.
I’m out of creative ideas and pretty much feel like a spent shell casing.
But, I have a good excuse.  In just over a week, I’ll be getting married.  So, this is the last Friday post you’ll see from me for a little bit.  Just kind of how that goes.  Next week, I’ll be busy with family and last minute details for the wedding.  The week after, I plan to be still recovering from the…
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6/21/2013

425 Free eBooks

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Red Herrings,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Wow, what a busy week!

I’m sorry that my weekly post of something fun and free isn’t more than this or more in keeping with a theme for the month, but, well, it’s the best I can do this week.  I’m not absolutely sure that I haven’t used this link before, in fact, but, if I did, I’m sure they’ve since added more material to their site.

This week, I’ve got a link to 425 free ebooks!

They’ve got everything from classics of…
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11/16/2012

Generate Story Ideas

Filed under: Art,Fun,NaNoWriMo,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Are you stuck for ideas?

It may be a little late for those people attempting NaNoWriMo this month, but it’s never too late for the rest of us to come up with some great story ideas.
IO9 gave these as “10 Tips for Generating Killer Science Fiction Story Ideas“, but some of them are just interesting ways to bump up some conflict and aren’t limited to science-fiction at all.  Here’s the short list of them, before I go into details on a couple:

  1. Look at the big unanswered questions
  2. Imagine a new scientific or technological discovery — and then imagine it ruining your life
  3. Take your biggest fear about the future and take it to an extreme
  4. Instead of speculating about science, try sociology or philosophy or theology
  5. Think of an act you would never approve of, then imagine a sympathetic character doing that act
  6. Why can’t you just go and get what you want, in real life?
  7. Get into a fight with a famous science fiction author
  8. State the obvious
  9. Come up with five non-obvious consequences of a technological or scientific breakthrough, and focus on one of them
  10. Think about something you used to believe, and then imagine what if it was true

Now, first, a quick note about Number 7 there.  Don’t go hit a famous author!  What they mean, is decide how wrong one is and write your story to disprove the conclusions they made (*cough* Ayn Rand *cough*).
But, look at that list.  The article on IO9.com is focused on killer science-fiction ideas because they’re a science-fiction website, but, outside of Numbers 2 and 9, really, you could take out the sci-fi element and still have a good story.

Yes, even Number 3, “Take your biggest fear about the future and take it to an extreme” can make compelling fiction in pretty much any genre, including literary fiction, if you handle it right.  And, if you’re stuck, maybe it’s time to try writing outside your normal genre anyway.  I mean, what if that’s the whole problem in the first place, right?

So, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or not, these are great ways to generate ideas for stories.
And, either way, it’s Friday and you’re clearly slacking if you’re reading this, so you might as well click that link up there and have some fun.
Happy weekend and happy writing!

8/31/2012

Own Your Own Mecha

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

A “mecha” or “mech” is a high-tech, man-shaped killer robot suit, popular in science-fiction.

In fact, you may be more familiar with them as “robot armor” or “robot tanks” even, depending on your particular flavor of sci-fi.  For those of us who are, or have been, hardcore Japanese animation junkies, however, they will always be mecha.  And, believe you me, many of the faithful fanboys have dreamed of owning a mecha like this and doing battle with giant, alien invaders just like in [amazon_link id=”B0000639E0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Neon Genisis Evangelon[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B005DTGAQQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Robotech[/amazon_link].  The problem is, of course, no one actually makes these giant battle suits.  Until now….

Now, thanks to the ultra-hard-core Japanese otaku group Suidobashi Heavy Industry, you, too can buy your very own mehca!  (For the low price of $1.3 million.)
So, start saving those nickels, dimes and quarters now!  (And start placing bets on how long before these actually find their way into real combat somewhere!!)

Well, okay, it might be out of my price range, but, it’s Friday, right?  Who can hold a sweet, Friday day-dream against me?
(Seriously, though, check that link, the video there is pretty awesome!)

 

6/29/2012

Writing Science Fiction for the Government

Filed under: Art,Fiction,Fun,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Yeah, it’s kind of a mind-bender, isn’t it?

So, the few regular readers who are left at this sad, old, mostly-neglected blog know that I’m a big fan of science-fiction.  And, when I have time, I read a lot.  Granted, since college I think I read more non-fiction than fiction, but, still, I manage to hammer away at it and more than exceed the national average of three to four books per year.  Also, I tend to think of myself as a bit of an amateur futurist.  By that I mean that I like to look at news stories and speculate on just where that particular trend is headed and what it will mean for us in the future.  As it turns out, the U.S. government has similar leanings.
Now, I’ve heard stories about how they gathered together some great sci-fi authors of the moment to brain storm some alien invasion defense ideas, but, frankly, that’s old hat and, well, kind of boring to me.  I mean, I think the alien invasion thing is kind of played out now, don’t you?  What’s far more interesting to me is a recent story from Wired about science-fiction book pitches to assorted U.S. Government agencies.  Apparently, the government can be more forward thinking than you might imagine from more recent news and a number of agencies have solicited book pitches from science-fiction authors based on the agencies’ area of specialty.  Yes, basically what I’m saying is they were looking for propaganda pieces cleverly disguised as sci-fi novels.
And, shockingly, some of them actually sounded like they might be good.  Imagine, your tax dollars finally put to good use; writing compelling, new science-fiction!

