There have been good science fiction movies and TV shows going at least back to Metropolis. Of course, there is always Sturgeon’s Law, so we’ve also had ten times as many that were bad in one way or another. A few were memorably awful; a few are remembered as classics.
When it comes to fantastical material, I’m convinced books are best. Animation is a distant second, and live action can often be a mistake, depending on the material. Too much realism in visualizing the fantastic collapses the wavefunction of our imagination.
But our imagination is the best part, and it needs exercise!
8 Comments | tags: Aldous Huxley, Discworld, Idiocracy, science fiction, science fiction books, SF, SF Books, Thorne Smith | posted in Books, Sci-Fi Saturday
Not that anyone should care, but it’s Friday the 13th today! More to the point, it’s Friday, and I’ve been remiss about Friday Notes this year. The one last January is the only one I’ve posted so far. Big part of that is having, at long last, reduced my note pile enough that I don’t feel so (word) pressed.
Some of it is the ongoing problem of ennui. The eleven-year blog anniversary is approaching, and that tends to ignite old questions about why I bother to do this. By now I’ve left some sort of small scrawl on the internet wall and explored many of the topics that drove me to blogging.
On the other hand, the pile isn’t by any means gone, so let’s get to it…
17 Comments | tags: Discworld, James Webb Space Telescope, Jerry Seinfeld, JWST, Seinfeld, tesseract | posted in Friday Notes
I’ve lived with a Beagle, a Keeshond, a Belgian Shepard, a Great Dane, and a Black Labrador. I’ve dog-sat a German Shepard, two Black Labs, and the delightful Bentley, an American Bully.
I’m not bragging or claiming expertise (many have much more and far broader experience living with dogs). Just saying I’ve spent some solid hours with dogs pondering what the world looks like to them, how they perceive things.
It’s often struck me that, while humans may imagine and believe in gods (or not), animals live in a world where apparent gods walk among them. Dogs, and some other animals, live with their god(s) — depend on them and are subject to their every whim.
10 Comments | tags: crows, Discworld, dogs, Thomas Nagel | posted in Brain Bubble
In Greek mythology, the hero Theseus, who slew the Minotaur and escaped its maze, returned from Crete to Athens where the Athenians preserved his ship in seaworthy state for more than a thousand years. It was an emblem of courage and a reminder of a national hero that many Greeks considered more legendary than mythological.
The Ship of Theseus was carefully maintained. Parts that rotted away were replaced with exact replicas. And in a ship made almost entirely of wood, crude iron, rope, and sail, everything rots, so eventually everything gets replaced.
Which makes the identity of the ship an interesting question.
32 Comments | tags: brain mind problem, consciousness, Discworld, human brain, human consciousness, human mind, identity, Ship of Theseus, Theory of Consciousness, Theseus | posted in Philosophy, Sci-Fi Saturday
As a memorial to the loss of my favorite voice in fiction, I’ve been doing a Sir Terry Pratchett Discworld memorial read. I’d been planning to read the Witches novels again anyway, so I did that and then went on to read the Rincewind novels. Now I’m working my way through the rest in chronological order. I just finished Hogfather.
This time, as I go, I’m leaving tape flags behind to mark bits I especially liked and plan to share (and record) here. Part of what is so engaging about the Discworld novels is how intelligent and perceptive the writing is. Pratchett was a brilliant writer. After reading these books many times I’m still learning to appreciate his genius.
Today I thought I’d share some of those flagged bits with you.
6 Comments | tags: Death (Discworld character), Discworld, Discworld novel, Hogfather, Pterry, Pterry Psnippets, science fiction, science fiction books, Susan Sto Helit, Terry Pratchett | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday
Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015, RIP
My mom died a year ago today. Yesterday I attended a memorial service for my best friend’s mom, who died this past February. Also in February, Leonard Nimoy took a final bow and exited stage left. Most recently — just last Thursday — another star went out, and it was one that shone brilliantly in the sky for so many of us.
Sir Terry Pratchett finally got to meet one of his key characters. I like to think that, for him, it might have been like meeting an old friend — and sadly, a visitor he’s been expecting for quite a while now. We fans know that Death personally attends the passing of wizards.
And Terry Pratchett was a wizard beyond compare.
12 Comments | tags: celebration, death, Discworld, Joy, Jurassic Park, Leonard Nimoy, Life, loss, Michael Crichton, mourning, Soul Music (novel), spring, Terry Pratchett, vernal equinox | posted in Life
Earlier this week I finished re-reading what might be my favorite Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, Soul Music. When I introduced you to Pratchett and Discworld I mentioned that each novel has its own theme. Nearly all the novels use the same groups of characters, but each revolves around a unique theme (and usually one of the character groups, although cross-over is frequent).
Soul Music is about “music with rocks in it” (in other words: rock music). It’s technically one of the “Death” novels (which is to say that the Discworld avatar of Death is the main character), but it prominently features the Wizards in supporting roles.
And Death’s grand-daughter, Susan. And the spirit of Buddy Holly.
9 Comments | tags: Bat Out of Hell, Buddy Holly, Discworld, Douglas Adams, Funkadelic, Hex, music, rock and roll, rock music, Susan Death, Terry Pratchett, Wizards | posted in Music, Quotes
I’ve spent the last two weekends (and many weekday evenings) with an old, dear friend in a magical place. I can no longer remember how I found the place or how I was introduced to my friend. I do know that this year marks the 30-year anniversary of its founding. I think I’ve been here since the beginning. If not, it wasn’t long after.
So I’ve known and loved this place, and my friend, for long time. Remarkably, the charm has never left it. For three decades (or so) it has delighted me, impressed me, moved me and made me laugh out loud. It is for me the finest of the finest, my favorite favorite. There is none better and very few that come close.
I’m speaking of Terry Pratchett‘s wonderful Discworld books.
13 Comments | tags: Discworld, Granny Weatherwax, Lord Vetinari, Rincewind, Sam Vimes, Terry Pratchett | posted in Books
And then there was one.
Last time, I wrote that my definition of science fiction is fiction with science + imagination. And that the science is freely defined to include guesses and completely made up, if not downright illegitimate, physics. In fact, that’s the imagination part of the equation. The fiction part is also freely defined, but basic story telling rules should apply. The science part must also play by certain rules, even when it’s made up science, even when it’s illegitimate
This article is about how I view the science and fiction in science fiction when it comes to playing by the rules. (Keep in mind that science fiction is art, and in art rules are made to be broken.)
Fantasy lovers take heart; in this case, my definition of science includes magic, the supernatural and the metaphysical. This uses the context of speculative fiction, which includes everything beyond current physics. The fiction canvas is framed by any physics, or metaphysics, the story requires. Warp drive is no more real science than vampires or Norse Gods; all of them are fiction.
14 Comments | tags: Discworld, Fiction, sci fi, science fiction, science fiction books, science fiction movies, science fiction TV, SF, SF Books, SF Movies, storytelling, Terry Pratchett | posted in Books, Movies, TV