In any case, it’s Friday and you’re bored, so why not go check it out?  You might be surprised by who pitched what to the government!

6/15/2012

Mother of Invention

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:42 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

No, not a real mother.

Maybe, not even a real invention, either!
I think science-fiction has changed a lot.  I don’t mean that it’s different today than it was when I was a kid, though, I think that’s true, too.  No, what I mean is that the intrepid science-fiction authors who have entertained us for so many years have actually changed things with their stories.  One way I think they’ve changed things is via invention.  They’re constantly coming up with crazy, new, almost magical inventions for their stories.  Devices that do things we’d like to be able to do or at least do faster or easier.  Some of these are pretty Earth-shattering, like a personal communication device you can fit in your pocket, and are so incredible that they actually inspire someone to invent them, like the cell phone.  (Okay, yeah, there may not be a direct link between science-fiction and cell phones, but, you have to admit, it existed in sci-fi before we had it in our hand!)
Well, a little site called Technovelgy has put together a timeline of science-fiction inventions.

It’s fun and I think if you look at some of these things, you’ll recognize their modern equivalent.  But, maybe most interesting of all is the stuff that’s been talked about in science-fiction that doesn’t exist… Yet.  So, here’s your chance, you freshly graduated engineers and hopeful inventors, pick something from the list and make it come true!
But, for the rest of us, check out the list and day dream your Friday away.

4/20/2012

Short Fiction Friday

Filed under: Art,Fiction,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:59 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Sadly, not my own.

It’s no secret that I love science-fiction and fantasy.  In fact, once upon a time, I used to write it.  Quite a bit of it, actually.  In fact, at one time, I was writing at what might be considered a professional level.  At least, I would have been published, if the magazine I submitted to hadn’t folded a few days after they received my story.  But, then life intervened and I more or less stopped writing.  All of which is to say, when I tell you, gentle readers, that I’ve found some good science-fiction or fantasy, especially in the short-story format, I have some idea what I’m talking about.

So, since you took the time to read that, you have the time to read these two short stories by some relatively new authors.
First, there’s the ultimate solution to spammers, which I know a number of my regular system admin users wouldn’t mind implementing, Press Enter To Execute.  It’s near-future science-fiction, which, frankly, is getter rarer and rarer as Moore’s Law speeds up our entire world.
Then, in the fantasy category, there’s The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, which is a story from the perspective of some very interesting and complicated social insects.

Neither of these are particularly long, but they’re both worth taking the time to read.
Besides, it’s Friday and you really can’t have anything better to do, especially if you’re reading my blog already.
Y’all have a great weekend!

10/21/2011

Next Sci-Fi Series to Watch

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:51 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Right, so last week, we had a sci-fi book-picker.

This week, it’s a flowchart over at SFSignal designed to help you pick the next science-fiction television series to rent from Netflix.  (Or, wherever, if you dropped Netflix due to all their foolish marketing stuff.)  And, I have to admit, there are several on the flow chart that I haven’t seen yet.  Though, again, if you haven’t seen Firefly or the newest Battlestar Galactica, I’m always in favor of those.

So, go ahead and check it out.  After all, it’s Friday and you don’t have anything better to do than pick out what you’re going to watch this weekend anyway, so jump to it!

10/14/2011

SciFi Book Picker

Filed under: Art,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

It’s not secret I love books.

Frankly, it’s no secret that I love science-fiction books, either.  But, generally, my “To Be Read” pile is so huge I sometimes have a hard time picking which book to read next.  I’ve featured other book pickers in my Friday Fun posts before, but those were all generic.  So, here’s a new one specifically for Sci-Fi books; BestSFBooks

Now, I’ll be honest, it’s not strictly a book picker, per se, but it lists the “Top Ten Books” and the “Top Ten” authors for the current year and previous years as well as listing the newest science-fiction books.  You can also search the site and find out more about books you might be interested in reading to help you decide which to pick.
It’s pretty much brand new, so there’s no telling how good it really is at helping you find new books to read, but I think it’s worth checking out.

Besides, it’s Friday, so what else do you have to do?  (If you use the site, though, please check back here and leave comments about your experience!)

5/13/2011

Cthulhu Sex-Ed

Filed under: Art,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Movies,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:29 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I can think of nothing more appropriate for a Friday the Thirteenth post.

Are you a fan of H.P. Lovecraft?
When I was in Junior High, I found H.P. Lovecraft and read him all the way through High School and even college.  But, because I found him when most people are getting sex ed for the first time, when our bodies are going through enormous, almost supernatural changes, I found this short film, via Boing Boing, called “Late Bloomer” quite funny.  Be warned, it may not be entirely safe for work, depending on your workplace and their standards, but it’s worth watching!

So, happy Friday the 13th!  Enjoy the video and have a very lucky day!

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